Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Thursday, 02 August 2001

On my way home from dinner, I had an idea for a new story. It's a pretty good one: kind of a high-tech, hard-science, police-procedural horror story about a reporter.

My plan had been to revise one more story and send it out before starting another new one, but that was mostly because I hadn't had another good idea. Now that I've got a good idea, I'm running with it.

I did get "A Little Empathy" off this morning, so I have one story out.

The last few days I've been grumpy and irritable. In particular, I've been easily irritated by things that aren't especially irritating, such as running out of address labels, or interacting with drivers who don't understand the rules of right-of-way. These things happen, and I can normally take them into stride. But, just the past few days, they've been making me grumpy. When that happens I know I'm under stress from something else.

I sometimes have trouble identifying all the sources of stress in my life. Sometimes some minor event will pass or some small activity will wind up and I'll suddenly be much more relaxed and I'll realize that the event or activity had been a much larger source of stress than I'd been aware of at the time. But this time I'm pretty sure it's mostly my job that's stressful. Mind you, it's not very stressful (or I'd perceive it that way). It's subtly stressful in a way that shows up, not as job stress, but as me being irritable when some bonehead doesn't know how to behave at an intersection.

It's nothing new. But it's something that didn't bother me at Clarion. I found Clarion the least-stressful period in my life in years.

It's okay though. Clarion was a bubble-reality. I never had any illusions that it was anything like real life. It was useful, though, to get some actual experience of how I feel when my life is that stress-free. It's no longer just a vague sense that it would be a good idea to reduce my stress level. Now I know that low-stress is something that feels good. I also know, now, that I can work hard and be productive without feeling stressed.


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