So I've been silent on here for a few weeks. Considering the lack of posts on my website and this blog, you might think I've just been lazy. For the multi-tasker, "lazy" is a four-letter word (okay, for anyone who can spell it, it's also a four-letter word). How about this? "Managing my time" is a four-letter word. Or, rather, managing my time is a big pain in my butt.
It's been almost a month since I was officially released from federal grand jury duty. If I haven't mentioned it on here before, it was an 18-month tour of duty for the fine state of Illinois and its federal court. For one to three days each month for a year and a half, 23 of us selected lucky stiffs got to sit in the courthouse and determine whether there was enough evidence in each case for them to go on to trial. While it was a long time to serve and some of the cases were difficult to hear (believe me, you don't want to hear cases having to do with children), overall it was a good experience. I have a greater respect for federal agents, police and others dealing with crimes. By the time someone goes to trial, a whole lot of evidence has been built up against them. It's not random or quick, but it's thorough. These are jobs I'm thankful that I don't have to do.
And now back to the my point ...
I feel like pinball. I'm a multi-tasker. I'm here, I'm there, I'm way over that-a-way and back again. While I've been focusing on this project, "Forever Silent," and keep my mind on finding out as much as possible about silent film actresses' lives and burial locations, I've also been zinging around to other projects.
1. I've been asked to lead a tour at Oakdale Memorial Gardens in Davenport, Iowa, which features escaped slaves who took part in the Underground Railroad. This is huge. I had no idea that 11 escaped slaves were buried there. I had only known of a couple before this. The tour will take place next Sunday.
2. I've been asked to give a presentation to two groups early next year.
3. I recently submitted my course proposal for next year's CommUniversity community classes. I've taught a cemetery class for five years and hope this will be my sixth. I really enjoy teaching for them.
4. I'm mentally outlining a new presentation on tourism and cemeteries, yesterday and today. I think it will be a really cool topic.
Add to that all the books I'm working on reading about the silent actresses and silent film era, researching Kickstarter, and jotting down notes for another couple projects that keep sticking in my head, and it's no wonder that my brain is zig-zagging all over the place. I haven't posted an issue of the Epitaphs Magazine enewsletter in a few months, but that's just going to have to wait. If there's one thing I've realized as I've gotten older, it's that you can't do it all. And it's unrealistic to expect that you can. Especially when you want to do SO many things. And there are those pesky things like having a kid and a husband and laundry and four thousand cats (okay, four) and a full-time job and ... you get my point.
I guess the point of this blog post is to remind myself that it's okay to step back and refocus. It's funny how we can look at other people and say, "Hey, you're doing way too much. No one expects that much of you. You're doing fine. You don't need to push yourself so hard that you go crazy." Yet it's really difficult to say that to ourselves.
One of the biggest things I've struggled with nearly my entire life is thinking that I'm not doing enough. But enough of what? There's no rule book that says "Minda Powers-Douglas MUST regularly update her website, post daily on her Facebook page and profile, visit a cemetery every week, constantly promote her books and presentations, book many presentations, think up new presentations and create them, and write a book in one month." Yet, this is how my mind thinks. My husband gets frustrated with me because I think I need to do all these things. No one is making me do these things or probably even paying attention as to whether or not they happen. Ah, but that "Goonies never say die" voice in my head is almost always nudging me forward.
It's too bad that my Goonie adventures are via a keyboard, Internet research and book reading. I haven't found a secret panel in my bookshelf leading to a pirate ship yet. Maybe if I take on just one more project ...
Somewhere at an event right now where he's doing caricatures, my husband's eye just started twitching.
Breathe in, breathe out ... and step away from the keyboard.
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I'm the author of a number of cemetery books and am now writing one about the graves of silent film stars, starting with the ladies. Who would you like to see included?
More Silent Film Resources
• Silentology blog