Morning Acceptance Notes

Well, looks like last night was a busy one for my inbox!

First, an acceptance for my “Ulek Mayang” revision (FINALLY) from Kaleidotrope, a really respectable semi-pro magazine that was namechecked that one time on Kirkus Review (along with Clarkesworld during a month when it had one of my stories in it!). If that was not enough, the wonderful Fred Coppersmith also accepted “Archipelagic Constellations”, my origin story epic poem of the Bunian Empire. Some of that origin story made it into “Violets on the Tongue” as well as the Admiral Zhen-Juan novelette (“Liar, Liar, Your Station’s On Fire”) that’s now sitting pretty in a slushpile somewhere but this one has the visceral and raw first person narrative so I’m really happy it finally found a home.

The sad news is that both will come out only in 2020. Oh well, at least I’ll know 2020 has two things of mine in it!

(I deleted snark about other stuff because we are supposed to be avoiding snark and whines on this version of my blog)

This story has a complicated backstory: I wrote Ulek Mayang in 2015 because a Brazillian magazine requested a story of mine they wanted to translate. Sadly they took so long (and have yet to bring that issue out) that I offered them Sang Rimau instead and started lobbing Ulek Mayang at markets in late 2016. It came close at so many places — ridiculously close! But has apparently now found a home with an editor who accepted it without reservations. FINALLY.

Oopsies, some snark came along with that. Sorry, I have strong feels!

ANYWAY. I also FINALLY got a rejection from first agent to ask me for a partial of WATERMYTH. She’s also the first agent I ever queried as she’s been Dream Agent at Dream Agency since 2009. Only took nearly a year but I was very happy with the rejection as it was very kind, very incisive and very encouraging. So, that’s former Dream Agent who seems a lovely person but is Dream Agent no more. Pity, would have been nice to work with her. But! I really like and approve of the two agents who now have my full manuscript and I really really really am crossing my fingers so tight right now that at least ONE will say “HELLO I LIKE THIS”. But I dunno. This has been a one year journey and I don’t want to get disappointed by hoping too much. Basically now it’s all about seeing who responds first. I also have other queries out.

On the academic front I also got very very minimal edits back on the Malaysian Gothic chapter I’m contributing to a Cambridge Scholars collection compiled by the lit team at another university. They also had some very nice things to say about my work which really soothed my rather wounded ego.

I also have feelers out on another thing but again I don’t want to expand too much hope there because that will only lead to disappointment. But it’s time to take  serious steps to get out of this inertia I find myself in. I deserve so much better than what I have right now and I have to stop undervaluing myself the way my fellow Malaysians tend to undervalue me. So. Here’s to cautious hope and more methodical/hard work.

Going to continue working on the Psychogeography article now. Oh, some words in Rosemirror first!

Friday Fatigue: Working Uphill

Today I am very slooooowly trying to add words because fatigue has set in. I did quite a lot this week, however. So it’s lunchtime, which always feels furtive and illegal in this particular month. Fusilli, tuna, capers and rocket salad. Also peaches in syrup:

 

I’m fueling up before the next batch of work so I’m also writing this blog post to keep track of my progress.

  1. I submitted the Alaya Dawn Johnson article after addressing peer review comments and revising bits of it.
  2. I submitted the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie article.
  3. I’m now powering through peer review comments/rewrites/edits on my Angela Slatter + Yangsze Choo psychogeography paper. Got confirmation from the Project leader and editor that I don’t have to change errything and can defend some of my choices. That was a relief! She’s surprisingly easy to work with and I say this with a chuckle because I was absolutely terrified of her when I was a PhD student at the school. Anyway! Onwards to powering up for these edits;.
  4. I hit 40k words in Rosemirror and am now halfway towards 50k words!
  5. Got my Regency horror story up to 3k words!
  6. Grading and doing the supervisor thing.
  7. Steady work on monograph proposal.
  8. Survived a meeting though I’m still upset about that. I’m not upset about the news, what we have to do, or what our esteemed chairperson told us. I’m upset by the shenanigans that happened after she left. But I mean it’s basically the same bs on a different day so what else is new.
  9.  Got enough sleep for most nights though my sleep sched is slightly off because of being upset. Anyway I also decided that I should wake up between 530-630am most mornings because that extra 30-90 mins of sleep? It counts.

Right. Now back to work on the Psychogeography thing, and Rosemirror.

And here’s the snazzy meter for Rosemirror. Going according to schedule. I write fiction as a warmup to writing academic stuff. Sloppy writing indeed. I seriously doubt these hot air blowing sorts write as much. Nor do I believe they write/research/edit methodically/daily in the manner of my creative cohort who juggle both academic work AND creative writing. I know who my tribe are — we straddle both kinds of writing.

46370 / 120000 words. 39% done

Monday Rosemirror Draft Zero Check-in #1

I’m going to post these check-ins every Monday, hopefully. I have a target to finish Draft Zero of Rosemirror by the end of July so that I can revise it at leisure in August and then have September-October free for short fiction and monograph. I’ll still be working on articles and the monograph regardless but it would be good to hyperfocus on it. In November I finish the story-arc of Masks of the Apothecary.

So anyway, woohoo I reached 40k words today 🙂

40341 / 120000 words. 34% done!

I have a lot of other updates to make but right now I am very full from awesome dinner, very satisfied with my progress, and very sleepy. Going to work a bit more on my Regency horror in Sesen story, and then sleep.

Listening to: Rue de cascades: Naomi — Alessandro Simonetto

Rainy Day Writing Update

I’m sick and feverish today, having caught the flu from someone or other. So I allowed myself to sleep in until 6am today since it’s a public holiday, and it helped. Back to waking up at 5am tomorrow though, I think.

Despite this I got a lot done. Perhaps because I got extra sleep. Or maybe it’s just that staying away from social media’s helped me focus and be more peacefully productive! Also, decaf has become a thing since last week and I’m happy with the flavour of the decaf instant I chose (Boncafe). It has tiny amounts of caffeine that seems to agree with me in that I feel slightly more alert.

Onwards to the writing productivity report!

1. Today I wrote around 2500 words in Rosemirror. My goal is to hit 40k words by Sunday.

32820 / 120000 words. 27% done!

The aim is to write 10k words in Rosemirror per week till I hit my draft zero goal of 120k words. Then I’ll take a month or so off from novelwriting to rest my brain before I dive into Masks of the Apothecary in November. That’ll be my NaNoWriMo project this year.

2. On the academic front I’ve done more work on the monograph proposal and chapter I’d like to send to the editor by mid-June. I had to fulfill certain other obligations first but I’m on track for the proposal now. Chapters have been outlined, I’ve read most of the corpus and I know which bits from my dissertation I’m incorporating and how I’m expanding on the work. It’s sort of like writing another dissertation but not really because a monograph is a different beast altogether. I put together different monographs in the past but never completed them. This one feels more…focused? That makes me glad but also a little terrified of rejection.

3. I also started work on the Alaya Dawn Johnson article that came back relatively unscathed from peer review. It isn’t much work required and I already covered the bigger requests from Reviewer #2 who had some good insights. Hoping to deliver this week because next week will be all about the monograph, edits on the Malaysian Gothic chapter I submitted last week and I need to start writing the NK Jemisin paper I’m presenting in July.

4. My plan for May was to write two short stories for the #12for12in2018 challenge because I need to make up for not writing anything in February and March. Well, it turns out that the second May story wants to be a novella. 2nd May story is based on my #NightMarketDays twitter IF which I halted earlier this year because it seemed to want a larger canvas. I guess a novella would be that canvas. This one is based partially on my teenhood in Sungai Petani, Kedah so it is sort of YA! Yikes! Also based on my own music nerdery and the stories I wanted to write in fantastic landscapes surrounded by paddy fields. I read a lot of hikayats and traditional folktales in my teenhood and so this is definitely going to be a very Malaysian novella and it’s causing me to introspect about my life.

HOWEVER. This is not what I wrote today! Today I started my 3rd May story and it was a hop, a skip away from “What do I want to write today ah?” to actually hammering out a Regency-inspired story, set on Sesen. I mean, if you’re going to copiously rewatch both the movie and miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice this was bound to happen. And to be honest, I’ve been wanting to write some Regency stories set on Serolar since I was a teen. So I’m quite excited about this. So far, there are four Sesen short stories I’m working on this year. Two set on Serolar, one’s  a naval adventure set out in the Archipelago, and one more story set on Lusini I’ve yet to finish. I consider this a nice warm-up for November when I’m diving back again into the world of the Yrole Triptych!

And that’s today’s productivity update. I aim to do more!

Onwards to dinner: rice, sambal sotong terung pipit, stirfried french beans w/ beef, and maybe telur dadar (Malay omelette). I’m sick so I don’t think I’m bothering about being under 2k calories today. Got to keep up my strength.

As it turns out I’m sick enough that I couldn’t be bothered about cooking two additional dishes. Besides, with the addition of terung pipit (tiny eggplants that look like peas, ergo pea eggplant) and cherry tomatoes I figured I got enough vegetables there. There were more vegetables than squid actually. So, half a cup of rice, a third of a serving of sambal sotong and a slice (heel of loaf) of bread to wipe up that tasty gravy from the wok was good enough for dinner. And I’m under 2k calories! Phew! (I know I say I can have over 2k calories but the thought of having two cheat days this week made me feel quite miserable!)

I may yet make the telur dadar tomorrow. We’ll see how I feel when I wake up. Very sleepy now.

Listening to: At The Still Point — The Story

Laksa Johor and Mr. Darcy

For nearly two weeks now my life has been defined by waking up early in the morning, writing, doing housework, heating up Laksa Johor to eat while watching Pride and Prejudice.  It is the 2005 version directed by Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfayden, Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, Penelope Wilton, and Tom Hollander. The Janeites, literary critics etc do not like this movie but I love it more than the much-loved BBC miniseries for many reasons. The music, the cinematography, the chemistry between Knightley and Macfayden — and the breath of fresh air it lends to an old classic.

So it’s been really comforting to dip into my plate of Laksa Johor while watching 15-20 minutes of this every morning. It became my private, happy place. So when I finished watching the movie, I started watching it again! Who cares about the critics, right?

Today I finished my last 418 calorie serving of my Laksa Johor and feel bereft.

 

It was my first time making Laksa Johor. I used this recipe nearly faithfully (I used ikan kembung — wolf mackerel instead of ikan parang — wolf herring, because I couldn’t be bothered with the bones. I did not use the tamarind pulp and stuck to the asam keping for a souring agent, because I prefer the sourness to come from the lime/lemon. Also, I used lemon instead of calamansi limes!) and was beyond thrilled with the results. I made it a bit thick which means a little bit of gravy could go a long way and so it was the consistency it should be, like a Malaysian spaghetti bolognese you eat with your hands.

However, the conversation around Wickham had me cause to explore issues to do with class that’s really part and parcel of the text. The movie of course exaggerates the class distinctions by having the Bennetts be even more vulgar and that made me think about my own families (paternal, maternal) and how the class divide can alienate even within the same bloodline.  In this time of grieving, perhaps I may have made errors of judgement in reverting to being too trusting.

For now, going within, reaching within myself to bring out as much work as I can while healing my mind, body and soul is my main priority. I won’t have any publications for the next few months so I’m taking the opportunity to have a holiday from twitter and Instagram. I’ve disabled my Facebook for the same reason as most — privacy concerns. I’ll be back on other social media between August-November and will bow out again from November to mid-March 2019. I intend to spend the time fruitfully finishing my monograph, chapters and articles due, and Rosemirror. Bowing out from social media in November will better facilitate the work I intend to do on Masks of the Apothecary then. I promised myself that if I don’t have an agent for Watermyth by end of this year, I’m querying Masks of the Apothecary next year. To refresh your memory, this is the first novel in The Yrole Triptych, that Sesen trilogy I started writing so long ago, and then put on hold for the Cantata of the Fourfold Realms sometime in 2010.

I think I’ll be making more Laksa Johor while I’m at it! It’s actually easier for me to stay away from social media these days because the time I used to spend on twitter I’m now spending counting calories on my calorie tracker. 8)

(Although I still have batches of my rather amazing curry laksa so there’s that! Ask me how much I love all versions of laksa!)

Rosemirror and Other Tales

Been awhile since I posted here. It’s been quite a year what with my father’s illness that ended up in his death, and my fracturing of my toe which led to a long medical leave (although I am still working remotely from home so it’s not quite a holiday!)

Does the one have to do with the other?

Hard to say. I am in the mourning period still. My Dad’s one month anniversary of death happened on the 22nd of April. I was bewildered for a few weeks but seem to be slowly regaining emotional balance though it’ll take awhile. It is a terrible thing to lose one’s parent.

Anyway, I’ve also been kept busy with all manner of things. I also have the tendency of burying myself in work to help myself process things emotionally. So that’s been going on along with putting myself on a restricted calorie diet which has had some positive health benefits. Blessings in disguise, they happen.

#

Writing Notes:

So far in 2018, I received two acceptances, had three stories published, and received two requests for full manuscripts from agents. I’ve also queried 11 agents today and am now up to 30 queries for Watermyth. Positive response has given me the focus I need to continue work on Rosemirror, which is the sequel to Watermyth.

I’m hoping to have a full draft done by November, although I have to divide my time between that and academic writing/duties.

So here’s where I’m at right now:

26161 / 120000 words. 22% done!

Here’s to getting more done soon!

November Updates

2017 is almost drawing to a close and for many it means holiday-time. I too am looking forward to the winding down of the year, although for me it means staying at home and healing/writing.

I’ve honestly lost track of the things I’ve done in October but I do know I submitted three stories then, and have submitted three stories in November. All up, I’ve submitted short stories 46 times this year, with three acceptances: Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and The Dark. I also had two poetry acceptances: Strange Horizons, and Uncanny.

So far, things I have had published this year: three poems, two short stories, a book review, an academic book chapter, a blog post on the Strange Horizons blog, an academic article.

It’s very little compared to last year but it’s been a very challenging year. Doesn’t seem to be very sensible or constructive to beat myself up about it.

As for the agent hunt, I’m taking a break from it to be kind to myself. Also, I’m drafting Rosemirror (the second book of the Cantata of the Fourfold Realms right now) and am quite excited at how the entire Cantata is shaping up. It seems a good idea to wait till I’ve finished drafting it, have a bigger picture, revisit Watermyth and then send out a batch of queries next year. I made a beginner’s mistake of querying my top ten agents first so now I have to start from scratch again but eh, I am not particularly well-researched when it comes to agents so maybe better things are around the corner.

I’ll probably get one of those marketplace books this time, do things properly next year. I have a suspicion I’m utterly shit when it comes to crafting queries.

Other things I am writing/editing:

  • 2 academic articles I am co-writing/editing with my supervisees and my co-supervisors.
  •  An EcoGothic chapter for a collection to be sent to a pretty cool publishing house.
  • A monograph I’d really like to get published at said cool publishing house.
  • An epic space opera time-travel romp of a novelette featuring Admiral Zhen-Juan as a mildly bemused mentor.
  • Sequel to Reversion, Vashti’s story.
  • A historical zombie dark fantasy (more fantasy than horror).
  • Another mosaic and byzantine Lusini short story based on the aftermath of Butter-Daughters.
  • A Venetian historical romance fantasy short story.
  • A naval planetary romance set in Sesen (I actually finished  writing this in 2014, decided it was rubbish and then disemboweled it and rewrote from scratch).
  • I also wrote the first Episode of a new eco-domestic fairytale retelling serial (The Loathly Lady and the Cabbage Farmer) that I’m posting over at The Mythogenetic Grove for free. Sometimes it’s just nice to write things you don’t have to submit anywhere.
  • Three academic articles I am still dithering over because of self-doubt and woe.

More urgently, I am presenting two conference papers in the coming week and this is what I will be working on this weekend.

Reading notes: I have read 99 books in 2017 — this is my best reading statistic since the (not so) new millennium. I still want to reach 120 books by year’s end, however but this month has run away from me. Unsettled by too many things happening at once.

Listening to: Fickle Sun (II) The Hour is Thin — Brian Eno

 

Problematizing My Problematizing and Other Tales

Today’s title brought to you by the fact that this Helen Oyeyemi article that I was supposed to submit to a bucket list academic publication two weeks ago is still being revised. Because I reread some of the core texts and my research/thoughts have so far evolved since I submitted my PhD dissertation.

I *was* going to turn that dissertation into two monographs, *was* going to take a sabbatical this year so this could happen. Alas, life dealt me with more than one curve ball. My sabbatical was “postponed” unless I could jump into a time machine to prove I had 5 ISI/SCOPUS publications. So far to date I have 1 ERA/EBSCO etc indexed publication, 3 scopus publications and that’s not enough. I *may* have 4 Scopus publications, I’m not sure.

So I sadly declined to jump into a time machine, and decided not to go on sabbatical. Maybe I’ll try again in ten year’s time, if I’m still alive.

Anyway, with my current health scare, I had to streamline a lot of my impossible projections and expectations for myself this year. So it would have been a wasted sabbatical. Life truly works in mysterious ways. Still, it’s been a very bitter pill for me to swallow. Because I promised myself my 42nd year of life had to be extraordinary — since I was destined to spend the rest of my life alone. I don’t want to grow up an old, embittered spinster with nothing to live for.

I was going to go to Venice, or Helsinki, or New York, or Paris. I *was* going to go to Helsinki and Queensland this year.

What happened? Health scare which led to a six month course of antibiotics, plus steroid inhalers which fucked me up to the extent that I now have palpitations and irregular heart rhythms. So far September has been a month of going to two hospitals more than once, multiple tests and we’re still not getting to the bottom of why my heart won’t behave itself. Oh, and all of my hard work losing weight? Down the drain. Within the course of six months I put on 8kg and now don’t even have my usual physical mobility so I can swim off the kgs. I’ve had to learn what my body can do and what it can’t do so I can remain moderately fit. I still have a good resting heart rate of between 60-71bpm (it goes down to 58bpm when I sleep), but I have also lost my ability to swim breaststrokes like a swimming pool monster. Now I’m more a timid and frail old lady doing timid laps. Well, I was. I’ve decided to stop swimming until they figure out what is wrong with me. So I just walk laps in corridors now. Faithfully, dedicatedly. Every day.

Every night, a sense of terror that I won’t wake up if I fall asleep. Every night, my heart feels strange, like it’s not mine. Like I’m not in this body that is not mine.

I must have faith, I tell myself. It might be nothing. I’ve stopped the steroid inhalers. The antibiotics end in October. My lungs are clear, kidneys slightly battered from years of diabetes but still okay and functional, liver’s on the borderline but still okay, and at least one hospital has declared my thyroid function is okay.

That’s all well and good but mystery heart is still being mysterious and I could write a story about how my heart is really a garuda wanting to take wing and bring me up to a magical empire or kingdom where I can be a badass superhero, but the truth is every night I am whispering into my pillow, please be okay, please be okay, please be normal. Please let me wake up tomorrow, I have too many stories to write, too many articles to finish, too much inside me I want to share. Please don’t let it end here.

Tell me, when you contain all of these emotions and thoughts, how can one ever have ordinary conversation?

So I suppose this is a letter, in lieu of a conversation.

I am okay because I am determined to be okay.

I am not okay because I do not know the future and that’s terrifying.

All I know is what I have had in lieu of an extraordinary year:

I’ve written some extraordinary things that I am rather proud of. I cleared myself of accumulated debt which means that for the first time since I returned from Australia, I’m feeling comfortable — but still not flush enough to be able to move out of my apartment. Sigh.

In lieu of finding a better place to live in, I’ve stayed in some pretty awesome hotels that I really enjoyed. Some, like the E&O and Lone Pine, I’ve been “pining” after since I was a kid growing up in Penang. It was magical despite the health fears. No regrets. I needed those time outs. Oh, I also flew business for the first time in my life. It was a local trip and I booked two months in advance so it did not wind up costing too much.

Not quite Paris but it may be better because I’ll always love Penang more than I love any other place on the planet.

Oh, and I finished Watermyth. Finally! I queried Watermyth! Finally! But now I’m still improving it because I’m problematizing my problematizing of certain tropes through the novel. And new perspectives keep happening. But, it’s done. (If only I was able to stop tweaking! Argh!). I’m hoping to send more queries this weekend.

..and I supposed one may say all of those publications were rather extraordinary. But I barely filled a thimble. My entire publishing output since 2007 is less than some people publish in a year. Oh well. At least I do have people who seem to like what I write. That’s awfully nice.

And now, I need to get back to that blasted Helen Oyeyemi article where I am still problematizing my problematizing of her texts. It’s got to be good because goddamn it I’ll conquer bucket list publication somehow. *shakes belligerent fists at the world*

This wasn’t exactly what I was planning on writing but *shrug* …hasn’t exactly been a planned year. But I’m resilient and not willing to give up without a fight. So heart, if you’re a garuda, you’d better fight along with me. We’ve got some more awesomeness we need to achieve. Goddamnit we’re owed some awesomeness.

 

August 2017 Writing Roundup

I won’t have much to report for September since I haven’t really been submitting short stories this month. Been focused on the novel, teaching/academia, academic writing and my health. However, August was a pretty busy month for me. So let’s see what got done!

  1. Submitted three short stories.
  2. Got back 2-3 rejections (lost count, could be more).
  3. Got an acceptance for The Dark! Remember the postcolonial Gothic MURDER PONTIANAK PLAY? Yep! It’ll be out later this year!
  4. Did a substantial amount of work on Watermyth during my 1 week Penang writing retreat/vacation. (Still working on it, tbh. I’ve taken to revising the novel in cafes like a stereotypical author. Mostly because a change of scene was needed.)
  5. Brought two academic articles to the “close to submission” point. But then I wanted to send them to higher tier/indexed academic journals so now I am still perfecting them and changing formatting/style to suit journal house styles.
  6. Worked on my Millennial Malaysian monograph.
  7. Oh and it was a helluva month for publications. I had a short story in Clarkesworld (Reversion), a reprint in Lackington’s (Auto-Rejection: An Outro), a poem in Strange Horizons (Tinwoman’s Phantom Heart), also a microblog post for Strange Horizon’s fundraiser. Putting the other months of the year to shame! It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster so I’m glad things are quiet enough in September that I can take some time off from social media to concentrate on myself and my health/goals.

Well, that’s it for August. September seems to be a “no short story submission” month so my September roundup will likely focus on the novel and my academic writing.

August in a Nutshell: Keeping It Simple, Preserving my Health, Energy and Emotional Equilibrium

I had grand plans for August which included concluding work on my Malaysian Genre monograph, and finalizing revisions on Watermyth which is still out on query with Dream Agent. To be clear, I’ve been revising the dratted novel for two years, but the panic adrenaline of querying revealed to me how I could make it better — it never ends!

Anyway, I also wanted to submit academic articles and short stories.

But health threw a spanner in the works. I’ve been suffering extremely bad acid reflux due to medication and stress. So bad, I thought I was having a heart attack, and was sent to ER in an ambulance. That’s kinda a wake-up call.

Then, the research institute said they wanted final reports for our research project on the 15th and not the 28th.

I promptly gave up after that.

Not on the monograph, but on finishing the monograph in August. It needs more work anyhow. So I’ll do it slowly but by next week I should have sent the book proposal to my targeted publisher (they don’t need the whole book just a targeted completion date plus other info).

Work on the novel’s progressing nicely. I’m reasonably optimistic I’ll be satisfied with it by the 28th of August, barring life’s vicissitudes.

I’ve also submitted a three-act postcolonial Gothic play although that might get rejected by tonight or tomorrow night (can never catch a break with this pub *laughsob*. One day. One day!)

On the reading front, I’ve already read a fistful of books and novellas. I am up to 78 books read. Enjoying Roshani Chokshi’s Crown of Wishes right now, and I have When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon on my iPad’s Kobo reader. Delightful!

On the publication front, I am Miss Published In Clarkesworld Four Times. I feel I deserve bragging rights especially since it’s been such a rough year for me healthwise. Let a girl enjoy her successes when they come.

What’s even more awesome is reader feedback coming in for Reversion. I was really nervous about it because I’ve been norty. Oh so norty. But people seem to really like it? Yay! Well, the critics haven’t weighed in yet so I’m nervous but you know, I don’t write for critics. I write for dreamers and weirdoes like me. 😉

Also, I am still very happy that POC Destroy Science Fiction got the recognition it deserved by being nominated for the British Fantasy Award. It’s not quite the same as being nominated as an individual but since my story was one of the most fantasy-ish in the volume, I can’t help feeling verklempt. Also, it’s a huge jump from thinking I’d never get nominated ever to having something I’m in get nominated. It gives me some hope, I guess. And small amounts of hope can be a good thing.

I guess this is it for now. I got no time to pretty up this blog. I know, semester break but I always seem to be super busy during semester break trying to meet my writing, research, reading and submission quotas.

But. Deep breaths. August is also about self-care, getting well, resting so I can survive the incoming semester. So. Cannot push myself too hardlor.