I've invested a lot of work and care into the garden in particular. I turned a narrow bed full of huge weeds into a garden for growing vegetables and greens, which involved extending the depth of the bed by at least a foot and digging down the same distance to pull out rocks and actual old trash. But now I've cultivated it into a space that we enjoy by eating breakfast outside every morning, to center ourselves before launching into work for the day.
Being rewarded with the literal fruits of my labors by growing my own food is something I've wanted to do for a long time, and being able to do so here almost took me by surprise-- it had been so unfeasible everywhere else I've lived that I didn't expect to so suddenly have the opportunity.
I'm currently writing this while straddling the week and a half between the two largest conventions of the summer, in one of the busiest months we've had this year. We just got back from Gencon in Indianapolis, for my third year in a row working the show.
I'm in a completely different place in my life than I was last year at the same event. I had just gotten back from my month in Iceland-- three weeks of which I had spent mostly on my own-- and knew that in a few more weeks I'd be driving up to Iowa for the first time to feel out what would become my first relationship.
So, a year out from that, we're living together in our dream city, but I also spent most of my year doing important life events like moving and working my way through my commission queue, but finding little time for personal work. Going into Gencon, I knew my table presentation and body of personal work was not where I wanted it to be. I'd already done some reckoning with struggles in my personal work prior to the con, and had more or less accepted the limitations of my time.
But being at the convention and seeing how my friends and peers in the SF/F Illustration community were continuing to push forward their work and the tightness of their setups, it really sank in how I haven't been doing everything that I possibly can. I've had some valid excuses, but I'm tired of accepting those limitations in myself.
Still, I was able to bring a small handful of new pieces, most importantly my two Month of Fear pieces from last year, Breathless and Hollow. The response to these paintings was very validating, and all that I could hope or ask for in people internalizing the meaning of the pieces. Each of those interactions meant something to me, and stand as the most important parts of the convention.
On the long drive back home, I thought on all of those interactions and my overall take-aways from the convention, and I could feel myself reconnecting with the fire of my earlier career, the ambition that had driven me to do so many courageous things in the first place. I've felt the force of that fire missing in the last couple years as I overworked myself and still struggled, but I think I've found it again, finally.
I have some sense of stability and a future here that makes me excited for the work of each coming day. That makes a big difference.
In one week, we'll be in Berlin for Eurofurence. It will be my first time and Jonathan's third. I'm definitely looking forward to the experience of getting to experience an art-focused convention in an international context, but after a long and busy summer, more than anything I'm ready for the comfortable autumn to follow-- with no more conventions to table at until early December, I'll have the time I need to catch up on work and start producing more again.
I feel like I've been waiting ages for that, and I can't believe it's finally so close to being here.