Patience ... or that thing I hate to practice



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Patience ... or that thing I hate to practice
By Amanda Kabak • Issue #1 • View online

Isn’t that just the thing?
The grind, I mean, not what that just made you think of. Everything worthwhile and lasting takes time and energy, and time and energy is work. Literally. Okay, in physics, work equals force x displacement, which means you do work moving yourself up a flight of stairs or carrying a box from here to there. That’s physical work, and it’s relatively easy to calculate (very easy when considering a frictionless plane in a vacuum, which is where all introductory physics problems live and which doesn’t remotely exist in nature). Emotional and intellectual work is different. Again, time and energy. And on this tangled plane full of friction and other types of resistance, work is not just time x energy, but time x energy + patience.
Isn’t that just the thing?
I am not a patient person, as many customer service representatives I’ve dealt with know from direct experience. In fact, I find patient people downright confounding. I hate waiting, and I hate working through the last, horrible 10% of a problem to make things as right as I possibly can. That said, my entire life revolves around activities that require excruciating amounts of patience, most notably software engineering and writing. By god, I will learn this patience thing by the time I die, or I’ll be doomed to repeat another lifetime on earth to get it to sink into my thick skull.
But isn’t that just the thing? The idea that we’re here to learn a lesson and that we’re doomed to repeat a grade over and over again until we do? Why not submit ourselves to this thing that the universe clearly wants of us: to grow, to mature, to master the things that irk us the most? So I’ve resigned myself to facing situations that require patience, I’ve given myself over to the idea that this is the next huge thing for me to address, and I’ve even covered a not insignificant amount of my body in tattoos to remind me of this commitment just in case I forget in a momentary fury at being put on hold again.
I recently spoke with the editor assigned to my romance novel, which means there’s now one more person who’s read my soon-to-be-published third book. And it also means that the book has a cover and is available for preorder! While says it’s shipping in May, I’ve been assured that the publication date of Training for Love is, in fact, March 22, 2022, and I think it would make a great (slightly belated) spring solstice present for anyone.
Yes, that's Chicago in the background!
Yes, that's Chicago in the background!
I write because I hope people will read what I put out there and find parts of themselves or their situations in my stories. It’s always a thrill when someone new is exposed to one of my books, even an editor, who’s paid to ferret out everything that’s wrong with it, whether comma or character development. With The Mathematics of Change and Upended, I remember being on the phone with my publisher and listening to her deconstruct my books, finding themes and meaning in there that I hadn’t even necessarily intended or saw through my lens of creation. As a writer, there’s nothing better.
In tangential preparation for something else I’m writing, I reread Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, which, if I have to sum it up, is about our general hubris and stupidity when we try to deal with nature on our terms instead of its own. More specifically, it covers the importance of predators at every level of the food chain and what happens when the predator and prey balance goes out of whack (spoiler alert: nothing good). It reminded me of another book that is patently clear on our species’ misguided war against nature: Richard Powers’ The Overstory, which is such a masterfully written novel and so (no pun intended) powerful in its themes, that I don’t think Anna is allowed to read it or we’ll end up moving to the wilderness and actually living like the misanthropic hermits we now manage to keep buried deep inside.
Because we do currently still live in the world, I was also fortunate enough to talk with two more people about Upended:
‎GSMC Book Review Podcast: GSMC Book Review Podcast Episode 320: Interview with Amanda Kabak on Apple Podcasts
Until next month and the height of holiday cheer …
Did you enjoy this issue?
Amanda Kabak

Writer of software and literature - Novels: UPENDED and THE MATHEMATICS OF CHANGE. Denizen of the in-between. In ardent pursuit of making an impact.

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