Staying in change

I’m living in the land of uncertainty.

I do not like uncertainty. I do not like long-term ambiguity. I manage change by changing quickly–I’ll be first in line. Change? Done. Move on. Sometimes, that isn’t a good thing. Sometimes, I’d do well to step back and question assumptions, do the “rude Q&A.”

Now, in this unexpected transition period, I’m learning to embrace uncertainty as the flip side of opportunity, and a chance for more growth. The longer I’m here, the more doors I see. They’re still closed–but they’re doors. So much better than an empty wall.

It’s my job to get another job, but also to explore all the kinds of work and experiences that new job can encompass–to apply my work skills to my job search. What’s the best way I can contribute? What do I know, and what do I need to learn?

Which door is right for me, and how can I get my foot in it?

With perfect timing, LinkedIn today sent me this post on reinventing yourself. What I love about it: concrete steps to take now, and answers to all the rude (but valid) questions. I appreciate when people think through all the likely objections and address them head on. That said, am I ready to reinvent myself?

When I started my novel, I allowed myself to write badly, because I was at the bottom of a long learning curve, and I’d learn. I’d take classes. According to Mr. Altucher, I should be reading books, too–for the novel and for my next career. I appreciate the idea that if you read 200 books on something, you know you love it and you’ve learned a lot.  (I also appreciate that this advice has excellent ramifications for authors and bookstores!)

Where to start? Currently, I’m reading Sparrow, by Bethany Reid; The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard; and Light Years, by James Salter. The compulsive me doesn’t want to abandon something I’ve started, but maybe I should be reading books about health or neuroscience–or writing and teaching writing. Time to assemble a bibliiography. For me, the trick is finding books by credible people (still stinging from the Jonah Lehrer debacle).

Any recommendations?

What would you (or have you) read 200 books about? How would you reinvent yourself?

P.S. No matter what, I’ll still be a poet.

2 Replies to “Staying in change”

  1. For every book I’ve written, I’ve read between 25-30 books for research for each. I couldn’t recommend the same to everyone, but it seems that for me, reading is a great way to propel yourself forward on a new subject. (My current interests include research on the atomic age, nuclear science, The Cold War and its pop culture influences, neuroscience, and the history of Oak Ridge. It’s an eclectic reading list) But I do think that reading on a subject that may seem to have no practical application can give you a new way to think about yourself, your life, and your writing!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jeannine. Up until now, my poetry hasn’t included much science or other research (other than reading a lot of poetry and books about poets and writing poetry), but that’s changing. I need to get books on measurement and the history of measurement. (So far, I’ve been researching online and have sent a couple of questions to my extremely helpful and articulate son). But I need to get out my library card. I’m trying to figure out how to combine the reinvention books with the research for my novel (yes, I’m trying to be practical). In the meantime, could you share your neuroscience list with me?

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