The year of 2022 has been a much more introspective one, with working quietly behind-the-scenes on a few different projects. Writing has always been what saves me. It’s that anchor that brings me to that still space within that needs to be experienced and freed.
Writing is quite simply, one word, freedom.
When I am here, I am more myself here than anywhere. It’s not that I am unauthentic in life, but rather guarded until proven worthy. When I teach yoga, I am at home on my mat. I feel safe and open and free to share my vulnerable self with my students. That makes sense as to why I love teaching yoga so much. I am able to operate in a safe environment, share myself, give to others and enjoy the wonderful health benefits that comes with teaching. I have a yoga website- YogaSkip.com. It’s been a fun process, building YouTube videos, creating yoga content and going deeper into the yoga philosophy that resonates deep into my bones. I almost feel like THE YOGA SUTRAS just might be the very first self-help book ever written to help humanity live a better life.
Listen to the INSPIRED MIND PODCAST. 2023 begins my fourth year podcasting. Inspirational tips o happiness, breathing exercises for anxiety and gentle yoga stretch. In 2022, the INSPIRED MIND PODCAST was in the 25% Most Shared Podcasts around the world. I was so humbled and excited to learn this at the end of the year. Thank you for those that listened and shared. I am grateful for you!
I have written three other books, they are smaller in wordcount but mighty in thought and deed. When my son went off to college, I started a small press, publishing Public Domain books. This experience helped me in understanding design, formatting and the creative side in publishing books. However, after a few troubling experiences with the book printer
(I don’t want to reveal name here), I finally took a break on the sidelines in 2022.
Sometimes troubling experiences leads us to major breakthroughs. Earlier this year I headed home to my parents for one month. I began channeling my Golden State Stories through the fluid fingers here across this keyboard. The story keeps going. I have decided to keep writing until I find that final ending, the wrap-up of the plot, that weaves its way through the essays written about personal experiences about being stuck behind the Golden State line for 31 long years.
The third book project has been percolating in my mind for a few years now. I have a name for the working title, the outline of chapters completed, and a synopsis written, too. I am currently working on book three, which is my first wellness book that I have written since 2020. I just mentioned book two, California essays book, which I can easily write anywhere, anytime. Book one, the sci-fi book, is in rewrites and requires funnel like focus to finish this book.
I mean, a humorous sci-fi?
I guess you could say I really love Andy Weir’s books. His books inspired my mind before the lights would go out at night. A new character would spring to my imagination. I began to write down the the characters and what they looked like on paper. New scenes would percolate in my thoughts as I would drift off to sleep. It was like watching a secret world in space reveal itself to me during the year of the first quarantine. Go figure.
The following winter in 2021, my mom had open-heart surgery. I flew home to help out after surgery, along with my other two siblings. I felt such fear. I remember being on the plane with a clutching feeling across my chest. What would it be like to see my mom after surgery? Would she make it? Would her heart hold? What would happen over the next seven days? I felt paralyzed by each worry.
Then, right then at that moment, I thought of my little sci-fi story that had been brewing. Next, I whipped out my computer and began writing book one in 2021 and finished in 2022.
I have never experienced such joy in writing a book as I have had in writing this humorous sci-fi. This fall I am devoting the next two months to rewrites, and then I share with a trusted friend to read.
I am eager to wrap up this book with the right pace that isn’t rushed.
While the last two years were spent publishing books, it feels so wonderful to go inward and write my heart out. In the meantime, I have been teaching yoga; sometimes, up to 13 yoga classes in one week. It’s been just an exhilarating journey. I tend to juggle a lot of things at one time. Some might say place your eggs in one basket. I personally like to stay busy with purpose and focus on many projects so if one fails, I have a few more to keep juggling.
I am also an avid book reader. I am averaging reading three books per month. And who knew 2022 would be the year I decide to read lots of classic literature? Who knew I would tackle Virginia Wolfe, Albert Camus, Thomas Wolfe, Kurt Vonnegut, François Mauriac and Joan Didion books all in the same year? Plus, two of my favorite contemporary male authors that write books that make you sob like no tomorrow.
Right now I am finishing RUN RIVER by Joan Didion. I love her fiction books. Prior to this year, I had only read three of her nonfiction books, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I MEAN, BLUE NIGHTS, THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING. Her fiction books are gritty and rough around the edges with unhappy endings. Don’t worry, it’s okay, this is Joan Didion we are talking about. The endings are spot on and fit the plot, character development with sharp precision and discernment.
I look forward to updating you here on the progress of the three books I am currently working on. It’s going to be a lot of work. Don’t worry, it’s the type of work that feels like words dancing across my soul. Writing is a soulful experience that allows us to be free from the immediate world. Yoga is very similar. Books are the same way. Where is the escape door, right? Writing is a marvelous, hard adventure. I have loved every moment.
If I had to pinpoint the moment my writing world took off, it had to be back in 1995 on The Sunset strip in Los Angeles at the world famous Comedy Club in the back Belly Room. I was part of an improv troupe that performed there on Monday nights. I came up with a comedy skit that I wrote. I found the courage to share it with my teacher and group and they loved it. We performed it the following Monday (which we all know is the worst night of the week for comedy!) to a live audience. I will never forget when the crowd began to laugh. What a marvelous moment.
I could keep writing and telling you the minute-to-minute details, but alas, my fingers are tiring. There is Dragon flick that needs to be watched. Yes, that famous one, and one British dark comedy that has me laughing harder than I have in years, Psychoville. The writing is genius.
Now I ready for some hot tea, dragons and a disgruntled clown and a few patients that escaped from a mental institution. What a riot.
Cheers, Machel (Ma-shel) Shull
P.S. Yes, it’s absolutely necessary to share how to say the name. I have lived a lifetime of telling people how to say my name.
P.P.S. Please note, that sharing these tales in writing come straight from the heart. I have a few other manuscripts and unfinished stories stored on my computer just like the next writer. Those that write know that they must keep writing. Why?
Just like Charlotte Bronte said, “I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.