Moving as a metaphor for birth

Now that I’ve emoted about what I’m leaving behind, it’s time to think about what I am going towards and what I’m taking with me.

I have loved my home so much that I was super sad when I realized that leaving this house was my only option.  I couldn’t stay in Stone Mountain, it was too close to a few bad memories and I wanted a bit of a fresh start, but I wanted to stay near.  I tried to find places in Decatur and Tucker, but there were just too expensive.

I finally found a nice place that meets my needs (1 story, can have 5 cats, cute as god damn button and nice yard)  in Marietta, but I was feeling a little worried. Marietta is so far away from all my favorite places! I have friends up there, but some of them I’m not very connected to anymore.  What if there isn’t anything fun to do? What if it’s super boring? What if there aren’t any good restaurants? What if my neighbors are mean? As I was working myself into a tizzy of dread I remembered a parable I’m very fond of:  

“A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.

“What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”

“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Sometime later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

“They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”

“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.””

I think the moral of this story is that you have whatever you take with you.  

This makes me think of someone I know who moved recently.  This woman moves a lot, every 5 years or so. She comes to a place with the hope that it will be better than the last place, but it never is.  At first, she is excited and tries to make friends and get involved in local culture. She does make friends, she has parties, she has fun. But pretty soon that changes.  She starts fighting with her new friends who are all “crazy”, “manipulative” “passive-aggressive” and “dramatic”. She begins to end friendships with the toxic people. She starts becoming worried that the toxic people are poisoning her other relationships and starts to feel paranoid that people are talking about her, plotting against her.   Soon, a few years into moving she starts being afraid to go to cultural events because she might see some of those ex-friends who are plotting against her. She stops going out, she stops having fun. After that, she begins to fantasize about moving. She thinks that will fix the problem, she needs a new place, new friends, new experiences and this time, this new place will be different from the last.  She will finally find a place with sane, kind, honest and reasonable folks. But she never does, because that place doesn’t exist for her.

I think about my time in the Stone Mountain/Decatur area and it’s been good.  I have friends I’ve made here that have been my friends for 10 to 12 years. The place I lived before this was Macon, from which I have friendships that have been going strong for over 20 years!  One of my old LARPing buddies just spent the night with me the week before my move. I talk to several of them weekly or more. Before that, I lived in Perry. I still have a few friends from there,  friendships lasting over 30 years. So, I know in Marietta I will make friends, and that these friendships will be satisfying and long-lasting.

Stone Mountain/Decatur has amazing food.  I just went to a new place, “The White Bull” for my birthday, which was fabulous.  Sadly “Cakes and Ale” just closed, which was amazing. And there is “Iberian Pig” and “Savage Pizza”, “Java Monkey” and “Butter and Cream”,  “Chris’s Pizza” and “Top Spice” over in Toco Hills. “Golden Buddha” and “Nicola’s” near Emory. I’m not even going to list off all the great places in East Atlanta and l5p.   In Macon, I had a favorite Chinese place, and “Mikato” for the best hibachi, there was an awesome Indian place near my college and some great places at the mall. In Perr,y I mostly ate my mother’s cooking, which was literally award winning.  So, I’m pretty sure Marietta will have amazing food.

Yeah, I’m going to a new place and entering a new phase of my life, and that is scary.  But I’m betting it’s probably going to be just as much fun as living in Stone Mountain was.  I’m closer to my massage guy who has been helping me get my injured leg working again. The new house has a mostly flat yard so I can start some limited gardening again.  The house is smaller and in much better condition than my old place. There are already so many things I love about it. The area is great too! I’m less than 2 miles from a Barnes and Noble, Ulta, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot.   I’m less than 6 miles from whole foods and the mall. I’m a 5 minute or less drive from at least 20 restaurants. The sidewalk in front of my house is new and in great repair, which given that the sidewalk in DeKalb county literally broke my leg this is a big deal,  I can start safely going for walks again!

I’ve already started making this new place my home.  I’ve painted several rooms and since I officially finished my move two days ago I can really start unpacking, decorating and hosting events.   My new house and town are going to be as amazing as my last one, just different. My cats even like it! 

I didn’t want to move,  it was painful and scary,  I cried and screamed entering this new world.  But now I’m looking around my new life and feeling pretty good.

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 27

Today’s topic is “resistance from other people”.  The author talks about how people don’t like change,  how our friends and family might want to be supportive, but they will actually push back against anything that messes up the stability of their lives.  They are super happy you are working on something that is important to you, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of you being the person they are used to you being.  

This isn’t actually a problem for me currently.  My parents are dead. I don’t have children. Aside from a few holidays my nieces and nephews don’t “expect” me to be around.  I have a lot of friends, but not a lot of steady dates with them. I don’t have a yoga class or weekly coffee date sort of thing with anyone.  I generally hang out with a few friends over the weekend and go to a few parties. So far writing hasn’t really gotten in the way of my social life much.  I was too busy to host ritual last month, so I guess a few people noticed that.

I know that the time I’m spending on my writing has had an affect on my boyfriend.  I’ve had to write during times when he was visiting me, or I’ve had to write while he was driving us to some events. But mostly I work on things when he isn’t around, we have about 3 night a week that we spend together and I can work around them without too much trouble.  

I live alone, so no one notices and is hurt if I don’t do the domestic things.  No one notices if I stay up really late or work at odd hours. No one cares if I eat, or when.  

When I was married my husband was both great for my writing and horrible for it.  He was awesome in that he is an avid reader of the sorts of things I write and therefore able to give good feedback.  He is great at spelling and grammars, so was a super helpful editor. There have been days this past month when I have missed him so much.  I felt like he “got” my writing and when I wrote something he was proud of me and excited to read it. I think he liked the idea of being married to a writer, too.  I’ve had to stop myself from talking to him about my work and emailing him stuff, especially a poem I finished recently that he would have loved. Divorce is hard, even though he has been gone over a year in some ways I am just not used to him not being here.  No one likes my writing as much as he did. Other people in my life care that I’m doing something important to me, they care that I’m accomplishing my goals, but no one actually cares about my stories like he did.

However, Rachel Federman is correct about the resistance from a spouse too.  When I was really into writing, like doing NANO or writing for Dryden our relationship would get strained.   He would notice if I didn’t clean enough during the day, he would get annoyed if I didn’t want to take the time to make dinner with him or do things together in the evening.  He didn’t understand the emotional strain of writing. I remember one of our worst fights was when I got rejected for a story I was sure I was going to be accepted for. I cried and he tried to make me feel better. When I wouldn’t just feel better, when I kept being sad he got really mad.  He didn’t understand why it was such a big deal or why his attempt at comforting me didn’t fix it.   I didn’t write much for a while after that.

So, anyway, today’s topic isn’t really a problem for me.  Which is a good thing for my writing, because being alone is probably the best way to get things done.  But is bad for me in other ways. I feel jealous of people who have happy marriages or close families. I often feel very isolated and I don’t feel like I have many people interested in reading my stories and giving me constructive feedback.

I’m working today (Full-time day job), so I’m working on the blog post during my lunch break.  I’ll have to do the other writing after work. Today I’m going to do some research on the next place I’m scheduled to submit to, decide if I can edit something I already have or if I need to write something new.  Then I’ll get to work on that.

*******

Looking through my super fancy writing planner I found 4 stories that would be a good possible fit for this call.  Two of them are finished but need editing and 2 aren’t finished. I have 3 days to get something ready and sent, so I don’t have time to write a new piece.  

I’m going to pick one and try to clean it up tomorrow.  If anyone wants to be a reader I will always appreciate it.  

Total writing time 1 hour and 7 minutes.

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 26

Yesterday was a busy and fun-filled as I said it would be.  I went to a fan convention, had dinner with my niece and made it to the last few hours of my friend’s Luau.  There are lots of Luau’s this time of year, more going on today! 

The theme of day 26 is  “LIving the Questions”. The author mentioned Rainer Maria Rilke.  I searched the mighty google and found the passage she is talking about.  

“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke was a Bohemian poet who wrote from around 1900 to his death in 1926.  I’ve never read any of his work, but now it’s on the list. This quote very beautifully expresses my concepts of Future Kitty.  I am always aware that out there in the future is a different me unless of course, I die soon. I spend a lot of time thinking about that future me and being angry that I’m not her, and that becoming her seems impossible.   I have tons on questions I ask myself all the time, questions that can’t be answered now, they can only be answered in the future.

The author put in the proverb “The obstacle is the path” about writing.  Today I wish I could just type up everything she says on day 26 because it resonated so much.  Instead I’ll try to sum it up into my own words. I want to be a writer, so I write to figure out if I can be.  The biggest challenge to writing is writing. The thing I’m most often thinking about when I am writing is writing.  

When you are having writer’s block the best thing to do, the thing you most want to do, is write about it.  When I haven’t written for a while I have a tendency to go to facebook and write about how I haven’t been writing.  When I am writing I have a lot of anxiety about writing. Am I working on the right projects? Am I writing well? Will anyone ever read it?

The obstacle is the path.  The thing standing between you and your goal is every tiny step you have to take to reach the end.  A tree that might have fallen across the path is an obstacle, but so is the flat ground, so are the paved parts, so is the bubbling little stream.  The whole path is the obstacle. I guess if the path leads to something, maybe a moderately successful novel, then each step of the path is filled with the anxiety and weight of the goal.  At any point you can turn back of course, you can give up on the goal and thereby give up that anxiety.  Which is tempting. 

The author says that “writing makes us anxious”  and that when you do it you have to be ok with that.  Sometimes while doing these posts I feel like there is someone wrong with me because of how much self-doubt I have, how sad I feel that no one reads my posts, how much I must really suck.  I feel like other writers can’t possibly feel this way.  That the great ones must have always known they would be great. I worry that my insecurity is proof that I will always fail. 

I feel bad when my writing gets in the way of other people.  Yesterday I left the house for MomoCon way later than I wanted because I needed to write,  today I know my boyfriend wants to go out and do stuff but he has to wait until I finish writing if he wants to do stuff with me.  

Rachel Federman (the author of Writer’s Boot Camp)  goes on to talk about what blocked her from writing and it is exactly the same as me.  Like, this could be me she is writing about. I am a people pleaser, I want people, friends or strangers to be happy with me.  I want to always show up for my friend’s shows or parties, I want to always buy something when I go into a shop. I want to always leave a big tip.  I want to do you a favor, the bigger the favor and the more it hurts me the better!  I am like a machine, where you put in a praise/appreciation coin and I will do whatever you want. I want to help you clean your house, I want to bake you cookies, help you move, plan your party, listen to you talk about your problems.  I want to sacrifice and have people appreciate me, need me and never abandon me.

I bend over backwards because I want the people I care about to care about me,  to love me. I want you to get so much use and value out of me that you can’t abandon me. I get taken advantage of because I don’t want to be alone. Sadly, even at my best, trying my hardest I’m not worth enough to keep the people I love. 

Back to the point…

There are two reason why I am bad at making time for writing.

 

  1. It causes anxiety.  Writing brings up all these hard emotions, self-doubts and fears.  It turns my gaze inwards and triggers bad memories. It makes me feel like the Hulk: “I don’t get a suit of armor. I’m exposed, like a nerve. It’s a nightmare.”
  2. No one appreciates it.  Not that they should of course,  and that’s the point. I’m not doing it as a favor to anyone.  I’m spending hours a day working hard on something, hurting myself emotionally, feeling stressed, missing out on fun things, letting my house get messy, skipping the gym and I don’t get the satisfaction on knowing I did it for someone I care about.  I don’t get any “thank you”. And that really fucking sucks.

To be a writer one has to value the future over the present and be selfish.  I’m a self-sacrificing, have fun now sort of person. Being a good writer by its necessity means you will be lonely often.  And that, of course, like so many things currently, makes me angry.

Today during my writing time I have to submit one or more poems. But first I think I need a short break.  

It turned into a very long break, I went to diner, a movie and grocery shopping. I was stalling. But I submitted 2 poems, with 6 whole minutes before the deadline!  

Total writing time today 2 hours 23 minutes.

 

Total writing time was

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 24

I’m actually starting this before work today!  I had to hustle a little more than usual because I have plans tonight as soon as I get off work, and I don’t want to spend an hour writing when I get home, because I also have plans tomorrow.  In fact several plans tomorrow, which means I’m going to have to skip something which I hate doing. I try to go to as many things as possible that the people I care about are doing, but sometimes I just can’t.  Events, birthdays, parties, dinners all that stuff tends to overlap, especially this time of year. I guess it’s a good problem to have.

The topic today is about incremental success, with the title being “you can’t pass go” which makes no sense, because in Monopoly you pass go lots of times, in fact “passing go” would be a good metaphor for incremental success, not against it.   

Other than the title I agree with what she is saying. My goal can’t be something like “Be a great and famous writer”  or “Write the next “Harry Potter” or even “be a moderately successful B list writer, making $30,000 a year”. I guess it shouldn’t even be something like “get published in Asimov’s or on Pseudopod”.  Because maybe I will never get published in my favorite magazines or podcasts, but that doesn’t mean I will not be published someplace. I have been published, I have been paid, I have had success. I am, in fact, a successful writer.  

This is super hard for me to grasp.  I have a horrible time trying to think of myself as an actual writer at all, let alone one that has been successful.  It’s difficult to see the anthologies I’ve been published in as meaningful successes because they were years ago. Written by a person I’m not anymore.  Maybe that Past Kitty was on track to be a writer, but Present Kitty missed that boat? I sometimes think of the last 3 years or so as lost time, that knocked me off track for being successful.  I literally have the thoughts that if I had kept at it a few years ago I would now be a “writer” and that since I didn’t, since I let toxic people take up all my attention for a while, and then had a sort of break down emotionally, and then got super depressed after breaking my leg and then started spending all my time working, that now I’ve “missed my chance”.  How does that even makes sense?

I don’t reasonable think there was one magical special point when I could have been a success and that I’ve somehow missed it.  That’s stupid. Yes, I’ve changed. I’ve had new experiences, new pains, and joys, but those things are story fuel! If anything present me has more potential than past me did.  

So what’s up with the lies we tell ourselves?  Why say “it’s too late” or “you missed your chance” or “you’ll never be good enough”?  Where do these thoughts come from? This project has brought a lot of those to the forefront of my brain.  I have found myself thinking “you shouldn’t be wasting your time with this, you should be working more, making more money.  You should clean or exercise, do something useful!” What makes me think this isn’t useful? I read. I think short stories and books are awesome!  I love them, and my world is a better place because of them. The writing of others adds value to my life on a daily basis. So, why should I think my writing is a waste of time? I’m not the best at writing, but I’m as good as many who get published.  And this is a skill where you progress with time and practice.

I did have a great moment yesterday.  I was reading “The Fifth Season” by N. K. Jemisin (Amazon) last night, the story is really interesting and I was finding it fast and comfortable to read. So I stopped and second and thought about why, and I realized her writing style is very similar to mine, conversational.  She uses a lot of commas, she sometimes appears to be talking to the reader, sometimes she changes perspective, even putting the reader into the story going so far as to tell you that you are one of the characters. Her writing is natural and easy to read. I haven’t checked the internet yet, but I guarantee there are people talking shit about her writing style not being technically correct or fancy or some shit.  

But you know what? I bet the people criticizing her haven’t won the Hugo or Nebula awards… just sayin’.  

I can’t recommend the book yet, since I’m only about 50 pages in, but I can recommend the style.  When I finish it I’ll try to do a book review. I need to do more of those. Also, read more books.  And invent a time machine. And be rich.

Today, I’m going to be editing some poems.  Once edited I’m going to try to find someone who wants to read them, makes some changes if necessary and then submit them.   Probably submitting tomorrow morning. Hopefully not on Sunday which is the actual deadline, but that does sound a lot like something I would do.  Reminder to self, you don’t have to wait until the day of a deadline to submit something, it’s the last day, not the only day.

I finished the first edit of one of the poems and sent it off to be read by a few people.  I really like this one, and I feel like it has a pretty good chance of being published. I’m going to go ahead and post this but I might do some more writing later.  

Total writing time so far today is 1 hour 26 minutes.  

Writer’s Boot Camp day 23

I’m starting on this during my lunch break again. I had hoped to put in a half hour before work, but I didn’t manage to get up early enough or be efficient enough for that.   I should be able to get a good solid 15 or 20 minutes during lunch, and I don’t have any plans tonight.

Today’s theme in the books is how we have a tendency to come up with a bunch of super important tasks as soon as we sit down to write, and why that might be.  The author says that “you really do want to write, but it’s also hard and difficult and scary and opens up all kinds of scars and anxieties that your rational mind doesn’t want to have to deal with”

Yes, that.  Exactly that.   I have a whole bunch of things that I have walls, moats, alligators and armed guards around.  And I can say with some level of certainty that I am one of the more self-aware people I know because at least I’m not lying about what’s behind those defenses.  I know on the other side of that wall is child abuse, bullying, fear of poverty, body hate, sexual assault, betrayal, violence, fear, extremely low opinions about myself, horrible theories about my tendency towards being abused and abandoned, and so on.   I have some really scary shit going on in there. I have gone to therapy, I journal, I read self-help books, and honestly, I have dealt with all of this on a conscious level about as much as I’m able/willing to do. Most of these things happened in the long past, and the ones that are more recent I don’t want to explore or confront the people involved.  I have decided for my own emotional safety to do something, anything to distract myself when these thoughts come up.

Writing brings them up.  Almost without fail my characters will experience the same horrible things I have.  I don’t think I could write a wealthy, attractive, popular character who was loved and nurtured by her parents.  If I did it would come across as fake or hallow, hmmm much like those sorts of people do…

As a writer you have to write the truth, as you know it into each story, each plot, each character.  Not every main character is exactly me, but they all have parts of me. There is a reason so many fictional characters are writers because they are written by writers. You write what you know.

 

When I’m writing more, I tend to feel more.  I tend to think about my fears more. When I write my emotions get turned up.  This last month I have been crying more, angry at myself more, afraid more, scared more. I know that comes out in my blog posts.  They have become almost a self-therapy journal in some places. I think this is why drug and alcohol addiction is so common in writers,  you need something to turn down the feelings. The average person spends a lot of time everyday distracting themselves from feeling, a writer has to sort of jump into it and wallow.  It’s not healthy. Or maybe it is, I don’t know.

However, not all of the anxiety and associated stalling is avoidance of emotions. I have definitely let some things slide, especially this week.  Some of the important things I think about needed to do before I write are actually things I probably should do. 

The book wants me to make a master to-do list and a to-do list for today, but I have already done that!  I do that every day, so yay! I’m ahead on something!

She wants us to put a little effort today into getting some of the other things done off of our list.  

A few things I need to work on are:

-Get back to working on the KonMari tidies, Dresses are next on my list

– Clean the kitchen

-Watch a video of Jim Butcher talking about writing process

-Finish laundry

-Go to the gym

 

I’m going to work something on this list for 30 minutes directly after work before I get back to writing.  I will be giving myself an upper limit on writing time tonight and a reward if I do it. I want to write a total of 2 hours, and once I do I will spend the rest of the evening doing fun things, any fun things I want, like TV, reading or coloring.  

******

Kitchen Before

I cleaned the kitchen and did some laundry for a little over 30 minutes. It’s not perfect, but as you can see it’s a damn sight better than it was.  I also made a decent dinner, listened to a podcast while I ate and washed the dinner dishes. Having a less disgusting kitchen makes me feel way better than I did before.  I hate feeling like I live in filth. I’m ok with a little bit of a mess, but dirty dishes, unwashed laundry, unscooped litter boxes, and things like that really stress me out.  

Kitchen After

Now in a slightly lower stress space, I’m going to write.  Working on poetry with the hope of being able to submit something tomorrow.

*****

I finished the first draft of a poem about two of my favorite things, Death and cats.  I think this one has real promise. I look forward to reading and editing it tomorrow.

Total writing time 2 hours 8 minutes

 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 17

Today’s advice was to not beat myself up about having bad days, just to try to do better next time.  That’s good advice, but hard. My default state is to feel like I’m failing at pretty much everything and to always belittle my own accomplishments.  Which sometimes makes me feel like if nothing I do is ever good enough then why do anything. Which of course leads to me not doing anything, and giving up on goals.  

So far I’ve kept with this one, doing something every day, and yet, every day I feel like I’m failing.  It doesn’t even make sense! Yesterday my timer said I worked 2 hours but I didn’t “write” anything other than the blog post.  This made me feel like I hadn’t really done the challenge.  I was spending time finding markets. Which is actually important and harder.  This morning my brain is saying “well, that was wasted time, it’s not like you are going to submit anything, and if you do it’s not like anyone will ever buy it”.  My brain is very mean to me. It speaks in the voices of all the people who have abused, criticized and rejected me. I have honestly had a pretty shitty life in some way, lots of shitty people in my life. I try not to think about it.  I’m getting off topic. We can call that “free writing”. 🙂

Since I don’t have any exercises in the book today I’m going focus on the calls and work in 30-minute chunks today,  as many as I can manage, which might be one.

First order of business was to put all the writing calls I found yesterday in order by day, pick the one with the soonest deadline and get started.  

The first one is to write up to 4 pieces of speculative poetry, the deadline is May 27th.   I started a poem about aliens a few days ago, maybe it will be useful for this project.  

I worked on the first alien poem for a little while, but then I had a better idea and worked on that.  He is a trippy image as a clue!

Total writing time today is 2 hours and 2 minutes 

Writer’s Boot Camp day 7

Today’s theme was freestyle writing,  which I think should be writing whatever comes into your head, but there was a questionnaire to fill out.  I honestly didn’t understand having a structured free writing exercise. I did it, but it just annoyed me.   So I’ll just do my own as this blog post.star

I’ve written something every day for a week!  Yay! At first, I feel proud of that, then I feel silly for feeling proud.  I always feel silly when I have pride in my accomplishments.

I feel both happy that I have managed a week, but also annoyed and guilty that I haven’t done more,  I always feel like I should do more no matter how much I do in most areas of life. I constantly feel like I’m failing at everything.   Things that I see as optional, like writing, I normally choose not to do at all, because either way, I’ll feel like a lazy loser. It’s hard to not get down on myself when I have the honest yet unhelpful thoughts like

  1. You have spent hours this week writing,  editing and doing blog posts, but ultimately this time is wasted because it isn’t commodified.  You could have spent this time in a money making task.
  2. You spent hours writing and all you have to show for it are some blog posts that no one will read or comment on and a few pages of a short story that you don’t have plans to submit to anyplace
  3. You worked hard this week,  and if you kept it up you might accomplish something someday,  but you are almost 40 and you only have a few published short stories and one novella length piece that you refuse to edit,  if you had been more disciplined you could have been a writer, but now it is probably too late. Give up.
  4. You are not good enough, never good enough. Not a good enough writer,  not a good enough career person, not rich enough, not smart enough. This is why eventually everyone leaves if you were worth more people wouldn’t leave.

Today is very much a give up day.  I so badly don’t want to do this, it feels like a stupid, vain, pointless waste of time.  And I feel like a pointless waste of space.

20180508_143934I guess I should mention that today would have been my 8th wedding anniversary, to explain why abandonment is on my mind.   The one person who promised to love me forever stopped loving me. The person I respected and loved most in the world betrayed me.  The person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, who promised to never leave me, left. It’s been over a year since he left me for another woman, who clearly has more worth than I do.  It has been a few months since we were officially divorced.20180508_144007_HDR

Yes, these pictures of from our wedding scrapbook.  Yes, I have kept it, and will continue to do so.  I put dozens of hours of work into the wedding and then into the scrapbook.  It is a fucking working of art that I’m proud of even if that marriage was a failure.

I want to be over this so badly,  and some days I am. And then other days I miss him so much I ache.  I want to send him cute pictures of my cats, that used to be his babies, that he loved so much until he didn’t.  I want to tell him about things I’m doing, places I’ve been going, my goals and plans. I want to ask him about his life and be a part of it.  However, every day the urge to reach out to him trends a little less, I now go weeks without communicating with him sometimes. But then he texts me about something,  or I end up sending him a cute cat picture and we start talking, and while we are chatting for a few moments I feel like I have my best friend back in my life. A few days ago we had a conversation about “Noir” by Chris Moore, one of our favorite authors,  we talked about the Avengers, he laughs at the funny things I say, and it feels good in the moment, and I know it shouldn’t. I want to text him now, but today of all days I will not.

I’m moving soon and once I do I guess that will change.  Once I leave this house, this part of town there will be nothing else connecting us. We have common acquaintances, but no common friends anymore. He doesn’t talk to my nieces or nephews anymore. There will be no logical reason to speak to him. Any chance of us repairing any part of our relationship will evaporate. This makes me sad, because after everything I still care for him, and still wish we could be friends.  But that isn’t a thing that can actually happen. He is someone I used to know, he is part of my past and has no place in my future, the present is brackish, because I’m still in between two states.

I should write a poem!!!!   I haven’t done that in a while, freestyle is the perfect time to for that.  

Brackish

Adrift, out to sea for ages,  hot sun beats down, skin burned, crystal crusted.

Thirsty

wanting is everything

Begging, prays unheard

Wish, need

floating in a sea of salt tears

Too dry to cry, nothing left

Thirsty

A swallow eases the pain, for a time.

A tiny taste, face upturned to fresh, fleeting rain

Moments of joy, relief

Sun beats down, skin burned and crystal crusted

Adrift

Thirsty

Begging

Praying

Lost at sea

Something in the distance, a mirage

it must be

Land a dream,  stability a fantasy

Wave tossed,  powerless to the currents

Belonging to the tides, forced to go with the flow

Solid mirage?

Is that land?

Dropping down flat to the boards

hands in stinging water

pushing against the waves

Clinging to you saved me, my only solid state

Holding me back now, too slow

Abandon ship

One last push towards survival

The water is changing, becoming less salty

Soothing burns, cool

Swimming upstream

If I don’t drown in brackish water than soon I’ll drink

As much as I want

Hands, no longer flat in prayer, empty, begging

But full, of infinite water.

For now, I swim against the current.  

 

 

Today’s work log

Timer was at 1 hour 42 minutes when I realized I was I’m super thirsty and needed a drink!  🙂 Paused for a few minute break.

Time at 2 hours and 3 minutes when I finished editing and adding pictures.

I worked on “Eat the Rich” my WIP fiction piece until the timer said 2 hours and 19 minutes.   Not bad!  I think this is the longest I’ve worked since I started “Writer’s Boot Camp”

 

 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 5

I wrote this in a notebook at about 9:30 A.M,  but am just now at 10:30 P.M getting it into the computer,  which is appropriate given today’s topic.

20180429_154402Today the book talked about being able to write any place, any time and this is the perfect day for this subject.  I writing this in a car on I-285 heading from Stone Mountain to Marietta. I have a lot going on today and worried I would have trouble getting to my computer, so I have a notebook and my trusty pen shark.

The theme of the day is “semper fidelis”,  Latin for “always faithful”, and the author talks about the Marines motto of “always faithful, always ready”, and how we should always be ready to write and I guess always faithful to our goals.  This is something I very much need to work on. I tend to only write at the perfect time, and the perfect place, when I have a good idea to work on. I keep a list of story ideas on my phone in Google Keep, but other than that I’m very seldom “ready” to write when I am away from home.   I used to not be this set on only writing at home, I used to write at school, at coffee shops, when out doing things.

I don’t know when this shift happened, when I started thinking writing could only be done at my computer, but it is something I need to change.  I’m going to keep a small notebook and pen in my purse from now on so that I will be ready to write whenever I have an idea or whenever I have free time.  I can see how helpful it could be in the long run to write a scene, some dialogue, a character profile or jot down some story ideas or changes I need to make in what otherwise would have been wasted or “facebook” time.  This could be beneficial in a few ways,

  1. All these little things written in what would have been wasted time would add up pretty quickly, speeding up all my projects
  2. It could be good to capture those in-between times and utilize them, grabbing the ideas while they are fresh instead of leaving it to memory and Future Kitty to do the work.
  3. This could be uplifting emotionally because it will keep me focused on writing, on being a writer,  on my current WIP (work in progress). If I’m writing a little every time I’m a passenger in a car or at night before I go to bed,  or first thing in the morning while my dreams are still vaguely visible, or in a waiting room at yet another doctor’s appointment or while taking a break walking someplace.  I don’t have to be sitting at a desk all official like to be a writer. I need to be reminded that writing is something I do, but a writer is something I am, every place, all the time.  

marietta-imageWell, I’m in Marietta time to stop writing and start looking at a house.  I think I worked about 30 minutes, but if not then I will have for sure when I type and edit this.

I did work way more than 30 minutes, true facts, Past Kitty was correct.

Spring Cleaning with the KonMarie Method

For spring cleaning this year, I have started reading the book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.   It’s a book about, well, tidying.  For me this time of year is for cleaning, which normally means lots of scrubbing and washing everything I can get my hands on, pulling out the stove and scrubbing under it, climbing on top of things and cleaning the places no one ever sees.  There are a few problems with that method this year. Since my injury, I have some pretty big physical limitations that I didn’t have last time I did spring cleaning, with no husband or roommates there is no one to help and due to of having a more than full-time job I have less time than I normally do.  The other reason I’m doing the KonMarie method instead of my normal method is that she is promising lifelong tidiness.  While my normal method sure does make everything clean for a while, it doesn’t make things more “tidy” long term.  It doesn’t make cleaning for the rest of the year easier.  It doesn’t actually make my house all that much more pleasing.   Also, I love the word “Tidy”, it has always been one of my favorite words.  TIDY, TIDY, TIDY!!!

life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up-2The idea behind this method is that you go through everything you own and get rid of the things that don’t bring you joy.  Then you organize and arrange the remaining things in a reasonable and pleasing way.

This is also the perfect time for me to start on this method because it takes about 6 months and I moved in about 6 months.  The KonMarie method will be a great pre-moving event.  I can pair down my possession and pack up the things I am keeping at the same time.  My friends Issa and Lee got a ton of boxes to me on Imbolc to start packing things.   I started reading the book the evening after the Imbolc ritual.

The first step of the KonMarie process is figuring out why you want to tidy.  “I want a clean house”  or “I want to be able to entertain without feeling too stressed to clean” isn’t enough.  You must ask yourself lots of questions to get to the root of what it is you really want from your space and why.   I have come up with two answers after several days of thinking about it.

  1. I want to live in a home that is classy and fun.  I want my guests to walk into my home and feel ease and joy, but I also want them to think “wow, this place is clean, smells nice and is pleasing, Everything I see is of high quality, and reflects Kitty’s personality.  Kitty must be doing very well for herself financially and emotionally”

Why do I want this?

Well, when I was a kid I was very poor.  When I was little we lived in a shitty single wide trailer without running water in coal country of Pennsylvania.  It was cold and dirty there, broken down cars and a moldy shack littered what might have been a very lovely woodland clearing. Everything was always covered in black coal dust and smoke.  When I was 7 my mother left my father and we moved someplace that I thought was like a palace.   We lived in a brand new double wide!  With a garden tub!  But looking back I know we were still poor.

As a child, I got teased for wearing used and ugly clothes.  I was often brought to tears because the other kids said I smelled bad, which now actually seems petty unlikely, I showered every day and my mother was a bit of a clean freak, but also a smoker so I don’t know, maybe I did smell bad.  I guess I’ll never know.  Once I realized how poor we were I wanted to never be poor again, I felt angry and ashamed that we were poor while so many other people were rich.  This started me having a lot of self-hatred and anger about poverty, but that is another post.  Anyway, I didn’t want to be poor and wanted to change that.  I now know this isn’t something you have a ton of control over, but I have done what I could.

I think I had just about reached “middle class” financially before my husband left me last year.  But I never felt like it while with him.  When we were doing things with his job I felt like I was super rich.  We stayed in nice hotels, we went to cool places, I met important people and ate fancy foods.  All of that was awesome, during those times I felt happy and important like my life was going the right direction, like I could do great things. During those times I got a little overconfident about being someone important myself someday, like a writer. All that opulence made me work hard and being someone great.    But at home we lived in a house that was a mess inside and out, that was full of cheap shit and clutter no matter how hard I tried to fight that.   Living here I have felt like sometimes all I do is clean, working 10 hours a day at cleaning to still wake up to filth.  Yes, I get that there are some emotional issue and compulsive disorder things going to be dealt with there.

My ex-husband had many good qualities, but wanting a clean and classy home was not among them.  He grew up nearly as poor as I, but with a family that was less concerned with cleanliness, quality and what other people thought about them, which my mother was obsessed with.   He is the type of person who doesn’t mind living in a house that needs painting, who doesn’t rush to clean up trash in the yard or tidy the house. And that is ok, not everyone takes joy from the same things.  I, however, take joy in a clean home and yard and in being able to entertain guests.

He is gone now which makes me sometimes feel totally broken with sadness even after so many months, sometimes super angry, but increasingly zen I guess.  He left me, he had his reasons, that sucks.  But it is in the past and I had no control over it happening.  It wasn’t my fault he left,  but picking up the pieces is my responsibility.   I have to deal with that shit and move on.

I am still living in “our” house, but soon for the first time in my life, I will be living in “my” house.  A place that is 100% mine.  A place that will reflect only my personality and values.  I value quality.  I value joy, art, and beauty.  I value cute things, colorful things, and stupidly adorable things!

I’m not wealthy now, I’m not even middle class with just my income (about $25,000 a year if I keep doing well).  But, I would rather have a few nice things than many shitty things. I will be getting rid of all the low-quality and joyless things before or when I leave.  This part of my life, this home is dead and needs to left alone to decay.

My new home will merge the aesthetic of a fancy spa and a candy store. There will be many candles and fresh flowers, cute candy jars for art reasons, pastel furniture, lots of bright white filigree, antique china, stuffed animals and doilies.   It will be glorious,  like Honeyduke’s from Harry Potter if managed by a Jess from “New Girl” and owned by Jackie O.

  1. I want my home to be a place where I can feel free to relax, engage in any activity or work on any project of my choosing when I am alone.

What does this mean?

20180212_141516_Film4To my left as I type this I have my piano keyboard.  It is covered in mail, clothing and dust.  I want to play the piano at least a few times a week, but I can’t because of effort and guilt.  It would take time to clean all the stuff off and put it all away and once I started cleaning I would probably just keep cleaning.  If I did stop and try to play the piano I would feel guilty, because for me playing the piano is something you do in a clean house.  Knitting is something you do in a clean house.  Coloring is something you do when you have done all your chores.  Even reading or being able to relax while watching T.V or taking a bubble bath is for people who are done with tasks for the day.   I can only let go and truly enjoy my inside hobbies when my space is clean, but because I don’t have a great system my space is seldom clean enough for me to relax.   I have tried to take all the things I want to do off the “for a good Kitty only list” but after years of trying I have decided to give up on that, and instead find a way to feel like a good Kitty.

I theorize that If I can get things in order,  only having to tidy for 15 minutes a day then I will have more deserved free time to do the things that matter to me.  I guess we will see if that’s true.

With these two very introspective, complex and personal reasons to tidy my home I feel confident that I can get this done.  I’ve already made a list of 80 categories that I need to evaluate, pare down and organize.

20180211_152203_Film4I have done the method for two categories so far:

  • from 24 to 18 blankets, throws and duvets
  • from 44 to 31 types of tea.

 

I will try to post here as I work on this so you can see my progress.

First Rays

This year’s solstice was amazing! I watched the first sunrise of the new solar year over the ocean!

burn 2017This was something I had been wanting to do for years but it never happened for lots of reasons, like money, other people’s interest level, and my own motivation to make it happen.  This year, however, I wanted it bad enough to declare that I was doing it even if I had to drive up by myself and sleep in my car. Someone who cares about me paid for everything as a Yule gift, because even though I’m working I’m not in a good financial place yet.

I had to work Thursday, December 21st until 7 pm, which was several hours after sunset.  That presented a little bit of a problem, but I was able to take a short break around 5:30 pm (thank the Kitty Goddess for work at home jobs!) to light last year on fire in my ritual area.  I lit a yellow candle with the last of the sparks of 2017.20171221_171710_Film4

As soon as work was done I gathered my things, made the candle as safe as possible in the car and started the 5-hour drive to the coast.

It was a long drive.  We talked as much as we could, we listened to some of Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather”.  The first few hours were ok, but on the dark, empty country roads around 1 a.m, the night started to feel pretty creepy.  We were definitely in the slasher movie zone.  That neon red smiling “Piggly Wiggly” sign is not a friendly sight on Darkest Night in “I don’t remember where” South Carolina.

Once back on the highway everything took on a real dreamlike feel, good thing I wasn’t the one driving. Thankfully we made it to the hotel around 2 am. As soon as I opened the car door I could hear the ocean, but not see it. The air felt more humid and smelled of the sea. The plan had been to set up most things in the hotel room and only go down to the beach for the sunrise.  Oddly enough, no one was in the lobby, so we couldn’t check into our room. Plans change.

We took ourselves and the magical sun holding candle to waffle house for about an hour.  I ate hash browns covered in cheese and sang pop songs,  maybe this should be a new dark night tradition.  After that we drove around the old fancy parts of Charlson, the only car around, looking at the gaslights, French accents and the tastefully extravagant Christmas decorations on the ridiculously expensive mansions.

Dark beachAround 4 am we went back to the beach, parked in the garage under the hotel we were booked at, the only one on Island of Palms.  I changed into my ritual dress in the parking garage, got all the ritual supplies, mixed rum with a nice wassel from Trader Joe’s and made it to the beach a little before 5 am.  Which was barely on time surprisingly, given that sunrise was at 7:18 am.  The sky was totally dark to the east as I started to set up, but within minutes of getting there, I could see it lightning to grays and pinks.

 

I did most of the same general ritual steps I would use at home, but this was very different from previous years.  My normal Yule crew of the last 7 years or so wasn’t with me for one.  Erik, who normally does a runic divination for us and runs the bloat, which is the  “boast, oath and toast” part had moved to Massachusetts last spring,

So this year I read the tarot cards instead, just for me.  It was a quick reading and I didn’t get much out of it, but maybe I need to take some time to explore the reading further.  Lori wasn’t there because she was celebrating her anniversary of her secret wedding.  The other person who had been there for every Yule for the last 10 years isn’t part of my world anymore.  It didn’t make sense to invite anyone else this year.

It was just me and someone who is new to my life as of about 10 months ago, and who had never done Yule or maybe any pagan ritual.  Mostly he watched and took amazing pictures, but he joined in some.

We did boasts.  I’m proud of myself for how I managed to deal with the extremely bad injury that I suffered in March, damaging 3 tendons in my left leg and breaking two bones.  My friends were there for me and helped where they could, but mostly I did it on my own.  I learned to live alone, sleep alone, do my grocery shopping alone and function as an independent adult while in a wheelchair and on crutches. It was maybe the hardest, most badass thing I have ever done.  I’m down to just a brace now when I go out and I can deal with the pain.

We did oaths.  Going from running three times a week to being unable to even walk without assistance, plus the depression that I have been dealing with has meant I’ve gained almost 20 lbs in 9 months.  That is not good for my recovery, the extra weight is hard on my tendons.  And it’s not good for me emotionally.  I started losing the weight for a bad reason, to deal with an emotional trauma, but by the time I was running it was about me. About being strong, about owning my body, about pushing myself.  I’m probably never going to run again unless I’m being chased by something that wants to eat me, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up being strong, fit and happy in my body.  My oath was to get back down to the weight I was the day I broke my leg, 154 lbs.

We did toasts.  I toasted my companion.  10 months ago we were strangers.  Two weeks after our first date I broke my leg.  He has gotten to know me at probably the lowest point in my life, and yet he had been the most amazing friend I could ask for.  He has seen me at my very worst and chooses to stay.  It’s been an emotionally awakening to be around someone that good.

We drank, at each phase.  And maybe I drank between phases.

As the sky turned pink, I wrote down things I wanted to give up on tissue paper and watched them burn before hitting the sand.   Drank a little for the passing of each of those.

I was silly excited as the sky lightened to almost daylight brightness but the clock said we were still 10 minutes from sunrise.

I was holding my breath, staring at the lighted area when in the time it takes to blink,  the sun was reborn.  Seeing that tiny, beautiful dark orange, burning sliver of life peeking over the water brought tears to my eyes, and not just because I dumb enough to stare at the sun.  That moment felt exactly the way I had imagine it would for all of these years.  The stress of planning it, the mad dash after work, the drive, the cold, the pain of my leg walking up to the beach, it was all worth it.  Maybe everything else was too, everything that finally brought me to this place, on this morning, for this miraculous moment.

I always joke about protecting the spark on the darkest night and bringing it back like to my friends on Facebook, and they said thank you. This year’s was the same in that regard. What was different was a stranger who was staying in the hotel saw what I was doing and came down at the end and told me it made her happy. I have always felt like I’m doing something, connecting to something on Yule night.   I know, of course, I don’t bring back the sun, but pretending I do gives me a nice easy goal to accomplish every year because I know that the sun will rise with or without me, that the earth turns whether I’m alive on it or not.  This last year, there were so many times when I almost wasn’t anymore.  There were so many moments when I didn’t want to feel any more pain when things were just too fucking hard.  There were so many days when I was just too damaged, hurting too much and so very alone.  There were so many days when I thought the darkness was going to last forever, but even the longest night has a dawn.  I’m so glad I got to see this one.

I lit three candles repenting virtues I want to focus on this year.    We did “maybe you never hunger” eating the cookies I made and sacrificing others.  We did “may you never thirst” drinking some more spicy, applish rum drink and pour some out for lots of reasons. I sat in the new light, unfiltered by houses, trees, other people and started my new planner for 2018. I swam in the ocean in late December and worked on my tan.

I felt happy, productive and a little tipsy. I get a lot done before lunchtime some days.  Which was a fabulous place btw, but restaurant reviews are a different post.

 

 

 

I made sure that the sun was reborn this year. A bright, beautiful one. Hopefully a good one.  You’re welcome. Most of these photos were taken by and belong to P. Travis.