Too Fucking Happy?

WoW_Box_Art1I spend a huge amount of time thinking about why I do what I do, why I think what I think, and why I feel the things I feel.  I am on a constant quest to understand and control my own mind.   This has been great in many ways.  I used to have terrible anger issues with violent tendencies, and now I don’t.  I used to have PTSD flashbacks, but I haven’t had one in years.  There was a time when I dealt with my emotions by mutilating myself, and that is very rare now.  I used to pick fights with my loved ones. I used to play video games all day instead of living.  I have been known to have social media rage and be petty and petulant. I have control over all that now.

I almost never cry, my anger never lasts more than a few minutes, and I can work through big emotional issues in a matter of days.  I am supportive to my loved ones instead of antagonistic.  I like myself and would invite me over for tea anytime.  I’m not the most emotionally healthy person ever, as I am still a bit paranoid, have abandonment issues, and don’t trust other people’s motivations sometimes, but I have made progress on those things too.  I deal with a little depression from time to time, but with meds and practice I cope.

I know, right!  It sounds awesome!

I am happy or at least content almost all the time.  I am good at not dwelling on things, not letting toxic people hurt me, and doing things I enjoy.  A little too good.  So much so that I don’t seem to have any drive (yes, there could be many other reasons for this, but I am exploring them one at a time).  I think to myself, “Make money?” but then I look outside and scamper off to garden or pick flowers.  I think ,“How about some writing today?” but I say “Nope!” and play with the animals.

RiverI have goals (remind me to tell you later), and I have made some headway in reaching those, but I tend to avoid everything hard.  I float on a happy, lazy river in the sunlight, being pushed forward only by the current, going no place in particular.  I have a 50 minute timer on, making me keep writing this.  If I didn’t, I would be playing the piano or napping with Mr. Snuggles. In fact, now that I think about it, of all the writing I could be doing this is the easiest, with the smallest readership and the most comfortable topic.

Why do I avoid success?  It’s clearly something I want, or I wouldn’t write out goals and daydream about the future.  I think about being a famous writer, owning a farm, traveling the world, creating great things, but I don’t do the tasks that would make any of that happen.  I would rather be happy, supporting my loved ones and watching cartoons.

Correct Procedure

I noticed an odd block in my writing today.  I don’t feel ready to publish a novel, because I don’t have enough short stories.  Of course there isn’t a prerequisite number of short stories that one must write and have published before one is allowed to write longer works. You can be good at one length of story and bad at another.   People can and do jump right into full length novels, because there are no rules, except the ones we make ourselves.  

I have found that I have made a lot of rules, creating a sort of lock system to writing.  I can write a blog post at anytime, without any sort of permission. I feel as though I should write a blog post before doing anything else, like yelling “timber” before cutting down a tree.  If you are reading this, then I have posted in a public place that I intend to write this week.  Why must the world be informed?  My best guess is it makes me feel legitimate.

Once there is a blog post that is less than two weeks old I am officially a serious professional writer.  I have a website and I am doing the things. I may now write.  But I can’t write just anything, that would be chaos.  Before I can write I must check to see what I am allowed to write.  I talk to publishers that I know,  I check calls on different groups or market posting sites.  I need a theme and a deadline.  I have spend entire days searching for the perfect project.  If I find one, then I can write.

If not, then I must consume the works of others who have succeeded where I have failed.  I read Asimov’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Ellery Queen, American Short Fiction, etc. or listen to short fiction podcasts. If I don’t want to do that I can read magazines, books or blogs about how to write.  Once I feel like I have learned something, then and only then can I write whatever I want as long as it is still short fiction.

Every once in awhile I can break out of this pattern.  For example working on a novel is legal in November for NaNoWrMo.  I have finished the first draft of a novel in fact, but I can’t edit it until I have several more short stories done, because I am clearly not experienced enough to edit a novel.  At what point am I really a “writer”? When can I trust myself to write whatever I want? How many stories must I publish before I am enough of an authority that I can give myself permission to write?

The point is, I am writing this blog entry so that I can write.  I now have less than two weeks on the clock.  Time to check the listings.

Prediction and Intention

Tonight is the longest night of the year. It is our tradition to keep vigil all night over an open fire or a candle if rain makes a fire impossible. It’s a night for looking back at the year behind us and forward to the one ahead. Yule is a time for divination.

Every year our friend who practices Norse paganism does rune readings; a 13 rune reading for the community and smaller individual reading for anyone who desires one. In my personal reading he pulled three runes; Uruz, Berkana and Yr.

uruzBerkanaYrMy query or concern doesn’t fit easily into a single question. It was more of a general musing about my character. I use the needs or wants of others as an excuse to not expose myself to failure or leave my comfort zone. I keep detailed lists of all the tasks I should do every day. Some of the tasks are related to the cleaning and upkeep of my home, some are related to the care of my animals or the other people in my life, some are monetary, some deal with my own physical health, some with mental health, others with my creative pursuits, and some are even leisure. I have found that I choose which tasks based on a few criteria. I almost always do things that affect others before those that just affect me and I almost always choose physical tasks over artistic or intellectual ones. Once I get to tasks that are just for me, I choose the ones that don’t require the participation of others to be successful.

I do all the cleaning and animal care before anything else. I would dig in my garden before I would color if I had free time. I would choose to read before I would choose to write. I will do pretty much anything before trying to make money.

Let me clarify something, I am not some great and loving saint that puts the needs of everyone before myself. I’m not an abused, taken-advantage-of martyr. I’m not compelled to do for others. I do it because other people needing me feels good, taking care of people’s emotions is easy, and hanging out and working on projects is fun. It’s not that I don’t have time for myself, it’s that I don’t take the time that I have.

This system has assured that I almost never have to do the things that are hard or scary. I seldom get to either writing or doing telephone companion work. I almost never do what I call “writing business,” which is searching for markets, submitting my work, editing, networking, or blogging. When I am efficient enough in a day to get to the “writing business” part of my list, I drag my feet and I will abandon it if any other activity presents itself.

The runes my friend pulled tell me what I already know, but can’t seem to put into practice. I have to stop running away from things that are hard. Only through strength and focus can I achieve success and bring my dreams into reality. I want to be a successful writer, I want to make money, pay debts, and buy a big piece of land someplace. However, I want these things in a fuzzy future sort of way, whereas I want all the dishes to be washed now. The dishes are all washed and put away everyday. I know I will wash the dishes tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, because I “know” this, it is always true. I want to “know” that I will write everyday. I want to “know” that I will publish a few things a year, that I will network and keep up with my blog. I have to put these tasks on the top of my lists, and I have to make myself do them everyday for weeks, months. I have to remind myself that I can build the habit of writing into a thing I “know” will happen everyday, just like I did for all these other tasks.

The Lane

The Lane of Unusual Traders is a shared world experiment from Tiny Owl Workshop. I happened upon this fascinating project a few days ago.   The idea is that each writer adds detail to the world, building and shaping it.  One beautifully written descriptive piece starts off the collaboration giving minimal detail: a few places, a few hints of history and geography, a few races of beings.  After that, the writers will create something that fits and enhances the world. Unlike many shared worlds, this one is not all planned out and invitation only. I love the chance and adventure that creates.

I’ve read all the stories that have been published so far and I am intrigued.  I want to participate. There are only a few days until the deadline for phase 2, which is not much time, but I hope to manage it.  If not, I will be submitting something for phase 3.

Dragon Con 2014

We went to Dragon Con again this year. It was fun, even more than last year. There were still a lot of people, but it was not as overwhelming for me. I didn’t try to be there all the time; when I was tired I went home. I also did a much better job of scheduling my time, making sure to go to the sessions that were most important to me.

I went to several professional development sessions in the writers’ track and listened to some of my favorite writers talk about the creative and business side of being an author. This was the first time I have gone out of my way to talk to other writers one-on-one and get their advice. I realize networking is important to my career and it is something I need to get better at. However, walking up and talking to someone has never been my strong suit; in fact I find it quite rude and aggressive. I feel like I am assaulting people with my words and presence when I come up without permission. I mostly practiced it on writers who said it was something you have to do in the sessions, because I took that as them clearly giving permission. I ordered great business cards since then, so that will help in the future.

I also did real cosplay this year, as opposed to last year with general anime and general goth. I dressed up as the Flame Princess from Adventure Time and helped Puck be Simon and Lori be Marcelline. I loved being recognized. Several people even took my picture. Cosplay is something I definitely want to do again. I would like to do the Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time next year, but that will be pretty difficult. Maybe something from Avatar. I should decide soon and get to work.

Dragon Con 2014 - 2SimonLoriThis was the first year I have gone to the Walk of Fame and talked to a few celebrities this year. I was nervous and I babbled a bit. Sandeep is one of the cutest people, and one of my few celebrity crushes. I think I might have made him uncomfortable as I make all people I think are cute uncomfortable. He seemed to like Puck, who is for some reason way less creepy than I am. (Future post about how creepy other people find me and dating forthcoming).Sandeep

Richard Howland from “Lost Girl” reminded me of my paw-paw.Talking to people I have seen on TV is weird, it is like they are people and not people at the same time.

I’d like to start going to a few other conventions once I get a job or start making a bit of writing income. I enjoy being around people with common interests in a structured environment.

Trick

Oddly, Dragon Con might become something like New Years to me. I have felt so inspired to work since then. In the last few weeks I have worked harder at my writing than I have in months. This blog post is proof of that. I have also written and submitted a dieselpunk story. This week I am going to try to find five markets to submit to, write 600 words a day, and at least try to edit my novel. This weekend I plan to attend the Georgia Romance Writers’ monthly meeting. I hope I can keep this ball rolling; being around other people who are in the same business will help

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Distant

The last few months I have had a case of the slow, or maybe the cuddles.   It is kind of like depression, but without as much sadness.  I haven’t felt motivated to write, garden, or go to social events.  Mostly I want to sleep, watch TV, and knit.

Sock

On the upside, I’ve finished several knitting projects.  On the downside, I am behind on editing my novel, the garden is a mess, and I haven’t been blogging.  That is going to change.  I have a goal to write 100,000 words before my birthday in July and to blog at least once a week.   That will be easier now that my blog looks so amazing thanks to the awesome Issa Waters of http://lovelivegrow.com/.  She is a great blogger who writes about homesteading, parenting, body/fat acceptance and social issues.

This might sound odd, but I think taking Zoloft has been partly to blame.  With my anxiety being lower, everything seems less important.  I don’t feel as stressed about anything, so I don’t have as much reason to push myself.  I got on the Zoloft in order to be able to do more social events and maybe get back into the world of business, but now that I am so much more Zen, I don’t actually care about making people like me or being “seen,” and I am not as worried about money.  There is a balance that must be found between loving the life I have and also wanting to make my life better.  I am a little too content recently.

The last few weeks my motivation has increased enough to write down some long and short term goals, get the house back in working order, and start this year’s gardening.   I also started work on a few writing projects.

In case you are wondering what I have been up to these last six months:

I went to Dragon Con for the first time in about eight years. It was a big deal for me to go to something with so many people and not freak out.  I don’t know exactly how many people there were, but it might have been the biggest crowd I have ever been in.  There were a few scary moments, like being stuck in human traffic jams on the sky bridge.  Overall I had fun and even bought tickets for next year.   Some of the highlights for me were playing dress up, looking at all the great costumes,  hearing several great bands, and seeing some of my favorite writers such as Jim Butcher and Cheri Priest live.  I like to imagine that someday I will be up in front of a crowd talking about my writing.gothNurse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my best friends moved in with us, which has been awesome.  We have been having lots of fun mini-adventures when she can tempt me away from the TV.  I used to think that having roommates would be horrible, but now after having several I find that I like it.  When she moves out, I might have to find another one.L and Ninja

She exercises everyday which has gotten me back into the habit.  I love exercise; feeling my heart pumping and my muscles burning.  I like how good exercise makes me feel, but I hate exercise videos because they talk about weight, fat, pounds, etc. all the time. The thin ladies in the videos often chastise the viewer for being lazy or tell us not to have jiggly arms.   Shaun T’s videos have the least fat bashing, so I do those most.  I am seriously thinking about putting together a body positive exercise video for people like me who want to exercise because they like it and don’t want to be shamed in the process.  I find that exercise makes me a little more aware of my body and not always in a good, emotionally healthy way. I don’t need people in the TV adding to my issues.

I took a trip to Baltimore in November to eat crab cakes and be emo.  I did some sightseeing and went to several museums.  I recommend the Ripley’s museum if you ever find yourself there, we danced, played, created, climbed through a tooth pick city, watched teenagers run head first in to mirrors and saw some weird shit.  It was interactive and informative on things I find interesting, like carnies and giant mummified whale penises. Speaking of mummies, the science museum had an awesome mummy exhibit, you should go see that too.

Rick

Whale

Tight rope

 

 

goth 2

 

 

fish

 

 

 

 

 

Attempted NaNoWriMo and failed.  I thought I would do great this time, since I finished last year and had fun doing it. I started out strong, going to the social events, outlining a bit of a plot, even wrote a few pages.  Then I hit a wall because I wanted to be culturally sensitive and I was working in a genre that I normally don’t write in.  I will do better next year.

I read the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson, which was pretty good.  Currently I’m reading “Ship of Theseus,” which is written in a strange and interesting way. It is two stories: one being told in the normal way, and the other being told in the margins, by two people passing the book back and forth. I finished the “novel” part of it, which was good, but not great, and seemed to be trying way too hard to be weird and mysterious.

Mookie

Other than that, I went to a few plays and movies, spent a little time with friends, watched a lot of Adventure Time, created art, learned a few pieces on the piano and annoyed my cats

 

Butterfly?

It’s easy to never leave. Anything I need can be delivered.
Nexflix to watch, Amazon to read, groceries dropped off for a small fee.

You say I must go out, be part of the world.

You say I have friends, should have friends, or will have friends depending on your argument for the day.

You tell me people interact, they build bonds, tribes, families. Come out you say, to a movie or a play. Let’s go visit this person or that and pretend they’re happy to see you.

Put on a nice dress and a smile. Nothing is prettier than a smile.

You list out my virtues, telling me all the reasons people like me: brains, humor, talent, imagination, compassion.

But your logic is weak. It’s based on people being reasonable and stable. It relies on them choosing simple over complex, and easy over exciting. You think other people are rational like you. You think they value substance over form.

I was thin and pretty when you met me. I was full of excitement and energy. I wasn’t afraid all the time, every moment of every day. I had big plans. Today I was supposed to be a CPA, a senior accountant on my way to CFO. I was going to wear nice suits and go to power lunches. I wanted to be a mother.

Instead I’m an unemployed cat lady in her pajamas peering out the window, checking all the locks.

You fell in love with my heart, which aside from the lack of courage has not changed. You fell in love with how much I love you, and love me for how much I love you still.

This me happened in slow motion and backwards.

Frame by frame, a butterfly goes back into the cocoon.
A beautiful garden becomes an empty lot.
A confident woman becomes a frightened child.

How is it that when you look at me you still see a butterfly?

butterfly

***

This was written for the trifecta prompt Weak -3: not factually grounded or logically presented

I am 5 days into taking SSRIs for the first time. It is not supposed to do anything yet, but I feel horrible. My anxiety is way higher than normal, I feel alienated and depressed. This poem or prose, or whatever it is, is not very good but it is what I felt like doing today.

Uniform

riot gear 3
Black pants, black shirt, riot shield, helmet, baton, gun, nametag hidden behind black tape. Lights reflect off your faceplate, obscuring your features. You’re not a person to most of us on this side of the barricade. You’re a mindless stormtrooper taking orders from corporate masters. You’re a soulless robot, a nightmare, a monster.

You’re not an individual. You’re a force, a wave of fury, violence in motion, one cog in a machine, one bullet in a gun. You attack, impersonal as a hurricane.

You don’t see us as people either, do you?

If you did, you’d see my face reminds you of your sister; my hands are like those of your first love. You might wonder what my favorite food is or if I have any pets.

I think about who you are, not just because I want a name to tell my lawyer after you burn my eyes or bloody my nose.

Do you like superhero movies? Do you have kids? What sort of house can you afford with thirty pieces of silver? I know the average pay of cops here. If you live a nicer house than mine then you don’t spend much time there. You work a second job. Are you the man who sits in his squad car at the Chinese place I like? Did you smile at me last week when I waved, balancing half a cardboard box of fried rice and moo shu?

If you weren’t going to punch me and zip tie my hands together, could we be friends? Lovers? Would you laugh at my jokes?

We are teachers and students, nurses and firefighters, social workers and foster kids. We want to change the rules so everyone has a fair chance, so no one is a slave to a meager minimum wage paycheck or dies just for being poor.

If you banded with us, would you be able to go to your daughter’s recital instead of standing in line against Americans just like you?

Written for Trifecta’s weekly prompt word.

BAND (verb)
1: to affix a band to or tie up with a band
2: to finish or decorate with a band
3: to gather together : unite

The picture is from http://www.pghcitypaper.com/, and I think the photographer was Renee Rosensteel.

The Hunt

I don’t know exactly what happened, but I lost confidence in my writing for a few months. I gave myself a good talking to and I’m back to work now. Writing a short story for the wonderful Trifecta seemed like a good way to get my brain working again. I hope you like the story and that I can stay motivated enough to write one next week too.

The prompt is:
CHARM (verb)
1a : to affect by or as if by magic : compel b : to please, soothe, or delight by compelling attraction
2: to endow with or as if with supernatural powers by means of charms; also : to protect by or as if by spells, charms, or supernatural influences
3: to control (an animal) typically by charms (as the playing of music).

The Hunt

Waiting was the hardest part. Mother said waiting was a skill, like tying knots or shooting arrows. She became stone, save her eyes, constantly searching. Even knowing where she was, Lisha had to concentrate to see her. It wasn’t clothing and body paint that faded her into the jungle; it was stillness inside.

Two years into training, Lisha was improving, able to hold position for hours. But her mind never settled. She thought about being uncomfortable, dinner, friends, the festival. She daydreamed about future catches and the praise she would receive. She thought about being a mother and teaching her daughter to hunt.

Last moon Lisha killed three deer. She once took down a bear and had hidden from a tiger. But animals were different than people. People can feel your thoughts on them. Their spine tingles and blood cools as you hunt them; your excitement fuels their fear. They flee without knowing why. Unlike deer, humans can’t be shot. Killing a man makes him useless. Perfect calm, delicate magic, and timing are needed to charm one.

Lisha is not expected to capture a man. Her mother and the other master hunters would bring men for the festival. But she could not stop daydreaming about it, which is why the few she had come close to had gotten away.

A twig snapped, startling Lisha, causing her to fall. A tall, well-muscled young man stood looking down at her.

He stood not five feet away, his confusion giving her time to remember what to do. She stared into his green eyes, singing the calming song. Without breaking eye contact she stood, beginning the dance, stepping backwards slowly, beckoning him. His eyes locked on hers, he followed.

Mother jumped out behind him, tying his hands, but he hardly looked away from Lisha.

A hunter can claim any man she captures. Lisha was younger than the other girls in the festival, but no one would challenge her right to this man.