Wishing Someone Dead

Ok, this title seems a little hyperbolic.  I’m not literally sitting here wishing anyone would die.  Sure, there are plenty of people I feel like the world would be better without, but like Gandalf says : “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends”

If I could snap my fingers and kills someone would I?  I like to think I wouldn’t, but having never had that power I don’t know.  Also, I can’t snap my fingers, it is a skill that has long eluded me. I stick to clapping.   

If I’m not talking about wishing someone would die what am I prattling on about?  I guess it’s all about possible communication. Simply put when someone is dead you can’t communicate with them,  and therefore over time, you stop wanting to communicate with the deceased. Unless you are goth as fuck.

This past weekend is when this thought occurred to me.  I saw a neat country craft sort of art at a donut shop in Dillard GA.  It was a set of angel wings made out of the fabric my mother used to use to crochet rag rugs.  It made me think of her for a second and then I ate some donuts. Yes, if my mother was alive and knew how to use texts I would have sent her a picture,  but she isn’t alive, there is no number to send a text, there is no reality in which she might respond to the text. This means that when I see something my mother would have liked I have the thought “Mom would like this” and that is where the internal conversation ends.  No moral quandary or longing, no emo feels.

There are plenty of people who are alive who I don’t think of ever,  about 7 billion because I never met them. There are people who used to be in my life who I am super glad to never speak to again, so they aren’t a problem.  But then there are people who I shouldn’t interact with and yet I see something, think about them and want to.

This past weekend, as before stated I was in Dillard GA.  Of course, I went to the Dillard house (twice, yes, that was too much) this was a favorite restaurant of my ex-husband.  I wanted to text him a picture. Later that same day I went to a gas station to get a drink and bought a “Surge” soda and I wanted to text him and say “TANTRUM!”  as a reference to a favorite TV show we share. I played a card game that I think he would have loved. I went to a show where a performer I know he likes was playing and if we were friends I would have recorded the song and sent it to him.  But we are not friends. It was a messy divorce, and all of the shared experiences and fond memories don’t change that.

I sent him a text here or there the last few months,  about books or movies and I offered to hang out a few times.  I did this to keep things friendly until I moved but also to see if maybe we could create so sort of friendship going forward because I miss having him in my life.  I used to miss my mother, but I don’t anymore. Not even a little, it’s been 10 years since she died. I think of her fondly and not so fondly. She was funny, sometimes kind and sometimes abusive.   I loved her very much, but I don’t love her anymore, loving someone or something I can’t ever interact with would be cruel to myself, it would be damaging.

These last few months our interactions have been polite.  I told myself that once I moved out of the house we shared that I would stop trying to be friends.  I can’t be expending emotional labor on someone who doesn’t want me around. This is all totally logical,  but how do I stop wanted to talk to him?

The reality of death + time took away wanting to talk to my mother.  It just happened on it’s own. Death makes you deal with shit and move on. 

How do I convince my heart that someone is dead when my mind knows they are alive? I have tried pretending that me moving put him in a place where I can’t speak to him, and as a result, I have been putting off important legal and financial things I need to do involving him because this is such a confusing time. I need to talk to my ex about the car title he is supposed to give me,  about how to get the car tag, about him removing me from a bank account we shared, about taking him off my phone plan. These things have to happen, they are in my planner, they have time limits. But how do I talk to someone I love about business without inquiring to how he has been, without telling him cool things that are going on in my life?   How do I treat him like a stranger I need to do business with and then after the business is done, how do I kill him in my heart?

How do you turn someone you love into a ghost?  

Edit:  I wrote this last night during the “writing” period of my day, to be posted today.  However today during the “high-value tasks” time I emailed him about my car tag and title, to which he replied with threats to sue me because of something else.  There really is no future in which he wants to be a positive part of my life, is there?

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.

Moving as a metaphor for Death

I feel like I’m dying, but not in a bad way exactly.  Not in the way I was last year for about 6 months. That was wanting to die but not dying.   That was intense pain, physically and mentally. That was longing for something horrible to end.  

Now, something IS ending.  Something that was often good and often bad.  I’m leaving behind a place that has been my home for 12 years.  I’m leaving behind a place where I was happy, content and safe for about 10 years, living with the person I loved most in the world, excited to see him every day, excited to be building a life together. Then it was a place where I felt trapped and like a piece of worthless trash for about 1 year, broken and lacking any sort of reasonable self-esteem.  Then I tried to be as detached as possible for the final year. Reminding myself daily “this isn’t your home, you don’t like this place, don’t do anything to make this place feel like home, this place is horrible, you want to leave” as I figured out how I would be able to move forward. It wasn’t, in reality, that bad, and I didn’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave now,  but I don’t want to stay either. I was successful in making this no longer feel like home.

This is a decaying box that I sleep in, that I have been keeping my stuff in.  This house isn’t dying for me, it’s dead. It’s a corpse I need to finish removing the good parts from and then walk away and let it corrode out of my sight.  Once I finish moving my things I never want to see this house again. I never want to be in this subdivision. I never again want to drive down very misnamed Allgood road, where I broke my leg.  I would like to have the area I never see again be bigger, but I have friends who live off the next road over.

As I leave the person who lived here is dying.  She dies as I finish deciding what to keep and what to take to the thrift store or throw away.  She dies as I pick which plants to take and which to leave. She dies as I try to get excited about my new home, my new life.  

I thought I would live here for a long time.  I thought I would be married to my husband for the rest of my life.  The people who moved into this house were happy, excited and in love.  The woman who made these scrapbook pages about moving into this house was proud and hopeful.  For 10 years my top identity label was “girlfriend” and then “wife”. My top priority was my partner.  I thought of myself as part of a “we”. I liked having one person who was the center of my world, who I planned with, who I went on adventures with.  It took me about 9 months after my ex left me to really accept that he wasn’t going to change his mind and come back. I really thought that once he realized that he missed me, missed us he would come back.  I know, that’s pretty sad that it took that long, but I just wanted my best friend, adventure buddy, confidant, decision maker, support guy, cooking partner, tv nerd, book club, stand-up comedy audience, biggest fan,  gardening friend, role model, hiking partner, biggest crush, cosplay partner, lover and so much more back. I was so lonely, having lost my “best” everything. Even though we were poly, I had somehow made him my primary in every aspect.   Now I have made a promise to myself to diversify. No one will ever be the “one” for me again. I haven’t worked on collecting new people for all these roles as much as I should have so I’m still really lonely and there are things that I don’t do anymore because I don’t want to do them alone.  I will never have a traditional “partner” again. Yeah, I’ll have a boyfriend/girlfriend/gendernonbinaryfriend, or several. But never again that “I married my best friend” bullshit. Because when that person fucking abandons you for someone better, you will have neither a mate or a best friend.  

Kitty, the wife, is dead.  

I’m giving away the books I never read on childbirth.  I bought these when my ex-husband and I were still talking about having kids, but we put it off because we didn’t have the money, we had this or that important thing coming up, I wanted to lose weight first, etc. And also, because I felt like he was too angry and I was too incompetent.  To be honest, up until today, when I put these things in a donation box a little tiny part of me still felt like I might be a mother someday, but that person is staying here. The person who is moving is a divorced 39 year old woman with PCOS.  I will never experience pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding. I will never raise a child.

Kitty, the mother, is dead.  

The person who moved into this house had a job, was a hard worker, made a decent of money, had just finished college, was an exercise buff, was ambitious and pretty darn good at lots of things.  But she lacked the confidence that she could be alone. She had always leaned on someone emotionally, also felt like she needed someone to approve all her decisions. Over time I lost most of my competence.   I stopped having a job, I gave up control of all my finances, I thought I couldn’t drive, I didn’t leave the house alone. I depended on others to make all my decisions. It’s not that I didn’t do anything. I was still a hard worker, around the house and gardens.  But I lacked all agency. I didn’t do anything without approval. I was so afraid to be in charge of my own life.

Now I have a job again, turns out I am super good at managing my own money, I’m not great at the food/exercise parts yet, because of my injury, but I’m getting there.  I make all my own phone calls, go to appointments alone, drive places by myself. I have a vast number of skills, which has always been true, but now I’m confident about using them without permission and managing my own life.  As Glinda said “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

Kitty, the incompetent, is dead.  

I prided myself on being something of a manic pixie dream girl.  My goal was to always be joyful, to make other people feel loved, happy, at ease.  The person who lived in the house thought it was her job to make everyone smile and diffuse every tense situation. I used humor to try to never let those around me feel negative emotions.  I was the perpetual clown. I loved that about myself, and I really thought this was my best trait and an irreplaceable talent. One of my friend’s told me my husband might leave me, that his new girlfriend was angling for it months before he actually did.  And I replied, “no, he can’t leave me, I make him laugh”. I thought my humor and joyful demeanor was what made me indisposable. I thought my jokes were so good other people “needed” them. I guess I thought I was some sort of giggle drug that the people around me were addicted to, believing everyone wanted to mainline some straight kitty brand happy juice into their veins. Yes, now I get that this was egotistical. No person, no talent is irreplaceable. Also, I understand that I am both not as funny and entertaining as I thought I was, and that joy isn’t actually something people value as much as I thought. The guy I’m dating now doesn’t find me funny, he never laughs at my jokes. I have learned that there is no reason to try to make everyone laugh or to always be “on” in social situations.  Also, I’m pretty bitter and my humor is darker anyway.

Kitty, happy giggle machine, is dead.  

I’m not just leaving behind a house in a few weeks.  I’m leaving behind the concept of “home” that I tried to cling to for so long.  I’m leaving behind a person I used to be. I can’t say the new me is better or worse.  I don’t know yet. I don’t know what my future holds, but at least I know what the past keeps.

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 20

The theme today is to not seek chaos, which is great advice and something I have been working on for a while now. The author specifically meant people who bring chaos into your life, who waste your time and emotional energy.  I don’t have many chaotic people in my life anymore, because I need all my time and emotional energy, I don’t have very much to give away.

Today was full of chaos, an early PT appointment, starting a new position at work.  The logistics of doing work and PT was difficult, add into that internet issues.  All of these things were unavoidable.

I have to go to physical therapy if I’m ever going to walk without a cane,  which is my top priority right now. I want to walk normally if possible. I would love to maybe, just maybe be able to dance or even run again.  I had to stop going to PT for a few months because I couldn’t afford it (insurance would only pay for so many sessions) and then when the new year started I was in the busy part of tax season.  I did as much as I could at home and made some progress, but a few months ago I stopped getting better. PT is a must, even if it causes some issues at work.

My second priority is work and making money. I used almost all of my saved personal time off during the gap between assignments so that I could still get paid.  I can’t afford to miss much time. I will miss an hour on Wednesday for PT, and at least a few hours next week. I still have my side job and I hope to maybe sell a few stories in the coming months.  All of that could add up to enough money to pay my bills. 

I got off work at 8pm tonight,  made dinner and watch on an episode of “Altered Carbon”, meaning I didn’t start on this until around 9pm.   

I’m supposed to look at my life and see where I can get rid of some chaos.  Today the biggest source of avoidable chaos was Facebook. I woke up at 7 am, which was over an hour before my alarm.  I could have used the extra hour to start on the writing, work on my side job, clean, exercise, meditate, read, garden.  Instead, I literally stared at my cellular communication box for over an hour. I worried about shit I can’t change, felt indigent for people who I hardly know, was interested in things that have nothing to do with me.   I read and liked posts from people who are not actively part of my life, who don’t read my posts, who probably don’t actually like me. I get upset about that at least a few times a month. That is chaos I could do without.    If there is one thing I have certainly learned in the last few years it is that no amount of attention or caring can actually make someone interested in you. You can’t buy love with love. Love is something you have to be ok with giving away.   Nothing you do, nothing you say, no amount of emotional energy you give other people will assure that they will love you. It doesn’t work that way.

It is fact that love and caretaking don’t have a great return on investment.  People who I took super good care of when they needed me were not around nearly as much as they should have been when I was hurt and needed them.  But a few people I hardly knew helped out and were amazing. You just never know. I guess my rule should be don’t give anyone, ANYONE, time that I’m not willing to lose.   My health comes first, then my cats, then my job and my money (don’t give anyone money you need either) and then my writing. Everyone else can have my attention when I have time, or if they want to offer to do something with me/for me that is acceptable too.  If you want to buy me dinner or help me with a project I’m more likely to be available. If you want my help, sorry, not anytime soon.

I have unfriended a lot of the worst people in my life, dumpster fire drama queens and kings who are always in the middle of an emergency.  Or people who are super passionate about something as an excuse to argue. I don’t have time to argue philosophy with anyone. There are certainly a few more people I could cut out, and plenty who I am very carefully only being “acquaintances” with.  

I would like make some grand vow to not get on Facebook, but I know my limits and right now that isn’t going to happen.   I am very, very lonely when I wake up in the morning. Going to Facebook gives me the illusion that I’m not alone. I don’t know if I could get out of bed if I didn’t have that.  I have to pretend that I’m connected to a large “community”. This isn’t to say I don’t have friends, I do, I would say probably significantly more close relationships than the average person my age.  I am booked most weekends pretty much start to finish. It’s just the first 2 hours of the day when I don’t have a spend the night friend when I feel alone. I’m a mammal, I have to accept the limitations that come with that even when I don’t want to.  

That was a lot of time spent talking about sources of chaos.   Almost 50 minutes! We will call that freewriting and journaling. 

Now I have to work on poetry because there are only a few days until that is due.  

Total time writing tonight is 1 hour 49 minutes

Writer’s Boot Camp day 13

I don’t know how to do what the book wants me to do today.  I think I might be confused. The way the book is set up there is a short chapter for each day and then sometimes it tells you to turn to exercises at the back of the book. Today is titled “Writing Meditation” and it says “Now it’s time to slow down a bit.  This would be a great time to Recharge. Turn to page 215 and then come back here for the guided meditation” But the exercise on page 215 involves taking a day of rest or unplugging for 24 hours and then write about it. But if I took a day of rest right now I wouldn’t be able to do today’s assignment.  I thought this was supposed to be 30 days straight of writing.

Also, I’m going, to be honest.  I don’t even understand the concept of a day of rest.  How the fuck does that even work? I keep a daily task list of all the things I do every day,  on a day of rest would I just not do any of those things? Would I not do my exercises, or take vitamins? Who feeds the cats?  Who feeds me and washes the dishes? What do you even do on a day of rest, do you just stare at the wall? Do you read a book or watch TV?   While I was injured and I couldn’t do my chores and tasks I got super, super depressed. Putting the little checks on my list is sort of the only reason I get up in the morning.  I feel like taking a whole day off and not doing that stuff would be super stressful, because I would have to do it later.

I guess when I go on vacation, away from home I am not doing most of my tasks.  So it can be done…but why? I’m willing to give it a try I guess, but I don’t think now is the best time to take a whole day off.  But then again, it might be the only time. I should be starting back to work soon and I am going to be starting to move in June if everything goes according to plan.  Once work or the move starts I can’t take a whole day off. Could I instead take a long time one day off? Like 4 or 8 hours? I think I could manage that without guilt.  

Is it fucked up that the idea of not doing stuff for a day makes me feel sick levels of guilt and anxiety?  I’m not actually doing anything super important as it is. I’m not lying to myself about this, I know I mostly do my own made up list of busy work.  I feel “productive” with all my little tasks if I don’t think about it too hard, which I am now, and starting to question why I’m even alive. I think this is getting into a personal journal or talk to a psychiatrist territory, moving on.  

So, I’m not doing the exercise today,  but I am as a compromise I’m going to put on my to-do list “Day off”  this will be a day when I do my body upkeep stuff (15 minute PT, eat, take meds) and my most important household stuff (Feed cats and Do dishes) but other than that I will not do anything.  I’ll get food delivered. I’ll not write, clean, or do “high-value tasks”. I’ll spend a good solid 8 hours watching TV or something. Moving on.

The next part of today’s assignment was reading a sort of guided meditation and then writing about a time when you felt free, happy or at peace.  


The Beach, at Night

I’m on a beach,  it’s near sunset or night time.  This isn’t one specific beach or one specific date.  It’s all the times I have ever been on a beach, alone or nearly alone from sunset to sunrise.   

It’s a night in Hawaii, sitting the sand, looking out to the black waves, which are louder than the music behind me from the Monona Surfrider Hotel,  the music, and the waves sound right together, natural. I had been feeling hurt and ignored when I walked out to the beach, but the sound of the waves and faint music pull the pain out, leaving my soul silent.  

I’m a child,  we’re staying on Tybee Island.  I’m standing on the pier by myself,  it nearly high tide. The place where I played and searched for shells just hours earlier is gone, under the waves that crash against the wooden legs, shaking the pier.  There is no one to hurt me here. No one to judge me. I have never felt so completely alone before, so amazingly free. I think about stepping off, into the water, giving myself to the waves.  I don’t do it, but I realize that I could and that gives me comfort. On some of my worst days to come, I’ll look back at that night, half wishing I had joined sea, but more so reminding myself that it’s still there,  it’s always there, always waiting. If I really, really need to get away she is waiting, ready to receive me. There is a place I can go, that never changes, that always will accept me. I guess, that makes it home?

It’s sunset, near the north shore of O’ahu.  We get to the beach just as almost everyone else is leaving.  The only other people are two guys down the shore fishing and an old lady with lots of cats who lives in a tent near the tree line.  Aside from them it just me and my husband, we have had a nice day, a perfect day. With sea turtles, peacocks, weird local honey and tiny bananas.  We are both tired and happy. He wants to leave, to go back to the hotel, but he indulges me this time, letting me do something that I really want, even if it’s a little stupid and inconvenient. I am so happy.  The sand here is deep and hard to walk on, the changing area far away. I have a sarong in my bag, I put it on and strip out of my clothes under it. I walk to the water, and take it off quickly, before jumping into the burnt orange water.  I swim alone in a tiny tropical bay as the last rays of the sun fade. The only light comes from the windows of multi-million dollar homes in the distance. Those people get to see this water every day, but I wonder how many of them have ever skinny dipped alone in it?  Right now the whole ink-black ocean is mine. The moment is perfect, my life is perfect.

It’s two hours before dawn when I hobble up the sand, using one crutch.  It hurts a lot, but I don’t say anything. My injured leg doesn’t like the shifting uneven ground or the beach plants that try to grab at my support.  I’m afraid of falling. I’m tired, we have been up all night. My boyfriend drove me 6 hours away from home so I could watch the sunrise on the winter solstice.  I feel grateful and oddly melancholy. We reach the beach to find it totally deserted, the only sound is the waves. There are lights in the distance, lights from the hotel behind us, but not so many that I can’t see the stars.  It’s not as cold as you would think, but cold enough. I sit in a camp chair, wrapped in a flannel blanket and wait for the new sun to be born. I feel like I’m at the edge of the world. I feel hopeful, maybe the worst year of my life is going to end this night. Maybe the sun will dawn on a new world, where I don’t hurt all the time, where I don’t feel trapped and afraid all the time. Maybe the darkest part of my life is over.  And maybe not, at that moment it’s enough to listen to the song of the waves.

I have others, but I don’t want to do this all day.  I love the ocean at night. Someday I’m going to live near the sea, someday I might die in it.  

That’s not all!   Today is going to be a long writing day!   Now the book wants me to pick a card from the prompt stack.   I had been wondering when we would start using the cards.

Prompt “How do you define living on your own terms?” 5 minutes

Money.  It’s all about money, that is the only possible freedom.  And I hate that so much it burns inside. But I accept it, because I can’t change it, that is our world.  I have spent my whole life needing others, obeying others, bowing down because that is how you live. To live on my own terms would be to have enough money to pay all my bills, to have my own home, to have enough money for food,  healthcare and medicine. If I had twice that amount I could travel, I could see the places I have dreamed of, I could be the person I wish I was. I’m not submissive by nature, but by nurture. I learned subservience equals survival.  

I still need to do my WIP writing.  But short break first.

I did some edits my friend suggested on the story I finished yesterday and then did some research on my next story, but not any actual writing it yet. 

Total time today 2 hours 13 minutes


Writer’s Boot Camp day 9

Today is about stretching,  reaching outside of your comfort zone as a writer.  Writing in different genres or formats than you normally would.

I want to start this by thinking about I write.   When it comes to fiction I write horror, fantasy and sci-fi,  or some combination of those three. I’ve done sci-fi horror (check out Treacherous Nature for “Red, in Tooth and Claw” which is a sort of sci-fi psychological thriller, maybe fantasy horror thing).  I’ve done fantasy/horror, and even some fantasy/sci-fi. The mixing of these three genres is my jam. I am also pretty good at adding stuff to them. I’ve done steampunk, which is sort of just historical sci-fi, sometimes with a touch of fantasy thrown in. I’ve written a lot of historical horror.  I do Weird Western which is fantasy in the old west. But as far as fiction goes I very seldom step outside of those entirely. I might have never written a story that takes places in the current time, with normal people doing normal things. I guess the closest I’ve come to that is something like “Dream Girl” which is still horror.

I write plenty of non-fiction, but mostly first person, journal or essay style, about my life, opinions or experiences. Lot of topics, including homesteading (which I don’t do anymore, currently), cosplay or writing.  Like I’m doing right now, this moment. Y’all, I am writing about how I write about myself writing in a post where I write about myself writing…..deep.

I write a fair amount of poetry.  My style of poetry is something best described as “whatever the fuck I feel like”.  If it appears to have a real style, that is probably purely by coincidence. I’ve seen a lot of Shakespeare, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I write in iambic pentameter sometimes, but I don’t try to, at least not in a very long time.

The book has me list out some genres I would like to try.  So far I have come up with:

  1. Cozy Mystery – I’ve been reading a lot of those recently, as a divorced woman with cats, who likes to read, cook and write every heroine in these books is a representation of me.  They are pretty much as comfortable to read as the name implies.
  2. Mystery in general -I like reading them and figuring out whodonit, but I’ve never gotten the knack of setting up the clues, leading the reader to put things together.  I tend to just throw narrative at my readers like hacky sacks. (Plot device to the face!!!!!!!!!!!, Duck! here comes a character development!)
  3. Realism – or whatever you would call a story that takes place here and now, with normal sorts of people living life.  (hmmmm….I think I would call that boring…)
  4. Literary Fiction – this is a confusing term, which might be meaningless honestly, but like porn, I guess you know it when you see it. However, I think one must first have a patron before one can write literary fiction, and maybe one requires a drug or alcohol addiction.  If anyone wants me to seriously give this a try I will require donations totaling at least $400 and half a bottle of Percocet.
  5. Youtube show scripts, because that sounds fun.
  6. Erotica – from what I can tell sex sells,  and this sort of writing makes money and isn’t super hard (hehehe get it?).  I could do it under my phone sex name.
  7. Romantic Fiction – again, this is a good money making genre from what I’ve heard.  I tried to write a romance novel about a werewolf once I think…I wonder if that is around here someplace.  
  8. Stand up Comedy-  I have tried to put together a stand of routine in the past, but not seriously,  I should give that another go. I’m super funny, and short, and odd looking. I think it could be a thing.  

The assignment is to research one of these genres for a few minutes every week and then give it a try.

20180510_135938It just so happens that I have the most recent issues of both “Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine” “ and “Mystery Scene”. Yes, I really do just have them on hand. I buy short story magazines because I like short stories and I want to keep up with the markets I would like to publish in.  I buy writer’s trade magazines because it makes me feel motivated and like a legit writer when I do it. No, I don’t ever get around to reading either, because who has time for that? I guess I mostly buy them for the much longed for Future Kitty who is a full time writer and needs these things for important businessing.

However today Present Kitty is going to use them!  Hosanna! (fyi, I always assumed this word meant “Yay!”  but in a fancy old-fashioned Biblical way. However it has something to do with praying for help, which isn’t applicable here, but I’m going to leave it because I know you wanted me to lay this knowledge down, also, because I still want it to mean “Yay!”).  

I’m going to grab a glass of water and read one mystery story and one mystery trade article.  BRB

I’m back

I read the short story “10,432 Serial Killers (in Hell)”  by Emily Devenport and a biography “The Remarkable Lives of Anthony Boucher”.  

I think I’ve read something by Emily Devenport before or listened to a podcast she was in, not sure, her name is familiar. Check out her blog, if you want to know more about her work.  The story “10,432 Serial Killer (in Hell)” was fun and charming, the main character was pretty adorable.   I enjoyed the story. This is an example of a story that makes me a little confused as the perimeters of the genre “Mystery”,  as the story told us right away who the bad guy was. Does “mystery” just mean stories involving crimes or stories told by characters who are cops or private investigators?  I’ll read another Mystery story in a day or two and see if it has anything to solve. If not, then maybe I can write in this genre without being good at actually forming a “mystery” to solve.   This was a pretty straightforward narrative with elements of fantasy and horror.

The article I read was about Anthony Boucher,  the writer, critic, and editor, who co-founded “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” back in the 1949 and was one of the organizers of the Mystery Writers of America.   He wrote a lot of short stories, a few novels and was involved in all parts of the mystery, sci-fi and fantasy industry in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Bouchercon, a big annual Mystery convention, is named after him.  I should go to this, as it’s in St. Petersberg this year, which wouldn’t be hard for me to get to if time, money and work allows.

At 2 hours and 9 minutes so far today.

Now I supposed to work on writing in the mystery style for 15 minutes.  I don’t even know where to start. I feel like I’m going to be staring at a blank screen for the next 15 minutes….

I actually worked on this project for over 40 minutes, because I came up with a good character.  But most of the time was spent in research, not writing. Research is a time consuming, but important part of writing.  And part of why my paid work averages less than $1 per hour income.  :-/

Wow and Hosanna!  I have been working a really long time today and I’m still not to the daily slog to work on my WIP.  Being a writer is hard.

Timer is at 3 hours and 20 minutes when I finished working on the current short story.  I was working on a pretty rough, triggery scene in my WIP.  I might have to take up the drinking or drug habit after all.

I am ready to be done today.  I’m going to edit this as fast as possible and post it.  Sorry if there are errors.

Final time today is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

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.


I did a ritual at my house this past weekend.  I had reservations about doing Imbolc, or doing it at “home” anyway.  This isn’t my home anymore, or at least it’s becoming not my home.  I’m trying to emotionally distance myself from it, to make having to leave my home of over a decade hurt less, but in the end, I decided that since I am still here, it is still my home.  The place I live is the only place to do Imbolc.  So, that decided, I invited my friend’s over and did ritual.

The main thing I do every year on Imbolc is get ready to clean.  I buy any cleaning supplies I am low on, I get a new broom and bless it, I start my spring cleaning.  I did all those things, going to target the day before and getting new dishcloths, a spray bottle, so many great smelling candles and other supplies.  I spent the morning of the ritual making the ritual space clean, renovating the fire pit and trying to dry out the wood a little after all rain.  I went to Lowe’s and got a few supplies for the working as well. IMG_20180204_162102

Once my friends had arrived we did a short, fun and casual ritual.  Wine was drunk, cookies were eaten.  The new broom was blessed (which I must admit a new broom feels pretty wasteful since I can’t really take it with me when I move in 5 months).  We planted flowers in little clay pots and talked about the things we want to “grow” in our lives this year.  It was a nice afternoon, full of friendship, laughter, and love.

We went to my favorite sushi place, Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, for dinner after.   https://www.yelp.com/biz/kura-revolving-sushi-bar-doraville-2

It was a nice day.  A good way to start the transition from winter to spring.

The next day I started cleaning, but in a totally not actually having done any cleaning yet sort of way.  I will explain that in my next post! 20180207_232231_Film4 (1)

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.

Solstice Eve

Figuring out the right day for solstice this year was hard,  it could have gone either way.  It could have been December 20 going into December 21,  or December 21 going into December 22.   I decided since both nights are almost exactly the same length that I could pick the one the worked best for me.

I have a day job now, started a few months ago.  Taking two days off would have been difficult, but just one day I can manage.  I could have probably done it without taking a day off if I was doing the ritual the way I normally do,  staying up all night, tending a fire in my backyard ritual area.  However this year I’ve decided to do something I have been wanting to do for a decade.  I’m going to watch the first sunrise of the year from a beach on the east coast.   

I’m not going to have to find the perfect spot in my yard, where I can see around my neighbors houses to maybe possibly see the sun.  Even then, it is at least an hour after official sunrise before I get my first glimpse at the fresh new sun.   I’m not going to have to worry about what my neighbors think as I stand out in the front yard, holding a candle and singing the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun” at 7 a.m.  

This year, I’m going to see the sun the moment it comes up, I’ll see the first perfect rays hitting the water, I will be the first person touched by the sun. I’m so excited to be doing this!  

20171221_121421_Film4Today before work and during breaks I have been getting everything ready.  I made some neat sun swirl sugar cookies flavored with orange juice for the ritual tomorrow morning.  I have winter wassel and rum for libation.  I have a basket full of candles, tarot cards, tissue paper and pens.  I’m almost packed,  I even brought a bathing suit, because it’s supposed to be 65 degrees tomorrow!  

Last year my solstice night was horrible and lonely,  and this year has been hard.  Maybe those two things have nothing to do with each other, maybe they do.  Either way, I want to start this year right.  If I cry tonight, this time they will be tears of joy!