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 3

Today the only task was to make a schedule for when you are going to write.  The advice of the book is that you get up an hour earlier and pack in the writing there.   This isn’t really going to work for me. I mean, yes, I could get up an hour earlier, but I’m not going to write first thing in the morning.  That isn’t when I write. I need to exercise, drink water, take my meds, eat breakfast and do my planner before anything else. If I just jumped into writing first thing I would just stare at the screen for an hour.

20180504_135712There isn’t really a guideline in the book of how much time I should be at the writing every day.   Before this week, in my daily task list, I had “Writing (15 minutes)” and it was pretty far down on the list, so if I changed it to 30 and moved it up that would be 30 minutes more than I was doing last week, but less than I could do.

Last time I attempted the Writer’s Boot Camp day 3 was as far as I got.  I filled out the little time chart and said I was going to write 4 hours a day!   I didn’t. That was too much of a commitment when just trying to get into the habit.   In my opinion, it is better to have small manageable goals that you can actually reach than to have lofty ones that you strive for but can seldom hit.

I feel my last attempt at this was a good example, I was in the middle of a deep depression when I stated this before in late January, early February. My husband had just left me for another woman about 6 weeks earlier.  I was angry, hurt, confused, my self-worth was at its lowest point in my adult life. I hated myself, I had been engaging in exercise bulimia, actually bulimia and cutting around that time. The only reason I was able to do the three days I did was that I was on a beach camping trip with my friend Issa, who loves me no matter what, which made me feel a little less like a big pile of trash for a few days.  20170216_131908

20170216_095211Once the trip was over I didn’t write, I went back to tequila, exercising about 3 hours a day and hating myself.20170214_135831 (1)

 

 

A few weeks later I had stopped the cutting, stopped the drinking and was trying to eat a healthy diet. I was feeling a little better emotionally and starting to look for a job,  but still, the only non-cat related joy in my life was running and that got taken away from me due to some shitty broken sidewalk. But that is a different blog post.

Anyway, the point is the goal I set was unreachable for the person I was in February 2017.   I already felt like the biggest failure in the world, so why bother trying to write 4 hours a day?  Writing 3 hours would have been failing as much as writing nothing. So I went with nothing.

I figured why do anything if you know you are going to fail?   Hey, that’s sort of a segway to the YouTube channel I just started working on.  I’ve never made a YouTube channel before. I always wanted to, but I couldn’t think of a good single specific thing that would get me those “1000 true fans” you need.  Fuck, I can’t get 50 true fans for my writing, so I have decided to do a YouTube channel about something not very specific, but that I am passionate about. The working title is “How to be a failure at everything you try”,  roll with it, it’s more uplifting than it sounds.

Ok,  back to my daily writing time goal.  

I am committing to writing 30 minutes every day, for the next 27 days no matter what.  If I have to sit here I write “banana” over and over for 30 minutes I will. I’m also committing to writing longer than 30 minutes if I am in the grove, the words are flowing and I don’t have anything else super important that I must to right that second.

Yeah,  30 minutes is less time than it takes to write these blog posts, so maybe I will spend the next 27 days in the masturbatory practice of writing about writing, but yo, at least it’s writing.  :-/

Play Me?

It’s the middle of the night, and the sleepies are missing.   I went on Facebook to entertain myself until the sleepies returned from their break, but that was a bad idea.  All sorts of ideas jumped in before the sleepies got back. My brain is on overdrive, unable to shut off.

There are a lot of topics on my mind, like how the differences in being raised male vs. female in a patriarchal society can cause those raised male to romanticize the experience of being female.  I could write about trying to get back into journaling and how I want to use that to deal with issues that I’m not ready or at liberty to discuss online. I could discuss my recent failures and successes in sex, romance and polyamory. Or maybe a picture I saw of really yummy looking flan.

But you know I’m not going to talk about any of that.  Instead we are going to have another rousing game of “What the Fuck is Wrong with Kitty!?!?!”.

Wooooo, yay!!! The crowd goes wild!

I saw three things on Facebook that came together starting a long conversation with myself and necessitating this post.

Watch this video, we can call it media aid #1 before continuing:

https://www.facebook.com/Themightysite/videos?fref=photo

There was a time when I felt in control.  I had goals and plans spanning years at a time.  Every semester I could look at my lists and know exactly what classes I should take. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, from going to work the next day until I retired on to a farm decades later.  I thought of myself as an “Epicurean,” not in the sense of eating great foods, but in the classical way.  I wanted to work hard, stay focused, and have a life that maximized pleasure by minimizing pain.  It was working.

Things changed.  I changed.

From time to time I try to regain that sense of control.  I read a book on productivity, buy a day planner, join a peer motivation group or make detailed lists and schedules on my phone.  For a while it works, and I start getting things done. Generally the day-to-day stuff like cleaning and exercise get under control first.  Once I feel confident in that, I start letting myself read, write, work on fancy garden projects, try to reconnect with friends, date, get a job, or make income.  I start planning for a few weeks, a few months.  But it never sticks.

I don’t know why.

I have theories.  Is it that I’m too comfortable with my life? Am I afraid of change?  Is this anxiety a chronic disease that I can’t defeat? Do I just not care enough? None of these seem to be the right answer, let alone a solution.

The plans and goals I work hardest at, and the ones I am most likely to be successful at, are the ones that affect the people I love or need.  That brings us to media aid #2.manipulate

Am I a symbiotic parasite?  Perhaps I find people that fill a need in my life.  I then give them what they want: manual labor, money, sex, advice, support, etc.  This makes them stay and do whatever it is I needed.  Am I manipulating people into taking care of me?  Am I lying to myself if I say that I not?  Am I some monster that feeds off of others?  If people who care about me read this and say “no, of course not” is it because I am just that good at the symbiotic part? Is there anything genuine about me? Am I writing this because the parasite part thinks it will help me manipulate the foods?

There are things that I want to do for me.  I want to edit my first novel and publish it.  I want to make money and do awesome cosplay.  I like knitting, playing musical instruments, and dance.   These things always end up at the end of my to-do list, because I know I’m not going to do them and I don’t want them blocking projects I will accomplish. I’m not going to actively do anything that doesn’t benefit the hosts I feed upon.

I’ve tried to get around this by convincing my loved ones that my goals benefit them.   Some recent examples:

I actually said to my best friend, “If you make me do the work thing, I will give you $5 for everyday I make money.  You can get $150 a month just by bothering me!”

More subtly I have tried to get people who have or had an interest in me sexually engaged in the idea of me getting back into dance.  This is reasonable because it could lead to me being more flexible, thin and graceful, which could benefit them sexually or socially.

I have convinced my friend and publisher to call me once a week and shame me into working on a project for her in the hopes that this would motivate me to work on her project and my own.

I try every few days to get a friend or lover interested in my writing, so maybe they will want me to work on that.

Think about the fucked up that this is.  I try to make you love me, so that you might then be willing to give me permission to love myself.  This is going to have to go on near the top of the list on things that are most fucked up about Kitty.  Why can’t I cut out the middle man and just love myself?  It seems like it would take less time if nothing else.  

This brings us to media aid #3rpg

There was a time when my life was a first person RPG, super-open world format.  I could grind if I wanted to, I could take side quests, or I could choose any number of big plot arcs.  I could do anything that I planned out in my little gaming notebook.  

Anxiety has made my playable world smaller.  I worked so hard to level up as an accountant, but I can’t have an office job or that sort of responsibility.  I used to think about going back to school and picking another character class, but that’s likely to be as much of a failure as accounting was.  Every time I look around, the number of possible arcs decreases.

Recently I don’t feel like I’m the person playing anymore.  I feel more like the character, just standing there in a tavern waiting to be moved, directed.  That perhaps if a good player comes along at least I can finish this game in some respectable way.  Or I can be used to farm gold for a more important character.  I can keep being a changeable part of the game, keep having experiences, keep advancing.

I fear that option might close to me someday.  That I will turn into an NPC, conveying one piece of information or helping the important characters by accomplishing a single task.  What if someday I realize I’m just the tavern wench? What if being the tavern wench is all I can be, all I’m made for.  What if being the tavern wench is what I actually want?

 

Fuck Facebook

I have been back on facebook for a week now.

I feel horrible. Maybe it is not related, maybe it is. I slept until 11am today and yet I feel exhausted right now. I have a social event to go tonight and it feels huge and scary. I just want to go back to bed. It is pretty and sunny outside, I should be out there planting seeds, transplanting seedling and making my world beautiful. But I am in here beating myself up for how little I have gotten done this week.

As of last Thursday the house looked great, so clean. Now it is starting to be a bit of a mess. I have not edited my novel at all this week. I wrote a new story for Trifecta, but have not be able to motivate myself to read the other submission yet, which sucks because I know for a fact that I love some of these people writing. I would get enjoyment out of reading them, but the commenting seems so hard. I have not painted, but I have played the piano a little.

My task list started to take the place of facebook. I would come look at my tasks, pick one and do it. When checked it off I got a little dose of pleasure and pride. Now all my tasks look pointless or else overly difficult.

I found myself getting mad about people on social media again last night. People say stupid things, rude things, mean things and I get so mad. I want to punish strangers and I find myself hating people I have been “friends” with for years. Even people I am friends with in real life, who I actually like are so stupid on social media, so empty headed, judgmental and cruel. I know I am a bit of a troll. But I can’t seem to help it, when people’s words hurt me I find myself wanting to hurt them. In real life when people say things that upset me I normally just walk about, but on social media I can’t. Because unlike spoken words which break apart and float away as soon as they are said the status stay, and I can read the mean and stupid words over and over and over. And I do.

I have facebook closed right now, but I want to open it back up so badly. Has anyone commented? Are there any cute pictures? Can it fix me, can it take away the pain I feel right now?

Why does this have to be the way we communicate? Was a born in the wrong time? Will I always feel this disconnected and alone?

I am sure this post has lots of typos and mistakes. I don’t care. Editing it seems pointless, because odds are no one is going to read it anyway. I just write this shit for myself, because I can’t afford therapy. Which is for the best, because I find other people’s public displays of weakness appalling.

Losing Livestock

Dealing with the death of something you care about is always hard. When something dies of old age or illiness, it hurts. There is still sadness and anger. When you can honestly say the death was not your fault then there is no shame. But when the death is your fault, the healing process is really hard.
I lost two chickens about two weeks ago. Not old chickens or sick chickens, but healthy eight-month old hens. And their death was my fault.
When you get pets or livestock you make a commitment to take care of them, protect them, and treat them with compassion. I loved these chickens and took good care of them, except I did not keep them safe.
At night they sleep in a henhouse, up on a roost. A ramp from the hen house goes out into a run that they can’t get out of. I thought the run was secure, so I stopped locking them into the hen house all the way each night. I locked up the run, but I left the door into the run open. Over the time they have lived outside this happened several times. A few times we forgot, but they were OK. So after a while we stopped closing it all together. And it was always OK.
Until it wasn’t. Some animal climbed a tree down on to the top of the hen house and found a way in.
When the first chicken went missing, I did not realize what had happened. There was no body, no feathers. She was just gone. I figured she might have gotten locked out when I let them free range the night before. She was a very broody hen and it was possible she made a nest under a bush. So I spent two days searching for her. I looked under everything, and went into neighbors’ yards. I even wandered around calling her name. She was my favorite chicken, Speckles. She was the sweetest when she was a baby. I would hold her in my hand and she would fall asleep. She was the most beautiful, most friendly, and had the most trusting nature.
I could not deal with the idea that she was dead. She must just be lost and I would find her. So it never dawned on me that something was able to get in the hen house. Two days after Speckles disappeared I went outside to find feathers everywhere.
I can’t describe what that felt like. In one moment I realized Speckles was dead, another chicken was dead, and that both deaths were my fault. I cried, I screamed. I wanted to find the animal who did it and kill it. I want to punch something. But what I wanted more than anything else was to go back in time and fulfill the commitment I had made to these animals.
Goldie was the second one dead. She was the warrior princess of our chickens. She scared my two twenty-pound cats when they came out with me for a visit. She once ate a snake. She took on a rooster role with the other chickens, looking after them. I think she did that the night she died.

The feathers were everywhere — in the henhouse, in the run, even outside the run. She tried to fight whatever got in, but she could not manage it. And it was not her job. It was my job to keep her safe, and I failed.
The run is secure now. We lock them up tight every night. I have had trouble sleeping every night since then, listening all night long in case they need me. And every morning starts with fear. Will I find five chickens this morning? Or four and a pile of feathers?
I don’t know how to deal with that. Sometimes I still think they might just be lost. But it is a lie my mind tells me when my shame is too much.