Thanks for all the Fish

Allow the pictures and flattery to hypnotize you into thinking this blog post is NOT boring. You’re going deeper…

Dear readers, followers, and random people who stumble upon this page,

Hello, again, and thank you.*  Why am I thanking you?  Why, because you’ve been helpful, of course.  Let me explain.

Yes, I know I’ve been absent for a while.  Some of you are probably wondering where I’ve been, or even who I am, since you may have forgotten you followed me in the first place.  So here’s an update of sorts on life in general.

Gulp, indeed.

Gulp, indeed.

Much like this blog, I’m behind on everything.  I have “To do” lists in six different places, including my bathroom mirror (thanks to Tommia’s Tablet for that idea and making my fingers itch for my guitar).  The system is working, but more than ever I’m aware of how little time I have in a day.  It seems incredible that fifteen years ago I found time for hiking, flute practice, homework, video games, chasing rabbits around a yard, writing, household chores, and reading all in one day.  I never estimated in the time cost of daily house maintenance, bill paying, work (and the fatigue that comes with), and basic hygiene until I was an adult.  I’m grateful lately if I manage to get to the dishes and comment on blog posts.  I’m still wondering if I’m sick or if this kind of fatigue is (gulp) growing up.

Despite my seeming inability to get anything done, I volunteered myself to beta-read another writer’s fantasy novel.  I’m honored that they’ve entrusted me with their passion and hope I’m living up to the challenge of giving them an honest critique that focuses on their strengths and helps them improve any weaknesses.  They have beautiful prose, an engaging story, well thought world rules, and intriguing characters, so for the most part it’s fun!  I feel confident that their story has great potential and can succeed in the market once it’s been fully polished.  It’s exciting to be one of the people with an opportunity to read it before that happens.

70791025362491234jXnnLdSuc

There’s a bonus to beta-reading I hadn’t expected, though, in how I approach and view my writing.  Rilla Writer has an excellent piece on how beta-reading can help us improve and see the snafus in our own work, and it’s part of a larger set of articles on how writing fan-fiction can improve writing skills.  Beta-reading has helped me see the positives in my writing while simultaneously helping my inner editor focus on what’s really important, and that it’s not the end of the world to have to go back and fix something.

I also learned something else about my writing process from Nanowrimo, where the lovely 4amWriter was gracious enough to keep me company (pssst…she also writes some useful posts on overcoming writing block and the dreaded inner editor that have been useful as well).  It’s true (too true) that I often write long-winded passages of explanation, and that particular fact drives me crazy and often stops me from writing.  Yet if I let that part of myself do the writing when I’m not sure what the exact words of dialogue are, I can see what I want to express and how to reach that point with greater clarity.  I’ve come to see my “telling” vice as a way to create a detailed outline, and to get to the point of what I want to say faster than staring at my computer screen hoping meaningful dialogue and action will spill out of me.  I’m starting to see my first drafts as fleshy outlines, and I’m finally okay with the fact that this is how my process works.  Having these two experiences means that I’m ready to face Camp Nanowrimo with less dread, and that I can tell my inner editor to be silent (for now).

TOHPuZN

No more of this timid bunny stuff. Although, he is adorable.

I’m facing the “adult life is scary” terrors head on for the first time in years.  Not just with lists, mind you, but with verifiable action.  Maybe I am tired, but a recent vacation has helped me focus on what really matters.  I recently got a retirement plan in place, and I’m submitting to a health physical for life insurance tomorrow.  I cannot express what a relief it is to feel as if I am doing something to secure my chance of a future (or Mr. Wonderful’s in a less than desirable scenario) where I won’t have to work until I die.

Some of my nearest and dearest are also buying houses.  I’m excited for them, but I’m a bit envious, because I’ve been putting off saving for one until I’ve reduced my student loan debt further.  The tie-up of a recent story (hurray for archeology and character building!) by jmmcdowell solidified my longing and resolve to start saving, and a sudden urge to dig out my chalk pastels and rekindle my past led to obtaining a newspaper and wistfully eyeing the market, which was when I realized while staring at an ad (and a bit of internet research): I qualify for those home-owning programs.  All this time I thought I had to be, well, poorer.

I am a bit nervous.  With this spate of life changes, I also went to the doctor.  They called me a week and a half ago in one of those “Call us back, now,” fashions, but I haven’t been able to get ahold of them since.  I suspect that means one of my tests came back and that all is not rosy on the health front.  On the other hand, everything I was tested for is treatable/fixable, and it’s nice to know that maybe this “tired” junk isn’t what getting older is supposed to feel like.  Hopefully I’ll be able to contact them tomorrow and see what the ruckus is about.  Let’s hope that whatever is going on doesn’t kill my ability to obtain life insurance.

It's a book cover.  With a scary needle...that inspires me to get a flu shot so that I can avoid more scary needles.

It’s a book cover. With a scary needle…that inspires me to get a flu shot so that I can avoid more scary needles.

Well, at least I’m sure that I’m not the victim of a flu epidemic.  Thanks to Carrie Rubin at The Write Transition who tipped the balance with a timely Facebook posting after my parents chronic reminders and being sick of being sick failed to inspire me, I did get a flu shot this year, so while my coworkers call off work and stumble about desecrating trash cans, I’ve been symptom free.  By the way, have you read The Seneca Scourge yet?

Then there’s life in general.  A special thanks to Goldfish, who is truly a Fish of Gold, for reminding me that it’s never too late to think about other careers or moving, even if I am stubborn and afraid of change.  I believe you can surmount the worst, Goldfish.  Oh, and it’s your fault that my chalk pastels and sketch books are coming out.  You post so many pretty pictures and descriptions of art that my pessimistic jerk-brain can’t come up with excuses fast enough.  Thanks for all the fish, without the so long part.  You know what I mean.

You light up my world, in your uh, water bulb.

You light up my world, in your uh, water bulb.

I blame all of you.  You know, in a thankful, you’re all awesome sort of way.

 

*There are more of you, of course, and I’m sorry if I missed you or didn’t manage to squeeze you in.  Some of you are really prolific and it’s hard to keep track!  You’ll get your day soon, I promise.

Advertisements

What Was I Doing Again?

It’s been difficult to write blog posts lately.  I start writing them in my head, sit down at the computer, click my word processor button, and while I’m waiting for my computer to boot the program (a whole second), I boot another program.  While it’s booting I’ll have time to check everything on the internet right?  I really should read all of those blogs I follow, and, hey, there’s a link, that looks interesting.  Before I know it, I have 30-50 tabs open on my computer screen.  It’s 3 A.M.  I meant to go to bed by 4 at the latest.  It is time for bed.  But no, I can’t go to bed.  Not yet, because I forgot to eat today, and I forgot to do the dishes so that I could make food.  My work clothes are dirty and I should wash them.  Well, I’ll just start by filling up the sink and doing a presoak.  Then I’ll finish reading the tabs.  No, I’ll have a cigarette while I pace rabidly.  That’ll perk me up, help me focus.  I could have coffee, no tea, no, too much caffeine.  It’s 3:30 A.M. now, and I have to be to work by 2 P.M.  Maybe I should set everything out for tomorrow so that I’m not late for work.

Everything’s all “Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey,” as a well known television Doctor would say.

 

Okay, I’m back inside from my cigarette.  I take off my glasses because they’re steamed up from coming in from the cold, and see my hotpot.  Right, tea.  I fill up my hotpot with water.  I’ll just sit down at the computer again, and then I’ll…well, it would be fun to play a video game, right?  I’ll just shut down the Apple side of my computer and load the Windows partition.  What, computer?  I still have fifteen tabs open?  I’d better read those.  Read 3 tabs, open 16 more.  I should really get up and make dinner, but I’ll just finish reading these.  Of course I won’t open any more webpages.  But this one looks interesting.  Okay, it’s opened.  I’ll read it in a couple of minutes, after I read this other stuff.

 

There’s that eerie water sound.  Oh, tea!  I wasn’t supposed to make tea, because that has caffeine and I need to sleep.  I guess I could drink something herbal.  I’m supposed to be making dinner.  There are those dishes in the sink that I’m supposed to be washing.  It’s getting really late.  I’ll just wash the ones I need for dinner tonight.  Maybe I can get up early, or I’ll do them the first thing when I get home from work tomorrow.   All right I’ve washed a pan and plate.  I’ll just set those down right here next to the hotpot.  Oh!  Tea.  Right.  Okay, set that down over there, where I can drink it once I’ve made dinner.

 Image

Crud.  I’m tired.  One more cigarette then I’ll make dinner.  I swear.  Back inside, I finally pour my food into pans and start it heating.  While the butter is melting I might find the time to brush my teeth, and set out a few things for dinner, so I start doing that, but every 30 seconds I’m running back to look at the butter to see if it’s melted yet.  I’m not used to these electric stoves; my timing is off compared to work, but finally I get to dump in the hash browns.

 

I realize I can’t see.  Where did I put my glasses?  One of those fifteen spots I lay them down?  Oh, golly, I have a lot of clutter.  I really need to clean the house.  Tomorrow I’ll…

Image

The glare from the light in the kitchen is painful and pretty at the same time. Those streamers of light are so interesting. I wouldn’t be able to see them if I was wearing my glasses. I should really find my glasses.

 

I ask Mr. Wonderful if he’s seen my glasses, and the third great glasses hunt of the evening begins.  I should really stop taking those things off my face.

 

The hash browns needed to be flipped, now.  I ought to start the eggs.  Where’s that other pan?  I never washed it, of course.  Resume cooking dinner, but it’s dreadfully dull just waiting like this.  I’m used to have 50 meals going at once.  I’ll read a book.  By the time I finish making dinner I’ll remember the five other things I needed to wash to make/eat dinner.  I’ll set the book down, wash another dish, pick up another book.  Okay.  Dinners done.  I walk back over to my computer and realize that I forgot to bring dinner with me.  I start reading again.  Eventually an article reminds me of something in my house/Mr. Wonderful manages to get my attention.  I glance over.  My dinner is cold.  I eat a few bites of it.  “Five more minutes, please?  I promise.”  I mean what I say to him, but when I look up at the clock another 45 minutes have gone by.  Mr. Wonderful is giving me that look.

 

“What?” I demand defensively.  “If you’d stop distracting me, I could get this done.”

 

He sighs, “Nothing.”

Image

Yup. Mr. Wonderful looks just like this.

 

I look up from my computer fifteen minutes later.  “It’s not nothing.”

 

“Huh?”  Mr. Wonderful has given up on me and started playing a computer game.  I can’t think with all that noise.  I glare at him.  He rolls his eyes and puts on headphones, but I look at the clock and finally the panic clicks.  The effect of my procrastination has finally dawned on me: if I don’t get my act together now, work tomorrow will be like slogging through waist deep sludge.

 

“Fine,” I say, forcing myself to shut my computer down and dragging my dinner over to the television next to him.  “Let’s watch something.  I need to eat anyway.”

 

I will do everything I didn’t do today tomorrow.  I mean it this time.  I will be better.  I can’t sleep for thinking about the thousands of ways I will be better.

Image

This is probably how other people see me. Worse, I believe it about myself.

 

The next morning when I wake up and stumble groggily around my house, I will find a cup of tea that I never drank, a plate half full of food on the floor next to the couch, five books on the counters/dining room table/sitting on a chair.  I won’t know where my keys or glasses are.  I will be frantic that I am going to be late again, even though I set my alarm clock fifteen minutes earlier than the day before.  I can’t figure out where my coat is.  When I go to put on my work clothes, I realize that they are still dirty and I forgot to wash them.

 

I will do it all when I get home in the evening.  Except that I won’t.

 

But…this whole scenario?  That’s if I even get to my computer.  I think I might need my ADD medications back.  If only I could focus long enough to find my phone and call my doctor.

Poor Excuses for Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

Hello.  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I mean, it’s been a month or so since I posted, and I really ought to fix that.  I’d like to say that I’ve spent my hiatus profitably, churning out chapter after chapter with the efficiency of a printing press, or that at the very least, I wrote a poem or short story or two, but that would be a lie, and we all know what happens to liars, don’t we?

I imagine this condition results in enlarged nostrils, and as such is not recommended. Of course, there are other ways to grow an exceptionally long nose. If you’re a klepto princess who spited some hard working soldiers, for instance, you should be wary of people in disguise offering you pears. Or was it an apple?

Okay.  The truth is I tried to write a few poems, and I spent a lot of time trying to come up with short story ideas.  These efforts were largely unsuccessful.  I even have a few partial and completed blog posts resting on my computer, but I either was unable to finish them or found them too offensive/whiny/depressing for publication.

I might be a wee bit afraid of controversy. You’d think anonymity would free me from this fear, especially since controversy is a great way to attract readers, but it doesn’t. I’m settling for inserting large amounts of pointless pictures instead. I hear people love pictures.

So what have I been doing?  I’m sure my readers want a blow by blow of every tedious aspect of my life in the last month, so I’ll let you in on the joys of my coveted existence.

No, shockingly this image isn't of me. You should be jealous anyway.

I’ve been sick a lot, probably because restaurants, the places that ideally should not have sick people running around infecting the rest of the population, seem to be overrun with them.  There’s never enough labor to go around in a restaurant, and someone usually has something.  Or several somethings.  Or several someones have somethings.  No one’s going home, and no one’s going to work for anyone else, and we’re all tired and run down and catch everything from each other, let it mutate, and then pass it back to the people who infected us.  Also, despite all of the perfectly normal, wonderful customers out there, there’s always someone like this:

Customers like this encourage substance abuse, and alcohol and cigarettes depress your immune system, folks.

As a friendly aside, I recommend that if you’re prone to catching every bug you come into contact with that you avoid restaurants during cold and flu season.  Likewise, if you are sick, maybe you should stay home and have chicken noodle soup or something instead of infecting the rest of us, yeah?  If you’re an entomologist, you shouldn’t be able to catch a bug in a restaurant, anyway; if you can, please call the health department.  ‘Nuff said.

While I was reclining on my couch, feeling thoroughly unmotivated, I thought I’d catch up on some video games.  If a bizarre obsession with saving virtual characters from scrapes made me a “good” person, I’d be an angel by now.

Virtual me: defender of justice!

In the meantime, my house cleaning went from poor to preposterous.  The instant I felt better, I was compelled to clean.  One can only eat so many dishes off of paper plates.

Then my car broke down, and I discovered that it had two leaks in the engine, so I had to have it towed to the dealership so it could be fixed.  I know, dear reader, that you’re probably thinking that having it taken anywhere else would probably be cheaper, but the last time I let someone else work on my car, the consequences were nearly catastrophic.

If I hadn’t taken it in when I did, this would have been the end result. Explosions are fun in the movie theatre, but not when you’re sitting in the vehicle in question.

Mmm…fire.  Sorry, what?  Right.  I was telling you, um, stuff.  The day I got my car back, I made the brilliant nutritional choice of having nachos for dinner.  Normally microwaves leave the middle a little undercooked, but my microwave, after making weird whiny sounds for the last month, thought that catching the middle of my nachos on fire was a great idea.  I decided to take that as a sign, so yesterday I bought a new one, and that led to more housecleaning.

It’s really hard to write when one’s house ought to be declared a national disaster area.  Do you think I could use my poor housekeeping as a deduction on my taxes?  No?  Oh, okay, then.

The positive news is that none of these things were really as horrible as they sound and they’re all taken care of now.  Also, I’m going on vacation in less than a month, and I get to see my parents and my grandparents!  Ah, life.  It’s really not so bad, even if I could be more productive.  Maybe while I’m on vacation?