If I’m Being Honest

Okay. I’m here. I’m back in my office and I’ve updated my whiteboard for the first time in over a month. And I have to say, it feels really good. I’ve been out of sorts for months now, really since March. I have learned that I am a creature of habit, more so than I already acknowledged, and this summer has put forth a concerted effort to keep me from doing anything in any semblance of routine.

Week-long video game binges, my husband lost his job, two of my biggest music icons took their own lives, my best friend almost died, and then we had extended house guests for the first time in my life. Coupled with applying, interviewing, and being denied two full time positions at my work and really I’m just a ball of rubber-bands stretched too tight: one has got to snap eventually.

I think the only thing that kept me from snapping was all the fanfic I wrote, and the friends I made on tumblr because of it. Since mid-April, I’ve written 168,799 words of fanfiction. Just… let that number sink in. 168 THOUSAND 799 words.

Of fanfiction.

I’m still trying to convince myself that’s okay. Anyone I talk to in my personal life or online seems to find it incredible and awesome. Thanks guys! But, my writer brain is still royally pissed that all that effort and output went to fanfiction.

But, if I’m 100% honest, I really LOVED writing it, and I fully intend to finish it before the end of the year. Also, I’m going to continue to write small prompts and drabbles, because they are fun, and I need writing to be fun still. Also, this year has shown me that I am absolutely capable of writing a novel in a month (if it’s a short one).

I’m not good at being honest with others when it comes to my mental health. I internalize everything, and I am usually the “solid” person in my circle of friends. I give advice and keep my shit together. So, when I start to break under pressure, or when my mind is trying to sabotage me, I don’t feel like I have anyone to tell, other than my husband. And even then, he had just as tough a summer as I did so it was easy to convince myself not to make things harder on him by being completely honest. So, I drop hints that I’m not feeling myself, to which he’s receptive, and we commiserate about our mild depression.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling isolated, raw, and like a useless piece of shit. And it’s all my own fault. I know it is. I could just talk to someone, and feel one hundred times better. I KNOW this. And now I understand why so many people never suspect the depths of their loved ones’ depression, why so many suicides are so shocking. Because, you can KNOW what you need to do to fix things, to make yourself feel better, and it doesn’t matter. You can know it, but you’re powerless to either find the right words, or time, or simply the energy to bring it up.

I want to note that, the fact that I’m here, talking about this means I’m feeling much better and am confident that I am on the path to getting back to my old self. I also want to state that at no point this summer did I contemplate any sort of self-harm. I was/am depressed, for the first time in a way that was recognizable to me, and that has shone a light on what it must be like to battle these feelings constantly. I understand now, in my own small way, how exhausting it must be and how incredibly lonely, even if you’re good at putting on a brave face and doing things to convince others you’re okay.

I understand, and I’m so sorry anyone has to put up with these constant feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing, and loneliness. And I know that, for many people, it doesn’t end. There doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, where someday you’ll feel good again and actually want to do something productive with your time.

And I’m so sorry, I wish I knew better how to help.

But, I’m seeing that light now, and I’m gifted days of incredible output and energy. I fully intend to make good on them.

So, later this week I will be back to talk about Proven Guilty. I’ve made some goals for the rest of the week, and if they go well, I’ll be back on Monday to do a goals summary for the first time in over six months!

Until then, Blogland,

 

BZ

Advertisements

Book Review – Dead Beat (Dresden Files #7) by Jim Butcher

Well. Here I am. Writing a book review for the first time in months. Huh.

Gotta say, this is weird. But it feels damn good. If you’re keeping up on my Goodreads page, then you know that I’ve been reading up a storm the last few days. I don’t plan on slowing down, either.

Also, I had a bit of a breakthrough on the fanfic while I was in the shower today (of course), so I should make some serious progress on it over the next week or so.

My aunts have been staying with us this whole week, camped out in my writing room, so things have been a bit out of sorts for me. Even now  I’m typing this from the kitchen table, listening to Incubus in my headphones while Trevor plays his video games in his office. I didn’t realize how used to my routine I’d become, but man, this week has put it into perspective.

I started a new short story, and it’s really rough right now. I’m not sure if it’ll ever turn into more than some weird little tale, but I had a really great time writing it, so that seems good enough for now. I’ve also been doing a bit of research on the requirements for membership with the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Association) which then spiraled out into all kinds of interesting searches about publishers, agents, and magazines with open submissions.

So, long story short, my brain is kicking back into writing mode, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now that you’ve got the short version of my thoughts these last few days, have a book review! This is the part where I tell you that there are spoilers below…

Dead_Beat
This book took me entirely too long to read. I started it as a digital audiobook on loan from the library back at the beginning of April. I was in the height of my Mass Effect playing then, so the poor recording was left neglected except for when I had a migraine. The digital loans aren’t renewable, and of course there were a bunch of holds on it, so I couldn’t get the audiobook again. I told myself that, since I owned the paperback, I’d just commit to finishing it the old-fashioned way.

Four months later I finally cracked it open and finished it in a couple of days. Because it was good! I know there’s no point in being upset with myself or trying to feel guilty about my sabbatical, but damn. I could have been so much farther in the series by now!

In this installment, Dresden is tasked with fighting off the Disciples of Kemmler, a notoriously evil necromancer whose acolytes are all vying for Godhood on a particularly stormy  Halloween. To make matters worse, Mavra, of the Black Court Vampires, also wants the “Word of Kemmler”, the necromancer’s book that all the Disciples are after. Within the book lies a ritual for calling forth the Erlking, lord of the Wild Hunt, and unlocks power that would bequeath enough power to make one a God.

So, a typical Thursday night for Harry.

big_dead_beat
Cover art for Wizard at Large, an omnibus of Blood Rites and Dead Beat, by Dan dos Santos.

 

But, shit gets pretty intense, pretty freaking fast. There’s necromancy galore, with zombies and spirits and ghouls running rampant. Butters, the coroner, tags along with Harry the whole time, and Thomas and Mouse are large players as well; a full cast of my favorite people.

Murphy is conveniently elsewhere for the duration of the novel, and I’m excited to see how her Hawaiian vacation with Kincaid went. It was obvious in the beginning of the novel that she wanted Harry to be jealous or to try and stop her, but he’s Dresden. He didn’t do any of that even though he really wanted to. He respects Murph way too much to audibly question her romantic entanglements.

Which… come on! Just kiss already!

Anyway, nothing is ever easy for Harry, and this book in particular put the wizard through the wringer. The Red Court did some dirty fighting to deliver a crippling blow to the White Council, almost completely decimating the Wardens. It was really cool to see the Wardens in action, and one in particular, Ramirez, was a new favorite character. Of course, that means his life is in immediate danger, because I like him way more than I should. Sorry, Ramirez.

Also, Butters gets ragged on by Thomas the whole book for being a coward, and then does some insanely badass shit in order to save Harry, including riding on the back of a resurrected Tyrannosaurus Rex whilst using his one-man polka suit to keep a drum beat.

 

Because Polka will never die.

And behind all of this is the longer arc of the war between the White Council and the Red Court, and the even longer arc of Dresden and Lasciel, the fallen angel he thought he’d locked away beneath two feet of cement in his basement. Yeah, she makes an appearance or three, and it’s some weird shit.

Anyway, I feel really rusty at this whole book review thing, but I needed to do this before  I got too deep into the next  Dresden book and couldn’t keep the details separate. Despite how long it took for me to finish this book, I really loved it. If you’ve made it this far through Dresden, are you really gonna give up on it now?

A sincere thanks to all of you that continued to visit the blog, even though I was gone for so long. I knew it’d be a while,but I didn’t think it’d be almost five months… But, I’m back now, and looking forward to balancing projects and getting back into my more productive routines.

books
Me, twirling through my TBR list.

I’m reading about five things right now, so I have no idea what the next book review will be. Probably The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl #7) by Eoin Colfer, because I just finished it. I’m also listening to Alan Cumming’s autobiography, Not My Father’s Son, which is phenomenal so far. I’m also listening to Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Patton Oswalt’s first book, and enjoying myself. And I’m reading Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman #1) by Neil Gaiman.

Good gravy. I really am trying to make up for lost time. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. So, stick around for more blog posts as my reading and writing reestablishes a working rhythm.

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ

Puppy Fever and New Routines

My brain was such pudding yesterday that, come today, I had to read my post because I had no idea what I wrote about.

I have a theory on why some days are mushier than others. Also, I’m really surprised mushier is a real word. Totally anticipated doing battle with the squiggly red line on that one.

See, I’ve found a pattern in my life, and it never fails. 6 hours of sleep or less, I can function. I’ll get delirious somewhere near the twelfth hour of being awake, but I can work and write and be in a good mood. The same goes for eight hours or more, though the good mood really persists through the day if I get more than eight hours of sleep.

But, it’s the grey zone that’s dangerous. Between 6 and 8 hours of sleep, and I am a zombie. Pudding brained and caffeine craving, stumbling and groaning, glowering through squinted eyes.

I think this is because I hit my best REM sleep somewhere between 6 and 8 hours into sleeping. And, my psychology classes have taught me, interrupting REM sleep is bad.

So, that’s why I’ve been all Tapioca lately. I’ve been going to bed at the usual 12:30/1 AM, but I’ve been waking up a good hour earlier than normal. Thusly, interrupting my own damn REM cycle.

What gives? I have no alarm set. I’m waking naturally, and I usually do that right at the 8 hour mark. The only reason I can think of is having the dog. Some unconscious part of my brain is worried that she’ll need to go out, and I won’t hear her. So I wake up earlier to take her out, and then head to work as normal.

And, now that it really has been an entire week of this new routine, I don’t really mind it. I get to work earlier and get more writing/editing done because of it.

So, the short answer:

I need to get a dog to keep me on an even better routine, and allow me to get a lot more fiction done! Also, to take advantage of all the dog friendly patios here in Salem. Because that’s just fun.

Anyway, with that riddle solved, I can move on to this week’s goals, and my plan of attack for next week.

I stated earlier in the week that I wanted to finish Chapter 10 and start Chapter 11. Done and done. And, chapter 11 only needs about another 1,000 words, so I aim to finish that today.

I also set the goal of editing two chapters, to make up for not editing one last week. Both of those are also done. Overall I’ve written 4,416 words this week, and will write at least another 1,000 today.

This week also found me elbow deep in ‘The Alloy of Law’. I’m on page 251 of my uber-critical read through, and leaving a lot of notes in the margins.

So, a very productive week here, and I’m looking to keep the good momentum going.

Next week’s schedule is wonky. I have a store meeting lunchtime Monday, and then close the store that night. So, while the computer will be out, the work will be interrupted, so I don’t count on too much productivity that day.

Tuesday I’m working an early mid-shift, so there will be no writing or editing.

Wednesday and Thursday I’m off, and those are the days I plan to really work on writing chapter 12 and editing chapter 5. They’re the only days I have to really get any work done, so I’m hoping the brain isn’t too mushy on those days.

Friday is another mid-shift, and then I close Saturday and Sunday.

The sun is out, and has been most of the week. It’s supposed to be in the mid-70s tomorrow, and since I’m off, I plan on sitting on a patio somewhere sipping craft beer. If I can convince Trevor, the dog will be with us.

He’s convinced that she’d be obnoxious if we took her out. And while she very well may be, it wouldn’t last for long. She’s too old to have the energy to cause a persistent fuss. We’ll see.

If you haven’t figured it out, I have puppy fever. I want a damn puppy so bad. Particularly a sable Corgi boy, named Simon. That’s what I want. But, dogs aren’t allowed in the apartments we’re going to be moving into. Plus, we want to buy a house, so we might as well wait and do all that first.

Doesn’t mean I don’t want one now, though. And look at that face!!!!

So. Much. WANT.
So. Much. WANT.

Anyway, before I get sucked into the black hole of the internet that is puppy pictures, I have fiction to write.

Have a beautiful Saturday, Blogland. Wherever you may be.

 

BZ