Weekly update: February 23-February 29 2020

What I’m reading: Punished by Victor M. Rios

Nothing but professional reading this week.

How I’m doing: Not preparing for an apocalypse

What do you really change when you already have groceries delivered, can work from home, and don’t go to places with high traffic?

I have been making more, which is good, but writing less, which is…whatever. Only in my darker moments do I give myself shit anymore for not meeting word count – I consider it a suggestion, a high water mark for the day as opposed to a necessity. What’s a necessity is making wings float over the torso, exercising, making sure food is eaten, and the dog is petted.

There’s a special kind of burnout when you’ve been emotional support for someone for a very, very long time and now it’s time to break those patterns, but that’s still more work. Hello, burnout.

What I’m writing: Their Appointed Course (working title)

Two things I’m wrestling with this week:

  1. What makes someone unlikable?
  2. So it seems my favourite kind of romance is essentially a buddy cop movie just with women kissing at the end.

Weekly update: January 26-February 1 2020

What I’m reading: Jack shit

I haven’t picked my next book yet, which is awful of me. I have a shelf worth to get to.

How I’m doing: Baking cookies

I got hit in the head with a skateboard. So. That was something I had to deal with. I have a delayed response to physical attacks of several days, so I’m just now dealing with it. In about a month, I’ll have a feeling or two.

Winter has finally settled in, which is good. My body was hating outside with no real reason to and it turns out you can’t disrupt habits like that without a price. Now I can grumble and let the hate out and see my fingertips go white (as they should! It is January!) and long for warmer weather. 70F in January is shit when nothing is green and the ground is still sleeping.

What I’m writing: Their Appointed Course (working title)

Weekly word count: ???

It’s a very good thing when a criminologist vets your systems of punishment as realistic. People are people, even with magic.

A stand-off with my sins

I was looking at maid services.

My house was the mess of someone who was living and not handling it, of big jobs done regularly (old books and clothes tossed, Tupperware had all its lids) and the every day abandoned. My kitchen was a perpetual horror show because not washing dishes is a rebellion against my father and no one tells a rebel when to *stop.* I do not like mess. I want big spaces with nothing in the middle of the room or set on the floor, minimal risk of breaking a toe or misplacing a necessary item. Mess is brain static and it loomed in front of all the other shit that felt important to me that I had not touched in months.

I wondered how to fit it into my budget, when they would come over (arrange around the dog, hosted events), and the emotional calculus, cost, and anxiety was greater than my guilt as a Housekeeper. I would like to be worthy of holding keys, my own or another’s.

It has been several months and my house is very clean. There is a made bed. There is an empty sink. There are dusted baseboards and washed windows. I do things in 2-10 minute increments constantly.

I find myself being a Clean Person and it’s much, much better than being Chaotic. But I am annoying the shit out of myself because I’m now one of those people who has counter space to cook often. I’m learning a language. I work out every day unless I’m ill. I average 5000 words a week.

This is on top of all the other weird shit I do that already had people asking if I sleep.

Which I do. Often. Luxuriously. I love sleep. It’s the only relaxation I get.

There are positive side effects to all this. Having my floors clear of clothes and cookies on the counter, I am more comfortable in the judgement of others. I don’t dress as well. I often go without makeup. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but we’re all under glass and terrified someone will see the slop of our private selves.

Does this all sound self-righteous? It should! It is! It is revolting how smug I catch myself being. I would do myself an injury if I thought, “This was me all along – I just had to unlock it,” because that is bullshit. I was never This until one ugly side of the scale outweighed another. Being able to clean and yet paying someone to come stare at my mess and fix it seemed fetishistic.

I would make a terrible therapist. I never really fix my shit, I just weaponize it.

Weekly update: January 19-25 2020

What I’m reading: Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig

I love writers talking about writing. There’s such a sense of flailing pretender helplessness behind it all – that their success is a fluke, but they’re asked so often how it works that maybe if they put it down, people will stop asking because oh god why do you think I know?

It’s really just another job, though. Do you spend time writing? Revising? Cool. You’ll get there.

Just, you know, you’ll want to rip off all your flesh and scream repeatedly through the process because these are your goddamn dreams on the page and what if no one loves them?

I think these books are a form of group therapy for me – shows I’m not alone.

How I’m doing: Rock

Bad things happen to other people and you take the weight and take the weight. My house is very clean and all my shit is done and I made brownies and I think I’ve forgotten how to relax.

What I’m writing: Their Appointed Course (working title)

Weekly word count: 6284

I love seeing the middle of a relationship – the ease, the trust, the way they have each others’ backs – and I love writing about it too. Too often a book is ruined for me when some simple fucking communication would have fixed an issue. I’m not even referring to situations where they can’t talk or they have Issues that Prevent Talking because all that happens, yes, but regular, every day communication that the beings involved already engage in.

That said, you can’t leave anything alone as a writer, so I just make the problems I give them much, much bigger.

Weekly update: Jan 12-18 2020

What I’m reading: Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

I love Murderbot. I LOVE Murderbot. I love MURDERBOT.

How I’m doing: Weather seesaw

I am old enough that I can remember a warmer winter. This one is much more existentially terrifying. Winter has crept back through November, December, and now we’re seeing snow for the first time in mid-January. For all we held off an Ice Age, could we, perhaps, kindly, stop now?

I’d prefer not to complain. I’m best under heat and pressure, making more coal of myself. But I watch the creep, I see the early bulbs try to rise, I see them burned for their confusion. I’d rather not.

What I’m writing: Their Appointed Course (working title)

I had a moment this week when I realized I could smash two storylines together to make an actual book instead of needing to come up with a whole new half. They didn’t work at all apart (why neither have been finished), but hot damn do they work well together. My word count has been garbage. Too much day-job writing. One could smugly sneer to work through it, but I will stick with my five hours of creative work a day rule and lack of burnout. Eat shit, invisible sneer.

Weekly update: Jan 5-11 2020

What I’m reading: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Trick Mirror is devastating. I suspected going in – a coworker crowed about it in such a joyous bloody wound of the heart kind of way that it arrived before I recalled ordering it – but I find myself alternately limp and upset or tense and hunched over like the book is a grenade I might throw myself on to protect others.

I’m going to recommend it to EVERYONE.

How I’m doing: Snot fountain

Sing the praises of septoplasty. A year later and I regularly lose my cool enjoying a deep breath. Despite what they tell you, you still get sick as often – you just don’t get AS sick. This is important when you spend most of your year wishing you could be the boy in the bubble or perhaps in a gnome-sized hamster ball at minimum.

The dog would enjoy towing me around, that’s for sure.

My week has consisted of sprawling wantonly in front of space heaters until my legs turn red and wrecking facial tissues.

What I’m writing: Their Appointed Course (working title), a new poem

There’s a twitch in my brain where very common male names just don’t register as such. I’ve been convinced since childhood that Jeremiah and Aidan are wonderful names for girls. To be fair, Jack was/is a name for a girl/woman and Hilary/Hillary is all dependent on how many of a letter you throw in, much like fiancé/fiancée (mentally pronounced as fancy – my language center likes to troll), so I’m not an excellent judge.

My love for Aidan comes from a story I read as a child of a foolish little boy who begs a pooka to come visit him in the night. The pooka does and, contrary to all expectation, the boy has a lovely time and doesn’t die horribly. Aidan is lucky beyond ignorance, beyond disbelief.
I’m aware the story is trying to tell children that your intentions and expectations towards other beings can change how they treat you, but this is a fucking pooka here.

Aidan has someone looking out for him and only lives because something monstrous loves him.

That – to me – is a much better beginning.