Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Starting Meds

Starting meds tomorrow.  Pretty much the same stuff I was in high school.

My goal is to get my depression/lack of focus under control enough that I can make that final push to get my writing out there.  I feel like lack of productivity is the only thing holding me back at this point in my life.  I've had several years to convalesce and I feel like I've used that time wisely toward my long-term goals.

There's an old anecdote (not sure if it's true or not) that when Abraham Lincoln was once asked how he would spend his time if given three hours to cut down a mighty tree, he replied that he'd spend the first two hours sharpening the saw.

That's kind of how it works when you're a writer.  You have to spend a great deal of time honing your craft, developing a unique style, spinning prose that doesn't bore people to death.  You have to learn how to make the difficult decisions, how to tell a story efficiently without being so ruthlessly efficient that you lose your style, how to follow the rules, and how to break the rules in such a way that people can tell you know what you're doing.

Another important thing I've been doing all these years is trying to figure out what I'm good at.  I think historical fiction is an area where I can distinguish myself because, as a number of people have pointed out, I can write it without being dry.  I discovered that I can write high-caliber mind-bending SF and I want to try other things.  That doesn't mean I won't return to that but I'm not limiting myself either.

So basically, "The Linen Butterfly" will be my last SF novel for the foreseeable future.  That's high in my queue.  Then I'll follow that up with "Wake of the White Ship."

Very few writers make it before 35. I'm 32 and some change.  I can do this.  I just need to overcome that inertia and the lingering effects of a nasty breakdown.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Has Arrived!!!

My copy of the Gesta Stephani (the deeds of King Stephen) arrived in good order today. This is a rare English translation published by Oxford Medieval Texts that I will be using to write my first straight historical fiction novel, Wake of the White Ship.

Incidentally, when reading the introductory notes on the text, it noted that it for a long time the only text scholars had access to was a 1619 printing called Historiae Normannorum Scriptores Antiqui. However:
Such being the state of affairs, Duchesne's Scriptores was the inevitable basis for this new edition, and a text made from his had already been long in type, when Providence relented, and produced a manuscript.
MS. 792 in the Municipal Library of Valenciennes, from the nearby Premonstratensian abbey of Vicoigne, a noted centre of learning and a daughter-house of St. Martin of Laon, contains a collection of works relating to English history...
 (emphasis added).

I got chills when I read that because St. Martin of Laon was the abbey I had Godric at in The Vimana Incident. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this is a sign I was meant to write Wake of the White Ship. It's not quite as dramatic as being sucked into one of my own books but it's enough of a coincidence to get my attention.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Personal Update

I haven't really made a long post about how I'm doing in a while so I thought I'd check in.

I'm recovering from years of tough breaks, but I still have a long way to go.

I still intend to try Wellbutrin again and try to get my life into some semblance of order, if life will let me. Right now I'm terrified that I won't be able to afford meds for some reason or another (insurance might not cover it because OHP's mental health coverage is SHIT).

The more I read, the more I think the "flat" feeling I had when I was on meds in high school was from the seroquel and, more importantly, the Prozac. I do poorly on SSRIs; it was only when an NRI was added that I really stabilized and began to reach something like my full potential.

And thinking objectively about how well I was doing in high school, I'm capable of much more than I'm doing now and I know it. Going off meds was the first time I felt "real," emotionally speaking, and I did well for a while, but I burned out around age 23 and I've never been quite right since.

There has to be some way I can regain my footing without losing the depth and complexity of emotion that I've come to enjoy in my years off medication, though I'm afraid there won't be.

I think being able to use seroquel as needed wasn't the best course, but it's still good at stopping the feedback loop in its tracks and resetting things. Right now I need someone new to manage that medication because the clinic I've been getting my prescriptions from (the one that manages my HRT, albeit badly) fucked up the prior authorization with insurance, then turned around and said it was the pharmacy's fault.

When I see the medication specialist (not a real psychiatrist because insurance won't pay for that, but an NP licensed to dispense prescriptions), I'll tell them I want them to manage all my psych meds and I'll take Wellbutrin daily with a seroquel if I really need it.

If and when I can get on meds, I'll go through voc rehab and see if I can't get matched to something. Granted, my last stint with them saw me waiting a year and a half without progressing to the job placement phase, which is SUPPOSED to take about 6 months. I'll try to search for jobs on my own, too.

Another thing I realized is that I have an issue that I need to revisit: my sense of impermanence and how it keeps me from living in the moment.

It's been a hellish problem for me for so long. I think I first noticed it around age 6 or 7, at that age when children really start hearing relatives talk about how fast they're growing and how good-looking they'll be when they grow up.

But I liked being a child. I liked not having to worry about bills and groceries and having a nice, safe home and people to take care of me. I liked my room full of toys, with my Fisher Price globe on my desk, and my nice set of Children's Encyclopedia Britannica that took pride of place on top of it. I had it all; toys to play and a space to work, writing, drawing, and reading, a big back yard to explore, friends to play with, so much spare time, and someone to drive me everywhere I needed to go. Why would I be happy about growing up?

And so the knowledge that my childhood wouldn't last forever loomed over me, and honestly sucked a lot of the enjoyment I had out of childhood. The knowledge that one day I would also die just added brief but intense dissociative "shudders" of existential terror to the mix (I still have them in my more anxious moments).

This sense of impermanence crept into subtle things, too. I hated getting balloons; it wasn't any personal dislike of balloons but instead, it was the fact that I liked them too much. When they rose into the air never to be seen again, or rotted away in the corner of my room above the toy box, or popped because i was enjoying them too much, it only reminded me how impermanent they were and I could no longer enjoy them because I knew it would only end in tears.

I saw this dynamic again as Munchie got older. He wasn't properly terminal until some time last year, but by then I had already cried so much for him because I knew my friend was getting old. I guess in the end I dealt with it more maturely, by turning my last years caring for him into something bittersweet, but if I'd been able to live in the moment we could have saved the bittersweet stuff for later. Much later.

I really need to work on living in the moment. Not being able to do that is really letting me down. It's something I haven't had in my life since I was old enough to really conceptualize the future on a basic existential level.

I know there's got to be a better life than this. I have skills, I have talents, I know so many things, I have a degree, I have an amazing, unique perspective. I have so much to give and I've been held back so badly by my own limitations. I just want to make good in this world. I just want to catch enough of a break that I can properly help myself.

I still have a GoFundMe for my mental health, by the way.  I may still need money because I don't know how far I'll get with the scant coverage I'm getting.  Please, if you can, help out or at least share this link.  https://www.gofundme.com/help-me-get-help-2vcjdmc

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Silver linings

This has been a very difficult time for me as my 19-year-old cat is now clearly and obviously dying.  He's been terminal for some time with end-stage renal disease, but he lasted months longer than the vet had told us to expect.

But while digging for my husband's birth certificate so that he could change the name on his IDs, I've come across a set of vintage color slides from the 1950s that I bought at an antique store in Las Vegas for something like $10 or $20 in 2007.

I'd assumed that the slides had been stolen or thrown away accidentally while clearing out junk papers, since I literally hadn't seen them in about five years. It turned out they were at the bottom of a drawer of Kobi's sketches, the one place I didn't think to look.

Now that I've found them again, what I have in my possession is a treasure trove of fine vintage photos. It was actually the content of these slides that prompted me to shell out more than $5 for someone's old slides.

These slides came in pressed aluminum magazines for an old Argus projector. They were from the mid 1950s, but there was not a single black and white image among them; they were all gorgeous, rich color images. They include views of Las Vegas, circa 1956. Color views of Disneyland in the same era. A local parade somewhere in California. A number of interesting cars, including hot rods, a Thunderbird parked in front of a sign advertising Frank Sinatra, and a newish-looking '53-55 Corvette, and some vacation shots of Alaska by train.

I know that first, I have to be sure this isn't going to be a copyright issue, but I'm not sure how to do that. I would assume that someone would relinquish the rights to an image if they sold the item through an antique dealer? One of the subjects in the photos is named. He's wearing novelty glasses. Another subject, on the Teacup ride at Disneyland, is identified as “sister” (the caption, charmingly, reads “Sister got sick”). The likelihood of tracking down the owners of these images is slim to none.

If I can establish a reasonable certainty that I can legally do this, I may try to license these images, either as stock photos or possibly in an art book. I'm still trying to figure out more about how to make the most of these images (both for public enjoyment and for my miniscule investment in these slides to pay the most dividends) so if you find anything before I do or know somebody that does this sort of thing, I'd love to know!

I'm excited to finally find this item that's been missing through the very worst of my lost years. I hope it's a sign of better things to come.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Short Story- Sheriff Laredo's Bees

This story is a year and a half old and I had nearly forgotten all about it!

My original description as posted on another site:

This story was inspired by events that I fear may come to pass sooner than most people think.
Consider the following elements:

1. The threat of the extinction of the common honeybee from overuse of pesticides.
2. The droughts in California, which are forcing lawmakers to choose between water for the people and water for lucrative cash crops.
3. A general attitude that pervades the culture of the United States that poverty represents a moral failure.

I see this as a perfect storm for a new breed of slavery in which those too poor to afford the spiraling cost of food and water will be pressed into involuntary service doing jobs that had previously been done by insects.

I decline to comment on whether or not Sheriff Laredo is inspired by a real figure active in law enforcement in the US today -whose name may or may not rhyme with "Ohio"- who attracts millions of admirers with his brand of so-called justice and likes to sue people for exercising their constitutional right to criticize him, but let those who are savvy see the truth for what it is.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Big Announcement!

It's been a little while since I updated, hasn't it?

I have something I'd like to share: I am now married!

Artist, illustrator, and musician Kobi LaCroix (no relation) of Dementia Radio fame is now my husband.  We've been seeing each other for about 12 years and we figured it was about time we got married.

This is probably one of the most positive developments in my life of late, and the most noteworthy.  Our wedding on New Year's Day really got 2017 off to a good start and we have high hopes for a wonderful life together.