When in doubt, nap. ~ unknown
Be kind to each other.
*picture was found on facebook, I couldn’t find info on the photographer or the story behind it. If you happen to know, please tell me. It makes me want to write a kids book XD
January was a difficult month. I’ve seen over and over on FB, Jan was the trial month, Feb is when 2017 ACTUALLY starts. Something I really can’t argue with. This morning, as I was coming home from grabbing a quick (and unhealthy) bite to eat I got bushwacked by an idea for the Avaria series. It wasn’t forced, it was the result of beating my head against the wall begging the creativity in me to please crawl out of the hole, I won’t let the monsters get you. It just jumped me from behind the bushes and I got a huge insight into a beloved character and explanation for some of his motives in the series (note; this wasn’t a Zander scene fwiw).
After months of blank brain, anxiety and depressed brain, I had clairity. and something else, kindof a startling realization; no anxiety at all. Yes there are concerns, I’ve got a lot on my plate atm, but the anxiety isn’t there. Anyone who has dealt with anxiety can relate that wonderful fresh feeling of being able to clearly think. However long it lasts, I’m glad it’s here.
SO, I’ll be getting fresh content stuff up and scheduled at the patreon page. Please check it out, maybe share it if you like it. Thoughts, ideas and suggestions are always welcome (even if I don’t agree with them). I’m slowly going through the website to fix links and whatnot some of this is way overdue for a cleansing.
Politics – Call your representatives. Write letters, share stories the media refuses to cover, and always ALWAYS check your sources! And if you have to, disconnect, take a walk, paint, write, turn off social media and the news, turn on a childhood fave, blast your music, let yourself rest and don’t, for the love of all that’s holy, DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR HAVING TO SELF-CARE.
Be kind to each other.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)
May you be at peace.
I have been dealing with sick kids, hubs and self, job applications, interviewing (I got the job! YAY) after being let go from a retail position I fell in love with. I’ve also been fighting depression. Some, I know, is cause by the mess of the past two years. Some is caused by my guilt over messing up and missing personal goals because of life. And some is caused by this circus of an election. And there is a lot on my mind about it. I’ve gone into great length to discuss it with the kids, the hubs, but not here.
I am out of practice, of writing, of expressing myself. Living has become less living and more surviving.
I don’t want to survive, I wanna LIVE!
There is so much on my mind, so much I want to say, and I see other writers saying what I’m thinking and I nod, I silently agree and figure hey, they said it, I don’t have to. My writing is not the powerful political protests put out by my peers. Rather escapism. And that has been looked down on for years. Pshaw, escapeism, worthless. Says the critics and literary snobs who look down their nose at anything less than the ‘Great American Novel’.
And so I go to write and I feel guilty. There are all these IMPORTANT issues that must be addressed and what am I pounding away at? A fallout fan fic, a story about shapeshifting dragons, or a bastard prince who wormed his way into my soul and won’t leave me alone. I step away, load up the ps4 and try not to feel like a worthless hack, after all, isn’t that what they say a fantasy writer is? Just a hack.
My posts are, if I compare them to those I idolize, pathetic. Little bits of updates on the life of a struggling to stay sane person. Nothing like Scalzi, Bear, Hines and Wendig to name a few. Why bother?
But oddly enough, sometime over the past couple days, I started to re-evaluate my opinion on myself (which is a bit crappy, I’ll admit), and my writing. I write fantasy. My stories take place away from here. The struggles of the lives of people strong, weak, inspiring, pathetic, people who face their demons. Some overcome, some fail, and some just hang on my the skin of their teeth. I write people, emotions, relationships. I give the reader a way to escape the bleakness of their own lives by temporarily giving them a chance to live other lives.
There’s a gamer shirt I want, it says ‘I’m a gamer, not because I don’t have a life, but because I choose to have many’ Same goes for being a reader. We live the lives of the characters we read about. Sometimes it’s easier to face the trials and tribulations in a story that facing the seemingly endless, and sometimes hopeless future that is laid out before us. We need to allow ourselves time to disconnect. To step away from the now, the constant and overwhelming influx of information, to escape from here.
It can be healing. Especially if you connect with a character who reminds you of yourself. When you see them triumph, it can give you hope. It can give you something to hold on to.
Writing those safe places, those foxholes of the mind, that’s important.
Escapism is important.
Being allowed to step away, let the troubles of the world fade against the adventure in a story, allows the mind time to rest. And for someone, like myself, whose mind NEVER shuts off, letting it rest in such a way is important. What I write, is important.
I may not be as skilled as other writers, when detailing the political quagmire we find ourselves in. I do not have the spoons to delve deeply into the why of today. But I can give you a place to get away, to rest from the battles we are on the verge of facing.
Elizabeth Bear made a series of tweets this morning, tweets that helped me this one in particular struck a deep chord in me;
Stand up. Hold hands. Sing.
Stand up again.
One more time, stand up.
Stand up. Hold hands. Sing.
Don’t give up.
*takes a deep breath*
If you are feeling suicidal, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 800-273-8255 or go to their website suicidepreventionlifeline.org
You are far more loved than you realize, I promise you. And believe it or not, things will get better, no matter how bleak they may seem.
I may have screwed up the order of the chapters, see the comment about sick kids. This weekend I’ll be prepping stuffs and making sure I’m not borking it up too badly. Those of you who are Patrons, thank you so much! I do appreciate it. Those of you who can’t, no worries, I understand. Sometimes even $1.00 is too much in these tight times, I get it. Is all good.
You can check out the patreon over here; https://www.patreon.com/NPhoenix
This is going to be a tough few years, but we can get through it. Stay strong, we’ll make it.
Thank you, my readers, for sticking with me.
We’re sick here at Casa De La Phoenix, myself, the monkeys and the spouse type person. The posts I was hoping to write got pushed aside in a fit of coughing and hacking up lungs. blech.
Work has officially ended, I am back in the ‘unemplyed/self employed’ catagory. Gotta love that seasonal stuff. I had a blast, made some great friends, and am now debating my next move.
The patreon is live! I am super excited about it. There is so much to the Avaria stories, I’m almost bouncing in excitement. For those of you new to my blog/site/thingy you can peek at the planned book list over here. It’s a huge list, this stuff needs to get set free.
I hope you are all recovering from the disaster that was 2016. Time for me to get back to writing, and being ME.
It launched yesterday, while I was at work, without a hitch, as far as I know. This week, being the last I’m at my job (seasonal work), will be a mix of business building, editing and diving into book 2 which needs a near total rewrite.
So, the patreon page is over here if yinz wanted to take a look.
2017 is the Avaria year, join me in this journey.
Of course now I’m starting to get nervous, and worried, and anxious and brain is screaming ‘WTF ARE YOU DOING IT’S NOT PERFECT!?!?!’
Which brings me to this common problem with writers. Perfectionism. This idea to postpone pushing forward so you can make the story perfect!
But we are not perfect. And what we make doesn’t have to be. No, really, it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am going to do the best job I can in getting my stuff as fine tuned as I can without killing the ‘voice’ or the story. But sometimes the mind clings to the familiar of editing/rewriting to avoid the scary proposition of setting the story free, we cling to the comfortable lament ‘it’s not perfect’ to avoid the criticism of strangers of what we write. So many people have edited the spark out of the stories they write that what they have left is dull, lifeless and it is a disservice to the idea that got them to write it in the first place.
So I’m sitting here now, forcing myself to not over edit, to not stress too badly about what people ‘might’ think and enjoy the process.
I’m also going to go and reward myself by catching up on Valerie Ford’s Advent Story over on Patreon (which y’all should really go check out. Val is awesome, and her writing is GREAT.
Hope you all have a great day! ~ NP
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
― Douglas Adams,
Working on the Patreon backoffice and resting my feet. How are you doing? I hope your sunday is a peaceful one. gift giving eve is next saturday, try not to stress too much folks. ~ NP
I’ve been talking about it for a while, I’ve been getting things sorted and set up and all I needed for the final decision was to settle on which project. I was going to go with E1 at first. but then I went to reread some of the Zandercrack. And that did it. This project has been sitting, mostly finished, for a couple of years, and even with typos and a few things I need to rearrange, it is a pretty good story. It’s time Zander was set loose upon the world. So here we go, my Patreon page is getting the final touches. I will be posting publicly and on Jan 1st, 2017, The Bastard Princewill go live.
I can barely contain my excitement. It’s TIME.
It has been a long time since I have done one of these.
“Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of dirt.” ~ Hopi prayer.
Be at peace, if you can, rest and refresh yourself.
Seriously 2016 can just die already. So much crap has filled this year that I shut down almost completely.
We are in a new home, a new situation, I’m working and hubs health is in decline. I’m preparing something which will be (I hope) big coming this Jan, and a rethinking of life, goals, and writing in general.
The Election; I usually avoid politics over here, but I will not be quiet. What the actual fuck? How can so many people support a fascist, racist, sexist, egotistical, narcissistic bastard like that orange thing? My heart hurts for my beloved America. He does not represent the America I love, the America whose ideals I hold dear. No, America isn’t perfect, but it’s about to get hideous thanks to that lying cretin. There’s so much I want to say and I just can’t seem to put it in words correctly. **breathes deeply**
I almost don’t have the ‘spoons’ to deal with it. I have to, I know, but damn I’m tired.
So what is in store for next year?
Well now, I’m currently doing some brainstorming and planning. I’m setting up something that *I* think will be cool.
and I feel like I need to apologize. For dropping off the face of the internets. I’m so sorry. I feel like I let people down, and I’m having a hard time shaking that feeling.
Allrighty, time to get some writing done.
~ N Phoenix
An Interview with Schrodinger
(Author’s note: I was going to answer the questions myself, but Schrodinger found the email first, and he begged, and, well, I couldn’t say no. So if you were hoping for an interview with Val, I’m sorry. You get a CrossCat instead. – Val)
Interviewer: I’ve never interviewed a CrossCat before, so if you don’t mind, can you tell me a little about your species?
Schrodinger: Well, we’re the most intelligent species of cat out there, although others may disagree. We’re born in litters in Dens, and most of us wander for a bit, then go back home and start families of our own. My sister has nearly twenty kits! She’s older than me, though.
Interviewer: Will you head back to the Den eventually as well?
Schrodinger: No one can tell the future. *eyes the interviewer* Can you?
Interviewer: *laughs a bit nervously* No, not me.
Schrodinger: Then we’ll just have to see!
Interviewer: Okay. How did you come to end up in the Cove, then?
Schrodinger: That’s a long story, and I promised it to someone else. Next question?
Interviewer: What’s your favorite part of living in the Cove?
Schrodinger: All the people! And Molly! And Drew! And Lily and Kaylee and Zoey and Jack! I’m totally a people person. Oh, and Pavel comes in, and there are cupcakes and Molly’s an amazing cook. And there are books! And music! *pauses, cocking his head to one side* Actually, I don’t think I have a favorite part.
Interviewer: I can tell! What do you want to do in the future, Schrodinger?
Schrodinger: How far in the future?
Interviewer: Um, I don’t know. In general?
Schrodinger: Well, I still want to travel. Pavel’s promised to take me on the ship at some point, although we don’t know when. Oh, and I’m going to Baltimore in a few days! And then Concord, North Carolina the week after that! Val’s taking me to Balticon and ConCarolinas, to promote the new book! And Molly is even letting me take some tea with me!
Interviewer: *looks at her notebook* So tell us, Schrodinger, are you a bathroom singer?
Schrodinger: Isn’t everyone? I’m not sure I could trust someone who doesn’t sing in the bathroom. *thinks for a moment* Although I don’t know – I guess it’s a personal preference. Do YOU sing in the bathroom?
Schrodinger: Who do you think sounds best in the bathroom: Adele, or Billy Joel?
Interviewer: You know, I’m supposed to be the one asking questions here. But honestly, it depends on the song and the mood.
Schrodinger: *nods* I also like Danny Elfman, but Molly says that the Oogie Boogie Song first thing in the morning is a bit creepy for her.
Interviewer: I can see that. So we have some questions from some of your fans here.
Schrodinger: I have FANS???
Interviewer: Of course you do. Didn’t you know that?
Schrodinger: Hang on a second. *runs into the kitchen, shouting, “Molly, did you know I have FANS????” Comes back a few moments later* Sorry about that. You were saying?
Interviewer: Yes. One of your fans wants to know what you do for fun on a rainy day to amuse yourself?
Schrodinger: It depends. If we’re here, I usually help Molly in the kitchen, or I’ll read. Sometimes I like to go out and help DC and Aunt Margie shelve. I’m good at finding things. And I nap a lot. *thinks a bit more* I can always go find some fun too. There are a lot of interesting Roads around here. Sometimes I just go exploring.
Interviewer: If there was one person you could have lunch with, alive or dead, who would it be?
Schrodinger: Captain Carter, the man who discovered Carter’s Cove.
Interviewer: Really? Why?
Schrodinger: So I could thank him. Without him, Carter’s Cove wouldn’t be here, Molly wouldn’t be Molly, and I’d’ve never met her. And then I’d be a very sad CrossCat, although I probably wouldn’t know why.
Interviewer: Is there anything else you’d like your fans to know?
Schrodinger: Come see me at Balticon and ConCarolinas! I’ll have tea! And books! And maybe some prizes…..
Winter’s Secrets, the first book in the Carter’s Cove stories, is out in ebook and trade paperback on May 26th. Follow Schrodinger on Twitter at @MollysSchrodngr, and Val Griswold-Ford at @vg_ford.
Thank you so much, Schrodinger (and Val 😉 ) for stopping by.
My truck won’t start. So the kids and I are tackling the housework and then I am going to write. I scene listed (some people call it outlining) last night and want to write those juicy scenes out. I’m feeling fairly good about things, despite the truck issue.
May Plans; Writing. I am going to try to focus on The Bastard Prince, but I won’t fight it if my attention drifts to something else. I’m just happy to be writing again, I almost don’t care what I’m working on.
June, July, August: I’m hoping that by getting back into the habit of writing daily, will carry me through the summer. I’m hoping to get Elemental Truth ready to go for September however this is the summer so I’m not going to guarantee anything.
Fall: Next fall I’m going to have one kid starting his senior year and the youngest two starting kindergarten. I’m also hoping to go back to school myself. My goals for the rest of the year is to have both E1 & BP published by the end of year. Lofty? Perhaps. But both are soooo close to being done that I think it’s not impossible. I also have a mostly finished angel apocalypse story that’s been quietly nagging at me to finish it. Like the other books there are a couple fill in spots and thats it. I had a snippet of it up a while ago.
I hope your week goes well. **waves**
Disclaimer: I do not speak for anyone else. Each person who struggles with mental illness has their own struggles. What works (or doesn’t work) for me, might have the opposite effect on others.
FWIW this is more of a Ramble, a sharing of a part of me I don’t think I’ve shared here before.
In 2011 I made a jump into self publishing. The story, The Shiny, was small, just a little concept/flash thing, but I self pubbed it and worked on others to get up. I was excited, I was motivated, and the more I look back at it, the more I’m convinced I was in a manic phase (not a good time to make major decisions such as self pubbing etc, fwiw). You see, I’m Bipolar. It is a condition in which the chemicals in my brain fluctuate wildly, and in cycles, I get really amped up, excited, go go go go, then I drop, I have a drop in mood I end up depressed and fighting to stay afloat.
I’m Bipolar 2, (I think that’s what they call it, I’m still trying to educate myself) which is the ‘milder’ form of the disorder. Most people don’t recognize my manic phases as mania, more ‘motivated, responsible, with it’. But my downswings, those are downright scary. I struggle to get out of bed, I struggle with feelings of self-worth, I fight the urge to just say fuck it and do something drastic, anything at all to feel better.
I was in denial for years until 2012 when I finally worked on getting it managed. Figuring out what worked and what didn’t and I found myself able to focus better and write. But writing when my depression was in full swing was like trying to pull teeth with a spoon. Made of warm jello. I wanted to write, I wanted to tell these stories that haunt me day and night, but I wasn’t enjoying it. Even with meds getting me on a steady mental state, I was still depressed, I was still chipping away at the iceberg with a toothpick and writing, writing became more a struggle than a release.
You see, when you’re severely depressed even the things that bring you pure joy mean nothing. My energy, my motivation, everything just gone. It’s weird, and annoying. I look over my plans and projects and I know I need to be writing, I know I need to finish stuff, to edit stuff to get stuff up and for sale. But then the doubts kick in and add to that the depression that has/had me convinced it was all shit anyways, well it made it harder to touch those projects especially when I was being crushed with guilt for not living up to my own high standards.
In 2014, in an effort to curb those feelings, I decided I was going to take a story I *thought* was ‘done’ and make it a serial. It shouldn’t take very long, I reasoned, to get it scheduled. Elemental Truth debuted and I was feeling good despite the depression. Then the bottom dropped out. In a matter of a few weeks our family’s life was turned upside down, we entered into a legal battle with our old landlord, my hubs started a new job and was suddenly away for weeks at a time, and I was facing legal issues with one of the kids and a major move all by myself. I didn’t pull E1, I was being stubborn. I can do it, I kept telling myself, I’m not going to pull the serial.
The problem is, the serial wasn’t as ‘done’ as I thought and the more I got into it, the more I realized that it needed a massive overhaul. But with everything else going on I just plugged away at it, the only thing I could really count on was getting that damn thing posted. For months, writing wise, I clung to that project, unmotivated but trying to force my way through it. Depression robs you of enjoyment, and though I enjoy that story I couldn’t feel it.
We’d just barely gotten things back to an even keel, into some semblance of normal when, last April, I got an unexpected call from my SIL; my FIL passed away unexpectedly.
Goodbye even keel. Goodbye semblance of normal. We hauled ass out to OK for the funeral, then returned only to discover my hubs company suddenly struggling. The last year has been spent trying to recoup from that. The depression got worse when, in Sept (or Aug) our insurance changed due to job changes and I was unable to get my meds.
Imagine a diabetic unable to get their insulin, imagine a person in chronic pain, unable to get their pain control meds. It is that serious. My depression was crushing, the stories, the writing, the serial in limbo. It was a struggle, fighting my own brain and I think that I noticed it even more this go round because I’d been on the meds, now off the meds and suddenly no management of anything at all. And the longer I go with it managed, the greater the drop when those meds are yanked away.
I’ve now been back on my meds just over a week, and I feel the difference. I’m starting to find focus, things are a bit easier. It’s still a daily battle, an ongoing struggle to keep myself frown drowning in the hopeless feelings.
So how is this going to affect my writing and future publications?
Honestly I’m not too sure. I’m hoping that as I get more settled I’ll be able to stick to my routines and get back to writing regularly. I’m not going to give a timeframe, not yet. Not till I’m sure I’m a bit more stable. Right now, every little paragraph is a triumph, every day I don’t just delete all my writing* it a success.
I do *hope* to have Elemental Truth ready for publication by the fall, and Bastard Prince for sale in time for Christmas. But I also have to be realistic, I have a lot going on in my life outside of my writing, there’s still fallout from last years job issues and money issues, and I don’t want to make promises I end up breaking. I always feel like a flake when that happens, I know logically it’s because I have this stupid chemical imbalance in my brain and that for a long time it was completely unmanaged. But I still feel like I should have done more, tried harder, followed my schedule, guilt, guilt, guilt…
Yeah I’m great with the self-guilt-ting. I once told a friend, I don’t need people to guilt trip me, I do a great job all by myself -.-
There you have it, mental illness and how it affects ME as a writer. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with it. If you, the reader, also struggles with it, just know you’re not alone. And what the depression tries to tell you, well trust me it lies.
*I almost deleted everything a couple months ago, I was that low.
Please note I had to make a couple edits after I posted it. Sorry.
Regarding the Serial.
Due to life and other issues I haven’t been able to give my all in getting this up in a timely fashion. So This weekend I’ll be pulling down what is posted. This has been an interesting learning experience. Not sure I’ll do a serial ever again.
My apologies. E1 should be released in ebook and print form by September. I’ll keep you guys posted.