Category Archives: Checking In

Back and forth, once again

Honestly, this is not really a surprise at this point: I gain and lose motivation over time. I’ve gotten better at consistency in spite of it, but the underlying oomph still very much goes in waves.

It’s been a rough year in a death-by-a-thousand-cuts sort of way, though of course, that’s all relative to one’s frame of reference. We’re still alive and we have a home, but life is stressful right now. In particular, a long-running, background health concern turned into a foreground concern, as a body part I don’t actually need decided to riot / melt down / freak out. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, although it will take a string of tests running up to the procedure and some recuperation afterward. In the meantime, I’m tired, stressed, and holding on until the next round of tests. Because there is a chance it’s something even more scary than a rogue body part, and until I get that all-clear, I’m going to worry. It’s what I do. [edit from the future: I got the all-clear. Not Cancer(tm)! Woohoo!]

Lately I have been pushing myself to write The Serious Fiction, because those readers have had to wait long enough, and there are more of them than for The Silly Fiction. But while it’s going (slowly), I don’t think I can spare the energy to pour into pushing myself. As long as something (anything) gets written, that might have to be good enough.

All of which is to say that I’ve started writing Therapist again, specifically the Bard College story featuring Greta, Henry, and Burleigh from book 3. Will it end up being finished as quickly as the others? Heck if I know. But it’s something. And I’m deciding that “something” is good enough.

Amazon has started a beta trial of AI-voiced audiobooks. First, fuck you, pay narrators; second, I care about my readership enough not to charge them for bullshit robot voices when you can use bullshit robot Read Aloud features for free. Third, fuck you, pay narrators. 🙂

The screening process has pointed out that some of the table of contents in my catalog are effed up, so I will use it to troubleshoot that. And then not take the greed-bait.

Therapist book 6 (Berry’s, Starting Over in Another World with My Level 99 Self-Doubt) is still in cover limbo. 🙂 Hey, the title designer is doing me a favor here.

Book 7 came back from the beta readers (thank you!!!), so it’s in the pipeline. After an evening hammering away at a thesaurus, the working title has morphed into The Salty Mageknight and the Sweet Dark Lord. For a minute it was The Spicy Courtship of the Salty Mageknight and the Sweet Dark Lord, but I don’t need agita from the type of reader who would take “spicy” literally. It’s not spicy even by TikTok standards.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Both are still coming. Eventually. Fate willing, so is Healers 4, someday. I will do my goddamn utmost, because this is what I love to do.

Numbers, year 9

“Surely,” I thought, “it’s far too early to do a year-end wrap-up.” And maybe it is, but the last one was at this time last year. So here we are.

It’s been a while, so I’ll preface this with my usual philosophy/statement of scale. Namely: I’m aware that these are tiny numbers. I’m not embarrassed; don’t be embarrassed for me. I’ve come to accept and enjoy what I do. Some people had a nice enough time reading something I wrote. That’s pretty neat. Also, it’s not my main source of income (I still have a day job, much to the annoyance of some of my coworkers), so we’re not starving over this.

I think it’s useful to say awkward things out loud. To refuse to buy into shame. So I’m transparent about the fact that not everyone out here is a millionaire, and believe that those of us who aren’t still deserve to talk about our experiences.

That said, here are some little charts.

With numbers on them

“I’m gonna make it through this year if it kills me”

One week till a medical appointment that will take me out of this health-related limbo; two weeks till the end of the year. Oh yeah, and a holiday in there, which I keep trying to care about as much as other people do. I feel bad about that, I really do. Theoretically, I like a winter celebration. I love fireplaces/bonfires, baking, coziness, etc.; I think I just hate the stress related to gift-giving and gift-getting. Oh well. I do my best to keep my incorrect feelings to myself.

Anyway, the trend towards infographic-ing everything you do throughout the year is… sure something. It makes sense, in that apps want people to post about them on our increasingly bizarre social media landscape.

It’s been a weird one.

Numbers! Been a while.

When was the last post, October — well, my year hasn’t gotten any worse since August, so that’s nice. Still here, thankfully. Still working on Book 3 and trying not to stress about it. It’ll happen.

Otherwise, signed up for to keep track of my woeful video game backlog. It’s one of a few sites that function more or less like Goodreads for video games. Current backlog: 39, most of which are indie games from Steam or that I bought in bundles over the last couple of years. And so far I’ve found 213 games that I’ve played for any length of time at any point in my life. I started out on a console that isn’t even on the database, the Intellivision, which was basically the Betamax to the Atari 2600’s VHS. (Uh, that analogy is for old people too. It was a competitor that time forgot, in other words.) It would be amusing to include those games on the list too, but that’s okay.

Current TBR, by the way, is around 10. That’s one-zero. I spent most of 2021, when I had the focus to read at all, striving very hard to read down the TBR and quitting a few books that I just bounced off of. Still slowly poking through a year’s best sff anthology from I’m not even sure what ancient year.

So anyway, since it’s the end of the calendar year and I haven’t done this in an extremely long time, I thought I’d do a numbers post. Why not. I think it’s kind of interesting, because I’m going about this in a way that I don’t see often (or at all, ha), and therefore, you don’t hear about this scenario much.

Continue reading Numbers! Been a while.

Stolen valor and edge cases

NOTE FROM LATER: This post was made at a particular point in my Journey(tm). I later specifically walked it back in this post. I no longer agree with basically anything I said in this post, but I’m not deleting it. Sometimes we say stupid shit along the way. That’s a thing that happens.

The bio has been up on the site in its current form for a while now, and it’s very unlikely anyone has seen it – but it bothers me enough to write a little piece that I can link to the bio for context. It would be nice if I could do the same to the “about” section of the ebooks… but we’ll start here.

The new bio uses they/them pronouns. However, those aren’t my actual pronouns. I feel bad about lying. No one uses they/them for me. No one sees me on the street and is mystified / unsettled / radicalized by the iconoclasm of my gender. No one is struck wordless by the inability to encapsulate my identity. They see what they see, they label it immediately, we’re done. I am not a sexy mystery, a sylphlike enigma. I’m not even an elfin type. I’m more of an orc. At best.

In other words, a gamine, fashion-forward 19-year-old with great hair who goes to film school and spends their days at protests… that’s not me. I support that person from far away. Rock on. You’re doing great. But that’s not me.

I spent five or so years picking everything about my gender apart, and ultimately had to conclude that I don’t tick all the boxes. I had to walk back all the stuff I pestered my past friends about on social media. An embarrassing mistake. A cautionary tale. I am nothing if not cringe.

It’s funny: I can put up with people using my real pronouns and name in the day to day. It stings, sure. Wears me down, drip drip drip. But it doesn’t grind me into an agonized paste. Still, though, it’s hard to bring myself to do that damage, however small it might be.

That’s my failing as an ally, I think. An area where I want to do better. I don’t want to steal queer valor or mislead people.

I think there aren’t many edge cases out there, or it’s hard to talk about us with bigger issues on the table and enemies at the gate. And it’s important to stay in our lanes and not talk over actual trans people and/or nonbinary people (some of whom define themselves as trans, and some of whom don’t – it’s an overlapping Venn diagram).

I just have minor things in common with the trans community: I don’t enjoy my assigned gender and wish it had been different. It takes a lot of energy to stand being myself, and I have to imagine a different self sometimes to be calm and happy (I realize this is not who I really am, it’s more like a visualization exercise). I was very disappointed with the specifics of how I had to grow up, starting in childhood and intensifying in adolescence.

Unlike trans people, however, I am not part of that community; I am not destroyed by living as my assigned gender; I did not have that inner voice that told me who I truly was from childhood on; I’m not fabulous and talented and unfairly maligned; I don’t have a close-knit circle of trans and queer friends; I don’t have great hair; I can’t dress myself worth a damn; I’m not an artist or an activist, I have a dead-end desk job; I’m dumpy and middle-aged and embarrassing.

I’ll strive to take this tiny grain of common experience and use it to try to be more empathetic, to stay in my lane and fight fellow cis people who use their one life on earth to be assholes. I’m not good at fighting. My innate unlikeability means that my presence in any fight makes my side look bad, so I try to pick my battles very carefully. But it’s all I can do.

(Someday I will write a story about a narrator who’s innately unlikeable in this way, but still tries to be a good person. It’ll be a ride.)

The bio stays for now. I’m doing my best and hope to do better in the future. Fuck TERFs and all other transphobes.

When in doubt, ask. It’s okay to respectfully ask.

Thank you.

New year! Check-in time.

A chain of circumstances led to the realization that I haven’t checked my “author” email in several months, maybe even a year or more. Oh hell, that’s bad. I’m very sorry to anyone who tried to contact me. I don’t expect anyone to contact me, so I don’t look, and sometimes people do. Oops.

So hey, why don’t we take stock at this artificial dividing line between 2020 and 2021? (The new year is on April 1 in my books, let me be salty)

Last time I did this I scored it with a Canadian song that I love, so how about…

(“Whiteout Conditions”, the New Pornographers)

(Last time it was this one; I still love it, and I learned how to play it on ukulele this year, which tickles me to no end)

(I’m from the US, not Canada; y’all just have some musicians that I like. Plus socialized medicine)

Continue reading New year! Check-in time.