Dancing Lights Behind My Eyes

First of all, I apologize for the extreme lateness of this post.  I have just submitted a novella to a publisher for consideration for an anthology.  I’ve been working frantically on that for the majority of December.  I am exceedingly blessed to have two very dear friends who are willing to go through the ringer with me.  I use them as sounding boards, as handkerchiefs, as praise monkeys, and as my first-round editors.  You are dreams, and I adore you both so incredibly much.  Thank you.

And for full disclosure, my spare time has been eaten up by a Qunari named Signify.  Signify has been dubbed the Herald of Andraste and she’s in the process of growing the influence of the Inquisition.  I have enjoyed the other two Dragon Age games I have played thus far, but Inquisition has taken the cake.  I would gladly spend the next four days glued to the tv and controller, but for the need for editing.

I do miss Fenris, though.

I am working on the second round of edits for the piece to be published next year.  This round has been more difficult.  There is, of course, the reiteration of my weak points from the first round, but also a basic questioning of some of the nomenclature in the story.  The point both of the editors have made is exceedingly valid: reader confusion, mental changes to the characters, a lack of “history” for the race itself based on common interpretations of the used words.  And though I can see this validity, though I agree with it, I still have some part of me utterly opposed to changing it.

It isn’t an opposition of “This is my story and I’ll do what I like with it.”  It’s not a difference of views; I see and agree with the argument.  This is something entrenched within my breast, something that is reviled by changing the nomenclature.  Repulsed.  Refusal.

The frustrating part of this is that I can’t say why I am so against the change.  I’m not sure why this is so important to.. that world or my subconscious or whatever it might be.  But this isn’t the first time something inside has decided things without my conscious mind knowing.  So I shall endeavour to stop fighting it and simply let it rise to the surface, to surprise me when I least expect it.  Then the world-building will be clear, the decision made valid, and the next story– should there be one– can grow properly.

Happy Holidays!

This is a time for families, a time for cheer.  It’s notorious for being stressful and overwhelming.  Take some time for you today.  A cup of tea watching the snow fall.  A cool beverage as you walk along the beach.  Listening to your favourite music– perhaps avoiding Christmas music altogether!– and letting you be you in your own way.

Happy holidays, my dear adventurers.  Be content in yourself, even as we continue to find our way.

Control: of Self

Self-control is a very interesting thing to think about.  Everyday, I make choices that are me choosing to rein in my impulses and my reactions.  And everyday I’m subjected to people who choose to not control their impulses or reactions.  It always raises the question: why do I have to control myself when no one else has to?

Of course, that’s not exactly how the world is, but that is certainly how it feels.  In some instances, trying to empathize does nothing to make me feel more content in having to control myself.  Sometimes it does help to try to imagine what’s going on in their world.  Look for that empathy not to justify them, but more to help yourself to deal.

Segue 1: I play a dice rolling game from time to time.  It involved a die with a cheese, a cat, and some footprints.  You want to eat as much cheese as you can without getting caught by three cats.  Simple game.  As with many such things, it was incredibly frustrating at first.  I would be able to get maybe 2 or 3 cheeses and then the cats would get me.  And somehow, the computer would be able to get 12.  It takes 13 cheese to win.

I would get incredibly angry because of the game ‘cheating’.  Making the odds better for itself when there’s no way a game could even begin to care who won.

Segue 2: I once read part of this self-help book about the battle in one’s mind.  And the authors tried to relay this concept of instead of trying to win the fight– against anxiety, depression, cognitive distortions– simply stepping away and not taking part in the tug-of-war for control.  The wording they used was baffling to me; that book was not a good match for me at that time, however, I find myself thinking of the concept from time to time.

Tie in to Segue 1: As I play my ridiculous little game, I finally just gave up on it.  Not that I don’t still play it– it is a beautifully mindless game– but now I’m not trying to win.  I’m simply trying to observe who gets the best run of cheeses.  Or who gets eaten by the cat first.  The  most worked up I get now is when the computer has, like, 10 cheeses, but only one cat, so I know it’s going to roll again though it should really just take the 10 cheeses it has, blast it!  It’s no longer a question of ‘winning’.  It is a bout of observation.

Tie in to Main Point: I am not right.  I am not wrong.  I am.  As they teach in DBT and Cog therapy, non-judgmental stance.  I control myself because that is the only thing I have control of.  I cannot make anyone else do anything or change their behaviours.

It’s not an easy way to be.  I’d rather people simply did what I think is right.  I wish they would be considerate and respectful of others.  I wish they’d just give me a break when I’m tired.  But those are all my opinions.  As much as I’d like to think that the world revolves around me, I must admit that it does not.

Nor does it revolve around you, dear adventurer.  May we continue our journey with less judgements on others.  As my therapist says, ‘There is no right answer.  There is a you answer.’

Empty Skies With Empty Eyes

Sometimes the distinction between reality and dreams seems inconsequential.  What matters when everything is pain and everything is joy?  The world is as bright as it is dark.  Shall that denote your dreams?  Or your life?

I often dream such things that my waking mind does not realize were merely the wisps of the dream.  So I awake and go about my day, and everything is as it is until, suddenly, I realize that this fact that has been sitting in the back of my mind is not actually a true fact.  A dream fact.  A wisp of the dream.  That’s all it is and nothing more.

It’s jarring.  Disorienting.  My eyes stare at the embodiment of this dysfunction and I wonder how many more facts are actually figments of the sleeping mind.

The Decision Is Yours

I was sent my first round of edits the other day and completed my changes yesterday.  It wasn’t difficult to do, exactly, but it was mentally trying.  My biggest fear is that through my tweaks I’ve made aspects of the overall story strange.  Fortunately, I have an editor to help with that.

I’ve also been directed to make choices in regards to cover art. This is… Mind boggling.  It is one thing to know that this will occur and that I will have some input into the process, and another entirely to be given a whole slew of options to choose and work from.  It is for this reason, dear adventurer, that this post is coming so late.  I thought the hardest part was done– writing the story.  I expected editing to be a bit harrowing.  I did not realize that the other portions of this process were going to be equally baffling.

Nevertheless, the fear and anxiety I have faced do not undermine the accomplishment I am achieving.

Keep on, my dears.  The road is rough.  The road is filled with potholes and rocks and even lumps of others waiting to trip you up.  But you can make it.  The road does not determine your path.  Your journey is your own.

Could You Use It In a Sentence, Please?

Yesterday I had the dubious…. well, it certainly wasn’t an honour.  It was actually a great deal of exasperation.  At the table next to mine, I was ‘blessed’ with getting to hear a gentleman discussing a series of topics of which he proclaimed himself quite the expert.  It was terribly enlightening in some horrifying ways.

One of the things I find extremely interesting is to listen to the conversations that go on around me.  This is purposefully eavesdropping, but it’s based entirely on an interest in the flow of conversation and insights into the complexities of other people’s lives.  Sometimes I find myself so impressed with others and just how interesting and amazing they are, even knowing that they don’t necessarily find themselves as such.  Other times, though, I find myself just wondering how this person could even be a thing.

Zoom in on yesterday.  This fine gentleman was a rather incredibly terrible fellow.  Beyond the extremely racist types of comments, he was also incredibly pushy and insistent on how he was correct and the women he was speaking with were wrong.

To me, this was an eye opening experience.  As someone who tries to be understanding, accepting, and allow for the truth that any one person’s opinion does not exist as an absolute, quite a few of the things this man said was mind-boggling.  Like most people, I expect people to react as I react; this is merely a fact of human nature. We learn to be accepting of how others think, of how they’ll react, but, baseline, we expect people first to react as we would react.

Therefore, I naturally expect each person to try to be kind to each other, to be aware of other’s personal space and boundaries.  I understand on an intellectual level that not everyone is that way, but, deep down, I believe that people will treat each other with… well, human decency.

I will not go into his comments or actions and, instead, will focus on my reactions.  I went from aghast to irritated to angry to just so incredibly baffled that I could hardly process my emotions at all.  It is incomprehensible to me that people such as that gentleman can actually exist; he seemed more like a villain from a 90’s cartoon than a thinking human being.  I cannot fathom why one’s gender would make a difference on their suitability for a job.  Their skill set should be that determination.  I cannot understand how one skin color, one ethnicity can be ‘better’ than another.  We are all human; skinned we would all appear the same.

Who and what you are is a person; you are no more right or wrong than anyone else.  Those around you are also people and they are no more right or wrong than you.

Excuse Me, May I Ask a Question

What is creativity?  What brings pleasure? What defines joy and happiness?  Can they be so deeply understood at all?  It seems as though they are mere drops in the ocean (of emotion); no piece of happiness will ever by the same as the next.  No moment is re-creatable.  Every drop is instantly changed and unique because of those around it.  It can never be now what it was before, and what it is currently can not be achieved in the future.

And if each moment is changing, so is the emotion within it.  So though I am frustrated by losing my progress earlier, this moment does not have to remain one of irritation.  Because I am changing this second, this breath.

They say you cannot know joy without sadness.  I don’t think I agree at all.  The rose is not more beautiful because it has thorns.  However, it is true that your joy may be more poignant after the tears have dried.  Perhaps the beauty of that rose can be repaid with the knowledge that though it has wounded you, you have killed it to claim your prize.

Or perhaps that’s simply my dark side.


The Question of Concentration

Last night I received an email from my Senior Editor.  I have a Senior Editor.  I wish to hold this feeling within me forever.  To fill a small bubble of time with this sense of wonder to inspect even as I begin to lose it.  It fades, moment by moment, simply because the seconds tick by.  If I try hard enough, could I remember how this feels next month?  Next year?  At the end of my time on this earth?  Will my attempts to hold to it merely make it fade faster?

It took a few tries to reply to my editor.  As I tried to answer her questions, my mind would drift.  To wonder.  To fear.  To the myriad things I needed to get done.  It was as though my mind was shying away from taking another step down the path I’ve been dreaming of following.  I find myself re-evaluating so many tasks based on the fact that I’m finally starting my career.  I don’t want to spend as much time on silly projects when I can focus on my next story.  I want to focus and, at the same time, I’m afraid to focus.



A New Day of Wonder and Fear

Do you ever fear judgement?  Not like in a court of law– though that does sound exceedingly frightful– but the “mere” day to day judgements.  How you look, how you sound, how you appear to others.

Today I received information about an incident occurring among some acquaintances of mine and I’m exceedingly frustrated about it.  To me, it seems very clear cut, because it’s not something I would do.  And at the same time, I know that this is going to be a very difficult topic to broach with them because they are emotionally involved in it.  I am afraid of this upcoming confrontation.  There is some ambiguity related to the incident that needs to be addressed and, beyond that, there are the people involved.  These are not people I see face-to-face; they are people who type and reach out through the keys of their keyboards to try to make their hearts known.

As John Green often notes, we need to think of others complexly, as human beings with needs, feelings, and desires.  They are people.  They matter.  Especially, I think, since I disagree with them.  My point of view hardly decides the reality of the world at large.  It is too big for any one person to define.  So I sit here and think about the situation and how I should respond.  I cannot fathom why they have made the decisions they have, and— the all important connector sayeth my therapists– I don’t have to understand or agree with them in order to treat them well.  The only thing truly under my control is myself, and I choose to comport myself in a manner that I will be proud of later.

And so, as I grapple with my own thoughts and opinions, as I center myself again with a prayer and diaphragmatic breathing, I remind myself that they are real human beings, unknowable and beautiful.  Within them is a story that I cannot comprehend, and that is beautiful in of itself.