Worrying

I used to do this thing in college where I gnawed on the inside of my lip. It created a bump, and I just kept fucking chewing it. When I developed the “anxiety bean” in college, I was dealing with a bunch of fucked up shit, and I managed pretty well mentally, but the physical manifestation was a slight cause for concern. My dentist noticed the bump, and he called in his father, also a dentist at the practice and an absolute asshole to boot, to take a look. The guy glanced in my mouth for all of five seconds, looked me dead in the eye, said, “You’re giving yourself cancer,” and walked out.

Well, thanks Motherfucker, DDS, I’m just chewing the ever loving shit out of my mouth because I’m riddled with anxiety, but that news is like the sound of the ocean, the smell of lavender, and petting a cat all at once. Maybe that was just a scare tactic, but I did eventually stop and, as far as I know, didn’t develop oral or any other kind of cancer. But, exciting news, everyone: it’s back!

There was a short time earlier this month that I thought maybe it had never actually gone away. It seemed like it was a normal part of my mouth and like gnawing on it was what I was supposed to do, but I know the truth: there was a long stretch of time I didn’t have this–almost a fucking decade–and there’s a reason it’s back now.

I have almost none of the stressors I had back in college, and when I look around everything in my life is absolutely amazing. I still have anxiety, but it’s much more manageable than it’s ever been in the past. So what the fuck, anxiety bean? I thought you’d fucked off for good?

I may have figured it out today. I was reading an article about Roy Moore and the “school” he was part of that detailed all the ways that those involved believed that women were not their equals. And I was chewing like a fucking cow on cud. Moore has been accused of abhorrent behavior with underaged girls, as I’m sure you know since the news is everywhere, but he’s not the only abuser who’s been highlighted in the media. Every day something new comes out about someone, and I think that’s great (not that it happened, but that it’s being brought into the open), but apparently this is taking some kind of fucked up emotional toll on me that I was not prepared for at all.

As probably most women will admit, we already live with this little cloud following us all the time that reminds us to do things a certain way, and it’s extra fucked up because it’s basically reminding you to not be complicit in your own rape/murder because if it happens IT’S YOUR FAULT. Sometimes you can almost totally silence it, sometimes it’s looming and booming over you, but mostly it’s just kind of there, hovering on the horizon, prompting you to get your keys out before you head to the car. But now the sky always feels stormy. I’m no more afraid of anyone or more aware that this shit happens all the time, it’s just constant and so real and raw now.

I’m not advocating for these allegations to go away. This shit is important and in the end will hopefully lead to more openness and less harassment and assault, and my reaction to it doesn’t really matter, so fuck this blog post all together, but it’s just interesting how something like this can affect a person. When I compare me now to me about 10 years ago, my situation is so drastically different, and yet I’m having this same pretty intense stress reaction that I’ve only experienced one other time in my life. How are these things equitable?

And on top of that, I consider my experiences, while harrowing in their own right, to be nothing compared to what I know other women have faced, and yet my whole person is off. How are others coping? How have they coped all along? How have women stayed so sane for so long? (By so long I mean the history of the entire human race, by the way.)

Anyway, the point is, everything is the fucking worst, and I don’t know how to transition out of that to NaNoWriMo without making the above seem like an excuse for the below, so here goes: I FAILED.

I’m closing out NaNo at 31,882 words. I actually don’t consider that a failure since it’s more than I’ve written in probably a couple years, so I’m incredibly proud to have done that and to essentially be back on the writing wagon. But I’m so fucking glad it’s over. On the bright side, come January Vacancy will begin being posted again, and I’m pumped about all the content to come. Also, tomorrow is December 1st which means blogmas begins! Will I fail at that too? Will the anxiety bean grow? Only time will tell! So stay tuned for more upbeat posts about sexual assault and serials. (Shit, idea for a band name!)

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So Close, But Still So Far

There are just nine more days of NaNo, including today. NINE. That doesn’t seem like enough for 20,000 more words, but it really needs to be because ya girl is BEHIND.

On the plus side, this is the farthest I’ve ever come. I’m still excited about what I’m writing, I’m confident it can be edited into something really fun, and I’m so happy to be creating regularly again. Also, I’m creating content for this site which I’m pumped about. Of the cons, though, I feel overwhelmed and terrified of failure. I’ve been reminding others that it’s not really failure to not make it to 50k, and that’s true, but it’s a jagged pill to swallow nonetheless (thanks Alanis – you guys been listening to the new PopRocks channel on Sirius? #notspon).

So I’ve been pumping myself up for this last push, but the end comes during one of the most busy times of the year: American Thanksgiving. And it got me thinking; this is fucking dumb.

This is one of the worst times to be trying to write a novel, to be isolating yourself from your family and adding a bunch of extra stress on yourself. What the hell were they thinking? Well, I know the answer: they weren’t. I don’t care that they say it was “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather,” they really picked November because it starts with an N-O and that’s more marketable. They were creating a website after all.

But we do it anyway, and we’re all probably better for it in the end. In fact, I’m hoping it’s a nice place to escape to if all hell breaks loose at the giving of the thanks gathering. I guess it’s an all-in thing: if I can do this, I can do anything. Right?

One of my bigger regrets is not posting enough during November here, but I do have at least four drafts, so get ready for some nonsense in December. That’s just to say that’s why I’m posting this now, to fill the void, which is really not a good reason to post a blog, but on the other hand, I DO WHAT I WANT.

Also, I’m headed to DC for Thanksgiving, so I hope I come back with some solid post ideas that aren’t just me flipping off the White House because I do want to keep my job. Wish me good luck!

 

My Own Worst Enemy

I know I probably come off as a pretty angry person due to these posts, and you probably imagine me yelling at people a lot in real life, but, Dear Reader, I promise you, I’m actually pretty chill. Some might even call me nice. Too nice. Nice to the point where I let people walk all over me on occasion. And so nice I will walk all over myself.

Someone was on the phone while in the bathroom at work today. The public restroom. Talking. I really want to not care what people do, but I wish people wouldn’t try to hold phone conversations in echo chambers because I am such a spaz that I insist on being extra quiet so I don’t disturb them. How fucked up is that? The answer is: totally fucked.

And it’s no one’s problem but my own, I acknowledge that wholeheartedly, but this is the person that I am, and if bitching about it on the internet is my only reprieve then just let it be, okay?

So someone’s in the disabled stall on their phone having their conversation, and I’m being extra dainty in my stall, not that anything I’m doing would make that much noise, mind you, since I don’t shit at work. But I’m being delicate and quiet nonetheless.

It’s also the first day of my period, so I’ve got a tampon in my pocket. I pull it out extra quietly, and I open the wrapper even more quietly than I would normally because gods forbid the other women in the restroom know what you’re doing in the privacy of your own stall which happens to also be the only fucking place you could possibly change a tampon anyway.

So in taking extra care to be quiet, I inexplicable also am very soft-handed, barely gripping the plastic applicator. Don’t interrupt the woman speaking very loudly about her child to someone who is not doing a very good job watching them, I hiss at myself, disposing of the wrapper. And then, tragedy. A perfectly good tampon slips out of my hands and onto the disgusting public restroom floor.

I binned it, of course, and since it’s day one I had to create a makeshift toilet paper pad and waddle back to my desk where I decided to wait it out til I had to pee again which was inevitably less an hour later.

It ended up being totally fine because whatever, that’s life, right? But I’m really amazed at myself here. Amazed at the idiocy. Why did I let that happen? Why can my grip be so easily influenced by some stranger who I know, logically, would not care if they heard me fiddling with sanitary products and even if they did care THAT’S RIDICULOUS AND NOT MY PROBLEM? Why is this who I am?

I pondered this for way too long today. It even depressed me a little. But then, THEN, there was a tub of chocolates left out for our department and honestly, it mattered so very little after that. I almost stopped asking myself why I do this to myself.

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A Question For You (seriously, please comment)

Let’s do a creative exercise, shall we? This is a game I like to play with Husband on occasion, but I’ve elaborated here a lot. You don’t have to post your answers, but by god would I love it if you did.

Tell me about yourself. Not current dimensional timeline you. Tell me about you in dimension 104-D where alternate reality you is a pop* superstar. I want to know the following:

Your stage name or band name (or both!):
You music sounds like a mix between these two artists:
Instrument/s played (voice counts):
First Single:
World tour theme:
Compilation album title:
Name of another famous person you’re rumored to have hooked up with:
Name of the musician you do a Christmas duet with AND the song:
Name of the film or TV show (can be fictional, but please elaborate) you inexplicably guest star in and the role you play:
Your favorite candle scent:
That time you fucked up but everyone forgave you for it because you’re so damn awesome:

*Pop = popular, not pop music per se, BUT IT CAN BE.

Day 7

It’s been seven days of NaNo. This is exhausting, but I’m able to actually keep up the pace. How? I’ve got a lot of support behind me this time. People alongside me, working their butts off and being inspiring, people supporting me and letting me bounce ideas off of them. It’s making writing feel like more of a community event than it’s ever been.

But the truth is, writing is one of the most singular things you can do. Sure you can brainstorm, share, workshop, but in the end it’s your words. You choose what to cut and keep, what ideas get carried out, what you want to give to the reader. And that’s scary.

I’m becoming increasingly worried I’m producing lower and lower quality stuff. I know, in some ways, that’s the point, and I’m hoping to come to a break point where I finally clear out all the nonsense and start mining gold. Does that seem reasonable? Does that ever happen to anybody?

I hit 11,678 words a moment ago, and I’m both elated and disappointed. I wanted to be further along, but I’m so much further than I thought I could be. I’m worried I made a mistake working on Vacancy which is already a mish mosh of things, a million tiny stories to be tacked together. I didn’t do enough prep, I need to straighten these characters out a bit more, but on the other hand I love actually bringing them to life. I had them in my head for so long, I’m happy to evict them. I guess I just need to accept that these pieces are going to need a LOT of rewriting.

If nothing else, I’ve reminded myself that I love writing. Even though this makes me groan, and tired, and cranky, I’m ultimately much happier for it all. I’m discouraged to have produced crap, but I’m hoping it’s like working out. Yeah, I can only life five pounds and run for about three seconds, but after practicing and pushing myself, I’ll get better. that’s the secret right???

5 Tips to Keep You Going for NaNoWriMo

Seeing as I’m about 1000 words short of where I should be at this point, I figured what better time for me, the learned, prolific author, to craft a blog post of tips to help you, the struggling writing novice, reach your NaNo goals?

Here are my top five tips on how to keep the momentum going through National Novel Writing Month. You are so very welcome.

 

1. Get Snacks

When you’re in writing mode, or even when you’re not but supposed to be, hunger is a distraction you do not need, especially since walking to and from the fridge is a great procrastination tactic. Before sitting down with your laptop, notebook, chalk and slate, whatever, gather a plethora of writerly snicky-snacks to get you through. And when I say writerly, I mean foods inspired by some of the most prolific authors. Shakespeare was notably remembered for loving poutine and, in fact, credited the gravy, cheese-curdy dish for getting him through Hamlet which, coincidentally, he completed during a NaNo event (it was just called The Word Plague back then, and fell in March). Charles Dickinson, along with being paid by the word, credited his prose fertility to Gushers Sour Triple Berry Shock fruit snacks. Tweet at your favorite author, I’m sure they’ll take time out of their own writing schedule to tell you their favorite, inspiring treat.

 

2. Do Sprints

No, I don’t mean the thing where you set a timer for, say, 15 minutes and do nothing but write nonstop. I mean actual sprints–you’re going to need them after downing Jane Austen’s favorite Taco Bell order anyway. So strap on some running shoes and take off. But how will this help my writing? I can hear your unlearned little brains grinding away at the question. Simple: you will hate running so goddamned much, that if you give yourself two choices–run or write–you’re gonna write a fuckton. Also, running gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands because he kept interrupting them.

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3. Get in Touch with Your Muse

Or, at least try to. There are only nine of them and they’re notoriously difficult to get a hold of. Mine is Thalia, and she’s shockingly busy for someone mythological. I send her a text and three days later my inspiration comes in the form of:

sorry, thought i already texted back! LOL! how bout adding in a love triangle to spice things up? LOL IDK  🏺🎭💙

She’s also always asking me to sacrifice a goat to her for better ideas, and I’m like, bitch, who do you think you are, the devil?

 

4. Get in Touch with the Devil

Summoning an imp or even a full-fledged demon is easier than you think, it just takes a handful of candles, a bit of human blood (doesn’t have to be yours), and the all-encompassing desire to trade in your soul for a temporary, earth-while gift that is very likely to backfire on you in some poetic way (which, as a writer, you’ll be too appreciative of to be upset about). Imps are quicker and more reliable than demons to show, even when you get the ritual a little wrong (Latin is hard to pronounce), but their suggestions can be a bit cliche. On the plus side, you can often trick them into trading something else rather than your soul for ideas. I don’t even miss my Nintendo 64. Demons, however, are smarter, so they have amazing suggestions, but can’t be tricked as easily. So here’s a bonus #sataniclifehack for this list: sign away your soul to multiple demons, as many as possible. When you die, they’ll be too busy squabbling over who gets you that you’re bound to be able to slip away into another dimension. Science.

 

5. Get Someone Else To Do It For You

If all else fails, pull a Tom Clancy or James Patterson and just get somebody else to write your NaNo novel for you. This shit’s hard work, just churning out word after word, unsure where the plot’s going, how your characters are growing, if the theme is coming through at all, so you may as well leave the grunt work in someone else’s hands and hire a ghostwriter. Then you can sit back and wait til December. Or January. Or whenever. It’s fine guys, it’s all fiiiiine.

 

Good luck on finishing up your first full week of NaNoWriMo, guys! Remember, you should have at least 8,335 words by midnight tomorrow. So what you’re only halfway there, strap on your sports bra, pick up an E.A. Poe Chai Latte, call up Beelzebub, and get to it!