As a resident of “The South,” aka the southern states of the United States (as if there are no other “southern” regions in all the world, but whatever) I was accustomed to thunderstorms. They’d been a staple in my life for the last twenty-five years, at least, and I really didn’t think anything of them. Usually. Sure, I’d get out of a swimming pool for thunder. Lightening followed as a rule so you really didn’t want to risk being in an open body of water, but otherwise, I didn’t make no never mind. Again, usually.
But as I woke, gasping, the house rattling with the continued booming, I was sure I was about to die. I’d been dead asleep and there was little that would wake me up. This went on. This couldn’t possibly be thunder. It was still going. The house was still shaking. I’d never been in an earthquake so I didn’t know what that was like, but I thought maybe I was finding out now and I should get to shelter in door frame or something because couldn’t be good. The booming overhead though, I didn’t think it was an earthquake. This was probably a plane. And it was probably about to crash into my house. And kill me where I lay in my bed. I closed my eyes again and thought, “Well, if this is it, at least it will be quick.”
The booming faded a little and finally after a few more seconds, stopped. Then, the unmistakable crack of lightening shook my room again but nothing fell to the ground and nothing lit on fire. I was going to live after all. Another bout of thunder rolled over the house, but it wasn’t as intense, it wasn’t as long, and it wasn’t rattling. Just a thunderstorm now. The clouds could no longer bear their heavy weight and I heard the gush of rain against my windows. I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to sleep.
I hit the resistance again today. After having not felt it for a few days, it was annoying to have it back. That’s okay though. I know that these types of things are common. I’m glad to have had some days without the resistance. I’ve read a little more of the book “The Artist’s Way” and I really do want to try her program. At the same time I feel incredibly overwhelmed about the upcoming things I have going on in my life. The next two weeks only involve a couple of weekend trips and a few appointments, but then it’s back to work during the busy season. Fall is always crazy in a way that Spring just never is. We’ll have the week in Atlanta for our sales kick off and then a couple of weeks later I’ll be taking off for DragonCon, plus there will be a visit from J who is coming in from California right before DragonCon. Then September and October tend to be my busiest work months. November is crazy. Honestly between the second week in August and the second week in December, I rarely have time to take a breath. And yes, I realize that there is never a “good time” to start a 12 week program but I think some times are just seriously worse than others. And fall is definitely the worst and busiest part of my year, bar none. At least while I’m working for Scholastic.
At the same time, I have a story to try to write, re-write, edit, and mail by July 25th. And if I’m blocked, I’m screwed. I really wanted to have the first draft written by Wednesday and I have no idea if that is going to happen. If I could get the first draft done by Wednesday, I know I could mail it by the following Tuesday (the 25th) or Wednesday at the latest and I feel like that’s enough time for it to make it to Atlanta by the 1st of August (the following Tuesday). Granted, I supposed I always have the option to just cancel the workshop. It’s just that I know I’d be canceling out of fear. The fear is what has me blocked anyway. It’s hard to be creative when you’re just so damned afraid. The “I have to write something good!” is so hateful to my creative brain and I know I’m not being fair to myself. At the same time, I don’t know how to stop. This lady says she knows how to help. That she can teach that part. I don’t know if she can tell me how to be a better storyteller, I think that’s something I have to learn other places and practice. But she says she does have a system for becoming consistently creative without all the blocked nonsense all the time. She calls it a recovery program, like AA or something. And I think I believe her.
And that’s the thing right? Like, what if she’s right? What if she doesn’t know exactly how to loosen up the strangle hold the inner critic has on my creative self? If that’s the case, how can I possibly justify putting it off?
Not to mention, as frustrating as my job can be and as busy as it can be, I only spend 40 hours there a week. I don’t take my job home with me, ever, and even if I stay until we close at 5pm every day of the week, that still puts me home in the evening with plenty of time to do creative work. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from the last 8 months or so, it’s that I absolutely cannot give up my creative pursuits because to give them up would be to give up on my mental health and that is something I know I cannot do.
She forewarns that it can be a difficult, emotionally exhausting journey, one that I’ll likely want to quit. Which means the other thing standing in my way is fear. Fear of what I’ll find and what I’ll feel and what I’ll have to face. Those aren’t things I can take lightly. I know everyone has a shitstorm of issues inside them - maybe some more than others but still I doubt anyone has been untouched by some sort of trauma at some point. I think we all build up walls of lies in some form or fashion so that we don’t have to face the things we don’t like about ourselves. It’s probably pretty normal to fear that too.
I fear I’ll be too tired from work to be able to handle whatever crises this thing makes me face. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to face what I need to face. I’m afraid I’ll quit.
I mean, I can’t fail if I don’t try, right? Which is, of course, exactly the attitude I’ve been hiding behind for years that I promised myself I wouldn’t let win (at least not on a regular basis anyway) earlier this year.
On top of all this, I go back to work in like two weeks and I’m dreading it. Part of me looks forward to seeing Emily at work all the time and I certainly don’t want to stay on unemployment no matter how much I wish I could retire already. The last few weeks have positively flown by and I know the next two weeks will be gone even faster. I’m trying to savor them, of course but they’ll still go by quickly. I keep hoping that by the end of these next two weeks, when I’m thinking, “Yup, back to work tomorrow,” that I’ll be sort of ready for it. Maybe not bored with being off exactly, I don’t think that’s possible, but ready. Maybe if Fall and Spring were reversed and spring was the busier season and fall was quiet and I could “ease” into going back to work, that would be more likely. And granted, it’s not impossible. It’s a six week break and that’s no small break. It’s really, really not. I mean, how many people get that kind of time off? Teachers, of course, get a bit more than that, but they take their jobs home with them every day. I’d bet those kids are always on their minds. Not to mention all the other crap they put up with, like parents and the government making dumb laws about standardized tests. Granted, I have to put up with a lot of Parent-Teacher-Associations/
Sigh, I’m on a tangent. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I don’t want to start something I’m not committed to doing but I don’t want to not commit to something because I’m being a scared little wuss. I could probably debate this all night. Go round and round with myself about it but I’m not sure that it would help. I think I’ll go try a prompt and then maybe read for a bit. I’ve got a dentist appointment tomorrow so I’ll have to be in bed at an almost reasonable hour tonight.
I did the computer mouse the other day so I thought I'd do the prompt as it was originally described and not as I'd inadvertently read it. It didn't seem right to "check it off" without doing it properly.
I think I’m going to make. I found two more places to submit to, reworked my cover letters, and fired away. I also did the next assignment which was to write the people whose opinions of your writing really matter on a 1 inch by 1 inch piece of paper. I don’t have a ruler so I had to wing it, but I figure no one can complain about me putting three people on the list. I mean, that should be short enough to fit on a 1 square inch piece of paper. Especially if I shortened their names or wrote them really small, right? Anyway, while I’m sure the visual reference is helpful, and I might do it one day, I think the message of the assignment was clear. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m a “spirit of the law” kind of girl and that ain’t gonna change anytime soon.
Part of me wants to power through the other two assignments tonight, but I think I need some rest. I think that I’ll be able to complete them tomorrow more easily and quickly having got some real sleep.
Tomorrow will also hopefully involve some writing something that isn’t a journal entry, but we’ll see. I’m also eager to finish the book I’m listening to. It’s interesting to me that the narrator of the stories isn’t a narrator I’ve been thrilled with in the past but I still think I’d rather stick with listening to the stories instead of reading them. I’m not totally sure, but I am leaning that way. Normally I find her barely tolerable and it’s not like she’s doing such a better job on these than she did on the others I’ve heard by her. Maybe it’s just that these books are so much better than the other books I’ve heard her read. Not that the other books were bad, they weren’t. It’s just that those other books were… “well, that was fun” as opposed to what I’m listening to now which is more like, how can I get five more minutes listening to this book. I know, I’ll empty the dishwasher, that way “I’m being productive” so I won’t feel guilty about how I’m spending this time but I can still listen to the book.
What I’m reading now is by one of my all time favorite writers, Shelly Laurenston. I just relistened to her “Pride” series, which is probably my favorite series by her though her “Call of Crows” series is fantastic too and I enjoyed her “Magnus Pack” series too. This series is under her pen name (I think it’s her pen name and not the other way round), G.A. Aiken. It’s Dragons and witches and warlords and shit. Where her shapeshifter books take place in modern, earth times, Dragon Kin takes place in a world of Dragon Gods and swords. Both epically fun though. You have to have an affinity for cursing, bloodshed, raunchy language, and sort of questionable or unstable main characters, but I find them hilarious and exciting. She’s one of the few authors I still read that doesn’t really pass the “But is it gay?” question. She does have an odd side character (I can think of 2 for sure and a 3rd I suspect) who turns out to be gay, but they’re not developed. Still though, I enjoy her main characters. Her female characters are especially fun to me because they’re usually vicious (though in different ways, sometimes with violence, but sometimes in craftiness) and funny. I mean, one of her characters has the moniker “The Blood Queen” and she’s actually a queen. “The Viper” and “The Beast” are really fun too. “The Beast” is plain and bespectacled and brilliant. One of the characters in the “Pride” series is famous for her favorite saying which she got from her father, “Time to start the killing.” And Cella Malone is a former marine, a bare knuckles boxer, and a hockey player. There’s all kinds of “politics” between shifters and packs and families and it’s just fun. She’s also suppppper diverse with characters who are of a bunch of different backgrounds and descents.
And I’m officially rambling. But seriously, I love that author. She’s got another series she’s going to be doing soon, I think it’s coming out next year that has me really excited.
So now that I’ve blown off some steam writing about the author of the book I want to be reading, I’m going to go listen to the book for a bit and get some sleep.
So to qualify for unemployment I have to apply for jobs and I just so don’t want to. I’ve been working pretty hard with all my stories and online classes and errands. I slept pretty late today. I suspect I was a little worn out. I’m not particularly a morning person and I’ve been up late and up at an almost reasonable hour the last few days. I’ve been awake by 9:30 - 10am which I know is not “early” but it can be for me. I usually need a 10 - 12 hour night every now and then and last night seems to have been the night. I’m still sleepy today. It might be the rain too. Rain often makes me kind of sleepy.
It doesn’t yet feel like I’m on vacation. It just feels like another weekend. I haven’t had a summer off since the first year I worked for Scholastic so I have to say I’m feeling a little nervous about the unemployment thing but also really excited to have six weeks of not going into work. I have about 43 days until I have to go back to work I think. I know that it’s going to go by in flash. I know that I will have barely taken a breath before I’m back there again, but at the same time - 43 days.
I’m feeling a little burned out, I think. I know I'm a little disappointed that my Mrs. Claus story didn't get accepted to the anthology BUT she was very nice and I think she's right about why she passed on it. I'm very much considering re-writing the story and submitting it again later. Her submissions are done, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't fit anywhere else eventually if I work on it.
I’m reading “The Artist’s Way” right now, well I just started it really. One of the things she’s mentions is “morning pages” - three handwritten pages every morning to help get your shit out of your way at the beginning of the day (or at least that’s what it sounds like from what I’ve read so far which again hasn’t been much). I find that idea intriguing and I'm looking forward to seeing what other things she has in store. She recommends reading the book through once before you get started with the activities. I have a copy checked out from the library but I found a copy on ThriftBooks and it’s currently on it’s way to me. I’m hopeful that it will arrive today in the mail so that it will be there when I get home tomorrow. But it isn't a big deal if it takes a few more days for that book and the other couple of books I ordered to get to me especially since I have the library book for a few more days.