¿Qué pasa?

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For some reason ‘what’s up?’ makes a better title in Spanish.

I’m doing better. Thank you for writing to me with messages of solidarity and hope; I appreciated them more than you know.

I spent a weekend with my fur-niece, and though she didn’t snuggle with me as much as she used to, it was such a great stress-free time. I may also have absorbed a few things that my sister-in-law does around the house, which gave me something more to plan for/do.

I’m (very slowly) writing a little project that for now is just for me, but it’s a long term project, that will involve a lot of trial and error. When I finish it, if there’s interest in it, I’ll look at publishing it, but under either my real name or a different pseudonym – because it wouldn’t fit with what I write under this one.

I’m working on Mrs TeddyBear’s blanket, while watching assorted things on Netflix, some before they are gone forever. But I’m probably going to run out of wool while she’s on her two month European whirlwind vacation.

I’ve had an idea about what I can do with some of my fabric scraps, but I’m not ready to share it yet. I have to talk to my Dad about making a tool for the project.

I even have an idea for some paid employment, sort of, which is always good.

Things are looking up for me, especially since I’m also writing, which is, of course, what it’s all about.

I hope that you are all staying warm, or cool as the case may be, and doing okay. Please, please ask for help if you need it, no matter what the reason.

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Staring At A Blank Page

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I’m not sure how long I sat here staring at this page before I finally started writing.

Too long.

I’m not sure what to write, in some ways.

Today’s a bad day. On the roller-coaster. There’s been too many of them lately.

I’ve been writing, which is good. But I’ve been affected by what I’m writing, which is less good.

I’ve recently crashed the fictional plane my characters were on, and they’re a bit fragile at the moment. The problem is so am I.

Sometimes I can slaughter characters left and right. And sometimes it feels like hacking off my own leg (can’t be an arm, how would I write?). Thing is, this time they aren’t dying. Traumatised, banged up, but alive, and they’re going to stay that way. And this is the time that it hurts. It’s not even the first time I’ve done this to these characters.

I took a few days off from writing them, to do some unrelated writing. It didn’t help.

I did some domestic tasks. They didn’t help.

I ate junk food. It didn’t help.

I’ve invited people to spend time with me, and they’re actually coming. I want to cancel, because I feel as if they’ll turn up and see how damaged I am, and tut at me because it’s got to be my fault somehow. And I know it’s a load of horse manure.

I’m okay. But I’m also not okay.

Right now the worst of it is, feeling guilty for being depressed without a reason. Nothing has happened to me, I haven’t lost anyone, I have actually found out and long since begun treating my physiological health issue (it’s the first time that I’ve felt so good, physically, in such a long, long time). Despite all the reasons not to be depressed, here I am.

For me, I would like it if you would check on your friends, just turn up, offer hugs, and closeness, a willing ear. If you can, offer to take them out, to somewhere peaceful, and beautiful, a beach, or then botanic gardens, a nature walk, maybe they will want to go to a cafe, maybe they won’t. If they won’t leave the house, offer to help them do domestic tasks, they probably won’t want them done for them, but doing those tasks alone when you’re depressed can seem insurmountable.

My Birthday

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There is something you should know about my birthday… I refer to it often as I make my plans for whatever bonanza I’ve got in the works. But that birthday belongs to the flesh vehicle… for want of a better phrase. I joke to my friends about being two different people, because I named one of the ‘voices’. But I do not have dissociative identity disorder, nor do I have a condition that means I hear voices.

I consciously create voices, it’s literally part of my job. I’m a writer, characters need voices – and so I give them what they need, or I try to. But I gave myself a pen name, because I didn’t want what I write to affect my real life. Talia Nyx, is not the name I was given 32 years ago when I came into the world, it’s the name I gave myself. You might be asking how my writing could affect my real life, but there are some professions that come with background checks, and not all of my writing is fluffy, or clean. Mostly those projects that would affect my ability to get work have been sidelined, because I’m growing and moving past them.

Somehow I got side tracked from the birthday part of this post… but everything above stands. It’s who I am.

So, My Birthday. The Flesh Vehicle has her birthday only a day or so out from the Spring Equinox, and she enjoys that quirk of fate more than most people understand.

But Talia, since she was chosen, no fate required, her birthday was also chosen. February 29th, because it rarely exists. Much like the way Talia is simply an aspect of my personality that got a name. Her name is real, her work is real, but she’s an aspect, a corner in the Flesh Vehicle’s mind, it seemed fitting that they would have opposite seasons for their birthdays, and that Talia barely have one at all.

I know you can’t tell, but I find that to be deeply amusing.

Of course now I’m curious, if you could choose, when would you have your birthday? Or rather, if you have/were to have an aspect of your personality that got a name and a birthday what would they be?

The Reason Why…

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*The title was an unintentional play on 13 Reasons Why, but I like it anyway so I kept it
– on a side note, Suicidal Ideation is not a part of my Mental Illness.

I’m not writing to give you an insiders view of my Mental Illness, so there should be no triggering statements. I’m writing to tell you why I write so often about the state of my Mental Health, especially since this blog is about my life as an author.

Living with Mental Health issues, whatever they may be, affects every part of your life. You can’t hide from it, you can’t have a part of your life that is kept secret from it. This means that it affects my art, my cooking, my crafting, my reading, my friends, my son, my house, my garden, my clothing, my technology. Because these things and people (and more) are affected by my Mental Health, good,  bad, or otherwise. And yes, in this case there is an otherwise. I write less, or more; how I write changes, both in terms of my language and in terms of my handwriting. I keep a journal, because it is a positive step in maintaining good (or at least not bad) Mental Health, and I can tell at a glance where I was on the Roller coaster before I even read the entry.

I know that I’m not in a good place when my friend who is an introvert, and thus is not a huge fan of going out for the sake of going out, says that I need to get out of my house and she’s going to make sure that I do. I may not have even noticed that I’d been avoiding going outside, let alone anywhere else.

I’ve been having a hard few years in some ways, because I’ve been struggling to write my fiction. I haven’t finished anything to send to my Editor in 4 years, or more.  I have four open stories on my hard drive, waiting for me to finish them. I’ve reached the point where I need to scrap one entirely, finish the world building on another – and then start again (because I love it, but it’s gotten so lost that I can’t resurrect it in the same document), and two more that I just need to take the time to write. While giving counselling to my characters, because they are gaining neuroses after being neglected for so long.
On top of that, there is what Mrs Teddybear and I have taken to calling the November curse because ever since I took over as Municipal Liaison for my NaNoWriMo region, something has gone wrong in November. Now looking at that statement you might think that I believe it has something to do with being the ML, but I really don’t. All of the things that have ever gone wrong for me in November have absolutely nothing to do with NaNoWriMo or writing, and they are predominantly not to do with my Mental Health either, though they do affect it dramatically. I tend, then, not to go back to that piece of work for many months.

Conversely, good Mental Health can be as detrimental to my writing as bad Mental Health; because instead of writing I’m out being social, or I’m in my garden, or doing my housework, or cooking interesting new foods, and throwing dinner parties. But that’s okay, life is a roller coaster, and the time when I write always comes back around.

You might even say that getting my stories under control, in some way, was one of my new year’s resolutions. I’m assessing my work, for viability and giving time to those that need it. My aim is to have one piece ready to go to my Editor (if she’ll still edit for me) by my birthday.

It might sound hokey, but the key to dealing with my Mental Health issues, and how they affect everything in my life, is very simply having a plan, and it starts with a simple step: acknowledge and accept it. Sometimes the second step is to have dessert for breakfast, and sometimes it’s to watch every one of my favourite comedies, it all depends on where I find myself on that roller coaster.

Something that reminds me of why the plan is important is the truth behind a short statement, for which I cannot remember where I heard it or when (but I have a weird feeling that it was a movie…): It takes ten times longer to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart.
This is why the plan is important, it helps you to keep it together, or it helps put you back together. And the plan should always include a support system made up of people. Some of those people should be medical professionals. You might not need them every time you get to the bottom of a dip on the roller coast, but some of those dips don’t go very far down, and others feel like they go all the way the dark, cold, silent places of the earth.

The other reason that I write about it, is so that you all know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there are hands stretched out in the dark you only have to grab them. That other people have dark holes, and roller coasters, and you are not alone. I am here, with my arm stretched out to you in the dark. There is nothing to be ashamed of, seek the help you need, even though it’s hard.

Happy 2019 to You All!

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We’re a little over a week into the new year, and I’ve made some small goals, that I seem to be on track to achieve… so far.

I’ve started a new journal – which is to say that I filled the last one, and had to move into an new one. But in it I’ve started implementing small changes, that I found in a couple of YouTube videos about Bullet Journals. One of which is a page that I am using to keep track of what Blog posts I owe you.
Concerningly, four of them are Literary Food posts, and three are reviews. I promise, now that I know they need doing, I’ll get to the first one in short order.

I’m starting out my new year with a project – one that my alter-ego [or perhaps original-self is more accurate…] is undertaking. But it is going to be a lot of fun.

Also on my list of little changes, is scheduling time to write more often – rather than just as the whim strikes me, which is how I’ve been writing outside of NaNo for a couple of years now, and I don’t like it.

I wish you all a pleasant and hopeful 2019.

Adjustments

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When you have an alter-ego, or separate identity (non-dissociate), occasionally you have to work to slip into them.
I’m sure it sounds quite silly to anyone who doesn’t have ‘another’ name that they use regularly, but this year, I have really struggled to pull ‘Talia’ out of the mothballs. More than a few people who know ‘Not-Talia’, also know ‘Talia’, and may have trouble telling them apart – except for the tiny distinction, Talia writes the books.

Talia is the hyper organised one, she is the one making phone calls starting in September (usually) so that we have the space for our Write-Ins come November. Don’t get me wrong ‘Not-Talia’ can organise too, but she’s the party planner, and there’s nothing she loves more than a good party.

But this year… it almost feels like Talia didn’t move into the forever home with us. Or perhaps she just can’t face another mid-November. At our Kick-Off (which was yesterday) I normally remember to say ‘Talia’, but yesterday it was ‘Not-Talia’. Fortunately for me, everyone who was there was familiar with both of the people who live in my head.

In less cryptic news, I found the speaker with which I fill our Write-Ins with a particularly eclectic playlist. So, Yay for that! Now I just need to scan a couple of bits and get them to the nice lady at the library who is going to put them on the Jumbotron [aka The Cube].

I hope everyone else is more ready for NaNoWriMo 2018 than I/We are. See you Thursday.

NaNo NaNo NaNo and Other Interesting Remarks

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First of all, please just let me apologise, ever so briefly, for the title of this post. I couldn’t help myself, but I love it. Don’t read too much into it, it’s purely for my own amusement, because apparently I’m a child.

I’m all set for NaNo, I just need to find the speaker, and pick up individually wrapped lollies – because it’s not sanitary to throw unwrapped lollies across a room.

Not sure how many of you have actually read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I’ve recently finished it for the first time. It was so good! But unfortunately, I can’t write a proper review for it, because I watched the 2005 film before ever reading it, and as such it has coloured my perspective. It was definitely good though, and I can absolutely recommend it.

I’ve also recently subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, on a trial basis, I’m not sure yet if I’ll keep it or not. If it saves me money, I’ll most likely keep it. I guess it’s going to depend how many books I’m reading using it, versus how many I’m buying. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t work out, I hadn’t realised that it’s a library-type service, which suddenly makes a lot of sense – sometimes it’s like I’m stupid, but really what happened is that I literally didn’t think about how it worked before.

One of my dear friends, who has been named by my son – Aunty Movie Lady – [guess how she chose to spoil him when he was little] has recently had a little boy of her own, and I’m officially way behind schedule on the baby blanket I’m making for her. So that is going to be my project for the week.

I’ve bought garden fertiliser, and given all my established vegetable plants a boost, as well as the yams I planted today. I still need to go to the garden supply store (it’s only about a ten minute walk from my house – so I don’t really have an excuse), and pick up at least one more variety of vegetable to plant, a girl can’t live on beetroot, carrots, yams, and herbs alone.

I had been planning to start saving (to go back to university to finish my degree) this coming week, but I think what I’ll actually do, is get all my vegetable seeds and accoutrements so that my vegetable garden will be established – which makes for very cheap, if not quite free food – first. I’ll the my parents and their ardent green thumbs fuss about the flower garden, as long as I don’t kill all the flowers that I like to cut and bring inside, I’ll be happy.

One of many projects that I have ‘on the go’ is progress toward zero waste living, aka my inner urban hippy. In this house we aren’t vegan, and while we don’t eat a lot of meat, that has more to do with the budget than genuine vegetarian leanings. But, we do use a lot, of [cow’s] milk, we have, in recent months, nearly tripled our consumption of milk – because I’ve been making smoothies-ish to replace the meals I haven’t been eating because of Nemo (though I’m on a treatment plan now, and I’ll know in a week or so if that’s helping). Research as always is my friend, and it turns out that you can make your own nut milk, and/or oat milk; so we’ll try switching over about half of our milk consumption to homemade oat milk, as it’s cheaper to make than almond, and I find (the bought variety) just as palatable as almond. I’m also making bulk buy bags, and I’ll start doing more of my shopping in person, for one thing, and with a number of trips to a number of stores, Binn Inn (bulk supplies) for the not so speciality items, Taste Nature for the speciality items and organics (if only I could buy more organics), and Vege Boys for the produce that I can’t grow, I even have cotton, reusable produce bags. Where possible, I want to buy without extra/unnecessary packaging, and as little plastic as possible. We’ve already switched to metal straws, on the rare occasion that we use them, and I’ve bought some second hand cutlery to make up little cutlery packs so that we don’t need plastic cutlery when we are out, and I have keep cup for when I have coffee out, but I need to get another one for Beastie. We also use wax wraps instead of plastic wrap, which we no longer have. Beastie loves his two, that he always uses in his lunch. To quote from an Instagrammer (whose name I can’t remember), and The Equaliser (2014), “Progress, not perfection”, but it only works if you keep taking steps, keep making progress. I can’t compare myself to other people I know who are further along the road to zero waste living, nor to people who are only beginning, and I’ve got to make it work with/within the resources that I have, and that are within my reach. I’m going to leave it at that, or I’ll risk a rant/preaching ‘thing’ escaping.
(^^^ see I told you about my inner urban hippy.)

As a little bonus before I go, I have a couple of literary food recipes that I need to get onto, from a book I acquired using Kindle Unlimited. They are high up on my to do list, but it’s been a long while since I tried any literary foods.

That’s about it for today, hopefully I’ll see some of you in a couple of weeks for NaNo Kick-off.

Love and kisses, Zaphod… I mean Talia…

Home Truths

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Did you know that although it’s been years since I wrote my first blog post, I had put it off for years beforehand? I put it off quite easily in fact, by asking myself one simple question: What could be so interesting about my life, my thoughts? I’m just like everyone else, only boring.

The truth is that I’m alive. I’m joyously happy, endlessly miserable, at my best, at my worst. I’m a single Mum, and I rock at it, and I suck at it. Some of the reason I write is to, briefly, experience living another kind of life, a more interesting one. I mean I got unbelievably excited over a brand new vacuum cleaner! I hate cleaning. I believe in myself more than anyone else, and I’m my biggest critic, and doubter. I’ve been too thin, apparently now I’m too fat. I’m beautiful, and flawed – they aren’t mutually exclusive. A friend and I were talking about when I create my own clothing, and I showed her the flaw in a black brocade and gold satin ball gown that I gave her (as it is now much too small for me), she didn’t believe me when I told her it was there. The thing is that something that is too perfect, has no personality; or perhaps simply not enough for me. Just in case you were wondering my personality is enormous.

There are bits of myself in my fictional characters, most of those bits are things that I perceive as flaws in myself – but somehow they aren’t flaws in my characters. Whether that is because I create perfection around the flaw (even unintentionally) or not, I don’t know. Maybe it simply makes them whole – if in need of editing.

So the truth of the matter is, life. Glorious, painful, shining, noisy, colourful, messy, wonderful life; absolutely makes you and me interesting, and important, and without a doubt worth writing about!

NaNo Shock

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I received an email from NaNo ML HQ, and was horrified to realise that I’m behind schedule. I’ve now mostly caught up, but I need to do a couple of things that involve actually leaving my house – which is only an issue because the weather can’t make up it’s mind.

But I’ve had the truly horrifying realisation that, not only am I behind, I am not super sure where some of my kit is. I know where my ML kit is – with the exception of the speaker – but not my author NaNo kit – which has the planning that I had been working on before everything made it’s way into assorted boxes. And of course NaNo Prep Season has arrived!

So I suppose that If I’m going on a hunt for my notebook with important story details in it, I should really get a wriggle on and actually find the fabric I need for my birthday dress…

 

“It’s So Bad! I Love it!”

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There’s this line in the movie RED (2010), you may have noticed it in the title.
Sarah reads ‘trashy romance novels’, as a form of escapism – the hero of the novel is often a James Bond/Jason Bourne type character. Frank reads along with her, but he’s using it as a way to understand/connect with Sarah.

As we all know, I too am a fan of the bodice ripper/trashy romance novel; I don’t consider it to be high quality form of literature – but they do practice the art of story telling, if on a slightly cheaper basis.

I read Falling From Grace by Noel Cades on Thursday. And I definitely subscribe to the title of today’s blog: It’s so bad! I love it! It’s one of the most unrealistic premises, but Cades managed to suspend disbelief and build a good story anyway.
In fact (and here’s my penchant for the trashy/bodice ripper) I was only disappointed that the characters didn’t manage to cause a massive scandal, I would have loved that. It was fairly well edited, which is great and I wished I saw more of it in that genre.

So, if y’all are into terrible, trashy bodice rippers about inappropriate relationships (this one is a little bit of a double whammy), then this book is for you! I really enjoyed it and can totally recommend it.