Random Writer’s Ramblings

I’m planning to try writing about 1,000 words per day in 2015. I got the idea from Novel Notes. The actual focus of the goal is less structured than that, though; I’ll be shooting for 1,000 words per day, but the totals at the end of each month are the real target word count.

For example, January’s goal will be 31,000 words. Ideally, I’d spread that over the course of the entire month, writing that thousand-per-day amount to keep up. Realistically, I’m going to sprint for a couple days, then rest and repeat until I’ve reached my goal. It’s my process, because I do my best writing late a night but can’t stay up late on weekdays due to work. Weekends are my big writing days.

I’ve decided to use my winter break to create a vague outline for next year.

I’m thinking of finally working on a project I’d thought up years ago. You see, I happen to love short stories. I enjoy the intensity of the plot that’s pretty much required for a short work to tell a story. My project idea is a collection of short stories designed to not have happily-ever-afters at the end (or at least not traditionally happy endings).

Another potential project is one of the two (or three) pagan books I’d been thinking needed to be written. They require more research and focus than the fiction project, but at the same time they have premade outlines in the form of my personal experiences and previous thoughts/notes on the ideas.

With the winter break just days away, I look forward to deciding on which projects to work on next year. Having a writing goal gets me writing more often, just like using the Goodreads option for a personal challenge helped me to read at least one book a week for 2014.

Speaking of reading challenges, I’m also considering an interesting twist to my personal goal (which is still just one book a week). There’s this list of book types and topics to read, and I really dig most of the suggestions. I mostly read free ebooks on my Kindle, ones offered by indie authors; I’m sure, though, that I can find books that fit these descriptions.

The best part about these challenges (both writing and reading) is the way their small, easily attainable goals make me feel successful and happy.

That’s part of how I’ve always treated my own, mild depression; I just find things to be good at or complete, and I constantly remind myself of my successes (however small they may be). Getting through NaNoWriMo and winning on my first try was specifically designed to help me move past the end of a long-term relationship and other dramatic changes I had little or no control over in my life at the time.

Overall, I’ve decided to make 2015 a productive and positive year.

Wish Me Luck?

The weekend is here, and that means Monday is approaching. I’m going back down to the dermatologist that afternoon for results on my skin biopsy, and then we’ll see what happens.

It’s been a few months for me. I looked back in my blog, surprised to remember that it was early October when my life caught fire and turned to ashes. There was the implosion of my four-year relationship, then my health dissolving into blood tests, medications, and a biopsy.

I feel unnaturally calm, at the center of it all.

I’m considering a request for anti-depressants when I see my doctor again. There’s a pill that’s low-level and used to treat some skin conditions as well as depression. And looky here, I have both! (Yay, morose humor!)

I’ve realized I do have a few natural treatments (at least ones that work on me) for my new insomnia, the itching, and the deeply-buried stress.

Reading. Books, fanfiction, or poetry – as long as it’s not the news, reading has the general ability to help me escape. Actually, reading the sad and angsty parts of stuff like the gammafrost fanfic I just finished causes me to release negativity by crying or screaming (mostly mentally) with the characters. Books do the same, though they usually have a happy ending to boot. Overall, reading is a good release valve when I don’t feel the urge to write poetry, blog posts, or fiction of my own.

Chamomile. This one is a big DUH for me. My problem with sleep right now is both falling asleep and staying asleep. Chamomile tea is a natural relaxant, and I hadn’t even thought about taking it! I tried a big mug of tea last night before bed, and it seemed to work; I still took a while to fall asleep, but I stayed asleep until my morning alarms. Chamomile also treats anxiety, which I may be burying down in the pit of depression I’m ignoring. Who knows?

Saying it out loud. This one is hard, for me. I don’t like crying or breaking down (or screaming, or growling) around people who aren’t the cause of my emotional reactions. That said, stating some of my stuff out loud causes me to release negativity via expression. Air is a powerful force, and sound is part of Air; speaking your problems out loud, even to yourself, is releasing them to dissolve into the atmosphere and be recycled into something new. And it can lead to crying, which is good for you (even if it feels bad), because it releases endorphines in the brain. I’m working on voicing my issues and finding ways to let myself feel the anguist, angst, and anger (the 3 A’s?).

I’m a little scared. Most of the easy answers in my life are gone, and I don’t just mean the explanation of my skin’s behavior. One step at a time, though. We’ll see what happens Monday, and go from there.

Wish me luck?

How’s that for a story?

I want to write a story. Really, I want to make you feel what I feel. I want to tell my story, from beginning to middle (because I’m nowhere near the end). I’m just not sure how.

I was born to a military family, and I was painfully shy. My friend’s were my brother’s friends, because I couldn’t seem to meet people on my own. This made me a tomboy for the first decade of my life, maybe a bit longer.

I found religion after trying out several churches and feeling spiritual-but-lost. I became pagan, getting mostly confused reactions from people who knew about it. But sometimes I lost friends, because parents aren’t as accepting as children. I made choices sometimes, between being myself and being “normal”.

I chose to stop the shyness, and somehow I managed to make that decision work. I made lots of friends in a new high school, and I blossomed. I loved, and I lost. I had one person tear me to pieces, and there were others around to sew me back together when he was done abusing my gentleness.

I reached adulthood alone and full of hate, moving just weeks before my birthday. I met a boy who would become my husband (and eventually my ex). I moved back to the place I blossomed in, and I found myself lost. My husband decided he didn’t want children; I decided to leave.

I moved stateside again, with another man. I struggled, and I grew. I joined a coven, and I left it. I had a miscarriage, and it broke my heart. I discovered polyamory, as well as my own bisexuality. I experienced bittersweet romance, humiliating rejection, and eventually deep love. I rejoined my coven, determined to follow-through for priesthood. I spent a year trying to conceive with my primary partner, so we could have a family. I had fertility issues. Then my partner left me because he didn’t want children anymore.

I removed that dream from my list, permanently.

I decided to stay (alive) by deciding to leave (this place); I gave my shattered life purpose by making plans to move back home with family in a year.

And here I am. Waiting for that year to come and go, so I can leave this place and start over.

How’s that for a story?

I’ve actually imagined writing out my experiences as a book, a novelization of what I’ve been through in my first quarter century. There’s a lot that happened, especially being a military child; I met people and traveled places I never would’ve seen, had I been born to a normal, settled family instead.

I don’t know if my story is worth telling, though. It’s interesting, true. But is it something you’d want to pick up (or download) and read for hours? I’m not so sure.

There’s formatting, too. When I share anecdotes with my friends, they’re all over the place. Maybe our talk about spirituality made me remember the way my friend Kayleigh wasn’t allowed around me for a year over my paganism, but the conversation over coffee about kids has me talking about my obsession with Vitzi and the Dinosaurs. In normal day-to-day life, that pattern makes sense; in a book, though, linear time is usually important.

Maybe I’ll draw up a timeline of memories that stand out, like stars in a constellation? I could just write them out and worry about the connecting lines later.

I don’t know. I’m rambling, because my thought train is chugging along in fog through my tired mind.

Depression and Bad Health, Or When Your Body Fails You

I’ve been trying to avoid whining and complaining, but I think a couple months of suffering through something earns you the right to express your discomfort out loud.

It started off small. My fingers had random little blistery bumps appear all over, and they itched like my allergy to mosquito bites used to itch. Hysterically itchy. My inner thighs followed suit, quickly joined by my forearms and stomach. As time passed, the bumps migrated and multiplied… until the only safe places on my body were my face and feet.

I had tests, especially checking for a sudden onset food allergy. Negative. They stopped a medication I was taking, in case it was the cause; no luck, as the medicine’s been out of my system for over a month with no relief. I had medications piled one on top of the other, until I was up to five allergy-related medications and still no relief. I saw a dermatologist, gained a couple more medications, and had a 4mm piece of myself removed for testing.

The only good news so far has been that the damned rash isn’t anything contageous (shingles, mites, scabies, bedbugs, etc.).

I tried anything I could think of. I washed my bed linens and evicted my dog from any surface I might touch. I’ve avoided trying anything new, be it food or shampoo or even scented candles. I’ve used oatmeal baths, and epsom salts, and witch hazel, and eczema lotion. Nothing helps, though luckily nothing’s seemed to cause further damage.

It’s been about two months now. Two months of a nightly Benadryl dose with the hope of sleeping at least halfway through the night without itching myself away. Two months of not petting my dog (thank goodness there are others in the house to give her affection!). Two months of thinking about every single thing I eat, drink, wash, and wear.

My shampoo and conditioner are the same classic ones I’ve used for months; previously, I’d try new shampoos every few months to see if something worked better, but I’ve been avoiding that at the moment. My bodywash is also my face wash, a soap made for sensitive skin; since my face is fine while my body is rashy, I’m assuming it’s not the soap. My laundry soap hasn’t changed (not even the scent!) in YEARS, and the worst parts of my condition are on less-clothed areas (like my forearms). Our dish soap is the same stuff that’s been used in our house for, wait for it… YEARS. Nothing’s changed, except for my skin.

That’s part of why I’m so maddeningly upset over this whole thing!

I haven’t had a rash like this. Ever! But now I’m stuck with doctor’s bills and piles of medication while I try to get a grip on this crap and make it go away. Steroids and antibiotics and antihistamines don’t help. I watch with frustrated terror as new patches of rash appear on my arms just as older ones fade away, and my fingers are back to itching like the early stages of this horror. I started crying at lunch today when I saw a new streak of angry pink welts across part of my arm that, up until now, had remained mostly unaffected.

I just want my skin back. I want to be able to wear t-shirts and kapris without looking like a diseased leper. I want to sleep through the night! I want to be able to do dishes, cook dinner, and goof around without constant discomfort; right now, I spend most of my time sitting or lying still to avoid friction on my itchy, tender skin. Mostly, I want to feel at home in my own skin, especially in a time when I really don’t want to be here (in Texas, on Earth, alive) most days.

Struggling with depression is hard enough without your health kicking you while you’re down.

Winning NaNoWriMo, and the road ahead

I did it! I successfully wrote 50K words in the month of November. Now I have a relatively horrid rough draft of a story, and access to a cute little digital sticker to prove my writer’s worth.

Honestly, I’m slightly impressed. I was correct to think that it would be similar to writing in my blog daily, so the word count itself wasn’t as killer as it could’ve been. The bigger issue was deciding where to take the story, especially as huge parts were redone in the middle; I found myself wanting to go back and redo the entire beginning just to correct it all, but I resisted the siren’s call of editing and pushed through to the end instead.

I haven’t reread it yet, either. I was using multiple small documents due to where and when I was writing, so I never had a chance to see everything all together. I figure I’ll wait until our winter break to go back and read that I vomited onto the keyboard; maybe I can salvage a story out of the wreckage? We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ve been able to pursue intellectual efforts (code word for studying when it doesn’t involve school work). I’m working on runes right now, having finally heard them talk to me. It only took a decade for them to call my name! I’ve had the shapes and names memorized for ages, because I used them for code in high school; however, it was only recently that they held allure as a divinatory tool. I’ve been studying Greek spirituality for so long that it feels weird to move over to the Norse pantheon, but it’s a comfortable kind of weird that comes with immersion into something new.

Back in 2006, I remember studying a bit about Seax Wica. It’s a branch of Wicca created loosely around the Norse pantheon, and I found myself really attracted to many of its key ideas. For example, one maxim would be “Love is the Law, Love is the bond.” I couldn’t connect to the gods of the pantheon at the time, but the rituals and such really spoke to me. Just a few years ago, I also studied the Asatru traditions for my comparative theology paper. Again, certain aspects resonated with me (the Nine Noble Virtues, for example) and stayed in my mind long after I was done researching the topic.

And so, we circle back.

Halfway(+) through NaNoWriMo

This is a personal sigil for Inspiration. Because why not!

This is a personal sigil for Inspiration. Because why not! See the original sigil instructions here.

I’m taking a small break from writing for NaNoWriMo, mostly to let my character decide what’s going to happen next. I forgot how fun it is to let them tell the story! They even name themselves; one quirky lady tossed her nickname at me before running off to cause a ruckus!

I’ve reached about 30,000 words today. Yesterday was an allergies-and-Benadryl night, so I didn’t write anything. Thankfully, though, it’s been a slow day at work and I’ve had a muse whispering over my shoulder.

I’m surprised at where my story has gone. I’d originally allowed (begrudgingly) a small amount of romance into the plot, largely unwanted by me personally. However, the main characters ran with it, had a hot tryst, and then leapt straight into a plot of deep intrigue and political drama (a pleasant surprise).

Now I’m looking at a couple of random people who popped up, trying to figure out who they are. Are you a good guy or a bad guy? Do you plan to make this some corny love triangle (oh gods, please no!), or are you here to help the OTP get back together? Do any of you plan to die?

NaNoWriMo is helping my process, actually. Instead of struggling through pages and pages of writing until I’m drained dry, I usually write about one or two scenes a day during the scheduled word count. That means most of my scenes start and end concisely, without too much rambling or wandering off in a weird direction. It also means I’m never at a loss for a stopping point; when a scene ends, my writing ends for the day.

That might sound bad, my creative process thrives on sprints rather than long deluges of words across the screen. Most days I easily write a couple thousand words before stopping. It’s highly satisfying!

On a side note, I’ve also been surprised by how easily I shut up my inner editor. She’s much nicer than she once was! If I see myself using the same word for the hundredth time, but I’d remind her that we’d find a better synonym later and she’d hush right up. The same goes with “said” over and over, or scenes where the descriptive parts are a hot mess; she accepts that I’ll get back to it later.

Halfway through the NaNoWriMo month, I’m feeling confident and creative. That’s what this is all about!

Poetic Ramblings

I’d like to think
the reason so many have run from the commitment of loving me
is that I am too wild a thing to tie down,
that they see the travesty in making me tame,
making me stay put.

I’d like to think
the reason my heart is so full of love for people who want nothing of it
is that I am a goddess among mortals,
that my love is too awe-inspiring,
too overwhelming for a mere human to handle.

I’d like to think
the reason people leave
is that they are repelled from my presence
by virtue of the radiance of my heart,
for only the true can stay
and they recognize their own dishonesty
before I ever do.

I’d like to think
the reason I heal so quickly
is that I’m resilient and complete on my own,
capable of letting go and moving on
from hard times, hurt, and anger.

My father left,
turned tail the minute he could,
and forgot the daughter he never wanted.

My first love kept me at arm’s length until the day he left,
accepting my love while keeping his dark secrets between us as armor.

My high school sweetheart ran as graduation approached,
even though I told him I had no plans to follow him to colelge.

My knight in shining armor turned his back on me and on himself,
becoming a bitter man by the time we met again.

My sweet warrior had too many dents in her own heart
to deal with handling mine,
so she stepped back to the safety of friendship.

My poet took a look at his future
and decided it was too full of roots,
and all he wanted was his wings.

I’m coming to realize that I am loved,
but I am not a lover one keeps for long.
Those who love me best tend to be those who love my friendship,
rather than my romance.