1st Anniversary of Publication (and future projects)

Apparently, my publisher has been around for eleven years. They sent us an e-mail to tell us to promote a sale they will be having (which will likely expire before anyone reads this) and to encourage us to reminisce about our first book published with them.

 That made me think—I totally missed the one year anniversary of my first novel being published and of being published in general in August. It’s definitely something to be proud of, and I am. One thing I wasn’t expecting was the sheer mediocrity of life afterwards. I knew it wasn’t going to be an earth shattering experience—I wasn’t going to get on the best seller by writing a gay werewolf novel. I did expect to feel different, though.

 I’m a slacker of a self-promoter, I loathe most social media, and I’m very secretive about my writing. I’ve counted, and only four of my friends know I’ve written anything. Why? We’d be here for some time. But I expected to have this inner glow or something. I’m thrilled, but I think I naively expected some constant, ongoing mental orgasm. It just doesn’t feel like a year yet for many reasons.

And what of the future? I’m working on something new that’s sort of beating my head in, constantly mewling like a needy child with volume control issues. When writing the synopsis, I knew that something was going to happen, but wasn’t exactly sure how, but as I was writing the synopsis, I sort of zoned out. When I finished writing the synopsis scene, I sort of snapped out of this daze, realized that was exactly what I wanted for the ending scene, and that it touched on and linked together all the things I needed it to. It was almost trance-like. I know how lame-bordering-on-pretentious-insanity that sounds, trust me. I’m making myself sick just typing this. But it was like I wasn’t even in the room when it happened. I sort of snapped out of it and realized that I had the ending I needed and wanted. And it was not only infinitely more exciting than what I had planned, but made more sense. But I didn’t see it coming. It’s logical, and when I finish writing it, I’m sure that absolutely nobody will be shocked, but I was unaware.

It’s times like that that I think Stephen King might have something. Maybe stories really are artifacts and we are just the archaeologists. Hopefully, I can assemble this one to be as good as it can be.

As for my wolf series I had a dream/cusp of sleeping thought which basically wrote Taylor’s book or filled out the remaining parts in the back of my mind. It’s a little dark, so I think that some of it will need to be lightened up, but knowing myself, it will likely stay right where it was. Taylor’s book is third (please, he was only 16 years old in the first and will be 18/19 in the second—he’s not ready to handle his mate yet, because...well, anyone who could handle Taylor would be a handful...and he is, trust me), but that did give me more direction with Quinton’s book.

One of the reasons I haven’t started Quinton’s book yet (aside from being distracted by life and working on other stuff), is that I have not liked his mate. I know who his mate is, I know that he’s an interesting character, I know his entire history, but I don’t yet understand him, and consequently I don’t like him all that much. It’s going to take some work to make him not only empathetic but to bring out the story there. Seeing how Taylor responded to Quinton’s mate (his name is Lucian, or “Lucky”, by the way) told me something about not only Taylor (who wants to take over every single scene he’s in. Freekin’ ham), but how he and Lucky react to each other and why. I think they will be hilarious together.

I am mostly over how difficult the publishing and editing process was, so that’s not the reason I haven’t written much. It has been a challenging time in my life, and things are finally evening out. Then…well, for the writers out there, have you ever done all the groundwork for something, researched, did family trees, lineages of magical creatures and their offspring, maps, cultures, religions, character sketches, and were starting to work on the synopsis…only to realize that it just wasn’t time to write it yet? It’s enough to give you an aneurysm! I’m sure the stuff will remain the same, but my enthusiasm wasn’t there, I don’t think I have the experience to pull it off yet, and (aside from being a giant chicken) it just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t in the mind set. I was more doom, gloom, apocalypse, and (apparently) pseudo-steampunk rather than fantasy. So, I put it off and it felt right. I’m not abandoning it…it’s just not time yet.

But mostly, I have been lazy and preoccupied for a year. That has changed. Writing can support life rather than the other way around and it is a valuable lesson I’m still learning.

Xmas Wishes and Mental Betrayal

So, this is the last week before the Pig Launching Extravaganza which always taints the beginning of the year at my day job (the one we are always being admonished not to quit). (For those newcomers, I don’t want to say where I actually work and therefore curtail what I might otherwise say — people have gotten fired for openly maligning the Almighty Company on public media. So, I state that my job entails launching pigs from cannons.) We got the e-mail today and are looking at 10 hour days, 6 days a week for the first month and “as needed” for the ensuing months. It was expected.

However, Christmas draws nigh. I have consumed my weight in Hershey’s Candy Cane kisses and watched my Christmas movies — chief among them Disney’s CGI A Christmas Carol. If you want a traditional Xmas movie with horror overtones, this is it. An argument could be made for its rating to be bumped up to PG-13 (the end of the Ghost of Christmas Present’s scene alone…). It’s very true to the book, and these aren’t your cuddly Muppets (however awesome they are). Also included in my movie fest were Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Polar Express, The Grinch, and Nightmare Before Christmas (duh). And hopefully that deranged  horror version of Jack Frost…the horror movie about a possessed snowman. (I’m not even kidding. Look it up. And I don’t mean the one with Michael Keaton).

What all this should point to is that, in a very rare instance (almost unheard of), I was more excited for Xmas than Halloween. I must be terribly ill — I’m broke and don’t give a crap about presents, that cuddly family stuff does nothing for me, it’s going to be 80 degrees here on Christmas (and for almost a full week afterwards), and yet I’m as excited as a kid who sees a dozen large presents under the tree bearing his name.

Should be fun.

In other news, while getting ready to prepare to move, I was also assembling notes for the novella I was planning. Because my mind is a perverse, awful thing which delights in nothing more than my torture, I noticed two special calls for short stories (I suck at short form writing), and my mind switched. Totally jumped ship.

I thought it was some form of mental rebellion, a diversion tactic to avoid loading anything more onto my already burdened back and to cause me to get distracted and not write the novella yet. I tried to force myself to focus on what I originally planned to write and also to consider if I should write anything during this busy time. That never works. I dreamed about the stories.

Even more than that, if your mind is so intent on some other creative project or (for instance) one character seems to “want” more screen time, then you don’t fight it. It is probably supposed to be that way and doing anything else interrupts the flow.

I started on the first of the two short stories today. About three pages later, I’m still going strong — the most I’ve written since Winter’s Trial was published, sadly (and isn’t even that much). The bonus to this project is that even if it is rejected, I can still use it as part of a larger work I plan to do. Besides, I really like it so far, and that’s what counts for me. I’m not good at the short format, and my betrayer brain wants to add all sorts of extra bits and keeps fleshing everything out, but I could stand to learn the (incredibly difficult) short story format. So, if nothing else, this will be a valuable training exercise. Is that mental self-preservation in case I’m rejected? Probably, but there is truth to it, so I will let it slide.

I took a break from that to write this entry. Now, if I can keep Valkyrie Profile and Disgaea D2 (Laharl, Etna, and Flonne again…finally!) out of my clutching claws, I will be well down the road to my next project.

The other short story has quite some time before it’s due, so I may write it and let it sit, or go to the original novella I was ripped from by my traitorous mind.

Anyway, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Yule/whatever makes you happy and warm inside. May we all be a little more positive and gracious throughout the year (especially my evil ass). *cackle, throwing Xmas confetti*

There's douchery afoot!

So, in addition to everything else I've been doing (which is why my posts are so infrequent), I have been trying to lose weight. About a year and a half ago I had several inches of my intestine removed. My surgeon said those inches were normal, healthy, and fine, except that they were significantly narrower than the rest of my intestines. He thought it was congenital and that it explained issues I've had all my life. Suffice it to say that I am now able to eat and *ahem* process things which would have previously been both unlikely and very time consuming in a remarkably short time. The end result was that I shoved my face with everything I had ever avoided eating. And there were no immediate adverse reactions.

Well, it took over a year, but I gained about 20 pounds. If you knew almost anyone in my family, you would only express scientific interest that it was a mere 20 pounds. I don't know how I have remained relatively svelte, unless my mother and father (some of the rare exceptions to rampant obesity in their respective families) were genetic anomalies and I inherited this from them. For instance, my aunt has been unfairly compared to Ursula the Sea Witch (unfair to poor, unfortunate Ursula, mind you) and has been known to wipe gravy off her chins with a towel at Thanksgiving dinner. Classy.

So, I was apparently blessed with a good metabolism -- until I get to be a certain size. I inherited my mother's height (or lack thereof) and so 20 pounds is considerable on me.

I have attempted to diet (as in, not eat chocolate, hamburgers, pasta, bread, etc. in immeasurable quantities). My friend had me download an app called Lose It! and, if nothing else, it makes me aware of all the bullshit I shove into my face. I lost 10 pounds in about a month.

And I wait on the Plateau of Pain.

This has forced me to the gym. Gods help me.

The things I have seen! A guy better suited to modeling than any earthly career looked at me as I was passing, said something, smiled, dropped his towel, and, still smiling, began to open his mouth to speak to me. I, of course, ran. It wasn't until later that I considered he may have wanted my gaze, or something else rather more licentious. I doubt it still, but...I suppose if someone else had that experience I would have suggested the very thing I currently laugh at -- there was some interest. I take pride in my intelligence, but it absolutely leaves a concave in my senses when someone might possibly be hitting on me.

I have seen couples with a distressing surplus of public affection. One in particular, she very hot and him merely adequate, could not bear to be separated through a set. They took turns, kissing and fondling between those sets. Given my previous experience when leaving the locker room, I thought I might have unwittingly entered Sodom and Gomorrah. Too much PDA between any couple makes me cranky. I wanted to shout, "Oy, Hansel! Gretel! You're leaving a trail of lube and nasty juices on the equipment! Dry it up!"

Another very attractive, very gay male with a muscled chest Dolly Parton would be envious of was involved in a facetime chat with someone while he did one set. Phone in his crotch, looking up at his finely chiseled features. When that ended, he took a picture of his chest -- twice -- and uploaded it onto a web site. (Our machines were fortuitously (?) situated to where I could see all this, even with my blurry vision and looking very infrequently) What I didn't see, I didn't want to. He then moved to another machine right next to me, smiled amiably, and actually proceeded to work out. His first set corresponded with my last, and I saw him take another picture of his chest as I fled. What kind of comparison was he hoping for?

I used another machine. He was on his still, unmoving, on his phone. I finished there and went upstairs to get on an elliptical machine and worked out for 30 minutes. There are mirrors all over the gym and I was still able to see him, which I did out of aghast curiosity. He stayed there for another 15 minutes doing one set. Total. He then pranced upstairs, passed me, and walked to the sit-up benches. I no longer cared to look, but I did anyway once or twice. I either had damnable timing or he did not move. Once. He walked by again and smirked, so I can imagine my glances were less than subtle. I cursed my indiscretion, if for no other reason than that he clearly thought I was interested. He was very pretty, but I believe there is only room for one other entity in his life -- his ego. It taxes my resolve to coexist in the same room with someone such as he, so even had the offer been extended, I would have had to decline. Guys like that only want clones of themselves. They are eights looking for elevens and will settle for nothing less.

Humility is sadly underrated.

I almost went face-to-chest with some wall of beef in one of those hallway which-way-are-you-going misunderstandings. I cackled, and it sounded high and crazed in the hallowed halls of Gay Church, as it was once referred to in Will and Grace.

I am apparently exceedingly awkward. I also have little control over my expressive face and my mouth. I should never be allowed in public.

There were other guys checking themselves out, bro-ing each other, slapping palms, grunting, laughing loud so all the little people stare (as P!nk once said), and generally acting with total, unabashed douchery. Where else would one expect beefed-up douchebags to hang out, if not the gym? I hated them all.

And, sadly, I would have had sex with almost every last one of them. I would hate myself in the morning, and them even more, but such is the way of a sad, apparently typical gay male.

The shame.

Give Me Back My Life!

Okay, so I've been gone again, this time working on the second round of edits for my first novel. It's been...an experience. I don't agree with some of the editorial rules the publisher imposes, specifically regarding pronouns. I think it alters the normal flow of reading (and of writing) and forces the author to name drop over and over for perceived clarification. Have you ever read a novel where the author seems to have a penchant for using characters' names repetitively, way more than is normal, even if there are only two people in the scene? That's what I'm afraid might happen to my novel and to others because of publisher rules like this. (Yes, this is me wailing, "It's not my faaaaaault!")

So, don't judge me. Hahaha.

However, let me not denigrate the publisher (not only because I'd be playing with kindling on a bridge, but because it's not all bad). Not at all. My editor is funny, concise, open, and warm, and for a first foray into traditional publishing, that's an enormous benefit. I could have had an emotionally dead harridan, but I was lucky. She has been accessible and professional. And may the gods bless her sense of humor!

The publisher is involved, reputable in their field, and full of sweet staff and authors. I really only have that one complaint (and now that I know what their rules are, I can change it as I go rather than in one long, sweeping bonanza of frustrating editing). I'm very much content and would recommend them to anyone looking to publish in the very broad gay genre (yes, I will reveal them eventually...but not in this entry. *cackle!*)

However, I'm a wordy beast, and my editor wanted me to cut out a lot, and I think she was right. It wasn't anything particular, like an offending scene that I decided to keep against her wishes, but more general than that. I tried, and my novel is long for the genre (about 350 pages), but I think we did a good job.

I told my editor that there was a time where my writing was devoid of life, of feeling, and of description. I was writing for myself yet it was boring me to write and to read. I worked with myself and over time I managed to get the descriptions and life back. I wonder if I didn't over compensate.

Also, there may be up to four books in this series, each with a larger part of a story, and almost all the characters are in, mentioned, or alluded to in this first volume. At the end, one could go back and pick out several instances of, "Oooooh!" I guess there's some world building, though not that much, considering it's contemporary.

So, the editing is done, and while it was grueling, I loved it. My days were full of something that's endlessly fulfilling. I don't have that nagging feeling of, "You know, if you ever wanna be a writer, you should be...you know...writing." I have a cover art form and a marketing form I have to fill out, but that's not that difficult because I've been working on them (and may have the much maligned blurb done already).

However,the editing was the big thing. I was tired, frustrated, elated, and buried. I haven't gone out with friends as much, my DVR started to delete things, my day/real job has seemed intrusive, my weekends have been working and little relaxing (unless out of obstinate refusal), two friends are cursing at me to finish watching Netflix's Hemlock Grove, and I started to feel like I was running up hill through waist-deep snow toward a goal that was never going to be as big as I want. At the top of that hill were not the temples of ancient Greece, but a Target in the ghetto.

Still, I'm proud, happy, and relieved. The process has been good, it has shown me my flaws and strengths as a writer, and I have emerged on the other side feeling like I'm better for it. However, I'd be lying if I said I was upset at having a life back. I just hope this whole process ends well.

Randomness Overload

Sometimes the randomness of my mind is an impediment not only to writing, but to focusing on any one thing.  It impedes life, in essence.  Normally, I try to keep this crap to myself, despite the title of this blog, but that means when my mind is tail spinning I write nothing (here or otherwise).  Trying to do anything devolves into browsing Netflix streaming for anything that will capture my interests.  Considering the state of randomness my mind is in, it invariably ends in frustration.  My thoughts leap from one moment of randomness to another with the thinnest of threads.  And then back again. These are the things which have been plaguing my life in a sort of cyclical, braying mind-scream:

--[after listening to about 36 hours of the audio book for Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII]  Why the hell was everyone dying?  The infant mortality rate was disturbing.  Somebody give these bitches some prenatal vitamins, penicillin, and hydrogen peroxide!

No, he didn't play Henry VIII, but any opportunity to include a picture of Henry Cavill is fine by me

--In the series The Tudors, what the hell possessed them to cast Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves?  This is a woman Henry VIII reportedly said looked like an old horse.

Anne of Cleves in the Tudors.  I fail to see the resemblance.

--Does anyone else wonder what it would be like to go back in time and be in Henry's court, knowing what was coming?  What would people in that time have thought of a randomly produced iPhone, taken on such a time traveling episode?  "Uh, could everyone be quiet?  I'm trying to watch an episode of The Tudors!"  And how long would my subsequent trial and execution for witchery take?  One doesn't like to be kept waiting.

--Speaking of executions, what the hell turned Mary Tudor (Henry's daughter, not his sister) from a learned, delicate, talented, intelligent child into a Protestant-killing, Lady-Jane-Grey-murdering, fake-pregnancy-having monster who would best be known by the charming moniker of Bloody Mary? What wouldn't sound trite in light of what she did?  "Boo hoo, my father was a jerk!  I'm gonna kill 300 innocent people for not subscribing to my religious beliefs!"  Of course, after what was done to her mother, Catherine of Aragon, who could blame her for being a teensy bit bitter?

So what if she looked like Joe Pesci in drag?

--Since the names are so close, what of Jean Grey?  The upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past movie is set to allow the wonderful but abandoning Bryan Singer to fix the issues he caused by allowing that travesty of a movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, to be made.  The time traveling element will allow the stupidity of that movie to be rectified and, I assume, the dead to come back to life.  Storm, Rogue, Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Colossus (yum!) are all set to come back.  What of Cyclops (douche!), but more importantly the totally fucked-up Jean Grey/Phoenix?  We, as a viewing public, are owed a proper Phoenix saga, not the steaming pile of intestinal leavings that was the body-dissolving Dark Phoenix.

The foulness we got, and what we are owed.  Get on it, Mr. Singer.

--I love Halle Berry, but she wasn't able to do a lot of the wire work that it would take to really do Storm properly (until, ironically, that crappy third movie). Plus, she's pregnant.  What the hell kind of Storm are we going to be delivered?

Make it happen, Halle.

--Will Rogue finally get something like Ms. Marvel's powers so that she can be what we geeks have come to know her as?  You have Anna Paquin, damn it.  Use her!  And can we get Taylor Kitsch back as Gambit?  *Cartman voice* I'm seriously right now.

*Ahem* Look at that talent! Gambit, come hither!

--Speaking of Anna Paquin (as she was in Trick r Treat), Halloween is so far away, and summer is an obstacle to be hurdled.  I hate the summer heat.  The sun ages us.

--As for aging, my goddamned birthday is in a little over a week.  Can I continue to get older but have my skin and body refuse to begin deteriorating?

130000_happy_fucking_birthday_old_ass_bitch

--Speaking of...the water of life!  Audible finally has the Hugo award winning novel The Snow Queen available for download.  I had an ill-gotten audiobook with a different reader for this fantastic novel and the narration gave me mild gas pains.  I listened to about 5 minutes of the newer version (immediately snatched up with my Audible subscription) and knew that my fears of someone messing up this beloved book were unsubstantiated.  The narrator got Arienrhod's voice.  She plucked it from my head.  I was immediately in that darkened room with the Snow Queen and the offworlder doctor, implanting clones of Arienrhod, Winter's Queen,  into the passed out reveling Summer natives.

--Though I will rectify this soon, I have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones.  However, I have seen pictures.  For anyone who has seen it and read The Snow Queen or The Summer Queen, wouldn't Emilia Clarke be the perfect Arienrhod Winter/Moon Dawntreader Summer?  My cousin first brought this fact to my mind and I totally concur.

emilia_clarke_as snow-summer queen

--If something like the water of life described in The Snow Queen books was available here on Earth, could I drink the blood of a creature every day for eternal youth?  I eat meat.  What's the difference?  Yet somehow, the drinking of one creature's life to sustain my vanity is barbaric and reprehensible.  Yet as we get older, I assume most people could make that sacrifice.  I wish I could say that I couldn't, but...and how it all turns out in the novel...could I, even knowing what I know now?

--When the hell is The Summer Queen going to come out on audio book?  I'll probably listen to The Snow Queen, then see if I can read World's End (which makes me violently angry), and read then the tome that is The Summer Queen this summer.  What better time?  I also want to read or listen to Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.  So. Many. Books.

--What the hell book won the Hugo award when The Summer Queen was nominated?  Okay, I have the book in question, but my stubborn devotion to Joan D. Vinge doesn't allow me to read it on the slight chance that I would like it more than The Summer Queen.

--Speaking of youth and beauty, did all the women in Hollywood...nay, the WORLD...die?  If not, how the hell did Gwenyth Paltrow, just voted as the most hated celebrity, also win the dubious honor of being People's most beautiful woman?  Oscar-stealing trollop.  (Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth was robbed!)  Granted, I don't think even Gwenyth Paltrow could possibly be the most hated celebrity when Taylor Swift still draws breath, but the principle remains.  I need to go watch Contagion.  Fred Gwynne was hotter as Herman Munster!

If only.

--Elizabeth was a wonderful movie.

--And I'm right back to Tudor England.

I have skipped about eleventeen other things bouncing around in my head, but this is a preview of what's going on in there...just this week.  I have eliminated my renewed obsession with foxes, aquariums, BBC documentaries, Grimm's fairy tales, the show Solved, and Disgaea 4.

I sometimes wonder if I have ADD, or a convoluted mind, or...oh, look at the puppy!  *wandering off*

Time, the Vile Betrayer

Okay, so it's a dramatic title.  I couldn't think of anything else.  *cape flapping* So, to update on the last post, just a few days after sending my previous post (The Long Road to Publication) out into the world to fend for itself, I received my first e-mail from my editor.  *angelic light, high note*  It seems that things have either sped up, or I was grossly mistaken as to the time frame I'm looking at.  I assume, as I am totally new to this, that it was the latter.

Maybe August was the last month my novel would potentially be peered at by an editor, and things got sped up.  Maybe August is when my novel is set to be released.  Maybe neither of these is the case. *shrug*  These are things I will have to ask.

Maybe...well, regardless of the maybes, the e-mail informed me that I'm looking at having my first round of edits to me in mid-May. Or sooner.  I accepted this time frame (you can bet your sweet ass I did!).

My biggest problem here is that I'm a procrastinator.  Wait!  Hear me out here!  I don't think that procrastinating on edits will be an issue for me.  I expect to have them done quite soon after being given them. This is literally and figuratively a dream come true.  I am not messing this up.

What I meant was *glaring at the imaginary people who would have jumped on my back* that during the sending out process last summer I was either too crestfallen or nervous to really focus on anything new.  I have no less than three more novel ideas racketing around in my head, and that's just in the short term.

A very dear friend gave me good advice - to put the "how soon and when" out of my mind, stop cheating myself out of the joy this should (and did) bring, and maybe write something else.  Some time ago I joined a particular author's Yahoo group and she is very accessible to her fans on it, as well as being very funny and very sweet to her devoted (some would say "rabid") fans.  While she was working on the edits for her last novel I asked her if she wrote something else in the meantime, or if she waited for one project to finish before doing more than notes on the next.  Her answer was what I expected - it's not realistic to wait for one project to be totally edited, done with, and set to be published.  (The inferred ending here was, "Unless you want to always be just a casual writer while slaving away at your day job."  She didn't say this, and maybe didn't even mean it, but it's what I took away from it.)

My problem?  I have about 10 pages of the new novel written down.  I found myself unable to work on it because I was too focused on what was happening with the last? current? one.  I recently figured that with edits not happening until August, I had plenty of time (the procrastinator's favorite phrase) to work on the new one, and with the upheavals in my life right now, things would have time to settle down and I'd have a lot written out by that time.

False!

So, now I'm wondering - should I take the plunge and start on the next one?  Will the edits on my current project interfere with the almighty (and somewhat pretentious-sounding) creative process?  Should I edit the short story I mentioned previously and go with that?  Should I use the time between now and May to have an intervention on the amount of Netflix streaming that is consuming me?  Should I...should I...and more should I.

I'm not worried about the edits themselves.  I welcome the suggestions and help from a professional editor (or so I say now, bwahahaha!).  I want this novel to be the best it can be, and I'm sure everyone involved with this project at the publishing company feels the same.  (Even writing that makes me giddy.  And for those wondering, yes, all of this STILL feels like a dream I am constantly horrified I will wake from.)

Advice is always appreciated.  A cheap joke is, too.  A lot of the nervous, needy edge is gone from the writing process, but life does intrude - unpacking from my recent move, working, being social, reading, my Netflix intervention, prying my PS3 controller or Vita out of my own hands (damn you, blessed-but-life-eating Disgaea in all your incarnations), and trying to be active.

But now, because it's very late and I have tomorrow off, I think I will turn the lights off, relax, and scare the crap out of myself by watching The Descent.  Perhaps it will scare me into a revelation.  Time and procrastination be damned...for one more night.

 

The Long Road to Publication

There comes a time in every wannabe writer’s life where he has to, in the most vulgar of words, shit or get off the pot.  I’m not so old or so entrenched in my life where I have to get off that pot, but I started to feel that way. In reading Stephen King’s On Writing, he mentions that you sometimes get to a point where you read books that make you sort of grimace and say, “Hell!  I can write better than this.”  I have run into this before (I have listened to the audiobook for Flowers in the Attic, after all), but during a frenzied period of reading I ran into at least three books that made me seriously say, “Look.  These assholes are actually published—people are paying them to write—and I could wipe my ass and churn out something more palatable than this.”

Yes, my thoughts are as charming as my writing.  Little filtering here.

During this time, I happened to run into a book about gay werewolves which intrigued me.  Before this, nothing about werewolves interested me unless they were attacking, maiming, and killing.  This book made me look at them in a different way.  So, I read another gay werewolf book.  And another.  And another.  And so on.

Some had plot holes which were so ghastly and gaping that they made me groan and want to spit up.  Another was entirely charming, had endearing characters, and was funny.  I read that one again and loved it again, and it started me thinking of werewolves in a different light.

Another was well written in that the prose was poetic and flowing and in some cases beautiful.  The dialogue, however, was eye-roll inducing.  It was so antiquated and the setting so vague that it wasn’t until she mentioned a car that I knew it wasn’t written in the year 1740.  It wasn’t until later, where certain other details about the car were mentioned, that I was able to confirm that it was supposed to be a contemporary novel.  Then the sex scenes, sparing at first, started flooding in.  They were bad, they were pervasive, and they were obviously put in as filler.  There was a second novel I did not bother with.Hell noSome of the others I read during that time don’t bear talking about.  Not all concerned werewolves, and most were good, but there were two that really astonished me.  Someone accepted and paid for this stuff (I count myself among their number).

Now, I love bad novels.  I love bad SyFy movies.  Novels with this cheese factor are personal favorites.

Awesome

But some of the gay books I read in that time made me think I could do better, however egomaniacal that may sound (and I know it does—you’ll have to forgive me).  I have respect for anyone who can conceive, plan, structure, sit, and write a novel.  It’s a huge dedication, an enormous act of creation to make up lives which have never been, and anyone who has finished a novel has my admiration and respect.

So, I decided to write my own.  I have been writing all my life, but with all the gay and werewolf in my head, I decided to try my hand at that.  Within three months I was done and, though I had never meant for it to be published, I decided to try to get it out there anyway.  I knew it wasn’t great, I knew I could do better, but I had been reading such crap that I thought this would be acceptable.  I tried my hand out at being a hack, basically.  It’s not something I’m proud of.

I submitted the novel to a publisher and was rightfully, justly rejected.

denied

The editor who rejected me was wonderful, kind, and explanatory.  She said my characters were charming, but that I introduced too many in too short of a time.  (I counted later.  10 in as many pages.  Ugh.  It’s embarrassing, frankly.)  She gave me more good advice and recommended other publishers I might try.  She was so helpful, going way above and beyond what an editor rejecting work needed to or should do.  She gave me some other advice and every last bit of it was true.  Every part.  (I found out later this was the best kind of rejection—feedback, advice, and help combined with an admonition to keep writing and a welcome to submit to that publishing company again.  I had a brief correspondence with Piers Anthony, a childhood idol, who put my experience on his site, mentioning that my experience was very rare).

I did not try to submit this story elsewhere.  I abandoned it, but not the characters.  I loved the characters, but I had phoned in that novel and I wasn’t proud of it.  I decided that the story I had hacked into was really the third story in that group of characters, so I should start at the beginning.

So, I wrote again and this time I put no limits on myself, not for length, character, thoughts, language, or subject matter.  Three months later (it seems to be a standard length of time for me) I was done.  I was very proud and I thought that it was pretty close to what I was capable of doing.  I thought it was good, so I put it away and worked on something else.  I came back, edited, put it away.  I read it again and sent it to five trusted friends (some writers, some readers, some brutal jerk-faces whose opinions I valued).

sts_jerk_face_tee-rbd05e80eeddc4b8d87c5657c4ea764e7_804gs_512

The response was very positive.  One friend actually wrote her reactions down as she was reading, and sent them to me in a document.  This became a beacon of honesty and a source of strength for me in the upcoming months.  Another friend was basically a line editor.  He was tough (he would be in the jerk-face category), but he was usually right.  They both commented about the language usage and both liked several passages I was particularly proud of, which still gratifies me to no end.  One was a reader and didn’t notice particular passages but gave me story critique.  And so on.  I took all the criticism and praise and edited again.

I felt I was ready to submit again.  This project had gone from something to get myself out there and get my foot in that proverbial door, to something I believed in.  Without those constraints, without those limitations I put on myself I had done better.  However, the original place I submitted to had a word limit at the time.  They would not accept anything over 120k words.  My novel was close to 150k.  I managed to get it down to about 145k, but I felt that setting up the world and the characters needed that room.  Editing out an additional 25,000 words would have been difficult.

So, I decided to change tactics.  The characters felt real and it was getting emotional responses from the wonderful, cold bitches I lovingly call my friends.  The plot concerned bullying, acceptance, change, someone rising up from the mire of his own self-loathing and allowing himself to fight and be loved.  He just happened to be a gay werewolf with the stigma of having a third, more violent Hybrid form.  One of the characters in the rejected hack novel was very young in this one and still one of my favorite characters.  I really liked and believed in the novel as a whole (and unlike almost all other gay novels, there was no expressly described sex scenes.  I can't with that.  It gives me angina).

I decided to go for an agent.  I browsed Writer’s Market online and made a list of about 11 agents who took gay novels and listed them in descending order.  I wrote a query and a synopsis.  (The most ghastly, awful torture possible for any writer ever.  There are thousands of websites dedicated to mastering the arts of writing these.  All good advice, and it is still very difficult to do.)

I was rejected 6 times in rapid succession.  All form letters, and all within days of submitting.  This usually means that they read the blurb (similar to what you would read on the back of a novel) and realized it wasn’t for them.  I got no personal feedback.

My ego was crushed.  Humility set in.  Doubt came with it.  And then a brutally hot summer settled in (I hate the heat) and the anniversary of my grandmother’s death happened at the same time.  My insides were an Unholy Trinity of horror.

Like this, but not as pleasant

After about two months of watching Disney movies, laying around dazed, and listening to music to always distract myself, I slowly came out of it.  I rewrote the query letter and synopsis.  The will and strength it took to do this and start sending my novel out again cannot be understated.  Was I as good as I thought I was?  Was I still a hack?  Was this dream I had for so long really a dilapidated shack in the sewers of seventeenth century France and not the castle in the clouds I had hoped for?  Were my friends being kind?  I didn’t know.

So, I sent it out again.  I was rejected four more times.  One jerk didn’t even bother with a form letter.  He said, “Not for me—thanks anyway.”  That was it.  My personality kicked in then and kicked the last vestiges of depression out.  That rejection made me sit up and say, “Fuuuuuuuuuck YOU!”  It was unnecessarily rude, short, and audacious considering this man’s web site was literally the last on my list and looked like it was designed by a blind, special-needs fourth grader.

Your web master

One agent has yet to give me the courtesy of a response.  Another I had given up on during my depression got back to me months later with a jerky response I disregarded immediately.  If you can’t get to your stuff within six months when there are other agents who represent bestselling authors who were able to get back to me within days, and then you have the unmitigated gall to be rude, I can’t take you seriously.  (I aimed high at first, I admit, but why not start at the top and work your way down?  Who knows what could happen, right?)

Then one of the agents rejected me with a personal message which seemed to confirm what I was thinking all along—that with the travesty of Twilight, agents were simply over all things werewolf, and with the gay added in, the audience was that much more limited.  This agent told me, “You are a good writer, but this project doesn’t call to me.  Good luck.”  If I’m a good writer, then it probably really is the project and/or subject matter.  Most agents didn’t have time to read the sample chapters sent.  They read the blurb, weren’t interested, and passed it on.

So, I changed things up a bit.  I started researching publishers, retooled the synopsis and query, and made a list of top ten publishers specializing in or having gay book lines I could get into without an agent.  As with the agents, I put the publishers in descending order of most- to least-desirable.

I got an acceptance from the first publisher I sent my novel to.

I checked my e-mail at work, saw that I had an e-mail in the writing e-mail address I was using, and thought, “Well, on to the next on my list.”  I checked the e-mail and I think I actually let off an electric current through my body—anyone who touched me would have been electrocuted.  “We reviewed your story and would like to take it for publication as a novel, if it’s still available.”

Are you kidding me?  It’s so available, I’m practically a hooker!  Take me!

Available

I signed the contract, reviewed the materials sent to me, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I knew publishing took a long time, but it was taking forever!  I contacted them just to get an idea of what I should expect and the very patient, very kind author liaison informed me that my editor-to-be (such a thought!  Still gives me chills!) is assigned to my novel in August.  For a new author who is new with a publishing company, I think this is pretty standard.

So, I wrote a short story for them (for an anthology) in about a week (honestly, about two or three days of sporadic writing).  The cutoff date was March 1st and I submitted it the night before.  It was a retelling of The Little Mermaid with the mermaid being a merman.  I thought it was pretty good, but I don’t think 8,000 words was enough to cram all I wanted to in there.   I was told a few days later that the anthology was already full, but that if I wanted to run it through a beta reader (How did she know I hadn’t?!  Was she watching me?  *paranoid*) and resubmit it for their general short story line, “please do so.”  It was a rejection and it wasn't, precisely.

The lesson—don’t skip the steps, asshole.  *cackle*

I have not resubmitted it yet.  I plan to.  I was (and remain) rather fond of it.  From the time I submitted that hurried abortion of a novel the first time and had the good fortune to run across an astute and kind editor (whose instructional and generous words also sustained me through that awful summer), I have found my lost voice, I have come to a place I want to be, and I am apparently churning out stuff with decent quality.

Think of the contrast in my summers—one spent mired in self-pity and sadness, the next working with an editor on my first novel.

The change and the happiness is mind boggling.  I'm ready!

Lies and Ends

I’m writing for the sake of writing.  I’m writing because I should and because it’s a Band-Aid for what ails me.  It’s my martini, my escape, my legal crack, my therapy. Since the last time I wrote, a great deal has changed.  I gave someone very important the much-deserved boot from my life because of meaningless lies which piled up into a giant, gelatinous ball of WTF.  The lies were meaningful in that they shook the trust we had, in that they had been going on for almost six months, in that they covered a lack of constant employment when we were moving in together, and in that the person who told them to me was a boyfriend of three years.

The lies were meaningless in that not a single one of them was ever necessary—even to delay any potential crankiness on my part.  After nearly three years of friendship and love, after he helped see me through a monumental depression this past summer (not coincidentally the anniversary of my grandmother’s death…a woman who is largely responsible for the best parts of me), after working together, and after mutual understanding, he deemed it necessary to lie about his place of employment, fabricating lie after intricate lie to assuage his own guilt and shame at not getting his perfect, wonderful, till-the-end-of-time ideal job.  He lied to me, his mother, his friends, my friends, and the rest of his family.  Everyone.  Then, when he lost the other job he had, he lied about a period of unemployment, about the new job he got within a month’s time, and about any number of things when he was found out.

There was no infidelity.  There was no money laundering.  There were no illegal substances.  There was nothing but pride and stupidity, broken trust and amazement, and more lies even when the truth lay bare and exposed.  Even when all this came to light, I gave him another chance, stressing that this is what couples do—if one is down and out, the other steps in and helps.  There are second chances.  If the other is trying and honest, the relationship survives.  But in less than a week the lies began again.  The overwhelming message here is that if he had been honest, he would be with me now.  He says he loves me and that he wants to make it up to me, and I believe that.  I shouldn’t, but I do.  However, as the apt saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  In this case, the road may not lead to Satan’s cloven hooves, but rather to a dead end.  Love isn’t so pretty when you keep shitting on it.

The irony is that within a week of all these continuing lies coming to light, he had not one but two jobs.  Small jobs, menial, not careers, not the ideal job he lied about having for six months.  (Like anyone ever gave a shit where he was working as long as it was legal).  But it is work.  Consistent work.  All of the lies were always for nothing, but this added a layer of bitter irony to the smegma-cake he dealt me.  Trust was shattered and then obliterated for abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

I miss him horribly.  The new apartment feels empty and alone.  I keep waiting for him to come in the door and entertain me, to chat with me, to make us happy and content outside of ourselves.  Instead, I watch movies, I write, and I tell myself it’s for the best, that he did this to himself and to us.  But it doesn’t help.

I’ll be okay: I was not shattered.  I was not broken.  But I’m a little fragile at the moment, and I’m healing, and though I’ll be fine, it’s hardly a party up in this bitch.  It will be hard; there will be days where it seems as though the world is filled with ramen and bills and loneliness, but I will manage.  There is no doubt about that.

But, oh, what could have been were my love and support met with honesty.

I'm B-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-k!

What's that you say?  You hadn't noticed I was gone?  Jerkface.  *cackle* In all seriousness, it has been an awesome and hectic almost-month.  The major dominating force was the impending move, which is thankfully completed.  However, for the last two weeks before that move the cable and internet, which were under Stacey's name, were shut off.  I had no access to anything except on my phone, and while I imagine it was possible to blog from an iPhone, I'm wordy and my fingers would have cramped up by the third paragraph.

The move helped me rediscover one overwhelming fact about myself:

I. Hate. Moving!

I have so many books, DVDs, games, and other crap that the actual move was ghastly.  Heavy lifting, packing, cleaning, the horrid mess of cardboard boxes, the constant, deepening question of, "Why the hell am I keeping this?", and the subsequent urge to throw it all out--every last bit of it.  I went through it all.

Also, I went from an upstairs apartment to an upstairs apartment in the same complex.  Each moving trip consisted of a non-stop 2 trips up the stairs and 2 trips down.  We did it in two awful days.  Toward the end of the first day, my knees were killing me (common for runners and other jerks not used to walking up or down inclines frequently.  I walk a lot, but on a level sidewalk).  By the second day I was walking like a bowlegged ballerina in a cow's graceless plie because it used the insides of my knees instead of the outside.  I text my friends and told them that it was the worst move of the last 1,000 years--it was easier to move Napoleon's troops into deepest, wintery Russia.

I decided to go through all my old things instead of just packing the unused ones away.  I am convinced things come alive and move themselves and multiply in the night.  My dining "room" is like a Cardboard Wonderland full of books, blankets, old game system boxes, DVDs and Blu-rays, more books, and a few nights I swear I saw a gnarled goblin and two old Catwoman toys in a three way beat down over my last red velvet cookie.  It's like the 80s movie Dolls in here, but with fewer young Helena Bonham Carter lookalikes.

The clutter is driving me mad.  The workload I thought would last for all of January and only part of February looks like it will plunder deep into March's sanctity.  I have other stuff (very good stuff which will be related later) pending, which I'm dreadfully excited to get started on.  I have more that I want to do.  I'm stressed, busy, and very content.

The location I'm in is better, darker at night, and much, much quieter.  I get into bed and I'm asleep within 15 minutes, no matter what the time.  I don't hear someone coming into the apartment and have to repress an urge to vomit in irritation.  There is a feeling of peace and contentment here, Cardboard Wonderland or not.  I was lamenting last week about work the next day and this unbidden thought appeared in my head, "Yeah, but I get to come back HERE!"  I was instantly cheered up.

There is peace here, and I'm content.  I wasn't so sad to see the old apartment go as a whole, but I was very sad to see my old room go, where I spent 99% of my time.  If there was a home in that place, it was my room, but I constantly felt like I was being intruded upon.  This place is thus far perfect.  I'm happy here.  Problems will arise, I know that.  But right now it's everything I had hoped for.

Tomorrow I celebrate my three year anniversary with my significant other in a new place that I so far love.  Could be worse.

Phoning it In

January can bite my bag. I have been working so much that my hands hurt, my head wants to explode, and the light at the end of the tunnel to which I referred in an earlier post seems like a cruel joke—as though instead of freedom that light is actually the shine off the coagulated surface of a sewage dump.

Far be it from me to be pessimisti...*cackle*  I couldn't even write that shit.  Woo!  One point for trying!

Anyway, I can barely see beyond the end of this week, much less into 2014 when the real party begins in earnest.  But, there is a rest stop in a nearer sewage dump.

Stacey and I have come to an amiable plateau.  The fussy ends—bills, apartment deposit, even the selling to me of an unneeded couch for a more than reasonable price—all were done in a pleasant, happy manner.

One thing he said struck out at me, though.  He said that, after so long in this apartment, he was going to miss it.  He said it was the first place that felt like home since he was a kid.  I have never—and I mean that truly—felt like this was home.  It was nice, it was my first apartment, and it was a place to live.  It was a safe place mostly, and significant in that it taught me to be on my own (partially).  But I never felt like it was home.

The differences between Stacey and I grew starker as the conversation progressed.  He will be missing a home, and I can't scramble out fast enough so that I can get to a place that will potentially be home (until 2014, anyway).  I can't wait to kick this to the past and have it be a memory.  I'm not saying there won't be nostalgia or even that momentary sadness one feels when even the worst of situations is over—we miss those rays of sunshine during otherwise bleak times—but I can't pretend that I won't be excited, that the overwhelming feelings won't be relief and happiness.

*sigh*  Enough sentimental crap.  It gives me angina.

P.S. For those sick, deranged people (from the few who actually read this crap and don't already know), NO, Stacey and I are not moving away after a spoiled relationship.  Please, by the power of all the gods, don't ever think that.  We were just friends.  I'm more attracted to an anthill or the wind than I am to Stacey.  The very thought makes me ill.  The End.

Sweet mother of GOD!  Keep it away!

Mornings, Meth, and a Maniac

After a night of nearly launching myself at my roommate and his presumably deaf, blind— and I imagine, headless—beau (it’s the only explanation with any sense to it), I was not in a mood to deal with anything Monday morning when I boarded the bus. I don’t know who this kid is, but this is probably about how I looked and felt

I imagine that’s why the Universe handed me a straightjacket full of utter lunacy.

Headphones on, bleary eyed, cranky, and unaware, I walked onto the bus.  I noticed an…interesting…woman who seemed to be involved in a rather intense conversation with a man across from her and a seat forward (though these seats in the middle of the bus face each other).  I passed between them, mumbled an “Excuse me,” and plopped down in a vacant seat.

I had passed through the white trash Argument of Ages and came out unscathed.

This female was a hot mess.  Her makeup looked as though it was applied by a blind drag queen and then touched up by a kindergartener with vertigo using a paint roller.  Avril Lavigne and Taylor Momsen would have looked at this crazy woman’s eye makeup, recoiled, and said, “Sweetie, sometimes less is more.”

It may be difficult to tell, but one of these creatures is an actual raccoon.  Don’t worry, I can’t tell which, either.

She was probably in her twenties, but looked like she was in her thirties.  Late thirties.  And had spent a great deal of that time being dragged around on her face by her meth addiction.  I’m certain that she was once unique looking but very pretty.  She reminded me of Fiona Apple (whom I love), but only if she had meth rocks instead of chicklets to chew on.

Fiona + Meth + Eyeliner = Maniac Bus Monster

She had runny raccoon eyes, blue eyeshadow under them, crooked lipstick, mussed hair, and about 6 bags around her (not including the ones dusted with eyeshadow and eyeliner lying full and pendulous under her eyes).  She didn’t appear to be homeless, just loaded down.  She also looked to have a cherry Icee.  At 6:00am.  I’m going to assume it was a margarita with crack rocks rather than salt around the rim.

I’m not here to talk about the sadness of drug addiction or to judge anyone going through it.  It’s sad, far too prevalent, and a horrible state of being.  What I am here to talk about is this total lunatic, presented to you by the Meth Labs Inc. on public transportation.  This woman made Ellen Burstyn at the end of Requiem for a Dream look composed and coiffed by comparison.  (Ellen Burstyn was robbed of the Oscar that year, by the way.  I’m looking at YOU, Julia Roberts.)

"But, Julia's just pretty.  I can ACT, damn it!"

Meth and a bevy of other drugs had taken this once pretty young girl and made her into a screaming, raving lunatic, transforming her into the Mighty Cracktasmia.  *flourish of trumpets*  She was yelling at the man across from her, demanding to know why he took her picture.  He insisted that he didn’t take her picture.  She was screaming at this point, shrieking like a harpy with its wing slammed in a car door.  “Why the fuck would you do that?  You took my picture, asshole!” and other such pleasantries.  She continued to shriek, “Why would you take a picture of me?!”

I found myself wondering the same thing.

Cracktasmia: Why would you take a picture of me?  Arrrrrrrrrr!

Had I wanted to get involved, I could have told them both that it was 6:00am and dark outside.  All the lights we passed would have flashed in and may have appeared to be a camera phone flash.  Then again, he may have taken a picture.  Who knows?

She turned to an older Latino couple who rides the bus every morning.  He always has this weird grin on his face, and Cracktasmia took this to mean that he was laughing at her.  (In her defense, he usually does look rather smug.)  “What?  Why are you smiling?  You think this is fucking funny?  Did he take a picture of me?  Did you see a flash or not?”

Cracktasmia: Why are you laughing at me?!

Cracktasmia then turned on the man’s wife.  “You saw it, right?”  She turned to me and asked the same thing.  Still bleary eyed and amused despite the human suffering I saw before me, I said, “I just got on the bus.  I have no idea.”

So, she turned to the man’s wife, who was not saying anything.  “Hello?  Do you UUUUUNDERSTAAAAND me?  Do you fucking speak English?”  The woman, English speaking or not, refused to answer.  This further infuriated Cracktasmia.

She screamed at this woman about five times, eventually dissolving into the eternal white trash standby.  “Go back to fucking MEXICO if you don’t understand English, bitch!  You hear me, right?  Go back to fucking Mexico!”  When she got no reaction, she turned back to the original source of her ire, repeating her litany of abusive insults and questions.

He finally got sick of telling her that he didn’t take a picture of her, got up, and took a seat toward the front of the bus.  Someone rang the bell to get off at the next stop.  Since I was sitting facing Cracktasmia and her bags, I saw her look, get excited, and make a spur of the moment decision.  I actually watched it dawn on her face.  However, with all that meth in her system, she was rather fast.

She grabbed her bags, ran up, elbowed this guy in the head, spilled her Icee on him, and said in a shockingly convincing tone, “Oh, my GOD!  I’m SO sorry!” and ran off the bus.

Now with 90% more crystal meth!

I think the guy should have tripped her ass.

Still, it was a hell of a way to wake up.  The rest of my day was pacific and enchanting compared—my problems paled in comparison to the thought of spending a lifetime like that.  There is no deep message here, no insights, nothing good other then a rock (ha) solid confirmation that, as Mr. Mackee so often says:

mr_mackeyThere’s nothing like a little lunacy in the morning to lift up your spirits.

The Sour Chords of Heartstrings

So, as noted in my “Is it November Yet?” entry, there was a good possibility that some of my woes would be null and void in that magic month.  This, alas, did not happen. The long story shortened is that my pretentious, suddenly yogatasmic roommate, Stacey, was going to run away to another state to be a yoga instructor at a soon-to-be-built studio.  Regardless of instruction, talent, clientele, practice, and experience, he sincerely thought he was going to get in the door there.  I had my doubts about someone so green getting into an established branded studio and being a full time instructor, but as I am ignorant of the ways instructors are inducted, I said nothing.

November came and went, and it was revealed that the construction of the yoga studio wouldn’t be completed.  I told our apartment manager that I may not need a one bedroom just yet.  December came and the story was the same.  By then, there was no point trying to transfer, so I decided to stay in the two bedroom until the end of our lease in January.

In that time, the long term manager of our apartment complex left her post abruptly.  The one bedroom I was going to move into with my boyfriend was snatched out from under me because, though I turned in my 60 day notice, my roommate didn’t.  In addition to that, when my boyfriend put in an application, he had to do so without my information on there, and his income is below the desired amount.  The old apartment manager said she would handle it, but the new one had to obey the rules.

After about 5 visits, several texts, a talk, and a session where I was cussing horribly every day, I got Stacey to sign my resignation and handed it in.  By that time, apartment #1 was gone.  Great.  However, there was another one opening, so I applied for that one.  Adding horror to this, the people in apartment #1 rescinded their resignation.  The people who were going to get that one are ass out, because I have signed everything for apartment #2.  Sucks, but I have been here for several years and that loyalty won out.

The talk with Stacey didn’t go so well.  Apparently, the studio is being built with one less room, meaning half the sessions, half the instructors, and less than half the opportunity for Stacey to get in, being as new as he was.  There is another studio being built not too far away, but Stacey wants to ditch his car…in the interest of (partial) anonymity, I don’t want to reveal the to and from states, but let’s just say that the difference in climate, transportation, and seasons is insurmountable.

Stacey has never been without a car, has never been in anything considered “real” weather and is totally unfamiliar with public transportation.  I am pessimistic as to his abilities to cope.  For those who have not experienced it, try doing a weekly shopping for groceries on the bus or on a bike.  Then add rain, snow, and wind—things Stacey is NOT used to being out in.  Or even seeing.  Good luck, kupo.

Reluctantly, Stacey has decided to stay put.  But, I’m outta here at the end of January.  I’m moving into a one bedroom with my boyfriend.  Can you imagine?  A place where I can be free—where I can sit in my own front room and watch TV or play my goddamned PS3 without fear that I will hear the worst sound in the world, worse by far than the cries of a baby, nails on a chalkboard, or the sound of a live Taylor Swift song—the sound of Stacey’s key in the front-fucking-door.

That’s when the heartstrings began waking up, jangling, and tuning themselves.  I felt so bad for Stacey—his ostentatious showboating, his plans, his reaching for a new life (forgetting that the old one would follow him), his hopes…they lay in tatters around him.  Adding to that, he will have no roommate in less than two months.  He doesn’t make friends easily, and of the three he has, two are in the state he planned to go to, and the third is violently allergic to his cat, KOS-MOS (no, that’s not her name, but she was named after a video game character, so I substituted).  He looked at me with Puss in Boots eyes, and I felt bad for him.

Friends and neighbors, I am here to tell you that I actually thought, “Well, I…I mean…I guess I could…if he needed it…”  Then my mind shut that sympathetic thought right the hell down.  Shut it down like a rat-infested hooker’s cootch parading around on church grounds.  Be miserable for another year?  Not enjoy my lovely TV or PS3?  Feel uncomfortable in my own home?  For another year?!  Fuck. Off. Troglodyte.

My friends tell me simply that Stacey has gotten himself into this situation.  They remind me that Stacey has tried to ditch out on our lease three or four times in our period as roommates.  I can’t fault him for wanting to pursue his newest dream, for reaching forward to something better.  I applaud his brave gesture, his guts, and his tenacity.

However, Stacey did the things anyone from Aesop to Confucius to the dumbest person you know would have warned him against: he put all his eggs in one basket, burned his bridges, and ran full force forward.  I can’t pick him up again and again, especially when I gave him five months of warning that, regardless of his actions, I was going on my way.  I haven’t needed him as a roommate for two or three years now, probably longer, and I’m done compromising my life to help him.  I also believe that familiarity breeds contempt and I hope our friendship can strengthen when we are no longer living together.  He has no place to go yet, but I know he’s looking, and though I feel for him, I won’t continue to be his crutch.  I felt bad and considered lending my helping hand, but…

…but then he continued to soil our comradeship.  To further sour the notes of my heartstrings’ harmonizing, Stacey has been the most annoying of roommates in this past week—leaving his laundry in the washer and/or dryer and going to work, frequently bringing over some guy with the timbre and vocal resonance of an air raid siren, watching movies loudly, caterwauling into the midnight hours, leaving the kitchen a mess, sprinkling and leaving copious amounts of carpet deodorizer so that when I get home the smell rapes my nostrils, and otherwise requesting a beating every moment he is in this apartment.

Enjoy your ashy bridges, ass-hat.

What an excellent day for an exorcism...

Sick on Thanksgiving?  Yes, I apparently have caught some demon-virus from a random roaming viral jerk-face.  Today is the first day I can speak without sounding like Pazuzu is eating through my vocal cords with glee and abandon.

So, my four days of reprieve from the lunatic horrors of Corporate America have turned into a marvel of sick bed angst.  Yaye.

Once upon a time, I used to sing (shocking, I know.  A singing homo.  You might want to sit the rest of this one out if you are prone to heart palpitations).  Since being sick transports me to Bizarro World, I am now a booming bass.    Normally I have a good vocal range, but without use it has faded, and the upper and lower parts of my once sizable range have suffered.  But let me tell you, in the shower this morning, I rocked Ol' Man River.  But this was Ol' Man River as sung by the Rock Biter in the Neverending Story.

 

Decisions

The peace and serenity that a heartfelt decision can bestow are immeasurable.  Indecision, stagnation, and all those other –tion/-sions can lead only to misery, to a feeling of repressed purpose boiling from within.  When this happens it is far too easy to aimlessly change, to do the shallow, superficial motions which bring only temporary relief from the discontent within. Sometimes this tempestuous battle within cracks and a person will lash out, will quit on life, will stop trying.  Other times this person will go through the motions, a hollowed out husk, surviving rather than really living.

The answer, I believe, is always within.  If you find yourself in this situation, listen to that little voice which tells you to check on that new job, to take that night class you always were interested in, or to look at real estate in that town you’ve sorta had your eye on your whole life.

For me, it was this latter bit.  And once I looked at the area, the weather, the apartments and jobs, I just couldn’t stop it.  It felt right, almost divine.  That boiling well within became a geyser, an unquenchable fountain of roaming desire.

I am an Earth sign, a stubborn, rooted being, and after a childhood of poverty and constant moving from one place to another, I value roots, stability, and comfort.  I loathe moving, change gives me hives, and the idea of financial uncertainty sends me running for pills, booze, crack, hookers, sushi, and a nap.  (Yes, all at once.  How do you deal with your pain?  Bwahahaha!)  Or at least the idea of them.

So, the enthusiasm with which I have embraced this change is a little stunning.  It’s any number of things, and though I have issues with my job, my living situation, and my professional aspirations (note: most certainly NOT my current job), I know that all those things could change and I would still be unhappy where I am.  I could take all those things with me and be a happy mess.

The decision has been made, the weight is off my back, and I could barely be happier.  Now there is only the wait, and though the year-long slough through the mire of this existence will be challenging, there is a soft, gentle light at the end of that tunnel.

Look out, world.  2014, baby.