Image by WTB Potions
It has come to my attention that I do a lot on an average week. I usually have a lot of things going on at once, many projects in the air, and have been asked a few times how I manage to do it all. I’ve jokingly responded “By systematically sacrificing my social life”, and while that’s true, it’s not entirely the whole story. So I’m going to attempt to talk about that and hope what I’ve learned may be of some use to you.
First, it’s important to realize I don’t get done everything I want to. I’m still learning. For instance, this week my Wordy Wednesday will be late. My Curiosity Cabinet was unable to go up on Sunday like I planned due to a tragedy that struck last week when many of us in the Geek community lost a dear friend unexpectedly. But this happens. Because there are many things we can’t control. And one of those things is time.
First of all, have I told you how much I appreciate you? I really do. I honestly can’t imagine how bleak my day would be without you in it. Thank you for being you. Always. Of all the worlds I’ve visited through the centuries, I’m very certain this one is my favorite.
Because of you.
And tea. Tea is quite glorious too.
But mostly you.
Announcement: This Halloween, Alys will have been with the wonderful folks at Doce Blant for a full year! What shall we do to celebrate?
This week I got to hear such wonderful things from the Curiosity Community, and I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to capture some of my favorite moments and share them with you.
Here’s what you might have missed this week:
I threw out a lot of questions this week, but this one had some of my favorite answers. There were so many, it was hard to choose!
What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Taken?
“Jiggle the handle” – @Lawjick
“When confused, draw a diagram. If still confused, draw a BIGGER diagram. Repeat if necessary.” – @Compel_Bast
“As long as you’re not hurting anyone then love who/what you love and never be afraid to find your own happiness.” – @rickys_a_geek
“Be your own hero.” – @sa_roux
“Embrace change.” – @TheJamesBJones
“Be ready to give up everything you have to become who you are.” – @_ZenGirl_
“Don’t play games (in affairs of the heart) no matter how harmless it seems.” – @blairbeveridge
“One Day at a Time” – @jubacca51
“Don’t just tell people about it. Do it.” – @SizzlerKistler
“Rewrite the book from scratch.” – @BrianaScribbles
Never regret any decision made with all the info you had available to you at the time. Results may not be expected, but can never be regrets as long as you had all the info. – @JonnyNero
Forgive the language, but everyday you take a shit is a good day. – @WesMan83
“Confidence is quiet, insecurity is loud. Let’s your actions be your proof, not your words.” –@ItsPixelbitch
“Blood may be thicker than water but even family only get so many chances!” – @FightFan8
Go and talk to a therapist – @Jackery21
“Only work with people that are excited to work with you.” – @ImAaronJ
“Fail. Fail again. Fail in flames. Fail better.” –@rhinosaur
“Be intentional” – Liam Conway
“You’re depressed, get help.” – Darren Vallance
“Embrace who you are.” – Dominic Grancitelli
“It’s okay to not be okay.” – Aaron Burke
“You must unlearn all that which you have learned.” – Ren Cummins
Things that were done:
Participating in Realm FM on Hoopod!
A dear friend recently reached out to me for advice that I’m not entirely sure I’m qualified to give. They were feeling overwhelmed with the world, distraught, and finding it difficult to focus on art through their medical struggles and wanted some wisdom on how to push through it.
Every response I can think of honestly feels rather trite.
But perhaps that’s okay. Perhaps things are overused for a reason, but we overlook them because it seems so commonplace and useless. We’re all familiar with “tried and true” but perhaps there is value in the idea of “trite, but true.”
And that’s all I can really offer you during these times of artistic constipation. A small piece of trite but true advice.
Sit down and just do it. Just vomit it out, as if it were no different than doing a dish or tying your shoe. It doesn’t have to be clever or pretty, it doesn’t have to be anything worth anything–you just need to do it. Just put your fingers to the keys or pen to paper and write. It doesn’t have to be relevant, it can literally be just a string of words that aren’t even relevant to your current project–or even ones that don’t make sense!
It’s a bit like jumpstarting a car. When you’ve left it alone for a while, sometimes you need to give it a jolt simply to get it back on track.
And sometimes the best way to do this, I’ve found, is to bleed everything into ink. I had a bad day? I write about it. I have a moment of elation? I jot it down. Sometimes they’re useless little notes in my phone, recently I’ve taken to carrying around a Field Notes journal because it’s small and fits even in my useless girl pockets (truly, why is it the pockets in pants made for women can’t seem to hold anything? What is the point of a purely aesthetic pocket? Yes, the detailing helps keep the garment from looking too plain, but one does want for some utilitarian purpose.)
The point is, if you want to push past the fog, I’ve found the best way is to literally write about everything. The mundane things, the excruciating things, the “wow no one will ever believe me this happened” things, and once you’ve gotten back in that habit–and it is, I’m afraid, a habit–the rest will be much easier. Not easy, mind you, I’m fairly certain anyone who says writing is ‘easy’ is an absolute liar but… easier.
Because you’re training your brain. You’re starting an almost Pavlovian experiment. You have a thought, your impulse is to write it down. You hear a joke? You write it down, without thinking. You are struck with a heart-wrenching, absolute soul hollowing feeling?
You. Write. It. Down.
It may feel crass at first, you’re likely not going to feel very good at any of it, that’s for certain for quite some time. Hell, at this point I’ve been writing for years, have put up a live performance of my work, published works through self-determination and traditional press…
And I’m still not sure if I’m very good at it.
But it’s become a habit I can’t break. It’s become a compulsion that I feel uncomfortable if I don’t follow through with it.
Perhaps that’s all a bit trite and cliche. But it just so happens that I know it to be true.
“Are you sure?” is a far from innocent question.
“Are you sure” is a coward’s cocktail of two parts deterrent and one part accusation.
It contributes to our life-long indoctrination intoxication that we cannot trust our own senses and judgement. Our own perceptions denounced, speaking our experience makes us liars, and as we grow our night-lights become gaslights in so much that we get vertigo just by standing up for ourselves.
“Are you sure” enforces the caution that it is paramount we are not speaking before thinking–it assumes your feelings are baseless, it reinforces the mythology that you haven’t given this any thought at all. When in truth it is the only thing that has occupied your thoughts both waking and dreaming. It lingers on you, cropping up at the most innocuous moments, those sleepy and content breaths where you thought you were safe.
We have trouble breathing, choking on the specter of thought that has been haunting us since the inception of realization of our reality.
“Are you sure?”
As if you weren’t so bursting that there were room for doubt within you.
And when you try call them out, they defend “I’m just checking!”
As if that can even pass as some form of repentance. But they never dare to finish the sentence.
“I’m just checking…”
I’m just checking you’re not a liar.
I’m just checking you’re sincere.
I’m just checking you’ve thought this through, because some part of me that I won’t admit to does not believe you.
“Are you sure” is more suggestion than question.
And it speaks volumes about what they never say aloud.
“Are you sure you didn’t provoke him?”
“Are you sure your skirt wasn’t too short?”
“Are you sure this isn’t a phase you’ll grow out of?”
“Are you sure” is both intimidation and invalidation.
It makes you question your sanity and believe, if even for a second, that speaking up isn’t worth the consequence.
Of course, I’m sure.
Please believe me.
Hey, it’s been a bit, right?
I’ve had my nose to the ground working on Changeling and a few other things, and also just focusing on my own mental health (more on that at another time, just know I’m fine). I’m really excited about that progress, slow that it may be. Trying to write about 1k a night (not always getting there, but that’s the goal). I feel about halfway finished and we’re up to about 57k.
It’s not a terribly large secret that one of my guilty pleasures are mystery stories, especially murder mysteries. I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes, and through my parents I was introduced to Murder, She Wrote, Magnum P.I., Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock etc…
So it’s not really a surprise that when I encountered Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix, I was destined to fall in love. And that I would re-watch the episodes a million times and be filled with a kind of dysphoria every time I reached the end. Murder? In 1920s Austrailia? An intelligent female private detective outside her 20s still allowed to be sexy and independent? Yes please!
Then Zoe reminded me about the books that the tv show was based on.
I’ve been wanting to create more of a discussion around some of the stories we talk about, and while I would like to approach this with video games, right now there isn’t the time for it. But a book?
I commute about an hour to work and depending when I leave, 30 minutes to an hour back. Audio books, audio dramas, and podcasts have been my best friends during this time. Great to decompress, and take in a good story.
So why not turn that into something?
I snagged a copy of “Cocaine Blues” (Kerry Greenwood), the first book in Miss Fisher’s journey, and coincidentally, the pilot episode. If you’d care to join me this month (August), we’ll be taking in both the book and the pilot episode and doing a bit of compare/contrast, talking story elements and such the like.
Why? Well, to put it simply…
Bitch, I’m here for the story.
Hello, you marvelous Curios!
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Ugh. How the time does get away from us. We think we have a hold on it, and then it laughs when we realize it’s actually been five days ahead of us this whole time.
That’s a bit nonsensical, isn’t it? Well, I’m not sure what to tell you, that’s sort of what we do here.
I’m about to make quite a few appearances and it seemed smart to tell you about them!
First thing is first is the signing I’ve been blathering about for nearly two months now:
Alys: The Terra Mirum Chroicles Book Signing
Come join me and hang out, get a book (or something else, I suppose) signed, take a picture, snag a hug, just say ‘hi’!
Saturday, May 20th, 11:30am-2:30pm (PST)
Barnes & Noble (Glendora, CA)
1315 E Gladstone Street, Glendora, California 91740
B*t©#, I’m Here For The Story
We’re heading back to Thedas to help save the world. Dungeons need not slow us down, we’ve got codes and no desire to pause for a slog through a horde of darkspawn. Sure, it’s cheating when it comes to fight mechanics, but bitch? We’re here for the story.
Sunday, May 21st – 7am – 3:30pm (PST)
I’ll be joining The Divvy the Loot crew up in the Pacific Northwest for a very special episode of Liquid Tabletop. Come get your Bard on.
Saturday, May 27th, 8pm – 11pm (PST)
ENTER THE GAUNTLET
You helped make me my team’s MVP, and so it looks like (barring any weird scheduling conflicts) Triss, the totally human (what are you talking about these aren’t horns, it’s a skin condition and how dare you even mention it) is venturing back into the Gauntlet to try her luck, and battle new frightful things!
Thursday, June 1st, 6:30pm-8:30pm (PST)
Crumpets & Flagons!
Bethany and I will be venturing across the pond to explore the UK! And we’ve set aside time specifically to meet up with any Curios able to come meet us. I WILL have a VERY small # of books with me. EXPECT MALARKEY!
Tuesday, June 6th, Time 3:30pm (15:30)
The Eagle and Child, Oxford (I believe it’s cash only so be prepared).
Saturday, June 10th, Noon – ?
Exact location pending, we’re looking around the Camden Market area for some tasty tea and such. We’ll meet and explore the stalls!
Update: Location is the food court area under the umbrellas by Gilgamesh!
In my most recent letter to Stephanie (video below), I was challenged to do one thing that scared me.
In taking time to consider what I could do that 1. Genuinely scared me and 2. Would not break my bank (ala bungee jumping etc), I realized there was something I’d been… not avoiding per se, but that I had in certain times been very careful to tip toe around.
And I realize that’s silly. Because while I do feel this is something very personal and unique to me–it’s still part of me, so it would be strange for me to AVOID talking about it if it’s relevant to the moment.
And to be honest, I’m not sure when it ever really would be relevant beyond being open about myself and letting people know where I’m coming from. It’s a part of me and avoiding talking about it should it come up would be disingenuous. I’d much rather prefer to just be open.
And in doing this I realize there are other things that I’d like to be a bit more open about as well. But those are for other videos. <3