Last week I got a notification from Student Loans that — after I had spent many hours of my time doing my application and filling out the paperwork that would let them send me money, and started preparing my appeal for the full amount of money — I was no longer eligible for loans and wouldn’t be getting any.
Ok, not ever; I have a flair for the dramatic. BUT not until my principal of 50K is paid down, which fuck me, may as well be ever.
There is a bright side to this news — the reason I’m no longer eligible to receive funding is because my RAP (Repayment Assistance Plan) has gone into Stage 2. What does Stage 2 mean? It means the government has started paying off my interest AND principal at about half the rate I would be expected to pay it off if I actually made any money.
However, this long-run bright side is hard to see with such BLOODY SHITTY TIMING.
Couldn’t they have like, I don’t know, messaged me a year ago and said “Hey in a year your RAP will go into Stage 2, here’s what that means, just a heads up”? Would have meant I would have gotten off my ass sooner and gone back to school, which would have meant at least ONE semester funded, and preparation for the lack of funding for the rest.
Instead, nope, middle of first semester, NO warning: “Oh by the way? That $1,300 you were really counting on to pay March/April rent? HAHAH NO.”
Needless to say I’ve been in a bit of a depressive episode since Thursday. That day actually saw me sobbing on a bench at campus, which was…totally fun and not at all embarrassing. And now Mom, Mr. Katje, and I are struggling to find a way to come up with the money to survive this semester.
I’m visiting Mom right now and we’re going to have a small private party-slash-fundraising thing here, which should help, and she’ll also be doing a Scholarship Sale at her bookshop Tea & Talk. I’ve also put together a note on FB detailing ways to help — it’s public for now, so you should be able to see it.
I’m also trying to get paid hours in as much as I can, even though that’s almost impossible with school. Most of my time these days is spent studying or working on homework, and when I’m not doing that, I’m in class, and when I’m not doing THAT I’m cleaning the house or sleeping. Study Break was MUCH NEEDED this week, and my trip to PR to see my mom has already resulted in many naps.
Anyway, that’s the State of the Katje. I haven’t let it break my streak of writing every day this year, though. Still going strong on that.
Will see you all again soon, if I can figure out something to talk about.
I don’t know about you but my 2018 so far has been pretty awesome. Well, I say awesome. I mean, it’s been good.
I’ve started doing that Year in Pixels thing — I wasn’t even going to, but the planner I bought and put into my binder had it already laid out on a page so I was like, hey, why not — and I’ve decided that when deciding if a day was good or not, I’m not going to let the 5 shitty minutes color my view of the entire day. I am committing to being relentlessly positive about life, on top of very ambitious and driven. So I’ve had mostly good or great days this year, with the exception of a row of “so-so” days when I was down with the sickness (OH-WAH-AH-AH-AH).
Also with the exception of a couple of bad days, courtesy of Student Loans.
Some background: Student Loans now does things through an online dashboard. You apply there and get info about your loans there. Since sending off my declarations on the 4th I have checked my dashboard relentlessly for news. They didn’t get my declarations until the 11th, and then didn’t update my page for another several days, and THEN last Sunday they told me my total funding was $1,293.
I feel like I’m saying that a lot these days. Every New Year’s I turn to the past year and scream BURN IN HELL YOU ASSHOLE and then turn to the next year like it’s going to be better. And then it’s not. Or it is in some ways, but worse in other ways.
Anyway, this year is no exception. 2017 was long and hard and yet surprisingly short, and while I’m glad it’s over I also want to hit Pause for a few days because I am so not ready for 2018, y’all.
I don’t know what it is about this part of the year but it always seems to be completely insanely busy for me — right when I’m feeling the need to draw inward and rest and relax.
You already know about Pronoun folding, putting a bunch of work on my desk right in time for the holidays. I’m ALSO trying to get our books up on Ingram Spark so they can be sold to libraries — which has a deadline of Nov. 30th, because that’s when the Indie Fringe code expires that makes set up free and we can’t afford 50 bucks per book right now.
As well, I am working my ass off trying to make enough money to a) pay rent, b) pay my super overdue phone bill that is about to be cut off, and c) cover some school costs while I wait on word of whether or not I’m getting a loan. Oh, and I have to jump through a thousand hoops to get that loan, because between the time of my last student loan and now I CHANGED MY BLOODY NAME LIKE A FREAKING IDIOT.
(My mom- and dad-in-law helped me out with school a LOT by paying my tuition as a Christmas gift, but I still need to cover a shit ton of costs for the Winter Semester.)
Seriously, if you’re ever going to go through the legal process of changing your whole name, be prepared for the incredible amount of work in front of you. Also be prepared — at least if you’re a person who gets socially classed as female — for people to completely not understand anything when you try to get your paperwork sorted because you didn’t get your name changed as a part of marriage. Like, dear gods, the amount of times I’ve had people look at me like I’d grown an extra head because I explained it wasn’t marriage that changed my name and just a desire to live more authentically as myself…for Hera’s sake.
Anyway, I digress. I’m crazy-busy right now and obviously it’s driving me crazy (er). On top of work I’ve been doing Nanowrimo — it’s looking very unlikely I’ll hit word count (though I’m rebelling, so it wouldn’t be a “true” win in the spirit of Nano anyway — at this point, this month is sort of like a devotion of sorts; I’m less concerned with following the “rules” and more concerned with just making sure I write) — but it wasn’t that so much I was concerned with as it was just FINISHING MY BOOK.
I have been trying to finish first draft of this book for…I don’t even know anymore. A long time. I have even rewrote it from scratch once and gotten about as far in as the first time before stalling out. I really need to put my ass to the grindstone (I know it’s nose, but my nose is so perfect in shape, and my ass won’t miss it if some of it gets ground off) and just type out the rest of the story even if it’s pure unmitigated crap. But that is so much easier to say than it is to do — especially when I’m focusing on trying to make money so I don’t lose my phone or my home or anything else.
This poverty thing is fun!
I’ve also been knitting, which I’ve been trying to blog about at my knitting/planning/crocheting/messy lifestyle stuff blog but I’m really bad at blogging on a regular schedule at all, let’s face it, so. Some of the things I’m making are for gifts and others are for sale (because again, trying to hustle up that end of year cash).
Anyway, in the turmoil of all this overwhelm, I wanted to blog here again because I kind of miss blogging, I’m realizing, and want to be better about doing it more often. I don’t know how well that’s going to work, but I’m going to try for at least once a month for the next few months, and if I can keep to that schedule, up it to once every 2 weeks or so. No idea what I’m going to be blogging about, because I’m having issues finding my own life interesting right now so it’s hard for me to write about it as if anyone else would be interested. But I’m going to try to figure it out.
Also, here’s some book news:
All my books are on sale for the rest of the year. It was just going to be a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, but I figured, eh, why not, I’ll keep the prices low until the end of December. Bellica is still free, of course, but right now you can get The Jade Star of Athering, Stranger Skies, or glasstown for $0.99 each.
Currently only Bellica and glasstown are up at all retailers, but Jade Star and Stranger Skies have been uploaded to Draft2Digital and are getting pushed to other retailers as we speak. They’re both on Kobo and Jade Star is also on Apple right now. I’ll be giving you the universal book link from Draft2Digital so it will take you to your preferred retailer.
Here are some links (again, my Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get an extra commission if you buy my books or something else after using these links, but you don’t pay any extra):
I think there was more I was wanting to say in this blog post, but I’ve run out of steam in the several hours it’s taken me to write this. (I started writing it last night while cooking dinner, then took a huge break, and now it’s 7am the next day and I’m still not done with it.)
So, yup. I’m loonier than usual right now, but all my books are on sale so you should tell your friends. Or get them ebooks for Xmas. Or whatever; I’m not your supervisor. (Or AM I?)
If you spend any time within the self-publishing areas online, then you likely know that Pronoun has shut down.
If you don’t, let me explain a little.
Pronoun was similar to Smashwords and Draft2Digital in that it took your ebook and distributed it to a range of markets. It gave authors 70% of the royalties, even on $0.99 books, which made it very appealing. It also created very nice looking books with only a little know-how and trial and error. As well, you got a snazzy looking author page for each pen name, and a page for each book that would link to all the places your book was for sale. And it let you onto Google Play, a coveted but hard to break into market.
Personally, I kind of loved it.
I haven’t liked Smashwords for a long time, for the simple reason that I’m an aesthetics snob. I can create what I think are better-looking epubs using my copy of Scrivener, and doing poetry on Smashwords? Forget about it.
My books are still on Smashwords, but I have been considering removing them from any of the extra markets they’ve been sent to there and just keeping them on the site itself.
So I really liked Pronoun. It was starting to gain traction as a distributor among authors; more people were talking about it recently, and it seems likely it was about to really take off.
Sadly, the owners shut it down.
Pronoun was bought by Macmillan Publishers a while ago. At first I thought, hey, maybe this will mean this indie author company will get some oomph from the big guys that bought it up! This could be good for us!
It’s Nanowrimo! Holy gods where has the year gone? I feel like just yesterday I was saying Happy New Year to folks.
Ok, so, it’s November and I’ve apparently been abducted by aliens this year because that’s the only way to explain all the missing time. I’m also recovering from seriously heavy burnout. Slowly feeling more like myself, but trying not to push it. Pushing it leads to more burnout.
And because it’s Nanowrimo, we have a new crop to harvest! A new crop of writing advice!
Like all harvests, some of it is good, some of it is bad, and some of it is of dubious quality. Be careful before you dig in; you don’t want ergot poisoning. (Actually…ergot is a hallucinogen, so it might help you come up with things to write. GO FOR IT! No, don’t, don’t ever take advice from me. Or do, whatever, I’m not your supervisor.)
Floating out there in cyberspace, I saw one particular part of writing advice that I needed to comment on. (I don’t remember where I saw it; I just know I saw it. Also it’s not an uncommon piece of advice to get tossed around.)
It said something along the lines of “it’s no good writing a bunch of words if you have to toss most of them out.”
Yeah, so, this is wrong. I mean, in my not so humble opinion, obviously, your mileage may vary, but so, so wrong.
Drove out to Coquitlam tonight for my physio appointment. Driving there was difficult; I was having high anxiety, as I have since last Sunday when I learned of the deaths of two people I cared about. Late last week I had to force myself to leave the house so I could get over that huge hump of anxiety; it’s lower than it was, but still difficult to deal with.
Physio itself hurts like hell. I have to do exercises to build up certain muscles that have sat dormant in my crippledness for years. The muscles scream in anger and rebellion at me. And the physiotherapist — who is awesome! — has to push and prod at me to get my spinal muscles to ease up, and to ease my spine back towards normalcy.
And it hurts like hell.
Don’t even get me started on the squats I need to do and what they do to my knees.
At the end, all that back and neck work triggers a small migraine, so I drive home drinking a coffee from McDonalds after taking an extra-strength Tylenol to banish the migraine to the depths of hell from whence it came.
Home, I still hurt all over, and I have more to do before I can go to bed tonight.
This healing thing isn’t for cowards. I am one, but I’m trying really hard not to be.
I honestly cannot believe that September is more than half-over already. I feel like we JUST finished August.
This month has been a bit of a whirlwind of downtime for me, if that makes any sense at all. We did Pirates and Fairies on Labour Day Weekend; it’s our yearly excursion to the lake for fun and glitter. It gives new meaning to the term “glamping”.
Usually we have a really incredible time but this year it was *so hot* we had trouble functioning. Mr. Katje is usually the one up till 7am; he was falling asleep at 2am because of the heat. Our brains didn’t work properly and we just wanted to sleep the entire time.
Despite the heat we DID have fun, and got to hang out with some good friends and swim in the lake. Mr. Katje got sunburned; I did not. We both wore sunscreen.
After coming home I was so tired I was barely able to function during the week. I managed to help out my friend with getting things ready for the event she was organizing, Vancouver Pagan Pride Day, on Thursday the 7th. Then Saturday the 9th was the actual event and I was there all day.
It poured for the first few hours before finally becoming dry around 1pm. I was in so much pain that weekend.
Normally I’m a person who likes rain, but doing an outdoor event in the rain? Nope. Nope nope nope. I’ve done it multiple times and EVERY TIME I swear “Never again!” Especially if you’re selling books — NO ONE buys books in the rain. When you have that on top of “sitting in rain makes me hurt all over for days”….yeah.
However, I’d committed to volunteering at VPPD and I wanted to make the event as successful as possible, so I showed up and stayed all day to help out. My books were on the snack bar table, which was the community vending table this year. Didn’t sell any (told you) but that’s okay; I made some good contacts and new friends (YAY NEW FRIENDS). Worth the pain. 😉
Mainly, though, I was there to make the day a success for my friend. She has been working herself to the bone to make VPPD a great day for the community every single year, and it has been so hard on her. Rain hurts turnout, which hurts things like raffle sales, concession sales, and donations, which in turn hurts the event.
Events like this cost money. Quite a bit of money in Vancouver, which is a SUPER expensive city. We need to give back to events like these if we want to continue to HAVE them for the community.
Ok, I’m not going to get into a rant about lack of pagan infrastructure on this blog. That’s best saved for my blog at moragspinner.net…where I’m sure I’ll rant AT LENGTH about this particular thing, because it’s a huge thorn in my side right now/always.
But anyway, my point is: if you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them. If you can’t support them financially you need to support them in other ways…like word of mouth advertising to get people there so that there’s a bigger turnout and better chance of ACTUAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT.
Yesterday I ran a lot into something that’s physically painful for me to see: clappy hand emojis between words. It’s an internet trend to make what are considered important points this way, instead of the old-fashioned placing of a period between each word. (What. was. wrong. with. that?)
You’re probably wondering why/how it makes me sick. The best explanation I can come up with is that my visual processor is over-developed and hyper-competent after a lifetime of having to make up for my auditory disabilities — my hearing is fine, my brain has problems processing and parsing sounds — and so when I read things, I experience them more vividly than people without that disability do.
My lack of ability to properly parse things I hear means my visual processor makes up for it by making me hear things mentally really well when I read them. This is why shitty punctuation in a book drives me insane. I can’t just skim over it when reading; it’s integrally a part of what I’m experiencing. It tells me how to “hear” things in my mind, and if it’s wrong, it will fuck up my entire experience.
(This is also why I loathe the practice of 2 spaces after a period. It makes my brain grind to a halt when I’m reading something, because one space is a normal pause between sentences for me. Two spaces is the emergency brake.)
My experience seeing the clappy hand emojis between words is to feel as if I’m being slapped or punched in the face after every word. Reading a sentence written that way gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.
And to be honest, even if it didn’t cause me physical pain, I would find it the most annoying fucking thing on the planet. So either way, I’d be stoked if people could fucking stop doing it.
Anyway. Yesterday I saw like, 3 or 4 tweets using this method so I spent most of the day feeling headachey and sick to my stomach. One of them, however, is what inspired this post.
This was from an account I used to enjoy following, and from someone I thought was pretty cool. Not only did they use the clappy hands emoji thing that makes me sick, but they used it to repeat a really damaging belief: “you can’t love somebody until you love yourself.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what the tweet said exactly; I just went and double-checked as fast as I could before getting too sick. Am super nauseated right now anyway.)
This is a bullshit idea and I am so sick of hearing it repeated.
Working on self-love is, of course, important, and something I encourage EVERYONE to do. But the phrasing of this idea, the way it’s always put forth, makes it a zero-sum game: you cannot love someone until you love yourself. Unsaid in that sentence: your whole self. You cannot love someone until you love yourself 100%.
This idea leads to a horrible self-repeating spiral of self-hate. That sentence also says that if you DO love someone when you don’t love yourself, it’s not enough. It’s not GOOD enough. Your love for your spouse or sister or daughter or son or best friend — it’s not enough, because you don’t love yourself first.
And because your love isn’t enough — because you don’t love yourself — you are obviously not worthy of that person. And if you’re not worthy of that person, then you are, of course, not worthy of THEIR love and thus unlovable.
How the fuck are you supposed to work on self-love if you keep getting told that the love you give isn’t good enough?
I’m a broken person. I’m damaged goods. I always will be; doesn’t mean I want to be treated like I am. You can glue something back together, but those cracks will always be visible.
Most days I absolutely hate myself. But you know who I love? Mr. Katje, my husband. I love him so much I can sometimes forget what an awful person I am. I love him so much I can forget that I hate myself.
And Mr. Katje loves me, and because he loves me, he helps me work on these things. He reminds me to eat, because I can’t love myself enough to do that. He reminds me to take my pills, because sometimes I cannot take that care of myself. His reminders build up, and become my reminders: I eat because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am worth loving, so I need to love myself. I take my pills because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am not an unlovable monster, so I need to take care of myself.
Through his love of me, I am slowly, very slowly discovering self-love. It is self-love based in the love of another person.
I suppose people who believe that self-love must be entirely self-generated, a virgin birth in your heart, would see that as unhealthy.
I believe humans are pack animals and we cannot exist alone. I believe relying on oneself to the exclusion of all else is unhealthy. I believe we need each other in the same way we need food, water, shelter.
So I do not see my building up my self-love based on the love others give me as unhealthy. I see it as human.
I know Mr. Katje struggles with self-love, too. I know he has doubts; I know he has that voice inside that tells him he’s not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough for me. I know he feels he’s not a good enough husband for me, because he can’t support me like he wants to, because he’s been damaged by a lifetime of society shoving it down his throat that if he’s not earning big bucks, he’s not good enough.
(Kyriarchy damages men too.)
He is enough. He will always be enough, regardless our money situation, regardless what lies society screams at him. And if the love he gives is enough for me, then the love I give has to be enough for him.
It’s not fair to ask damaged people to put everything on hold while they try to figure out how to love themselves, and then to tell them that if they can’t figure that out, they don’t deserve to love anyone else.
It’s not fair to ask that of anyone.
Spend time cultivating self-love, as much as you can. But if you cannot get that to 100% — that’s okay. If all you can manage is 5% on a good day — that’s okay. The love you give is still worthy. The love you give is enough. The love you give is not subtracted from by the hate you feel for yourself. This is not algebra.
We may be brokenhearted, but we are enough, and whatever love we can pump out of those damaged organs is enough. It has to be, or humanity doesn’t stand a chance.
We got a new tire for my car. Or rather, we got 5 new tires for my car and one of them turned out to work. The first time Mr Katje went to the scrap yard he got a deal on 4 tires for 200 bucks off a 2000 Dodge Caravan — ie, my exact car.
They didn’t fit.
I don’t fucking know WHY, they just didn’t fit. They should have. SAME CAR. That night included Mr Katje lying on the ground looking at this tire he couldn’t get onto my car and saying “Happy birthday, Dear, I got you the wrong tires.”
(Yes, tires were my bday gift. I turned 31 and I got a working car. #blessed)
So he went back and was able to return them (a VERY WELCOME SURPRISE) and got a different one which definitely DID fit. So my car got all fixed up in time for me to drive up to Sechelt.
So mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, or FOTWA, or #SecheltWritersFest, or SCFWA, from August 17-20. We were in the tent selling books with other local indie authors.
We had a great time; I sold 2 books. Pretty good considering the overlap between SFF readers and people who go to festivals like that one is pretty slim.
Then we got back to our respective homes and Mr Katje and I went and watched the eclipse the next day, which was fucking underwhelming. I thought 86% totality was going to be pretty good but it was just disappointing. Didn’t help we couldn’t get any eclipse glasses so we had to look through pinhole boxes we’d made that morning.
When we’re 80 we’ll just look right at it because either medical technology will have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter and we can just get new eyes, or we’ll be so close to the grave we won’t give a fuck.