Another One Bites the Dust

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!

I was obviously wrong.

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Beware of Ergot-Poisoned Writing Advice

Bumper Crops of Fungus

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.”

Hoo boy.

Yeah, so, this is wrong. I mean, in my not so humble opinion, obviously, your mileage may vary, but so, so wrong.

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Healing Hurts

Physio hurts.

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.

Help Me Help Out Vancouver Pagan Pride

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.

'If you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them.' #VanPPD Click To Tweet

And rain hurts turnout. So this year…I don’t know the exact numbers, but we didn’t do as well as we should have. Actually, we’re kind of in major trouble.

TO THAT END (the point of this post, finally, sheesh).

From now until Imbolc, if you buy an ebook by either me or my mom at our Ecwid store I will be donating 80% of the proceeds to VPPD to help make up for the shortfall from this year’s event.

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The Love You Give Is Enough

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.

An image of two people kissing is overlaid with text that says "You can't love someone unless you love yourself; You can't be happy with someone else if you aren't happy with yourself." Over top this text is a big red X, and the words FUCK OFF in bold black Impact font on a pink rectangle background.

I have strong feelings about this.

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.

Discouragement

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

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.

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victory, followed by “fuck you”

I was going to write this post last night and I kinda wish I had because I would have been able to end on a lighter note, but I didn’t, so now I just get to complain more about how shitty this week has been overall.

I went and yelled at the pharmacy. Actually I didn’t yell. I was super calm and polite. I explained what happened. *Multiple times.* I explained so many times I turned blue in the face.

When I first got there and someone came to the window I said “Are you someone in charge that I can yell at? Because I don’t want to yell at someone who’s not in charge.” And the person responded “You cannot yell at anyone.” And I did not respond *You fuckers fucked up and made me crazier for the past few days so don’t tell me what I can do,* but I really really wanted to.

So then I get the person who’s in charge, the pharmacist, and I explain about a thousand times what happened. I do not yell, but I let her know I’m livid.

Throughout it all she sort of acts like I’m the one at fault, that I didn’t understand what the person a few days ago told me, that I’m the crazy one…not once did anyone at the pharmacy admit fault, or even get *close* to saying “Maybe we did fuck up.”

I’ve spent most of the week fixing their fuck up and they didn’t acknowledge that it was their fuck up.

So I wasn’t really happy about that. Finally she tries to put it through and goes “Oh well it’s working now, so I don’t know what the problem was,” and I say “Well it’s probably working now because I called Greenshield yesterday and told them about this whole kerfuffle and they likely put a note on my profile.” IE, it’s working now *because of work I did*.

In the end, though, they comped my co-pay of the dispensing fee (ten dollars total for both scrips), so I got them free. Which is about 1/2 a victory, so I’ll take it.

AND A GOOD THING TOO.

Because today, on my way home from my typing assessment at the college I’ll be starting up at in January, a typing assessment I *aced* and I know I aced it because the person monitoring the assessment came over, saw my results, and said “Oh wow, you did excellent!”   — on my way home from this assessment that left me feeling so happy, and also feeling great that I didn’t get a parking ticket, my car tried to kill me.

A huge strip of rubber went flying off my tire and broke my bumper. I didn’t know this happened; all I knew was suddenly there was this jerk to my side and then a horrific rattling sound. I had to quickly change lanes and get into the shoulder to investigate; of course as soon as this happened the person who’d been behind me decided to move into the right lane, blocking me, and shake his fists wildly at me while yelling.

Because I caused the rubber to fly off with my mind, obviously. YES I DID THIS ON PURPOSE, random man in car.

After checking it out and calling my husband to yell HALPS, I drove incredibly slowly down the shoulder with my flashers on until I could actually get off the highway. (Highway is such a misnomer for most of the Canadian roads called that. It has fucking traffic lights on it.)

I then proceeded to sit in the car for about an hour waiting for my husband to arrive (I’d waked him up with my call so he had to shower, get dressed, etc while half-asleep), which is SO FUN in 30 degree, smokey hazy weather, let me tell you. (My lungs hate me for going out at all today.)

He arrived, we changed the tire together, and then I managed to get home. The bumper no longer made that horrific rattling noise if I went above 20 KM, because we’d removed the tire with the huge flap of rubber sticking out from it that was playing my bumper like a mbira.

Tomorrow we’re going to see about getting a new tire for the back (Mr Katje has already called a scrap yard and they just got one in; my car has an odd tire size) and also replace the one opposite it, because it needs it.

But our wallets really didn’t need this at all. Especially not with me planning on going with my mom to the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt this month. (We’ll be in with the local authors selling our books, assuming I make it.) So it’s a good thing my scrips were free huh! (Like 10 dollars will make a difference, hah.)

I’m so fried. Any happiness I felt earlier after acing my typing assessment is gone. I’m just depressed and too fucking warm. I tried to take a cold shower when I got home and couldn’t even manage that because the water warmed up when it hit my skin.

Yup, so, stick a fork in me. This week has made me *DONE*.

-Katje

Vindicated

I just got off the phone with both my doctor’s office and my insurance company (this is after searching the car and concluding the fault MUST lie with the pharmacy, but I need to be absolutely sure of that before going to war).

The fault absolutely lies with the pharmacy. I was given NO scrips for my stomach and crazy pills in June by my doctor, I was given them in April (which is the date I knew). My insurance was not charged in April at all, but was charged on June 27 for those pills.

Both offices said that if the pharmacy tries to dispute it with me, I can tell them to call doctor or insurance and they would confirm that I am not, in fact, fucking crazy (on this count, anyway).

Tonight, after it cools down a bit as the wildfires have blanketed the city in smoke and it’s a smokey sauna out there, I will be going to the pharmacy to rain down fire and brimstone upon them.

Normally I don’t like confrontation, but their fuck up could cost me 90 dollars I don’t have, or make me go a month without my *life-saving meds*.

Normally I am more understanding about humans making mistakes, but this is exactly the sort of mistake I am not okay with. I didn’t fuck up — they did — and yet I’ve had to spend several days RUNNING AROUND LIKE A HEADLESS CHICKEN trying to rectify it, all while convinced that I’ve completely lost touch with reality because I don’t remember doing what they said I did.

I already suffer from dissociation. The past two days have been stressful as hell as I’ve tried madly to hold onto what I know is real.

And godsdammit, I will be damned if I let their fuck up break my streak of taking my pills EVERY DAY for the past 2.5 months. EVERY. DAY. Do you know how AMAZING that is for me? Every day when I take my pills I immediately tell my husband that I did, so that 15 minutes later when I forget I’ve taken them I can ask him if I did and he’ll know.

But that’s not the only part of the system I have to keep me taking my pills every day. I also have a weekly pill container (not refilled for this week BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF NEW PILLS) and I keep track in my habit tracker in my planner. This combination has lead to me having a near perfect pill-taking streak for 2.5 months.

Before this system, I was lucky if I remembered to take my pills every other day. I was a wreck.

Now I’m marginally functional. And no pharmacy fuckup is going to take that from me.

So I am vindicated today, and preparing for battle. I almost feel sorry for whoever is working at the pharmacy tonight.

Almost.

gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

An animated gif of Will Ferrell playing Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, saying "I don't believe you" and lighting up a cigarette.

what?????

not only do i have ZERO MEMORY of this, june 27 was the day i left for visiting my mom in powell river. as in, I WAS WAITING FOR THE FERRY DURING THIS TIME I SUPPOSEDLY FILLED MY SCRIPS.

but, ok, maybe i went in the day before and it didn’t process till the 27th, or maybe i went in after midnight (it is a 24 hr pharmacy) because hey, i did only get 3 hours sleep that night. so i say i’ll go home and search for the pills because fuck me, there is NO WAY i can afford my meds without the insurance covering them right now. it is a tight fucking month.

i have searched. i have looked all over the house. they are not here. what IS here are bottles and receipts for 100 worth of each of those meds dated april 18th…which would mean they run out about *now*.

so either i had incredible fucking foresight and got my pills A FULL MONTH BEFORE THEY WOULD EVEN RUN OUT (this is basically 99.9% unlikely; this is me we’re talking about) or someone fucked up and put my april paperwork into the insurance company at the end of june.

A gif of someone saying "What is going on?" (I do not know where this gif is from. The Office maybe? Idk.)

i’ve checked my bank records, too, as has my husband, in case it was something he picked up for me. there are no charges around that date that would correspond with the cost of the meds (and no, i didn’t pay cash, because i never pay cash for important shit; cash is for coffee or an extra gallon of milk in the middle of the week). i have checked every inch of my house where they could possibly be. my next step is to check my car, which i’m going to do after i sleep.

the thing is tho…i went to my doc on friday. this past friday. if i had already gotten a scrip from him a month ago, he would have said something because it would have been right on his screen when i asked for the new one. so this makes absolutely zero sense.

so if they’re not in the car, i’m phoning my doctor’s office and asking them if he actually gave me a scrip in june. because if he didn’t, there was absolutely no way i could have filled it in june.

and if that’s the case, the pharmacy is going to see what happens when someone fucks up the insurance filing and DOESN’T GIVE A CRAZY PERSON THEIR CRAZY PILLS.

An animated gif of Mugatu from Zoolander screaming "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

anyway so it’s 6am, i’m drinking sleepytime tea, and trying not to rip my fucking hair out because i feel like i am taking crazy pills but not the kind that keep me from going crazier, the kind that make me go even fucking loopier than i really am, this is what you were talking about wasn’t it Mugatu.

in other news i got some words written in july but no where near as many as i wanted, so let’s cross our fingers i get a lot more done this month. (reminder, to be the first to hear when the book is finished, join Loony Nation, my email newsletter.)

happy fucking lammas/imbolc, by the way. or whatever you celebrate today.

-katje

The Summer I Went Crazy

Serious content warning for this post. I talk about childhood abuse, trauma, suicide, and sexual assault.


There’s a video making the rounds on social media. I haven’t watched it. I don’t want to watch it. But I’ve seen the comments and I know, basically, what it’s about: a child having a tantrum on a train.

Comments have ranged from “this kid is probably autistic” to “this kid needs to be disciplined” and it strikes me this is just yet another way for people without kids to judge parents for not doing a good enough job; or people with kids to feel superior because THEIR child never had a meltdown on the subway.

It also strikes me how very lucky I am to have been born in 1986 and become a teenager in the 90s. Because I grew up without ubiquitous cellphone video cameras and the ability to post video of strangers online. I grew up without the danger that my one bad day would have meant worldwide shaming of my mother, and custody being ripped away from her.

Before we moved to Hawai’i my summers were split between my parents. (After moving there, I spent them with my bio-sire, for what was called “access” because he required access to his child and I was supposed to have access to my tormentors.)

After the first half of the summer being spent with my bio-sire and his new girlfriend, a woman we dubbed Wife #5 (he’s on #7 now), and her band of ill-mannered, horrific monsters of children, I got to spend time with my mom. This particular summer we went to Hawai’i to visit with people, including my new friend who became my best friend and still is (she was my maid of honor at my wedding).

I’m not really sure why she stuck with me for so many years, because that was the second year we knew each other and it was the summer I went insane.

I was a monster. I screamed and cried and kicked. I lashed out at everyone, including my best friend. I threw tantrums on a regular basis. I said cruel, hurtful things. I tried to kill myself. I wielded sharp weapons and was a danger to myself and others.

No one knew what was going on. My mother was at a complete loss, trying to manage a child who had never acted out on this scale before. She was inches from putting me into an institution, and had the threat of my bio-sire taking custody not loomed, she may have done so.

And I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t tell anyone, because I didn’t have words for it and I blamed myself.

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