Games I’m Playing: Stardew Valley


Recently I got into Stardew Valley. If you don’t know what it is, it’s like Harvest Moon upgraded and better. If you don’t know what Harvest Moon is, it’s basically a farming/rural life RPG. It started at the beginning of July when I decided to give it a whirl via Steam Family Sharing; my husband had a copy and I didn’t.

I quickly became very addicted, so at the beginning of August when we had a little extra money, I bought the game for myself so I could stop stealing my husband’s copy. This is beneficial, because with Steam Family Sharing you can only use someone else’s games if they’re not using any of their games — which meant I could only play when my husband wasn’t home, and that started a bad spiral of MUST CRAM IN AS MANY HOURS AS POSSIBLE BEFORE HE RETURNS FROM WORK.

Now that I own the game, I can play whenever I want and not worry about kicking him off his games.

I don’t know why Stardew Valley is so addictive. Maybe it’s the peaceful music, or the simulation of rural life in a small village where everyone knows your name. Maybe it’s because life is easy in Stardew Valley; so much easier than adult life in the real world.

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Zombie cranberry juice

My cranberry juice went bad. =(

Cranberry juice should last forever. Why doesn’t it?

I now am worrying that the people who pick up our recycling are going to be judging me for recycling a cranberry juice bottle with an expiration date of September…of last year.


Anyway this just goes to show you…something. Something about me not being a real adult, or something, I don’t know I kind of lost my point here.

And now I need to buy new cranberry juice.

(Or maybe not…the unopened bottle from last year is probably still good!)


PS: if you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because the unopened bottle wasn’t good and I drank it anyway and am recovering. Or dead. But probably just recovering.

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Can we talk a bit about chronic illness?

Specifically, acid reflux. I want to talk about my reflux.

I’ve been holding back so much from my public life. I’ve stopped blogging here almost completely because I always feel that any post here has to fit my “brand” — whatever my brand is. I think the problem became me trying to fit myself into some mold I’m not; trying to always be camera-ready, even in my writing.

When I first started blogging I talked about everything that was going on in my life. I didn’t hold back. Over time I decided there were some things I’d prefer to keep private, but generally I still blogged about my life. And then I became a writer, and suddenly I needed a writing blog.

I’m tired of this. I’m tired of feeling like every post here has to relate somehow to writing or reading or literature or just “My life as a writer” as if that is separate in any way from the rest of my life. I’m tired of feeling like there needs to be a theme for my blog. There is a theme: me. There is a brand: a genderqueer, disabled, chronically and mentally ill writer who tries to pen books when zie’s not feeling like absolute crap, and who has fucking had it with the stigma around talking about one’s illnesses.

So today I want to talk about reflux. Warning: this post will contain some graphic description of the effects of acid reflux. Not recommended for emetophobes.

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My Dysfunctional Relationship with Library Books

I adore libraries. I love them so much. They are my happy place, and I have a not-so-secret but currently-impractical-as-fuck desire to be a librarian. (Impractical because, um, yeah, don’t have money to go back to school for a COMPLETELY NEW SET OF SKILLS.)

I love to go to the library and browse books. The shelves are full of possibility for me, even when the SFF section is severely lacking (as it often is, where I’ve lived — why would we have book ONE in a series anywhere in our system? MADNESS — here, have books #6-9, they’re much better. I jest, only partly). The library is about so much more than the tried and true SFF for me — it’s about exploration, finding something new.

Several somethings new.

Every time I go to the library for one book I invariably come home with a bag that is BULGING with them. My library book bag is a good size; it’s canvas, from the Questionable Content store on Topataco. It carries a good number of books — it carries the amount of books I will actually read in the time I have them out. Yet I always overfill it, sometimes carrying books in my arms, too.

At some point in my life, my reading skill went down. I used to be a fast reader with high comprehension. I am now a slow reader, with high comprehension only if I have enough energy — which is often not the case. I like to blame university for this change — you can often hear me lamenting that I used to be an avid reader before 10 years of academia broke me. That’s partially true; it took me a while to be emotionally ready to be a reader again.

I am emotionally ready now, and still my brain won’t cooperate.

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Nope, taking care of the dog did not, in fact, kill me

Or at least I assume so, as I seem to still be corporeal. (Though my body is disintegrating at an alarming rate now I’m this close to being 30. It is possible I am a zombie.)

It occurred to me today that I hadn’t posted here since December, and that I should probably remedy that, as my last post was about how taking care of Tyee was slowly murdering me and some readers might think I did actually die-by-doggy-daycare (actually, that sounds amazing). At least one might think that if one doesn’t follow my Facebook page, which I’ve been updating more frequently.

Anyway. I survived.

I’ve had some time to reflect on things the past couple of months. I’ve realized some things about myself and how I work, and how I don’t work. One thing I realized is that I do not work well with a set subject for a blog — at least, not with this blog. Every time I try to set myself to write about a certain thing here, I end up not posting for approximately forever. Obviously, this isn’t sustainable.

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting rid of this blog altogether and just posting at my LiveJournal about author-y stuff, but I don’t like that idea for one big reason: I like keeping control of my content. Yes, I write over at Medium now, and I continue to place my writing in other places on the web, but at any moment my writing can disappear from those places. This site is self-hosted, and the only way it’s disappearing is if I forget to pay my bills. (Which, ok, not without the realm of possibility, but still. My writing is safer here than it is anywhere else.)

The trouble, I think, with trying to keep to a certain subject matter here is the same trouble I have with “branding”. Being an indie author means I’m supposed to constantly be thinking about my “brand”, but truthfully I find that exhausting. As exhausting as I find most social interaction. I’m not going to cultivate a brand anymore; I’m just going to be myself, and write what I want, and say what I want on social media, and let that be my ‘brand’. I summed myself up as “author, poet, menace to society” and honestly that’s as close a label as I can come to sum me up.

So this blog will remain, and I’m going to go back to posting whatever the fuck I want to post about. I’ve been blogging for 12 years now; you would think I’d figured this stuff out, but I’m a slow learner.

On that note, some writing news!

I took a huge hiatus from writing fiction — about 6 months — but I’m back on the horse again. I had to chase down the horse first, of course, because the fucker had wandered into a nearby saloon and holy hell was he drunk, but everything’s all good now, even if I am riding a very soused horse. I haven’t yet gotten back to my big projects — been dipping my toes with little bits of short prose — but that’s on the table for April. Next month I plan on writing 30K on Anala, Book 3 in The Third Age, and hopefully getting it closer to being finished; I’m using Camp Nanowrimo to help me with this. This means March is dedicated to Camp Nano prep — there’s still a lot of world-building work I need to do for Anala, as well as sitting down and plotting out that book and the book that comes after.

I never set out to write a series with Bellica, and now that I am I’m wishing I’d planned ahead more. But then again, if I had, I wouldn’t be Starbuck in real life.

I don’t know when Anala will be done, but I am aiming for this year, and a publication date of the end of this year or the beginning of next. I’m trying not to rush things though I know people are eager to read the next installment. I’m eager to read it too, to be honest. I’ve got a bunch of scenes in my head of Anala kicking all sorts of butt and I really want to sit down and write them. But I need to respect my process, and how slow I am, which I’ve learned is about as fast as a sloth on downers. So I — and my readers — must exercise patience.

The other big project I want to get to this year is the next book in The Borderlands Saga, From the Ashes. I have a good 30K written on it already, but I need to go back and rewrite and re-plot it out, as well as doing more worldbuilding and planning for the next few books. However, Anala is my current priority, so that book comes first.

I also have a bunch of smaller projects this year — short stories, new Atherian myths, and the like — and I’ll announce them as/when it becomes appropriate. And besides the fiction, there’s my poetry and creative non-fiction as well, so this is a busy year, writing-wise, for me.

That’s the news for now. I will be writing here again, though about what I really cannot say.

Have a great Saturday night (what’s left of it), and I’ll see you soon!


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Thoughts I had while walking the dog yesterday

While driving up to the mountain: please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window GOOD BOY

While walking up the mountain: it’s DECEMBER WHY IS IT SO WARM

Where’d he go? Oh there he is.

Mountain for first dog walk since before broken leg = bad choice.

Why did I decide to veil? There are zero other humans here and it feels like I wrapped my head in a basting bag.

A person takes a selfie in a bathroom mirror. The phone occludes part of their face. Their head is wrapped in a headscarf. They are wearing a wrist brace.

Pretty, but oh so warm.

Benches. Benches would be amazing. Why don’t trails have benches? It would be a great for those of us who are disabled enough to need them but still want to go for hikes in the woods on occasion. Or who are forced into it by circumstance, such as the circumstance of dogsitting for your mom.

Holy shit this hill is steep.

Where the fuck is the dog?

I did not have enough coffee today.

Ok seriously if there are not going to be any benches WHY ARE THERE NO BIG ROCKS? Like a mile up this hill and not a single fucking rock; come on, this is BC, we’ve got rocks coming out of our ears. WHERE ARE THE ROCKS. And I don’t meant the tiny ones under my feet that pose a tripping and slipping hazard.

Upon reaching the almost-summit: I am not going up those goddamn stairs, you cannot make me, I choose life.

Hey, a rock. Finally a place to sit.

Ok this rock is not that comfortable. In fact it is super uncomfortable.

I’ll take it. It is closer to my butt than the ground.

~watching the dog wander up the stairs to the actual summit~ yeah you can go up there bud but don’t expect me to follow. I am good with this rock. This pointy rock. This pointy rock…that is also soaking wet. And I in my yoga pants.

Still better than standing. Or stairs. Anything is better than those stairs. They are made of eroded death and will surely send me plummeting to the rocky embrace of Mother Earth (FINALLY, ROCKS).

~dog stops halfway up the stairs, looks at me expectantly. I tell him nothing doing, but he can go on if he wants. he sighs, turns around and trundles back down.~

A large wolf-dog walks down some stairs that are set into the side of a wooded hill.

“Sigh. Katje is no fun.”

While walking back down: jesus this hill is steep. HOW DID I WALK UP THIS THING?

A trail through a forest leads steeply downwards.

Ok I know it doesn’t look *that steep* in the pic but trust me, it’s steep.

Hey, my ass is so numb from the cold rock that I can no longer feel the wetness from said rock. Bonus!

Where the fuck did the dog go? I hope he doesn’t get eaten by a cougar.

I hope that spider I just flicked off my arm lived.

Man, I’ve made it all the way up to the almost-summit and almost all the way to the bottom without slipping on a rock and twisting my ankle—ACK.

Spoke too soon.

Oh hey, there’s the dog. And the car. Thank gods, the car. Can I nap now?

On the drive home: you know I bet my thoughts would make a pretty funny blog post. I should write them up when I get home and post them.

please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window GOOD BOY

And then it took me until tonight to finish writing them up because taking care of Tyee is a big job and I am so tired.

In other news, yes, I am currently dogsitting for Mom. This means I am up in Powell River and trying to view the seclusion as a retreat for writing and knitting. More of the latter than the former at this point, but I’ve only been here 2 days.

And I had more to say, I think, but Tyee just came up and pawed at me insistently, so I am off to take him for another walk, despite being exhausted.

ETA: I could not post this before the walk and am in fact posting it after the walk. Now it is hopefully sleep times?


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I’m failing Nanowrimo this year (and considering it a success)

I know what you’re about to say.

You can’t fail Nanowrimo, so long as you get some writing done!

If that’s the criterion, I have failed this year, because I have written 0 words. Zero. Look:

there's a kind of purity to this. it's so empty, so clean.

there’s a kind of purity to this. it’s so empty, so clean.

Nothing. No words on Anala, no words on From the Ashes; just a smattering of words on blogs and some rants on Facebook.

And yet I’m counting this month as a success. Why?

Simple. Even though I planned to write this month and failed, I managed to not beat myself up about it once. I managed to not feel shame. I managed to be okay with not writing for a month.

I didn’t write anything this month, but the fact that I didn’t rip myself apart for it means I can go into December with a clean slate, free of shame, and not let the failure of November weigh me down. If anything, the failure is lifting me up, because for the first time I’m okay with failing at writing.

(What helped was reading this blog post by Mary Robinette Kowal, which helped me realize my inability to write at the moment is depression, not lack of will. It made it okay for me to be gentle on myself, and to take steps towards digging myself out of the depression hole.)

So I am going to spend the rest of today getting ready for the new month and maybe cleaning my kitchen a bit, and letting the end of Nanowrimo pass me by without a word written. (Assuming the fumes from the renovations upstairs don’t suffocate me first.)

See you in December.

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Ways to sneak having ice cream for breakfast

  1. Throw it in your coffee. It’s cream and sugar, and this is also the easiest way to make a peppermint mocha if you don’t have peppermint syrup but do have mint chocolate chip ice cream.
  2. Roll it in corn flakes and call it cereal.
  3. An ice cream sandwich totally resembles a breakfast burrito, right? Go with that.
  4. Just fucking eat it, because you’re an adult who can make their own food choices without judgy asshats shaming you. And if some judgy asshat does get up in your business, take this blog post, print it out, and papercut them with it.

Seriously, though, putting mint chocolate chip ice cream in my coffee this morning was pretty inspired.


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Letting Go of Shame

I just read this great piece by Daniel José Older called Writing Begins With Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice Is Wrong. There’s a paragraph I really want to share with you, so I’m going to quote it here:

Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not.

The whole article is great, though, and I urge you to take the time to read it.

But this thing, this shame…it hangs over my head every day I don’t write. Every day I don’t put in the time on my writing, or my author career — every day I don’t blog, I don’t edit, I don’t proof, I don’t put new words on paper — every day I focus on something else, I feel shame.

And I need to let go of that.

Right now I’m not writing as much as I’d like to. I’ve been putting in some work on a small project, but it’s slow going and like pulling teeth to be honest. I would like to have been finished with it in August but at this rate, I’ll be lucky to write “the end” in October. And as for the big project, Anala, book 3 in The Third Age, I’ve had to promise myself that on day 1 of my honeymoon I’ll sit down and do more work on it, but that I can’t try to get to before then.

I still have a bunch of stuff to do before then anyway — I just finished proofing The Jade Star of Athering, finally, and now I’ll be sending off the edited files so I can get the final paperback proof, and maybe there will be a paperback available by November. (Let’s not get hasty here; there have been so many issues with getting that book out.) I have that small project to get out, which I’ll talk more about when it’s launched, but suffice it to say it consists of 5 short pieces — a story, a myth, and 3 character backstories — that are proving difficult to get done.

These things I have to find room for in between the day job, the other publishing work I do, keeping house, wedding planning, and keeping my health up. To be honest I’m kinda crap at all of these things, except the day job, where the requirement is I show up, smile, and do the same thing for 8 hours. The fact is I just don’t have time to focus on writing all that much right now, and I have to let myself be okay with that.

It’s a struggle. I already shame myself for not being productive enough on whatever I’m doing; writing is no exception there. It’s supposed to be my greatest joy, but I also want it to be my career — to provide for me on some level. Is it any surprise I am too hard on myself for not doing enough of it?

I’ve been writing for most of my life and I’ve yet to really find my process. It’s changed and fluctuated so much over the years, I’m honestly not sure what really works for me. I’m sure I’ll figure it out someday — if I can let go, and trust myself, and actually have the time to do so.

So I’m letting go of the shame. I’m not letting myself feel crappy for not writing (aside from, you know, the crap feeling I get when I’m not writing just because I’m not writing — I’m not giving myself extra crap feeling, is what I’m saying). Shame does nothing productive; it drags us down; it makes us despair; it constricts whatever creativity we might have had. Shame is the mind-killer, for it is rooted in fear.

I’m going to start with self-forgiveness instead. Then, when I have the time to sit down and write, I can truly let what’s in my heart sing on the page.


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Wolf-dog Wednesday

I mean, I don’t know if this will become a thing here, but here’s a picture of Sila, the wolf-dog who used to guard me in my crib.

A white wolf-dog on a wet sandy beach tries to drag a very large piece of driftwood.

Sila, what r u doing. that stick is too big. stahp, Sila. stahp.

Because it’s Wednesday, and seeing pictures of wolfies on Wednesday is always a nice perk in the middle of the week.


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