Hope in the face of numbness

This post was originally published on my Medium profile on January 6, 2016.


My left pinky has become permanently numb.

I don’t know when this started. Every day I press it, hard, to the palm of my hand, in the hopes that that feeling, that pins and needles, that signal to my brain that something is wrong with the flesh — in the hopes that will disappear. It never does.

My pinky has become permanently numb.

Continue reading Hope in the face of numbness

life updates

oh hey, i remembered this thing exists.

ok, so, long and short of it — i’ve been up all night and i can’t see straight at this point. yesterday i got informed we have another flood. for those of you keeping score at home, this is flood number 3 in our time here. the first was the weekend before our wedding, the second was last november (so only a few months ago), and the third was yesterday.

the good news is this flood seems to be the least severe of the three, so they’re getting better? i guess?

regardless it meant i spent yesterday dealing with flood stuff instead of WORKING AS I WAS SUPPOSED TO so i have now been up all night getting work done that needed to be done for today.

anyway i’m too tired to deal with proper capitalization right now. or maybe ever. also, if you see any extra t’s in my post it’s because that key is coming up on my keyboard and i have to periodically SQUISH ITS TINY HEAD.

so sunday was my very first author takeover! how exciting is that! if you missed it, that’s ok, i’m sure to do another one at some point. and if you really wanted in on the giveaways, no worries, i’ll do more of those too. (hey, if you really want to know about future book giveaways, become a member of Loony Nation! so important i capitalized it.)

anyway the takeover was a lot of fun and i had a lot of engagement on my posts, so that was very nice. made me feel like i was not completely failing at it, which my brain convinced me i was going to do in the lead up to it. because my brain hates me and wants me to suffer.

but it was a good event so my brain was wrong this time and haha, i bite my thumb at it. which is a very awkward position to get into.

so because of the flood i have now taken down my xmas trees and am in the process of putting away xmas stuff, which i suppose should make me feel like i have my life together but it really doesn’t. also, we found a box of books we didn’t know we owned and for a while i was very confused as to if they were even ours. it was a weird fucking combo of fantasy books (most of which were likely Mr Katje’s) and stuff like The Poisonwood Bible or a book on companion planting or stuff from Oprah’s book club. also The Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades 1 and 2.

i mean those last 2 also make sense because of my fifty shades of drinking video log that is on indefinite hiatus because of computer issues, mea culpa mea culpa, except that those copies were clean and not filled with notes in the marigins to the tune of FUCKING KILL ME ALREADY THIS BOOK IS CANCER, as does the hunger games because i actually like that series, but with the rest of the stuff thrown in it was such a fucking weird mess i was very doubtful they were ours, but MORE doubtful they belonged to the landlords.

when mr katje got home we figured it out; it was a box of stuff from his room that his mom had added a bunch of books she wanted to get rid of to. at least we think that’s the case. so now i have a stack of random books on our freezer that i need to find a place to put away. could be worse!

book writing and stuff

ok so one thing i really wanna say before my eyes completely crap out on me and i need to stumble into bed to put my monstrous machine over my face so i can not die in my sleep is that i am finally getting back to writing. it’s been like, a year and a half, and in that time i have not felt excited about my writing at all.

sometimes writers’ block is really depression.

but i’m finally excited again! i’ve been doing a lot of worldbuilding writing and plotting out of from the ashes, which is the sequel to stranger skies and book 2 in the borderlands saga overall. i am so excited to get back into this story, so thrilled to work on this series again. and that’s an amazing feeling when you’ve been spending a year and a half feeling like you’ll never be able to write again. i’ve even plotted out the book after from the ashes as well! (currently titled the moonrunner. except capitalized. don’t judge my laziness right now. writing is hard.)

i have some specific goals with this series which i’m not going to get into here/now, because it’s too soon, and anyway, newsletter subscribers hear it first. but i am going to be sharing my writing progress updates publically on facebook and google plus, so if you’re on those social media networks and you want to read about my getting words on the page, you should follow me! you should also subscribe to my newsletter, hint hint. i promise i won’t zerg rush your inbox.

i will also be posting writing update compilations here, ie, grabbing a week’s worth of fb/g+ posts and putting them in one post here, because some of the posts might be super small and i don’t want to make several small blog posts.

but yes, i’m going to be starting real work on From the Ashes again really soon and I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT YIPPEEEE.

ok 2 more updates and then bed

BELLICA IS FREE ON KINDLE. this took me like a year of work and one or two ritual sacrifices but it finally happened and kindle price-matched bellica to free. huzzah! so if you have friends who haven’t picked it up yet, or if you haven’t for some weird reason, go forth and download from the mighty Zon. (it’s also now available through Pronoun, which pushes books to big distributors a bit like Smashwords except i kind of like it more. sorry smashwords. i will still use you for the other distributors that pronoun doesn’t cover though!)

–expect to see a few posts go up here in the near future that were originally published on my medium account. i’m still going to be publishing stuff to medium, just also publishing it here when i do, and i hadn’t yet done that with the posts that are currently up.

 

ok i’m off to sleep

later fellow loons

-katje

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.

Continue reading Games I’m Playing: Stardew Valley

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.

YES I HAD CRANBERRY JUICE SITTING AROUND IN MY FRIDGE FOR OVER A YEAR AND IT FERMENTED, BIG WHOOP WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT?

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!)

-Katje

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.

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.

Continue reading Can we talk a bit about chronic illness?

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.

Continue reading My Dysfunctional Relationship with Library Books

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!

-Katje

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?

~Katje

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.

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.

~Katje