Insert interesting, witty title here

It should tell you how tired I am that I didn’t even care about missing doing my 750words.com entry yesterday, let alone missing a blog post here. I realized it was going to happen and couldn’t summon the energy to scramble together something. I just let it slip me by.

Moving is always, always, stressful, and I’d hazard a guess and say most people hate it. Even though I am so happy to be getting out of the place I’ve been in since September 2012; even though I am so happy to finally be permanently cohabiting with Mr. Katje; even though I’ve had help from amazing people, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to do this; even though this new place is great, and I’m excited about living there — moving sucks. It sucks big time.

I haven’t gone through my email in a few days and my inbox now has over 500 messages in it. I can barely get an hour of publishing work done each day. Writing? Oh, yes, I think I remember what that was. I think I probably enjoyed it, and would again! (I’m referring to working on my books, here, not blogging.)

Well, that last part is not entirely accurate — since the month began I have written 3 poems. I’m hoping that number will go up. But writing a poem is not the same as working on The Jade Star of Athering or From the Ashes for a few hours. It uses different skills, different parts of my brain.

I have completely fallen behind in my Coursera courses and cannot bring up the energy to actually do any of the work for them. This is unfortunate, as I signed up for the courses in the hopes that they would help enrich my writing life. But I cannot spare the time or energy for them.

All my brain is focused on is The Move. Information falls out of my grey matter all the time, especially spelling — I’ve rewritten parts of this post trying to spell words correctly so many times I’ve lost count. If I’d let it go unedited, it would be unreadable.

All I can think about is boxes and things and do I have the energy to move that bit down to the car today and organizing my piles of random junk that have been moved, wholesale, from place to place for years and that has to end now. I am going through the piles and throwing out what needs to be thrown out and keeping what needs to be kept — but it is a big job, almost as big as the move itself, and I am tired.

So forgive me, forgive my lapses. Right now it is all I can do to keep myself moving, fixing on a future point when I will be fully in the new place, everything will be shiny, nothing will hurt, and I will have my brain back. In the meantime, I struggle to get my fingers to type out the words in my head; I struggle to meet my commitments to myself.

And I’m going on vacation in HabitRPG, or my character will be dead by the end of the week.

-Katje

Weekly Writing Challenge: the justice of ribbons

Today’s poem was written in response to this picture inspiration from the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The poem’s title is the justice of ribbons.

Image from Cheri Lucas Rowlands

my heart is ribbons
once it stayed whole
a kaleidoscope of colour and light
blended till no one know who was anything anymore

shredded
by a physical blow made of words
the colours separate
i have to tie them together
hope they play nice

my heart is ribbons
tightly coiled
smaller than it was

when it was whole
it beat for the whole world
it contained multitudes

my heart is ribbons
and beating just for me almost unravels it
it contains only my sorrow and rage

my once-whole heart
has been braided into cords
twisted together
ribbons sliding against each other
silk saturated in blood

i guard it jealously
afraid to let it travel past the walls
of its bonewhite cage

you’re safe here
no one can hurt you now

but in my dreams
the trumpet sounds
and in my dreams i know the call
it tells me what i must do

i cup my ribbon heart in my hands,
hold it close to my chest
as if it were a small animal I must set free
from its blunder into my busy city life

I walk on moon-kissed floors to the window

far below
people writhe in a world of grey
stumbling through dark and fog
breathing despair and drinking fear

cracked and scarred, my feet
climb to the ledge
and I balance on bent knees, rocking back and forth

trembling, I am a bird afraid to fall from the nest
half-crouched as if the stars might burn me.

I tip my cupped hands out over the world
and watch my ribbon heart
spill away from me

from between my breasts
a rainbow of colour curls out
and around
wrapping itself into each and every life
ribbons wending themselves through homes and heads
bringing colour to the grey
bringing light to the fog

my heart is ribbons
it touches all lives
it contains multitudes
it binds me in love
to all else who suffer.

Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

> What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from the person you’re the closest to?

> Photographers, artists, poets: show us FRIENDS.

The Daily Post

My best friend in the entire world is Kana. She’s more than a best friend; we’re soul sisters. When she moved from Hawaiʻi to Alaska, I started singing For Good at her going away party; she joined in with Glinda’s part and we could not finish it for the sobbing that wracked us.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fR4JotwwWo]

In fact, I am tearing up again just listening to it.

All the great friendships of pop culture mirror ours; we are constantly comparing them. Yet none of those fictional bonds will ever top ours — we do not have manufactured drama tearing us apart.

The dramas we have are real, and few and far between, and something we are able to work through. We have almost lost each other because of severe miscommunication on one end and mental health issues on the other, but we found our way back.

She’s Glinda and I’m Elphaba. Miles away from each other, not sure if we’ll see each other again any time soon, but always the dearest and best of friends.

We called ourselves the A.N.A., because those were the three letters our names had in common with each other. (It’s still true; my first name has become my middle name.)

The last time I saw her was New Year’s Eve 2007, in Hawaiʻi. (Or perhaps a few days after, but the event I remember clearly is NYE.) We did our resolutions with our mutual friend Ryan while my first boyfriend snored through midnight. That was six years ago. I haven’t been back to Hawaiʻi since I left the place a few months into 2008; I haven’t been to Alaska, and she hasn’t been here.

Before that visit, we saw each other for 10 minutes in the Maui airport while I went to catch my flight and she got off hers — early December, 2006.

Now we keep a blog where we write letters to each other. It’s not the same being physically near to each other, but it helps staunch the wounds, keeps us from bleeding out.

What have I learned from her? What haven’t I learned from her?

I learned I wasn’t alone. She’ll always be there, no matter what. Someday we’ll be the crazy cat and dog ladies at the end of the block, with our several hundred canines, felines, and chickens. Of course chickens.

I learned the truth about soul mates, and that it has nothing to do with sappy, “romantic” Hallmark sentiment. Ogre is the lover I choose to commit my life to — Kana is my soul mate. Nothing can destroy that bond.

I learned about respecting boundaries. Kana’s always respected mine, and (I think)* I’ve always respected hers. She’s possibly the only person who hasn’t pushed at any of my boundaries; she definitely leaves my comfort zone well the fuck alone, which I appreciate. I expand at my own rate. She never asks me for more than I can give.

I have learned so much from Kana that I cannot hope to quantify the ways here in a blog post; all I can do is sing For Good as loud as I’m able, and hope she can hear me over the waves that separate us.

*I am human, with a faulty memory and other flaws besides.


ana

there is nothing to see here
nothing for acidic comments
our garden is safe
i hope
a secret
kept
even from our selves
apple trees
our island
red and rosy
black and gnarled
and a rage
that shudders our branches
in the wind
of its scream

ten years is a long fucking time
trees, no less
we age slow
for our kind
left behind by the rest
our roots entangled
and now
i know not where your branches
end
or mine begin

gods we make
beautiful
muse-ick
outside
the walls
grown over with time
tendrils of us
reach those
who question
our blossoms
snow down
and bury our enemies
words do not describe
they obtain

wind rattling
branches
cloud on sky
and
avalon

this is our glasstown
unwelcome, be careful your step.

BYOB(ookworm)

Today’s daily prompt from the Daily Post:

Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination.

I think responding to this would be cheating. I’m a published author; currently I have out two novels, a book of poetry, a self-published short story and a self-published collection of short fiction.

Time and inclination? Lots of the second; little of the first, but I still get the books done. So it’s not so much an imaginary blurb I’d have to come up with…as just copy and pasting the blurb from Bellica or Stranger Skies. (You can read Bellica online here, by the way, and the advance reading copy of Stranger Skies is being posted here.)

So today, I’m answering the second part of the prompt:

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BOOKS.

Here is a photo I took yesterday, of, yes, my own book — it just arrived in the mail a little while ago and I unpacked the box and put the books on the shelf.

Oh hey look at that, my books are here. Cover art by Autumn Skye Morrison; she's amazing.

And a poem, Water Cycle, which you can find in glasstown.

I am always in a rush in a hurry
to fill up my notebooks with blather –
and maybe
it is because so many empty ones sit
continually staring me in the face
that I feel guilty
for not feeding them –
we’re starving! they cry out
but so is the streambed of my thought
dry for so many years – I sit to write
to enjoy what flows but it’s only a trickle
and so when I can I write

 BIG

or

   l     e      n       g     t      h     y

so that I take up as much
of the page as possible
and I write on both sides
and sometimes I gush
but my hand can’t keep up with my thoughts
and I’ll get distracted and
—oh, fuck, I did it again,
the stream is dry once more;
I’ve thrown this poem on the floor
and resorted to crappy rhyme
to buy some more time
so that my words can spurt forth—
and shine.

But it’s grabbing me, this undercurrent
and I fear I can’t turn it to my will
and soon I’ll be dragged
underneath the weight of my creativity
spitting out the saltiness of tears unshed
choking on the wet juicy areas of my mind:
dark, locked up, till I find
explosives and blow the dam
and I write till my hand might fall off
with the pain
but I can’t stop until I do.

And begin again.

Dissociation

And in the end I guess I had to fall.
Always find my place among the ashes.

I can’t hold on to me,
wonder what’s wrong with me.

-Evanescence, Lithium

I was going to do the Weekly Writing Challenge this week and post my story today. I was going to write it yesterday, actually. Or, failing that, early this morning when I got up.

I didn’t, because yesterday I suffered a trauma and have been spending most of the time since in a dissociative state. This is sort of half on purpose; dissociating to a certain extent can help me keep the pain at bay until I can deal with it, in small pieces.

I thought I’d write a story about what happened to me, and post it as part of the Challenge, but I couldn’t seem to make it happen. Sometimes writing a story helps. Not yesterday; I was in a bad state.

Perhaps not today either. I want to talk about it when it’s not so fresh, and today is still too soon. I slept terribly anyway; woke up late. Will barely have the time to finish my work before leaving for the weekend.

Being in a body that’s suffered trauma is never an easy thing to live with. For myself I don’t know if I’ll ever fully heal; I often picture my being as a shattered mug that’s been glued together so many times it’s now more glue than mug, and it functions, which is a kind word to describe its existence. But the scars never really go away.

I have to remind myself that I’m human, and that I regrow my skin. Emotional scars might not fade, but the physical ones do. I can get to a place where physical trauma is, at least, a distant memory; not a noxious cloud that occludes my vision and breathing, that reminds me everyday that I’m broken.

I often read and reread this poem by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins like a mantra:

363_900I don’t even know the title of the poem, but it’s one I keep on my tumblr, scheduled to post in 2017.

Now I suppose I can schedule one for 2020, as well.

 


And in the end I ended up completing the requirements for the Weekly Writing Challenge anyway, so this post is tagged accordingly.

In which I yell into a microphone and shake like a leaf.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3VNWpTBj8k&w=560&h=315]

This is me at the VanSlam on Monday night. I haven’t watched the video and probably won’t. I have issues with watching myself on video and am not in the right headspace to do so today or maybe ever.

But, you know, if you wanted to see me perform “Blood Candle”…there you go.

Now, back to work, from which I am totally letting myself get distracted.

Well, I don’t know, maybe bras do bray.

Yesterday I woke up at 6pm. The takeaway from this is that my sleep schedule has been borked. Again.

So, natch, I’m pulling an all-nighter to right it. I have my first volunteer day for VIWF on Thursday. 10 am, Granville Island. I’ll need an hour to drive out there and an hour to get ready in the morning, and I like being early. No time to slowly fix the sleep schedule over 2 weeks, unfortunately. Need to do an urgent patch.

Waking up at 6pm meant I was almost too late for the VanSlam. Luckily, I got in just under the wire and even got to perform. (!!!) I read “Blood Candle”, a poem I wrote a yearish ago and have been sitting on ever since. Video was taken; it will be up at some point in the next week or so, I gather. I don’t think it’ll be a full body shot, so you won’t be able to see the horrendous shaking of my legs. It felt like I was trying to tap-dance.

After Slam I got to hang out with my fabulous friend D., who stepped into the boots of Bellica Yarrow for the cover of Bellica. Yes, that’s a photograph on the cover; everyone is always so surprised with that info. We chatted and she showed me My Drunk Kitchen. I was reminded that I needed to get back to vlogging, so expect to see a video sometime soon. Then I went home at like 2:30 a.m., which is obviously the best time to make the drive from East Van to Coquitlam.

Side note, I just got up in the middle of writing this to go find my video camera. I knew exactly where it was. What I did not realize was that the purple bra I have been looking for was hiding with it. So, hooray. I found my video camera AND my bra. Perhaps in celebration of this fact I shall wear my bra as a hat during my vlog. Also I will stop typing bray instead of bra, forcing myself to constantly delete and fix.

Unrelated to any of this, I am trying to cut sugar out of my diet. This has nothing to do with “eating healthy” or whatever the fuck and everything to do with my wisdom teeth are coming in everything is inflamed sugar makes this worse ow ow ow ow ow please kill me now. Actually, eating anything hurts right now, but sugar is definitely the biggest culprit in worsening my pain levels to the point of “I cannot function, please send copious amounts of alcohol and then leave me to curl up in the snow and die”. Working on seeing a dentist soon. At this point, I’m hoping the teeth are impacted — because in Canada if you need actual surgery to get out wisdom teeth (ie, if they’re impacted), it will be partially or maybe totally covered by healthcare. Or if your teeth have gotten to emergency levels, ie you’ll die without treatment — then you’re covered too. So, you know, that’s completely not at all fucked up in any way. Right? Right.

Anyway, the cutting sugar totally out is not easy and I have been failing miserably. I don’t even eat that much sugar these days, at least not during the week when I’m at my place (there’s a lot of junk food at Ogre’s place, and I have no will power) and still I’m finding it really difficult. I need coffee in the morning, and I really do prefer it sweet. I use honey or agave syrup because white sugar, blech, but that doesn’t matter to my inflamed gums and nerves. Sugar is sugar I guess.

Long story short I’m not sure how to end this blog post so I just keep rambling about things.

 

A good day for pluviophiles

Well, actually, even I find this weather kind of frightening. It is monsooning outside right now. As in, I’m pretty sure if I walked out of my building I’d drown.

Anyway, this means that WORD Vancouver is being moved indoors — so you can still come see us tomorrow but we’ll likely be inside.

Oh, right — we’ll be at WORD tomorrow. Not sure if I mentioned that. I probably didn’t, because I spent this week getting my FACE EATEN by the work I had to do in prep for WORD. Beeg [bada boom] publishing order had to be completed and then I had to finish editing Stranger Skies so I could get the ARC out to winners and people who helped me with the cover reveal.

(If I missed you in that email — please let me know. My brain is basically dead right now and I’m not even sure what my name is. Awesome McBitchpants? Something like that.)

Who is we? Kat and Wolff, obviously, and the Powell River Live Poets’ Guild and International Peace Poem and Youth Peace Poem Competition. We’re big on peace. And literacy.

Right now I am trying to give my brain a desperately needed break after going through editing hell over the past two days. Mainly by watching Angel and Buffy on Netflix. Don’t judge me. I never got to see them in the order they aired (I watched Angel before Buffy and marathon-ed both shows) so I’m re-watching them in order. I wish Netflix would make this a bit easier by allowing you to create playlists but it doesn’t. C’est la vie.

Also, yes, that annoying box at the top of each page on this blog will be there until October 4th. Sorry. Actually, not sorry, ignore that reflexive Canadianism.

And finally, in honor of Banned Books Week (which I totally missed thanks to work), here are my favourite three lines from the poem “Voice” by Kaimana Wolff (found in the witless poisoner).

This flesh is made of words:
light me and I will burn
like a brave, banned book

-Kat

Oh Dear Gods, Why Am I Still Up?

This is what I get for drinking three cups of coffee in the morning. Coffee, plus “Oh, I’ll just work for a few minutes…” when I got home from my boyfriend’s place at 12:30am.

FOUR HOURS LATER…we find our heroine still sitting and working.

I’m a workaholic. I admit it. I have a problem. I get into a flow and I just keep working and don’t even look up or think about eating or peeing or sleeping. Then suddenly my eyes will flick innocently upwards, and I’ll catch the time in my glance. And I’ll pronounce, with great solemn dignity, “What the everloving fuck.”

And then I stumble to bed and collapse and sleep all day. When I get up I will proceed to vegetate for several hours, until I fall asleep at some ungodsly hour again. This will continue until I finally right my schedule to one where I’m waking up before noon, and for the days that happens I actually manage to be productive, until I get into a flow too late at night and…. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the plus side, I do have something to show for my toil. PresentingKatje Writes. A brand spankin’ new site that showcases all most of my writing in one, easy to find place. At Katje Writes you will find Bellica‘s first 11 chapters, as well as various bits of fiction and poetry on the main site, and last but not least, my stories for Smoke and Shadows.

I mentioned it once before that Smoke and Shadows was a series of short stories written by Literary+ authors. Long story short is that Literary+ is going in different directions, but enough of us decided we wanted to continue with S&S, and we did. So far there’s only the one story up, but expect more after NaNoWriMo is over. (Oh, and you should go read Sanna’s posts at her blog. She writes about Witches too!)

But wait! There’s more!

Continue reading Oh Dear Gods, Why Am I Still Up?