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

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

How to Procrastinate

Procrastination doesn’t just come naturally, you know. We have to work hard at it. Really make sure we’re getting everything we can out of the time we waste.

After feeling awful for over two weeks because I haven’t been writing or editing, I finally got down to working on The Jade Star of Athering again today. I thought that working on it would make me feel better — and you know, it has. I’ve worked on it for maybe 20 minutes and written about 150 new words in it. Now I’m feeling “Okay, I worked on this, can I quit and do something else now?” That sort of ‘feeling better’.

Here’s the thing with The Jade Star of Athering. I set myself up for editing failure with it.

My natural writing state is to write a bunch and go back and edit it before moving on. I am an edit-as-I-goer. That was how I did Bellica, and while Bellica took way too much time, its finished first draft was about 10x cleaner than its sequel’s first draft.

I started doing Jade Star that way, too. It is, as I said, my natural state.

But then I published Bellica and became active in online indie author circles and started reading all this advice and…somewhere along the way I internalized the idea that the point was to get it written and edit it later. I’LL FIX IT IN POST, my brain drunkenly screamed as I tried like hell to finish my first drafts. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, it further said, swigging some vodka (I don’t know where my brain got the vodka) before knocking over a lamp.

This worked out okay for Stranger Skies, which was fully plotted before I wrote it (and therein lies the difference, likely). I say okay, because editing Stranger Skies was still like dragging my carcass through a swamp made of death and tears in a way that editing Bellica wasn’t.

And now editing The Jade Star of Athering is turning out to be even worse.

Part of my issues are related to Fear of the Sequel, yes — I won’t deny that. There lurks a fear in me that I can only do great first books and whatever book is next in the series will fall short. Which is fair, as it’s basically a trope now that Sequels Always Suck, so it makes sense I’d feel that way about my own work (whether or not it’s true). But mostly, the big wall that keeps springing up is the fact that this finished first draft is the messiest pile of crap I have ever produced. And that’s because I absorbed “Don’t get it right, get it written” when I was finishing it.

Look, “Don’t get it right, get it written” is actually great advice for people who are not natural edit-as-we-goers. If you are the type of writer who works better editing after the first draft is done, then yes, absolutely, vomit those words onto the page and make it pretty, make it make sense, later. Do it, because it works for you.

It doesn’t work for me. And that’s a lesson I’ve learned, now, and I won’t repeat this mistake in the future. When I’m finished The Jade Star of Athering — which was supposed to be at the beginning of this month, by the way, and now it’s looking like I’ll have to push the release date — I’ll be working on From the Ashes, the next book in The Borderlands Saga. And I’m going to let my natural inclination to edit as I go take the lead, this time.

How to procrastinate: let writing advice override your natural inclination for editing as you go. Finish a first draft. Try to edit that first draft. Suddenly, everything will look better than editing that thing (including my publishing work, which I usually also try to procrastinate on).

On the plus side of this procrastination business, I’ve gotten some work done on the publishing-other-people’s-stuff side of my life, such as getting Kaimana Wolff‘s new book Broken Sleep done and ready for pre-order (I reviewed the book back in May when I was still working on it; very few changes have been made since then, so the review stands). Shameless plug follows.

BrokenSleepebookcoverfinal400xWhat has happened to Jane?

“All voices sing in unison: get out get out get out escape escape escape…” but violence and death stalk Jane along every bend of every way out….

Can you escape a past you never knew?

Four hardworking professionals live the good life–until one falls into a hole in a Vancouver street. As the world’s colors change, each man grapples with shadows of war as Jane tumbles into the abyss of the Disappeared.

Paul and Zack, thrown together by what may be Jane’s last testament, are hardly excited about cooperating with each other on any issue, least of all on the disappearance, weeks ago, of their mutual friend and her little daughter.

What did Jane expect of them–if anything? What does her story mean–if anything? And what, if anything, should they do about Matt, Jane’s beloved husband, the man each of them suspects?

Caught in an ancient web of caring and enduring, action and restraint, law and healing, Zack and Paul enact the next steps–in Jane’s existence as well as their own.

Available for preorder in ebook and paperback from these locations

Kindle US

Kindle Canada

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Gumroad

Storenvy

Note, the paperback preorder is only available from our Storenvy store, and not anywhere else. If you buy a paperback copy from Amazon or B&N, you are getting an older copy of the book which is completely different from this version. (Broken Sleep was originally published 9 years ago. That version is out of print, and the book has gone through extensive revisions prior to this version being released. They are basically completely different books.) The paperback of this version will be available via Createspace after the release date of September 23rd.

If you were hoping for an ARC of the book, there’s still time for one. Fill out this form and I’ll send you a copy of the ebook ASAP.

And now, I think I’ve spent enough time procrastinating. I even took a big break from working on this post to update my Facebook page and create a new cover image for it. I work really had at avoiding work, y’all.

Go order Broken Sleep, or request the ARC or something. Make my procrastination worth it! <3

Again I go, into the breach swamp….

-Katje

Getting a straight answer from a doctor

Post Doctor's appt selfie. This is my "well that was a depressing waste of energy" face.
Me, post-doctor’s appointment. My “that was a depressing waste of energy” face.

It’s not easy. I feel that’s one way The Doctor is very much like regular doctors — give you a straight answer when you ask a question? MADNESS

But, finally, I did. Yesterday, at my follow-up appointment at the cast clinic. After he told me that I’d probably have to be in the brace and off my feet until October, basically (so, a bit longer than originally thought), I finally got an answer regarding the possibility of ligament or meniscus damage:

They don’t know.

They won’t know until my fracture is healed up, because they can’t do an examination to figure out if the ligaments or meniscus are damaged without risking further damage to the fracture. So in several weeks, I may get an answer to that question.

I’m guessing it’s going to be “Yes, your knee is damaged,” mostly because my knee still feels like it’s been smashed with a hammer and I can’t bend my leg without extreme pain.

But apparently the reason they kept avoiding my questions about the knee was because they didn’t know and couldn’t tell me for a while. Which is all I wanted to know! Just an answer, any answer.

So now I know it’s still on the table, the possibility of more severe damage, and I just have to wait and see what happens. And in the meantime, don’t put any pressure on the broken leg.

This weekend we’re picking up a wheelchair for me and maybe getting me a proper shower at the in-laws’ place. If I’m up to it, Mr. Katje might even take me out for dinner at our favourite restaurant.

I’m honestly pretty excited about the wheelchair. Apparently it has a leg rest on the left hand side, which already makes it a million times better than those stupid hospital wheelchairs. (Yes, I totally have the muscle strength to just hover my leg straight out the entire time I’m in that thing. Not.)

I don’t mean to sound bitter about our experience with BC medical this time around. I’m getting the help I need. I’m just frustrated and tired of being cooped up in a chair 24/7, and looking at another 2 months of being cooped up like this.

Book has been proofed, as of last night. now to change the files and ship em off.
I think I went through 5 stacks of post-it notes.

So, I’m trying to set my brain to productivity. Namely, edits, rewrites, and writing fresh words (and, on the other side of the business: publishing). I’m just finishing up the work for a book by Kaimana Wolff, called Broken Sleep. It’s a really good book, even if the subject matter is hard for me to take. I said in my review that it’s a harrowing exposé of abuse, and I stand by that. It needed a lot of proofing, though, as you can no doubt tell by the picture. Right now it’s on round 3 of proofs. I’m waiting to hear back from the author, and then I can finish up work on it.

If you want to get an ebook ARC — advance reading copy — you can sign up for one here. They will be sent out as soon as I’m done with the ebook formatting.

Regarding my own writing, currently I’m working hard on The Jade Star of Athering. When I started re-writes there were 9 entirely new parts I had to write. Now there are 4, along with the various continuity edits and smaller rewrites within the finished chapters. For the record, editing and re-writing Jade Star has been like trying to marathon through a swamp filled with eels and unspeakable horrors. I am never doing vomit-out-words-and-fix-it-in-post writing again — after this, I’m going back to the much-more-natural-for-me edit-as-I-go style of writing. Fixing it in post is torture.

After I finish my edits and rewrites, I’ll be sending off the manuscript to my editor for the first round of edits. When she’s done, it’ll be time for beta readers to have at it. Once I’ve implemented beta feedback, it goes for its final round of edits, and then I start the publishing process. It’s at this point I release an ARC for advance readers. During the publishing process, we proof the manuscript several more times (and likely find more errors). Hopefully by the time release day rolls around there are no more errors left. (I say hopefully, because we are human.)

When Jade Star is off with the editor and beta readers, I’ll be focusing on finishing up the first draft of From the Ashes, sequel to Stranger Skies. I have a deadline of the end of the year to finish the first draft, but if I’m lucky I’ll get it done sooner.

I’ve got a lot of writing projects planned out for the next year or so. I really want to finish Jade Star and From the Ashes soon because I have another book I’m starting in November — Anala, the sequel to Jade Star and third book in The Third Age. It’s going to need to be outlined very carefully, however, as it happens during the same time period as Book 4 (which is so far untitled).

There’s a lot more on my plate, writing wise, but if I outlined my entire year’s plan here then I’d have no choice but to stick with it and I like to give myself some leeway for failure. (Insert winky face here.) Accountability is great, so long as I’m making myself publicly accountable for things I know I can accomplish.

So right now it’s just a matter of keeping busy with what matters to me, which thankfully is something I can still do while I have a broken leg. I have to be grateful for that — my passion doesn’t involve using my leg. I can still work on it even when injured and chair-ridden.

-Katje

PS: If you want to be first to hear about release dates, tours, events, etc for both my mother and me, then you should sign up for our mailing list. It comes out about once a month, and it gives you the opportunity to sign up to receive ARCs before anyone else can, or to pre-order first. Also, you get 2 free ebooks for signing up. July’s is set to come out in the next couple days, so sign up soon!

Predictions

There are 344 days remaining in the year. Describe what you’d like to be doing on day 211. (Hint: that’s July 30th.)

-The Daily Post

I have my whole year planned out for writing, editing, and publishing. I really hope things go according to plan (in my personal life, too). If they do, on July 30th I will be…

…penning word 50,000 on Anala, third book in The Third Age.

…continuing work on my outline for book 4 in The Third Age (as of yet untitled).

…working on the ebook for From the Ashes, book 2 in The Borderlands Saga.

…preparing for an epic Long Weekend. (August 4th is B.C. Day.)

…playing Guild Wars 2 (I assume that by the time July rolls around I will actually own a real copy, not the free trial account I played once in August that made me immediately fall in love with the game).

…engaging in ongoing preparation for my classes, which will start up in September. I’m going in for my Master’s, and I’m also applying for a diploma program at a different school.

…doing what I hope will be daily habits by then: cooking, cleaning, knitting/crocheting, and reading. (Writing, too, but that’s mentioned above.)

To make those things happen, I need to stay on track with my goals now, in January, and in each month between now and July. I need to finish my plot outlines, and my first drafts, and second and third drafts; I need to put together story bibles. I need to work every day.

It’ll be tough. I hope I can do it.

Bring it on, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to ramp up for a bright and shiny new year. This cold is going to get kicked to the curb and I am going to kick ass all over 2014.

At least for the first month.

Here are my resolutions, goals, whathaveyous, to keep me on track to accomplishing my dreams this year.

Resolutions

I resolve to be true to myself. This is the only resolution I feel comfortable making and it’s a tough one to keep, when I’ve spent so much of my life swaying to please other people. With this resolution, I promise that I will please other people only if it pleases me to do so; that I will think of my own well-being first and foremost; that I will not forget where I end and another person begins; that I will treat self-care as a primary goal, not something I tack on after everything else and then feel guilty about.

While I am a stronger supporter of the idea of a community of humanity over “self-made” and “bootstraps”, there is no way I can be a contributing member to ANY community if I am not taking care of myself first. I believe anything I give a community is worthless if I am being untrue to my deepest self.

Goals

Unlike resolutions, I have a lot of goals and they fit better into categories…and subcategories.

Writing

Word count:

  • Write 150,000 words in 2014. That’s 411 words a day. Things that count: fiction, poetry, blogging. Things that don’t count: worldbuilding, journaling (any writing I do at my Livejournal or Dreamwidth blogs are considered journaling, unless they’re cross-posted here — which very rarely happens). To help keep me accountable and on track, I’ve joined the communities getyourwordsout and inkingitout on Livejournal and Dreamwidth, respectively.
  • Reach 50,000 words in either Nanowrimo or one of the Camp Nanowrimos. I’m not sure if I’ll make this one or not — I embraced quitting Nano this year and that may be the start of a trend, or it may be a one-off event. I’m setting it as a goal mostly to see if last November was a one-off or the beginning of the end of my relationship with Nano.
  • Utilize the 750words site again. My word count goal every day to make 150,000 words in 2014 is 411. I’m going to try and top that every day by hitting 750, and the 750words site is a great way to do it. Also, there are some badges I want to attempt to get.

Projects:

  • Finish rewrites/edits for The Jade Star of Athering (book 2 in The Third Age).
  • Finish writing From the Ashes (book 2 in The Borderlands Saga).
  • Finish worldbuilding for Dead Transgressions.
  • Get halfway through Dead Transgressions (includes some necessary rewrites).
  • Assuming I find back the files, finish The Man of Bronze.
  • Start work on Anala, book 3 in The Third Age.
  • Start work on Book 4 in The Third Age, as of yet not titled, occurring at the same time as Anala. Outline is a must!
  • Start work on The Moonrunner (book 3, Borderlands).
  • Non-official goal: make real progress on my web serial, Dark Fascination.

Blogging:

  • Postaday: post here every day in 2014. (I am not going to be too harsh on myself if I miss a few days, but the idea here is to post consistently, not once or twice a month.)
  • Find back my blogging voice. This isn’t a goal that’s quantifiable, but it is something I want to work towards in 2014, so I’m listing it here.

Personal Stuff

Reading

  • Read 10 books for pleasure. For pleasure means they’re not for worldbuilding research or school or something similar.
  • Make a real dent in my To Be Read pile. Ideally this would mean reading 100 books; my TBR pile is massive. Instead of giving myself a number that I’ll feel worse about not getting any closer to as time goes on, however, I’m just going to leave the goal as is: make a real dent. I’ll know when I’ve done it.

Cooking and baking

  • Learn to bake bread. Seriously this time. I didn’t do it in 2013 even though I said I would. I WILL in 2014.
  • Start making more things from scratch. There are a lot of things we go out and purchase that I think may be better made in the house — both financially and health-wise. I’m not a huge fan of highly processed food and it seems more and more everyday we just…don’t know what we’re eating. (It also seems more and more that people want to put aspartame into the weirdest things, which means I have to read the ingredients on EVERYTHING or die.)
  • Figure out my kitchen rhythm. When the Ogre and I live together I will be doing the cooking during the week. I need to figure out a way to make that happen so we’re both eating good, home-cooked meals and I’m not bone-exhausted by noon.
  • Bake something once a week. I used to bake about that often, when I was in high school. I miss it, and I’d like to expand my skills and repertoire.
They are SO DELICIOUS #cupcakes #omnom #getinmymouth
I mean, there definitely needs to be more of THIS in my life.

Physical

  • Start physiotherapy again. This is dependent on funds being available, but I have hopes I’ll eventually be making enough money that I’ll be able to start doing physio again (and thus, able to function more normally — normally for me, at any rate).
  • Following that: find some sort of exercise that I can do daily that doesn’t strain my back and gives me a mild workout. Do said exercise.
  • Get my sleep schedule back on track and keep it there. No more of this switching to nights BS every weekend.

Mental

  • Work on finding a therapist. Not an easy thing, but therapy is a good thing for me and I haven’t been in far too long. I have some stuff I need to work through and I can’t fix all my problems via journaling.
  • Create a real manifestation board. I had one of these set up on my vanity mirror for a while, but had to take it down when we were showing the place to people. I’m going to set up one that can be moved from place to place and isn’t dependent on furniture.
  • Do another Good Things Jar for 2014. I did this in 2013 and it kept me going to see it full of pieces of paper, just covered in all the good things that had happened (even if they were as simple as “Still breathing”). I’m doing it again, and being more diligent with it.

Spiritual

  • Set up some sort of weekly practice, and blog more often at the spiritual blog. (The two things are related, as I need something to blog about at said blog.)
  • Spend more time with my dog. If you don’t think that’s a spiritual experience…you’ve never shared your life with a dog.

I think that’s a good list of goals for an entire year. Now to write them out and have them scattered around my house so I can see them as daily reminders of what I want to accomplish.

What are your goals for 2014?

Blood, Gravy, and my Cill shift

It’s been an interesting week.

By interesting I usually mean in the curse sense of the word, May you live in interesting times, etc etc etc life has been kind of sucky.

But whatever. If you’re going to say anything about me or my mom, you have to admit we bounce back. Things break and we pick up the pieces and soldier on.

Last night a lot of things broke. Literally.

We were sitting outside to eat dinner, as we have for a few nights since getting the pavilion back up on the concrete back porch. It had been down during the winter, but mom wanted it back up so I helped. Even with the millions of spiders living on it.

The pavilion frame itself is kind of broken. (I’d show you a picture, but I didn’t realize I’d be writing this post at 1 am and it’s a bit too dark to snap a shot.) It’s bent and twisted like a gnarled oak tree. I’m surprised it stays up, to be honest.

The table and chairs we eat on are nothing special: a plastic table with fold-out metal legs that we can fold flat and take in the car to events if needed, and two plastic lawn chairs. Barely deserving of the name.

We’d finished dinner, mostly — I had, at any rate, and we’d both eaten our steaks, but mom was still working on one of the sides. While we ate Tyee sat by the table, on a leather lead held by me or mom. We’re trying to get him used to the idea of sitting by the table outside while we eat.

I got up to take him to his tie-out chain so he could have a walk around the yard, relieve himself, etc, before mom took him to dog park after dinner was over. Well, he was having none of that. We’d tied him up earlier and he didn’t want it to happen again.

So he bolted back to mom’s side. I sighed and hooked his leash onto something while I went back to deal with the tie-out, and then came back over. It hadn’t taken very long. In that time he’d managed to work himself under the table, out the other side, and around my empty chair. He then walked back towards the table, and his leash caught on my chair and dragged it. It stuttered on the concrete flooring, as plastic lawn chairs are wont to do.

And Tyee flipped. his. shit.

He bolted from the evil chair that was going to eat his soul, heading anywhere away from it. Of course, this hooked his leash on the table, and started to drag it after him and into mom. So he pulled harder. The table continued to drag, pushing mom over in her plastic chair. I rushed forward to catch her and lower her gently to the concrete ground so she didn’t hit her head. Tyee started running back and forth, in full panic mode now, and flipped the table over, spilling dishes and gravy everywhere. He ran into the pavilion and started to knock it down. Mom was now on the ground; I was holding her and pavilion up, half crouched amid a mess of broken dishes and gravy everywhere. I finally managed to give Tyee an order to stop, and he did, shaking in fear.

All that took place over the course of ten seconds. It was like a bomb going off. One moment, peaceful dinner time. The next moment, chaos, confusion, destruction, loud noises, and pain.

Once I ascertained the pavilion would not fall on mom and that she was ok for a moment, I took Tyee over to his chain and tied him up so he’d be out of our hair while we fixed everything. We managed to get the pavilion more or less righted and then mom out of her chair and on her feet. She and I started to pick things up, and she managed to drop the table on her foot. Yes, the broken one.

Casualties list: 2 plates, 2 bowls, a gravy boat, mom’s favourite wine cup (blue-green-purple porcelain), all of the gravy, the remainder of mom’s dinner.

I threw the broken dishes into the bushes, where mom throws all her broken pottery. (This is an old trick to keep wolf-dogs from lying down in your fucking garden; Sila we’re looking at you. Now she uses it to keep other animals out of her yard. It works.)

When I went back inside I realized I was bleeding quite a bit from several small cuts in my legs and on my feet. As soon as I’d done as much cleaning outside as I could before we just needed to hose down the porch, I stepped into the shower to wash off blood and gravy.

During all of this Tyee was basically having a PTSD episode. When we’d done all the work and mom was in the shower I let him back in the house and hugged him, trying to calm him with some torso compression. (This works for dogs, just like it works for humans.)

Mom took him to dog park and I sat down and tried to calm down. I also got some lanterns out of the shed that doesn’t have a giant wasp’s nest on it in preparation for my flamekeeping shift tonight.

Tonight's flamekeeping candle
Burning brightly beside me as I write this.

Every 20 days I light a flame at sunset and keep it burning until sunset the next day in honor of Brighid, one of the three main deities I worship. (This flame does not have to be an fire-flame, and when I go to bed I blow out my actual candle and “light” an LED one.) This is called my “Cill shift” because I am a member of a Cill, or a group of people also dedicated to doing Brighid’s work in some capacity. We each have a shift in within the 20 day cycle, except day 20 — that’s the night that Brighid Herself will keep the flame.

Brighid has within Her jurisdiction many things (like all gods, She can not be reduced to one facet). The things that seem to come up most often, however, are healing and the bardic arts. Poetry, writing, singing, the creation of art. (So really, is it any surprise I’m Hers?)

I don’t often talk about my religion on this blog (I usually leave it for The Mundane Mystic), but today’s Cill shift did sort of tie into my main story for this post. 

It’s been a rough week, and I spent some time sitting and staring at the three candles I’d lit for Her at sunset, wishing that I was more on top of things. Every Cill shift I swear I’m going to do something, and every Cill shift something like tonight’s dog freakout happens. Or Brighid hits me in the head with a cosmic frying pan and knocks. me. out. Often for 20 hours. I get a really good sleep every 20 days, quite often.

But in the ensuing hours, I’ve come to feel better about my complete lack of being able to do anything. Tyee started to calm down after we lit the lanterns, all three of them sitting on the righted table, casting shadows over the dark porch. He realized we still loved him, and all was well. (And then, after extinguishing the other two, I brought the last lantern inside, and it spooked him. Which makes me seriously question the veracity of those images of Hecate, torch in hand, with Her dog beside Her.)

And, ok. I’m writing. Here, in my blog. I’ve done some serious writing tonight, and tomorrow when I wake up and get some coffee I can continue work on From the Ashes, which I’ve done over 5,000 words on in the past 2 days. I can also work on editing The Jade Star of Athering in prep for sending it off to my beta readers. Slowly, but surely, I will finish these projects.

All creative work is within Brighid’s realm, and I’m doing that stuff. So I can stop beating myself up about these things and just be happy with what I can accomplish. 

It’s honestly one of the hardest lessons to learn. I’ll still be learning it for years to come.

But every day, I get a little bit closer to knowing it in my bones. Inch by inch, stitch by stitch.

-Kat