I am actually travelling today

Even if I woke up late and missed the 9:30 ferry. I can still catch the next one and will be leaving shortly.

It’s a long trip and I don’t expect I’ll have the energy to blog when I get home, so I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of a fire. My mom built this up. She’s good at fire-tending.

My mom builds up a good fire.
Behold, the main source of warmth in the house.

I was supposed to be travelling today

Whoops. Here’s a picture of a dog!

But I slept until 3pm, so that did not happen. (Too late to catch a ferry and actually make it home today.)

I don’t have much to write about today, and I’m very tired with packing up the car. So here’s another picture of my dog, being cute. (He’s upset, because he knows I’m leaving, so he’s curling up on my bed and looking cute in an effort to make me stay.)

Big bed wolf!
Behold, the big bed wolf!

A reminder to myself that forming good habits is always harder than I hope it will be

The habit comes from me; the discipline comes from my own head — the part that’s not trying to constantly sabotage anything good in my life.

I broke the chain. I didn’t write yesterday.

I thought I might have some energy to pound out 411 words when I got to my mom’s place — perhaps not in blogging, but in something countable at least. A short bit of crappy fiction, a poem about my day, or a blog post for Monday morning that I could edit when I woke up. Maybe I’d even reach 750 words!

This did not happen. Yesterday was a day full of travel and it was a pretty shitty day on top of that. My car was too full for me to nap in the back seat on the ferry rides, as I usually do, so I was awake the full trip. By the time I reached my mom’s house, I’d been up for 13 hours. My brain was fried. I was ready to sleep right then but I forced myself to stay up, because I knew if I went to bed too early I’d wake up at 2am and be unable to get back to sleep.

Something similar had already happened on Sunday, even though I’d gone to bed late. I woke up at 4:30 and couldn’t seem to get back into slumber, to wake up when my alarm was set (6:30). I sighed and got out of bed and started to finish doing the laundry. I thought, briefly to myself, that maybe I should sit down and write my 411 words right then. I decided against it, thinking laundry and packing the car were higher priorities.

The thing is, I was only half right. Packing the car was a higher priority if I wanted to make a morning ferry, but I had 2 extra hours during which I mainly folded and hung up clothes. That wasn’t a priority — I didn’t get the house as clean as I was planning, so a little bit of extra mess in the form of clean clothes sitting on the couch wouldn’t really matter, in the long run. I could have stopped at sorting and then sat down to do my words.

I let my brain get the better of me in convincing me I didn’t need to do my daily words just then, and I ended up with a wordless day.

I suppose I could have sat down when I got to mom’s place and pounded out 750 words of nonsense on 750words.com, getting my count in and not breaking the streak, the chain. But that’s not the point of writing every day.

The point is to write something of substance. If the point were to just get the streak badges on 750words, or to pad my yearly wordcount, then I could just copy past several paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum and call it a day.

The point is to form a daily writing habit. 750words.com, Don’t Break the Chain, Get Your Words Out, Inking It Out, the spreadsheets those communities provide — these are tools to keep me on track. They are not the habit itself. The habit comes from me; the discipline comes from my own head — the part that’s not trying to constantly sabotage anything good in my life.

I let the saboteur win yesterday, and I regret it. I’m not repeating that mistake. Let January 5th, 2014, be the only day this year where I do not sit down to write something.

Every day, in every way…

Often I need to hit a point that’s just below overwhelm to actually accomplish things; if I have too little to do, I procrastinate, and if I have too much, I escape from the stress by doing anything except what I’m supposed to.

I feel as if I’m simultaneously taking on too much and not enough at the same time. It’s an odd sensation.

On the one hand, I’ve been incredibly productive since the year began. On the other, I’ve noticed my tendency to get distracted is in full swing. Often I need to hit a point that’s just below overwhelm to actually accomplish things; if I have too little to do, I procrastinate, and if I have too much, I escape from the stress by doing anything except what I’m supposed to.

I cleared up some necessary things in the first few days of the year, striking them off my to-do list. Right now I’m looking at trying to finish cleaning my house so I can go visit my mom in Powell River. Yes, it needs to be spotless before I leave. Is it? Not remotely.

I worked as hard as I could yesterday doing this, as well as several other necessary things. (For example, writing every day — while a pleasure for me — is a necessary item. I view it as something I may not skip out on. Thus, I sat down to start a story and maybe write 750 words yesterday, and ended up penning just over 3,000. This morning I finished the story with another 1,144. It’s fantastic that I’m going so far over my word count goal, putting me far ahead of my current YTD goal for both Get Your Words Out and Inking It Out, but I need to reel it in a bit — if I expend too much of my momentum in one day, I often think to myself I can skip the next day. The point is to build up a steady habit of writing, not continue in the cycle of boom and bust.)

I think I’m just way too tired, physically, today. When I woke up this morning I could barely make it to the kitchen to get the coffee I so obviously needed. And my body did that thing it likes to do, again, where I went to bed at 10 pm so it woke me up at 3am for no particular reason. Luckily I was able to fall asleep again, but I slept in — instead of waking up at 5:30, I woke up at 6:45.

So I’m working on cleaning as fast as I can, but trying not to overtax myself. I’m having a big breakfast and moving as my back allows. I still have hopes of leaving by noon, which will put me at my mom’s place sometime in the early evening, depending on the ferry.

Here’s to continuing productivity, even if I would have rather stayed in bed a bit longer. Every day in every way, I chip away at my undisciplined self, reaching the productive adult I know lies somewhere within. Deep, deep within.

Statue of Liberty vs. Tea Party: no contest

Saturday night we spent in Salem, Oregon at my friend Indigo’s place. Her house is HUGE and with rent so reasonable I half considered picking up and moving there like, yesterday. (There being Salem, not necessarily her house.)

Sunday morning afternoon we headed north again and stopped in Portland for a visit shopping trip, as mentioned before. Leaving Portland was interesting, as they apparently don’t believe in signs. Or bathrooms. We decided that a 2 hour movie could be made –called Road Trip 4: Escape From Portland — about some tourists trapped in endless freeway loops and one way street routes, never sure how to leave. Eventually they starve to death.

Sunday evening found us having dinner at The Keg (just outside Seattle) with my long time good friend Priscilla and her boyfriend. Steak = my reason for living. It was awesome to see Priscilla again — she looks happy and healthy, which makes me happy (now if only I could find a way for my friends’ good fortunes to make me healthy too!).

20120416-213010.jpg

We stayed in a Best Western right by the Space Needle that night. I’ve been to the Space Needle before, when I was a young child. Some sort of family trip — I barely remember seeing the thing, and don’t remember going up it at all. I hope next time I go to Seattle and have more time I can go up it again, and perhaps remember this time.

The next morning I rose late, cutting short my breakfast with my friend Finn. Regardless, we sat and chatted for an hour over coffee, and she bought a copy of my book. It was good to see her again. We shared dog stories.

Continue reading “Statue of Liberty vs. Tea Party: no contest”

Oregon is a dangerous place for us — and I’m not talking about dysentery

Oregon has no state tax. This is like a stranger in a van offering candy to us 14%-tax-beleaguered British Columbians: dangerous, but oh so tempting.

Our trip to Seattle got delayed a bit when we decided to stop in Portland. Mom bought shoes (so what else is new?), we both got books, I picked up a pre-loved copy of Destroy All Humans, and then we may have wandered into the Apple store and I may be writing this blog entry on an iPad.

Wait! Before you write me off as just another spoiled white kid, let me elaborate. The iPad is a business expense so we write it off. We’re not just writers, you see: we’re publishers as well. Katje van Loon (autocorrect changed my name to “Kate” — bad iPad! No cookie) writes books published by The Pack Press, run by Mom, and Jana van Loon runs Stars Above, Stars Below Publishing, which puts out Kaimana Wolff’s (ie, Mom’s) novels and poetry. Each house also puts out books by other people and non-profit organizations, and we offer publishing services to those who wish to self-publish.

We’ve nothing against being self-published, but many contests do — and we want to enter those contests. Same deal for many writers’ festivals: your publisher needs to get you in. Not to mention, as a mother-daughter writing team who publishes each other’s books, we have many opportunities to promote each other — which is much easier than promoting oneself tirelessly. Less spammy, too.

Finally, my mother and I trust each other’s judgement in various areas: she’s an accomplished, professional editor, fantastic at in-person social networking, has knowledge of how to do business and understands finances (ie, how to make money), and has years of expertise in several areas, most importantly law.

I have a near instinctual grasp of our modern technology and know how to utilize it to our advantage. I understand Internet social networking and excel at it as much as I fail at face to face. I know InDesign, and I’m good at cover design and book block design.

We’re both dedicated, determined, and we have keen eyes for errors in each other’s works — you’d be amazed at what sneaks past in the first 7 edits/read-throughs. We help each other shoulder the burden of publishing a book on your own — being an indie author is difficult, time-sucking work, and it is not an easy way to make a buck. You’re spending almost every hour of the day working — sometimes for very little return, at least at first.

You want a good, professional book that people will a) take interest in and b) love or at least like? You have to put in the time or money, and it takes a bit.

So, we bought an iPad. It is another tank for our arsenal on the battlefield of the publishing world. We’ve small publishing houses; we need every weapon available.

Wednesday at my brother’s house

My brother lives in a boat.

That is, it’s a really long and narrow semi-legal basement suite with two bedrooms, a bathroom that used to be two closets (so, two bathrooms: one with a toilet, sink, and toiletries, and one with a shower), a kitchen that redefines the term “galley kitchen”, a bar, and lots of wood paneling.

I think it’s pretty neat-o, myself.

Upon meeting up with him in Union Square at his workplace, my brother took me to sushi (because he’s awesome, that’s why) and then we walked a lot and met up with his boyfriend, who had just bought forty dinner plates. I asked my brother if they needed forty dinner plates; he said they did not. This seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Continue reading “Wednesday at my brother’s house”

On the Oregon Trail. No dysentery. Yet. (Picture heavy)

This past weekend I spent at Spring Mysteries Fest, which I can’t tell you much about because, well, Mysteries. Oath-bound secrecy, etc. Also, this is not my pagan blog, so what I can talk about will be said at Innocence and Immanence sometime this week. Regardless, SMF is at Fort Flagler, an old military base. Pictures during the event are not allowed by any save the sanctioned photographers (though we did get a photo of just our group, which is okay, on Saturday in all our big feast finery + my Creepy Muppet Smile + at least one photobomb by another Canadian), but while I was waiting outside for my mom to pick me up (she was six hours late) I snapped a few shots of the amazing view.

Ft. Flagler is a pretty cool place, but it hasn’t changed much since it was closed down for military use…in 1953. After being shut down for military use it was purchased by the State of Washington as a state park. So this means 1950s bunks (sans ladders, because army boys should be able to just leap up to the top bunk), 1950s bathrooms (TINY), and 1950s hot water heaters (also tiny, and overworked). Despite these small inconveniences (roughing it, eh?), we had a great time (I did have a bottom bunk, which is good because I would not be able to use a top bunk, not even with make-shift nightstand ladder) and great weather.

Even waiting for my mom wasn’t too bad; the Gods provided for me, as They always do. I did fine. Except the sunburn, which you can vaguely see on my hands and face in the three pictures below. Only my hands and face; I was fully covered with clothing. Hot water still kinda hurts though.

Continue reading “On the Oregon Trail. No dysentery. Yet. (Picture heavy)”

Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick (but only marginally)

Early morning Coquitlam, B.C. skyline
This is Coquitlam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My passport was found! My Uncle Neil found it in a collage box in the East Den (ie, the apartment in Coquitlam — my house is the West Den, and mom’s house is the North/Main Den — we name the houses in a way that makes sense to the wolf-dog okay). How it ended up there I can only surmise was my narcotics-and-concussion-addled brain going “OH THIS IS A SAFE PLACE FOR PASSPORTS THAT I’LL NEVER EVER FORGET” and urging me to put it there, where I promptly forgot it.

As it was found later in the afternoon on Wednesday, there came the dilemma of how to get it to me: the caravan is leaving at 6am on Thursday (about an hour from the time I’m writing this post), and the only way for me to get over to Coquitlam and back would make me late, meaning I would need to be driven by someone else. Gods know who.

Enter Boyfriend (Here he comes to SAVE the DAY traladatraladatralada)! He goes to East Den and picks up passport and then drives to ferry, catches passenger ferry, spends three hours showing me funny youtube videos Checkpoint/Zero Punctuation! episodes I’ve missed/doing his KoL turns, and then I take him to the ferry and he goes home.

I choose to share a conversation that occurred between us on the way to the ferry.

Me: Thank you so much for doing this. I really seriously appreciate it.

Him: It was a ridiculous clusterfuck.

Continue reading “Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick (but only marginally)”

Passports and Fear

Us-passport enhanced
US Passport enhanced (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My passport is missing.

Actually, my passports are missing. I have two, both current: US and Canada.

I only need one to travel (technically*) and I cannot find either of them.

I keep them in a special silver case that protects them from electromagnetic rays and beaming up by aliens and other various nasties. Yes, I love my passports so much I got them their own tinfoil hats.

But the last time I used them was my trip to Orlando in January, and as you may recall when I arrived home I injured my spine. So that entire time period is lost in a fog of concussion and narcotics, and I don’t remember where I put them.

This, of course, wouldn’t be a big deal even a few years ago, back when the US still trusted Canada and I could go across the border on a road trip with nothing more than a driver’s license and the wind in my hair. (And clothes and food, obviously.)

Things are different now. The US no longer trusts its next-door neighbor; terrified of Canadian terrorism, or perhaps liberalism. But fear not, increasingly conservative and fear-locked United States! Canada is following in your footsteps! Not only are we trying to take away the right of choice for uterus bearing people, restricting mobility rights for people who don’t “look their gender”, but our BC Liberals are increasingly cutting back funding for arts, education, and anything else that may help the spread of actual liberalism. In fact, our Liberals are like your Republicans.

There. Do you trust us now? Is it enough that we are trying to be like you? If I hide my tattoos and have normal colored hair and wear a pretty dress and make-up so you’re sure that I’m female, which is apparently important because I’m CAFAB, will you let me through? If I promise not to spread liberalism or fresh ideas or freedom?

Ironically enough, I fled Bush-led USA for Canada in the hopes that the country of my birth was still as liberal as I’d left it. That’s been steadily changing for the past several years now. I’m sitting here and watching the world go down in flames.

 

*I say technically because when traveling I don’t volunteer the information that I have more than one citizenship, as it can lead to me being sent to fucking Gitmo. I always have both passports on me, however, in case the information does come up. Technically I should be able to travel with one or the other, but in the increasingly fear-based climate of my home countries I find it’s safer to carry both.