Life in a Pandemic

It’s all horrendously normal, in some respects.

We’re far from the epicentres of Europe or even the U.S. up here in Powell River. While the virus has hit British Columbia, it doesn’t seem to have reached us on the Sunshine Coast yet.

That will change soon. Already we have a case on the Island. It won’t take much for it to hop a ferry and join us here, in beautiful, isolated Powell River.

But things here still have a veneer of normalcy to them. People go to work and school. They still have events. Seedy Saturday is this weekend and it’s going on.

At work we have new protocols to protect ourselves and members of the community. Those protocols change every day.

Small changes in everyday life have occurred, too. You can no longer get your reusable cup filled at the coffee shop, to protect those that work there. Workers are wearing gloves and disinfecting their workstations after every customer.

People are disinfecting their grocery carts before shopping. The local school has thankfully cancelled their spring break trip to Europe.

There isn’t panic. More like the town is a corral of nervous horses. Skittish, milling about. Not spooked and trampling yet.

There’s a quiet while we wait for it. The sound, the crack-shot of a news headline: First Powell River Case Confirmed.

Preparation and Worry

We need to prepare, I know, but there is something tremendously difficult about actually doing so and knowing you’re ready. Some part of me is clinging to the normalcy we still have, resisting doing what I know needs to be done, and now.

Social isolation. Stock up for if one or both of us does get the illness. Restrict our travel outside the house to absolutely necessary trips: doctor’s office, work. Turn the front entryway into a decon chamber. Set up for home delivery of groceries, so it’s ready if we need it.

We already disinfect all our groceries when we get home with them, before mom touches them. I use gloves at the gas station. I’ve got alcohol sanitizer in my car and don’t touch my face unless I’ve sanitized my hands when I’m out. Mom follows the same rules too.

And when we’re out we keep our distance from other people, as much as we can. This is made harder by the folks who don’t understand personal boundaries when we’re not in a pandemic.

Seriously, people. Back up.

Mom is immunocompromised, with an infection in her leg plate and probable Hashimoto’s. She’s on antibiotics to deal with the infection in the leg, and will require surgery again to remove the plate, which will increase her risk even more.

If I need to turn the house into a fortress to protect her, I will.

1% of Life

About 60% of my being is tied up with worry for those I love. My mom. My husband, who has preexisting lung issues. Other family members with their health issues.

Another 39% is tied up with thoughts about my own future, as a healthcare worker that’s not a nurse. Will we prepare enough here? Or will we face what Italy is facing, where people without nursing training are being conscripted and given crash courses in patient care out of desperation?

Will I end up working long shifts in one set of personal protective equipment until I can’t stand anymore?

Or will we flatten the curve?

Only time will tell at this point. So the remaining 1% of myself is trying to focus on some sort of normalcy. Like continuing to write, despite everything.

Next project: a list outlining all my needs in case of quarantining myself.

Tomorrow I get paid. It’ll be time to stock up.

Radical Blogging

I have been blogging since 2004. I had just moved into the dorms with my best friend Makana, and she convinced me to join her on Blogdrive.

My early blog posts were raw and unfiltered; deep dives into my psyche or incoherent rambling. The titles of the posts were song titles, usually whatever I was listening to at the time. I was part of a community on Blogdrive — a small group of bloggers who read and commented on each other’s blogs regularly.

I don’t know when all that changed. At some point blogging was no longer about laying your feelings bare — journalling, for an audience — but became yet another way to make money. Content farms. Content marketing. Content content content.

Post regularly! Make sure your readers can rely on your schedule. Show that you’re an expert in your field. Here’s how to monetize your blog — here’s how to turn it into a book.

And of course I went with this flow, even though I really, truly hate it. Of course I did, because I’m an author, and authors have blogs, and author blogs are how they leverage book sales. Of course I have a SEO plugin that’s telling me how to market this post for maximum discoverability.

Because in the vast landscape of the internet, visibility is all.

I miss the Wild West days where you could carve out a small spot, a rocky outcropping, and just say whatever shit came to mind and post it. I’m sure my old Canadian Pagan blog was full of stuff that would make current me cringe, but it was honest.

It was honest, and it didn’t cause me more anxiety to write. It was cathartic.

Blogging has become so full of anxiety for me.

Is this post good enough? 
Should I even keep a blog? What if someone hatereads my entire archive to find something to weaponize against me -- and succeeds?
Shit, I missed my post day.
Ugh I can't think of anything good to write!
Fuck, I forgot to do Myth Mondays today.
If I don't find the perfect featured image for this post I can never let it see the light of day.
Shitfuckgoddamn, I haven't blogged in three months I can never show my face online again.

What used to be a joy in my life, a place where I could let out what I was feeling and find some commiseration, or support, from my small blogging community, has now become another source of stress.

Even this post, where I am trying to let go of all of that — I am tweaking and editing, fixing and shaping, trying to make it acceptable.

I am shoving my writing into a corset and wondering why its bones are misshapen.

I want to release that stress. And no, the answer is not to stop blogging, but to continue. To continue freely, like I did before. To engage in Radical Blogging.



of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: a radical difference.

To be radical is to go to the root of something. To go back to basics, to the fundamentals.

I want to go back to the root of blogging. To write a post and not give a shit about SEO or the readability score (which is red frowny face right now, by the way); not give two figs about whether or not I’m leveraging proper content to monetize my life; to stop squeezing my writing into too-small shoes and instruments of torture masquerading as clothes.

I have been blogging for 16 years, and I want to detoxify the relationship I have with it.

I need to go back to basics. And basics say…I don’t need to end this post on something punchy. I don’t need have subheadings that lead to a logical conclusion where I neatly sum up my entire point. I don’t need links to things I want you to buy, or other bits of my content.

I can just say bye.

insert title here

Gif used in post.

Gods above I am so tired.

I have a half-written post that I want to share here on Monday the 27th (I’ve set myself a “posting schedule” here of every other Monday, and I was GOING to post Myth Mondays this week buuuuut, yeah, no) and hopefully that will happen but right now I just need to, you know. Blog.

Noodle incoherently about my life. Rant. Vent? Talk, but with text.

I’m so tired, guys.

It’s only the 16th of January, 2020. Barely two weeks into the new year and I’m ready to nap for most of it.

It’s mostly emotional drainage. It’s been an exciting and good but also bad two weeks, and my little heart is fluttering like a hummingbird having a seizure.

  • The good: I have a new job!
  • The bad: it requires moving away from my husband.
  • The good: I’ll be closer to my mom! As in, living in her house.
  • The bad: I’m supposed to go up at the end of the month, but circumstances (read: bad timing) have conspired to make her in need of my help now.
  • The good: living with mom will help me achieve my writing goals this year as well as personal goals of downsizing my things and trying to live minimally.
  • The bad: I’m really not ready to live minimally and when I first go up I have to take the bare minimum of stuff because mom doesn’t have much space for me yet. (She’s still renovating her new house.)

On it goes! This kind of emotional whiplash would be exhausting at any time, but of course it’s on top of my having a cold for almost the entire new year so far and not getting enough sleep because of it.

retro vade me, bad timing

And what about this bad timing I mention? Bad timing is the creature that has stalked our little family for as long as memory stretches back — my memory, at least — and it continues to plague our days. I wanted to leave it behind in 2019 but I guess it needs more than willpower to banish it; perhaps a knife to the heart and cremation, with ashes scattered at crossroads.

Continue reading “insert title here”

Here I sit, with a wolf at my feet…

…winds at my back, and chocolate in my stomach.

Probably a lot more poetic in my head than on paper. Even digital paper.

It’s the end of 2019. The end of a year, the end of a decade. Tomorrow we — I — start the march into 2020, the best year yet — or so I tell myself.

2019 was actually pretty decent, on a personal level. I know it was hard for lots of people, and for the world in general, but personally I’m feeling pretty good about it, and the personal is all that matters…. That’s right, it’s all about me. It is my blog, after all.

December threw me a few curveballs. Mr. Katje’s transmission blew, costing us a few thousand in repairs; my Fitbit nearly set my hand on fire and then died, spectacularly; my writing laptop decided — right before my writing retreat with mom — that starting up was for losers — oh, and my body finally decided to get back on track after Depo. With a vengeance. To wit, it’s my second period this month and I might actually be bleeding to death.

If you think that’s TMI, you are new to this blog.

But aside from the last month of the year going “WAIT! I NEED TO SLAP YOUR FACE!”, 2019 has been, on the balance, pretty good.

2019 in Review

  • I started a new career in January as an MOA, and in February I walked the stage at school to graduate with distinction from my program. I got a 4.20 GPA in my time at Douglas, and that’s with my spine going out for a full week in my second semester.
  • Within a period of 8 months, I wrote and published a poetry manuscript, Rewolfing the Soul. I’m really proud of this bad boy, though I do not recommend trying to write and publish a manuscript in 8 months if you have very little free time on your hands.
  • I became part of a writer’s collective called Our Own Worlds for women and non-binary indie writers of SFF. It is a really exciting adventure to be part of, and I’m proud to join with such great writers in this endeavour.
  • I managed to email my newsletter a couple of times!

Ok, that last one is damning with faint praise, as my Oma would say. My email newsletter game is painful in its terribleness. I’m trying to get better!

My mom and I also went to FOTWA again this year, or the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt. It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to go again next year.

Towards the end of the year I started getting more into using WorldAnvil, and I’m really loving the experience. I’m world-building two worlds — universes, really — with my main account, and a third with my second account. (The second I’m able to have pen names it’ll be all under one account.)

I participated in WorldEmber, WorldAnvil’s version of Nanowrimo, where the goal is to write 10,000 words of worldbuilding content on your site in December. I got about 40% of the way there, which is a victory considering I joined late and was eaten alive with busyness this past month.

I really love WorldAnvil, and I’ll be updating this blog post with links to a review of it by my friend Diane Morrison, my Borderlands Saga world, and my Aradian Universe world as soon as I’m on a computer and not my tablet. (EDIT: that took a lot longer than I thought it would. Links are in now!)

Overall, a good year. And the curveballs of December are mostly solved — a Christmas gift of cash from our in-laws helped with the transmission costs; Fitbit is replacing my device, so I can get back on track with my health and not having my hand set on fire; after spending a few hours with my writing laptop, Mr. Katje seems to think it’s a simple fix that won’t lose me my sanity.

So even with those things, I’m ending this year on a high note.

Decade in Review/2009-2019 Glow-up

This past decade has been incredibly hard at times but it has arced towards goodness. I am incredibly blessed and grateful for all the great things my life has brought me in the past 10 years.

In 2009…

  • I was reeling from one bad relationship to the next, and at the end of that year I was busy crocheting a Dr Who scarf for a dude who was busy cheating on me on the other end of the province.
  • I was enrolled in a college program that was not serving my needs.
  • I was lost, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
  • I had finished one novel but I had no idea what I was doing with my writing or my author career.

In 2019…

  • I’ve been happily married for 4 years to Mr. Katje, who I met in 2010.
  • I’ve graduated from two college/university programs, one a Bachelor’s Degree that served my spiritual and mental needs, and the other a certificate that has served my getting-a-career needs.
  • I am no longer lost. I’m not sure where I am, but I don’t feel lost.
  • I’ve finished four novels and published 3, and I have two poetry manuscripts out there in the world. I have so many plans and ideas and when it comes to my writing, I know exactly what I’m doing.

It has been a hell of a road, but I’m in a good place now and I can’t wait to see where 2020 and the next decade take me.

Happy New Year, friends, and I’ll see you all in the next decade (when I post my goals/intentions/resolutions for the new year).

Loonily yours,


Welcome 2019: Goals and Thoughts

To start: I’m not totally sold on this new WordPress editor. I know when it came out people were PISSED about it, and honestly, I can see why. On the other hand, it has some cool features. What I’m really not pleased about is the apparent disappearance of the word count function — or maybe it’s somewhere here and I just can’t find it yet. EDIT: I found it. It’s…yeah, okay, I don’t like where it is now. You have to click a button to see it instead of it just being at the base of your editing window.

To continue: Happy New Year! I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and Day and that you stayed safe and warm. On New Year’s Eve I went and got a CT scan, which was a terrifying experience as I’m claustrophobic. However, it will hopefully show if my spinal injury has deteriorated or not. (OK, seriously WordPress? You fucked up adding links? Jesus.)

Anyway, as I’ve thrown out my back three times in the past year, I think it’s time to see what’s going on back there and possibly get a referral to a neurologist. I was super lucky to get a CT scan before the end of the year, and going in and getting it was actually very fast. So I’m not displeased.

2019 is the year of feeling less crappy. #spoonielife Click To Tweet

I have decided that 2019 is going to be the year I get my health back. Or, more accurately, the year I stop feeling like 100% crap all the damn time. Living with a spinal injury and acid reflux and all manner of chronic crap as well as mental illness means that I basically always feel like shit, and I’m tired of it, because there are small interventions I can do to lessen that feeling like shit thing.

2019 is also the year of better communication and finishing up projects! It’s the last year in this decade, the 2010s, so I want to get some stuff DONE, you know? I also want to communicate better — by which I mean, actually send out newsletters on a regular basis and blog more. Also maybe get a keyboard that can keep up with me so I’m not having to correct for missing letters every FIVE SECONDS, LAPTOP, I’M TALKING TO YOU.

So anyway, I’ve got some goals. Some writing goals. (I have other goals too but maybe one set of goals per post, or this will be waaaay too long.)

Continue reading “Welcome 2019: Goals and Thoughts”

2018 End of Year Reflection

This month I realized I hadn’t posted here since July, and didn’t want to end 2018 on that note. So, an EOY reflection…and I would say an explanation of where I’ve been, but if you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time you know I tend to drop off the face of the earth for long periods.

I try not to do this, and I am working on it. But I think I also need to admit that perhaps my regular schedule is flurries of activity followed by periods of silence.

Continue reading “2018 End of Year Reflection”

Katje and the Complete Lack of Executive Function

I did say I’d get that Gwyn ap Nudd piece up this week, didn’t I?

Well, I wasn’t lying, but apparently my brain has had other ideas. I’ve completely lacked in executive function this week. Or more accurately, I have been plagued by executive dysfunction.

What does that mean?

Executive dysfunction is often dubbed “laziness” by people who don’t understand it, but it’s not laziness at all. I have executive dysfunction *and* I can be a very lazy person, so I know how to tell the difference. (Though often my brain likes to berate me for my laziness even when I know full well it’s executive dysfunction — because ill brains like to attack themselves. It is known.)

Laziness is “I should get up and clean the living room, but I don’t want to, so I’m going to watch Doctor Who instead and enjoy it.”

Executive dysfunction is “I really want to get the living room clean, and finish that blog post, and work on my novel, and do some publishing work, and do a load of laundry so I can have clean clothing, but I can’t. I’m sitting here unable to even get up to think about those things. I’m telling myself to get up, but I can’t. So I’ve put on Doctor Who but I’m not even really watching it; I’m staring at the TV screen and wondering why I’m so fucking broken.”

I have been in both these places. The second one is what I’m stuck in right now. I have been *trying* to force myself to get things done, to work past the executive dysfunction, and mostly I have been failing. I’ve also been trying to not be hard on myself, but the truth is that a lot of my responsibilities don’t really give a shit if my broken brain is acting up and making it near-impossible to get done the things I need to get done — they still need to get done and I’m the one who has to do them. So not beating myself up over it is easier said than done.

Even on good days I struggle with executive dysfunction. The stuff you see from me in public? The posts of chapters to Wattpad, updates on my Patreon, my weekly newsletters? Those things take inordinate amounts of energy even during good phases. (Not even getting into the stuff you *don’t* see from me in public. So much background work goes into indie author life.) This is not a good phase.

Honestly I don’t know how I’m writing this post right now. I managed to make myself sit down and start it, and I’m not going to get up until it’s done, because otherwise? It will languish on my hard drive for the rest of time. And I should post it, so you know what’s happened to Mythology Mondays.

They’re not on hiatus. I’m working on Gwyn’s post. It just might be…a week later than its first postponement. Gods, I hope. I hope I can get it up by Monday.

So, let’s say Monday the 23rd, Gwyn ap Nudd, then back to the every other Monday schedule, which puts Borvo on August 6th. Let’s say it, and then maybe it’ll make itself true!

It’s 5 am, so I’m going to go to sleep now, and hopefully tomorrow I will get more than a grand total of 2 things done.

Katje of the Broken Brain

Postponing this instalment of Mythology Mondays

I’m sorry, but I need to postpone today’s Mythology Mondays post. (Gwyn ap Nudd was the winner, by the way!) It’s not ready, and I’ve been under the weather for the past week or so. I need a bit more time to put it together and instead of rushing and trying to finish it today (and having the work suffer, as well as my health), I’m just going to put it off till next Monday.

WHICH MEANS there will be a new post on Monday the 16th AND on Monday the 23rd — I don’t want to get off schedule, so I’m going to do two weeks in a row.

Soooo I need your votes! Voting usually would close at midnight on Monday, but as the Gwyn ap Nudd post will be up that day, I’m extending the poll length to Tuesday, the 17th. Let me know who you want to read about on the 23rd. (Also, I’m changing up the poll this time ’round and allowing two choices per voter.)

Thanks for understanding, everyone. I’ll see you on Monday!


2018 So Far (pretty good, with a side of “Fuck you Student Loans”)

I don’t know about you but my 2018 so far has been pretty awesome. Well, I say awesome. I mean, it’s been good.

I’ve started doing that Year in Pixels thing — I wasn’t even going to, but the planner I bought and put into my binder had it already laid out on a page so I was like, hey, why not — and I’ve decided that when deciding if a day was good or not, I’m not going to let the 5 shitty minutes color my view of the entire day. I am committing to being relentlessly positive about life, on top of very ambitious and driven. So I’ve had mostly good or great days this year, with the exception of a row of “so-so” days when I was down with the sickness (OH-WAH-AH-AH-AH).

'I'm not going to let 5 shitty minutes color my view of the entire day.' Click To Tweet

Also with the exception of a couple of bad days, courtesy of Student Loans.

Some background: Student Loans now does things through an online dashboard. You apply there and get info about your loans there. Since sending off my declarations on the 4th I have checked my dashboard relentlessly for news. They didn’t get my declarations until the 11th, and then didn’t update my page for another several days, and THEN last Sunday they told me my total funding was $1,293.

Cue heart attack.

Continue reading “2018 So Far (pretty good, with a side of “Fuck you Student Loans”)”