edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Since Vicky got into writing M/M ebook romances, she's occasionally prodded at me to maybe file off the serial numbers from some of my fics or write something new specifically for profit. And mostly I make vaguely noncommittal noises because I am bad at schedules and also romance, but. I think about it now and then, you know?

So last night I was making a list of things that might be workable as novellas or short-ish novels, and it occurred to me that over the years there has been a slow but distinct change in the types of relationships I'm most interested in writing.

cut for length, etc. )

Anyway, I should get back to working on actual fiction.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Dental appointment at 8:15am. My teeth are fine, yay! The office manager was out for the week because of some unspecified life crisis, so I did not pay my bill on Monday (the hygienists have not been trained to work the billing program -- scheduling yes, financials no) but I should receive one in the mail sometime this coming week.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update.

3. Emailed the DRE about summer and fall youth group plans. I have not yet heard back, but I will try to corner her in person on Sunday and chat for a few minutes.

4. Caught a bus out to the mall and watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which I enjoyed A LOT. :D

more items under the cut )

19. Bought groceries.

20. Repotted my peppers!

...

You will note that I still have not cooked the fajitas for which I did ingredient prep last week. The containers of sliced onion, pepper, and chicken have been sitting in the freezer for a week and a half now. I may try to get that dealt with tomorrow night, but give that I will already be baking brownies (church obligations), I am inclined to doubt I will manage the fajitas until Monday. *sigh*

I failed to get any writing done whatsoever -- like, I got a couple hundred words toward a prompt response, but there were aimless twaddle, totally unusable, and I haven't managed to get any of the slightly less awful ideas onto a page. Blargh.

I think, on the balance of evidence, that I have probably been stuck in a mild blue funk for the past couple weeks. I hadn't noticed sooner because I haven't felt particularly disconnected (one of my main depressive symptoms), but I have definitely been suffering from executive dysfunction (aka, lack of can-do), disordered sleeping patterns, and a general lack of enthusiasm for things I would normally enjoy. I also may have fic-binged a couple times, which is a telling symptom even without the disconnection that usually triggers it.

There is really nothing to do except try to fight the disordered sleeping patterns and wait it out. And maybe to grit my teeth and force myself to write, because that CAN be done and I do generally feel a lot better for up to a full day after completing some kind of creative work in the face of my brain's attempt to paint the whole world gray. I guess I'll see if I have any free time at work tomorrow to get that prompt response pinned down.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
You know what? I'm going to post the terrible poetry after all.

All spelling, capitalization, and punctuation faithfully reproduced (though you are missing half the effect of the purple ink and my weird handwriting). I have inserted line breaks between the poems for clarity, though the original text marks them only by a single blank line.

cut for length and embarrassment )

---------------------------------------------

Now I kind of want to find twelve- or thirteen-year-old me, give her a hug, promise her she'll make it at least to age thirty-five without humanity blowing up the planet, and gently suggest that if she wants to keep on writing poetry, she might find the constraints of strict poetic forms a useful challenge. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Mom had a small pile of stuff she wanted to give me, which she set aside in a safe place so she'd remember to bring all the items up to Ithaca last weekend when she and Dad visited. Of course this meant she forgot to bring them. *wry*

Anyway, yesterday I received a very carefully packed and taped box containing:

1. A current registration card for the Camry (Ardis's old car, which has become our family's pass-around extra car), to replace my expired one from last year.

2. Two small square bars of Erbario Toscana soap, one orange and one yellow, because I like fancy scented soaps for my bathroom handsoap and Mom had no use for them.

3. Various newspaper clippings she thinks I should read.

4. A bottle of vitamin E nail and cuticle oil, which supposedly helps with both brittle/fragile fingernails (not a problem I have) and overly dry cuticles and surrounding skin, such that they tend to spontaneously split and bleed (a problem I definitely DO have). Mom started using that this past winter and now swears by it.

5. Three pages of terrible poetry I wrote in purple pen and then gave to one of my grandmothers, probably when I was twelve or so. (I have no memory of the poems, but I was really into purple ink for a couple years in my early adolescence and I think my handwriting looks about right for that age.) I think Mom and Dad wound up with papers from all three of my grandmothers, so I'll have to ask to figure out who I inflicted this stuff on.

6. A white tablecloth Mom took to NJ after Thanksgiving to wash and forgot to give back until just now.

7. Two pairs of trousers and one t-shirt for me to try on.

8. A box of four Cadbury Creme Eggs, because they are my delicious and terrible downfall. :)

...

I kind of want to transcribe and post the poetry, just as a reminder to myself and the world that thirteen-year-old kids tend to get terribly overwrought about EVERYTHING. It's embarrassing in retrospect (and sometimes even at the time), but it's normal and over the years I've come to look back on my younger self with at least as much affection as pained winces. *wry*
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
So back in March I mentioned the Mosedale creative writing contest that the Star Island Protective League runs in the Loon (our annual newsletter/directory), and later mentioned that I'd written and submitted something for the 2017 contest.

The Loon has now been published -- my parents received their copy today -- and I may have won? \o/ There is a $50 prize associated with the contest, but really, I am just happy I got a thing printed and people seem to have liked it. :)

Anyway, now that the Loon is out, I am going to post the story here as well.

-----

Summary: "Don't buy tiny fruit trees," Nic said obediently. (750 words)

Oranges and Lemons )

---------------------------------------------

...If I do get $50 out of this endeavor, I just might buy a tiny orange tree of my own, because reasons. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Watered my houseplants. I also saved two of my peppers from a bout of dehydration, via emergency watering and temporary toothpick stakes to lean on. I keep forgetting how fast the peat pellets dry out. :/

2. Failed to floss my teeth Monday night because I was so tired from working 8:30am-9pm at Not the IRS (plus travel time). This is noteworthy since I think that is the ONLY time I have failed to floss my teeth since I started my "if you don't floss, your mouth and teeth will feel gross and be totally icky" campaign, which, considering how many years I had previously spent trying and failing to make flossing a daily habit -- I tried guilt and shame, I tried logic, I tried financial panic (cavities are stupidly expensive to fix), I tried flossing at work on my lunch breaks, etc. -- really says something about the power of revulsion as a motivating factor.

The problem, of course, is that revulsion is horrifically easy to misuse. But I think in this particular case, it helps a lot more than it hurts.

3. Imported my Livejournal to Dreamwdith, which, um, ran into some problems.

4. Opened a mini-ficlet prompt meme. (I am still taking ficlet requests, if anyone is interested!)

5. Bought groceries.

6. Attended the Stewardship committee meeting on Thursday night. I now have a list of people to call in the second round of "please pledge money, we can't run a church by wishing," and I will call them... Sunday afternoon, probably. *adds to to-do list*

7. Boiled a dozen eggs.

8. Wrote three prompt ficlets. I am still working on a fourth, but I couldn't finish it before work got busy and I hit the exhausted and brain-fried portion of my day. (Another 8:30am-9pm shift today, joy. By the time I leave the rental office tomorrow, I will have worked 60 hours this week. And next week I get to do it all again! What fun! (Kill me now.))

9. Wrote twelve thank-you notes to church members who have already pledged for the 2017-18 fiscal year. I got six of them into the mail for Saturday morning pickup, and will drop the other six off on my way to work in the morning. The remaining six envelopes are stamped and return-addressed, and I will write the cards tomorrow.

10. Changed the scented wax in my wax melter.

11. Backed up my computer onto my external hard drive, which I really ought to do more frequently. I wonder if there's a way to harness revulsion for that task as well...?

And now to bed. Mmmm, bed.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I spent last night sort of idly spinning ideas for a Daredevil A/B/O fic of the sudden-change-inflicted-on-a-previously-normal-world type (because A/B/O is one of my bingo card squares, and I think one of the best ways to get to grips with a trope is to try writing it) and...

Well. Occasionally it becomes really obvious that I'm asexual, because I drifted off into alien retroviruses transmitted via magic spells, three-caste social pack systems and their awkward overlay on human sexual dimorphism, varying development/exhibition of A/B/O traits based on the presence or absence of a more socially dominant member of one's caste (similar to arrested development of secondary sex characteristics in male orangutans, because that's always struck me as fascinating), and the whole porn aspect got almost completely lost along the way. I had to keep reminding myself that hey, there's supposed to be a sex thing here, right? This is a porn trope, right?

Apparently my hindbrain disagrees!

Possessive behavior, sure. Pheromones, sure. Marking bites, sure. People dealing with bodies gone strange and unfamiliar, sure. I am totally into that stuff. But bluntly, I don't often find sex especially sexy. Power and fangs and stuff like that are way the hell more of a turn-on, as is found family, pack bonding, and people renegotiating social relationships. Meanwhile, sex qua sex can go hang for all I care; I do not need to interrupt my delicious plot and character dynamics with random bedroom grunting. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I put on my big-girl panties and went to the concert. This was the right choice; it was awesome. :D

There is a thing live music can do to me, where the right combinations of volume and style and melody/harmony (and sometimes lyrics, though that's much less vital) make me feel like my whole body is a tuning fork vibrating along. And I cry. They're not sad tears. They're not even happy tears, particularly, though the tuning-fork feeling is definitely positive. They're just a weird involuntary quirk of my nervous system: hit the right trigger and I go floaty and my eyes drip.

Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost hit that for me three and a half times tonight.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Completed an intro course on Pennsylvania state income tax. My overall takeaway? Pennsylvania is weird.

2. Completed a skills training course on Not the IRS's new customer service bells and whistles for the 2017 tax season, which I apparently should have done several weeks ago but nobody told me about it until Thursday. Oops.

3. Church stewardship committee meeting. We have our 'thanks for donating/please give more' dinner date pinned down, and are going to look into language to use in both our general letter and in personal phone calls to both invite church members to the dinner and gently prod them into increasing their pledges. The idea is that since we are getting a new minister this fall (or at least we devoutly hope we are getting a new minister; things could always fall through), we would like to have money on hand for the minister to use in starting new programs since that's one of the things the congregation has expressed that they'd like a new minister to do.

Also, community outreach ain't free. *wry*

I will miss the next three meetings because of Not the IRS shifts that Plaza Boss scheduled before I changed my availability, but I should be able to contribute some via email.

4. Threw the decapitated pepper into the back yard to decay and become food for new plants in the spring. Now I have only one pepper left... at least until I plant seeds for this summer's saga. *rubs hands, grins diabolically*

5. Bought groceries.

6. Chopped and froze two bell peppers I bought last week. I am not entirely sure what I'm going to do with them -- maybe make some kind of beef-pepper-onion thing in my crockpot? (I have a packet of taco seasoning I could use in such an endeavor...) In any case, they are now safely stored until I figure out my plans.

7. Took compost out to the bin.

8. Emailed the winning bidder of my Fandom Trumps Hate auction, to clarify prompt details and such.

...

I failed to write anything yesterday -- I didn't get a chance while at work (because I was chugging through the tax courses), and by the time I got home I was too burned out to think creatively. I am going to try writing a little something as soon as I post this, but I am not going to beat myself up if I fail, because it has been a long week and I am in the middle of wrenching my sleeping schedule back to a more diurnal pattern.

If I am not paying attention, you see, I drift toward getting up around 11am and going to bed around 2-3am. I am not sure how much of that is natural inclination and how much is residual from eight years of retail closing shifts, but it's a very strong pattern. It is also a completely inappropriate pattern right now, since my rental office job requires getting up around 7-8am three days a week. So I am trying to go to bed by midnight whether I have work the next day or not, but it's hard and I keep slipping. *sigh*

ETA: Successfully added ~100 words to my current project. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
[community profile] snowflake_challenge Day 3: Set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private.

I have various and sundry goals for the year, but I think the biggest ones are... hmm...

Okay.

1. Starting in April, get really serious about finding and applying to full-time jobs, because my current one (though it's nice and has a reasonable hourly wage) is only part-time and therefore has no benefits. I'm keeping it for now because it meshes well with my seasonal tax-prep job, but I want something more stable going forward.

2. Finish at least three chapters of "The Guardian in Spite of Herself," because I failed miserably on that front last year (ugh, depression) and now that I'm feeling less pervasively gray, I would like to get back to more regular writing.

3. Relatedly, write something every day. This can be as little as a single sentence, but I find that I do best in life when I arrange my days (or weeks) to have reliable structures and patterns. Last year I was pretty successful at finally training myself into making daily flossing a reliable habit, so I'd like to try that with writing this year. :)

4. Also relatedly, keep up my daily to-do lists! I have used to-do lists off and on over the years, mostly when I am having particularly bad problems with depression (I always list a few gimmes, like meals, to make sure I have things I can cross off and point to as 'see, I am NOT doing nothing!' evidence), which is why I started up the habit again in 2016, but I've been trying to regularize it a little more, and plan some items a few days in advance, and it's been very helpful in creating a sense of stability when my greater life has felt too big and terrible to ever be within my control. I'd like to keep that up in good times so the habit will be in place whenever bad times roll back again. *wry*

(They always do. These past couple years were only the second time I've had long-term depression; it's been almost entirely situational, which was also the case with my first extended depressive period, so I was pretty sure it would clear up when my life got less chronically stressful. (Spoiler: I was right.) But even when I'm doing well, I still get my blue funks -- I have periodic clinical depression, which means that a few times a year, my brain chemistry randomly conks out for a few weeks -- and I like to have a well-honed set of tools for getting through them.)

5. Continue my decluttering project. I have a bunch more boxes and cupboards that need to be sorted through, and there are still a bunch more clothes I should try on and decide whether I'm ever going to wear them again. I think I'd also like to get a new computer chair, and maybe some kind of shelving unit I can use to store my spare gardening stuff instead of having it randomly stacked on my kitchen floor.

6. Figure out a way to get more physical activity into my life. It needs to be sneaky and low-key, and it needs to be easily slipped into a daily routine rather than a special-purpose event solely about exercise or flexibility. I already walk 1-3 miles a day -- this is easy, because I don't usually have a car and I have an established routine of going to take a photograph of Cascadilla Creek from the Tioga St. bridge every day that this is physically and temporally possible -- but I want to add something a little higher intensity, and maybe also something to improve flexibility since I've been getting a bit stiffer as I get older and that annoys me.

Any advice on the exercise front would be very welcome, btw! :)

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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