2013 Nano Winner

Old Habits Return...

I've been doing art for all my life. I've been doing writing too, mostly fantasy and science fiction. Fantasy is often about a mythical past, science fiction about a speculative future. Fantasy involves a maguffin that works according to the principles in folk tales. Science fiction often does too, but it does so often on the basis of what technology does to change life. Social science fiction explores what would happen if society believed different things than what it does, if it were organized in different ways.

In that it was important to me growing up. Both were escape from an unendurable daily reality. Net result, I didn't commit suicide.

At age four, I decided to become a science fiction writer. In the year 2000, I did it by publishing Raven Dance.

That book is actually two books conjoined at the last and first chapter. If you take the starting paragraph of the chapter that starts most of a year after the events of the last chapter, you're reading the opening of volume two. It's a big fat cumbersome 700+ page volume that would be two fat novels if I edited it.

My first edit would be to take an ax to the fusion and just renumber all the chapters in the second volume, then retitle the first volume because the actual Raven Dance event didn't happen till volume two. Not even a spoiler, you can know this going in and that may give you a more enjoyable read. The rest of my edits would tighten it and both volumes would lose weight.

That's because right now today, I'm a much better writer by 50+ trunk novels than I was when I finished it. Various circumstances caused that. I believed in a series of five books that almost got agented. But for the cost of a printer, cartridges and a whole lot of paper, I might have been a much more mainstream science fiction writer with those books in print.

I'd also be embarrassed at them, because I've grown personally and politically. I'm aware of things that I wasn't when I wrote them. I wouldn't treat cultural appropriation the same way. I wouldn't treat race the way I did or drift away from it into the aliens and other themes. There's meat in that setting and those novels, but I wimped out on a number of good issues.

I did so again in some others. I wrote books that were very mild and palatable, easy for publishers and liberal readers to enjoy without being that disturbed. I didn't handle my hero's transgender well at all because while it's there, it didn't come up much after the first book. His trying to fit into an alien culture greatly defused it and he romped onward into a life where because it stopped being a problem he stopped thinking about it and just didn't look at his past much.

This is the narrative that gender clinics pretty much promised on transition. It was the narrative promoted by everything at the time I got diagnosed. It's what makes surgeons who do transitions smile and know they're saving lives. It is a solvable problem for the binary trans person. Transition solves the problem. I had not transitioned and when I wrote those books I didn't know what would happen, what life would be like once I didn't have to worry about passing and had legal ID.

It's taken me a long time after transition to reach a point where I can write again at all. Instead I've been doing what my grandmother wanted me to do all through my childhood, painting pretty pictures. I don't knock this. She was right about it in one regard. Contemplating beauty will cheer you up and give you a reason to get up in the morning. My idea of pretty pictures also involves a lot of beautiful cats, because cats are wonderful at emotional support. They are easy to take care of and very loving. They're quiet and generous with their time. It's easy to get along with a good cat and you can trust the cat to take care of you as easily as the reverse.

But for the first forty or fifty years of my life I was obsessed with becoining a science fiction writer. I refused to die unpublished. That prevented thousands of suicide impulses and dragged me out of death in more than one life-threatening illness.

My transgender hero wasn't disabled. For him transition ended the major grief of his life. I've been disabled all my life and was marginal back when I worked, beating my body hard. Every physical activity took five times the body energy with my skeletal distortions, so where everyone else was walking, I had to run to keep up. I was on a death march just doing everyday activities. Often I failed and flunked out, like flunking out of college on campus size.

I couldn't emotionally accept the fact of disability anywhere near as easily as I did the truth of being transgender. Diagnosis did solve something. It meant I was not delusional, not crazy, not going to be locked up just for being who I am. It meant there was hope of life beyond transition even if I had no idea of how to get transition if I couldn't make a living at a high enough income to buy it.

I did eventually get it by way of a lucky tumor, a group of tumors, and it was covered. I had to go back to the place I was abused and face everything that ever hurt me in life. I had to see it all again as an adult and understand just how monolithic it was, how hopeless my life was. I could not have faced the truth of those obstacles at that age. Intersection - the stigma of physical disability got driven so deep it was unconscious.

Everything in gender treatment emphasized manly physical activity, manly jobs doing physical labor and stoic manly sports that I hated. It took a lot for me to convince them that my view of manliness was shaped around a mostly sedentary scientist who wrote and thought and lectured, that for me it was intellectual and artistic. It helped that all the personality tests said "You'd be happiest in an artistic career."

What a good deal of that meant was that living around physical disabilities is easier to manage for the self paced self employed person. I'd have had a very long row to hoe getting adaptations to my limits and body needs even if I'd understood them at the time instead of just grunting and ignoring it, because men don't cry at mere physical pain.

Some events online broke my heart about writing and writers' groups, also some events offline while I was not homeless but just staying with friends. IE, homeless and couch surfing, dependent on whoever would take me in. I was a human housecat. I am not ashamed of this, I did a good job of it and many of those housemates were glad I was around. I watched kids for some of them, without being paid other than in shelter and food. This would've been good money if I'd been paid and had an apartment, but I needed transportation too. A lot of things just weren't feasible. Until I actually transitioned, I lived like an illegal immigrant. I couldn't use ID so I worked under the counter at things I could actulaly do.

I needed time to rest. I've been living with Kitten for years now. Lived with her in Arkansas, then moved to San Francisco and had my little cool room in a residence hotel. Then came back to Arkansas where I've got Kitten and my family again instead of unrelated professional caretakers giving me the physical assistance I need to have a normal healthy level of hygiene and nutrition and cleanliness.

I can't live on my own any more. My body's not capable of it in the long term and even back in the day, I couldn't sustain it without moving several times a year to be able to start off in a clean place and get help reorganizing my stuff. I did some weird things to adapt to what I couldn't do, but that takes the cake for wasteful.

Living with Kitten and her Viking and my grandkids, it's been quiet, drama-free and happy. I have no romantic interests but no interest in chasing one at this time. I'd need more body energy, a cooler wardrobe and transportation to get out and look. That "more body energy" is a big thing, because if I couldn't keep up with the relationship it's not fair to my partner.

This doesn't mean I plan celibacy, I've started getting involved again with the Society for Creative Anachronism and it's possible I could wind up meeting a con-friend sort of romance - sharing my tent at an event with a lovely interested person and staying in touch and friends after. But any romance would be long in the building and light in the dating before it got going. I'm good with that and can be patient. I just had to be stable and secure enough to handle having an offline social life to have the possibility again.

As I worked on coming to terms with being a disabled man, flushing out decades of internalized ableism, I had to heal. I'm not normal. I never will be. Getting transition did not give me the ability to take up SCA fighting and win tournaments, the physical thing I wanted to do once in transition. I did not work out and get muscular, but I got muscular nonetheless because just living my life is an Olympic training kind of thing. I'm okay with how I look and have gone a long way to internalizing the image of my body as a kind of human bonsai, beautiful in a weird way created by harsh conditions and adaptation.

From there to get back to writing I had to come to terms with the fact that so much of what inspired and freed me as a child was sexist, ableist, racist, creepy and full of right-wing economic ideas. It was a bummer to go back to old boyhood favorites and find out how misogynous they were. Even back when I was transitioning I had a problem with that and wanted to do something like - recreate the good bits, the fun stuff, the boys adventure stuff without it being misogynist.

I had a lot of philosophical introspection to do. I had a lot of healing to do. Somehow my writing went numb, a lot like the way I burned out on art after I bombed at making a living on it due to wearing out my body and no longer being able to do enough work to live on. I got stopped by physicality at every turn. Well, writing is something that is still within my reach physically. But that was itself a depressing thought. That changed it from high aspiration to desperate adaptation.

It was both. Just as I am both a writer and an artist, I adapted to my unlivable life by becoming a writer and an artist. I have retired. I'm not selling art at the moment and it'll be a while before I start selling my writing. It'll take a lot of editing and backstage work to get it to that point again.

This year I've started uncoiling and waking up. It's like when I dug out my Prismacolors and drew again, just for myself. When I did my Nanowrimo, I goofed around and did an unpublishable self indulgent fan fiction off my series that basically let me get introspective and deal with these internal problems, banish some of these demons. It worked. Because now I'm starting to get different ideas and they are good ones. I'm starting to look at it differently again too, not to dread editing or this and that but just, think through the mechanics with the expertise that comes of practice. Same as the art really except markets are different and selling's different.

I know I can do short stuff again and sell that for money because it worked and was bringing in good money when I did it. I know the readership is out there. My readership is probably screaming for good scifi fantasy that has my left-wing inclusive slant. I want to bring in new characters based on the wonderful people I met in my adventures, especially in the shelter and in San Francisco. I want to be able to write from life again... and I might do so.

No spoilers about the idea that broke the dam. Suffice that it'll take some research because it's set on Earth and it's a good one. A rather marketable one that should reach a good audience. I have gotten comfortable enough in my own skin that I can do this thing again, this thing that I'm good at. I can reclaim that big part of my identity that is Writer and de-retire comfortably. If it ever puts me into an income level that I don't get Social Security any more, no biggie because then I'd actually have it to do so. My old age Social Security is stable but very small, once again so far under the poverty line I'd crick my neck looking up at it.

Dreams like that don't die forever. Talents and skills like that don't go away. It's still worth doing and a great thing to do. When I do it right, it flows like water. There's a lot of pressure behind the dam and it'll go fine this time. I just had to get my life in shape before I could pick it up again.
2013 Nano Winner

Back from hiatus

It's been a long time since I posted here. I renewed my membership today and decided to come back, have a look around, remember what I used to do hanging out here.

I moved back from San Francisco in 2015, now I'm in Arkansas again. I've spent a couple of years now on a farm, with lots of critters. Four indoor cats, three outdoor cats. A last Black Marin hen who's being rehomed to another farm where some of her siblings live. A small flock of goats. Four horses. One sheep that was a rescue lamb my granddaughter babied and took care of, now a large and shaggy wether. I had not expected to get involved with farm animals at any point in my life, but they're interesting.

I spent a lot of time offline roaming around the countryside with Kitten. I ride with on her horse shoeing expeditions and sketch sometimes, usually in small travel journals. Often those same animals, occasionally landscape elements. And of course to the very end of his life, I sketched Ari. We lost him at age sixteen late in the summer. He waited till I was away at an SCA event for the weekend and quietly curled up in the back of the kitchen cabinet to sleep. He had a good funeral with a very large stone protecting him from the coyotes, it hasn't been disturbed so I know he's just gone to earth.

He was beautiful and loyal and loving. I still and always will miss him. Like Elric and Jessie Cat before him, Ari was one of my lifetime cats, closest companions ever.

The job was still open, so some time later I adopted Sissy, a full purebred Maine Coon runt. She has all the features of a Maine Coon but is only about the size of an ordinary cat, a reasonably good sized tom. For a Maine Coon she is dainty and tiny, with very large feet and big cheek fluffs and jaw - that latter being a matter of slightly longer chin hair than most cats too, and slightly longer hair on her whisker pads. At first she looked very butch, but in behavior Sissy lives up to her name.

She is a sweet femme. She does this Mae West tail sway thing, it's gorgeous especially in full winter plumage. She also reaches out with one paw, holding it out to be hand kissed or to take your arm or get your attention. She sings. She is the Diva of the household, singing in her high trilling soprano voice. Lovely Sissy, the Fluff Girl, is a long hair color point with tabby points - she looks more like Ari's mother Snow than Ari, and of course she has the tufted dark ears of a Maine Coon so that's wonderful. She's beautiful and unusual and lovely, she has proven herself for cat muse work and sheds many Cat Hairs of Inspiration. She was five when I got her, her previous human lost his housing and couldn't keep her. Which was sad, but lucky for me that I got her.

Other than that, I'm still disabled and not doing much. Had a long fallow period without even much sketching, trying to pull out of that. Did do Nanowrimo this year and last, nothing worth editing but it was good to get back to it. Maybe next year I'll write something worth the work of rewriting.
2013 Nano Winner

My friend needs help!

My friend and editor, Nonny, just posted this on her DW and LJ... boosting signal to reach all of my friends too. Anyone who can help is greatly appreciated. I managed to squeeze out a little, glad this came before my money was gone.

(Nonny) Because of various circumstances, my poly-family (which include four disabled people, myself included, who have not been able to get on disability) are going to be short on rent for November. The one able-bodied member of the household gets paid the 15th of each month, and while we have the money to cover October rent and expenses, we are starting at a deficit because of how long his training took (about two months).

The main reason for the deficit is because my poly-family moved cross-country to be closer to us (myself and my now former partner), and have better job opportunities (and S, who can work, is definitely making a lot more than back east). However, they weren't able to find housing because nobody would rent to someone who was in training and had no income as of yet. The time spent in a residence hotel while trying to house-hunt, and then, to apartment-hunt, which turned out to be successful, depleted a significant portion of reserves. We've been managing to squeak by since but we are squeaking our last squeak.

Rent is $850. I know a lot of my flist doesn't have a lot of money themselves, so even when I have been in bad positions before, I haven't wanted to ask. My former partner won't have the money, and I wouldn't feel comfortable asking them anyway as we are in the process of separating. My parents also wouldn't be able to help because of their financial situation, and general disapproval of the situation. Their families wouldn't be able (or willing, also due to general disapproval) to help. I have tried to consider every option, and we have not been able to come up with one.

So, I am asking, when I have never asked before, for help. Any little bit that you can spare will be greatly appreciated, and I hate that I have to ask in the first place. Again, rent is $850, and my PayPal address is mistressnonny@gmail.com.

Please signal boost if you wish.
2013 Nano Winner

[unfiltered] Home needed for elderly dog in Western Washington; urgent

Originally posted by elialshadowpine at [unfiltered] Home needed for elderly dog in Western Washington; urgent
My girlfriend Omi is in need of a new home for her 16 year old (as far as we can guess; she is at least that old, perhaps older) Aussie Shepard, Sadie. She does not wish to rehome Sadie, but we are faced with very few options. At this point, she has had to make the very difficult decision that she can no longer adequately care for Sadie due to disability. We live in the Olympia, WA, area.

Sadie is a lovely dog. She is friendly, easy to get along with, she's awesome with children, no issues with cats, or other animals. She will growl if cats or other animals try to steal her food, but she has never bitten or snapped at the animals, or people.

Here is the problem. She's getting older, and at this point she has a three hour bladder, almost like clockwork. She has always been an indoor dog, and is utterly terrified of the outdoors. We have set up a dog run and despite our best efforts, she has managed to tangle herself in the line regularly. She will do this until someone comes out to untangle her, but upon someone going inside, she will immediately re-tangle herself. She is also Houdini dog and will wiggle out of her harness regularly and try to bury under fences. She must be an indoor dog..

She is also going on a hunger strike. She is scattering her food and refusing to eat. The apartment that Omi and her family have been able to find does not allow dogs, and my rental home does not allow indoor dogs. Even if we could have Sadie indoors, most of our household is disabled and on vacillating sleep schedules. It is simply not possible to arrange to walk her every three hours (or less; it has crept up to every hour at points), especially now that she is not signaling when she needs to be walked.

More minor issues are that she is arthritic, although she does not seem to be in pain. She is deaf in some ranges, but not completely. Prior to Omi and family adopting her, she was raised by a household that did not care for her. This has resulted in a few things, such as she is triggered by men in plaid shirts and baseball caps. She was never properly trained, and by the time Omi adopted her at age five, no amount of training was successful.

Unfortunately, nearly everyone in the household is disabled with chronic pain at this point, with the exception of those who are working and thus do not have time to walk a dog on a three hour schedule. It is simply not possible to give her the care that she needs, as much as we want to. This is not a decision that has been made lightly. She is very loved, and this is breaking my girlfriend's heart, but it is the best for Sadie.

She is very sweet, lovable, and kind. She likes to tuck people in at night, and she protects those she loves. With her age and arthritis, she is not very active, but she is very loving. She is an amazing dog who just needs people who are physically able to meet her needs. There is a video of her here, if you would like to see what she's like.

Again, we are in Olympia, WA. We are willing to drive her to Seattle or Portland (or another city of similar distance, but 2hrs is about the max based on health issues). If anyone is interested, please contact Omi at omimouse@hotmail.com, and please CC her husband Louis at louis.adkins@hotmail.com.

Please re-post and boost the signal if you can. Thank you so much!

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/519989.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

She sounds like a sweet old dog and I'm one of the disabled, also out of range for them to drive her to me even if I was capable of dog walking. Sometimes an elderly pet can be the sweetest, and since she's good with cats and children and other animals I can see some major pluses for anyone who has a home large enough for her. Hope some of my friends see this and either help pass it on or happily, may have an interest in taking Sadie!
2013 Nano Winner

Seattle-WA Transwoman Needs Housing!

Signal boost from http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/514423.html

Emma, a trans woman I would describe as an adorable pink-haired geeky queer music nerd, best served with tea, is in desperate need of housing. She just lost her chance out of her abusive family's home. She needs a temporary home, 3-6mo, and while rent-free would be awesome, she can offer $250/mo rent. She is in Western Washington (Seattle-Olympia), and the clock is ticking. Due to our rental agreement, we can't have her past the end of March. If there are any folks in Western Washington who would have space for a lovely trans woman and her computer, please contact epeternally@gmail.com. Signal boosts welcome and requested.

Please pass it on and/or if you can help in any way, go to the original (longer) entry, read and comment!
2013 Nano Winner

Valentine's Day 2014

Usually, if I post online around this time of year, it's some version of my bitter acidic loathing for the Commercial Holiday Meant to Sell Cards and Humiliate Singles. Right in the cold yucky horrible part of year when life's at its ugliest, comes the day that Everyone Must Be Paired and You Are So Unlovable No One Wanted You.

Childhood starts that shaming with the packs of kid-friend cards. The insult cards are for the kid no one picks for the team. Needless to say, that was all I got, 3 or 4 of those from the kids whose parents made them get them for everyone. Insult cards and joke cards are also for boys who don't want to get mushy or seem girly. but they're nuanced and some are compliments as much as insults. It's situational and adults create the basis for children's culture.

I was at odds from day one in school with all the teachers and parents. I was ahead of the class and gender nonconforming, knew I was really a boy and didn't understand why my parents tried to make me a girl. First two years, all my friends were boys, developmentally normal. Girls' school I had no friends at all, any friendship got broken up on Too Close A Friendship, code for Latent Lesbianism in their eyes. I got angry about it but knew who was responsible.

Yet when I had a long 13 year gay relationship with another transman, we really enjoyed Valentines Day. Especially one day later on Cheap Chocolates Day, but sometimes we'd go out and stuff. We never did cards, neither of us were into cards. But we'd eat and maybe go out to a movie or the Art Institute, mush and go home and have hot partner sex with all the trimmings of long practice and knowing each others' tastes.

We were also Out and Proud on the day of the holiday itself, mushing and breaking the heteronormative assumptions. Or being happily coupled within the gay neighborhood, it depended on where we lived how that looked. Either way that aspect was fun. Valentines Day around Clark and Diversey in Chicago had its own feel that was pretty jolly.

Kitten pointed out to me that it's cool having a holiday dedicated to spending time with your partner getting romantic - for them it's a chance to step back from their very intense lives and remember why they got together. Chase kids and critters out of the way and have some couple time. I can see that. Thinking of it and every happy couple I've known, what grows up within real relationships are personal traditions that may or may not include any of the traditional trimmings. But if anyone in it likes the traditional candy, it's there only that time of year.

Made me think that's also a potential excuse for the shy to actually speak up to someone. Everything has its up side.

This year's Valentine's Day is different. It's about self acceptance and part of that is loving my cat, my dear hefty big fluffy 15 pound Support Cat. Ari is a wonderful cat. He doesn't even know it's a holiday but he'll appreciate the lap time, the snuggles and the kitty treats. I'll give him some love and ruminate on what I like in my life as it is.

Then this weekend take advantage of Cheap Chocolates, or even get out on the scooter to see for myself what's on sale and indulge. I never know what kind of expensive chocolates will turn up 1/3 to 3/4 price on Cheap Chocolates Day. There's those white and chocolate marbled seashell ones, the deep dark chocolate ones, the cream center ones in boxes that don't seem to show up any other time of year. Or cost too much if they do. Well worth it.
2013 Nano Winner

New Year's Resolution: 2014 starts 3 Year Plan

2014 is the start of a 3 year plan for me to become self supporting before my SSI turns into Old Age version of Social Security. If I retire early, I will get a smaller check. Much better to be self supporting and just never retire. That's the long term goal.

In a comment on an artist's blog that I wrote about 4,000 words and deleted all but about 200, I worked out just exactly what it means to "Work toward self supporting in 2014."

I have a slight chance of success at it. My guesstimate at the moment is 10% to 20% that I will actually reach a point where I could draw a salary of a thousand a month and not change my lifestyle. Just quit SSI and take the limit off my personal savings.

What I really need to do in 2014 is work out my schedule and the rhythm of the year. November 2013 was a very bad time. I barely got in 50,000 words. Lots of sick days and two weeks of flu did me in. I will always have Too Many Sick Days. I always have. Net result of disabilities, day job as a cripple schedules itself.

December 2013, I didn't do much at all. I took a freaking vacation after the intensity of the most difficult Nanowrimo that I ever won. I'm serious. It was harder getting 50,000 words of Arts and Aspirations than it was to write 450,000 words of seven fantasy novels in a previous year. But I succeeded in my big goal - it is a better book that will take less editing.

I also signed up for The Sketchbook Project. I paid for it to be digitized and posted online. This is using my art to sell my book. I did it so that I could publicize my steampunk novel. I thought that I'd be self illustrating while writing, would have a lot of time to do 32 decent sketchbook pages with teasers.

Now I've got ten to fifteen days to complete the whole thing, with three pages penciled. Those need to be inked. It's not quite as bad as I thought - I thought I only had one page. But it still means doing more than one artwork a day till it's done. Getting back to a schedule more like when I lived on my art. Managing to work on it on days when I've got home care or medical appointments.

It's going to be possible but difficult like Nanowrimo was. It will only serve its intended purpose if I can do a good job on it. Penciling first is probably a good idea! It might let me lay out many more pages and it's not something I'm doing just to goof around. I paid good money for it as a publicity tool for the book's launch. I'll design the cover last, because I could do the cover very simple if it comes to that. An easy cover would be a portrait of the cat and the title in calligraphy.

So this year is starting off with a bang.

December will always be my vacation. A pro writer I knew a decade ago did that, took December off entirely as vacation because the holidays and her kids took up too much of her time. I don't do that kind of thing. I don't live with my kids and grandkids and when I did, they did most of the work. For me it's just that is the low end of the year when I'm exhausted physically and emotionally. I either get depressed by pain and fatigue or distract myself with holiday cheer and soppy old holiday movies. I did the lazy holiday cheer this year.

It was great!

In fact, it might have been the first real vacation I've had in my life. I don't count the miserable two week trip to San Francisco in the 1980s when I went with my ex, blew a lot of money saved up for it and bought a lot of tourist junk, ate out a lot, stayed in an expensive transient hotel and made myself miserable with homesickness. That trip was a bitter exercise in pressing my nose hungrily against the window of my life. Now I live here.

This time, for once, taking a month off left me feeling excited again about my writing and my art. I want to sketch. I want to play with colors. I want to get back to the book and read about those characters and keep going when I hit the point where I left off. Writing rough draft is a lot like reading the book before it exists. I turn the page and get the next sentence, paragraph, page and enjoy all the twists as surprises.

So why not combine rereading the book to catch up with myself with doing the Sketchbook Project? I'll ink what I have penciled, then start reading the book again. Stop and pencil when I see something that'd make a good picture. Doodle my way through the reread and then turn "Rereading" into "Drafting" when I run out of chapters already written.

Maybe it's not so daunting after all. :D

I want to be able to build up to 40 hours a week at productive work on my career. 2014 is the year of discovering my schedule, what gets done when. What works best which days of the week, which weeks of the month, which months in the year. I need to find just the right level of push between "pushing myself too hard and falling over" and "could actually be doing more if I made the effort to start." That's always tricky in both directions.

If I find out by December 2014 that I can't do 40 hours a week year round, fine. I'll readjust my income expectations to the reality, whether that's 30 hours or 20 hours or 10. It will probably be different in different months and some months I might go over 40 hours a week because some tasks work better by immersion. I mean average 40 hours a week for the next 11 months, not keep to 40 hours a week every week but December. Most of all, know the seasons and my climate. I've had two years here to know when I'm up to going out just for fun, when it's hard just making it to medical appointments, when I'm going to fall down on basic necessities of self care and when I've got time to relax.

So... resolution: CHART what I'm doing in 2014. I need to start logging my hours every day and week, what I do that's productive. I'm not going to count hours spent doing medical appointments or other necessities like supervising home care unless I did something productive during it. I've taken to using the hour of waiting for the van or after arriving early for sketching, which got me sketching even when I wasn't doing anything else. So that hour counts on an appointment day.

Two new treatments in 2014 might also improve my net function. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) treatment for my PTSD may eliminate flashbacks and symptoms that trigger fibromyalgia flares. That is a nasty combination. Knocking down my PTSD may give me a lot of energy locked up in flashbacks. Once that's done, I'll look for a physical therapist with geriatric and/or pediatric experience.

When I finish that, I'll get a physical therapist for massage therapy, possible hippatherapy and water therapy. The sorts of physical therapy that really do reduce the damage and give me more energy walking out than I had walking in. Chiropracty always does that too. When I'm no longer living on the survival edge, paying out of pocket for treatments that really do help is worth it. I just need to have enough left after necessities to afford those treatments.

So... 2014 is starting the run. I'll start by doing the Sketchbook Project and see what comes of it. Hopefully a finish to Arts and Aspirations.
2013 Nano Winner

Nanowrimo 2013 Winner!

Barely, by the skin of my teeth! 50,546 words at 5am yesterday. Validated, got my Purple Bar and later yesterday afternoon, bathed and put on my 2013 Winner's T-shirt for the first time.

I still have a final chapter to write, but it's short and almost an epilogue. I'm happy with the book. Most of all I've succeeded in that high goal of "Write a Better Book." Sticking to First Person was hard at some points but the whole POV problem is solved. "Voice" largely solved itself by that too. Also it's much better documented scene by scene than most. I did not get sloppy!

All this done in the face of the nastiest November that I've had in a long time. Really bad, unusual bad weather throughout, constantly changing. Two weeks of Bronchitis threatening pneumonia but never quite getting there (Relief!) plus problems with home care. Every time I have a new home carer, the first few times are difficult because everything needs to be explained. It's pot luck whether they're compatible or not. I had several good ones come in and then immediately vanish, pulled off or were only there temporarily. I had more than the usual number of incompatible substitutes and new ones that I had to say, this won't work. So frustrating. After years of stable home care dealing with that stress in the middle of Nanowrimo was a hard time.

Last week was the worst. I threw my back on Tuesday keeping up with an energetic young man - found myself by circumstance running around on my feet and bending to pick things up exactly as much as he did for various reasons. Stressed to the max, that resulted in two lost days and then Thursday dealing with him again - where the stress continued but at least I managed not to get up and run around. It's going to take another week to sort out the everyday use things that got put away in the wrong place and thus out of sight and for practical purposes, lost.

My back is still whinging, but at 10pm on November 29th, I got up again and burned through the last 10,000 words. I was way behind at 40k or so, but managed to get the final count in a last sprint. This year's book was all done in Sprints and Rests. I wasn't sure I'd make it until I finished that last sprint.

I bought the Winner t-shirt, ordered it in October promising myself I wouldn't wear it till I hit 50k. Today I'm wearing it and I posted a photo on Facebook.

Facebook page

Robert in 2013 Winner T-Shirt
(Sorry the image broke, I don't know why)

(Edit to LJ, try inserting image here.)
2013 Winner Rob Bearded Post

Also at last, my beard is visible in a photo! I know it looks like I just stapled some armpit hair under my chin, but I love it. Even my mustache is visible despite its being exactly the hue of my tanned face. It's thickened enough to visibility - more so in person, pixelation blurs some of the texture. I'm very happy with it. Possibly my best photo ever.

Certainly my best, most hard-won and satisfying Nanowrimo yet!
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2013 Nano Winner

Chapter 4 Plot Thickens 12,754

Finished another scene, got some writing in today. Yesterday was a total wash, I did maybe eight words. Made the file basically and got in a sentence. But today I'm keeping my lead. One good day and I'll surge ahead even farther.

My Widgets!

My Month (days low or missed)

REGION standing
2013 Nano Winner

Chapter 3 Done


Some widgets, just to see them in action!

My month in review. Days written or not. Let's see how this looks.

Wordcount widget

Now let's see how my Region is doing...

San Francisco is where it all began, surely other Overachievers are pushing this up!