Category Archives: Uncategorized

The One About April

Historically April is a bad month for me. All the reasons are sitting on my shoulders, leaning down and whispering in my ears. I do not need anything, I do not need help, I am absolutely physically fine.  I just want say some pretty stupid things. I want to do some pretty stupid things.

I have a deadline for an anthology on the 30th and I don’t know if the pressure of this month will let me finish anything. I don’t know if I can make myself move, let alone be cognizant enough to write.

And still I think, what the hell do I have to be sad about?

I’m still alive.

Right?

According to Wikipedia April is for:

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The One About Exit Strategies

Have one.

Not just from the room you’re standing in right now, but from your current situation. Know how to extract yourself from a busybody, a toxic relationship, an insensitive friend, and that one guy you were mistakenly nice to that won’t go away.

Know how to change a tire. Know the basic functions of engine parts. Do not rely on the kindness of strangers, friends or family.

Know how to leave a job that no longer fits you. Know how to leave any relationship that no longer fits you.

Shake yourself awake and look around. Do not let rote activity lull you.

Stop and think. If there was an active shooter in my location, where would I go? What would I do?

Paranoid? Maybe.

But have you thought about it?

Then maybe we’re just paying attention.

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TL;DR: Know your escape routes in life and use them as needed. Don’t become too complacent, that would be a Rook mistake.

The Other Other One About the VA

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Help me understand how anyone can come into the hospital with an infection and NOT have their bandages changed regularly. Help me understand how a hospital staff could allow that infection to not only go septic, but then to grow MAGGOTS in it.

“During the 21 days I was there, … I pled with the medical staff, the senior medical staff, to      increase his meds so his bandages could be changed,” Parker told Tulsa World. “I was met with a stonewall for much of that time.”

And yet, as far as Parker is concerned, the nurses were excellent. He placed the blame instead on senior medical staff and the bureaucracy.

There are several articles about this incident.

The Washington Standard

Tulsa World

Stars and Stripes

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TL;DR: If the VA doesn’t terrify you, you’re not paying attention. Again, don’t assume the VA is the best place for treatment. Do your research. Anything less is a rook mistake.

 

The One About Belonging

Some of this will sound like I’m bragging. Forgive me.

See what I did there? Please don’t reject me over being proud of my accomplishments. Let me erase some of who I am for another’s approval.

Fuck that.

When I was a kid, we lived in rural Texas. My brother drowned while on my big sister (at 4 years old) duty, making me an outsider in my own family. Dad’s 24 hour/48 off rotations at the fire station left me at home with a mother who couldn’t look at me.

I learned to read at three and spent my childhood as a tomboy/athlete/bookworm trying to fit in one of those categories of kids while still belonging to the other. I was the only girl on a all boys’ soccer team. I cut my hair short and was proud when people mistook me for a boy, so my mom put me in dresses. My fifth grade math teacher told me in front of the class, “If you can’t do honor’s level math, then you probably shouldn’t be in honor’s reading either. We moved back and forth between this little country town and Dallas suburbs – perpetually the outsider new kid.

I joined the Army. Work harder, do more, or be labeled a cock-holster, barracks bunny, or some other pervasion of slut. Got passed over for a promotion because I was female. Because the men won’t respect a female leader. All of this in the time of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  I was an outsider.

Got married. Spent ten years in an abusive relationship. Other soldiers avoided me or asked, “Why are you with him?” But they didn’t help. Physical abuse. Verbal abuse. All of it easy to hide when my training and PDS took me 1200 miles from home and I moved 13 times in 4 years. And then when I finally did leave, that family doesn’t understand, doesn’t think it could have been that bad.

In 2001, I suffered a traumatic brain injury. For as much as the aforementioned sucked, I lost some of who I was. I now forget things, can shake uncontrollably when I’m tired, and can get easily confused. I am an outsider in my own head.

Had a relationship with a woman. It was beautiful and amazing and so was she. Except it was a secret. She didn’t want anyone to know. Again, the person I loved made me an outsider.

My friends at home are published authors. Named, for real, honest to god, multiple books with actual NY presses, AUTHORS. One of them asked me when I was going to get serious and get published so I could sit at the big kids table with them. Subtext: I don’t belong.

There’s more. There’s the job that I work with a bunch of females who have never seen the outside of their own backyard, They clutch at their rigid ideals like so many imaginary pearls around their necks. They fear me. They cannot or will not understand me. I am the weird one. They wonder why can’t I just teach Where the Red Fern Grows and be satisfied?

My point?

I’m getting there.

Sirens. I see myself in these people. I walk out of discussions heady, drunk on the ideas and words being shared without shame – without judgement. The Ft. Collins/Springs/Aurora crew with their warrior hearts and thoughtful talents, the PacNorWest thespians and play writes and poets bring out a joy (a motherfucking JOY, do you hear me?) I thought I’d lost. These are the people I’ve been looking for all my life. These are my people.

A thoughtless phrase almost killed it for me.

Up on the 5th floor, the club floor, the elitist floor, you have to card in with your key in the elevator. It’s where my friend and I shared a room for this conference. Through the Club Lounge windows, I saw  a few folks as we headed to our rooms after the dance. I smiled at the person I’d had a very pleasant encounter with earlier in the day and we, my friend and I, used the key card to open the door. Happy to be in this woman’s presence again, I was going to ask if we could hang out with them. I wasn’t ready to give up the feeling of Sirens just yet.

Didn’t get the chance. I was met with this instead, “Do you even belong on this floor?”

Do I?

I don’t know.

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What I do know is that I belong at Sirens. And so does she. We both have a lot left to learn.

TL;DR: Don’t be a classist asshole, mmkay? And don’t let one bad encounter sour an otherwise great experience. That’d be a Rook mistake.

The One About Self Defense

Everyone should know what it feels like to ball up a fist and hit. I’m not saying anyone should like it, but you need to know how to do it without earning a boxer’s fracture. Even if you are a dyed in the wool pacifist, you may feel the need to save your neighbor, your child, your pet, spouse, bff – whatever.

To me, it’s like learning how to swim. You may hate swimming. You may choose to never get into a body of water your entire life. But I still think you should know how to swim. What happens if your plane goes down over the ocean?  How stupid would it be to survive the wreck only to drown because you’re ignorant?

I took self defense classes for years and became an instructor. We practiced what to do in a home invasion, if you’re robbed at gun point or knife point, and what to do in a bar fight. It always starts with a choice:

  1. Throw your wallet away from you and run.
  2. Do what they say and hope it’s over.
  3. Fight.

Being able to defend yourself doesn’t mean being openly aggressive. It doesn’t mean being an antagonist asshole. And it doesn’t mean killing the other person.

There’s a choice. There’s always a choice that has to be made in a split second. Go learn how to hit something.

TL;DR: Worry less and prepare more.

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Also, don’t take Krav lessons at a Tae Kwan Do school. It’s not the same thing. That’d just be a Rook mistake.

The (First?) One About Research

I’m working on a story for an anthology. Due date is this weekend. Pertinent details all.

Currently I need a British nursery rhyme about a queen. Not as easy as I’d hoped. Plus, I keep bumping into all the ways things get/got twisted when they hopped the pond to get to the colonies. Especially Texas. We muck around with everything.

This did get me to pondering things though.

  • How’d we get checkers when it’s called daughts?
  • Is it a coincidence that there were 4 and 20 blackbirds BAKED in that pie?
  • Why is it Cluedo there and just Clue here?
  • Snakes and Ladders vs. Chutes and Ladders? What could it matter?
  • Why stroller instead of pushchair?

This evening’s research has only brought up more questions that I don’t have time to research.

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TL;DR: Don’t screw around on the internet instead of write. You’ll only hurt our brain and waste your time. It’s a total Rook mistake that I continue to make on the regular.

The One About Journals

I’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 53,000 notebooks, journals, comp books, and/or spirals scattered around my office, home, and car. Each of them hold half-baked or half completed story ideas. Some are just character ideas crammed between grocery lists and some are world building. Being allergic to styrofoam is just one of many ridiculous thoughts I recorded.

My journaling tends to look like this:

  • general notes and sensory observations of the world
  • things  seen or heard, felt or read – perhaps passages of other people’s writing, or turns of phrase
  • words and word-derivations that are new or interesting
  • facts that I want to remember
  • lines or phrases for a WIP
  • images: postcards, pictures, photographs that are in some way significant
  • descriptions or sketches of characters and places
  • notes about periods in recent or distant history
  • ideas and plot lines that might be useful in futureunnamed

Not the best ideas I’ve ever had, but proof that I do have them from time to time.

A friend told me about Evernote. Now I have the same problem only in digital form.Great. I’m a hoarder of mediocre ideas.

Recently I created a few boards on Pintrest for just story/novel ideas. The difference being that the imagery and organization works better for me. But then again, I seem to gravitate to anything that takes my attention from actually writing.