Category Archives: writing

Another One About Sirens

After a long car ride I made it to Colorado. My friend Rosemary and I braved the highways together and more the merrier for it. Now that I’m here though, I’m hiding behind my screen in the guise of writing. Now, of course, I am actually writing, but I’m hiding from people that I haven’t seen in over a year. What if they don’t remember me? What if I forget their names? What if I’m a big old goony mess?

I already know the answer to that.

It won’t matter. My Sirens Sibs are the best. They’ll forgive me my faux paus and misremembered names. We’ll bond over the books we read and the sheer joy of being out in the world again.

So I’m about to kick my ass downstairs to revel in the time I have here.

But first… I’m going to finish this page. Anything else would be a rook mistake.

The one About The Need to be Seen

I’ve just been coasting again. For months I’ve had my head down and shutting out the world with stupid ass games on my phone or Netflix binges to the point that when I’m out of lives or finish a series, I am lost. I’ve disconnected from everyone. Haven’t been out of the house for social interaction since the end of January. I do work, groceries, and then hide in the house. I am so fucking sick of it.

Hooray for fucking PTSD driven depression and anxiety, bitches!

I love my friends. I would move the goddamn moon from orbit for these people of mine. But I won’t follow a text stream or pay attention to Messenger because my head is stuck in nonreality at this time.

Today is the 9th anniversary of marrying my amazing sigoth, but due to some real world complications and issues, we decided not to celebrate. But friends, my packbrother and his gorgeous mate knocked on our door unannounced this morning. They brought a box, sealed with a green duck tape smiley face, full of mini pies (Pi Day) a new board game based on Choose Your Adventure Books, and a ridiculous pink flouf wearing glittery gold glasses that I love.

I had no idea I needed something or someone to just see me, to check on me. To acknowledge my hiding.

They said hi, dropped off the box, and left. They had no expectation of my time or anything. I am just struck by the awesomeness of it all.

TL;DR- Get/Be friends that check on others when they go AWOL for too long. Anything less is a Rook Mistake

But friends, my packbrother and his gorgeous mate knocked on our door unannounced this morning.

The One About Opening Up

So, I’m a fake extrovert. According to all the personality tests, I’m equal parts extro and intro. This month is a full on test of those results. I’ve co-paneled HORROR 101 and spoken on an actual stage in front of people I didn’t even know for PTSD: Triggers &Lies. Next weekend is reserved for Sirens packing and the utter meltdown I’ll have when I can’t fit my metaphorical banjo into the literal suitcase.

The PTSD talk gave me the feels. It wasn’t just me typing to an invisible audience who might or may not even exist. I could see them. They listened and asked questions. I felt “normal” while doing it.

After proving to myself that I can do this, I think I’d like to do it again and hit the character developing/writing angle a little harder.

If you have the chance to attend Writers in the Field next year, do it. It was a fantastic experience. If you were there, thanks for attending.

TL;DR: It’s a good day, but now I need endorphins and a nap. Opening up is part of the recovery process for me. Anything less would be a rook mistake.

The First One About SoonerCon

I am currently at the most amazingly inclusive and safe space con I’ve ever attended. (please note that this was my experience ymmv) Trans and fluid kids were SAFE to be themselves. Not everyone was a straight white dude over the age of 50. There were more people of color than I’ve ever seen at a con and they brought their KIDS! There was a great fresh vibe.

The hotel staff were friendly and got in on it. They all wore fan t-shirts instead of their normal button down uniforms and were fantastic. If you know me, I spent a lot of time in the bar and was fucking thrilled they had STRANAHANS!!!

The ConCom are ON IT. If there’s a problem, they’re solving almost before you can finish your sentence. Seriously, you must come to SoonerCon next year. It is fantastic.

SO – why the fuck did I have a panic attack during a panel I should have been moderating on overcoming false equivalency in the #metoo movement?

OH PTSD, let me count the ways:

  1. It’s doesn’t have to be any one thing, This shit accumulates.
  2. I’d been nervous about leading this particular topic because it is so important. I was worried I wouldn’t do it justice.
  3. A dude stated his opinion that he didn’t believe the women who came forward because there was no police report or evidence. (There was an educational process handled by Katie in the audience.)
  4. A gully-washer started. Thunder, lightning, and the future threat of navigating 35 in a tornado (no there wasn’t one in the forecast, but this is Oklahoma)
  5. Going to work tomorrow to finish up summer school.
  6. Because… #metoo

No worries, I’m fine.

I cannot thank David “Oak” Rice enough for keeping it going and doing my job while I was trying to keep myself together.

But let me tell you what the staff did for me.

As I was on the verge of a full on meltdown, my friend and I decided that we’d just stay another night which made it better. Aislinn, the Con Chair, wanted to make sure I was OK and somehow telepathically contacted Shai, president of Future Society of Central Oklahoma. By the time we’d walked from the connected convention space to the hotel, Shai had a room key for me. Seriously – less than 5 minutes.

Believe me that these folks take care of their guests and attendees.

So tonight, I’ll stay here in OKC with good friends and good people.

 

 

 

The One About Seeing a Psychiatrist et al.

I have not been back to school since the Great Blood Pressure Incident of 11/29. The administrations’ thoughts and prayers were not well-received here because they came with 0 plan of action to help me or my students. I finally got in to see the psychiatrist today (by no fault of her own – this is a very busy time for mental health professionals) and was told that I do indeed have PTSD (duh).  Basically, what’d happened is that the therapy and self coping I’d developed decayed due to my work situation. (duh)

My issues:

  • rituals
  • hypervigilance
  • rage attacks
  • panic attacks
  • generalized anxiety
  • depression
  • high blood pressure caused by these things
  • night terrors
  • insomnia

I’ve been placed on an antidepressant and will not be returning to work until the second semester. By then, these new meds will have kicked in and hopefully they’ll do the trick.  We will reevaluate the drug situation in 6 months to a year.

Best thing said to me so far, was when I left the ER two weeks ago and the nurse caught my attention on the way out. He said, “Hey, you’re not crazy. You’re not.”

I bawled. It hit me in the human side of me that’s still capable of emotion. 5

TLDR: I am starting this journey again. Thanks for your kind words and concern.

 

 

The One About Sirens 2017

This could get wordy, y’all, so cup yer butts or my wind’s gonna blow’m out.

First a recap:

2015- Holy shit! What is this place? OMG Look at all the females here! HOLY shit! I just met a trans woman! Everyone is so fucking smart and well-read. OMG am I stupid? I never thought I was stupid before. Wait, I get a tiny dessert too? Fanfuckingtastic. But I want all the things at the auction! Shit, it’s time to go? But my brain… it’s been cracked open. I didn’t know there were groups of people like this. Help! How do I keep this feeling????

2016-Holy shit! People remembered me from last year! Oh fuck’s what’s their name?? I can’t see their badge!! Oh MORE people that are so fucking amazing! Why have I always felt so alone? You liked my story in Queens and Courtesans? OMG, thank you!!!! But my brain… the crack’s bigger and the idea that I’m OK keeps leaking in. What? Wait? You don’t think I belong? YES I fucking do. And so do you. Everyone’s entitled to a bad day. Shit, we gotta go home? OK, but I will always come back.

2017- HOLY shit, quit fucking crying you big baby. You just got here! OMG AGAIN? VE Schwab was NOT talking about you. Quit crying. People want to sit with me at lunch. Ask me to dinner. They want my ideas on things. They’re asking me like I’m equal – like I fucking matter. Seriously, quit fucking crying. It’s annoying. Motherfucking Kate Elliot asking  me (ME!!!) to sign her copy of Queens and Courtesans. Speechless. More of those goddam tears. Canned air. Gallons of water. Oh shit, Artemis! The feeling of being mother fucking home in a place I’ve never been. And now my tears aren’t for me. They’re for this world where people are born, grow old, and die without ever feeling the love and ACCEPTANCE I feel at Sirens. May we never truly leave.

937c43a3c6353d57811dc9207071b820TLDR: Fuck you, go read it.

The One About Saying No

As a chick and a parent, I’ve said no somewhere in the billions of times. I’m talking about this:

Bugger bugs.

“Stop.”

Bugger continues, upping their game and laughing.

“No, stop. I’m serious.”

Bugger kicks it into high and taunts.

I raise my voice, lay hands, force a stop.

Bugger gets feelings hurt and accuses me of overreacting.

Brothers, boyfriends, friends, coworkers, even my dad. It’s been omnipresent in my life.

Never really thought much about it other than to be annoyed. Today, being home sick and bored to tears, I watched a couple of movies. Guess what they both had in common.

Scenario One: The woman tells the man to stop because she doesn’t want to get into the water. He chases her, corners her, forces her over his shoulder before throwing her into the pool. The whole time she’s screaming for him to stop. She’s MAD when she gets out of the water and the man stalks off because he thinks it’s NOT FAIR that she’s angry. She runs after him and apologizes.

Scenario Two: The woman has had a traumatic past that has not been disclosed to the man. He puts on a mask and stalks her around the dark house. The whole time she’s backing up, trying to get away, and screaming for him to stop. When she slams the bathroom door on his hand in an effort to lock herself in, he’s pissed. She apologizes to him and explains her traumatic past as a way to make him understand her reaction.

No means no. All the time. Every time.

No, don’t want to go out with you.

No, I don’t want to be tickled.

No, you can’t have a hug.

No, I don’t like to be scared.

No, I don’t want to have kids.

No, I don’t want to get my extensions wet.

And no I won’t apologize to you for the response your actions wrought.tumblr_naqc5foddz1rxmno2o1_500

TL;DR: Stop making this normal. Reject it and don’t fucking apologize for asserting yourself. Thinking men are too fragile to be told no is a Rook mistake. Let them deal with it.

 

 

 

 

The One About Rogue One

Growing up, Star Wars was my thing. Had the action figures and  basically played pretend for years. Cut the head off of a blue mop handle and a green broom one. Got in trouble and SWORE never to do it again. Then endured the grounding that followed when Mom brought home red handled replacements.

Broken fingers. Bloody knuckles. Lumps to the head. Lightsaber duels were my first secret fight club.

Even made up my own character because Leia wasn’t badass enough – plus there was that slave girl thing. Ugh.

Saw Rogue One and LOVED it. Loved the story. Loved the homage to the 70s. Loved the set dressing. Loved the settings. Loved the characters. Loved that it was dark. But even with all the love, there was just something missing.

Chicks.

Group of evil scientists – all dudes.

Crowds – no chicks

Military /Rebel Base – Mon Mothma

Wait … no.  That’s it. Mon Mothma.

Squad of assassins, saboteurs, and spies – DUDES.

In the Star Wars universe, there are only moms, displaced princesses, Mon Mothma, and Jyn. Even the droids are male.

I’m not even looking for more female speaking parts. But can’t we just be part of the regular everyday Star Wars background?

15391146_1849602588657058_6225150751269106551_n

 

 

TL;DR: There are females in the world. When you exclude us completely, it’s distracting. Some of us are even FANS. Ignoring us is a Rook mistake.

The One About Prepping

Attended FenCon, a Dallas science fiction convention, this weekend. There was an author discussion about preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Someone brought a BOB (bug out bag) and added a respirator and face shield because of the threat of contamination. It was interesting enough. Though someone in the audience set up a camera and tripod to record it without asking anyone involved. Rude much?

This is National Preparedness Month. Bug out bags have always made sense to me. You prepare in case something happens: hurricane, tornado, fire, break in, and zombies. Why not? The zombie aspect could make it a fun little shiver instead of crippling panic.

Taking care of yourself and helping your neighbors prep for disaster would free up some resources in case of a local area emergency. I’d rather be the one with a little control of my situation than rely on the hospitality of others. But that’s just me.

It’s SEPTEMBER, folks.

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The One About My Dad

 

A day late and a dollar short for Father’s Day, but it’s always hard.

I was a bona fide daddy’s girl growing up. There was a  good five years difference between me and my sister, and then another two between me and my littlest brother. That gave me seven years of being the son my dad wanted. And another 5 before the brother got interesting.

By 12, my father had taught me how to hunt and field dress a deer, reload a shotgun because relocating the raccoons didn’t work out, use a couple of hand tools to put a swing set together, how to lose with grace and courage, and how to cuss the son of bitch out who cheated. He taught me to love and to help people. He’d taught me to drive a stick shift, a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle, from one end of the pasture to the other while he shot quail from the passenger side window.

He taught me that life goes on when he pulled my brother out of the cattle tank and couldn’t save him.

He taught me that it was OK to cry.

He taught me that, if you’re able, you work. No excuses. No bullshit. And if you’re not, you contribute in other ways and that there will always be people (like him) to help you.

He was a fireman that, on his off days, remodeled houses. He taught me how to put up a ceiling fan and put in light fixtures. He taught me twice why it’s important to turn off the circuit breaker. (Sorry, Daddy, I am still terrified of electrocuting myself.)

He taught me the importance of a tension breaking joke. (LOUD HORN: “Don’t shoot! I’ll marry the whole damn family!) He taught me patience and the desire to do it right the first time – not to be perfect – but just so you can rest later. His favorite thing to say was, “Give your laziest man your hardest job and he’ll find the easiest way to do it.” He thought he was lazy.

He taught me to stand up for others. And to always give someone the chance to do the right thing. And then he taught me to pick my battles. He taught me the courage of not saying anything and letting people make their own mistakes.

Even if he did let me marry one of them.

Before he walked me down the aisle, he turned and said, “It’s not too late. Tell me right now that you don’t want to do this and I’ll drive you anywhere you want to go.”Because that’s the kind of guy he was.

He was.

My dad didn’t live to see my son. Though on his 60th birthday, I gave him a framed picture of my first sonogram. That was July. By December, he was gone.

So, help someone out if you can today. Or maybe cuss them. Do it for my dad.

TL;DR: I miss my dad. 644142_4181073278109_853771843_n