Final Lap on my Forties

13 01 2016

Weather: January. Snow. Wind. Crappy roads. Lather Rinse Repeat. (Been in the Teens, temps wise. But yeah. Unrelenting winds, snow and shoveling. )

So yesterday was my birthday. And as the second half of my life approaches,  I didn’t post on the day but after.

Had a lot of mulling to do. My Birthday posts tend to have a lot of mulling. I think there’s an obscure law somewhere about that.

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Jack London, who shares my birthday, is saying very much where I landed after a lot of thinky thoughts. And wine.

I decided that, since I was turning 49 and about to face that dubious benchmark year of 50 on the very near horizon, I needed to do something this year to give my forties a proper send off.

My forties have been very good, catastrophic medical incident aside. (Every decade has an outlier.) I’ve managed to accomplish a lot of things: Moving out of Indiana, getting a working studio, buying a house, and finally getting the gumption to get motivated about things again. It’s been a lengthy transition decade.

So I figured, why not do something akin to a bucket list, without the Sword of Damocles of Death hanging over the end of it? An anti-bucket list of sorts. I’m going to try and do something I’ve never done before, every week this year. I’m not making a checklist in advance. Instead, I’m just going to try something new or accomplish some new goal every week. This will give me roughly 50 new experiences by the time my 50th birthday rolls around. I think that’s a doable goal and what the hell, why not?

I’m not making a checklist because things and opportunities crop up all the time,  and then the list either gets longer or things get knocked off because of no time. Nah. I’ll fill in the blanks as I go. And they don’t have to be world changing, life altering things. Just something new.

Truth is…I’m kinda bored with things right now. I find myself slipping back in to old habits, mostly the bad kind, when I get bored. So, I’m giving myself a challenge and a deadline. I love deadlines. Seriously, it’s amazing what I can get done if I have a deadline. And a challenge? Hoo boy. Let me tell you a little secret about me. I’m a ragingly competitive person. I just don’t activate that part of myself very often. Mostly because I can turn into an asshole.

People wonder why I avoid sports or video games– That’s why. Husbeast has seen some glimpses of it, and he gets that worried look when it shows up.  I need a healthy way to be competitive. So I compete with myself. Usually by playing games that don’t require an opponent other than myself. Or I give myself a rigid deadline for some challenging task. (NaNoWriMo is an excellent example. I will  go without sleep or potty breaks to make that deadline. Which is why I tend to “Win” when I decide to do it. )
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I’m hoping that I can direct some of that self-competitive energy into getting healthy as well. Sometimes it’s as easy as daring myself to do something. Go without a particular type of food for a while. Hit a particular fitness goal I may have not reached before.

My biggest obstacle, is sadly ALSO myself. Because I can both talk myself out of doing things with extremely  compelling and elaborate excuses and also enable bad behavior by dressing it up as a reward for good behavior (Went to the gym for 5 days straight–I deserve an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s.) 

So this is a series of challenges wrapped in a bigger challenge. (Challenge Inception?).

The smaller challenges are to keep me from being bored. The bigger over all challenge? To not get derailed and sidelined by my too easily distracted or enabled self.

I think I can do it. And that will make me happy. I’d like to enter the second half of my life with fewer potential regrets (balanced on top of the idea that getting older may not keep you from doing something, but it makes some things a little less easy or possible.)

On a side note, I’m still kind of in denial about Bowie. It’s hard to accept he’s gone, but as many have said, his legacy is long and will last. I intend to keep a small bit of stardust in my soul, to keep his unwavering artistic energy alive. It’s the tiny way I can honor his artistry and spirit.

So that’s pretty much the holy all of it. I’ll be posting at least weekly, updating on the things I’ve accomplished and sharing the experiences. Husbeast is on board as well, at least in the supporting me in doing this. (He’s gonna be along for the ride on a few things. I’m sure he’ll be giving me that raised eyebrow look when he reads that.😀 )

So 49 years. 49 trips around the sun. Not as much to show for it as I would have hoped, but still plenty to be proud of, so there’s a nice balance there.

Here’s hoping the year unfolds with less stumbling blocks and few more accomplishments I can add to my dusty shelf.

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Ashes to Ashes…

11 01 2016

Weather: Snow. Cold. January. All you need to know.

I’d intended to wait until tomorrow to post my annual HOLY CRAP AM I GETTING OLD post for my birthday, but then I woke up to a Facebook timeline filled with shock and sadness.

The Starman, the Thin White Duke…ZIGGY STARDUST…David Bowie had died. 

This didn’t compute. I just literally would not accept it. Bowie was made of stardust and alchemy and WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO EVER LEAVE US.  He was supposed to be Immortal, always the glorious inspiring chameleon, made of equal parts changeling, genius, elegance and mischief.

I spent a few minutes tearing up as the truth sunk in.  Told my husbeast. We were both stunned.  I posted my numb reaction. Liked a lot of other people’s posts, gobsmacked that every post both individual and community was  remarking on his passing. No one had known he was sick, that cancer had sunk it’s fucking awful claws into him. Eighteen months he’d been ill.  I’m glad his family was able to keep it quiet so he might have some peace in the end.

A new album, Blackstar,  had come out, and the husbeast and I had watched the latest video, for the single Lazarus, just this past weekend. We both noted the somber tone, the haunting visuals and that David looked….aged. More so than we remembered. It should have been a sign.

When Freddie Mercury passed, I felt a similar soul level pain. Both Freddie and David were more to me than just artists I admired, or musicans who’s songs I liked. They had been with me since I was a little girl. My first two “rock” songs that I’d heard were Bohemian Rhapsody and Fame. Needless to say, glitter rock and Glam would end up being a big chunk of my musical foundation.

Bowie was a constant fascination. Even though I may have not been a fan of every album release or single, I was always eager to hear and see what he was putting out. Bowie taught me to be brave with creative choices. They might not all work, but they were worth the risk to see if they could. Bowie was art to me. He was a living breathing gallery of possibilities that were never boring.

Later in life, when I began to understand things like gender fluidity and androgyny and looking at life with an nonjudgmental eye, I saw the Bowie legacy in the wide spectrum of friends I had in my life.

Just as my palate for food changed as I got older, my musical palate changed as well. I discovered I had new appreciation for songs that I dismissed when I was younger, saw complexity in the themes and  words and the intelligence behind both when I listened to his songs.

One particular memory popped up this morning. I remember seeing an interview with Tina Turner, back around the time of Live Aid, where she had just done a concert where David had shown up to perform “Tonight” with her. The interviewer had asked her what performing with Bowie was like. I remember Tina getting very quiet for a second, holding a hardcover book in her lap. She paused and seemed to pick her words very carefully.  “David is very smart.” she said, very quietly.” I asked him how he came to be so very smart, and he said, ‘I never stop learning. I never stop reading’, so I started reading everything I could get my hands on.”

I remember that interview so clearly, because Tina Turner seemed to have the same sort of humble admiration for the man that I did. Tina always joked about how she was one of the guys when talking about Mick Jagger and such, but when she talked about David, it was about this elegant gentleman who was so polite to her and she admired so much. That reaction stuck with me.

When Bowie married Iman, I was like, OF COURSE. Those two amazing people belonged together. Like a matching set of class and elegance and intelligence. It seemed like the Universe just smiled and said: Here you go. This is what you should aspire to be.

I was always so happy that the husbeast and I got to see Bowie live at the Area 2 concert. Watching Brian’s face light up with absolute joy when Bowie played Ashes to Ashes is one of my all time favorite memories. We felt like we were in some mystical church, awash in ardor for the man on stage.

Bowie was an inspiration to me on more levels than I can even begin to tell. I find it amusing that large swaths of my musical fan history is like playing One Degree of David Bowie. All paths lead back to the Goblin King.

The number of bands and musicians I liked that listed Bowie as a major influence was endless. Seemed like every time I found a band I liked there was an inextricable link back to Bowie, sometimes more than just one link.

I was a huge fan of Def Leppard starting in the mid 80s, and they were unabashed in their love of Bowie. Another band that I got into via Def Leppard were Mott the Hoople. Guess what? They did songs with David Bowie as well. Duran Duran? HUGELY influenced by Bowie. Nine Inch Nails? Trent Reznor was in a Bowie video and toured with Bowie. Even today, no one would deny Bowie’s tendrils wrapped around Lady GaGa. There are millions of bands today that have their roots in either the musical or artistic primal earth of Bowie’s influence.

(Not to mention the epic covers…Bauhaus & Bowie, forever linked in my mind for this and the opening of The Hunger. )

So why do I cry so hard at this man’s sudden disappearance from our lives?  Because he never stopped creating till the day he left, because, and I quote someone else in this, “He looked death in the eye and said, hey, I can use this”. His life and his art and his influence have inspired me so much over the years. He taught me to be brave creatively, to ignore the mediocrity of the mainstream, but find the nerve to wade into its midst and be stubbornly weird against the tide of obstinate conformity. Mostly though, Bowie made me feel like it was okay to be smart and keep learning and try things, no matter if others didn’t get it, because some might and in the end, that was enough.

I will miss him. I’m just glad for all the art he left for us. Someday maybe we’ll figure it all out, but I hope not. There’s magic in the mystery and wonder in the weird.

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2015: Year End Musings

31 12 2015

Yeah, I know. It seems kinda rote that I’d post one of these retrospective, softly introspective overviews.

I do this every year. And sadly, it’s seem I say almost the same things each year. Learned Blah Blah Blah, planning blah, blah, blah, not gonna do blah, blah, blah…

Almost at 49 years old now. Not much that isn’t retread anymore.

Granted last year ended on a rather Holy Crap kinda note. This year? wasn’t awful, but wasn’t exactly great either. Not much can be done when the first half is in recovery from medical trauma, exacerbated with repercussions from said medical trauma. The second half of the year was saddled with apathy and anxiety, both really stemming from moving and financial woes.  But I managed to finally kick my own ass into gear and do NaNo this year, which I won early and blogged most of the experience

But weirdly I sit at the end of 2015 and I’m still kinda happy. Health seems to be in a holding pattern, with signs pointing to better things to come, albeit with some effort being made on my part. The usual emphatic oaths are being made about better health, more productivity, arting all the things and just in general experiencing life  in a much more direct, rather than abstract way.

If I had one thing I’d really like to change about my life in the next year, it would be getting away from my technological umbilical cord and trying hard to regain my focus on things. Living life through the laptop screen and via the phone is getting more unsatisfying by the moment. I love my friends, and do want to keep in touch with them, but that doesn’t require my full attention 100% of the time. I’m finding that the time my laptop is off and my phone is in another room charging is increasingly the time I enjoy the most.

The ugly side of the ‘Net has been bothering me more than it should. I realized, and I’m sure this says something about my getting older, that I’m no longer interested in being angry about everything anymore. Not that there isn’t a metric ton of things to be horrified and pissed off about, but I don’t think me sitting in my dining room, swearing at my screen has much impact.

Politics is a joke. While I fully intend to vote for my chosen candidates in the upcoming primaries and general elections, I don’t see how my opinion on anything serves to do any more than get thumbs up from those who agree or scowls and disapproval from those who don’t . Doesn’t seem to make any politicians, who I’m ACTUALLY pissed at, lose any sleep, or buoy up any one I heartily agree with. Until the election? I’ll put my anger on the back burner. Wasting way too much goddamn anger on things I have zero control over. (Already stopped watching any of the news channels. None of them seem to be anything more than forums for shit slinging anyway.)  Do I sound like a crotchety old granny yet? Thought so.

Not much was ever created by sitting around talking about it. I’m finding I really enjoy writing again. I prefer the longer format so I’ll probably continue to blog here when the inspiration strikes.  I have a lot of ideas I want to get done in the studio as well. So much to make and write and create…and none of it will get done sitting on my arse and typing blather into text boxes.

I do find I’m still as big a fangirl as ever, so I’m spending more time watching movies and shows and listening to music than I have in a while. That said, I find the drama in fandom to be tedious and the arguments over minutiae even more annoying. Just me I know, and I’m relieved to let others sharpen their tongues on those who disagree with them.  I’ll just be over here, geebling over my superhero movies and fantasy series. BEING HAPPY.

(And no, I really really don’t care if you hate something I like. I really don’t. Like, don’t waste either of our time explaining why you don’t like it. I stopped listening 10 seconds into your diatribe. And I won’t waste your time doing the same. There. We’re all happier now. )

Husbeast wants to travel more, as do I. We want to see the depth and breadth of our new state. We want to get our senses sharpened by the actual experience of things again, not the cold, two dimensional pretty pixelated representations. So that’s on our agenda as well. We’re hoping to get out of the country as well. (Passports needing to be renewed first, of course)

Maybe it’s the baleful fiery eye of 50 that is staring at me from yonder horizon, or maybe it’s just that both my physical and mental well being feel stagnant and dulled by too much time wasted simmering in anger or outrage or boredom, perpetually refreshing the screen and waiting for something to entertain or shock or frustrate me enough to make my blood start moving again. The things that actually get me passionate and engaged anymore are rarely found online. Entertained? Oh yes. There’s ALWAYS something to entertain me.
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Inspiration? Double edged sword, my friend. I have folders and folders of inspiration. People share inspiring things with me. I spend hours on the net scouring for inspiration. You know what gets art made and writing done? I’ll tell you what doesn’t…SITTING AROUND WAITING TO BE INSPIRED. “Inspiration” is usually just admiration of others work, followed by the creeping dread of a beat down by the fraud police that you’ll never be THAT GOOD. How about thinking about something you’d like to see made real, or some story you’d like to read….and go make that. Without worrying about what people will think. Or will it be up to snuff. JUST FUCKING MAKE THE THING. Make it to get it out of your head and into the world. For that reason alone. It could be great. It might be crap. But it’d be a thing that only you could make and is unique because it came from YOU.  Anything else is out of your control or a pale imitation of someone else’s work.

I prefer the studio and Scrivener to social media anymore. I love my friends, and appreciate the crap out of the mentors I’ve found online, but when I’m starting to express myself more and more with “graphics with quotes”, and I’m finding that a larger percentage of my conversations with my husband are about people he doesn’t know online and involve language that is over filled with net-speak and meme punchlines, I have to start considering that my life has been taken over by the virtual, and not the actual.

Okay, this is less a recap about the year and more a diatribe about my net addiction. Which, yes, is a bit hypocritical considering the medium it’s being presented in to you. 

But then, maybe that IS what this year was too me. A barrel of contradictions. Health issues that should have brought about a change, did the opposite. Tragic circumstances that should have fostered some measure of depression or at least caution on my part, have instead brought out something a bit reckless instead. Or maybe, this is all a good thing nonetheless. I’ve never been a fan of the prescribed path, so maybe all these 90º turns, unexpected and illogical as they have been, were the seeds of a change for the better.

Regardless of the results, this year has been a roller coaster, and not a carousel. (And if you get that reference, I’ll give you a cookie.)

So– onto 2016. Not sure how you’re gonna shape up, New Year. But I have a feeling, no matter what, the unexpected may be  the norm and that, to me, is a big relief.

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NaNo Day…OH YEAH! It’s done!

4 12 2015

Weather has been unseasonably warm. People are being unreasonably awful to each other. Woo. Season’s Greetings everyone!

So yeah. I finished NaNoWriMo with 4 days to spare. I haven’t blogged because the holiday and subsequent weekend kinda kicked my arse.

The news has been consistently awful, with the kind of rampant violence and equally rampant stupidity and tone deaf commentary that seems to accompany it like a whore of Babylon astride a slouchy beast. Needless to say, I’m staying the hell away from the holy (or UNholy) all of it.

I have opinions. Strong opinions. But they will neither ease anyone’s suffering nor change the minds of people who are determined to be misinformed and  resolute in that misinformation. So why vent my rather prodigious spleen online and just add to the cacophony of Howler Monkeys already supplying a constant stream of high pitched frothy hysteria?

This is what I hear when I read most commentary on things anymore:

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So no. Not gonna even insert one toe in this morass. (Mind you…I lean to a very Buddhist Left. Moderation and Equanimity, but compassion in all things. So you can probably guess where I sit on my Opinion Throne of Judginess.😉 )

Back to NaNo. I’m still a good 5 or 6 chapters out of being done with the first draft. I already know how much fleshing out and hacking away is going to be occurring in the near future. But the skeleton’s been built and there is a good modicum of meat on the bone. But it ain’t even remotely pretty yet.

I’m trying to get back to the studio as I’ve been neglecting the art side of things since I was all in on writing the past month. Trying to get some holiday related pieces together and finish some overdue commissions.

With the weather being so ridiculously off and realizing that I’m approaching the one year anniversary of my brain injury, my mood and focus hasn’t been exactly where I need it to be. (For those new to my blog– this is the write up of what happened)

I’m trying not to mull over the consequences of my near miss, but I do get nervous when I get a headache. Understandable I guess.

Time to get over that hump and leave the medical trauma behind. Time for a new start.🙂





NaNo Day #23:Dealing with Interruptions

23 11 2015

Weather  is slowly warming up, which means the snow is melting rather quickly. Not complaining. We have to do some driving this week, and I’d rather the roads are clear.

Apologies for the lack of a blog last night. Got too late and the brain couldn’t brain anymore.

Unexpected things come up when you make the best of intentions to write. NaNo has the disadvantage of having a major Holiday (Well, at least here in the U.S.) right smack at the end when you’re trying to get your wordcount caught up and are trying to make up for those days when the well went dry or a cat related emergency cropped up or , as in my case, you’ve had to work a  few full days rather than having your afternoon free to write.

My friend Kara and I were talking and we both swear by banking wordcount when you can. She did it by starting writing just after midnight on October 31. I did it by having a couple of afternoons early in the month where I doubled or more my wordcount. It gives you a bit of a cushion to save your butt when you have those unexpected derailings that just happen.

Don’t look at the 1,667 number as the magic goal for each day. If you can eke out an additional 1oo-200 words each day, you’d be surprised how much that can save you in the long run. You’re not a failure if you have an off day. Just build in some insurance to help you. I was able to take a day off writing because I’d banked enough words to let me take a break. It helps when you realize you’ve steered yourself into a corner.

It also helps when the last Thursday of November rolls around and you’re carting yourself off to regions unknown to share food, libation and political arguments with those nearest and dearest to you.😉

Didn’t do too bad today, considering the crunch time writing this evening. (Had to postpone watching Supergirl, but it needed to be done.Alas.)

So daily wordcount for today was 1756, which brings my total to?
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Just under 8000 words to go!

Off to watch another ep of Jessica Jones, then heading off to bed.

Everyone– GOOD LUCK IN THE HOME STRETCH!





NaNo Day # 21: Finally getting some Sexy Tiem in the story

21 11 2015

So we got some snow. About 6 or so inches. And its that wet clingy heavy stuff. So everything looks covered in fluffy white icing. Gorgeous. Of course with the wind, it’s all falling in chunks and making a THWUP noise when it hits. Temps are going up quickly so I imagine the snow’s not long for this world. It’s pretty for now.

Finally managed to get a love scene written into the story. It was earned and doesn’t halt the forward motion of the story. Two big criteria  that I try to fulfill in a novel. Sex is earned. It’s not something to shove into a story just because you want your two leads to be together. It shouldn’t stop the story or feel like a detour that was pasted in. I’ve got nothing against a gratuitous scene, graphic or romantic, in a story. But seed the story with believable sparks. Build it up so your reader is a little impatient for the scene to happen. When it does, they’ll cheer. They’ll be excited for them. Otherwise, they’ll skip it and it was a wasted scene.

Of course make the nature of the scene fit the nature of the novel as well. If you’re not using rough language or graphic violence, don’t make the scene acrobatic or porn worthy. Keep the tone of what you’ve written before. And keep the nature of the scene in line with the nature of the characters.

I’ve read some particularly awful sex scenes and some amazing ones. Reading is a good way to figure out what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable using anatomical terms, use euphemisms. If you’re not comfortable writing ALL the action, hint. Or just go dark when they head to the bedroom. Or kitchen. I don’t know, whatever you’re into.😉

One thing I do try to keep intact is the emotional investment in the scene. It doesn’t have to be schmoopy, but clinical isn’t fun either.

Anyway you go about it, just make it natural and earned and keep the story moving.

Wordcount for today ended up a respectable 2111 words. Total is inching closer to 40K. Hoping still for tomorrow.

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Off to watch some more Jessica Jones. (Which is pretty damn awesome!)

 





NaNo Day # 20: Short Bit Today

20 11 2015

Waiting for the snow to hit. Wind finally died down, but there’s white stuff crawling toward us over the lake.

Got about 1769 words in today. (I blame Jessica Jones on Netflix for being so damn distracting!)

Wordcount Total?  Still hoping for 40K by weekend’s end.

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Off to watch more Jessica Jones. Longer blog tomorrow.








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