“We? Since when are you a writer?”

mind map conceptualization

We had band practice this morning.  I mostly played the bass and used a drum machine.  It was fun, and a pleasant start to my weekend.  I plan to build a Plex media server this afternoon.  I love such projects.  It’s too hot to go outside today.  M is swimming with friends at the indoor pool.  I declined to join them because the acoustics of all-tile rooms are exhausting.

I trust my persistence, and obsessive tendencies will serve me well in my new career as a writer.  My ego wants to write short-story collections as a novel.  Reality suggests I’ll need a lot more words to convey my story successfully.  I’m going to label it a convenient insight for now.  (Ignoring my ego tends to save a lot of time.)  I’m waiting for my first rejection letter from a submission I sent recently.

I’m hoping it includes feedback but expecting a form letter.  It’s going to sting because I’m an optimist.  But it won’t be a surprise, which helps.  I’ll keep trying.  I decided I’m going to write for the rest of my life, even if in the end, it results in a hopeful collection of rejection letters.  If that’s indeed the case, I’ll still be a better writer at the end of my life than I am now.

Never Gonna Give You Up

I consider it an inevitability rather than a goal.  I look forward to taking several writing courses in the future.  I read differently, and more often now.  I’m building up my mental database with examples of writing I enjoy or find particularly compelling.  I’m noticing varied approaches to unveiling a story.  I didn’t like some of the novels I’ve read recently, but I still learned from them.

Despite persistent issues with anxiety, I’m feeling a more profound sense of calmness overall.  I realize a great deal is likely from working out in the morning.  As when I was a student, it allows me to focus more easily.  Taking breaks to stretch and meditate reinforces this ability.  I also satisfy my overwhelming need to exist mostly in my head for several hours a day.  I no longer berate myself for allowing my brain to function naturally.  I regret it took me this long to embrace my nature.

I discovered I enjoy social interaction when I have the necessary energy and recovery time.  I’ve decided against hoping for others to accept the fact socializing requires epic stamina on my part.  I’m merely going to participate when I’m up for it and refrain when not.  I’m no longer going to feel bad for allowing myself recovery time after interactions, either.  That was just silliness on my part.  My bad.  🙃  I’m off to build my server.  ✌🏽

“So, you’re still master of your domain.”

Adidas Alphabounce Em

It’s hot today (86° F.)  The outdoor pools opened and are already busy.  I’m happy because I’m wearing my new running shoes.  Adidas Alphabounce EM’s.  They’re fabulous and bouncy.  They also make me an inch taller.  Bonus.  New sneakers bring me so much joy.  Props to Adidas;  the quality is impressive.

I can’t wait to break them in.  I’m changing up my fitness routine.  Running alone isn’t a sufficient exercise regime for me.  (I’d have to run a lot faster and farther for it to suffice.)  It’s more a stim with minor cardio benefits.  I’m going back to what Jane Fonda taught me, (because she’s 80 now, and she could probably kick my ass.)

 

High-impact aerobics is the best workout I’ve discovered so far.  It’s a full body workout in an hour.  It includes music and dance-like movements, which make it fun.  It sucks at the beginning because it’s 45 minutes of cardio similar to running at 75% speed, 10 minutes with weights, and 5 minutes of stretching.

My 5-miles a day runs at whatever pace I feel like running won’t save me from huffing and puffing my way through the first few sessions, (at least.)  I plan on using my marathon stick often to prevent soreness.  I have one for my feet, too.  I remember how fantastic I felt when I was at my peak fitness level.  I’m going back there to stay.  Bring it, menopause.

It helped so much when I was in school, too.  I’m planning to take a writing course next semester.  Now that I’m writing a novel, I want more information, and I have questions.  None of my previous coursework dealt with things like character development.  Most of what I know is from being a voracious fiction reader.

Aside from feeling like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, the writing is going well.  The novel I’m creating is series of interrelated short stories of a speculative fiction nature.  I’m having fun in the process.  I write for a while, then sit on my balcony and think for a bit, with a little pacing in the mix.  It seems to be my method.  I’m off to band practice.  ✌🏽

 

“I wouldn’t drink anything called Moland.”

pain

I’m still trying to pass this damn kidney stone.  I’ve not fought one this stubborn since my first, when I was 18 and in the Army.  I had surgery to extract it, then had a stent installed.  I remember my roommate telling me I looked like I was in pain all the time.  That’s when the pain became conscious, and it explained why I was peeing blood.

I didn’t become alarmed until the pain overwhelmed me.  Invincible youth.  I was living in an apartment with my husband, who was away for training.  I low-crawled to the next apartment and beat on the door.  Two sleepy men opened the door, then looked down at me and called an ambulance.

I also recall I took a bath just before that, because I knew I needed medical intervention, and I was all sweaty and gross.  The paramedics kept trying to give me oxygen while I fought them to quit messing with me, I was in pain, dammit.  Finally, they figured out I was a soldier and took me to William Beaumont Army Medical Center, where I had the surgery.

While being assessed in the emergency room, they gave me a morphine drip to help with the pain.  It didn’t work.  It just added hurling to the party.  I remember a nurse putting a tiny kidney-shaped basin under my chin to catch it; only I looked at it, then puked on the floor.  I wanted to ask her if she was kidding first, but couldn’t speak.

I’d never heard of a kidney stone and thought for sure I was dying.  It was the first time I had surgery and turned out to be quite an adventure.  My mom said it was from eating meat, candy and drinking Mt. Dew.  I figured she was right; she was almost always right.  I didn’t realize it would continue plaguing me long after I stopped, though.  Sigh.

sad

I still ate in the mess hall, even after moving off-post.  I wish I still had access to one.  My unit was attached to the International dining hall.  It was awesome.  There were TV’s all over the place, usually on MTV.  The salad bar was divine.  And I got to eat with Japanese Air Force members, and soldiers from the United Arab Emirates.  When we ran PT, the Islamic call to prayer blasted over the quad.  It was my favorite unit.

I observed UAB officers prefer driving Mustang’s in custom painted neon colors, exclusively.  You could tell which units were American by what was in the parking lot.  The GI Cadillac back then was the Nissan Sentra.  There were over twenty in various colors parked outside our barracks alone.  I was friends with a guy who was a prince of some sort.  It was a cultural mishmash of awesome.  I miss it.

I miss living in the desert, too.  Today, I awoke to rain, followed by hail, and then snow.  It’s still snowing.  I’m tired of this damn stone and want to get back to my life.  At least I’ve done a lot of thinking about my novel.  The last time I was in Denver, I saw a homeless man on the street outside my hotel.  (I still say, “hi” to strangers I encounter briefly.  In Sioux Falls, it’s rude to walk past someone without acknowledging them.)   We made eye contact, and I recognized him from somewhere.  Probably the Army.

I could tell he recognized me, as well.  But we just stared as he walked on.  I’ve been thinking about him since.  I can’t remember where we met before, so I’m going to include him in my novel with an imagined life.  I’m trying to reason with my ambition since I read a lot of epic serial stories.  Part of me wants to write one, but Logic thinks it’s adorable.  Logic is mean sometimes.  Heh.  I’m off to practice cussing during another wave of pain.  (I’m an ace swearer when pain is the motivation.)  😂

“It’ll be like a permanent road trip.”

open road

I’m doing better.  I think I lost a few friends, but I’m not sure. 😔 I decided since it’s outside my control, I’m not going to obsess over it.  It hurts every time, happens often, and I rarely understand why.  At least I learned something in the process.  I think forcing myself to practice my drums triggered my brain to stop spiraling down.  I’m almost positive playing music releases whatever hormone(s) I need to start regaining homeostasis.

The hard part is doing it.  It’s like swimming in a pool full of peanut butter.  At first, I have to keep stopping to give myself a pep talk just to gain an inch.  It’s like trying to read while sitting in front of Mick Fleetwood while he’s doing a drum solo.  I seriously think people living with mental illness would shine at using The Force.  Sometimes, just focusing enough to complete a simple task is like lifting a spaceship out of a swamp with your mind.

But when the clouds clear, I’m intensely aware of how a chemical imbalance can completely alter my perception.  I remember what I was thinking only days ago, but today those same thoughts seem extreme, and black and white.  When I’m not having an episode of depression, the difference in how I think is astonishing.  I find it disturbing.  I probably read too much speculative fiction, but it seems like mind controlling drugs are inevitable.  I only wonder how tailored to the individual they’d need to be to have any predictable effect.

I’m preparing for a road trip.  I’ll probably hit the road this weekend and begin ticking off locations on my bucket list.  I’ve never driven for more than five hours in a row, so it’ll be a challenge.  I have made it to Minneapolis and back in a single day.  Same with Des Moines, so I’m not too worried.  I haven’t broken 3k miles on this car yet.  It’s the last car I’ll ever own, so I’m going to drive the shit out of it until it dies.  I have an appointment to get a new battery and tune up Friday.  I’m taking a laptop so that I can write on the road.

I’m estimating it’ll take me at least a year before I finish writing my novel.  Maybe longer.  I’m going to look around during the process.  I’m heading south and west first because I’ve had enough winter.  I want to take my cat along, but I’m still working out the logistics.  I had a lengthy discussion with M. yesterday.  I haven’t processed most of it yet.  He wants me to call him daily, but I despise talking on the phone.  I don’t like talking at all, to be honest.  But I agreed to do it anyway for him.  I’m excited to hit the road.  I’m off to plan.   ☮️

“My boyfriend said I got gonorrhea from riding the tractor in my bathing suit.”

2018 flag

Our Tired, Mangled Banner

Oh say can you see,
a nation on fire,
our children wailing,
bleeding and dying,
by the dawn’s early blight

What so proudly we’ve failed,
draped over caskets
of broken children,
terrified and haunted
at the twilight’s last scheming

Whose broad swipes and fake stars,
built a twisted curriculum
of betrayal and lies,
horror and powerlessness,
for their perilous fright

O’er the barricades we stared,
detached and indifferent,
eyes fixed and focused
on our god, Legal Tender,
while they’re gallantly screaming?

And the hateful red glare,
infecting the landscape
from sea to dying sea,
for sale to the highest bidder
for bombs bursting in air

Gave pain to our plight
fuel to our fright
hate to our bite
despair to our fight
that our flag will not bear

O say does that tired, mangled banner yet wave
over the fields of blood and conquest
where a nation took root in the entrails
of the indigenous, on the backs of the kidnapped
in this stolen land of the duped and home of the slaves?

by Unabashed Autist