“Ah. Catalog writer’s block?”

Once upon a time...

I’m living in my head in no small degree of late.  I’m not stuck, I’m in fascination overload.  I love it here.  I’m learning so much so quickly.  I feel almost like The Lawnmower Man, (before the madness.)  I understand humans more profoundly than before.  I’m giving my mind some breathing room to process my third reading of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, (ASOIAF.)  I’m on season 2 of the HBO series.  (I need to pick up the pace.) 😉

In the meantime, I’m reading the Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia E. Butler.  I haven’t read the final book, yet.  When I do, it will mean I’ve read all she published.  It occurred to me the stories I’m reading now are clarifying and expanding the wisdom I’ve acquired from the other epic series I’m studying, (Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss, The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and ASOIAF.)

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler’s voice reaches me easily, much to my delight.  (She’s who I’ve chosen as my ((imaginary)) writing mentor.)  I love reading books by authors whose voices require no internal translation.  John Scalzi, Stephen King, John Irving, Ernest Cline, Peter F. Hamilton, and J. K. Rowling are some favorites with this skill.  I also appreciate imagined dialects that can enhance the otherness of a world.  George R. R. Martin used neglected words to help shape his world.  Brilliant, eh?

I’m sad Octavia E. Butler died young, (58.)  I would have done whatever reasonable to meet her, otherwise.  I’m serious about her being my mentor.  When I first discovered her novels, I was initially a bit upset.  I didn’t want to read about enduring slavery.  (I avoid horror because it horrifies me.)  But the novel claimed to be science fiction, so I stuck with it.  I survived but was understandably sure Octavia E. Butler’s books weren’t for me.

Then the thinking about it began.  What I read wouldn’t leave me alone.  I realized I wasn’t ready to dismiss an author that managed to climb inside my mind and rearrange the furniture.  Despite the fact it hurt me to read about humans embracing their darkest, most vile impulses.  It scares the shit out of me to acknowledge the human capacity for evil.  I’m a human.

I can’t be a tree.  It’s outside my control.  I can only be a human pretending to be a tree.  My mind forgets and returns to human thoughts.  My perception remains that of a black woman from South Dakota.  My roots are invisible, and I barely believe in them.  It feels as silly as pretending to be a tree.  So I faced my fears and processed what the book taught me.  What I discovered astonished me and prompted my journey of reading her entire catalog.

Octavia E. Butler

I don’t have the words to define what I’m gaining from reading Octavia E. Butler’s books.  Healing comes pretty close.  I’m still grokking.  And growing, and forgiving, and understanding.  I’m a unicorn magnet.  😁  I added two more podcasts:  The Read and The Friendzone.  I love, love, love them.  Aside from catching up on ‘Thrones, and my We Bare Bears obsession, I’m over TV.  I prefer podcasts.  (Plus, I have a massive girl crush on Chrissle.)

I wrote a letter to Octavia E. Butler, yesterday.  I told her all about the story I’m creating and asked for advice on how to begin.  (I know she’s dead, I’m not sending it! 😂)  It was a long letter.  In fact, it was a short story in need of a rewrite or ten.  (!!!)  See?  She’s a fabulous mentor.  (Please imagine an emoji taking a bow.  Thank you.)  🙃

In my mind, all these epic tales are a single story with varied voices and perspectives.  They’re crucial pieces of the map I use to navigate life.  They’re teaching me how to heal from PTSD, how to cope with chronic depression and anxiety, and why humans are worthy of my love and attention.  They’re convincing me I can survive and reminding me I have reserves no matter how spent I feel.  They’re helping me forget I can’t be a tree.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.  ✌🏽

“The carpet cleaning is just a means for them to get into your apartment.”

Treason.

I’m disgusted by the Americans who continue to support treason. Law applies to all or none. If you think you’re safe as houses while this continues, you’re setting yourself up for a horrible surprise. I’m looking forward to seeing Beyoncè perform live next month. After that, I’ll keep looking forward to seeing Fleetwood Mac a few months later. Assuming we’re not all dead or dying from a nuclear tantrum, that is.

I completed NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare) training while serving in the Army. I know enough to be alarmed by the recent chemical attacks in the UK. I know exactly how to react to such tactics based on this knowledge. Do you? Russia denies everything, per usual, while gleefully celebrating yet another victory against the daft Americans who surrendered their free will to Fox News.

Boris and Natasha

But, hey. At least 45 is white, huh? And he’s a Christian because Fox News said so. A white, allegedly Christian man with lots of money (do you truly know how he got it?) can commit treason, and you’re okay with it because he promised to overturn Roe vs. Wade? And he encourages you to hate loudly and boldly, and you love that shit, don’t you? Just as much as you hate me when I notice and point it out, eh?

There are a thousand clichè’s to describe how history repeats itself. What comes around, goes around, etc. Lay in the bed you made. That one seems fitting on many levels. Much of writing for others to read entails creating a story that uses symbolism to relate wisdom. I mean the underlying tale that’s rearranged, recast and reworded over and over by author after author.

The unspoken motivation for writing in the first place is what I’m referring to here: To cause the reader to feel, think, and experience your creation. To draw on that to which we can relate, then share a perspective. As a voracious reader, I treasure this bond. I love seeing the world through the eyes of another. As a writer, I’m finding myself reluctant to share. I recognize now it involves a slight level of trust.

The state of America affects me in ways I never considered before. I’m saddened by how quickly I’m becoming anti-theist. Presently, the word Christian is meaningless. A transparent shield of lies.  I’m embarrassed by how naive I was.  And disgusted. Wolves in sheep’s clothing don’t seem to understand why I respond like they’re a wolf.  Maybe I should copy.  If I pretend to believe hard enough, perhaps I can be a tree.  We’ll see.

“Well, this is a little awkward, isn’t it?”

awkward dogs

I’m going to borrow a segment from my favorite podcasters, Jade and Keia, of Gettin’ Grown podcast, titled, Honesty Box.  Here we go.  I’m doing this because I know what I’m about to share is generally considered oversharing in society.  I decided life is too short to conform to society’s model of typical.

Oversharing is an invented concept to describe being open in a manner others may find uncomfortable to witness.  If they see it as awkward, it’s likely because they’ve learned it’s the expected reaction.  Oversharing has a negative connotation resembling an insult.  Many seem terrified of being accused of this social crime.  I’m more interested in grokking the status quo of privacy in general, as it appears to be an endangered concept.

I know I’m naked.  I suspect (and hope) others who are highly sensitive to the energies of others have accepted this knowledge by age 40, too.  I don’t use energy worrying what I share online might be socially awkward.  I was born into an energy crisis, literally and figuratively.  Conservation and I go way back.  (Inside joke with disabled people.)

I low-level analyze everything I observe.  I’m convinced it’s a symptom of being human.  I could give a lecture on light and dark colored car trends in the parking lot adjacent to my balcony, for example.  I’ve been studying the patterns since I moved in.  Because I’m alive and I notice.  (No lecture, I promise.) 😂  thumbs up, like

I low-level study trends on my blogs, too.  Such as variations in numbers of likes and comments between topics, writing styles, etc.  It’s mostly a subconscious observation, but I’m aware enough to ponder what I’ll do with the data.  Do I want people to like my posts?  Or, more to the point, what does it mean when someone does?

When I click like on someone’s blog entry, it means more than one thing.  It says I support the author, and read, watched, or viewed the information presented.  It means I like the author.  If you shared the same information in person, I would tell you out loud.  (Even though people react in surprising ways when someone says, “I like you.”)  That’s all.

The embarrassing part is the fact I assume everyone else does it for the same reasons.  I suppose I could require people to agree this is what they mean before clicking in the future, but that seems like a lot of work to stop getting likes altogether.  😂  I feel a surge of joy when someone clicks it on one of my entries.  Sometimes, I do a little dance.

Elon Musk from Wired Magazine

It makes me happy because I see it as a deliberate connection with another human because it’s their will.  You knew I was weird.  🙃  I don’t know of any like-bots running rampant on WordPress, so I know they’re genuine.  I haven’t seen this discussed before so I’m glad we had this talk.  Hopefully, you’ll share your thoughts in the comments.  💜

Tangent:  Elon Musk was trying to be a hero when he sent the mini-submarine to Thailand.  I think accusing him of doing it as a publicity stunt is vile.  (He’s a celebrity.  He can’t do much without publicity, eh?)  Humans were in mortal danger.  Instead of doing nothing and feeling helpless, he did the best he could manage in a short time.  He has resources and wealth to make action possible, and he chose to act.

Elon Musk behaved like Ironman and Batman because it was his will.  He doesn’t get credit for the rescue, but the potential loss of life was reduced to one Navy seal, (much respect.)  He still took extraordinary measures to assist.  He behaved like a hero.  (More like Deadpool after quoted comments, but hero.)  Cheers to Elon Musk, a hero in waiting.

“I repeated the words, cashmere, cashmere.”

woman yoga-boarding

I have a new favorite word;  repeat.  It’s going to make me awesome.  Even though I reside in a nation where the evangelical right is more loyal to 45 than any god, big corporations have more rights than citizens, humans are considered illegal, and mercy is only for the wealthy, I continue to be.  Despite everything, I still experience moments of joy.

Since I have limited control over my life, I’m especially willful over the parts I can control.  I want to be an incredible person in my own eyes.  I notice incredible things about other people all the time.  Like artists who can paint or draw so realistically, I think it’s a photo.  Or musicians who master their tools and create music that moves me.

I want to find the words to express my thoughts and imaginings.  Words that relate to others what I mean more precisely, not almost.  I hate almost.  So I’m going to practice and repeat until I do or die, knowing I’ll improve.  Repeat is my mantra.  Over and over, as many times as necessary to earn what I want.  Thanks to my tendency to hyperfocus, I plan to fail as fast as possible until I succeed.

balance

I love words, but we’re kind of in an abusive relationship presently.  Unfortunately, writing and speaking require playing Hide-n-Seek with my vocabulary.  (It’s like I forgot my scientific calculator on trigonometry test day, and the teacher advises I use scratch paper and hurry up.  True story.  😂)  I usually end up recalling the simplest approximation.  I don’t want to settle anymore with words.

At least I discovered it makes my writing more translator friendly for international readers.  Heh.  (I’m addicted to finding at least one good thing about a shitty situation.)  Repeat has been my friend in life.  If I can fail at it, Repeat will turn it into success, eventually.  I don’t always call on her reliable superpower, though.  Only when I want something badly enough to trade for time.

tape recorder

Pete and Repeat were in a boat.  Pete fell out.  Who was left?

Repeat.

Retro regrets:  When I was 9, I got put on Time Out for 2 hours for parroting that joke absentmindedly for I don’t know how long, (before my mom lost her shit.)  I quietly recited Mary Poppins, including the songs, during my punishment.  😏  I also have Oliver!, Rent, Mamma Mia!, and Grease memorized.  (What’s the deal with exclamation points in musical titles?)  I’ll take, Things Alison Does When She’s Offline for $300, Alex.

I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.  I’m having a blast playing Black Vultures by Halestorm.  (Soon, I plan to do it without having to pause and resync my timing because I got too excited.)  Repeat, make it happen.  💜

“Sven-jolly? I didn’t say Sven-jolly.”

mother reading to child
The Invisible Story, I presume. Shh.

I’m presently re-reading A Game of Thrones in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R. R. Martin.  I only made it to season 4, episode 8 of the HBO series.  (The Mountain and the Viper.)  I suspect I’ve witnessed too much real violence to find entertainment in (or much tolerance for) the acted versions.

Fortunately, I can handle the novels.  PTSD triggers are unpredictable and nonsensical sometimes.  I read the books before the series, but the actors are who I visualize while reading this time.  Props to whoever cast the show.

My perceptions of many of the characters have changed between readings.  For example, I felt sympathetic to Catelyn Stark ten years ago.  Now, I find her snobbery disturbing and am offended by how she mistreats John Snow.  I didn’t notice these traits a decade ago.

I’m fascinated by the details.  It’s like I’m reading the story in ultra-high definition, this time.  Heh.  I’m studying the writing and pondering all the data extracted so far, trying to build a sense of what’s to come (so I can brace for it.)

I haven’t read or discussed any series spoilers for the episodes I haven’t watched.  I’m curious, but I want to form a few theories of my own before I find out.  My ego can have this one since it’s harmless.  Yay.  🙃  I think the No! I Want To Do It Myself! Mindset was no phase.

That's no moon, it's a space station.

That’s no moon, it’s a space station.  – Obi Wan Kenobi

I knew once I was ready to make writing my career, something else would probably get neglected.  It looks like that something is video games.  I haven’t played Warcraft in a while, (even though my annual subscription just renewed.)  Usually, the guilt of having paid for it already draws me back.

There’s an expansion pack coming out soon, but I haven’t even read about it.  I feel grateful to Blizzard for all the non-violent and funny content they include for people like me.  Ah, well.  It’s there for me if I need it, so it’s all good.  🤪

M has been teasing me for using Game of Thrones words.  Heh.  Yep, I like the word, jape.  Yep, I plan on using it as often as possible in the foreseeable future.  Yep, I adopt dialect alterations based on novels that intrigue me.  Who doesn’t?  I’m off to practice.  ✌🏽