Dreaming About a Writing Career — Literally

So I dreamed that I was going on vacation to visit family in rural Indiana. I have have had family girl Indiana. My boss sent work with me, in this case, he required me to take bottles of pills to count while I was gone. Though how that would work, I don’t know.

So I grabbed an armload of bottles to take with me and it turned out one of them had a controlled substance in it. When I went to count that one, something pulled me away before I could count it, and when I returned, the bottle was empty with only the little canisters of dessicant left.

I panicked and retraced my steps, wondering if I’d put the pills down somewhere without noticing, but it never turned up. Meanwhile, my cousin’s daughter became hostile to me, insisting that we weren’t even really related. At this point, I went through the family tree, attributing these cousins to my grandmother’s sister, even though we were mostly close to my grandmother’s brother’s kids in real life.

Eventually the boy who was the older kid, a teenager, came to me and confessed. He admitted that he was a small-time criminal and he had stolen the pills and sold them.

I knew I shouldn’t’ve taken the controlled substances at all, but the fact that I couldn’t bring them back to the pharmacy made it so much worse. I took him aside and told him that I was going to lose my job and that he’d better make it up to me. My suggestion was that we work together on a book blowing the proverbial lid off of the criminal group that he belonged to.

That wasn’t the book we ended up writing, though. The book we ended up with was the story of how I ended up in this situation and how I moved to and adjusted to the small Indiana town. Kind of a fish out of water story with a side order of the development of the fixer-upper house that was all I could afford.

I somehow got in with a traditional publisher for this and when I read the contract, I discovered that the publisher had the right of first refusal for a movie or television show based on the book. This means that if someone wants to make a movie or television show, the publisher gets first crack at it. My cousins and I got stars in our eyes for a moment but thought it’d never happen.

But then it did. The publisher (which turned out to be a subsidiary of Warner Brothers, since Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne showed up in the series) made a television series from it. There was a bit of conflict when my best friend (not someone I really know, btw) showed up convinced that she was going to play the part of my best friend in the series. Which, come to think of it, she actually did. She walked onto the set just before the actress who’d been cast in the role, and the director just let it go. That was odd.

Oh, well. Time for today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link. Let’s see. . . . City of the Plague God, by Sarwat Chadda seems to be up next. I really enjoyed this book, both as a book and in a sort of (insert Twilight Zone theme) kind of way.You see, City of the Plague God is the story of Sikander Aziz, the son of Iraqi immigrants, who runs afoul of Nergal, the titular plague god. Sik’s parents fall prey to a plague that threatens all of New York City and quite possibly the world. And it was just odd to have a book about a plague hitting New York City when Covid had hit New York City so hard and all.

Now, I guess it’s possible that this book went from idea to draft to publication in fewer than two years, but I just find it eerie when a book predicts future events. Another example is the Our Worlds at War Superman comic book storyline event, when an alien comes to Lex Luthor (at the time, President of the United States) and tells him to allow what is going to happen next to happen because, after all, all of the greatest presidents have wars to their name. And while I find it extremely unlikely that anything like that happened to George Bush fils, the fact remains that he was warned that 9/11 was coming, and he didn’t do anything to stop it. It was all very eerie as well, and one of my friends said that the storyline was a commentary on current events, and I had to point out to her that it was the storyline for summer 2001, before 9/11 even happened.

Technology and Creativity

I’m back to talking about the book Pep Talks for Writers (Germane Amazon Link!). I bet you though I’d forgotten. Well, actually, I kind of had.

Anyway, in this pep talk, well, Faulkner has some very good ideas with a side order of Kids These Days and Their Damn Tablets.

The focus is ostensibly on the power of boredom and how your mind trying to entertain itself will lead to creativity. And, yes, I agree that it can work that way. I did a lot of writing while riding the school bus or while standing at the photocopier or the fax machine.*

However, then we get an earful of how no one allows themselves to be bored anymore because we’re always tap-tap-tapping on our apps. Granted, Faulkner starts out admitting that he has a problem, but then he turns it back on the reader with:

When was the last time you experienced a moment of emptiness and allowed your mind to luxuriate in it without twitching to grab your smart phone or a remote control?**

This reads, to me, less like a confession and more like an accusation.

And, well, I’ve always been the type to keep a book on me. I specifically selected my current purse, which I’ve been using since before I got my first cell phone, because it’s exactly the right size for my wallet and a paperback book. I even took a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn and knitted while standing in line at the tax assessor’s office.

Actually, knitting is a great thing to keep my hands busy because I can do it without really paying that much attention to it. I have mulled over other creative endeavors while knitting because of this. I enjoy crocheting, but crocheting takes more attention, since I can’t always find the next stitch by feel, like I can with knitting.

But I digress. The fact is that technology has always caused shifts in thinking. I seem to remember a friend quoting some ancient Greek guy complaining about writing things down. He said that not having to memorize everything was going to make people’s brains soft and flabby or something of that nature.*** And, in fact, writing was the beginning of entirely new fields of thought and technology.

During my childhood, my teachers, who were my parents’ age and had grown up with radio, despaired because television was going to be the end of human imagination because we can *see* the action, rather than having to *imagine* it.

One thing about technology that is not germane to Faulkner’s point, but that I’ve seen over and over and am trying to kind of get in on it myself, is the lower barrier to entry in the arts thanks to technology. I have a friend who makes a pretty good living writing erotica. Her books have even been translated into other languages. And, so far as I am aware, she is still solely self-publishing.

Back when I was hoping to start a career as a writer, my mom would ask writers she met (she was a youth services librarian) how they broke into the field and the general consensus was that you first had to write short stories and get into respected publications enough times to attract the attention of an agent and then that agent would find someone to publish your book.

If you wanted to bypass that process, you’d have to go to a “vanity press” and pay them gobs of money so that they’d publish your book for you.

Nowadays it is a perfectly valid path to write a book, get a friend you trust to beta read it, and then to typeset it yourself and put it on Amazon. You can publish not just ebooks but actual physical books this way. If someone had told me that this would be possible 40 years ago, I don’t know if I’d’ve believed it.

Also, I could make a good argument that access to books, movies, television shows, etc., on our phones increases creativity. You read a book or see a movie or watch a show that you enjoy the premise of, but that you think the writer went the wrong direction with. So you sit down and write a similar story that goes the way you think it should have gone.

Just kind of spitballing here, looking for an example that is in the public domain, Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet runs away with Romeo when he gets exiled. Setting up a life in Mantua together (Friar Lawrence had, after all, married them at this point). Does Romeo need a job? Who do they meet? Do they grow together? Do they grow apart? I think one could do some interesting things with this.

*At an old job, our fax machine would do . . . something with the papers and if you didn’t keep an eye on it, the papers coming out of the document feeder would push out the ones that had come out earlier and you’d end up with a pile of disorganized pages on the floor. This did not take any actual brainpower, just moving the pages off of the feeder a few at a time so that there were never that many pages in there.

For a while we had an attorney who would sit in one of the secretaries’ offices chewing the fat all day. And that attorney had the gall to accuse me of goldbricking when I was watching the fax machine. She demanded that I go back to my desk and work while the fax fed into the machine. So after explaining why I was standing there, she basically accused me of lying and demanded that I go back to my desk. So I did. Once I heard the machine stop dumping the pages on the floor, I got up, picked up the pages from the floor, and sat at my desk putting them back in order. This attorney was not happy that I once again didn’t have my nose to the grindstone, and asked me how I was shirking now. I just told her that since the papers had dumped on the floor, now I had to put them back into order.

You could have knocked her over with a feather. She was really stunned that the fax machine actually did dump the papers on the floor and that I had actually been doing my job when I was standing at the fax machine. That woman was a total pain in my neck for the months she was there.

**Grant Faulkner. Pep Talks for Writers (Kindle Locations 535-536). Chronicle Books LLC.

***Socrates, apparently.

Book Blogging

I am starting a second blog post for today. It’s July 1 and if I finish this today this should post on July 3, 2022 at 12:30 AM.

I know I go back and forth on whether to make this a book blog. Right now, I’m forth, I think. Like, I’m planning to do some book blogging. I mean I do still want to travel blog here but my hopes to make money from this to pay for travel haven’t materialized and I need topics, so . . .

Now, since I’m going through my Goodreads account, listing books in the order that I’ve read them for my Gratuitous Amazon Links. Maybe if I’m going to book blog I should talk about the books in the order they were written which will be a completely different order from the one were major where my gratuitous Amazon links work. Now at some point I may well end up blogging about the book which would have been my Gratuitous Amazon Link.

Here I took a brief break to go play Pokemon Go. The gym in my neighborhood was empty and I had a chance to leave a Pokemon there.

Anyway I think the oldest books I’ve read at this point are my Nancy Drew books. Sort of. The Nancy Drew series was written in the 1930s and then in the 1950s, they were edited/rewritten. I’ve been reading the 1950s version, but Goodreads has them listed as the books from the 1930s. So maybe I’ll blog about the Nancy Drew series. Or have I already done that? I think I’ve already done that.

I’ll have to go looking for that post and maybe update it with a picture of Riverside, Illinois, the town I picture as River Heights or something. I don’t have any pictures of downtown Riverside that I took myself, because when I went there I was too young to have a camera, but still, I probably have I maybe will find one Wikimedia Commons or a government site the would have it. Something where I wouldn’t have to pay to post it.

As for the next oldest, I don’t know. I’m working on some old Victoria Holt books so maybe those? When was the first Discworld book written? (N.B. 1983, so not even close) I went through a Discworld book reading phase for a while, until I started to burn out and stopped.

I know I’ve read a lot of older books, but I don’t think any of those are listed in my Goodreads account yet. Like, I read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Three Musketeers, among other old books, for fun, and I’ve read a bunch of, like, Hawthorne and things for school and I think I’ve lost my mind. The oldest book I’ve read since I started keeping track in my Goodreads account was Little Women, which I just finished recently. It’s been a long week.

So I guess my first chronological-order book post will be Little Women and I can even fold in some travel, since we went to Orchard House in Concord, which is where the Alcotts lived when Louisa May was writing Little Women. W00t!

I hesitate to try to sell y’all a copy of something you can download from Project Gutenberg, so I may need a Gratuitous Amazon Link. I just bought the Kindle book of Jo and Laurie, the fanfiction which ends with Jo and Laurie ending up together. I haven’t read it yet, but the reviews are pretty good. Also that’ll make a good Germane Amazon Link for my Little Women post.

So back to Percy Jackson for a Gratuitous Amazon Link, I guess. The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan, the third book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. We go to the Smithsonian Institution, and to Hoover Dam (the exhaustion-fueled dam pun scene is one of my favorites!) , and to San Francisco. I’ve been to one of those!

July Goals

So today is July 1. This will post on July 2, of course, because I’m posting stuff at 12:30. I don’t actually know why I decided on 12:30. It might be because I didn’t want to take the risk of accidentally launching at noon. I wanted to post overnight in my time zone, so I guess I decided, “okay let’s make it half past midnight.” But that was you know six years ago? Seven years ago? Dear God, have I been working on this blog that long?

Sigh so it’s July 1 and I decided what kind of figure out a way to get all of my goals in during this month. My goals, such as they are, are let’s see: writing, reading, exercise, learning, and savings I think. I think that’s it the maybe more. But I’m going to just… Chug forward on those five.

My reading goals are easy. I read before bed every night, if not more often. I have a t-shirt that has Belle on it saying, “My Weekend is All Booked” and yes, yes it is.

My writing goals kind, kind of obvious, I’m going to write. I have, of course, this blog, and I have a couple of novels in mind. I also need to get back to Pep Talks for Writers (Germane Amazon Link!). (A) They’re pep talks. For writers. and (B) my reactions and things about them gives me something to write about.

My first novel is my flipped Beauty and the Beast. Beauty goes looking for the Beast, rather than being kidnapped by him. I’m afraid it’ll read like a teen romance, and I don’t know if I want them to end up together.

I also have another couple novels that I’ve been kind of toying with. One actually started as an alternate history version of what might’ve happened if Zheng He had, actually, traversed the Pacific Ocean and landed in North America and set up a colony. This was my female dominated culture story, because in this version, the European colonists just don’t know that they’re outclassed by the Chinese people who were already here and they end up in a multigenerational war. Eventually, the girls have to be raised to have careers and the boys are trained for the army. However, this would end up working so that I, a white girl so pale I disappear when I stand against a blank wall, would be telling brown people’s stories.

I think I’m going to maybe make it a fantasy novel, but I don’t really have room for magic in it. I may have to put some kind of subconscious magic thing in there to make it fantasy. I may be onto something here. I wonder if healing magic would work. The boys coming home from the war will definitely have different levels of PTSD and I could invent psychotherapy using magic. Not “and your PTSD is gone. Poof!” But more “next week we’ll work on healing the trauma of killing a person for the first time.” I don’t think that’d interfere with the plot I have in mind.

Let’s see, next is learning goals. This is mostly foreign language learning, I need to work on my Spanish this month because June and July were Spanish, my Italian for my book, and my Chinese because I’m getting somewhere with it, actually. I spoke Chinese to one of my patients. She was having trouble understanding the problems she was having with her bank card and so I ended up telling her to call her bank. I don’t know if I was perfect, but she understood. And now when she comes in, I say hello to her in Chinese. I also have The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan in in Spanish both as an audiobook and a hard copy book, so I may do something with that during the course of July.

Exercise goals. I play Pikmin Bloom and the game has a weekly challenge. I go back and forth between the too-easy goal of 20,000 steps in a week, and the too-hard goal of 100,000 steps in a week. I’m also doing the Samsung Health Global Challenge which is 200,000 steps in a month. My record for finishing early is on the 14th of the month, which is around 14,000 steps per day (brief interlude where I count up by basically counting to 200 by 14s using birth control pill packs to double-check my math (most packs are 28 pills, so two is 56, 3 is 84, etc.)). I also would like to go start going back to the gym. I hesitate to go back there when the manager’s there because I don’t want to attract any attention by coming back. So I guess I’ll time it to be there when he isn’t for awhile.

Savings goals. I’ve lost a bit of money in the last year. My house had a major repair, and I chipped in half of it plus I had to take the whole mortgage onto myself for the rest of 2022 to pay my dad back for his half which of course means that I should’ve just cashed out and paid the whole repair off and we should just kept going with the mortgage payments. We were both stressed out and not thinking clearly. So now I need to recover from this. I have an account with Acorns, which I’m saving up around $100 per month by rounding up my purchases. I’m also putting aside $10 per week, so once I can buy a share of stock with that, I will do so. I’m going to get a bit of a raise soon. According to my boss’s boss, the raises will be every six months “until a certain point,” and then every year “until a certain point,” but what that raise will be or what that point is? Who knows. I think that maybe I’ll bump up my stock purchase plan a bit and increase my savings that way. Depending on what the raise is, I maybe will increase it by a couple of hours per week (so if it’s $0.50, I’ll increase it by a dollar or two) and I won’t even notice the change. Also, I’m still paying myself to study my foreign languages, so that works out to a couple of bucks a day. Unfortunately that’s not going into the deficit from the house repair, that’s just the tuition and stuff for getting the modern languages degree I should’ve gotten in the first place. But at least as long as I have those, I’ll never run completely out of money.

In future months, I might add cleaning goals, photography goals, or music goals, or other goals. I need to get back to practicing the piano. For July, though, I’m just going to hope that doing a bit a day will chip away at these four. And once I do a bit, it’ll follow to do a bit more. One blog post will lead to two. One page in a book will lead to another. One Duolingo lesson will lead to more. And so on.

Scheduling Writing, Part 2

Wow. I started trying to schedule my writing and immediately blew it.

Let’s see. I worked on my novel on my lunch hour for one and a half days. I actually wrote the first day. On the second I was about to write and suddenly it hit me that if the people of the island that may well end up with the name Santa Chiara are so eco-conscious, then they’d probably want to be served by electric, rather than gas-powered passenger boats. So I stopped writing to see if that’s possible. And I found a few concept vehicles like that, but nothing in production. I’ve decided that that’s close enough.

Then, on Friday, I used my writing time to figure out what to do about my phone. My phone locks up and reboots for no apparent reason, and since I am one of those unlucky people who had Sprint and are being migrated over to T-Mobile, I’ll need to put a new SIM card in to make it work anyhow, I’ve figured that maybe I should just get a new phone. I asked the phone guy at my store about getting a Galaxy S22 or whatever the newest phone is and found that T-Mobile will need to migrate my plan over by hand so that I can use the T-Mobile version of the phone.

I worked Sunday, but on Sunday, I only get half an hour lunch, so I didn’t have any noveling time then.

So, tonight, I couldn’t sleep because details are backing up in my brain since I haven’t been able to put them into actual writing since Wednesday. I’m not even supposed to be up now (it’s 1 am on Monday, June 6* as I write this). I was going to go to bed early so that I can get up early and get my walking in before the heat hits. Then I lay awake trying to sleep instead of, what’s the meme? About some people being able to sleep instead of plotting seven-book epic fantasy series or broiling in existential dread? I can’t figure out how to post it here, but the author is C.G. Drews, who posts on Instagram under @paperfury.

Yeah. That’s the kind of night I’m having.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time! I know I’ve done this one before, but it’s a goody, so I’m posting it again. Solutions and Other Problems, by Allie Brosh. So funny and relatable and just amazing. If I didn’t have 400 books in my to-read, I’d probably go back and reread this again.

*I remembered that today is the birthday of one of my childhood friends and then I spent half an hour trying to figure out what he’s up to these days.

Scheduling Writing, Day 1

I took a stab at doing some fiction writing on my lunch hour.

My protagonist (I’ve named her Abby temporarily, after the mom of my cat Velcro) and her dad are still on the hydrofoil out of Naples, and I’m using this time to start to establish the family and the relationships.

Much like me, my protagonist has motion sickness in boats, so she’s bored. She can’t read because she . . . . Actually, her motion sickness is more like Alex’s and Thomas’s. Abby cannot read in a moving vehicle. I can, so long as I’m completely wrapped up in what I’m reading. Neither Alex nor Thomas can do this in most situations.

My motion sickness comes from a mismatch between what I’m seeing and what my inner ear is feeling. I do pretty well with open windows or in the front seat or, again, if I’m distracted.

Anyway she’s bored and her dad’s keeping up a conversation with her, telling her what they’ll experience there and things. Abby wants to be back home helping her mom, who is a jewelry designer, open her first showroom.

I really only know two cities well — Chicago and San Antonio, so I’m setting Abby’s home in Chicago. I figure that it’d be more likely that a diplomat of some sort would have a home base in Chicago than in San Antonio.

Even though it’d be nice to put them in San Antonio. I remember a couple of years ago reading an article about how the city has been trying to encourage “creative class” jobs in San Antonio and how it’s just not working.

Heck, they can’t even keep corporate headquarters here. In the last few years, we’ve lost the headquarters of both the La Quinta hotel chain and AT&T. Both left here for Dallas, because Dallas has better infrastructure for large corporations and also is better connected to the rest of the world.

San Antonio’s airport is better than it was, but it’s no DFW. Additionally, if you look at a map of San Antonio, the perimeter of the city is 330 degrees of not much, and 30 degrees of congestion in the form of US 281, Interstate 35 and Interstate 10. More or less. I’m not going to pull out a protractor. It could be 320 degrees of not much and 40 degrees of congestion.

But if San Antonio wants more “creative class” jobs, having Abby’s mom be a world-class jewelry designer opening her first showroom would help raise awareness there.

I know it might be more realistic to put the family of a diplomat in New York or DC or somewhere like that, but I don’t really *know* those cities like I know San Antonio. It’s likely that this book may be set entirely on the island (I’m toying with calling it Santa Chiara, after St. Clare of Assisi, St. Francis of Assisi’s BFF). But what happens if I finish the book and discover that the story of Abby doesn’t end there and we have to follow her home? That home better be somewhere I know well.

Abby is going to, of course, have friends. One is a young man who is like Snuffleupagus. No one else will see him for a long time, if ever. Is he the missing prince? Is he a ghost? Is he just shy? Or does he just have lousy timing when it comes to everyone else? Her other friend is a young jewelry designer who makes friends with Abby, then realizes that Abby is her mother’s daughter and that her mother is kind of the friend’s hero, but the friend is trying to figure out how to be “Hey, your mom’s my hero” without sounding like that’s the only reason they’re friends.

I’m still working on what happened with the Prince and where he is going and what’s going on and things like that. It’s kind of funny because like nobody reads this blog and so I’ve been like “Let’s talk about plot points of my novel; no one is ever to read that either.” But I’m going to keep plugging away at both novel and blog and hope that someday I’ll be able to make the money I need to pay off my mortgage.

Speaking of money, here’s today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link. Ooh! Palace of Stone, the sequel to Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale! Britta’s wedding is coming up and the other girls from the Princess Academy are coming to the capital to help with the festivities. Miri is particularly excited because she is going to spend a year at the university.

Hm. One of my plot bunnies that I’ve been feeding for the last . . . 10 years? It started out as alternative history, but I would be telling brown people’s stories and aside from a thin line leading me to a Krai of Russia on the border with Mongolia and a rumor that my father’s mother’s family have Rom ancestry, I’m so white I disappear in front of a blank wall. So I’ve been, like, “Fantasy?” But I don’t really have room for magic in this world. But the Princess Academy books are fantasy despite not having spellcasting and things. The magic is that the people of Mount Eskel can communicate through some kind of kinship with Linder, the stone they harvest. I wonder if I can use something along those lines . . . .

Setting A Schedule for Writing

Today’s chapter in Pep Talks for Writers was about setting a schedule for writing. Ha ha.

My current job has a variable schedule. This means that I can start work anywhere from 8:30 AM to 12 noon and I can get off work anywhere between 5 PM to 9 PM.

Figure out how I can come up with the schedule with that, well, schedule.

For the most part, I tend to do my writing 11-ish? But I don’t know if that’s really a schedule.

I guess I could do some writing on my lunch hour, because that gives me a little bit less of a spread. Lunch is basically between 1:00 and 5:00, but that still works out to that four hour spread that I have at the end of the day. At least it’s a normal time for human beings to be working. I guess?

If I were to try to dictate like I’m doing here on my lunch hour, like I said it would be a pretty constrained amount of time. Of course, I would be walking around the store talking into my phone like an idiot, kinda like I am now. But at least, right now I’m alone, nobody there to watch me and wonder what I’m doing.

Additionally, I do have to work eating and going to the bathroom into my lunch hour. So I guess I’m back to 11 o’clock-ish. It’s ten minutes to ten as I’m writing this right now, because I’m walking around my neighborhood. This is something I can’t do every day, though, particularly since I’m usually really tired after I get off at nine, and sometimes I have to be back to work early the next day.

In fact, I’m really tired right now. It’s 12 zillion degrees out here and the evening breeze hasn’t started*. I’ve been walking for almost an hour and I’m really tired and really hot, so let’s try going back to the 11-ish. Of course there’s nothing says I can’t do both. I can write a short blog post on my lunch hour with the about a half an hour I have available on my lunch.

Oh! I could work on my novel on my lunch then blog posts either now during my 9 o’clock walk or my 11 o’clock sit down my computer. I could even do one of each a blog post now a blog post at 11? I like this idea. Of course that’s assuming I can keep with it.

My theme song when I’m when I feel my enthusiasm for whatever it is I’m doing start to flag is the Daft punk song Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. Even though it’s like about the hustle and having no work-life balance, which do I need more? A work-life balance or the money to to pay off my mortgage? I will leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Yeah I need the income. My job is not keeping up with inflation. It’s not even keeping up with my first job out of college. I finally reached the purchasing power of my first job out of college and then get this hyperinflation thing starts and now I’m two dollars an hour behind.

I’m thinking I can can stop rambling now and save this to post. I just realized I haven’t gotten my Duolingo in yet. I’m going to copy this to an email, then email it to myself, clean it up, and post it.

*The evening breeze started up just as I was coming back to the house after my walk. Figures.

Being a Beginner

I read Chapter 4 of Pep Talks for Writers yesterday and. Wow.

The advice that Faulkner gives us is. . . kind of unnecessary for me? He advises the reader to let go of what we know and embrace what we don’t know. And I don’t know if the flip side of the Dunning-Kruger effect (a/k/a “Imposter Syndrome”) is at work here. I mean, isn’t the whole point of the Dunning-Kruger effect that you can’t observe yourself accurately?

I’ve gone through my whole life feeling like I don’t understand what’s going on. My brain is a treasure trove of useless trivia (often, at work someone will say, “Olivia, what do you call ____?” and I’ll have the answer right on the tip of my tongue), but as for job skills, erm. No.

I think that’s a big part of why I’ve ended up underemployed for my whole life. I have a hard time sounding like an expert because I don’t believe that I am in job interviews and so interviewers are, “Maybe you know something, but you don’t know enough to actually be useful.”

Every time I sit down to write, I’m terrified. I keep telling Alex just to write like he talks because he’s not a fantastic writer, but he’s really well spoken. I mean, writing seems like the easiest thing in the world and not a skill at all. Certainly not one I’m good at.

So. I guess that feeling like a beginner comes naturally to me. Maybe the concern is that I may some day decide that writing is not the easiest thing ever and that I have an actual skill. Will I begin to fail as a writer then, or will it be just the beginning?

I Used to Travel . . .

I said these words to a patient today. He is going to a major city on a different continent.

I really do miss traveling, but once Alex grew up, I wasn’t getting enough in income tax refunds to pay up front for travel, and I’d rather not travel than put it on a damn credit card.

I’d started saving up $5 here, $5 there. Back in the olden days, they recommended saving up for large purchases by putting a little money in envelopes earmarked for that purpose. I was doing the same thing, but in little savings accounts.

Then the ends of the lives of Phobos and Deimos ended up being very expensive, and cleaned out all of those little envelopes.

Then we had an expensive house repair, which took out a bunch of money from one of my investment accounts (out of four — I hide money from myself so that I won’t ever run out completely), and so I prioritized saving back the money I took out of those accounts.

The original plan for this blog was to earn enough money from it to fund future travel and maybe even to get to the point where I could write off my travel as business expenses. I mean, that’s kind of the dream come true, isn’t it?

Even since I’ve been thinking of making this a book blog, I haven’t even gotten to the place where I can write off book purchases with the income from this blog. Or *a* book purchase.

I’m going to keep posting here, because maybe someday I’ll have enough traffic to attract some advertisers. Or maybe just getting in the habit of writing will get me to the point where I can sell some writing (travel? book reviews? fiction? all of the above?)

Or maybe it’ll just be nice on a psychological level to put these messages in a bottle for someone to find someday.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, we have Thirty Names of Night, by Zeyn Joukhadar. Thirty Names of Night is about searching. Our nameless protagonist, a Syrian trans boy, is searching for peace, searching for answers to what happened to an artist named Laila Z, and searching for his own identity.

Writing is Its Own Inspiration? Day 2

Welp. I don’t have much to say today, at least I don’t think so. Additionally, a storm is on the way, so I might want to write and post fast.

I’m saddened and angered by the shooting in Uvalde today. I definitely want to write about that once the storm is over and I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I have to be up in 7 hours and 45 minutes for work.

I have always planned to write about my thoughts about romance novels and love songs, and that’s something I definitely plan to do later. This will likely have a Germane Amazon Link.

I also have had something of a breakthrough on one of my fiction works, so I need to go into that.

Do I have a Gratuitous Amazon Link today? Why, I think I do. If memory serves, today’s book is Ruined, by Paula Morris. Ruined is the story of Rebecca, who is sent to live with a family friend in New Orleans, where she attends a snooty private school where she doesn’t fit in. Oh, and she befriends Lisette, the ghost of a slave. We get to learn how Lisette died, how that fits into the life of the family of “mean girl” bully Helena, and what that has to do with Rebecca.

Now I’m going to post this, then shut my computer down. Good night and I’ll see you tomorrow for my rant on what happened in Uvalde today.