01 November 2014

Thoughts on writing (or Hello again!)

I recently got my typewriter working properly and have loved using it. The following is the first piece I wrote on it.

There is something wonderfully tangible about typing on a typewriter. The tool hearkens back to writing in its earliest days. As I am learning, it is not the easiest feat. Challenges aside, the simple tangibility is wonderful. There are sounds you can only achieve from a typewriter. The weight of the keys under my fingers, the pressure and precision required to hit the correct keys at the correct time, is so different So wonderfully different. I wonder how Steve might have felt about this process.

He was fond of word processors, which, at their core, are simplified computers. I can not wait to type things out and learn the joy and frustration of editing my work by hand, one page at a time. I wonder how many pages I can type on this old thing once November arrives.

I have a very important bet/challenge going on with my mother and Nessa. We are all taking part in National Novel Writing Month. Whomever writes the most cumulative words by the month's end gets a free meal of their choice, paid for out of the loser's pocket. With that bet, my mother also has publishing contacts that are willing to take her manuscript. Upon completing my own manuscript, I intend to use these same contacts, but it hardly changes the facts. After four years of doing PR and reviews, my mother has contacts and connections I do not. I suppose I'm a little envious, but such is human nature.

My plans for this November are to write out Aracayn Darkwood's story as my boyfriend Josh relayed it to me when he ran a Dungeons & Dragons campaign last fall. I have felt, on rare occassions, like this is unfair. After all, I did not come up with the story on my own. On the other hand, the main character is entirely mine. Either way, this is the story I have resolved to tell - the one he gave me. Such a wonderful gift.

Aside from the obstacle of schooling my mother, I am struggling with other challenges I will face this fall. For one thing, I have not achieved 50k words within a thirty day time limit in the past three years. I also have more responsibilities at work. I am going to see about requesting some vacation time, but do not know if the company will allow it. The idea of several consecutive days off is nice, but I know I would leave my coworkers in something of a bind. Is my writing worth that to me? Ha. Such a silly question. If it were not worthwhile, the question would not be there. Well, I suppose this is giving me more practice on this old thing as well as getting me in the habit of writing every day. November, here I come.

My typewriter needs a name. Think on this.

14 March 2014

On being pushed

Yes, life is pushing me. All things considered, this pushing could be coming in a more positive way, but cest la vie.

I know it's been a while since I have blogged. Some of that is due to time constraints. Some of it is due to the sheer repetition these entries would have if I did blog. Today, however, I need to get this whole mess out of my brain and off my chest.

Since graduating from college, I've learned a lot about myself - namely that I'm able to hold down two jobs for (currently) over a year and a half. At my full time job, I've had my schedule changed almost constantly. I've been given a few raises. I've been moved to other positions (and then lost them when someone else was hired on to fill the spot) and different shifts. I've done all this with very few complaints, just trying to do my job to the best of my ability. I've been promised promotion to a management position. That hasn't happened yet. In fact, I've been bypassed for promotion twice. I've also been promised a raise substantial enough that I can work just one job. That also hasn't happened.

At my part time job, I was hired to work Friday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday. My schedule has remained consistent with only two exceptions: inventory and Christmas. Even when we lost one of the four employees we have there, my manager did not change my schedule because she knew I had another job. She also made adjustments when I had to be at job 1 at 5 am, letting me leave an hour early.

Today, I was told that Friday's schedule has been permanently changed from 7am-2pm to 7 am-4 pm. This is the shift I usually work. The problem? I have to be at job 2 at 3:30pm. If I get the schedule adjusted to 4pm instead of 3:30:

1. a (admittedly small) cut in hours - at a job where I make just over minimum wage.
2. going straight from one job to the other, which has the potential for lateness every week (and leads back to point 1)
3. zero time to eat between shifts.

It also, in my opinion, isn't fair for me to ask this of my manager because it was made clear when I was hired that I was needed on three specific days and specific hours. Those hours have remained constant the entire time I have been there. Changing them, adjusting around job 1 permanently like that... it just doesn't strike me as fair.

I've been asked by many people which job I prefer. The simple fact is this: I can not choose between them because I need the income from both locations. I prefer one no more than the other. But now, I'm caught in the middle of the two places again, trying to do my best by both my managers. I can't get pushed like this anymore. I just don't know what to do to make this work. Something's got to give.

28 June 2013

Rambling about reclamation

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything here. It's actually been a while since I've written, but I'm putting a stop to that today. So many words have been silenced, stoppered up inside me as I tried and failed to make time to write. No, wait - "tried" and "failed." Yes, that's better. Why the air quotes? Well, it's pretty simple.

I've had the time and the opportunity, so "trying" to make time isn't an issue. Instead, I was filling my spare time with other stuff, less important "priorities" that shouldn't be as high as they are on my list. Worse yet, my subconscious has been sending out signal after signal. Don't believe me? Take a look at the list of books I'm currently reading.

-Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers
-Rules of Thumb: 73 authors reveal their fiction writing fixations
-30 Steps to Becoming a Writer
-Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life

Yeah, a lot of the time my subconscious has to communicate with me in horrendously obvious ways. It's sort of like passing a sign that says "caution: falling rocks" and then getting hit by a three ton boulder.

It's weird and wonderful how I feel right now. Even typing out this random blog entry, this stream-of-consciousness things that's really not talking about much of anything, I feel so free. This feels right.

I call myself a writer. It's time I re-claim that title.

I always seem to pick bad times to do this as far as my personal calendar goes, but oh well. Camp NaNoWriMo's July session starts in just a few days. Inventory at one job will keep me insanely busy for the first week, including two back to back fifteen hour days, but all that should be over by the eighth. This year, for Camp, I'm writing about two characters who I've been writing for for almost ten years. I'm not sure yet what's going to happen to them, but I know I'll love every minute of it.

Have you re-claimed anything lately that made you feel free, more like yourself?

12 March 2013


Today, I'm tired. Now, this isn't tired in the sense of not getting enough sleep. I'm actually getting more than I think I need since my body is not used to the time change yet. I do good to roll out of bed by eight with my body thinking it's only seven. Still, I'm tired.

I've been working two jobs for nearly ten months. And I'm tired. I'm tired of the day to day grind. I'm tired of having no real free time. I'm tired of spending more time awake at work than I spend awake at home. I'm tired of working on every day that ends in 'y.' I'm tired of having no money or, on the flip side, having money but not letting myself spend it on little things so that I won't have no money. I'm tired of having no time to work on personal projects I want to see fulfilled. I'm tired of having no time to work on things like the blog or my YouTube channel or my writing. I know I have a certain quality of life in that I am in a nice apartment, I have food and clothes and all my basic needs taken care of, but some days it feels like that's it. And I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of having little time for any creative endeavor. I'm tired of having less time to even read a frigging book. I'm tired of never knowing when my next day off will be or if I'll get one. I'm tired of knowing I have to keep doing all this because of the paychecks. I'm tired of wondering if I'm even going anywhere with either of my jobs. I'm tired of just spinning my wheels.

In short: I'm tired.

There is no further point to this post, no moral or nice ending to try and change my mood, no attempting to look on the positive side of all this because I'm just too tired to do it. Today, by virtue of a required meeting as well as my eight hour shift, I will be working an eleven hour day - twelve if the meeting runs long and I can't zip home to get food. I'd better go get breakfast. Thanks for reading.

31 December 2012

Teeth and Angels

While working one of my jobs Thursday night, I was hit unexpectedly by a pain in my mouth. Now, I'm not talking about a little twinge of pain or a random broken tooth that ached. This was almost enough to bring me to my knees. For the remaining four hours of the shift, I stuck it out and kept working. However, I called in at my other job, telling them not to expect me the next day. This freed me up to set a dentist appointment for any time the office could take me.

On the way to my Friday appointment, I got sick. I kept trying to eat since dinner the previous night hadn't been til after ten pm, when I got off work. Everything I ate came back up almost as soon as it hit my stomach. My girlfriend, who was so sweet to drive me to the appointment, said I probably had an infection. At the office, in the chair, I found out she was right. After a brief examination and several x-rays, I was told my wisdom tooth was impacted and infected. I was given a shot for the infection, some painkillers, and some penicillin. I was then referred to a dental surgeon to have the tooth removed.

There's something strange about leaving the dentist's office and still being in the same amount of pain you were when you walked in.

Now, I'm continuing to go to work every day, trying to keep any cold air from my right ear, which also hurts. Every evening around six or seven p.m., the temperature drops and I enjoy a fresh dose of pain. Since the holidays are upon us, I have to wait at least three more days before the dental surgeon's office is even open. When scheduling the surgery, I'm not even going to let myself look at my work schedule unless I absolutely have to because this needs to be done. I have got to get this tooth out of my head.

I was working yesterday, distracting myself from the ache and pain really, when a customer came to my register. As I'm ringing up her merch, she asks how I'm doing and I'm honest. I explain about my tooth and how it hurts and how I'm trying to ignore it. She asks if I have any pain reliever or anything to numb my mouth. Yes on the pain reliever, but I'm not taking it yet because it tends to make me drowsy. No on the numbing agent because oragel doesn't last long and I have no orabase. I'll probably go to the business next door and get some on my dinner break. Wouldn't you know it, ten minutes later the woman walks back in with a freshly purchased tube of orabase? I thanked her so many times and here, I'll do it again.

Thank you for proving that angels still exist.

16 October 2012

The Nerd Factor

“…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. [...] when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” -John Green

I am a proud nerd. Always have been. For fun today, I thought I would mention a few of the things that my nerdy side revels in.

Harry Potter - Rowling's series has always been one of my favorites.

The NeverEnding Story - though the film(s) were good, I'm talking about the book. It has been my favorite for as long as I can remember and is still the book I love most on my shelf.

Les Miserables - If I had to get rid of all but one of my VHS videos, the one I would keep, no contest and no questions asked, would be my 10th anniversary Dream Cast edition of Les Mis. This is the first musical I saw performed on stage long before I knew anything about theater.

Magic School Bus - Yes, Ms. Frizzle was one of my teachers. No, I am not in the least ashamed to admit this.

Wayside School - The school was supposed to be one story tall with thirty classrooms on that story What they got was a thirty story building (with no thirteenth story) and one classroom per story. I think the altitude may have affected the students at the thirtieth floor.

Vlogbrothers/Nerdfighteria - one of my newer obsessions, the Vlogbrothers are John and Hank Green who completely revel in their respective nerdy sides and encourage others to do the same.

Animorphs - I own almost the entire series. Still. I also can't wait to get them out of storage.

NaNoWriMo - the insanity inducing challenge I take up at least once every year. Thirty days, 50,000 words. I've been participating for six years and intend to take part again this year.

Pogs - No, I'm not a 90s kid. (Still own these.)

Gigapets - Totally not a 90s kid. (Still own one of these.)

Furbies - I should have one of these guys still. Somewhere.

Game Boys - Yeah, I had all the Pokemon games to go with them. And owned a regular Game Boy and a Game Boy Color. Those I think I finally gave away, which was a big move for me.

Monty Python - British humor. Love it.

Star Wars - yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Star Trek - I'm a big fan of Next Generation. I also consider myself part Vulcan - I'm far too logical to be completely human.

Lord of the Rings - ah, my favorite of all my nerdy fandoms. I was a late comer to this one, particularly The Hobbit, which I didn't read until last year. My favorite thing about The Hobbit - the story doesn't just end when Smaug is defeated. It keeps going.

Rocky Horror Picture Show - a musical I have not seen live, I'm sorry to say. It took me three viewings to make sense of what I was watching, but I finally did.

Holocaust studies - Yes, I'm a sick sick puppy. This is my favorite period of history to study.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - a new obsession on my list. I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about some seasons of this show. So far, season three is my all time favorite. Favorite character is tied between Spike and Oz.

Well, there you are. A (short) list offering a glimpse into my nerdy side. Do you have a nerdy side? I'd love to hear about it.

11 October 2012

National Coming Out Day

The act of coming out for gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, is always considered a big deal. It's a little sad that it has to be such a big deal, but it is. For a lot of people, coming out is a deliberate choice and a deliberate action. For me, not so much.

My first girlfriend and I were friends first. We got together when I was sixteen. It all started as experimentation and things went from there as feelings developed. One day, I woke up to hear my mom reading a letter aloud. It was a love note my girlfriend had written me. I'd left it in the living room the night before without meaning to. Cue my laying in bed having a total heart attack. No, I didn't get out of bed. I was too numb, unable to believe what was happening.

Later that day, after I managed to swallow my heart and get it back to my chest where it belonged, Mom commented out of the blue. "I found this note and I think she's in love with you." She asked why I had hidden from her and I apologized and said I'd had a stupid moment. I had known from moment one that my Mom would not care and I was proven right.

From that day to this, my mother has fully supported me even in things she does not agree with or understand, such as my religious beliefs. I am so very grateful for my numerous parents, all of whom support me fully. 

Have you ever had to "come out" with a big issue that you thought might change the way people saw you? How did that happen?

Friends Paying it Forward

This is a guest post from Crazed Mind

To kick off Crazed Mind's 2012 Christmas Gift Guide I wanted to share.  Share with you and share my friends.  And I am doing this by hosting a $100 Gift Card giveaway!  I mean what gift is better than friends helping out friends.  And gosh, who can not use an extra $100 to help out with the Christmas budget?

You see when I first started this blog I had the help of a very good friend, Nessa of Texas Housewife.  She spent so much time with me sharing the ins and outs of blogging and social media.  Little by little I grew.  Then I shared with some of my friends and they did with theirs too.  That is how this whole community grows so.  We meet others while hopping from blog to blog and before you know it we have been sharing our lives for 3 years now.

Well when I first started out every single new follower was the most exciting thing.  IT was like Christmas every day.  So I wanted to do just that....make Christmas every day for others.  So with the help of my friends and then add in the friends they want to support we came up with Friends Paying It Forward.

It is really easy.  Just meet the following bloggers.  Then enter via the Rafflecopter below.  We ask that you leave a blog comment here.  That you follow the friends via GFC (that is the Christmas part!).  Then you can follow also on facebook or twitter if you wish.  It will give you extra entries.  Oh and of course you can tweet!  That is an extra daily entry!  On November 1st a winner will be randomly chosen.  They will be notified and when they respond within 24 hours they will win $100 gift card via pay pal or through the mail with a Visa or Master Card gift card of their choice.  The physical gift cards may be broken down into two $50 cards.

So meet my friends!

and of course you know me, Crazed Mind.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

01 October 2012

Goals in ink

My apartment is finally set up. Work has been busy, as usual, which is one reason I have not been blogging. Despite this, I still have my goals in mind. They are actually in arms reach right now, written up and taped by the desk. Some of them include:

One published novel (minimum) in the next five years
One NYT bestseller in ten years

It's no surprise that my focus is still my writing, even when I don't have the time I'd like to dedicate to it. Now, it's a question of making time. I grew up hearing a phrase so important to me that I'm considering having it tattooed on my arm. The entire saying is one my mother cites often. "You have time for what you make time for and you make time for what's important." The second half of this saying, "you make time for what's important," is what I intend to have as my tattoo.

I spent this weekend recovering from a virus and was so glad my apartment was clean. To be there sick and dealing with the mess would have been too much for me. Now, after a full recovery, I'm back to work and my schedule is, for the moment, back to normal. What's normal, you ask?

Job #1 I work most days, usually morning shifts that end in the early afternoon. Here, my hours have been crazy because we've had people quit and have been training new hires.

Job #2 consists of closing shifts on the weekends. The past few weeks, I've been scheduled extra hours here because a co-worker had to take some time off for personal reasons.

Yeah, things have been crazy. Last weekend, I believe, I worked 58 hours over four days, pulling double shifts (one at each job) Thursday through Sunday. I am so proud of myself for making it through those difficult cluster of days - and a little not shocked that I ended up getting sick. Now, I'm back at work and trying to set more goals for my future.

Hopefully, I'll be able to blog about more than work. Anything interesting happening to anyone right now? Please share!

22 July 2012

A Full Plate at Life's Buffet

Do you ever feel like you're standing at the buffet of life, holding a plate overflowing with food? That's kind of how I'm feeling right now. The problem? I can't seem to stop putting food on my plate. This, I think, is one of my biggest character flaws/weaknesses. I get fantastic ideas (thanks, ADD) but tend to fall apart when it comes to follow-through. Again, thanks, ADD.

Work continues and has been going very well. Working two retail jobs isn't exactly the glamorous life, but it means I have money coming in. I'm also (still) trying to teach myself to use my spare time to my own benefit. It seems like my free time keeps getting filled up by little, insignificant things that I enjoy in the moment, but afterwards... Yeah, it was enjoyable, but there's still all this stuff I want to do that I could've worked on instead. Continuing my buffet analogy, I think these impulse quick-entertainment to-dos are like the dessert bar. Lots of fun, good at hitting the pleasure center of the brain, but it won't keep me going.

Things at work have been a little crazier than usual, but I've kept at it and been working both jobs for almost two months. The manager at one job unexpectedly walked out, so we are in flux there while waiting for the company to transfer/hire someone new. At the other job, we have inventory coming up this week and the manager on vacation next week. This means I'll be getting some extra hours, which is all manner of shiny.

More good news: at the end of this week/over the weekend, I will be moving into my own apartment! Yes, I've had an apartment before, but it was at school and on campus. This time around, I get to pay my own bills and set everything up the way I want and I am SO EXCITED!!! I've been ready to do this adult thing for a while, so I'm really looking forward to these final steps. In terms of bills, I actually lucked out: all I have to pay (besides school loans, car payment, cell phone, etc.) is rent and electric. That's a fantastic deal in my book.

Right now, as usual, I'm doing as much as I can to load my spare time down with projects. Here are just a few of the things on my wish list of to-dos.

Moving - mentioned above. Duh. This is a must do.

Packing - Priority one after work and chores and... Yeah, it's on the list.

Novel in progress - a fantasy/horror piece; the initial idea was in my head for about a month before I started committing words to paper.

Screenwriting - my newest brain wave. Instead of seeking a Masters degree in creative writing (paying more money, taking literary criticism classes I really don't care about) I'm going to try my hand at screenwriting. Not sure yet whether I'll be learning on my own through reading and doing, trial and error, or taking online classes.

Media reviews - this morning's random brain wave. I've recently started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (FINALLY!!!) and have been loving it. I'm going to try and write up some reviews to be posted on this blog. From there, I may branch out to other tv shows/movies as they pique my interest. If I can keep up with this, I may set up a blog dedicated just to these reviews. Time will tell.

Vlogging - This is always on the to-do list. I'm going to set up a studio of sorts in my apartment. planning for the day I own an actual video camera, external mic, etc.

Blogging - Doing this today. Finally. For once.

Running - I miss this. It needs to cool off in Texas.

BDV history - a never-ending project that I may never get to.

RP posts - bottom of the to do list, but still very much there. There are days it seems more like work than play, but it's writing, so this doesn't shock me. Still, it doesn't exactly help with the motivating.

Camp NaNoWriMo - this is becoming less of a priority. Would it be nice to earn a NaNo win while working two jobs? Yeah. Still, not sure I need a 50k/31day deadline looming. It seems better that I write on my own time as I'm able to.

Yeah, my plate is pretty full. I know I do it to myself. Maybe because of the ADD. I don't know. Anyway, that's just a few of the things going on in my life at the moment. I'll post a tour of the apartment on YouTube once everything is set up.

How do you avoid over-loading at life's buffet? Or do you grab way too much like I do?