Paging Frank Capra

I have some revision to do on the Oni Press proposal. The surprise short story was pretty much an Aphrodite in the shell moment, and as such it has already begun its journey into the world. To wit, Chris Cornell thinks I should write an anthology of Midwestern lycanthropy stories. Never would have seen lycanthropy as a metaphor for my life, but here we are. :)

Had my physical on Wednesday and everything looked good. Yes, my cholesterol is a tiny bit high at 108. Diet and lose weight and be active. You know the drill. The doctor said, "Is there anything that you want to know?" I said no. Well, it was true at the time.

Thursday morning was a low day. It was my mother's birthday. Now, I've missed many of my mother's birthdays, so I'm still trying to figure out why this one hit me so hard. I think that it's because it was her 75th birthday, a landmark birthday. Bryon had been a bit upset with me the night before after a conversation about his mother, in which he thought I was trying to undermine his happiness about her living arrangements, and in which I was nerding out about modals of certainty. Go figure. So I was low going to bed and I woke up lower.

The next morning I woke up desolate and jittery. And I drove to work and entered the Depressed Zone (TM). I thought about things like how the world would be better if I didn't exist. I did not visualize suicide exactly. I made no plans. I was ripe for a George Bailey moment. My existence didn't matter and I wasn't doing any good. Clarence? Of course, at the end of the day, I did bring it up to the spouse, because that's what you do when you are on depression meds. Hey, I watch pharmaceutical commercials!

The following two days I have been just fine. JUST FINE. I think I had a moment of depression and feeling like a worthless daughter. I still feel that the decision to leave my family behind is the best one. I am grieving, not guilting. But there will always be some part of me that makes me feel like I am failing, and I am less worthwhile because I am not being a good daughter to bad parents. Should that have made me feel that I didn't want to exist?

Well, no. Of course not.

There are other mitigating factors. Harsh news, busy work, tiredness. Maybe even medication at a certain level. Taking one less Xanax now. Feeling jittery with two and a Wellbutrin. We are monitoring my psychological thoughts, and I'll see David at the end of the month, the soonest I could get in. Depression and anxiety are going to be a constant negotiation. We don't get better. It's sort of like we just go into remission.

And it's goofy. I look at all the wonderful friends I have, and all the ways in which I make a difference and enjoy my life. I have no idea why this happened. It was truly kind of a scary thing.


I would really, really like to credit teaching for bringing me back from the depression edge. Part of me wanted to stay home and stew in my juices, but work made me work and reach out, and I did some great teaching and some students even thanked me for it. Even though I was low, I kept moving and talking and I grew back into it, leaving the bad thoughts behind. I love my work.

That said, how strange would it be for me to say that I can now see myself doing something different? Because my thoughts are really elsewhere these days. I'm not phoning it in, but you know I would like for Bryon and I to be spending more time together, doing things that matter.

Okay. I'll keep you posted, guys. I'm on it. I'm not thinking I don't matter and shouldn't exist. I just did for about 3 hours on Thursday, and it passed.


The new short story is circulating, so I have 11 making the rounds. Several are close to trunking, EXCEPT I keep finding ONE MORE MARKET. I am back to Pawn of Isis.

Writing, Cleaning, Anticipating

Hey guys. The Oni Press script is done. Just waiting on you to open again, Oni Press. Whenever.

Today I wrote a new short story. Oh, I was cranky and work had been beating on me. I got to my writing time late and had to go back early. So, I whipped out 1170 therapeutic words about our recent experiences with stomachs. Except take out the words "gastric cancer" and insert the word "lycanthropy." Strangely effective for me. I don't know how it will be for all of you.

Both of those projects are currently in the eyes on stage, and then the short will go out soon. Oni Press as soon as can be.

I have one more writing day in September. Should I write another short, or should I get back to the novel? I am just not going to be boxed in, man.


This weekend, the spouse and I cleaned our garage. Friday morning I am going to see about six toilet seats (could I really be Reggie Lass?), an old air conditioner, Mr. Henrick's tomato cages, and a wealth of other junk we no longer use hauled away. My job should be pointing. :) But our garage will look kind of empty after that. We have a few chemicals to get rid of. We recycled the old tv. The oil is going soon, and there's some donation stuff. But yeah, we've almost got that summer (yes, I did say summer) project done.

We are still waiting for the demolishing of our bathroom. In 2-3 weeks, they tell us. I expect that will be all kinds of fun. Yes, sarcasm. That button still works.


Paradise Icon and Icon come up soon. I am working my way through the workshop stories. Some nice stuff this year.

What that Oni Press Proposal Is

Oh, you should see the very very VERY scary stack of work on my desk. Eh.

So, I'm taking a little break. I did teacher prep this morning, and I've had enough of that. I sent out a little writer stuff and that brings me to the journal. After I do a little writing here, I'll work on scheduling what looks to be an intimidating number of meetings.

This afternoon I'm working on writing.


I promised I would tell you about my Oni Press project once I was closer to done. I should finish by the end of this month. Currently I'm under the delusion that I might even finish this afternoon. The story is called Alan Lynx, the Time Spy, and Me. It's a Cold War spy adventure with a time travel component, which is why I've watched the new Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie countless times and have taken up Mad Men. Immersion. :/ No, I'm afraid Mission: Impossible is no longer helpful. Over there, it's the 70s, man, and it's just not my scene.

I really like the story. It hits a lot of my buttons and marries many of my interests as a fan. I get to do partner spies, women's rights, time travel, and vintage looks. NOT that I'm drawing anything.

Well. I'm off to my weekend. Writing this afternoon, garage cleaning tomorrow, date night tomorrow night, and a fairly typical Sunday of choring, checking papers, and maybe writing. Or doing some plotting for my role playing game. Both need doing and exercise my creative self.

I hope you have a great weekend.

You and Your Damned Hypochondria

Hey. Well, just went from a virus to bronchitis. But I'm good! I promise you. The title isn't about me either.


Some time back, when I first was diagnosed with acid reflux, Bryon has some pains in his guts. I thought he was being empathetic, which was a nice gesture, but hardly necessary. Well, Bryon wanted to go to the doctor. I honestly felt he was being a hypochondriac. Bryon has always been very cautious about his health. He is, in general, healthy like an ox is healthy. He has bonus points on his constitution rolls. But you know, sometimes good wives do good wife things.

Turns out he went, he had two precancerous polyps revealed by a colonoscopy, and he got frequent colonoscopy miles for a while because we were keeping up with monitoring. He's back on a regular schedule now. Nothing to be worried about there.

After that, I told him that hypochondria had my blessing. Any peace of mind visiting the doctor gives is awesome, and you never know when something like this will happen.


So. There was last year. This time last year, Bryon and I were fighting a lot. His family needed him to soothe feathers and help in ways he never had before. He was brilliant...and stressed. I had some adjustment issues as well, given my craptastic background, and between pressure with the fam, with the wife, and the usual business of our life, well, let's just say when the pain started in his stomach this year, our first thought was ulcer. Summer exacerbated the pain because his SiL had a stroke and was in the hospital six weeks. Happily, I went into the crazy person shop last year, and David helped me make some adjustments, so I am no longer part of the problem.

Bryon had a gastroscopy two weeks ago today. He had some biopsies done, because that's standard procedure. Here's where life gets a little ironic. Which person do you think would have an abnormal gastroscopy? The spouse who's been on acid reducers for 13 years combating acid? Or the spouse who just recently had some tummy pain?

Yes, this is the ironic twist. My husband has intestinal cells in his stomach that look...suspicious. Actually, one in four adults do. This could be you, and you don't know. I mean, I know, because I had another gastroscopy this year. We're looking for my esophagus and tummy to start missing. That's called Barret's Esophagus. He has essentially Barret's Esophagus, the intestine version.

Well. That was scary at first, because our gastroenterologist's nurse didn't do a good job of delivering a message of minimalization and no cause for concern. Life is pretty good, however, when the maid of honor at your wedding went to med school, and I'd really like to thank our friend Diana for talking us down from the ledge. The reality of our situation is this: nothing is new except that we have some interesting cells. This is as far as it could go. OR it could become something else. Genetics, stuff like that, it's all beyond our control.

It is very unlikely this will become something else. It could be an interesting story. It could be more. It is scary until we get used to it. The current strategy is not to worry until it is something, because right now it is nothing.

Priorities can shift in a heartbeat. Not that I am morbid, but I realize that what you take for granted, what you assume might be there forever, might not be there in a moment. It's the cliche, live like you might not have tomorrow. But hey, I'm a believer. Bryon and the times we have together has always been number one on my list, but now it's number one in a way that makes everything else look kind of silly and immaterial.

The take home message? Find what really counts for you, and enjoy it. Go to the doctor, and never talk yourself out of going to the doctor. Always let the people you care about know how much you care about them. If you're thinking blah, blah, blah, you're just not listening. You need to listen.

Amazon Princess Survives Virus with Powers in Tact

Things got a little relapsy there for a second, but I think we're good. Can't do the exercise thing entirely earnestly at the moment, but giving it the old college try.

Did I gain weight while I was in survival mode? Not exercising? Not counting points? A whopping 0.2 pounds, so not really. Yes!

Regrettably, I missed my second night of ballet. I walked a whole half hour before crapping out today. But the fighting spirit exists.

Anyway, this Amazon princess is going to keep watch on what she eats, and stick with some chicken soup for a little longer. Hope you are all doing well.

It’s Alive!

Wow. Man. That was some evil virus.

But I am back among the living. I am currently watching Bryon make his sidekick Robin Hood plant carrots on the new farm in Disney Infinity. This has been the caliber of my sick days, except this seemed pretty normal until tonight. :)

I have watched a lot of television. I watched all of Grace and Frankie and most of the first season of Mad Men. I have things to say, especially about Mad Men.

Regrettably, my writing, my job, my nutrition, my exercise, all of it, fell off a cliff into slumberland. Tomorrow I begin to pick up the pieces. After that, you'll be hearing from me more here.

Until then.

Labor Day and the Weekend Ahead

Expect a quieter week.

This Labor Day is a trip to the Bristol Faire. I will be around Monday, but I expect mostly writing and catching up from being on the road this weekend. I will also have an unusual Wednesday, when I take the husband in for a gastroscopy. I expect to write a lot both days.

That does not preclude blogging. So, we'll see what develops.

Until then, I hope you all enjoy the last blast of summer.


Today I Teach

Yesterday I was feeling kind of...blah. Illusory, yes. I felt empty at my job, like most of what I did there was of no consequence. I was tired and wanted to do nothing. I did very little, even though there were piles of things sitting on my desk, exciting things like exit exams, writing goals, and researching Intensive English Programs.

Last year, I had an inkling to change jobs, and I almost did. I have no regrets about still being her in Iowa with Bryon. (Just to comment on how that sounds, we're still very much together. We would have had a long distance relationship for about 3 years, had I started a job in Ft. Lauderdale). Yes, Iowa is ridiculously hot and obnoxious in September, and we like it that way! My gut, though, told me it was time to do something new.

Let's be honest. I haven't the security to quit my day job and write. I think we could make it on Bryon's income, although now that we have begun earnest home repair, I'd have to add a part time gig on. BUT I feel like I want to work. I have this fear of being poor. When I grew up, my family was desolately poor. I lived in a room that had a hole in the roof. When it rained, I moved my bed and put down a bucket. Our house was a rodent-laden den of dirty dishes and little plumbing. I will not continue to paint a picture, but I will say that I learned early on that I had to provide my own way in life, and yes, even though I know I would never allow myself to live like that, even poor, the irrational part of my brain says that I need to be earning some cash. I was willing to go through college to earn more cash, and a full time writing job with persistence might be seen as an investment, but no, there are many reasons that many of us still work.

And there's teaching. The way I feel today about my job is diametrically opposite than yesterday. Today I taught for three hours. I did a two-hour class on modals of obligation and certainty. I know, you're on the edge of your seat just thinking about it! But I owned that room and pulled those students in. Yes, I was really tired at the end, the adrenaline-shaking performance high that awaits at the end of a good day of teaching. But coolest of all? I walked past a group of my students. They asked me how I was doing. I said, "Man, I'm tired!" And one of them said, "Yes, but that was a brilliant lecture."

ELA students exercising new vocabulary. Brilliant. Oh yeah.


I dunno. Sometimes, at 50, as I begin to hear the clock ticking,I wonder if I should have taken a different course. But if I had been a full-time writer, I'd probably be whining about how I didn't get to perform, or how I didn't make any money. When the time comes to leave teaching, I do plan to write as much as I can. It is my hope in retirement I can afford to write full-time, or work minimally at something to supplement my income if royalties are not flying into my bank account. But right now, I am privileged to having spent my life with all the men and women who have passed through my classroom on their way to their American dream.

Today was a great day. Regardless of what's done or undone, what I have done, or will do, I love my life, and I feel like myself.

My Writing Practice and Fitness Report

Taking a few moments to journal today. I started my comics proposal for Oni Press September open call. Or October. That means right now I'm learning about comics scripting, which kind of takes me all the way back to screen writing class in my undergraduate days. I've thought about three different ideas before deciding on this particular one, a sort of stew of a couple of fandoms I like. Tomorrow morning I start my day writing, so I'll get right back to it then, or perhaps tonight, if I have any time left after this.


I have been thinking a lot about Rosenfeld's idea of a writing practice. This really works for me. As soon as I began to conceive of writing as something that was more like a daily meditation, rather than a career goal, I find that most of my reluctance to write disappears. I know. Kinda freaky, init? Especially right now, when I am beginning a brand new novel, coming up with a brand new proposal, and scrapping all but the most basic parts of my troll novel, normally this would be the season for procrastination. It's not, though. It's a chance for me to re-embrace writing for why I love writing. I have stories to tell and they're waiting on me.

Another really truly awesome part of coming back to this spot is that I am reminded that my art is mine, and I compare it to no one else's. No one can write what I write. No one can walk my writing path. There's no point in comparing each others writing or worrying about where you're at. It's one word at a time, you talking that journey. Pretty zen.

Yeah. That'll last.


I didn't put up weight stats last Thursday. Let me rectify that.

2015 Highest Weight 213.8 Current Weight 210.1 Lost: 3.7 pounds
Weight Watchers Beginning 224.8 Current Weight 212.2 Lost: 12.6 pounds
Total Loss: 13.7 pounds

And then...I went out and had the weekend from overeating town. Important lesson underscored: weekends that you spend in the car doing things other people want to do, or giri things that are necessary, such as visiting your sister-in-law in the hospital, and then spending the rest of the weekend doing chores result in looking for love, or relaxation in all the wrong places. In short, give me food or give me death, because life sort of isn't going the way I want.

Moral of the story...take your writing with you, and maybe something else to remind you about why you want to get healthy. Or sit something out on Sunday. Let yourself out of the box.

I weigh in tomorrow again. I suspect I may stay around the same, or gain weight.

Exiting news: next week is adult ballet. Yes, I am excited. Here I come Tuesday nights.

Right now, I have about half an hour before I go over to the high school to rescue the husband from volleyball tickets, and then home to home chores. Poop. One of those nights I would go looking for food. Except, you know, no. :)

How's it going with you all?

Monday, Monday, Monday….Paradise Icon

...and what I've been doing today is working on Paradise Icon schedules and such. So, behold my handiwork!

Paradise Icon

And note that there's still one seat left. Could this be you? Hanging out with Ann Leckie, Joe Haldeman, and Tamar Siler Jones? And us? Yes, it could be.

I got nothin' else.