Random Thought Update 22.9.2020

It’s the equinox

Autumn is official here in the northern hemisphere, & I could not be happier. Crisp nights have already arrived, plant lights come out of storage (the better to ward off winter blahs later) potted herbs have retreated indoors to keep my office fragrant & humid, and new spooky decorations are on order.

Dream caught

A descriptive phrase has popped into my head independently several times now, always around the time of day it describes. I like it, but I don’t know where it came from, and it feels too specific to be a thing I thought up myself.

“the heavy stillness of a clear summer sunset”

Do you know the type of sunset I’m thinking about? It’s a late-season phenomenon, this brief, hushed pause between day and night, when the hot afternoon breezes disappear into shadow, the noisy, hustling cicadas go silent, and the black leaves on the trees hang motionless against the crystal sky, waiting for the earnest, randy crickets to begin their nightly serenade.

The twilight of a stormy evening is something else again, and in the early weeks of the season, darkness drops hard, windy and cold more often than not. It’s only in the heated tween-times cusp between summer and fall that I notice this particular kind of dusk.

Anyway. That was a thing going on in my head lately.

BRAIN WHY EVEN ARE YOU?

This is the way my brain works:

I’m sitting on the couch watching TV. Thought: ow, my back is achy. Must’ve pulled a muscle or something at work. I stop tuning out physical signals (the default setting is “ignore body”) and realize Trouble Hip is acting up. That creates pain issues from neck to feet. Whee, what fun.


I shift position to ease the strain on that joint. (carefully, right wrist is squishy lately, and it isn’t taped for support today) Result: hip pain is worse, not better. I definitely pulled or strained a thing. How? WHO KNOWS? Life. It’s a contact sport, and sometimes I get tackled on the blindside.


Shift again. (Careful of left elbow, the tendon is nearing overuse limits) Slight improvement in the hip/spine, but feet start to ache and Trouble Shoulder objects.


Two more position changes put me on the floor. Everything below the “safe to ignore” threshold, even Cranky Wrist. It’s a temporary solution, something’s sure to fall asleep from the hard-surface pressure, but I get to enjoy the rest of the show. (Fortitude. I’m 4 eps in, and I’m pretty sure it’s horror masquerading as murder mystery. I definitely want most of the morally bankrupt characters to die horribly.)

ANYway. Credits roll, and I turn off the TV.

Aaaaaand I finally recall the existence of painkillers. Were you wondering why I didn’t take some up at the start? Yeah. It’s a mystery to me, too. The pills work like fucking magic once I remember to take them, but the idea of taking ibuprofen or naproxen never pops into mind right off the line. Every single time, I’ll muddle along for hours just…ignoring…as hard as I can before “hey, take a pill!” occurs to me.

I learned a thing or three!

I’ma fan of words that carry sound, feel, and meaning in pleasant, useful & satisfying ways. Here are some new-to-me ones I ran across this week with links to definitions:

  1. tikkun olam
  2. omakase
  3. maft
  4. octothorpe
  5. manicule

Imma leave any further research to you, dear readers. I don’t want you to miss out on the joy of discovery I got to enjoy.

That’s all until later!

Random Thoughts Roundup

Winter is coming.

Autumn is already here, seasonally speaking. The calendar will catch up soon. And I fear winter’s going to cut down on opportunities to safely spend time with other people, what with the pandemic & all. I wish that wasn’t true.

Some of my favorite memories are cold weather ones: campfire parties with bunches of Girl Scouts, all sitting on logs bundled up, hot drinks in mittened hands and marshmallows blazing over the fire; comet watching with Spouseman, lying on the warm hood of the car, staring up at stars on a back road in a forest preserve; all alone on a sunset walk through the neighborhood, ice crunching under my boots, ice forming on my eyelashes, ice making the bare tree branches creak in the -40 degree wind chill.

Gonna pause here to note that I was rarely cold out on any of those occasions. Did I did mention I hate feeling cold? Yeah. No cold toesies for me once I was old enough to buy my own boots.

I hate being cold, but I’m willing to keep having outdoor hangouts all winter long, if I can find other people to hang with me. It’s partly about having the right gear, and all about the good company.

MURICA AMIRITE?

I am a citizen of a country whose federal government throws people into concentration camps, keeps them in wire cages, starves them, experiments on them, & sterilizes them. I’m a citizen of a country where local and state police forces promote violence and consort with thugs, neither serving nor protect the communities that provide them with budgets dwarfing the ones funds given to public aid and education. I live in a country where the haves are unforgivably selfish and dangerously blind, and the have-nots are willfully ignorant. Where far too many people have no idea how their own government works, and are so secure in their willful ignorance that no narrative truth can reach them.

It’s painful, that’s what it is. I’m not helpless, and I am not a bystander, but it’s hard, not being able to do more without breaking myself. I don’t do as much as others, but I give, and I speak up, and I support where and when I can. Not everyone is built for battle. Not everyone is strong enough to hold up themselves, much less others. It ain’t fun being fragile, is what I’m saying.

FFS All opinions were NOT created equal.

When did the absurdity of “We can agree to disagree, but it’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it,” become an acceptable conversation topper? It isn’t true, it isn’t right, and it’s responsible for a lot of evil in the world. That’s my opinion. And if you disagree with me, you’re wrong. Period. So there.

Vote Dammit.

I have voted in nearly every election since I turned 18. That’s a lot of elections, and a LOT of disappointments. I have known all my life the system was rigged and broken and the only chance we had to fix it was to vote in people who were willing to change it.

I’ve preached about the importance of voting so often my friends who think it doesn’t matter get annoyed and edge away from me every time it comes up. (YOU WERE FOOLS AND NOW LOOK WHAT IT’S COME TO) Ahem. Sorry. Not helpful, but GD*#$#)$&^#@ it’s frustrating.

And this year…oof. This year I am feeling very gloomy about the outcome but still hoping I am wrong. We’ve got this one last chance to steer away from the precipice. Maybe. But by golly, whatever happens after the election, I’m gonna go down knowing I did everything I could to make a better future out of this mess I grew up in.

HAHAHA-OOOPS.

Last week started off more cheerful than it wrapped up, can you tell by the way the entries deteriorated into rants? SORRY. In writing news, things are going okay. I’m grinding through the end of the 3rd of 6 sections in Sharp Edge. I’ve hit a plot point that doesn’t want to polish up, but things will work out.

ANYway. It’s Monday night, so this is going out now. Until later!

Mental quirks again

Imma talk about another aspect of my brain’s Escher-esque architecture in this post. Today’s stray personal oddity: on top of being face-blind and conflating all context-related memories into one, I lack a tagging system for remembering readers.

Neurodivergence is FUN! Data storage? Plenty! Randomizer that shuffles data together? Top-notch! System for relating data points to origin? Non-standard. Long-term associative storage? Faulty.

Without regular, consistent replacement, memory connections between source & data fray, get impossibly tangled and snap.

This is not cool in many ways. Case in point: even if I know you well in real life (no, honestly, especially if) chances are excellent that I do not know if you’ve ever read any of my books or if you did, whether you liked them.

It isn’t a matter of what I want. I LOVE knowing people love my stories. It is pure happiness. I have given years of my life to my characters & their crises and conflicts, and knowing others also love them is a joy and an honor, and I am beyond thrilled whenever readers tell me what they like about my worlds. It is EXCITING. it is WONDERFUL. AFFIRMING. GLORIOUS.

But there’s a difference between that goodness and getting it to stick.

Seriously. You could tell me my books changed your life, creating a memory I would keep forever and use for encouragement during Bad Writing Times..but three hours/days/weeks/months down the line, my ability to associate that memory with a specific who will be lost.

A few special folks make a point to strengthen and refresh their book connections by reminding me of them–repeatedly and often–but that’s a gift I accept with gratitude, but an expectation. The default for everyone else is “not interested or read them and did not like them.”

This is a thing I felt was important to share with readers & friends– especially since those groups overlap–for two reasons.

1: Uncomfortable updates. If you’ve ever told me you were going to read one of my books? Please stop nervously waiting for me to ask about it. I won’t. Ever. Please stop reporting to me that you haven’t finished it, or got busy, or…whatever. Leave me ignorant. I’ve forgotten, and I loathe the idea of reading from a sense of obligation. Hearing you are forcing yourself to read my story despite thinking it’s too “meh” to make you stay up late finishing? That hurts. Skip it.

2: Accidental secretiveness. I put detailas onto social media in dribs and drabs as my self-confidence allows, but I rarely volunteer details about writing in real life. It’s hard to bait me into talking about my work, and I find ways to quickly change the subject when I realize I’ve wandered into those weeds.

Don’t I want to talk about my imaginary friends & villains & my clever plot ideas & plans for maybe-books? OHGAWDOFCOURSE. I’m dying to yammer on. Get me wound up, and keep asking me questions or pose hypotheticals and I could go on for hours. Blissfully.

But while I know some of my friends online & off have read my books, I don’t know which of you would rather be boiled alive than be subjected to discussion. And I am Not Good about social interactions in the first place.

Most questions containing the words “writing” or “book” fall into the same conversational heading as, “How are you?” People want a quick call-and-response social interaction, not an information dump. When the subject comes up, I will reach for a canned response from my polite-interaction playbook, not an armload of plot bunnies and funny character quirks from my series bible.

And because the questioner or other listeners might be someone who thinks my beloved fictional buddies are made of MEH, I’ll lob the conversational ball away ASAP.

I’m not reticent because I lack faith in my writing. I think it’s fabulous. I’m quiet because talking about it hits an unfortunate intersection of brain idiosyncrasies.

ANYway. If you ever wonder about the mechanics of T-series rampages, or how R-factor activation works, or you want to know all about Colonel Galloway’s backstory and why the hell Kris married a jerk like her ex-husband, or if you wish I would share what adventures I have in store for Serena & Justin & Felicity…hit me up.

I’m not snubbing you. I’m navigating social shit as best I can with uncooperative hardware. If you want to know the workarounds, they’re pretty simple:

  • ONLINE:
    • respond to work in progress updates with questions. Regularly. Eventually it starts to sink in.
    • comment on writing-related posts that you liked a book & why. (that second part is critical because a 2nd connection = 2x the sticking power )
    • All this assumes the social media platform cooperates by showing you posts, but the more we interact, the more likely that is.
  • IRL
    • drop book-related trivia on me, or ask questions
    • be persistent when I turn the conversation to something else. Deflection is a deeply-rutted habit.
  • BOTH
    • resign yourself to me still not remembering you’re a happy reader the next time
    • Maybe think of it as an easy way to give me a nice surprise

In other news: I’m about 55% of the way through the edits on Sharp Edge of Yesterday now, and while working speed will slow down again when I near the end where things need more polishing, it’s a blast to be racking up multiple chapters a day right now. GOOD TIMES.

That’s all until later!