Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pain Is Pain

I've kept my pain comments to a minimum this year (if you don't think so, you aren't living in my body). Until this morning. This morning I received permission (in an odd way) from a Friend I identify as the most long-suffering of the chronic pain sufferers among my Friends (although I doubt I know how many such Friends I have).

She started a conversation about how pain is different for everyone and there's no point comparing pains. It had an Apostle Paul quality to it. I haven't posted this year because of all those Friends who hurt far more and far more often and far longer than I have (according to FB, this is Year 3). It feels insulting to them to gripe about my pain when theirs is likely worse.

However, there is no comparison. Pain is pain. The same way I would never mock someone grieving the loss of hamster because it isn't a person (my inclination with such mockers is to punch them in the throat). The grief is the salient point, not the supposed worthiness of the cause of the grief. Besides, I would grieve a hamster more than most people.

So I'm going to write about my pain this year this once, and then fall quiet again.

Here's something I also grabbed from my Friend:


Four years ago, I fell on my left knee on my driveway in early Spring. It began bothering me at the first Realm Makers conference in St. Louis. I believe that was four years ago. I remember clearly because the 4 hour drive there set it off, and I prayed I had enough ibuprofen to get me home. The drive home was torture, even with ibuprofen.

The knee has flared ever since, but two years ago, my left jaw began to hurt in a way my tooth splint didn't correct. Although not debilitating, I was desperate enough to seek physical therapy, which cost over $800 and failed to help in any significant way other than to confirm I'm too rigid and need to relax.

I began Classical Stretch last autumn, which did help me relax, but has not lessened my pain. It taught me to keep moving through the pain, and that was valuable because the pain increases. In addition to my knee and jaw, my back has joined in. Nearly all the time. I cannot lie down for any reasonable length of time. I've found myself considering the purchase of a recliner, which I hate, because it might hurt less than my bed, which is adjustable. I'm grateful for insomnia because it means I don't wake up in more pain than I laid down with.

January was the last time I wasn't in pain every single day, and I suspect that was because January had no weather fronts to speak of.

Have I exhausted every medical recourse? No. I haven't even sought an official diagnosis of arthritis because I don't know where to start or how much money I want to spend to get one. Do I take meds every day? No. Some days I'm willing to power through because the pain is only a 3 or 4, and I don't want to ruin my liver or become victim to the law of diminishing returns over that. Some days, I have to take drugs to keep the pain at a 3 or 4.

I find myself wondering if OxyRub or OmegaXcel really work like the infomercials say, or whether there'll be a lawyer commercial in 5 years telling me to call for the payout because of some horrific side-effect the FDA didn't know about. Then I wonder if the side-effect is worth it for 5 years of no pain. I wonder if my insomnia is really night pain I've almost gotten used to.

Have I become a chronic pain sufferer? I guess I have. Grandma Turtle lived the last decade of her life with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, and never once did I hear her complain or snap at anyone. I hope I can live up to her example.

Mom heard about a stem cell pain treatment center in Manhattan, and I've requested an application for consideration. I have plenty of fat cells for them to harvest. We'll see how it goes.

That's all I have to say about that. For now. For all of you who hurt, too, I'm sorry. I'm praying for us.

Push button. Press bacon.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Still Writing

I've added another 5 pages. Five pages in a month isn't much, but it's more than 1 page in a year.

My aim is one to two sentences a day. They don't have to be good. They just have to be story-relevant. I can write them at any time during the day. I've taken to leaving my WIP open where I left off, so I can write the moment something occurs to me. If I write more, great. If I don't, I've at least got my two sentences.

I have a lot of reasons writing has become so hard. The cats are an automatic initial six reasons (literally as I write this sentence, Skamper picks himself up from the floor across the room and stations himself between me and the keyboard with his enormous fluffy tail directly in front of my face. ARRGH!). I have trouble pacing myself at work, so little brain is left after hours for creation. I've found The Waltons and Bonanza on INSP from 6-8. Doesn't matter. Two sentences don't take that long to write, and INSP commercials are long and frequent.

Editing is easier than fresh writing. Maybe you aren't old and weary enough to know this. Good for you, whippersnapper. I, too, was young once, and I never believed the words would stop, either.

Finish what you start. Once sentence at a time.

Applaud the jellyfish.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I Am Writing

Naturally, the moment I excuse myself from blogging, I get the urge to blog. I have ignored it and opened my WIP instead.

I wish there was a way to open to where I left off. I'm using Word (old, old Word - 2003, maybe?) and it always opens to the first page. Like it's supposed to. Except I now like the Scrivener feature of opening to wherever I left off. This is probably a google search in the making.

I am writing. Not every day. Not huge amounts. But at least a sentence, and sometimes more. My page count has moved from 75 to 80. They aren't polished, but they're written.

Sounds pretty small. That would have been an hour's work back in my SOJ writing days. But life was less complicated then, and I had fewer cats, and no need to truly use my brain at work.

My only goal at the moment is to write something everyday. I took Lioness' advice and printed a calendar to track the days I write. That should help with the "one sentence or 10 words" goal. The big trick is to just write something.

Even writing this, Skamper is pacing in front of me, head-butting at random, purring loudly. Cats are hellspawn, sent to plague, torment and distract writers. This is why wizards don't have cats as familiars. They couldn't get a single spell formulated.

Push button. Receive bacon.

PS. Skamper moved to the back of the chair, and Miss Kitty jumped up to block the keyboard and headbutt and climb me. sigh

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Gone Writin'

I finally remembered to turn the furnace on after our streak of warm weather, and I have cats sprawled across every vent to prove it. This is why I wear socks.

With Farmville out of my life, politics making it impossible to stomach nearly any form of electronic media, and the busiest time of year at work compounded with my recent promotion, I am stressed. The kind of stress I would usually rely on my mouthpiece to counter, but the mouthpiece didn't fit after the crown, and it didn't seem to be working that last year anyway, so I'm searching for a new stress-combating strategy.

Fortunately, it's Spring. Swamp Time. Time to be out in the muck battling the Curse and cursing the battle to make one space somewhat vital for an all-too-brief span. That takes care of the exercise portion of stress release, but it doesn't help with the emotional portion.

I'm writing. In the morning during my normal blogging time, and in the evening after Swamp Time. I have no idea how long it will last, or whether anything useful will grow out of it, but I'm doing it.

Therefore, for an undetermined time, I will be writing elsewhere in what I hope to be a productive and stress-reducing manner.

Enjoy your Spring.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Marketable Skills: Responsibility

I considered calling this one Accepting Blame, except my general rule is fix the problem, not the blame. Unless you're the problem. Then the blame is yours, too.

When interviewing for a job, generally you are given a list of job duties that you are expected to perform on a routine basis. This is rarely a comprehensive list, but it will cover the minimum expectations of both you and your employer. Meaning, if you can't do these things on a routine basis with a minimum of mistakes and no supervision, you should be fired.

If you are a server at Sonic and can't make change, you should be fired. If you work at a phone bank answering calls all day and regularly forget to turn on your phone or yell at back at frustrated customers, you should be fired. If you data-enter numbers, and you regularly transpose them, you should be fired.

The above paragraph makes the mistake most employees make: it assumes it is your employer's responsibility to remove you. Wrong. It is your responsibility to remove yourself. A person of integrity who agrees to perform certain tasks in exchange for money, who discovers he cannot perform those tasks, should refuse payment and find another job better suited to his skill set. Unfortunately, the workplace is full of lemmings who would rather be told what to do than lionesses who solve problems, especially when that problem is herself.

I do not mean people cannot make mistakes. People are people, competent or not, and everyone has bad days. When those happen, own them, do your best anyway, and expect to have some messes to clean up later. That's normal. But the consistent failure to do the minimum your job requires is unacceptable to everyone: the customer who can take his business elsewhere, your co-workers who have to bail you out while still doing their own jobs, and your boss who's literally paying you to cause problems she doesn't need.

If you make simple mistakes on a regular basis that cause extra work for everyone, you can expect to work in a hostile environment. I recommend accepting responsibility and doing what you need to do to get your act together. If you don't, your boss will do her job and fire you, and you will have only yourself to blame. If you're a lemming, that won't stop you from blaming everyone else anyway.

Push button. Receive bacon.