It’s wearing me down – It’s all in my head now.

This month, continuing after Westercon, has been filled with extreme highs and extreme lows that I can’t replace or explain. Part of it comes from what I now know is ‘Post-Conference Blues’, according to some of the people who helped make Westercon great. (NO, other people lol) Other parts have included my birthday which was on the 13th of July, Ben’s on the 10th of July, and my daughters end of summer school. Being completely broke doesn’t help you celebrate anything, it draws you into a deeper need to hide away from the things you can’t celebrate. Yes, there are ways to go about it without money, but they always include some element that ends up not in your cupboard, or not in the apartment, or not within reach. Why purchase things for a birthday cake when you have to save the money to come up with some school clothing for her first year of Junior High School?

 

There have been some unexpected high notes as well. When I felt at my worst, a 12yr old girl comes around the corner giggling so loud that you can’t even hear the t.v. or radio. A post on facebook asked everyone to name a band that does not have the letter B in it. After watching TV with Ben, we end up spending the next hour and going to bed listing names back and forth with each other that don’t have the letter B in them. We stopped when he fell asleep at 120 of them, of which I fell asleep saying A-Ha (a band). We saw some fireworks on the night of the 25th off our back porch which my daughter waved at them and said “Hello Hello”.

 

And, I found all 3 of my beta readers (or charlie readers as I call them). Who graciously take 3 chapters a week as I go through my 6th round of edits now. They put up with my drizzle, with my moods and stick by me as I attempt to fry their brains with fun urban fantasy!

 

The lowest part of the year also happened this month. It has now been two years, on July 24th, that my mother passed away. There is this emptiness that feeds into the world when you have an event like this touch your life. Color seems not as bright, things don’t taste the same, and I wonder what I did to make it this way.

 

Let’s not get to the blame game, for I know that my isolation is of my own doing. I just don’t know how to change it.   I tried entrusting my half-sister with my daughter for the first night of the convention, which was a mistake. Not only was she not taken care of properly, but her routine was broken and she met my other half sister again, who still has a substance abuse problem. One of them called me on my birthday to find out if I had smokes for them – the other left me a message saying happy birthday that evening, but nothing since. (The irony in this is that my two half sisters are 12 & 15 years older than I am, and never act like it.)

 

I am extremely lucky that I have Ben as my boyfriend and my support, as the rest of my family fails miserably. With my mother gone, it’s just us three. Somehow it feels not enough.

 

Most of my friends from when I drove truck, moved on. I subsequently lost my friends for one reason or another over the last few years and with focusing on my writing, wonder at times why there is nobody to talk to every day about it. Some suggested that I send thank you notes to those who made the con great, however its been about a month, and everyone I wanted to thank, I was lucky enough to do so in person on the last two days. They have moved on to other conventions, other events, and other projects. Just as I went back to my writing.

 

With my mothers anniversary this last week, I ended up only submitting two chapters, not three. Hopefully they understand. Things are cranking faster, and I latch onto some things like a Writing Excuses episode that is titled – I’m a Horrible Writer. I wanted to add more to the last chapter I submitted, but ended up at 4545 words with no room as I try keeping my chapters under 5k. I took a glance at my third person outline, as I am switching it to first person, and I can now see the end in sight. All that takes is kicking myself in the rear and sitting down to type.

 

I can’t let it wear me down, no matter how much my depression and anxiety want me to. The title of this post is a song by Dashboard Prophets titled – Wearing me down. It fits as for years everyone was in my head. Once I wrote it out of my head, I threw it away. I can’t let the loneliness, depression, fear, nerves, anxiety, familial situations, or terror bring me down. Its my promise to myself, and I am still trying.   Even if it makes my mother right, that I wouldn’t try to get published until she passed away..I have to think she was proud of me, even misplaced.

 

How do you keep going despite the odds or situations?

 

 

 

Kate

Pick One – Anyone

I am reminded of the scene in Pretty Woman where she unzips her long red boot and pulls out an assortment of condoms. Julia Roberts, the lead character, then holds up the condoms like holding up a hand of cards and says “Pick a color, any color,” then goes on to list all of them and what they do. And, he picks one.

I saw some friends on twitter, old critique partners, asking for various diseases or illnesses. Having done research on my latest in mental issues, I immediately pulled up my list. ‘Pick a disease, any disease’. By the time I settled my daughter down from her habit of eating puzzles, they had moved on in twitter. Apparently everyone popped off answers fast, and they picked one and moved on.

As you may know, the conference I worked pulled me out of my edits for a good two plus months and finally ended at the beginning of July. However, it has left a hole in my heart (or is that my depression?). I was too busy making changes to programming as it fell on me in the last days, to enjoy the whole reason I wanted to do the conference – to talk to other writers. There were poets, self pubbed, celebs that I met before, and I didn’t have time, nor the stamina, to talk to them long.

You go to these things expecting maybe 5 minutes if you’re lucky to talk or say hello, maybe remind them who you are or listen to sage advice. Someday, say five to ten years from now, maybe they will pick up your book like you did theirs and enjoy it. At least that is my hope. the only good time I got to spend with anyone was driving people to and from the airport.

Back to Reality

 

The reason I brought up the condoms and diseases, is that the conference left me alone, again. Ben went back to his gun files, and anime and fan fiction. Jordan still doesn’t talk, and all those fantastic people I hoped to have dinner with, or hang out with, are now gone. At least they all expressed how happy they were with their schedules and time there.

I had to abandon my edits and beta readers to do the conference, and as of yet I have not heard back from them if they wish to continue. My anxiety and depression became too much during the con and I had to isolate myself online to get anything done. Making the lonely feeling all my fault, which I accept. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I stare at this manuscript which I changed from third, to first person. Which I have thrown out 2 prologues and 3 first chapters, and knocked down from 295k words to about 150k words, and wonder what now? I am doing edits and changes and float in the unknown land.

 

The unknown feeling of wondering if the story is entertaining for anyone else, wondering if I am doing the right thing trying to keep my promise to my deceased mother and my boyfriend, and wondering why I can’t seem to find a writing group, or friend whom I can talk to about the book every day. I knocked out 480 words out of the first 3 chapters, and try to find the strength to keep going. How do these people do this? Or, is the pressure and fear I feel just a buildup of my anxiety and depression? Sometimes, I don’t know how to function, so I just do.

 
All I know is that I can’t keep hiding in the shadows of life, waiting for the storm of people to pass. Somehow, I have to join it. So pick a disease, condom or stress in life, just don’t forget me too.

Broken Pieces and Toeing the Line

The week of July 7-13th, is set as recuperation from Westercon67. I came late to the party and basically ended up being clean-up gal to make sure the convention ran as smooth as possible. Were there hiccups? You bet. Did things seem to fall apart at times? Yes. I think a small part of that goes on regardless of what event anyone does, as unforeseen factors make up a good chunk of life.

The important things still happened. I somehow juggled 110 participants while still keeping my mind intact. I did not loose my daughter during the processes, nor did I loose Ben, and all but three of the participants were extremely happy in what they had to do and the connections they made with each other during the convention.

Now that I sit here, my medications getting balanced again, and resting my legs and lower back that seemed to take the brunt of my lack of sleep; it is those three that haunt me. They shouldn’t be my problem. I strove to do my best with what I was given and in many points of view pulled off a miracle here and there with sponsors and guests. (Anyone who has to juggle 13 guests of honor has a license to be insane.) I have a hard time remembering the good qualities of the con, when their points of view float in my head like broken pieces of a bad record.

No matter how many times Mary Robinette Kowal, Peter Orullian, or Larry Correia and Howard Tayler congratulated me on the success, I knew not everyone was happy. But, I asked myself, is there a way to fix that? In all honesty, I do not think there is.

As a former pet, I learned to follow the facial expressions and small cues to anticipate a dominant’s needs. As a secretary or personal assistant, it remained an invaluable skill in anticipating the needs of a boss, or celebrity. It doesn’t mean you have to toe the company line, but you better be damned sure you know where it is when you step off it.

It took me four days, and a bunch of realization to find out those negative viewpoints, are not my problem, it’s theirs. They stepped off the line without knowing its there. Most were local authors, or authors that were talked about in local circles, but not much outside it. Some are building their reader database and finding their niche. There is no problem with that. I applaud they are doing something I am scared of. However, they took their decided lack of conference success out on me.

It was not my problem that I was handed tasks so late in the game. It was not my fault that there were 110 panelist and only so many panels to assign them. Just like it was not my fault that some of them could not understand the difference between a local, and regional conference.

Sometimes you have to give up the ghost, and enjoy the connections you made, and not bemoan the fact that you did not get the spotlight. There were a lot of spotlights to juggle. Alot of dancers without choreography, and alot of lines jumped during Westercon.

 

Now, after the convention, I sit back in my recliner trying to get the swelling down in my legs, trying to calm my own demons, and try to focus on my manuscript I left on the side of the road to help others. There are no celebrities wanting a personal assistant, there are no other conventions needing my help, there are no phone calls or emails with fires to put out… There is just forty year old me on sunday, a mostly empty apartment, and a haunted diesel out there that hasn’t reached its destination yet.

 
May the powers that be, have mercy on me when I cross that line as an author, and not a convention organizer…so I do not become one of those three voices that soured the circus.