Quite honestly, I’m not entirely certain how I feel right now. There are so many different things that I’ve been thinking about. How we measure success. What we consider ‘worthy’ work, when we think about our lives, and how we decide to measure what we’re doing. Like water over rocks, we often smooth away the knowledge we don’t like and find a way to let it settle. And time, like water down a hill, never stops.
Judgement – my own worst enemy
Self-judgement that is. And I think that’s true of all of us. We’re ALL our own worst enemies when it comes to deciding if we’re ‘doing what we’re made to do’. Which in itself is a loaded sentence.
I really hate the whole “we’re human beings, not human doings” concept. It distils and negates a lot of the struggle we all have with the needs and responsibilities, the wants and the necessities we all carry and balance. I’m a human being. I am. What I am right now? A little bit stressed, a lot melancholy. Because I’m judging myself against a list of things that I just can’t expect to meet. What I can say though is that I’ve achieved a lot that isn’t ‘obvious’. I was discharged from therapy, and told I’d successfully completed the work they wanted me to which is…awesome. I went into recovery care with the local unit over seven years ago. I moved two years ago, this week, to the unit the county over. I’ve put a commendation about Dr C. and my nurse, M, with my MP, I feel that strongly about their care. The whole NHS should be praised, for the last few years, of course, but the team that cared for me over the last few years especially, since just after my 40th birthday, are people that went above and beyond and made a real change to my life.
The grain silo, Being Human and more…
I’ve talked about these essays but never finished them. Some are actually in ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ and expanded upon. So, along with the retrospective coming for the rest of this week, and looking forward over the weekend (the blog is going to be busy), but I’ll be releasing the essays ‘The Grain silo’ and ‘Being Human’, along with the pre-order link for ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ over this week. I’ll maybe even get to talk about the major business project we’re launching. On Saturday or Sunday, I’ll release our sort of calendar, and aspirations we have. And they are aspirations. Not deadlines. Not must do’s. The pre-orders are fixed, but.. other than that, we’ll adapt. And the we in this case is my beloved, my family, my friends and I. Being Human isn’t to be alone. And I’m not.
I’m not sure if people have much of an idea of my history with Nanowrimo, but I’ve been writing every November since 2003. Every November, I write 50,000 or more words. The only time, to date, that this wasn’t the case was 2004.
It started in 2002 actually…
In 2002, while I was writing after breaking off ties with someone I’d been working with, and working on some pretty difficult stuff, someone told me about Nanowrimo. At the time, my ex and I were still together, and though everyone thought we were ok – I mean, my daughter was a year old, we had a three year old son. But he was pretty convinced that I shouldn’t be allowed to write, that if I was going to manage it, I’d have written that bestseller. Already. He wasn’t a bad man – we have two amazing children, but neither he nor I were not good for one another. Between 2002 and 2003, we seperated.
Fast forward to 2003
Single, unhappy and lonely, I decided that I would take my mum up on her offer, and I vollunteered to run as an ML…for the whole of Scotland as it happened then. We all met in a very loud pub, I made lots of friends, and discovered a gaming club called GEAS. 2003’s Nano was also Glass Block. And Elliot Peters firmly entrenched himself in my life. Elliot is Glass Block. Eventually, when the library of posts comes back online, that’ll make more sense, but he’s one of my backlist books. Tomorrow, he goes to an editor for update before we re-release him, thanks to my beloved’s help. In 2003 though, I hadn’t even met him. Instead, I had Elliot, waking me up at 4am and telling me stories. Y’see, Elliot thinks of me as a confessor of sorts. And Internal Affairs as he’s a cop. As I live with psychosis of several kinds, this is completely normal to me, but I know some people find it uncomfortable that my characters are *really* real. Others aren’t. It’s ok. I was seven months from my other ‘leading man’, Farran. Five or so from Tempus. And I quite honestly had a ball during Nano. Honorable mentions at this point to John, James, Gregor, and everyone else I met during those months of writing. You all made my Nanowrimo so much fun, and in fact, that was true for the whole time I helped out and ran Scotland as the ML.
I did promise you a love story, didn’t I?
Well, the truth of the matter is, and it’s a story I’ve told several times, without Nano, I wouldn’t have gone to GEAS, and in all likleyhood, Tempus and I wouldn’t have met. I can’t actually say that for sure, because I might have taken it into my head to look into D&D again, but… I’d given in on that having my kids. Tempus and I have been together 17 and a half years. We origonally just decided we wanted to hang out and have a bit of fun, but…a year in, when it came down to actually thinking about the future, neither of us could actually picture a time without one another. By 2006, we’d moved to where we are based now for his work, as he’d graduated in 2005. 2007-2011, Uni for me. It’s not all happily ever after. My mental health is a challenge we meet with varying success, but he and I share many interests (newest one, solving our arguments with lightsabers, aka we’re both going to train and learn Ludosport.). It’s no secret we’re both gamers, and we’re both super geeky, but we do have enough divergent interests that we can be together or apart. But, I truly believe I was lucky, and that Nanowrimo plays a huge part in that for me.
Our love story isn’t over. I don’t believe it ever will be while either of us are here, but it’d be nice to think that we’ll have a child together and live long, happy lives together. I really do love him, and without Nanowrimo, who knows if I’d have had this chance.
You’ll note, I don’t refer to him other than ‘Tempus’. It’s because he’s not keen on talking about himself online. There are a very few pictures of us together, and I’ve added on to the bottom of this post, but I do know one thing. My life is a very good one, and I love that it’s with him.
This is me and him, 2018, in the Dominican Republic. The full length shot of me with a boogie board was taken about an hour before, for those that know it.
He’s my bad idea bear, my beloved, my companion, my gaming and sparring partner. We talk books, games, movies. We tell each other jokes and pass on research from cyber security and infosec, and have a date night every Saturday. We go exploring good places to eat, we giggle at one another playing Fallout 76. We have our friends over for Gloomhaven. We’ve raised two wonderful young adults together since the 20 year old (@artenapan) was about 2 1/2, and her older brother too (he’s just as private as Tempus in many ways, so you’ll see him referred to as ‘Wonderboy’, or Titanboi. He’s in his 20’s too, and a wonderful man, and all of us are gamers of one sort or another. But Tempus… He’s the best person in the world, and I’m so blessed.
And, one final, bonus fact. He’s the reason I have most of my pen name. He encouraged me to stay as Kai when I explained why I’d changed my name, and I did. In late 2004, after we’d been together for a few months, I asked him if I could use his last name so that when we get married, I didn’t need to rebrand. He didn’t even blink. Like I said, he’s an awesome guy. And that’s my Nanowrimo Love Story 🙂
The night before #nanowrimo21 and I’m sharing ‘Love, Muse’. Sit down. The dishes can wait. No, the baby isn’t stirring. That’s it. Let me tell you a story. It won’t take long Sit down. That wasn’t the door. You don’t need more coffee That’s it. Fingers on the key. We’re off. Love, Muse by D Kai Wilson-Viola
I’m inches from publishing my first full-length novel under my own name, and I was going to kinda let it pass without comment, and then I thought ‘I think I wanna talk about this’.
The following is a bit maudlin, a bit ‘ow, crossed legs’ for writers, a bit dumb luck and a bit scary really. So if you wanna skip it, I understand.
But this is the story of Glass Block.
Where it all started
One evening, around October of 2003, which was about three months after I’d kicked my ex out, and just before the Nanowrimo in November, I was parked in my usual place, in the bath, and Elliot came to visit. I came back from that bath with seven stories to write, which I dutifully noted down in a private post on my Livejournal. And filed it for the Nanowrimo.
The Nanowrimo led to me meeting my beloved in a very roundabout way, but Elliot was stuck to me like glue. In fact, in the first few months of our relationship, said now fiancee commented at least once that he was sharing me and was really quite scared (or pretended to be) when I told the merry-go-round story. But Glass Block sat. And sat.
Still hearing voices, three years later
(not to be flippant about hearing voices – I do have problems with what is considered psychosis as well, but if you can’t joke about it…)
So, Elliot’s book series expanded from seven to I think 21 in the years between meeting the other half and starting at Uni (including a house move – a really major one about err…400 miles south). That was 2007.
Glass Block went out to a press in 2005. Press loved it. Press closed.
Glass Block went to a senior editor at a really big publishing house. Was accepted. Imprint curtailed when editor left. Three year wait. At the time, I thought I’d find somewhere else (in 2008). Oooops.
Glass Block got rewritten and went to another house. House closed.
In that time I ghostwrote other stuff. I watched those books do stuff. I worked with people. I moved into non-fiction. I went to Uni and did a degree (where, critically, I just solidified how I used voice – I got so much from that course, and I’ll be forever grateful). Last house that took it, I got a tiny advance, and then three weeks later, the owner was killed in an accident.
So, I went self-publishing.
You’d think the litany…
Would end? Nope. So far, the book has been pirated before it was released, and made me rewrite it again, I’ve been in my first ever car accident and damaged my shoulder so badly that I couldn’t write, and most recently, the server we were on was hacked the week I took off to finish up. Normally, I’d back off after that and leave the book alone, then take another run at it, but Elliot’s been wandering around singing songs, and niggling at 4am, so here I am, at t-6 days, telling people the horror story that is my attempt to publish the book I adore more than anything else in my literary world.
Book outline swelled to 30 then stalled. And I thought that was it, till a really innocent comment by one of my university tutors…It currently stands at 59, and I suspect most of my sci-fi (the ones planned anyway) have something to do with the computer system I talk about in the books, in which case, it’s more like close to 100 books in one universe.
Whatcha think? Would you have given in or be even more determined to get the book out?
(wanna know more about the book? )
We interrupt your regularly scheduled fluff for a bit of a rant. And I wouldn’t be doing this during Nanowrimo season, but it *really* needs to be said.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word ‘Dystopolitics’. And my idea of Dystopolitics is actually linked to my own books, but it goes beyond that. The politics of dystopia, right now, is pretty much looking at stuff like ‘A Handmaid’s tale’ and going, oooh, we’ll make sure our political views never get that radical.
And you know, the politics of dystopia. The radicalness….it’s seeping into everything going on around us. I’m days from a graduation ceremony I never though I’d make. I’m getting a 2:1 and I couldn’t be happier. But I’ve found myself in a community of radicals that many refer to as entitled, and I just look at and think ‘You’d be so much happier if the world wasn’t actually democracy, because that’s what you’re campaigning for.’. And you know, that cuold be a horrible thing to think about people, but when they say what I’ve heard lately, I think you’d question whether then understand free speech, a scale of awards, and the rights of others….let me give you an example….
I’ve been reading a lot of ‘I don’t need to worry about grammar and editing, all that matters is I’m writing’ or ‘you’re jealous because your book isn’t out yet’, or ‘would YOU accept a C from your kids if they came home with it on the report? Then why accept a three star review?’.
All of this has kicked off since I started working as an editor – and a lot of it comes out when people discover that it’s going to cost money to edit their books.
There’s two insidious lies I’d like to address today. It’s getting a bit dystopolitical in here if I’m honest. As in, this is the politics of dystopia. The politics of not doing what we’re actually experincing. And that’s wrong.
First – Editing and grammar ain’t important. O’rhyleah? (sorry, been looking at lots of Lolthulu lately). Seriously? Would I have gotten away with that in a very post ironic way on my degree, or, would my tutor have kicked me from here to next week about run on sentences, and the occasional tense mistake? I think I’d have been kicked. I know I would have been – in fact, I was.
So, while I don’t agree with the idea that we need to be locked to rules (and I’ll talk about that more a bit later) if you’re not at least flirting with the acceptance that mistakes aren’t acceptable, then you’re not a professional writer.
There – I said it – it’s not the idea that you can’t afford to hire an editor that doesn’t make you a professional writer – it’s the idea that you can excuse your behavior by HIDING BEHIND not being able to afford a professional editor.
Can’t afford an editor? – I’m writing a book, and I teach classes – check them out.
The other insidious lie is that we’re not all on the same side as writers and readers. And while that’s true, in some cases (you can’t be ‘on the same side’ if you’re buying something from someone), when it comes to literature, readers and writers ARE on the same side. We all want good literature, and the best stories.
So – there’s a second element to all of this:
If you are charging for your work, you have an obligation – a paid service provision – to be professional.
Again, I said it. If you’re going to publish your work – and people are paying you – for heavens sake, act like a professional. That goes beyond the presentation of your work, but in the end, that’s all that matters to your reader.
We move through our lives at a constant pace. We can accelerate or decelerate ourselves with a limited amount of success, but the speed we do things at, at our base rate at least, is probably something we’ll never change. Some of us rush headlong into everything and batter through life as fast as we can, hungry for as many new experiences as we can pick up, and tired at the end of each day because we’ve packed in so much.
Others go as slow as possible, savoring every step, and realising, deep down, that they can’t do everything they might want to.
My problem is I want to savor everything, but I want it all. I have too many hobbies, and too little time on my books for new stuff. I book far too much into my life, mostly because I can. My laptop became both my freedom and my curse, because now, there’s a whole world of reading and writing out there, and I get nothing done.
Facebook is a horrible blessing. I can meet and hang out with so many wonderful people, and keep an eye on my friends, and there are some really cool games on there, but, lets face it, I’ve got a nasty habit of refreshing my page again and again, and then wondering, at 2pm, where my day went.
Worst of all, I’m a person that moves through life with a momentum that pulls others along behind me. And lately, I kinda feel like I’m out in the middle of a great big ocean, with no chance of finding the new land I was aiming for. But it feels like I’m stranding other people now and I don’t like that feeling.
Momentum is working out where you’re going and I think that’s the biggest thing for me right now. I need to work out which map I’m working from – someone else’s or my own. If I’m working from someone else’s, where can I adapt it so it’s all mine – or if I’m going to dive on in headlong and do it all myself, I need to work out where I want to go – there are *so many* choices right now.
What I do know is tomorrow begins my ninth Nanowrimo. I’m really looking forward to it. It gives me another month to work out and plan the roller coaster that is about to be my life. One way or another, things will start resolving and working out the way I want to.
Plans are coming soon, though. I’m happy to report there *is* a plan, but it’s difficult to see whether it’s the right choice right now. So I’m going to have a bit of fun with my writing for a bit, and see where that takes me. It’s too easy for me to lose sight of what I wanted to do when I started out online – which was writing. I’ve gone all over the web since, looking for something that’s ‘all me’ but what I am, underneath it all, is a writer.
Looking forward to those recipes.