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 🙂
I’ve been on about three false starts for this post, this week. And I’ve tried to write and explain this feeling… this weight for years. It’s odd. I’m a writer. I should be able to explain this. But I’m depressed. It’s a hard time to write in the first place, and then, to write about how sad I am… I guess it makes sense that it’s hard to deal with.
Depression just is
Believe it or not…this is one of the millions of faces of depression. And it’s mine. That’s me on Saturday, after The UK Games Expo. My daughter and I had *a ball*, but I went to bed Saturday with the post-con blues, and woke up with full blown, not done this for a while, “oh, I thought I’d seen you for the last time, oh well,” depression. I have CPTSD, I’m somewhere on the autistic spectrum, I have anxiety and psychosis. Depression is a MAJOR part of my life, unfortunately, but, I’m not particularly gracious about it. Depression isn’t something we need to be gracious about, but… as a mental health advocate, I kinda feel like a fraud posting photos and smiley selfies when I feel like rubbish.
I do want to talk about that later – it’s important, and it’ll be linked from here when it goes live. But, I guess this is the other side of it. One of *many* sides, I feel. You won’t look at me and think ‘that’s a depressed woman’. Not unless you see me in what we call my ‘meltdown moments’. But just because I’m smiling, or interacting on social media, or Facebook, it doesn’t mean I’m ok. In fact, often, I find that’s when I know it’s coming. When I have to start forcing myself to open my laptop, I know things are getting hard. I know it’s really hard when I can’t find nice things to say to people when they need help. I know I have to step away when stupid incidents wind me up to spitting teeth, and I DO walk away when I’ve had a week like this, where I was bullied. It’s not overly common, but it does happen. Add all of it together – the post-con blues, bullying, sadness and inability to focus, and oncoming depression? That’s kinda a perfect storm for me to get into real trouble if I don’t step away and let the darkness pass over me.
It’ll pass, but it’s not the blues
One of the conversations I’ve had when talking about writing about depression of any kind is that it just *is*. A friend that talked to me last night, when I mentioned I wanted to make this post but I was struggling with it, suggested that I should call it ‘I guess that’s why they call it the blues’. Other friends have talked to me about telling people about how I battle, how it’s a fight. I can’t do that. It’s not that I don’t agree that people frame it their way. I just can’t frame it that way. Depression just is. It’s a part of my fabric, and there are, when I’m in less bad places, I guess, upsides to it. I understand exquisitely the depths of darkness and the heights of joy. I know it’ll pass. It always has in the past. It’s not easy to keep that in mind right this second, but, it does. I know it does.
Depression just isn’t….
It just isn’t something that goes away. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t really deal tell other people how to feel, but I’m not really comfortable with the stuff that comes with talking about depression. So, I’m going to say, if you’ve read this post, please remember three things:
I’m currently *very depressed*. Be kind, because I’m not in a place where I’m very good at censoring myself.
I don’t want to be ‘sold’ to. I meditate, I use essential oils, I read and write self-help books. I know all of the suggestions that I’m to follow. In the coming days, I’m going to start pulling back, start making space, start going back to basics. I’ll probably talk about that later, but less social media, more real life time basically sums it up. Eat properly, and go back to a rigid schedule till I feel more comfortable.
Finally, if you don’t have anything nice to say, please don’t say it. No ridicule, no bullying and please, this is one of the few times I also ask that you don’t say ‘oh, I know how you feel’ and launch into why. Knowing others are depressed (which I *know*, believe me, I know) doesn’t help me. I will take advice without needing people to explain why they want to give it. But if you’re struggling right now, I’m sorry, I’m not the person to tell. It hurts more.
When I’ll be back
Usually I am gone for a week or two when this happens. Sometimes I pick myself up and get back into writing, or find something that I can be proud of, or things turn around. My mood is related – a lot – to what I do, what I succeed and how I spend my time. I’m hard on myself, as many people are. You don’t need to have depression to be tough on yourself. But, living with depression when you feel like you’re failing…it’s so hard. Getting up and out of bed, cooking…eating. Even staying clean and brushing my hair…it’s all so many more spoons than it takes me to get to where I am just to sit down and do my work during the day. Work is…. daunting, terrifying, horrible. Even when I complete something, it’s *never enough*. Not for me. I’ve done some really amazing things for my clients, and I know I have because they’ve told me that I’ve done something amazing. (I moved someone from an Exchange server for Pete’s sake! It might not be a big thing, but I’m not Windows. I’m Linux. It’s a daunting thing to move 7+ years of archived emails. I discovered, as I researched that it’s not actually that difficult, it’s just…a bit…fiddly to get people swapped over for access if they’re not really technical, but we did it. People are happy. I’m even talking to people on the phone to do it.) All of this is HUGE. I still feel terrible though. And a lot of this is my mindset. Some of it is worry that I’m doing stuff wrong, because I’m always learning new things. Some of it…I dunno. Some of it is just life. I feel like I’m not achieving much when I’m moving things around and reorganising my own stuff, which is what I’m doing now.
But…I’ll be back. I’m going to keep working on my books, if I can. I’m going to keep the business running. I’m going to try and do what I can to help others, when I’ve got spare spoons. But mostly. I’m just going to work on resetting things. My meditation practices have slipped. I’m not exercising as much. I’m not eating more than once a day, most days. And most of all, I’m not interested in going and messing with my Cricut. We’ve got a new resin printer here and I’m not asking to unpack that. All I really want to do is lie in bed and wait till this passes. (and yes, I know that’s stupid. That I can’t just wait it out. I’m not very good at looking after myself, but food is one of those things I just kinda view as ‘I need to do this’ when I’m in this mood. I’m lucky, my partner looks after me, as do my kids, but seriously, don’t pillowfort till you feel better).
I know, I know, I said yesterday I’d post something, but we filmed this, we filmed some other stuff, and then…well, other things got in the way, so we changed the order we did the vids in, and stuff.
I’m writing this from my bed today – I’m not having a great week already, but I’m sure it’ll get better 🙂
So, today, I’m inviting you over to Authorinterrupted, which you, Constant Reader, may or may not know, is my ‘professional’ writer’s blog, but which, for a very long time last year was just ‘my blog’. I’m going to split off the personal posts and either mirror or redirect those to here.
For those of you asking how best to keep up with this instead of remembering where I left off the day before, if you go to ByKai, you should find that all the posts mirror there, though they may appear slightly out of synced order to when I post on Facebook to say there’s a new post live. But, also as requested, Kai’s Blog Page, or Kai’s Blogging Network as I prefer to call it, has started this week too! Exciting stuff.
So, without further ado, my promised freebie, and see you later, over on Authorinterrupted.com – let me know what you think!
If it’s not behaving here, I’m launching my own Youtube Channel too, so please join me over there, or on my page at Facebook, where I’ll load it direct!
I guess I’m going to get some funny looks for this post, but writing is an adorable, yet endless grind. I’ve been arguing with people today about it today, but we grow, and we learn. And writing is both pleasure and pain, or at least for me. And I’m still stretching my muscles and wearing them in again.
I set myself a goal of 100,000 words this year, and I’m already a fifth of the way there, just blogging, doing 750words.com and a tiny bit of fiction. I want the fiction to be much more of an element in it, but seriously, it’s easy to write 100,000 words, just by blogging and doing 750words.com. I may need a bigger goal!
In the interim though, I thought I’d introduce my new readers to a few things that they might have missed:
We (Kriss and I) are sorting out some other stuff to launch too – a horror blog and a couple of other things besides.
But yeah, that’s where we are right now. I’m back to looking for a job, which is really fun, and really tiring. We’ve temporarily stopped trying for a baby, while I settle into everything. We’re coming up with new and interesting ways to amuse the now not so kitten-sized kittens. Life is as it is.
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? )