The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

B is for Books #atozchallenge2022

B is for Books #atozchallenge2022

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Blogging From AtoZ 2022

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to say in this post about books, because those people that know me also know it’s pretty much all I talk about outside of Ludosport and gaming and my family.
I was going to share a cornucopia of ‘coming soon’, but then I got Covid (next post) and that kinda got scrapped. I’ve been struggling really, and it’s not a pleasant feeling.

At the core of my writing, whether it’s clear or not, is a project called Nanowrimo. I write a lot during the three months of Nanowrimo, and am…less disciplined the rest of the year, though, to be fair, I do write, every day. Just not always my books. And to be honest? That’s something that kinda bothers me.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve said this before, but I’ve always felt I was built for certain things. Writing, being a mother (though, honestly? That came less naturally. I was still different to what people expected, but I found – and still find it – very hard.). Beyond that, I live with some other roles that I am – an advocate, a friend, an artist, a student. I’m constantly, consistently all about words though.

I wanted to announce books today, so I think I shall 😉

Out among the Stars comes first and will be FREE. It’s a short story from an old anthology I was part of. DungeonBashers and Black Monday are part of the same universe. Teine, which is Gaelic for fire, is my latest collection of essays and stories.
Get news on them by signing up on my newsletter, and all the free books (Out among the stars, Footnotes to a Lesson, The Firemaids’ Temple, Vivarium, and finally, Funhouse. Want info on all of them? It’s coming really soon!)

And how does it relate to the theme I’m trying to write about? The duality of knowing I need to write books versus finding everything from the motivation to the time, I am often at war with myself.

Imbolc, Chinese New Year, St Brigit’s day #newbeginnings #mondayblogs

Imbolc, Chinese New Year, St Brigit’s day #newbeginnings #mondayblogs

I’m still feeling pretty down, and I’ve been away for a bit. Plus, I loged in this week and discovered that the theme I’d been trying to pull together had gone completely pear shaped, so I’m running a new, possibly temporary one.
But it’s all new beginnings, which is really, quite a theme today.

So. 恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái), may the seeds you planted make you the happiest you can be this year. I’m working on changing things, and letting go of regret. I’m not sure whether I can plant that and it’ll grow into something better, or if I discard it, but I do know that right now? New starts aren’t something I’ve really got the inclination for right now, but we don’t get the choice. So I’m embracing what I can.

Books and more will be coming really soon, but I’ve got to get through some work, some uni stuff and more. But I’m hopeful things are getting better.
Imbolc for me though is about planting and tending seeds. Which I’m dealing with as I can. And I’ve got a few ideas for some new books. And hopeful that I’ll deal with the stuff that’s in my way.

How about you guys, how are you?

A 2021 retrospective…a bit late ;) #mondayblogs #yearinreview #lifetheuniverseandakitchensink

A 2021 retrospective…a bit late ;) #mondayblogs #yearinreview #lifetheuniverseandakitchensink

Hi there guys. Normally, doing these, I do really try to get them up either as we’re travelling home on the21st December, but as everyone saw, I posted something else instead. So, I’ll do the retrospective today, and tomorrow we’ll do the ‘coming in 2022’.

I got nothing done…

I think the first thing to acknowledge is that personal goals wise, I’m not further visibly forward, but I did a lot of…I guess it’s ‘behind the scenes’ work. I did have a quieter, calmer year in some ways. Supporting the kids, supporting my partner, and trying to plan for what comes next. I think that though I did very little, overtly, there were a tonne of really great conversations that eventually led myself and my business partner to something we’re working on now, which we’ve tagged ‘AOK’.
Goals wise, too, I didn’t published a dammed thing last year, and only really rebooted this blog about three months ago. I’m still working through how best to handle all of that, if I’m honest, but what I do know is that I’m a lot happier now with most of the things I write, when I write them.
I did start a Substack.
But, because I got ‘nothing’ done, I spent a lot of time with my family. I have regulated my sleep schedule a lot better, though I do sometimes need to switch to LA time to do some stuff, it’s not frequently expected of me. I’m sure next year may change that, but it’s ok. Mostly I’m just grateful for the space to think and spend time with my partner, son and daughter. We bought a Cricut so my daughter and I are still into doing crafty things, we all go out to get photos of stuff, we got to do the UK Games Expo this year…it’s all been really good and really comforting in many ways. None of us have gotten really sick, nor have we caught CV19, but we’re all fully boosted now, and flu shots to boot. We’ve been *very* lucky.

I did lots for clients….

So, I’ve said ‘I got nothing done’ but equally, it’s been an ok year for getting work done for clients. From tomorrow, I’m developing something that cuts back on the clutter for one client so it ‘just works’ and building sites for two others. It’s all looking really solid. I learned Divi a lot more, I’ve been upskilling both for my business and for my uni stuff and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way. I love coding, but I love solving puzzles more.

I (started to) heal a bit…

I think it’s fair to say this year I got on with the rather hard work of starting to heal. I’ve not had an exactly bad life, but I’ve been through a fair few really bad scrapes and my mental and physical health are kinda dented for it. I do totally think I’m dealing with some form of adrenal issue right now, though I’m also quite worried I’m anaemic again, but most of what I did was read, learn, sleep, and just accept that I can’t do everything, or work on starting to accept that. I laid foundations though for this year too – knowing what to do and when to do it hasn’t been the easiest thing for me, but I’m working in advance with a lot of my stuff now and though I sometimes bounce off deadlines, I’ve met quite a few too.
in July, I was discharged from therapy. I’ve done everything I could with them, my therapist was moving on, and instead of getting used to another stranger, given the current pandemic based restrictions, we decided that it was best just to close my file and move on. I can go back if I need to.

And I took up more exercise

Last year, I was just starting Mount Fuji. I completed that and went on to do Giza, Petra, Everest and started The Great Wall of China. In total, I walked about 540km, based on my Fitbit tracking.
I started walking outside by myself too. Didn’t last long, but will be coming back. In November, I went for a Ludosport Discovery session, fell in love with the sport and have now completed enough form 1 training that I can duel, and did for our closing session of the year, winning my team three points. I was rather shocked I managed it. I think everyone else was too, as I often refuse to duel, or withdraw when afraid. I am dealing with a lot more panic attacks though, but we know why and we’re working on that too.

I read… A LOT

Because I didn’t get to do very much in the way of travelling, I’ve mostly adventured through my books. Which, if I’m honest, has mostly involved serial killers, thrillers and murder mysteries. My Goodreads year in review isn’t *everything* I read (cause I’ve got books I read through Netgalley that haven’t or won’t log yet) but it’s close. If you want to see my year, it’s here, but seriously, a lot of it is basically true crime. 😉 Some of it was also audiobooks, which I count.
I think the two books that stayed with me this year though were The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig and we’re currently finishing off Leviathan Falls, which is the final book of the Expanse. And finishing the show too.

Wrote too…

I completed both Camp Nanowrimos and Nanowrimo proper this year, and in the end, it turned out that though it felt like I was pulling teeth, I wrote close to half a million in 4thewords, and another 750k in my various files. Not bad going but next year is going to be a bigger challenge. I didn’t publish anything that wasn’t someone else’s to take from me and put out there though.

And yeah, then there was the ‘also watched’

We watched so many good things this year but I watched less in some ways than my family. And more in others. I had more true rime on in the background during the day, but I’ve watched far fewer programs, and have promised I’ll watch a few of the pertinent ones when we’re back at our usual spaces next week.
Outstanding for me though had to be Loki, Scrubs (which we binged to the last season then pretended that one didn’t exist), Elementary, which we’re catching up on, The Expanse…you get the picture. We’ve started watching Titans season 3, The Witcher Season 2, and The Expanse season 6, and we’re looking forward to The book of Boba Fett, Obi Wan and more.

Gaming

Gaming this year has mostly been about my Switch and our PS5. We’re both having a blast, no pun intended, playing through Fallout 76, though each of us can’t play with each other as it’s not cross-platform. Been playing games on the Switch too, but there’s nothing of note that I’ve played, really. I enjoy Surviving Mars, but a lot of what I do is just play through stuff for a little bit, get listless, put it down. So a lot of my time has just been spent mindlessly shooting things, which I’m kinda good at.

Meditating, self care, religion, oh my

I always leave this bit to last, so if people want to skip, they can.
I meditated almost as much as I walked this year. I’ve found Headspace to be an excellent way of dealing with my sleep issues and the sleepscapes and I have become best buddies during the Pandemic. But we already knew that from listening to the stories Calm put out last year. I decided to stick with Headspace, not Calm in the end, simply because I got on better with Headspace.

I’ve been home to my temple twice this year (which means I’ve been home to family twice this year) and moved my ‘I have to go do something, let’s go to my quiet spot) to a place nearer our current home. It’s not perfect, but it meets most of the needs of what my rules are. I’ve also enacted some pretty radical self-care, but that, and some other stuff will be in the books, in the new Year.

I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes, but I’ll be honest, I’m still not sure this year was actually a full year if that makes sense. Time isn’t right still, not since the interminable but necessary lockdowns, and we’ve been working through as much of being present and grateful as we can, but I’ll also be real about this, a bit of me is still sobbing away in the corner that something so horrible is ongoing.
I may write on that later, but I’m healthy, I’m here, I’ve picked up some new skills and hobbies and though I lost my gran, as a family, we’ve been far more blessed than we could have expected, so really, I can’t complain.

How was your New Year?

The radical changes I need to make #Mondayblogs #Wedswriters

The radical changes I need to make #Mondayblogs #Wedswriters

So, I was a bit quiet about it, but I went on holiday for two weeks in the middle of August.  I spent the last two weeks battering around a pile of theme parks – Disney, Universal, Blizzard Beach (One of Disney’s waterparks), plus Nasa, Gatorland, the Florida Mall, Denny’s, IHOP… we did so much that I’m spending so much time just exploring my experiences and filing them away carefully.  My memory being what it is, I’ve also got about a gazillion photos that we all took – me, David, his mom, his sister, the kids.

I’ll talk about that more in another post (because this blog is getting picked up again as my ‘personal’ place to talk stuff, aren’t y’all lucky), but I need to touch on something I realised while I was away.  I am doing far too much.  FAR too much.  There’s no room for me to learn and explore my world, and there’s no room for writing, none at all.

So, you might say ‘but you knew this already Kai, this isn’t a surprise’.  And you’re right.  But between barely holding it together to grief, and to sleep deprivation (I sleep six hours a night, on my best night.  Normal nights are closer to five hours clawed back, with melatonin and other meds), so my little brain needs to be taught the hard way.
And the hard way was basically taking me offline for most of two weeks.  My phone doesn’t do roaming and I decided, early on, that I wouldn’t use the wi-fi, so I basically read, spent a lot of time hanging out with my kids (my son and I played pool a lot) and just enjoying *being*.

Now, my being is books and writing, so I spent a lot of time trying to work out what I should do with myself.  I don’t read or write nearly enough, and just behind that, I’m not doing a day of learning that I promised myself.  So there’s all that.  Behind that, and not far behind that either, I have a business to run – hosting and apps as it happens, and a diary I designed to help with all of this stuff.  I know it works because I hit the ground running when I came back.

I know it sounds like I’m happy with all of this, but I’m not.  It’s one of the most important things in my world- the ability to get to the point where I am comfortable and happy and can work with what I’d like to do, and I’ve lost that.
I’ll get there, but I’m sure it’s going to be bumpy for the next few weeks.  I’m happy to get with it, but there are things that are important to me, lost in the shuffle.   And all it took was a two-week holiday to spot it.

My mental health is still deteriorating, but I think I know how to sort that out too – I just need a bit of space to do it.  Space isn’t easy to come by though, so while I do, I need to make sure I’m holding up my end of other stuff too.

But there is a ray of hope.  Writing and my books.  While this is a personal blog, the pro stuff will appear here too.  One thing I did learn while I was away was that while my heart is full helping others, my soul sings for words.  And I have so many stories to tell.  And I want to tell them.

Momentum

Momentum

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.

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