Meet My Irresponsible Muse

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My Muse is definitely a drunk girl in a bathroom.

What incredible inconvenience, my mystery muse, to give me an idea whose time has come just in time for me to have NO TIME for writing! I’m already juggling enough, my muse! How can you just slap a story across my face and expect me to comply?! Don’t you see those IKEA boxes full of children’s furniture sitting on my nursery floor? Can’t you tell my mommy brain is in full effect? Don’t you see my struggling to get up into my cafe table desk chair? Why? Why now?!

 

So good news, I have a great idea for my next book!

Bad news, I’m like… SO pregnant and so busy and so distracted that I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a preorder on my last new book so… cool! Thanks, Mom. Or ladyfriend. Or… stranger?! Regardless, you won’t be disappointed. Lay Her Ghosts to Rest is the best thing I’ve written so far and I’m super proud of it. Tell your friends! Make them order it too. Momma’s going on maternity leave soon and needs some residual income, if only enough to buy a few more ice creams before the summer ends.

 

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Cheeky preview of my next new thing. 

No Truck With Trolls

troll-online-web-content-twitter-facebook-internet-180x180I think I had my first troll experience on Twitter this past week and I don’t think he was very good at it. Not unless he hacked my phone and released all my private pics without my knowledge (boy, will those viewers be pleased with the 20 pictures I have of things I want to buy for my new house but won’t remember unless I take a picture). I mean, he basically just gave up and blocked me.

Sir, how do you intend to live up to the standard of modern day trolls without at least threatening to defile my dead grandmother?! Honestly, people are so lazy these days.

It was a writer hashtag game tweet that goaded him to respond. The prompt was “parents” in honor of Father’s Day.

It’s from my forever-be-editing WIP which is about a woman who counsels the spirits of the dead to let go of whatever earthly beef they’re holding onto and just like, pass into the beyond already!

Here’s an excerpt from whence the tweeted line came:

“What can I control? I am a specter. I am incorporeal. What more than making the lights blink can I possibly do to rectify this situation with … with my granddaughter and her peers and the generations to come after her who will deal with the same ignorances and prejudices and…” Frustrated, it began to pulse again, its particles straining to hold together until it closed its eyes and sighed. “Nothing. I can control nothing.”

“You can control you,” Catori said simply, quietly, profoundly.

It was a gesture like sitting but instead of lowering itself down onto a surface, Mrs. Wallace’s legs faded and her form descended so that its became level with Catori’s. It had the effect of the woman sitting down across from her without any of the gravity that would have gone with it.

“What if it’s not enough?”

“Then you need to put more faith in the generations of women who come after you,” Catori smiled. “A strong, independent, bold, courageous little girl doesn’t let the world stand in her way. Nor her parents. Nor any of the obstacles that will most assuredly come her way. Will she suffer more for parents who don’t understand or the lack of her strongest advocate?” Catori gestured to the spirit who nodded in recognition. “Yes. Will she become a stronger woman for it? Yes.”

Mrs. Wallace tilted its head, “Then what is there left for me to do? Other than trust my granddaughter, to trust you, dear, to make the world a better place in my absence?”

Catori shook her head consolingly. “Nothing. Trust and move on with the knowledge that whatever your contributions have been, they have not been in vain. And after all of that hard work, all of that vigilance, now you get to rest.”

Even in context, it’s still a pretty assertive feminist stance (when you’re an ineffectual Twitter troll) but I still wasn’t… trying to make a statement. I was playing a hashtag game.

This is why I try to only follow back writers. But you can’t control who you follows you, eh? Some rando who likes to pick fights with lady tweeters when they get a little too uppity about their right to exist and to contribute to a public conversation can just… read everything you write, in or out of context, and reply something like (I wish I had screenshotted it but I’ve never been trolled before so I didn’t know the protocol),

Yes, but is it fair to unleash that kind of girl on unsuspecting men?!

What? What are you…? What does that even…? “Unleash”? I’m “unleashing” a confident girl on the world and it’s not fair because men who can’t imagine confidence in a girl can’t handle it? “Unleash” like she’s rabid and fanatical and I had to hold her back until I found my target?

“Go, little bold girl! Go get the disenfranchised white man who had a tiny bit of his privilege taken away by your very existence! SIC HIM!”

Strong girls need to be restrained! The world can’t handle them! It’s not fair! How dare you suggest it in fiction?!? All the female types might get ideas!

How is it fair to unleash her, he asks. I can’t even. What a piece of garbage.

I replied, “Unfollow me.”

He blocked me.

And now he has NO IDEA what I am capable of unleashing. MUAHAHAHAHA!

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Unleash the white man’s hell, little one.

 

My heart says yes but my brain says, “Buzzfeed?!”

Writing is hard sometimes.

Editing is like… all… ugh, really? No. Ok, yes, let’s do this. No, let’s put it off. Yes, let’s finish it! But like, tomorrow.

I am repeating to myself, “The only one stopping me is me.”

I am reading one chapter at a time.

I am coming across sentences that sound SO SO STUPID and rewriting them to suck less.

I’m asking myself, “Is this what the character would do or was I distracted the day I wrote that and looking for an easy way out?”

I am seriously considering making a graph of what I have accomplished so far so I can feel better about my efforts.

I’m back on Buzzfeed again but good news! The Pretty Little Liar I’m most like according to my PINK preferences is Aria and I just won an Oscar in a parallel universe! And if you’re wondering if I can Buy An Outfit From Lululemon for under $350, the answer is no*.

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I suspect the real answer is “What the hell is a lulu lemon?”

Hobbies are Self-Care Too

I was doing some light reading yesterday in the doctor’s office because my appointment never starts more than 40 minutes late and I only have so much battery power on crappy hospital Wifi when I came across a chapter dedicated 100% to my procrastination. It said*, “Eda, the only thing stopping you from editing your WIP is you.”

*I could be paraphrasing. Maybe.

And while that isn’t all the way true, because I also have things like household chores, chasing a toddler, being pregnant, and working two jobs to contend with, I feel like maybe some of those times when I’m scrolling through Facebook searching for articles that confirm the downfall of the Empire or taking my third “Which pizza topping defines your archetype” quiz on Buzzfeed, I maybe could be editing instead.

I’m not even at the boring part of editing. I’m reading through to make sure it makes sense. I’m reading “for enjoyment” (and continuity). I’m not even proofreading, man. You’d think I could get through it quicker.

It’s a little bit procrastination, a lot of distraction, and a fair amount of guilt holding me back. There ARE, in fact, other things I should be doing. But if I care about this project, I need to make time for it. Writing and self-publishing is a hobby and I’m content with it remaining so but it’s one that keeps me sane so yeah, I need to make time for it too.

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I Like… Graphs

Yeah, I know, I said no more Camping while pregnant back in April but maaan… I need to write some stuff. And Camp gives me structure. And graphs. I like graphs. I just took the CampNaNoWriMo survey for April and that was my one comment. “I like graphs.”

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I particularly like it when the graph looks like this.

And while I was there, YES I DID sign up for Camp in July. As with April, I’m a little fuzzy on what I would consider a win this time around. I am, after all, still pregnant–more so, in fact–and I did just move to a new house and I do still have a toddler and 2 jobs to contend with but knowing that I’ll also have a brand new child come November and between the old child and the new child and the 2 jobs, probably less time to write, the timing seems right, right?

Maybe I’ll write a short story. That seems doable.

Meanwhile, I’ve only edited the first 3 1/2 chapters of my last WIP. So there’s a project going places! Like to my beta reader with a comment approximating, “Not edited well, not even proofed at all, but I’d really like to know if anyone would possibly give a poop about this story. Here’s 3 chapters.”

Truth? The story seems interesting. The writing seems overly formal to begin with because I began narrating with the main character’s voice. I’m pretty sure I dropped that along the way. Hence the need to edit.

But, you know, whatever, because CAMP in July! There’s a new story to be told and I’m gonna go ahead and get to going about the business of figuring out what that might be!

(After I go to Target. Obviously. I have a new house to buy crap for.)

Goodbye Teeth

I think it’s time.

It’s time… to edit the WIP I started at NaNoWrimo 2016, finished at Camp Nano April 2017 and have been using “moving to a new house” and “being pregnant” and “having a toddler who doesn’t nap anymore” as excuses not to edit.

It’s time to bite the bullet.

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Get It In, Get Yourself Out, Go Camping

Our move date has been pushed up a few days so the scramble to pack is in full effect.

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I did start writing something new but now my laptop is packed somewhere? I think? And between giant work projects and spending all my free time wrapping things in paper and pretending that’s enough to protect them from getting broken, I’m pretty busy.

I hear the next Camp NaNoWriMo is in July? Here’s hoping I can make it!

Stop This RV, I Want to Get Off

New plan: Finish this effing WIP and then set it aside before it drives me crrrrazy.

Accept that I will not be “winning” Camp this season but neither will I be packing a houseful the day before closing because I was too busy writing to prepare for the inevitable.

Write something else. For fun. Because this used to be fun before I got stuck in the nightmare of this particular story. Maybe something fluffy and romantic where my “prep” work includes staring at pictures of attractive celebrities and yet more attractive interior design to “get ideas” and “flesh out my characters”.

Nap more. Seriously. Because… I’m pregnant. And there is no work more strenuous that building a human being from scratch.

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Yes.

Who decided that camping pregnant was a good idea? Oh, me? I did that? Whoops, my bad.

This One’ll Haunt Me

It must be that time of the year where all of my energy goes into being awake and anything beyond that is just too much. I haven’t been writing more than a couple of sentences here and there and it’s making this WIP REAL hard to finish.

Here’s an excerpt just to prove that I’ve done something:

The primary reason counselors didn’t “get to know” their cases personally was because spirits generally couldn’t focus enough to chat. Instead, there was a team of researchers cataloging cases, researching histories, conducting interviews with surviving family members and writing concise yet thoroughly informative case studies for operators and counselors to review beforehand so they’d be prepared for the emotions attached to issues assumed. When counselor met spirit, it was usually in a haze of disorientation and volatility. The spirit often lashed out, confusing the counselor for the person or people most closely associated with their barrier. The very first step in spirit counseling was just calming the spirit down, sometimes just enough to listen, sometimes enough to respond to questions.

 

Mrs. Atkins was different. She took longer than usual to take form, drifting together piecemeal without the customary chaos of swirling particles and light. The atmosphere shift was different as well and not nearly as uncomfortable while still being significantly electrified. Once a cohesive form had taken shape, it hardly moved. Subtle shifts in color and brightening and fading of light were the only indications that there wasn’t, in fact, a solid form present. That, and she floated.

 

“Mrs. Atkins,” Catori had said. “Barbara Atkins?”

 

“Yes,” the form had said, clear as a bell. The form appeared to be sitting, hands folded on its lap, eyes cast downward.

 

“My name is Catori and I’m here to help you.”

 

“Are you?” it had said. The flatness of her tone had seemed to Catori a mix of dejection and disinterest.

 

“Yes. And I know I’m not the first. I may not be the last. But we’re not giving up on you, ma’am. We’re going to help you move on.”

 

“Oh,” was all it said.

 

Three quarters of an hour passed and neither had spoken. They were already beyond the point where previous counselors had given up, either after talking themselves blue or waiting impatiently for a response. But Catori had taken a different approach. She watched. She waited patiently for an opening, and after 45 minutes, Barbara Atkins sighed.

 

Spirits don’t sigh. They don’t breath. It was an affectation left over from a lifetime of habit.

 

“Hmm,” Catori hummed softly in response, not questioningly, but almost like an agreement. It was just enough to coax Mrs. Atkins to look up.

 

Catori made and held eye contact, tilting her head and speaking with genuine concern. “How ARE you?” she asked.

 

“Fine,” it answered automatically, politely, and with a little nod of the head.

 

“No, you’re not. Barbara,” Catori paused, letting it sink in that this wasn’t small talk, that she was really asking. “How ARE you?”

 

“Fine?” it responded but with less conviction.

 

“No,” she repeated. “You’re not.”

 

“How am I?” it asked, ducking its head, breaking the eye contact. And here’s where Catori needed to decide who this woman was, what she really needed, and to give it to her in a way that would be helpful.

 

“You’re dead.”

 

“Oh,” Mrs. Atkins said sadly but thoroughly unsurprised.

 

“Your spirit is stuck here.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Do you know why?”

 

“None but ourselves can free our minds,” it said, quoting Bob Marley.

 

“That’s true. But we can help each other.”

 

“Can I help you?”

 

“Maybe. Can I help you?”

 

“No.” The spirit sighed again.

 

“Can I try?” Catori asked.

 

They looked at each other for a long time, each appraising each other. And then finally, the spirit nodded.

 

Look for it on Amazon… someday when I’ve gotten around to finishing it.

Some Context for That Tweet

Excerpt from my as yet untitled (and unfinished) NaNoWriMo WIP:

“How is this still the way things are?” Daya said, defeated. She shrugged and stared out the window.

Catori was thoughtful for a moment. She thought about all the women who had sacrificed their own lives and safety to get them what they did have. Why more women didn’t make such huge sacrifices. Why she didn’t.

“Because most of us are too busy trying not to drown to save each other?” she asked and in her mind, she tried to take responsibility for her own part. She tried to justify that she was making a difference as a professional women in a field originally dominated by men. Then she remembered Enid’s description of her interactions with her male coworkers. “Fluttery and coy” couldn’t possibly be working in the favor of women’s rights. She was too embarrassed by this new realization to comment further.

“Because we’re too busy second-guessing ourselves to ask for what we need,” Daya answered with conviction. “Not a day goes by that I don’t doubt I’m doing my best to care for my son. I know I am. How could I not be? But I still doubt myself. Every time one of my male coworkers questions my knowledge, I stop and check myself. ‘Do I really know that to be true? I think so. But I could be wrong,’ and then whatever I say sounds unsure and my credibility is gone.”

“I know the feeling,” Catori said.

“We all do.”