Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Hey everyone. It's nice to see you again. I'm hopefully going to be around more often and more regularly. It's still a process, so there may be a few false starts. But I'll get there.

What happened to me? Things. Bad things. The very last things we want to happen. 

We never expect the things that hit us the hardest. It's not like those things give you warning, or ample time to prepare. Hell, they aren't even the kinds of things you can prepare for. Even years of advanced warning results in utter devastation when it happens.

Your life gets derailed. Nothing seems right or normal.Everything has been upended, turned on its head; the future diverted to a new, unknown, and previously unexplored course. Anxiety skyrockets while depression begins to set in. And there's no one there to help.

So you're left trying to cobble together the pieces that no longer fit into a complete whole. Trying to be the adult you thought you were and do all the things that need doing. Trying to dive back into projects and plans, only to find you are totally unable to participate in life. Not just unable, but absolutely incapable of it. Doing the bare minimum and struggling so hard to find some kind of normal you can fit into. And feeling guilty the entire time because there are people excited for the next thing you're doing or working on - you were doing, past tense - and you feel like you've let people down. 

Hell, you've let yourself down, but you have no idea how to fix it. How can you, when everything is so wrong and just plain broken?

My mother died.

And it destroyed me. Here was the one and only person in my life I knew I could always depend on. Who supported me 100%. Who thought I was amazing and always told me so, no matter what I thought of myself. The woman who beat breast cancer twice and defiantly stood against those who sought to bring her down. Who as a single mom raised the brat from hell (me) to become a strong, intelligent woman determined to work her ass off so one day, she'd be able to take care of the mother she loved with all her heart. My main goal in life was to a reach a place where I could make sure my mother wanted for nothing because I was taking care of it all. 

I didn't get that chance. I didn't get the chance to repay her for all her love and support and laughter and lessons and life skills she gave me. I never got the chance to tell her to sit back and not worry because it's my turn now to give all she gave to me, and more, back to her. To make her golden years as bright and shiny and glorious as I possibly could.

And there was no family in the state, at all, when this happened. It was just me and my significant other. My mom had tons of family just a couple states away, but no one came to help. No one offered to help. None of them bothered to even call. I was left to clean out her house and rehome her pets and take care of all the legal paperwork and everything else that comes and all the things that need doing when someone dies. Everything was left to me and I had no help. I had no condolences from family. None of them fucking cared. 

My mother was the most amazing person and the most amazing parent. She was my rock. And I lost myself for quite some time after she passed. She died May 29, 2016, and I am only just now beginning to feel like maybe I can function in the world again. That maybe I can give a huge "fuck you" to any of her side of the family who couldn't be bothered to get off their asses to be there for a grieving daughter who could barely keep it together. I doubt I will ever have any desire to see them again.

The bright side of this is my dad and I have somewhat reconnected. It's going slowly, and most of that is my fault - I have been struggling with just trying to get back to some kind of normal, some kind of normalcy where grief doesn't consume my whole life - and it's hard for me to get going with that. But I'm trying.

I am just now getting to a place where I can write again. Can do some art again. Can do more than sit in front of a video game and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist because that's the only way I could cope.

So, I've updated the computers that haven't been on in almost two years(!) and I've been going over notes and drafts. Awakening will be along in the (hopefully) near future. I will continue writing, and I will get this series going (along with my other ideas). Just be patient with me, please.

I've been doing art and I've set up an Etsy shop since I feel that art looks good on clothes. If you're interested, hit me up and I'll link you the page. I'm not sharing it in this post because I'm not trying to make money off my tragedy. That would be crass and disrespectful to my mother.

I've also moved. I was born in New York (the state, not the city) and was not originally from WV. As mentioned above, I had no family whatsoever there and no more ties to WV once mom died. While I love WV, it was time for a change. It was also a time to get the hell away from snow and cold, which is how I ended up in Florida. It's beautiful and it's always warm, and I love it here.

So hold your loved ones tight, and tell them how much they mean to you today. Don't wait, because there might not be a tomorrow. If you take nothing else away from this blog post, take away that our existence is fleeting and there is no time better than the present to let your family and friends know just how much they mean to you. 

As for me, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm reasonably certain it's not a freight train heading my way (thanks Metallica), and I'm hopeful that this new, scary chapter in my life that's starting to unfold will see me finally find some peace.

Love to you all xoxox

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Update incoming...

I know it's been a hot minute, but there will be an update. Good news, and hopefully good things to come. Stay tuned...

Monday, March 30, 2015

Squeaky Fucking Clean

Alright, so I've been keeping up on the Clean Reader app controversy raging in the writing world right now, and at this point, I'm ready to thrown in my opinion. The Clean Reader app, for those who haven't heard (and what rock have you been under?), is an app that people can download to selectively edit swear words and other terms (like penis, vagina, and so forth) into "clean" words ("damn" to "darn," for instance). There are several levels of "clean" the reader can choose, and this app is ostensibly to protect a reader's delicate sensibilities from having to see words that offend them.

Motherfucker, please.

Ok, before I dive into what I think of the premise of the whole thing, let me address the controversy. I have seen some authors screaming that this is just the first step toward complete censorship and, of all things, book burnings. Yes, you read that right--book burnings.

To that, I say: That escalated quickly. And that's a mighty slippery slope we're getting all worked up over.

I don't think an independently-created app is going to be the ultimate cause of outright censorship or book burnings. Especially not book burnings. You see, book burnings are generally orchestrated and carried out by ignorant religious zealots who think they are protecting themselves from the evils of said book, while in reality fueling the intrigue and interest in the content of said book, leading their precious speshul snowflakes to sneaking off and enjoying Harry Potter despite the zealots' overwhelming misplaced hate of the book in question.

This app is not going to cause that. The zealots' inherent idiocy will accomplish that just fine all on its own.

That's akin to saying since gay people can get married, we will now start seeing people marrying cars or dogs. While this belief is ludicrous in so many ways, for this blog post, the point is that it's not ever going to come true. Ever. Never ever, not in a million years.

Same with Clean Reader. The logical fallacies inherent in believing it's going to result in the censoring of books and setting books afire is a stretch. Please see the failed Tipper Gore vendetta against metal music in the '80's if you need reassurance about this.

Now, onto Clean Reader itself.

Clean Reader is dancing on the fine line of copyright infringement. By essentially editing a work to be "cleaner," it is not only altering how the story is read, but the depth of context the "unclean" words provide. This changes the story in many ways, including nerfing a character (if you're a gamer, you know what "nerfing" means. If you're not a gamer, it essentially means making something easier so all the wusses stop complaining about how hard it is to beat a boss or level up or whatever), to easing the gloom of a particular scene, to removing all sexiness from an erotic scene.

It doesn't just change the words, it changes the entire read. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what we should be focusing on. Not non-existent never-to-occur-but-highly-inflammatory imaginary catastrophes.

Clean Reader apparently started as a result of the creators' daughter reading a book she enjoyed, but found the swear words in the book made her uncomfortable. Instead of having a conversation with their daughter about the swear words, their place in the story, and why they made her uncomfortable--you know, parenting--they decided their speshul snowflake should be shielded from such words. The creators took this idea further by realizing that there were other speshul snowflakes in the world who might be traumatized by "unclean" words, and in order to help these speshul snowflakes hide from reality, they invented Clean Reader. That way, all these speshul snowflakes could read any story in the way they would see it written.

And that's the crux of it, right there. They are reading the story the way they want it written. Not the way the author wrote it. And that's bullshit.

An author paints with words. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph is crafted as carefully as a sculptor shapes his/her work. We don't just throw in swear words for the shock value--they are an integral part of the story, whether it's to convey strong emotion, or it's part of a character's personality, or because the scene is meant to be so fucking smoking hot that we're looking for our significant others, naked, by the end of it.

Clean Reader takes all that away. By changing words into something the creators of the app consider "clean," they are removing that emotion, that personality, that undeniable hotness, and that changes the story.

And changing the story is fucking horseshit.

My main character, Sanaan, is foul-mouthed. Not all the time foul-mouthed, but she swears. A lot. Is her swearing absolutely necessary? I suppose in the grand scheme of life, it isn't. But then Sanaan wouldn't be who she is. 

Sanaan is volatile, temperamental, and has a hard time controlling her temper. Scratch that, she rarely, if ever, controls her temper. She lets that motherfucker loose like a crossbow bolt to the heart, hurling that temper--and the resulting words--at her target with the precision of a martial artist's punches. And that is who she is.

Having her say, "OH MY GOODNESS, you've got to be fudging shooing me!" has a much different feel than "OH MY GOD, you've got to be fucking shitting me!" With the first sentence, you've taken away her explosiveness, the punch of her response. You don't get to feel her incredulity or her volatile reaction, and you've lessened the impact of her words in the scene. In other words, you've effectively castrated my character.

And castrating my character is a huge fucking NOPE.

As I've said before--if a book isn't written the way you want it written, tough shit. Write your own goddamn book the way you want to write it and leave mine alone. Clean Reader has just taken this to a whole new level, by actually altering my story so some wussy speshul snowflake can feel good about themselves reading the word "bottom" instead of "penis" (I am not joking here--from what I understand, all genitalia is replaced by "bottom" with this app. Let's digress for a moment--"Her bottom was hot, wet, ready to be impaled by his throbbing bottom." After you're done laughing, take a moment to let the implications of that soak in).

To the creators of Clean Reader, I have this to say: You don't have the right. You don't have the right to change a story because you--and ostensibly others--can't be bothered to actually parent your children, or because you believe you are too goddamned wholesome to see such words. It is not up to the authors to allow a complete change of their stories in order for others to feel comfortable reading them, it is up to YOU, the consumer, to decide whether or not to read a book based on your personal preferences. It is not your right to castrate a work because your tender sensibilities can't handle it. If that's the case, read something else. Or write your own fucking book the way you want it written, and leave everyone else's works alone.

My writing does not cater to tender speshul snowflakes, nor will it ever. And the fact that you think you have the right to alter my story so that it does cater to tender speshul snowflakes is unacceptable and infuriating. It's MY STORY, not yours, and if you can't handle my story as it is, you can go fuck yourself.

That's right, you can go fuck yourself. Here's a handy meme I suggest you save for reference, and any time you think about editing out a swear or other "objectionable" word from someone's writing that you have no business fucking with, follow the instructions in this meme:

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Human Rainbow--Video Edition

I did not make this video, the lovely people from did. But it is a beautiful and touching way to express the same things I wrote about.

Give it a watch, you'll love it.

"Say What?" Chaotic Stinking

(Seen in actual published novels. !!!)

"She entered the fray, reeking havoc all over the place."

Who knew chaos and ass-whipping smelled so damn bad? And to think one person could be the cause of all the foul odors is, well astounding. Perhaps our character ate a ton of garlic, or eggs, or onions, or asparagus. Perhaps she was sprayed by a skunk before doing battle.

Or maybe, just maybe, she hasn't showered in a couple weeks. 

Regardless, we all know that nothing clears a room faster than the arrival of a potent stench, so +10 points to our heroine for discovering the most efficient way to defeat her enemies--by releasing that onion-garlic-egg silent-but-deadly right in the nick of time.

*Wreak, and you're welcome.