home is where the…i have no bloody idea

(This piece is longer than I had intended so grab a cup of coffee or beverage of choice.)

Dear Internet,

I’m taking a break from working on the “How To Write Fiction” MOOC, and oh boy aren’t I in for a treat.

In the pre-week comments I stated I wanted to strip everything I knew about fiction and if the critiques I’ve received on my first draft are any indication, I’ve got a long way to go. (However the general underlying response was my first draft was intriguing, so I’ve got that going for me.) If I would have taken this class even a year ago, I would huff my work was perfect and the cleansing was not necessary. This time, I am not so angry that I’m throwing insults about “how dare they” around the cabin.

(Or maybe I’m still sedated from the Klonopin I took the night before.)

This is all prep work for NaNoWriMo, which I’m hoping will allow me jump start my novel, get a rough draft done, and so I can feel accomplished. I have plotted out some of the work, wrung my way through other;  fingers crossed I’ve not created a hot mess.

 


I’ve started using marginalia from the British Library’s collection again in the featured image as it is in the public domain, it’s pretty, and because I can.


I’m still sick because my body is an asshole and has nothing better to do. I’ve started week three of a cough I can’t shake, which I think has more to do with quitting smoking and getting rid of the crap in my lungs than being actually sick. Whatever the case I sound like death’s rattle when the coughing fit starts with the bonus of learning how to spit like a man.

Sexy.


We’re now inching towards the end of week two of TheExHusband’s jeep still indisposed. It’s sitting in a parking lot of the local mechanic who, it turns out, is the only mechanic on duty. TEH is adamant of giving the guy business since the shop recently did super minor work for free. It’s frustrating and endearing at the same time, with the lean towards frustrating than endearing. All plans have been canceled as we wait to find out the status of the damned thing, so goodbye East Coast, I still love you.

I’m championing selling the piece of shit for scrap and buying a new/used car from a dealership in Louisville rather than some shady garage (as he did this money hole a few summers ago). It’s a good shot I’ll be driving him down to Louisville once we find out the status of the Jeep (which I’m betting is a goner. If I’m repeating myself it is because it is my every desire the thing is beyond repair).

In the meantime I’ve had TheBassist ship me my winter things because it’s dropping into the low 40s and high 30s. There is a good chance if I’m still here by the end of the month or early November, there will be snow. Literally, winter is coming.


I’m 80% doing okay, taking into factor the most recent meltdown (that was three weeks ago? Fuck. It felt like yesterday.), the sickness, the Jeep bullshit, and other maladies. I’m anxious about the right things instead of jumping off the ledge about others.

It’s lovely to be at Throbbing Cabin in the summer and early fall for a week or two. I could handle a month, but we’re now closing in on two months in late fall and we’re getting close to becoming batshit crazy. The nearest villages are 10-12 miles away and the big city of Traverse City takes 30-40 minutes to get to. Three of the closest villages are tourist traps and after a while you get tired of $15 burgers and trunk slammers from Florida. I often go walking around our area but without a proper coat it gets a little chilly and I can only walk in certain areas thanks to the big hills and little valleys (and the goddamned golf courses).

I’ve completed 98 straight days of meditation. Tada!

Throbbing Cabin is 1000 sqft and surprisingly we’re not killing each other or fighting (just crazy from lack of things to do), which I consider with all the circumstances to be a small victory. TheExHusband turned on internet the first week I was up here, brought up a TV from the old house; which coupled with my Roku means we’ve got loads of things to keeps us entertained. He works all day in the second bedroom which we flipped into an office for him in the summer of 2014 while I work on the breakfast bar in the kitchen. We are more or less out of the other’s hair.

It’s cozy and we do not lack for anything. I have my coffee maker, there is a working regular stove and apartment sized fridge. The closest of all the villages has an all in one gas station / deli / pizza place/ grocery / video store. They even sell Lisa-milk and GF food stuffs. The village also has a post office, two resturants, a free library inside the bank, a meat shop, a knitting store, and a local art gallery. For laundry and weekly groceries, out to TC we go. The area is pretty much perfect except for the location and the so dark you can slice it with a light saber which does not make even a dent into the denseness. However, lack of light pollution does make for a pretty sky.

The cabin is well heated from several space heaters. While there is baseboard heat, the first winter we were here, and only for 2.5 weeks, the electric bill was $500. For 2.5 weeks. Two space heaters heating up this entire place will run TEH, for a month, around $150. The baseboard heat will only come on when it dips below freezing so the pipes don’t freeze, which if the weather is any indicator is going to be end of this week, early next.

(And my rush to get the fuck out of here is compounded by the storms of 2013-14 bought 240″ of snow to the area. That is not a typo.)

(I know I keep flipping between “we” and “his” when discussing about Throbbing Cabin because of all the work I’ve put in to it, it still feels like “mine” even though TEH got it in the divorce. I declined his offer of ownership as so much work needs to be done, such as $15-20K for a new septic tank and drain field. It’s lovely to visit but I don’t want to own this place. At all.)


I’m 1100 words in and I haven’t even touched the main point of this piece which is “home,” what it means, and how I want to achieve it. (This is inspired by Theodora Goss’ piece on a similar topic on crafting a life.)

Which is a very good question and the apex of my problems since I was born and one I keep struggling with it often takes over my life.

The original plan was to move to the East Coast, retreat for a few months, look for a job, and get a place of my own, preferably with TheBassist. The plan changed. Then it was to Grand Rapids for six months while I healed emotionally and mentally which turned out didn’t happen and it was suggested I couldn’t, shouldn’t, live alone. Then it was to Louisville, then CT. Now it’s at the cabin, then more than likely Louisville, then who the fuck nows. If I end up in Louisville longer than two months, it’ll be the first time I’ve stayed anywhere longer than 1/6th of a year since October 2014.

For all intents and purposes, I am homeless. My possessions, what is left, are at TheExHusband’s house. Some of my things are at TheBassist’s. I’ve pared down my car goods to between 1/3 – 1/2 of what I took to The East Coast last October. I’ve been living out of two small bags and a bag full of toiletries since the first week of September when I arrived at the cabin.

During all of this whiplashing around, the goal and my greatest desire has been a job, financial independence, and a place to call my own.

I’ve applied for, between writing and librarian career tracks, 150 jobs since February of 2015.  I’ve made a grand total of $150 off my writing since August. My day to day living funds ran out in July (TEH has been supplementing me since August). My mental health, while mostly stable now, still has it’s downsides (mostly brought on by pre-menstrual hormones these days). I’ve taken my crazy pills daily since November 2014. I’ve racked up (and half way pared down) nearly $40K in credit card debt within the last year.

These are the facts.

I’m not revealing the minute details for sympathy, understanding, or a handout. This is what it is. This has been the apex of my life since forever and a time ago.

What am I running from or who or why?

I’ve been moving house every two to three years since I was 13. Throbbing Manor, where I lived for four years, has been longest place I’ve lived on my own since I was 24. Prior to that, my mother changed our living locations every 2-3 years from ages 13 – 24. So insofar as actual living space, I do not know what home means.

(When I’ve been at TheBassist’s or TheExHusband’s, even if room was made for me in their space, it still feel like “their” space, not mine. I was just a temporary boarder who happened to be cute. (It should be noted that was never their intent to make me feel uncomfortable, they went above and beyond to make me comfortable, but that is how I often felt.))

It’s been remarked numerous times over the last 20 years I’m running from something because of the shifting or it’s a pathos of my disease. I’ve never known physical space as mine, it was always someone else’s, even when I’ve had roommates. I’ve always felt like a visitor instead of a primary occupant.

(Which is why if you’ve ever visited me at any of the places I’ve lived, there has hardly, if any, decoration to showcase my personality. Decoration was in the form of my clothes, which are cheap and easily disposable.)

I know I’ve romanticized where I want to live. Do I want an adorable apartment in a big city? A home of my own in a quaint little village? A flat somewhere in Europe? This parallels the kind of life I also romanticize. Jet set traveler? Famous writer? Raconteur around town?

I want to be everything, live every place, and be every person.

This, obviously, throws a wrench into daily life plan and reality, most which seems to blur together into one grey line.

If home cannot be about a place, then what about being with a person? If i could not feel at home with the two most important relationships in my life, TheBassist and TEH, then how does that bode for me? What does that say about me? I’m too frightened to forge a relationship with anyone, romantic or platonic? Why do I destroy everything that should be the best of my life?

If home is not about a place, or a person, what about the material things? I have my cases and cases of books, 50-60% I’ve now donated. My clothes, shoes, and accessories which I’ve significantly pared down and donated the rest. Personal objects or things I’ve picked up over the years, donated.

I’m cast adrift with no thing, person, or place to call my home.

If it’s not a place, or a person, or things. Then what is home and how do I get there?

xoxo,
Lisa

P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

 

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 2001

giving birth to the world

Dear Internet,

When I gave birth to my first self-published book, The Lisa Chronicles: Vol 1: 1998, in January, I experienced a divine feeling, for that is the only way I can describe it, when I hit “publish.” Here was something many years in the making in which I was able to clean up, organize, and present as my baby.I knew it wasn’t going to be a big seller as the singular goal was to give it life.

Sales have not been spectacular but I want more of that feeling. I want to give birth to writing things and even for just a little while, feel like I am queen of the world.


I want to say the last year has been one for self discovery and I want to believe I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I want to believe all of this is worth it, all the pain, the smearing of my reputation and name, the rejection from several communities has been worth it. I swore to anyone who would listen that I had to sleep with me at night and as long as my conscious is clear, that’s all that mattered.

But at what price does “doing the right thing” come?

I keep talking about my exhaustion levels. I keep mentioning how this lifestyle I’ve jumbled together from bits and pieces is tiring. I harp on how this is effecting me. Underneath it all, all I feel is I must do something with this life of mine. I must take what has happened and create some kind of purpose or meaning. If this doesn’t happen, I feel, then I beat myself up over and over and over again for being a failure. A loser.


I stare at my screen, that taunting cursor winking at me. A million and a half ideas and nothing is coming forward from my brain to my mouth to my hand. My sketch book is a mockery. I cannot get it out of my head if I cannot make a living at doing this, wha then will I do?  This thing, this writing, chasing that dream that so many have gone before me and so many of them magnificently failing. When editors tell me they love my voice and my writing, I am convinced they tell everyone the exact same thing. How is my voice unique and how can it make matter?

What if everything I’ve been telling myself is a lie? What if this is all there is?

xoxo,
Lisa

P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013

water off a duck’s back

water off a duck's back

Dear Internet,

We’ve recently discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race, which shockingly I haven’t been watching before this. If you need to get your fix, seasons 4 through current are on Hulu. It’s like Project Runway, but much cattier and funnier; an obvious perfect complement.

Expect my mouth to get raunchier thanks to new phrases and saying I’ve been picking up, like “cock sucking dick pigs,” courtesy of Jinkx Monsoon! Which speaking of Ms Jinkx, the episodes we’ve seen so far (seasons 4-6), she’s by far my favorite queen. There is something about her, even though it would seem Sharon Needles or Bianca del Rio are more my speed, that grabs at bits of me and wakes me up.

(We’ve started on season 7 and in one word: meh.)

The resonation of Jinkxy comes from a few weeks ago when someone on the internet made various disparaging comments in regards to my writing. (I know, I know, I KNOW.) The sum of which can be distilled down that I was/am a pompous, illiterate hack. The thing was this didn’t feel like your average internet trolling — this felt personal. Very personal. The person, of course, hid behind an anonymous name but I have my suspicions. I may be way off base on who it was but the commentary hurt. A lot. It’s been banging around my brain as if none of the small steps I’ve taken have amounted to really anything or what’s been published is worthy. I have my fans but then again so does Dan Brown.

This phenomenon is known as imposter syndrome which according to Wikipedia is, “…a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” I first became aware of this in the tech community, primarily women, who struggled with their accomplishments in a male dominated world. I didn’t really see myself, then, as having a modicum of feeling under accomplished but stepping back recently in this new world I’ve created for myself, I can see it whole heartedly.

The biggest of the impostering happening is for my writing, which is why the anonymous c0ward’s comments was a broadsword into my side.

A few weeks ago, Jim C. Hines, in a nod to the Hugo awards kerfuffle, discussed a recent conversation within the SF/F community about the “cool kids.”  The tl;dr breaks down that several of the sad puppies accused the more well-known of authors / personalities within the community of being too cliquey and why Hines, and others, reject theses ideas presented.

I remember in high school (and after) always feeling extremely left out of everything. No matter what group I was hanging with, there was always a clique within that group that seemed cooler than me. It never occurred to me those I deemed more awesomer of having their own insecurities, issues, and even jealousies. Basically the same as me and everyone else we know. Their feelings just felt impossible to believe they shat like the rest of us. All we ever see is the finished project not the pain, sweat, and tears that went into them.

It’s always hard to feel your worth, that your contributions are worthwhile, that you are worthwhile or matter. It’s hard to shake the demons snapping at you  as you run towards your dreams.

Isn’t it easier to “what if” your way into not doing anything? Isn’t it easier to presuppose your failure before anything happens? Isn’t it easier to lock yourself in the closet of your brain and not do anything, ever?

It’s hard, I know, to move forward and do what you want. It’s hard to believe in yourself. I know it’s hard; I still don’t believe in myself 99.999% of the time. It’s hard to shake off the old demons that reverberate from your entire life. But you matter. Your work, your dreams, you matter.

Water off a duck’s back. Water off a motherfucking duck’s back.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 1999