Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NaNo Break, Update, and Other Stuff

So, after my last post, I was able to climb off my ledge (after some serious self-guided therapy, an apology, and some other stuff involving chocolate and a quiet evening alone with my sweetie), I got back on the NaNoWriMo bicycle and picked up the story. It’s too late for me to finish, as I have no desire to write over 10,000 words a day for the last few days of the month.

However (and this is huge, folks, HUGE) I am ok with that.

No, seriously, I really am. This will be the first year I’ve not made it to the finish line with a full contingent of words, but considering I’ve managed to do it for the past six years (or more, I don’t remember), having a low year is fine. There were other things happening that needed that creative energy, so I let it go.

Damn, I can be such a grown up at times.


Tam and I bit the bullet and bought a fireplace insert (although “insert” is used rather loosely here). When we were looking around, I said it was imperative that we find one that we can cook on when the power goes out. The last big storm we had where we lost power for five days was interesting. We have a fireplace, but it is one of those old ones where most of the heat goes up the chimney and keeping the damn thing going is a challenge. Especially when all the wood is soaking wet or frozen solid. Or both. We didn’t dare leave the house to seek warmth, coffee, food, or recharging of electronic equipment, as we’d have to attempt to start the fire all over again upon our return.

I think that contributed a lot to the emotional meltdown that occurred during the ordeal. Granted, it was only five days, but five days of hotdog flambé, bacon flambé, toast flambé, coffee flambé (yes, I caught the damn coffee pot on fire. There was bacon grease involved. It was awesome), and beans flambé, it was decided that a fireplace insert was necessary, and it had to have a cooktop. Being able to leave the house, even for a little while just to get outside for something other than another armload of wood, probably would have helped raise our moral.

So would hot water for cleaning up, coffee without ashes, and food that you didn’t have to snuff out before eating. We chose a unit that sits in front of the fireplace, so it has a rather substantial cooking surface. The firebox isn’t huge, but it burns so well that it doesn’t need to be the size of a Buick LaSalle. Plus it has a blower (and there’s a spectacular joke surrounding that… I’ll you in a minute), and the blower has an automatic setting, and even if you don’t have power, because it sits out of the fireplace itself, the place can be warmed with radiant heat! Woo-hoo!

Also, the warmth has done wonders for the winter blues my poor darling suffers through each dark season. We’re both considerably more chipper now that we’re actually warm.

Of course, my only regret in spending that much money is that we’ll probably only be around for another two or three years to enjoy it. After that, we’ll be moving… but that’s a story that still has to wait.

So, the blower story… We’d been talking to Tam’s mom about the fireplace insert and she was always calling with advice or questions. One day we’d gone out to her place for some plums and she came running from the house telling us that her brother had told her to tell us that we HAVE to get a blower for the insert.

The minute someone tells me I HAVE to do something, I’m all about dragging my heels and doing pretty much the polar opposite. Oppositional Defiance, anyone? Anyway, I told her what we were looking for and I explained that I didn’t want one that relies on a blower for the heat because in the event of a power outage, I still wanted heat! Besides, the damn things are noisy.

That night, Tam and I were sitting at home when I said, “Your mom couldn’t understand why I didn’t want a blower.”
My darling stopped what she was doing and gave me a look. Then I realized how what I just said must have sounded with all the words kind of scrunched together.
“Ok, that sounded bad. You know with the insert. Ooh fuck it.”
“So…what reason did you give her?”
“Because of the noise.”


Black Friday brought us to the annual sock raid at a local department store. Spawn and I try to go every year for socks and a few gifts. Tam joined us and while we were wandering around, I happened to find one of those memory foam mattresses (the inexpensive kind that come in a box) and it was on sale for 50% off. We’ve been needing a new mattress as the old one was trying to kill us. So I bought it.

Wow, that memory foam stuff is HOT, and when you’re menopausal, it’s kind of uncomfortable. But, I’m not quite as stiff and sore in the mornings as I have been, so I’ll deal with it.


On that note, I’ll leave you with a bit of Peace on Earth. Courtesy of Zoe and L.B.C.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Day the Writing Stopped

It was, to put it mildly, a week from hell. Turbulence caused by upheaval in the lives of a few offspring derailed our plans, screwing up a birthday weekend, writing time, NaNoWriMo, and just life in general.

Mind you, I do not begrudge offspring needing a parental shoulder to cry on as long as big-kid underwear is put on as quickly as possible. Malingering angst doesn’t do anyone any good. Trust me. Been there, done that, burned the fucking t-shirt.

But when someone begins to drag other family members into the fray by texting things that shouldn’t be texted, and sending me tacky private messages that run the gamut of paranoia to self-pity, well that’s when I take off the gloves and start slapping right back. It might have been fine had I not been told to stop before I’d said my peace, but instead of letting that idiot know exactly how unimpressed I was with her over-the-top dramatics, I acquiesced and left the last word with the undeserving bitch.

I was not allowed to vent my anger over this to anyone and every time I brought it up, the subject would be changed. I couldn’t explain that I felt like I was the only one who was willing to tell the “Bitch Behind the Bother” exactly what I thought of her. Everyone else was willing to walk on eggshells and just “let it go.”

“Let it go” so it can continue and everyone can complain about how awful it is. The injustice rankled to the point where I simply gave up. I gave up feeling. I gave up caring. And I gave up writing.

Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t do it. When I write, I visualize the scene in my head, 3-D and full color. I do not interact with the characters, I just write what I see and hear. It unfolds and plays out, and I write it. But after the debacle, I could no longer see any stories in color. In fact, they appeared to me as stone; unmoving, cold, totally lifeless. My writing was broken. I’ve had writer’s block before, but it never felt or looked anything like that. The Gorgon had cast her eyes upon my writing and turned it to stone.

Tam was upset when I told her.

I was upset. In fact, I was so upset I came unhinged. My love and I were sitting alone at home when I brought up the subject once again. She tried to change the conversation but I stopped her. “I need to say this,” I said. “I need to let it out, but I need someone to hear me. I need you to listen. Please.”

My beloved nodded and let me talk. She let me vent my anger (none of which was directed at her), cry my eyes out, scream and yell until my voice was gone. She did not interrupt. She did not try to comfort me mid rant and tell me it was going to be ok. She let me go on and on about how much I hated the young woman who had ignited the fire in our lives. She did not try to tell me hating was bad. She did not try to defend anyone. She let me unload my pain right there in our living room.

There was a lot behind that pain that wasn’t attached to the latest offspring catastrophe; there was a lot of frustration about my job pushing that vitriolic stream of words from my mouth. The target bitch was acting exactly like my students do on a daily basis. I have to live with it at work without showing anger; but I see no reason I should have to deal with it that same way when it is directed at my family. So I let it loose.

After all that rage had spent itself, I felt drained. I felt lighter and in a little more control. I felt I’d been heard, and that was the most important aspect of the whole thing. My words were heard and acknowledged. I was supported, maybe not totally agreed with and I understand and accept that, but my pain was supported and that was the most soothing balm for my aching heart.

I still cannot write my NaNo project, nor can I edit, but there is hope. I am missing those characters and I long to spend time with them again. I do not hold false hope of finishing NaNo with another win this year, but I’m at peace with that thought.

I’m finally finding peace with myself…and I’m writing. It’s not fiction, it’s not my project, it’s not editing, but it is writing and it is more than I’ve been able to do in over a week. I am no longer focused (fixated?) on what I want to say to that worthless piece of vermin dander (although I am having a great time making up vicious names for her). I am working on letting it go.

And I’m reveling in the knowledge that she will not be allowed to darken my doorstep ever again, at least not until I have my say to her face.

Yeah, I’m good now.