Depression kinda sucks.

You may have noticed I haven’t done the last couple of Outlander recaps. I’ve been tinkering away at Episode 3 since it aired.

Here’s the trouble: I had a massive panic attack the night I was set to work on it, and it scrambled me. Then I had a couple of emergencies, one of which being my kid getting sick and having to chain myself to her bedside. Time kept stretching out, which tripped more of my insecurity bullshit. Then all of the related and unrelated anxiety coalesced into one big monster, crept up, and bit me in the ass. Big time. As in sucked me down into a massive emotional black hole.

As a result, I lost all interest in everything I loved. (No, seriously; at one point, I sat in front of my TV trying to force myself to continue watching an Outlander episode for three hours before I gave up. Shit got bad.)

Whenever you get the impulse to tell someone with depression to snap out of it, I want you to do the humane thing and slap yourself in the face instead. It felt like I was dragging a backpack full of rocks along behind me everywhere I went, and it was sitting on my chest when I woke up. I went four days without a shower because I couldn’t find the energy or even the will to fix the situation. For the most part, I think I was on automatic pilot. There were some doctor’s appointments sprinkled in there, too, I’m pretty sure.

I’m starting to come back out of it, but I wanted to let people know that I’m alive. I’m planning to finish Outlander recaps. There’s probably going to be a triple-whammy over a short period of time. Yay, goodies!

Thanks for bearing with me.

That One Time I Sat Down to Write a Novel and Accidentally Became a Layperson Expert in Humoralism Instead

I didn’t meet my goal for NaNoWriMo. Not even close. I’m currently buried under a mountain of upheaved life shit, anyway, and still managing to periodically crank words out… so that’s something.

“Brother’s Keeper” is up on Write-On (writeon.amazon.com), so you can search for it and, y’know, follow it/comment on it/point and laugh (to yourself, please). It’s currently at 33,400 words, and I’m struggling to remember the initial outline. Now I have to sit down and try again.  **Sigh**

I went to the library for some books on Scotland. They had no books on Scotland. (It’s a tiny branch.) I got books on daily life in the middle ages and Arthurian Britain instead. As y’do.

I also now believe that all of my current woes can be traced back to an imbalance of black bile, but that leeches were purely to punk somebody you hated.

You can sleep when you’re brain-dead.

I’ve been staying up until midnight (4am) sometimes this last week — partially due to insomnia, partially due to my sleep schedule being all out of whack from pain interference and trying to get back into working. The beautiful thing about this situation, however, is that I get a lot of writing done. Okay, well maybe not a lot… but certainly more than I had been getting done!

I’ve written at least five thousand words in Brother’s Keeper (my novel about two outlaw Jacobite brothers trying to survive/escape post-Culloden Western Scotland) in the last week, making me so very happy!

So happy, in fact, that I’m going to share a snippet with you.

Here:

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Daily Lines: The Resurrection

I’m trying to build a habitual plonking-down of 1,000 words every morning when I first wake up. Doesn’t matter what time it is when I wake up or what scene I start with. Just: 1,000 words in any direction.

Like any habit building that isn’t mind-numbingly fun, this one has been a series of fits and starts. (Just like my blogging attempts, but let’s not examine that one too closely.) Getting there, though.

To help keep me on track, I’m gonna go back to putting down rough patches of lines that I write (non-spoilery, I promise). It’ll be an every-so-often treat for myself to help mark some randomly-set-and-achieved goal. You win by me winning. (And if you have constructive comments, feel free to leave them! Standard rules of etiquette apply.)

This one is from my current work-in-progress, a project that was whipped up the intention of completing during NaNoWriMo… but life has a way of intervening.

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Remembering your loved ones through rip signs.

My six-year-old is a near-constant crackup. (When she’s not being a butt.) She’s also insanely smart and driven toward autodidactic habits (I’m proud to say, as encouraged by me and her father at all times). 

So, this morning she’s looking at Google Earth, randomly taking street tours of Cornwall, India, Iceland, and (I think) Pennsylvania, and I’m puttering away with getting my medications for the day in order and finding my pants.

Apropos of nothing, I hear: “Mommy, are your grandparents dead?”

I tell her, carefully (because hell if I know how this is gonna go), that yes, most of my grandparents have passed away.

She takes it pretty equitably. “Oh. That’s sad.” A long pause, and then: “But you still see them on rip signs, though, right?”

I stop — pants a distantly-abandoned goal — and say, “I beg your pardon?”

She looks confused, now. She gets the look on her face that she gets when she can’t decide if she’s in trouble or about to be subjected to a learning experience. (Usually, it’s both. I’m all about economy of parenting.) 

She says, “You know… Rip signs?”

My dumbfounded expression is matched only by my witty, “I have no clue what the hell you’re talking about.”

Because it’s before 9am and I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

Siobhan is familiar with my cold-boot times, however, and repeats herself — the soul of prepubescent patience — adding, “The signs that say ‘Rip so-and-so, they were very nice’?”

At which point I about die.

We’ve since discussed what acronyms are and what ‘RIP’ stands for. And that those “signs” are actually grave markers to tell people where the bodies are buried so that they can come and visit.

She looked at me in relief. “OH! That makes a lot more sense.”

Bless.

Writing Schedule (v3.0) – Day 1… Or: Why the Hell Am I Awake?!

I’ve been victimized by the sleep-schedule-fucking nature of the Gabapentin and Soma I’ve been prescribed for wacky neck fun, stemming from the “mild” fender-bender from a few weeks ago. Since I can’t work now, I’m going to write.

Theoretically. I know I have talent, and I know I have great ideas… I just have a ginormous blockade in my mind that somehow always keeps me from finishing. It could be self-sabotage (I think I took a left in plotting when I should have taken a right, and immediately replot one or all of my novels until I can’t remember what any of them were about at the start), self-doubt (despite having my ego repeatedly shored up by anyone who’s read my writing, I still fear the Internet and its trolls), or just a good ol’ fashioned bout of A.D.D. to screw things up (I usually end up writing in a skewed angle, away from the main arc of the outline I’ve carefully constructed, and can’t find a way back, causing me to languish in a confusion of my own making.

But I have to finish something.

So I just sat down and started plotting out a book (that really should be finished already…) onto notecards again, as if it was the first time, putting asterisks on the cards where I might have already written the scene.

Next, I’m going after the gargantuan task of transcribing all of my handwritten scribblings onto a dinky iPad mini keyboard (which appears to be holding up admirably under the strain, so far).

After that, hopefully, it’s just a matter of smoothing over the cracks and then scraping together an advanced reader group…

Yay, optimism!