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Happy New Year!! (and an update about The Midsummer Prophecy)

2 Jan

I hope everybody rang in the New Year with joy and good company. My family and I enjoyed a very relaxing, low-key evening of a pajama party with zombie movies. At midnight, we paused the movie to all go get kisses from our puppies. All in all, I have to say it was the most enjoyable New Year’s Eve party I’ve ever been to! 🙂

And as promised, here is your update on The Midsummer Prophecy:

At the end of this week, I will be sending the first two short stories of my upcoming collection off to the editor (who is none other than the incomparable Mr. Keith DeCandido). This will be the very first time I have ever paid someone to review my work. I feel like it’s a milestone along my journey to becoming a professional writer.  It’s momentous and exciting and I think maybe I should pop open some bubbly to celebrate… but all I can think about is the other four stories I need to be working on and making sure I get them done in time to publish this spring. (I can practically hear Keith laughing as he reads this, saying something like “welcome to being a real writer!”)

I am so excited to finally share these stories with the rest of the world. As soon as they’re through editing, these two will be available at The Midsummer Prophecy. The remaining four will be published, along with the two previews, in the spring. Be sure to subscribe to the website so you’ll be the first to know when it all happens!

In closing, I would like to share this image I found yesterday. It’s a quote from Ira Glass (don’t worry, I looked it up), and I wish someone had shown it to me when I got started years ago.

Ira Glass

 

 

Happy New Year, everybody!!

 

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A little something to whet your appetite

23 Dec

The Midsummer Prophecy is moving along nicely now. Here’s a little piece of one of the short-stories, to get you excited for what’s coming next:

 

Trouble has a smell. It’s intoxicating and heady, and no matter how much you get you can always go for one more whiff. It has a feel too, and on top of all that, you can even see it. Everybody knows it when they encounter Trouble. It sings out through every fiber of muscle in your body and makes the little hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. It makes you wonder why, when our senses are so highly attuned to watch out for it, we consistently find ourselves neck-deep in the stuff.

I knew when she got in my cab, she was Trouble.

…*IF* you can pull it off.

7 Dec

I’ve been sitting on this for at least a week now. The truth is, I don’t really know what to say. Of all the things I’ve written about in this blog, my marriage to my best friend and our future together as writers was sort of the main topic. Now neither one of those things is going to happen.

The how and why of the matter aren’t that important, and are hardly the topic for a blog post. All anybody needs to know is that I had my reasons for ending both relationships, and I don’t wish her any ill will. We are not on speaking terms, but I hope that in the future when things have settled that might change. Above all else, I wish her happiness and great success in all her future endeavors – both in love and art.

But what about me? Where do I go now? What do I do?

I’m happy to say that in spite of the emotional roller-coaster of the past two weeks, I am still writing. The Midsummer Prophecy was always my idea, going back almost twenty years now, so I will continue to work on it solo. In the past two weeks I’ve made leaps and bounds moving forward with the short story collection, and I have every intention of still honoring the early-2013 release date. (Please check out the website for updates.)

I’m also happy to announce that I am beginning the process of moving to Southern California with my family. After “Superstorm” Sandy and the nor’easter a week later, it was decided that I cannot continue to live in New Jersey. Southern California offers a better climate and all the cutting-edge research for fibromyalgia is taking place there. So that’s where we’re going. It may take us a year to make it all happen, but we have begun the process of relocation.

I have a lot to focus on and keep me busy in the upcoming months. I can’t pretend I’m sorry about that. Distractions are welcome right now…

Sometimes Life throws us a curveball, or gives us lemons, or a million other metaphors for sucking hardcore. We have no control over it. Shit happens, simple as that. But what we do have control over is how we react to that shit. Do we take it on the chin, or go crazy from it? Conduct ourselves with grace and class, or get drunk and act like an idiot? I’m not saying it’s an easy choice, but the older I get and the more I learn, the more I realize it’s one of the only truly free choices we’ve got!

For my part, I’m doing my best to handle this with grace and to stay true to my dreams, even if some of them feel too broken to save right now. Nobody is perfect, and I have no doubt that I’ll make plenty of mistakes as I go, but I hope that in end I’ll be able to look back on my life without any regrets and say I lived my dreams. Hopefully when I look back on this time period in my life, it will have been one of bittersweet transitions that helped me grow into the person I want to be.

I look forward to the next chapter of my own adventure!

Knowing a thing is not the same as understanding it

4 Nov

I think one of the hardest parts of life is losing momentum.

When I first wrote that sentence, I initially said “one of the hardest parts of being an artist” but then I stopped to think about it and realized, no, it’s just life in general. Whether it’s an art project, career endeavor, relationship issues, a new diet or exercise routine… if you lose your momentum, it really sucks, and it really messes with your world. It’s hard to get back into the swing of whatever it was you were doing, and the longer you take to get back to it, the harder it gets to do so.

Sometimes it’s a case of losing skills, as with things like drawing or say, parkour, which require regular practice to be good at it. Sometimes, it’s a case of losing motivation, like with a diet or exercising, because eating cake and watching TV is infinitely and more immediately gratifying than making a salad and hitting the gym. But sometimes, and these are the worst times I think, sometimes you lose your passion. Those are the times when you feel like you’re dying inside a little each inert day, as the moments slip away…along with every missed opportunity.

Those are the worst!

I get that way a lot. It’s probably my greatest obstacle when it comes to being a successful… well… anything! I get really into something and then something happens and, for whatever reason, the fire in me goes out. I lose my passion. It manifests in the form of writer’s block, or self-sabotaging, or simply not being interested anymore. Everything from a nagging sense of doubt in the back of my mind that plagues me until I give up, to extreme anxiety attacks and profound health issues. I am my own worst enemy.

Or I was, anyway. That was the old me; the version of me that lived for the moment and couldn’t concern herself with how she might feel come morning, let alone six months down the line. Fact was, I lacked patience and I lacked discipline, and what wound up happening was that I let myself flit from thing to thing, helter-skelter, with no real purpose or direction, until the next interesting thing catches my attention and then I’d be all about that for a while… until the next thing. You get the point.

The problem with that is, besides the obvious of being a quintessential flake, that you can’t be like that if you want to write. I suppose there are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking writing is a very lengthy and lonely craft, as I’m coming to learn. It requires a level of dedication that is only rivaled by perhaps keeping bonsai trees. Put bluntly, it takes time to get words onto a page. Back in college I remember being impressed with myself that I could pump out a 5 page, double-spaced paper inside of an hour. Novels are a lot longer than that. Then add to that the research, and the time spent crafting your tale… It adds up, and it adds up quickly. Writers need patience and they need stick-to-it-ness (which I believe, in the days before George W. Bush, was called “determination”).

Along with learning how to outline a plot arc, and how to write with a partner, I also had to learn how to be patient and not get fed up at every bump in the road. Because the honest-to-goodness truth is that I don’t have a stellar track record when it comes to sticking things out or taking them to the next level. My pattern is to get into something and do it for as long as it’s fun, but as soon as it gets hard I lose interest. I’m not naturally this born go-getter who’s willing to make sacrifices because I’m looking at the big picture. I had to learn how to do that. I’m still learning how to do that.

Over the course of the past three years that I’ve been working on this story with my partner, I have had to overcome many challenges. None of them have been as hard as losing momentum, though. It’s something we still struggle with to this day, and something I’m sort of struggling with a little bit right this moment. And what I’m starting to realize, is that maybe this part of it never really goes away. Maybe it’s always easier to eat cake and watch TV. Maybe it’s just a matter of learning how to deal with that and developing the ability to see the bigger picture. Or maybe it just takes a little passion.

Once you get the passion going, it’s one of the best feelings on earth! It’s like a combination of being in love, hanging with your best friend, and eating your favorite food while watching your favorite movie in your favorite place, with a dash of healthy obsession for zest. And just like the inertia of not doing anything feeds into the despondent mental state of losing momentum, accomplishing goals feeds into the passion-driven euphoria. The more you do the thing you love, the more you want to do the thing you love, the more accomplished you feel, the happier you are. And not just “oh I found a twenty!” kind of happy, but deep, intrinsic, soul-satisfyingly happy.

But then just like that! It can disappear and you’re left wrestling with the doldrums of un-productiveness.

I tried to write this blog post several times before, but I wound up deleting it every time. Not because what I’d written was all that bad, but it felt self-indulgent to post it. I was writing for the sake of writing, in an effort to get the passion going again. I was faking it until I making’ed it (I wanted it to still rhyme – don’t take this from me). Everything I was writing though felt very self-serving and none of it was worth sharing with other people.

But I think this draft is a little different. I’m coming off a month of very little progress. Everything from my writing to my sleep and eating habits fell to pieces in the past four or five weeks, and while I’m not happy about it, I did do some serious soul-searching about it and I am taking away a lesson. It’s the lesson that I think is worth sharing, and why I’m writing now. I learned that it’s never going to be truly “easy”. I will have to hone my craft, learn new skills, really focus and apply myself, and there will always be more appealing things than doing what I’m supposed to do. But the trade off for getting my personal goals accomplished is that it fuels my passion. Maybe I wasn’t born with some gift that allows me to buckle down and focus, but I can learn how to do those things. And maybe it’ll get going only to suddenly be hard and passionless all over again, maybe it’ll always be a back-and-forth, give-and-take between moments of passion and moments of struggle… But I’d rather be excited and feel my soul on fire with passion at least some of the time, than not at all.

For a long time I’ve said “the only guaranteed way to fail is to stop trying”, but until recently I’m not sure I really believed in it. I believed that it was a true statement, but I wasn’t sure I believed I could live by it. But I think I can, and I think so long as I keep trying and faking it until I making it (not a word), that I’m on the right track. It doesn’t matter how many times I fall down as long as I always get back up. It took me my entire adult life thus far to really internalize that concept, but I think I’ve got it now. And that’s what I wanted to share, in case anybody else was struggling to understand the same thing.

I’m Not A Percentage, I’m A Person

2 Oct

Every four years, I find myself beating my head against the wall (usually only figuratively, but not always) as I discover a number of my friends are voting Republican. It’s hard for me not to take it personally. The reason I react so viscerally is because I’m actually offended by their vote, especially so this time. This election is more personal than any other election has ever been for me. I have never been so completely invested in the outcome. One guy is promising me that my way of life will not be compromised and it will even be made better, if I have a little patience, and the other guy is pretty much promising to destroy my life as I know it. Maybe not everybody who’s voting for the other guy means me harm, and maybe some of them even want my way of life to be protected and preserved…but it’s a little more than slightly difficult for me to believe it right now. Most of the time I can ignore something like that and just shake my head sadly, but around the Presidential elections I find it nearly impossible to ignore, and even harder to keep my opinions to myself. The only way I can release the stress caused by this deep hurt is to passive aggressively post memes and articles online in the hopes that these people see the error of their ways and change their mind.

No, that’s not true…or is it??? Well, let’s examine my reasoning.

I have a lot of reasons to be voting Democrat this election. First and foremost, I want to marry a woman, and some of my friends also wish to have same-sex marriages. Obama is the ONLY president in American history to publicly approve of same-sex marriages. Romney supports a Constitutional ban against same-sex marriages. One could argue quite accurately that my future, my family, and the life of my dreams could very well rest upon who wins this next election. Sure, my fiancée and I can still live together, and set up a stack of legal documents to sorta-kinda simulate the rights and protections of marriage. But that’s not why people get married, is it? And I’ve already discussed at rather great length why I want to marry her, so I won’t get into it all over again. Needless to say, that issue right there would be enough to secure my vote. Still, it goes deeper.

Secondly, I’m on permanent disability. I don’t want to be. It wasn’t part of the plan when I left high school a year early. I got my high school diploma, Associates, and Bachelor’s degrees all inside of four years. Then I bummed around for a year working on a Master’s in Criminal Justice before having a massive change of heart and switching schools and majors to Education (turns out all of my classmates were extreme conservatives and I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life working for and surrounded by people like them). From there it was a cool ten months to my next degree, a Masters in Education, which I earned with honors. So when I tell you that I was driven, and that I really never intended to wind up on disability, unable to work, you really should believe me.

Regardless, whether or not you think I’m a lazy moocher leaching off the system and contributing to the downfall of this great nation, the fact remains that I cannot hold down a job. I am unreliable because of my condition. I am weak. I am prone to sudden spells of exhaustion during which I begin to tremble until I get some sleep. I have trouble focusing and am distracted by chronic, unrelenting pain and nausea. The Republicans plan on dismantling and privatizing things like Social Security, and goodness only knows what they’ll do for my taxes (apparently we’ll find out during the debates – which honestly does not instill a sense of trust or faith in me). Not that I can really live on the meager $1100 a month I get from SSDI (in one lump sum, no less), and it’s not like I’m on Medicare…because my doctors don’t accept it… but right now that pathetic handout is all I’ve got. That, and the charity of my generous mother, without whom I would be truly and righteously fucked.

Let’s not even discuss what might happen if the Affordable Healthcare Act were to be revoked and I were to say…lose my insurance for some reason. Maybe they raise my rates because of my pre-existing conditions or maybe I miss a payment, and then can’t get new insurance because of those same pre-existing conditions. Oh yeah, and by the way, in New Jersey many doctors, including most of mine, don’t allow you to pay out of pocket because of insurance laws. If I lose my insurance, I lose my ability to manage my illness. Plain as that.

Last, I’m a woman, and my intended spouse is a woman. As a part of the population with vaginas, we would like to remain in control of how those vaginas are used and treated medically. Should our vaginas, or the connected reproductive organs, be used in a way we don’t like, we want to be in control of what’s done from there. Without shame. Without fear. Without threat of subpar or back-alley medical treatment, or the burden of expenses heretofore borne by insurance companies or The State. That is all I’m going to say on that matter.

I could tick off each issue that interests me, such as funding for the arts, or how much I enjoy having reliable firefighters and police officers in my community, but I want to focus on the ones that offend me when I hear people are voting Republican. To recap, those are: Marriage Equality, Social Security, Healthcare, and Women’s Reproductive Rights.

Now, I am aware that different things motivate different people. For example, I know that some people value the future of the education system over marriage equality, and while I may not prioritize things that way, I can understand it. I can even understand people who vote based on their religious beliefs. While I may not “get it”, I can respect their reasoning; after all the first amendment does grant the freedom to practice any faith, and it doesn’t say anything about how much or little you have to believe it.

What I can’t understand though, are people who put fiscal issues ahead of human and civil rights issues. I really can’t wrap my brain around people who say “I have friends who are gay, and I want them to be able to get married, but it’s a lot more important to me that my taxes aren’t raised.” While I know that the economy is in shambles right now, and that a lot of people are suffering, I want you to stop and consider what that says. It is literally saying, “I would rather you be oppressed than have to give up any of my comforts.” And I take offense to it. I really, really do. The same way I take offense to military spending and corporate welfare taking precedence over my wedding, livelihood, healthcare, or reproductive rights. Maybe that’s not the stance of all Republicans, but it IS the stance of the Romney campaign, and it’s not like when you go to the polls you get to say “this only goes for the budget, ok? I am TOTALLY liberal about everything else!”

I know some people are going to accuse me of not knowing what I’m talking about. Or say that it’s easy for me to not care about finances because I’m already poor, so what do I have to lose. But let me tell you something. It’s kind of a secret, or at least it has been up until now…

I am not poor now. I have been poor. THIS is not poor; in fact I’m living in the lap of luxury compared to my childhood. You see, I have been very, very, VERY poor. My childhood was all low-income housing in New York, including a tenement run by a murdering drug lord in the East Village, and a dilapidated caretaker’s house in a graveyard of Staten Island. And that too was opulent in many ways compared to where things were headed. Between the years of 1988 and 1992, or the ages of 7 and 11 in my case, my family lived in a 1987 Dodge Ram van. All four of us, and as much of our possessions as we could fit, all crammed into that van and we toured the country for four years while my parents pursued their dream of becoming musicians.

Well, ok, that’s not entirely true. First my mom’s (now ex) husband lost his job, and then we were kicked out of the caretaker’s house. We wound up doing a six week cross-country mini tour, before camping out at the Sterling Renaissance Festival in New York, which we were also working. I say “we” because my brother and I were nearly as much a part of the act as the music. Twelve weeks became “one more gig” after another, and the next thing we knew, we were homeless, traveling around the country like some really weird version of The Partridge Family.

We had no public assistance for a number of reasons, most of which revolved around not having a permanent address, and besides, I don’t think my mom’s (now ex) husband would have allowed it. No, instead we quite literally relied on the kindness of strangers, and we learned how to be poor. All of us. Before I was 10 years old, I knew to order food at restaurants based on the right hand side of the page – the price. My brother knew to decide whether he was more hungry or thirsty, and to only ask for one item. I knew that my mom collected all the crackers and ketchup packets at dinners and that she made them into soup by mashing them up in a cup of hot water (although I didn’t fully understand until I was older that she would skip meals to make sure my brother and I had enough to eat). At one point, I didn’t own a proper pair of shoes and I was found out when I stepped in a puddle and left footprints in the shape of my foot, not the sole of my shoe. The soles had long since worn away and torn off the bottoms, you see. But shoes were expensive, and I knew that. I honestly don’t remember what happened when we got sick. I don’t remember seeing any doctors or dentists or any of those things during those four years… And all the things we had put in storage? Those were auctioned off when we couldn’t afford to keep up with the payments.

When my mom left her husband in 1992, we did get public assistance. We had food stamps and CHIP. My grandpa helped us get a tiny little townhouse all our own, with a real address. When we got sick, we went to the doctor and got medicine. My brother, 6 by then, saw a dentist for the first time. Our community had programs to help too, such as the local women’s shelter, which provided the BEST holidays me and my brother could remember with sacks of gently used and even new donated toys for us, and my middle school which loaded our car up with food drive boxes. One of those boxes had been in my at-the-time best friend’s class. Yes, she saw it sitting on my kitchen table.

Through the help of those programs, and later with government assistance in the form of student loans, my mom did finally realize her dreams and earned her PhD. She’s now earning a decent living, with a nice house in a good neighborhood with a big yard. Good thing too, since I wound up disabled, unable to work or support myself.

These are my reasons. This is why I am offended when people I hold dear to me tell me they’re voting Republican. It feels like they’re all banding together with all their Republican friends to do things that will hurt me and make my life infinitely more difficult. And I know that’s not true, I’m sure none of them ever stopped to think about how it might make me feel. Which is precisely why I wrote this. So they can know, and hopefully think.

Writing With A Partner Is Better *IF* You Can Pull It Off

28 Aug

When Meggie suggested that I should take the story I’d started for us 18 years ago and turn it into a real book, I don’t think she meant to do it with me. And when I responded by saying she should do it with me, I honestly think it was motivated by the fact that I’m the kind of person who likes to have a “partner in crime”. The truth is I really don’t like doing much of anything by myself and if I can drag someone along with me, I will. I can’t tell you why she went along with it (I like to think it’s because she’s known me for so long and she figured this was bound to be an adventure of ceaseless wonder and excitement), but I can say that neither one of us knew what the hell we were getting ourselves into.

Writing with a partner is not easy. I don’t think it’s really any harder, per se, than writing solo, I think both ways have their ups and downs, but I do think that if you can pull it off and make it work for you the final product of writing with a partner is better. But there are two major obstacles standing in the way of achieving this.

The first hurdle of the process is that there is very little positive support for would-be team writers, as Meggie and I discovered. So what is already a difficult process full of self-doubt and questioning becomes compounded by most people being negative. You would think that in an industry that is fueled by the imaginations of its primary workers, such as in the world of fantasy writing, people would embrace the individuals who try to do things their own way. It would make sense to assume that in field where originality is worth more than gold, being able to think outside the box, or doing something your own way would be rewarded and encouraged. The logical mind would conclude it absolutely stands to reason that in the realm of the writer, there would be open arms and warm embraces awaiting anyone who dared to create in an unconventional manner.

And you would be wrong.

What Meggie and I discovered was that almost everyone said something like, “writing with a partner is twice the work for half the money”, with some people being as straight to the point as to flatly say, “don’t do it!” Despite the fact that there are plenty of books written by more than one author, and that many of them were perfectly successful (Good Omens, anybody?) It didn’t matter. People simply didn’t do things that way – not if they want to succeed – and the more we insisted it was what we really wanted to do, the more it only seemed to prove how un-serious we must be about it. At pretty much every turn, when we said we were writing a trilogy together, people would either try to talk us out of it, or politely nod their heads and plaster a wide-eyed, pained smile on their faces and say something like, “oh woooooooow, yeah, that’s really great.” To say it was discouraging would be understating things, grossly.

For a long time, I was angry about it. How dare they stand in judgement of our dreams?! At least we HAVE dreams, right? At least we’re DOING something about it! But ok wait, hold up a second. There’s a reason why they don’t think we can do it. BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING HARD!!!

If I were to show you some of the first stuff Meggie and I wrote, you would probably pat me on the head and do that obnoxious wide-eyed, pained smile thing I just described above. It wasn’t horrible, and to be honest, most people couldn’t even tell that two people had written it. Our transitions were literally seamless in that regard. But we didn’t know how to tell a story for shit!

Every fantasy writer has to learn how to tell a story at some point. It’s just how it goes, you can’t avoid it. Fantasy stories aren’t delivered like TPS Reports, with graphs and numbers and memos key people don’t get. At some point, the aspiring fantasy writer must learn the art of telling a story. This is the process where you learn how to “show, not tell”. More importantly though, this is the process where each writer (hopefully) learns how to stop writing for themselves, and how to tell the best story they’re capable of telling. It’s a complete divorcing of the ego where you surrender yourself to the Muse and focus on crafting the best story – not catering to a particular demographic, or trying to fill a market, just the pure, unadulterated essence of The Story.

Which brings us to the second roadblock on the journey to tandem-author stardom. When you’re writing with a partner, you have two egos to deal with, two personalities to keep away from the plot, and two opinions about how everything goes down. Ah, you’re starting to see why people think this impossible, aren’t you? It’s NOT though! Let me tell you!

Meggie and I spent the first year, maybe as much as eighteen months, working on learning how to work together. I had lost my copy of the original story years ago, so to me it was all relatively new again. I didn’t have as much of a problem stepping back objectively and saying, “this is good” or “that should go” because I didn’t have an emotional attachment to the story or characters the way I used to. Sure, parts of it stood out and showered me in nostalgia, but most of it I simply didn’t remember anymore. The same was not true for Meggie, however. She not only had her copy, she took it out every year or so and read it again, and then wondered what I had in store, or how I might have ended it. To her, these characters and their story was sacred. Changing it was blasphemy. But all I have to do is explain that this was written when we were 13-16, and there’s a part where a dude offers to cure this chick he just met of an evil spell…with his penis…and you can see why changes were necessary. (To be fair, she was never against changing that part…)

We had to learn how to check our egos at the door, and we spent pretty much most of our discussions in that first year-to-eighteen-months going back and forth on trivial crap that was leftover from the childhood version. Credit where it’s due, too, because I truly believe lesser people would have told me to go fuck myself where Meg struggled to let go of her attachments. I was kind of a bitch about it sometimes too, which was something I had to learn to stop doing. Pretty soon we started to see that it couldn’t be about us, though. It had to be about doing this story justice. And that process was hard, but in a way we had an advantage. We had each other there to keep one another honest and on track. I imagine solo writers may let some things slide, allowing a character or reference to make it in because it amuses them or is some kind of inside joke (this is what I tell myself every time George R.R. Martin loses me), but we couldn’t do that unless we both agreed that it wasn’t going to detract from the overall delivery. That meant most of the silly stuff that was just for us got left behind as we structured a story that we could both agree was absolutely, without a doubt, the best version of it that we could possibly craft.

Maybe you’re still thinking “this doesn’t sound so hard”. But oh, believe me, it’s is! See, there’s more to it than that. It’s not as hard when it comes to accepting that something you wrote isn’t as clever or good as you thought it was, or that your idea is in direct conflict with something you already wrote into the plot – that’s actually kinda easy to get over. You do it once or twice, and you get the hang of it. No, the hard part is when your partner has been banging out 1,000 words a day for a week solid and you haven’t even read the 2 page document they sent you two weeks ago, let alone wrote anything, because you’re blocked. That’s when it gets hard. Not having an ego allows you to step outside the situation and simply acknowledge that work is getting done. You have to focus on the part of your glass that’s still half full.

You see…

Meggie has strengths that I do not have. For example, she is amazing at keeping track of a sequence of events, and she is a stickler for details. She also comes up with beautiful pieces of detached imagery that don’t necessarily fit neatly into a scene. I am the poster child for ADHD, and have been known to do things like – and I am not exaggerating, or pointing to a single instance, this happens frequently – forget to finish sentences, down to and including not even completing the last word. On the other hand, I am much better at writing dialog than she is, and I am better at emulating different styles and speech patterns.

And if she’s writing while I’m blocked, then shit man! At least someone is still writing!

If you want to write with a partner, you need to be able to acknowledge these kinds of things, without an ego or attitude about it, and you need to work with each other to fill in one another’s gaps. I am blessed that my best friend, and the first person I wanted to work with on this, turned out to be perfectly suited to compliment my strengths and flaws. Make no mistake about it though, it still wasn’t easy. As much as we love each other, we still fought like crazy (and probably will fight again, I’m sure), and at one point we nearly went our own ways. It was still hard work. But it was work worth doing because what we’re getting out of it is better than what we would have gotten without it.

It’s not about who spends more time at the keyboard, or who comes up with more ideas, or whose ideas were the best. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you put your heads together to come up with a better story than you could have come up with on your own. THAT, my friends, is the great advantage of writing with a partner, and why I say it’s better. Because they come up with things that you would never dream, and vice versa. They supply something you cannot, and if you tried to do it alone the end result would be lacking. Not because you’re a shitty writer, or you can’t tell a story on your own, but because you’re only you. You can’t think up what they think up – you can only think up what you think up. It’s really as simple as that.

What ever happened to Anti Eff Bee?

23 Aug

I feel like I need to address the issue of my leaving, and then coming back to, Facebook. Less because I’m concerned that I’m being silently judged (although I’d be lying if I tried to pretend that wasn’t a factor) and more because I feel like I’ve left the whole Anti Eff Bee project unfinished. When I logged off that blog, I really imagined I would never be back, and since that hasn’t been the case, I feel like I owe some kind of explanation.

Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to write. 😉

Ok so what happened, anyway? I had started off with every intention of never going back to Facebook. At least, I think I did… I want to say that’s what happened, although I feel like maybe I never believed that was possible to begin with. Regardless, when I started the blog, I really didn’t think I was going back. What I discovered, however, is that it is almost impossible to live in today’s world without being on Facebook.

When you leave Facebook, you’re not just leaving behind the most convenient and commonly used form of communication in today’s world, you’re divorcing it. Forgetting about “right”, “wrong”, or anything in between, that reality is that Facebook is where people communicate, plan events, make social arrangements, and even meet people. Yes, I had a handful of friends who called/texted/emailed/visited so they would make sure we stayed in touch, and they know who they are. And yes, I went through a period of about a week where I got intensely angry at the rest of the people who made zero effort to stay in touch, but after about a week, I calmed down and realized it wasn’t really their fault. It wasn’t like they were snubbing me, or punishing me. In fact, it was a lot more like when you move away as a kid and you have to switch schools. You and your friends all swear that you’ll stay in touch, but how often does that ever really happen? The difference here though is that unlike a childhood move to a different neighborhood, I made the choice to leave Facebook. If I was missing my friends, I could always go back.

So that was one piece of the puzzle.

The other piece was that, bless their little hearts and souls, those of my friends who did make that extra effort to see me and stay in touch outside of Facebook, were running me ragged!! My phone was blowing up constantly, my calendar was booked solid for days on end, all of which was really awesome in the beginning, but pretty soon I found it to be exhausting and invasive. That isn’t to say I don’t love my friends, or that I didn’t want to see them – I did!! I continue to!! But I seriously don’t have the energy to keep up with that kind of a social life. I used to, and I kind of still wish I did, but I don’t now. *shrug* Wha’cha gonna do?

Go back to Facebook, that’s wha’cha gonna do!

My time away has given me a new appreciation for both the pros and cons of using Facebook. As a busy artist with a chronic illness that zaps me of most of my strength and energy, it is an invaluable tool for staying in touch with a mega FUCKTON of people at once. Like it or not, I cannot achieve this any other way without sacrificing something more important. Fortunately, my experience through the Anti Eff Bee experiment taught me a lot about what I was “doing wrong”, for lack of a better term. As I discussed in my post about Personal Responsibility, I owe it to myself to avoid those pitfalls now that I know they’re there. I’ve learned a lot about my own limits, and now that I’m finally getting things done again, I’m loathe to mess it up. If I see myself slipping back into my old, bad habits, I know what to do to get back on track again.

So I’m back, albeit in a much more minimalist fashion. And this is why.