Friday, December 20, 2013

Last Post of the Year

I feel compelled to reflect on this year, but it's been a really bad one. 

I think the only good things I have to say about this year are:
  • I finally took the step to start graduate school, something I wish I had done twenty years ago.  I love it, and I'm getting more out of it than I had expected. 
  • I got closer to my sister, but under the absolute worst of circumstances.
  • My leg and foot are definitely getting better.  If you don't know me, I have had nerve damage and incredible pain for more than four years.  The benefit of this is other things like shingles and mammograms and needle biopsies don't hurt so much in comparison. 
  • I figured out how to execute the research I need to do for my historical novels and did a huge amount of the research.
I end the year with shingles on my head and face.  It's not getting better.  My doctor said it won't until I boost up my immune system....with lots of sleep and pampering and rest and relaxation...the things I don't have and don't know how to get.  Crap.

My one regret this year is I didn't write every day.  I took huge lapses in time when I did research but didn't write.  For me, the writing is therapeutic in the same way going on a vacation is.  It's my happy place because I can go anywhere without the hassle of a long car trip or the TSA or having to breathe in other people's air on an airplane, which is just terrifying. 

In 2014 I am going to do these things, not to push myself but because I think it will make me happy and/or less stressed:
  1. Give up coffee and switch to green tea because it makes me less spazzy.
  2. Strive to write every day for at least 20 minutes. 
  3. Strive to exercise every day for 20 minutes - apparently this is the key to sleeping normally.
  4. Meditate every day (just before writing).
  5. Participate in Write1Sub1 and actually do it instead of just thinking about what a good idea it is.  See my little list on the right for the link.
  6. Write a collection of creepy short stories during my Poe class (January-April).
  7. Finish edits to One Small Betrayal (which is also creepy in a Poe kind of way).
  8. Carry on with my historical fiction.
  9. Interview my great aunt with my mom.
My great aunt is my maternal grandmother's sister and my grandfather's sister-in law.  Her husband was my maternal grandfather's brother.  That apparently happened a lot in tiny little coal towns before people had cars.  The more I talk to her, the more ideas I get for stories.  She's the last one with the history (a very dramatic history) of my mother's side of the family.  She's in bad health.  And she agreed to be interviewed, not for my novels especially, but so I can write up the actual family stories for my cousins and their kids so it's not lost.

My mom and I have had a complex relationship. This year, she has been amazing about helping me with research, talking to people about questions I have, collecting family stories for me, and simply looking at pictures of coal towns to help me figure out to lay out my fictional town. 

This is my last post of the year.  I hope you all have a relaxing and joyful Christmas and New Year.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Shingles on my Face

My plan for my new blog (this one) is to keep my personal stuff out of it. 

I will let this be an exception.  I have shingles.  On my face.  My right eyelid specifically.

My eyelid is so swollen and covered with lesions that I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a scar.  And it's incredibly itchy if I don't touch it, incredibly painful if I do.

The weird thing about shingles is (and I'm no doctor here so don't take this as medical advice) it's activated by stress, and the pain is worse when I feel stressed.  I'm very light sensitive as well (even more than normal).  It hurts when I blink.  The pain in my eyelid feels like it's in my eye, but my eyeball checked out okay by the eye doctor.  They think I will be in this misery for two weeks.  The doctor recommend taking Benadryl for the swelling and to sleep it off as much as possible.

I'm supposed to relax and de-stress in a permanent, long-term kind of way.

* long pause *

I'm not sure exactly how to do that.  I have a lot of stuff to do.  My house is a mess.  My impulse is to do something, anything.  I could probably relax if I could read, but my eye hurts.

Writing is the one thing that gives me peace, lets me escape to another world, and gives me the satisfaction of having created something even when I'm done writing.  So I will write. I will write a lot.  First I need a nap because the Benadryl is working....