Star Crossed

Last summer I tried paddle boarding for the first time with a wonderful woman I was dating. After paddling around the lake a good long while, we did that thing everyone in a new relationship does, avoided having to leave each other. I watched her deflate and put away the boards. I tried to not listen as she talked to her ex-wife about their kids on a phone call. Finally, we sat on the curb of the parking lot between our cars and talked.

My back started to bother me so I laid down on the concrete to stretch my hip, and relax my muscles. It had become dark, but it wasn’t cold so we pressed against each other and looked at the stars. I have an app on my phone that shows real time overlays of constellations, planets, and deep space objects. We looked at everything we could think of even though I kept dropping the phone on us, but we just laughed.

I kept seeing these streaks of light crossing the sky. They were about the same size as the stars but the color was different somehow. I thought it might be the damage to my eyes. Sometimes I see things that aren’t there. Usually they’re black spots but also light flashes and migraine auras. The spots were always more visible when I looked at the sky, so maybe that was all. It had been some time since I laid out at night and perhaps it was it wasn’t there, just one of the many strange things my body does. Then she asked me about it and I knew it was real. What was that streaking light? A satellite? We tried to get the app on my phone to identify it, but nothing specific was associated with the light.

Then I remembered I’d read about an apartheid billionaire “destroying the night sky.” They talked about all the hundreds of satellites he’d put in orbit, that the light pollution was quite possibly a crime against humanity. It affected the entire globe. Something that had been a part of human existence since humans were first birthed, was now marred.

I told her about this. That our quiet, intimate moment, laying on a sidewalk, in a stolen moment away from our children and responsibilities, had been intruded upon by the hubris of a man. Something about this transgression was foundational. There was no longer a place in the world we could go and be truly alone. The arrogance of one man would always intrude.

I wondered about the future. I despaired that I’d not noticed before. My body felt as though I could hear them. I watched the same lines drawn in the sky by the satellites over and over until I had memorized the pattern of their orbit.

How very small we seemed. How very like a pair of atoms in our own organic bond. Trying to survive while toxic greed cut up all of existence to sell to the highest bidder. What molecule did we make? How much were we worth? We were a part of the universe’s organic whole, but could easily be scrubbed away.

Watch List 01/2022

I’ve started keeping track of what I’m watching again. I don’t know, it’s fun for whatever reason. Therefore, I should share it with everyone!

IDK it’s worth a shot.

I like listening to low stakes shows like cooking competitions while I’m working on art projects, paperwork or I just need to pretend to have human contact. My therapist also made me stop watching press conferences on CNN so I had to sub in something… I love some standup when I need a distraction from generalized despair, or when I’m having fun. When I have the time and the spoons, I love both “bad” and great movies. Generally speaking, if I start a movie, I’ll finish it. However, if I don’t like a show, I’ll just stop.

SHOWS

  • Master Chef
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Master Chef Junior
  • Jayde Adams: Serious Black Jumper
  • Bob The Drag Queen: Suspiciously Large Woman
  • Worst Cooks in America
  • Archive 81
  • Devs
  • The Witcher
  • Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross and Dave Attell
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous
  • Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian
  • Leslie Jones: Problem Child
  • Abbott Elementary

MOVIES

  • Observe and Report
  • Gunpowder and Milkshakes
  • Jolt
  • snatch
  • The House
  • Long Story Short
  • Dark Shadows 2012
  • Deja Vu
  • Acts of Vengeance
  • Level 16

For the first time, I started keeping track of creative projects that I’ve finished as well. It’s hard for me because I feel like I never get enough art done. I know I work on things, but it can be hard to gauge how much I actually finish. So I started a list of creative projects I’ve finished as well. It really helped me see that I do a lot more than I thought!

Creations

  • Large Moth blanket with crochet edge
  • Painting underwater yellow dress
  • Painting underwater with sea weed
  • Painting underwater with white cake layer
  • Pink/gray crochet blanket
  • Painting underwater larger with pinkish dress
January 2022 lists

The Path Through

I admit, I’m at a loss. I know I need to promote myself, put my work out in front of people. No one can buy my work if they don’t know it exists. But the process of putting everything together and promoting somehow feels overwhelming.

So I am trying. I am taking a step. I don’t know what it looks like, but I’m trying.

I started a list of projects I’ve finished to help me remember that I am actually making progress, that I’m putting in the work. So far this year I’ve finished 3 paintings, and 2 craft projects. I’ve worked on seven others that are in various stages of completion.

I’ve shared some of those with a few friends, but that’s all. I should probably cast a wider net if I want to actually do something with all of these things I make.

Imposter syndrome, anxiety monster, negative core beliefs, generalized despair – whatever it is, I’m trying to fight my way through.

October Arts

I always desperately want to participate in the various themed art challenges that pop up in October. It’s hard to know which ones to choose. It also seems like it requires a lot of research to make sure you’re not following one that was started by an asshole…

Last year I did apprentice witches and that was a lot of fun! This year I thought I’d do landscapes and backgrounds since I suck at them. Not going to get any better unless I practice, right?

Or something

IDK it’s worth a try

My favorite October art theme I ever participated in was ones a friend set up for a list of Queens! I’m still working on that one even though it’s been years. I may be slow, but I’m determined!

The Publishing Cycle

Last week I wrote a little piece over on the TI blog about the sad news regarding Less Than Three Press. The loss of this publisher has been felt deeply by myself, and many of my friends.

LT3 filled an important role in romance publishing. They actively supported marginalized voices, and treated their writers well. It was wonderful to have a mid sized publisher like them around, especially for new and emerging writers.

I have one title with LT3. It’s old enough now that I’m not entirely sure that I’ll re-release it. I haven’t decided. I photographed my own cover for the novella, so I’d still have that! The perfectionist in me wants to go back over the story and polish things up. I feel so much more confident about my writing these days, and I’m sure the piece could use some work.

At least two other authors I know have opted to not re-release their work that was with LT3, primarily for the same reason. They’re older works and perhaps not as reflective of their author’s current work. I get it.

There are a few uncomfortable realities that go along with this. The first is that as of now, both publishers I’ve worked with have closed. It’s a worrying pattern within small and mid range publishers. What will we have when none of these can survive? Will it only be the big publishers and self pub, with nothing in between? That’s quite worrisome.

The other is simply that it reminds me how long its been since I’ve published anything. It’s been years. I’m not a fan. I’ve spoken with a few friends and my current goal is to have another novel finished by the end of the year so I can start shopping it around to publishers.

I don’t know what I’m doing here

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘careers’ and identity. We’ve all been told for most of our lives that work and identity are essentially synonyms. It’s evident in how we talk about careers. We ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Which is very different from, “What kind of work would you like to do?”

For most of my life, I didn’t think I attached much of my identity to my job. After all, it was just a job. I worked hard, did excellent work, and remained employed, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t who I was as a person, it was just what I did.

Now that I can’t do it anymore, I’ve realized how wrong I was.

I took pride in my work. The quality of it, the hours I would devote to getting things done right, I wanted respect and acknowledgement from my peers. As the industry changed, I changed along with it. I had to adjust to new metrics of success, and I worked at them until I achieved them.

I never got the things I really wanted. I think I became bogged down in being a productive drone. After all, that used to be a respectable quality. I thought service and devotion to an industry would get me there.

It didn’t.

Now I have to change my paradigm again, and find myself without any sort of map.

People ask professional athletes and others who aim high, about their backup plans. We need to start thinking about those things for everyone. No matter what kind of work you do, regardless of industry.

We’re presented with a narrative about automation replacing human workers in production jobs, but that’s not the only place that happens. As I was explaining to someone exactly what I used to do ten years ago, I realized I had been replaced by a combination of a machine, apathy, and transferring the burden of quality on to the customer. Over the years I’ve worked in the arts, several jobs I’ve had have been replaced by machines.

My body is failing me. I know, it happens to all of us. For me, it has happened at an intense speed, in ways I never could have imagined, and targeting things that are most important to me.

I don’t know what I ‘do’ anymore, which has left me questioning who I am. This isn’t another instance of technology or priorities changing how I approach the industry within which I work, it’s starting over. I don’t have a backup plan, I didn’t think I needed one.

It’s slow

Sometimes it’s slow. Right now, it’s slow. It’s hard to be okay with things not going how we want.

I have so many projects I’m excited about, but I can’t seem to get them together. It’s a struggle.

I suppose all there is to do is keep pushing forward.

Or not

Another FbF up on TI

The group blog I participate in has a new post up from me. Hooray!

It’s another Feedback Friday up on the Tickled Ink blog. (See, that’s what all those abbreviations mean!) This time, the word prompt was “Widdershins” and the author really knocked it out of the park. The piece is so fun, I highly recommend you go check it out.

Widdershins on TickledInkBlog

Please Don’t Take My Man

As many of you know, I’m very active in animal rescue. My long term foster baby, Comet, was back in the hospital this past week and then spent some time in hospice care. I’ve had him for almost 4 months now and its been quite the journey.

On Saturday, I was finally able to bring him home. We were both thrilled to see each other to say the least. He jumped into my arms, licked my face over and over, and put his arms on my shoulders in a hug. I had been so worried about him and missed him so much!

He was hugging me so tightly, he wouldn’t let go. I had to carry him down the street to the car, and even then he wouldn’t let go. We sat together in the car for a long while as I tried to calm and reassure him. Poor sweet baby didn’t want to let go! So I did what any sensible person would do, I took a selfie with him!

It’s probably my favorite text exchange ever.

Like all good people, I’m a big fan of Dolly Parton. I’ve never been so thrilled to be called Jolene. Actually, I think I’d always be happy about to be called Jolene, it just doesn’t come up all that often. I should work on that…

My little guy might have a home lined up. Expect me to be a hot freaking mess when this baby goes.

-R/AC