The next chapter: May 2021 update

May was an eventful month in this writer’s life (!) I’ll apologize in advance if this post is loooong.

Before I dive into the month in writing, here are your monthly PSAs:

All lives cannot matter until BIPOC lives matter.

Even though vaccination is happening, and countries are slowly reopening, there are still “hot spots” and new variants to contend with. Covid 19 isn’t over yet. Please continue to maintain physical distance, mask where required, get both your vaccines (if two are required), and keep washing your hands. These measures will protect you from more than covid. Stay safe, people!

The month in writing

It wasn’t a bad month in the writing and revising department. Despite the fact that my day job has been demanding in the last couple of months, I’m managing to carve out time to do creative work. It’s less than I’d like and less than I used to be able to do, but words are being written (or revised).

I was still stuck on revisions for Reality Bomb. I ended up completely rewriting the first chapter and writing two more. Now I’m into a larger section where the revisions aren’t as significant. Even though I’d hoped to ramp up sooner, before the first week was over, I reduced my revision goal to 5,000 words. Of that, I revised 4,890 words, or 98%.

I finished revising the story I started reworking last month and started revising another … but I didn’t finish it. So, of the 2,500-word revision goal I set for that, I ended up revising 1,930, or 77%.

I blogged 4,111 words of my 3,500-word goal, or 117%.

Of the projects that aren’t on the tracker, I didn’t do any work on the Ascension master document, but I did write some revision notes for one short story and brainstorming notes on another. I’m not fond of the idea of outlining short stories. Even when I outline my novels, the story always finds its own way in the drafting.

The cover reveal and table of contents announcement went out this week for Home for the Howlidays, the anthology including one of my stories. Tyche Books is the publisher and Margaret (M.L.D.) Curelas is the editor. It will be published closer to the holiday season, but promo starts now 🙂

Work also begins. I should be hearing this month about required edits.

Filling the well

In May, I participated in two longer events. The first was the Festival of Literary Diversity, or FOLD, from May 1st to 15th. I couldn’t attend all the sessions, because work, but the organizers, Jael Richardson and Amanda Leduc, recorded all the sessions and made them available until May 31st. The second was an online course by Laurie Schnebly Campbell (with whom you might be familiar from my tipsday curation posts) on Showing Emotion from May 10th to the 21st.

I also watched the replay of Rewriting Tomorrow (more on why in a bit), a Carl Brandon Society Virtual Panel with Tobias Buckell, S.B. Divya, Malka Older, and Tochi Onyebuchi. That was on the 15th, and I watched it later the same day.

Susan Forest offered a great webinar on Backstory Secrets for the Canadian Authors Association on the 19th, and I signed up for a Pro-Writing Aid presentation on 5 principles of a thorough self-editing process on the 20th. So, it was a pretty full month for writing-related events.

In other self-care news, I received my final report for my assessment on the 10th and … I am on the spectrum (!) If the diagnosis was still distinct, I would have Asperger’s. As of the DSM 5, however, I am considered to be on the autism spectrum. High functioning, mild symptoms.

I must say the diagnosis was a relief. I was tempted to run around shouting I AM NEURODIVERGENT at the top of my lungs. It explained a lot of things, among them, why I’m always exhausted. I’d thought at one time that it was due to an iron deficiency (I was anemic for a few years), but it’s really the persistent stress of having to function in a neurotypical world.

I also had my last EAP appointment because, after debriefing my diagnosis, there wasn’t much more my counsellor could do for me. She’s technically keeping my file open in case I need some reinforcement, and I can always begin a new “bank” of EAP appointments if a new issue crops up, but I think I’m in a good place at the moment.

And … I got my first covid vaccination (Pfizer) on the 15th! My second appointment is already scheduled for September 4th, but now that the Ontario government is trying to expedite second doses, I might be fully vaccinated sooner. Here’s crossing fingers.

Weight-wise, I seem to be settling in at 160 lbs. I’ve been wavering between 159 and 161 for most of the last month. I haven’t been this slim in … I can’t remember, honestly. I feel better in my body. I can put socks on without my belly getting in the way.

An issue that I haven’t mentioned in months (maybe years?) was also resolved in May. Back in 2017, when we brought Torvi home, I took a leave with income averaging. The deductions were never made from my pay (I was Phoenixed) and I ended up with a sizable debt to my employer. When it came due, I immediately called the pay centre, told them that I was sole support for my household, and asked if they could place a hold on the debt until I was in a position to pay.

Last fall, our new contract was negotiated, and the retro pay, Phoenix damages monies, and signing bonus subsequently paid were enough to cover the debt with a little left over. Reader, I paid it off. Huge relief for our finances, moving forward.

It was an awesome month for my mental and physical health.

What I’m watching and reading

It was a big month in the viewing department. I finished watching five seasons, finished two with Phil, and watched two movies.

In my personal watching, I finished what appears to be the final season of Black Lightning. There wasn’t as much drama as in past seasons, and a number of plotlines were wrapped up nicely.

I finished Snowpiercer season 2, and I enjoyed it despite its darkness. The conflict with Wilfred was more dynamic and Melanie’s quest to confirm that the eternal winter was beginning to break was tragic, yet hopeful.

I also watched the adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. Loved! The actors were fabulous, and the story was fantastic. Astral twins. Lovely concept, just a step up from soul mates. Watch it, if you have the chance.

Next, I saw The Nevers. I enjoyed everything up to the last episode. I didn’t mind that the story began in the future (yes, weirdness, but also—Claudia Black!). I didn’t even mind that Amalia True wasn’t Amalia True. What didn’t sit well was that True reaches the Galanthi, and … nothing happens. She’s basically told to forget about it, and she goes home. It was a betrayal.

The last series I watched was The Rookie. It was an interesting season, dealing with institutionalized racism and other serious topics. Nolan’s ambitions were scuttled by the fallout from last season’s cliffhanger. Chen gets to go on her first undercover assignment. It was an enjoyable watch. And Nolan wasn’t the focus of the cliffhanger this time 🙂

Phil and I watched Shadow and Bone. I liked how they combined the titular novel with Six of Crows. Kaz and his crew were still the more compelling characters. Alina still lacked agency, but I liked how they tried to up her game. We both enjoyed it.

Then, we watched Jupiter’s Legacy. Phil was watching just to see how the original supers got their powers, and I think that was intentional. I don’t think what was supposed to be the main plotline would have held our attention without that past timeline mystery.

The two movies I watched were both DCEU offerings.

First, I watched the Snyder cut of Justice League. I had to watch it in four parts … ‘cause long, but I appreciated the storytelling that went into it in comparison to the original. I think DC realized that fans weren’t happy with the movie as it was released.

Then, I watched Man of Steel. Meh. Like Cavill and all, but I’ve seen Superman’s origin story so many times it was hard to be invested.

I read four books in May.

The first was A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. It was dark and angsty. Malik’s hatred/love/hatred for Karina felt a little contrived, but I liked it despite that.

Next, I read Pierce Brown’s Red Rising. The premise was interesting, but I didn’t buy the worldbuilding. Why would Martian civilization revert to a Roman governance model based on colours and metals (red, black, silver, brass, gold, etc.)? It was okay.

I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, my literary pick of the month. It was an examination of race and “passing.” The story begins with twins, Desirée and Stella. After their father is murdered in front of them, Desirée wants nothing more than to run away. She’s tired of their small-minded town that values light-coloured skin above all else.

But it’s Stella who truly runs away, passing as white, marrying a white man, and effectively disappearing from her family’s lives. Desirée marries a dark-skinned man who abuses her. She runs back home to hide and falls in love with man her husband sends to find her.

A generation later, Desirée’s daughter Jade, an aspiring doctor in love with a transgender man, meets Stella’s daughter Kennedy, a struggling actress. He two become “frenemies” until Jade sees Stella at a party and realizes that Kennedy is her cousin.

I really liked it.

Finally, I read Mister Impossible, the second book in the Dreamer trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. It came out on the 18th and I nabbed it right away. The book continues the story of the Lynch brothers, Declan, Ronan, and Matthew. At the end of the last book, Ronan and Hennessey had finally found Bride, only to be surrounded by the Moderators, whose job it is to kill dreamers.

They escape off-screen (which I wasn’t all that pleased about) and begin Bride’s “great work” of restoring the ley lines. Declan and Jordan, Hennessy’s last remaining dreamt twin, discover something called a “sweet metal,” an object, most often a painting, that can keep dreamed people awake without their dreamers.

Meanwhile, Carmen, one of the Moderators, and her visionary Lilianna, go rogue and try to save the world in their own way. There are some great twists at the end. Loved.

And that was a month in this writer’s life.

Until Tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 23-29, 2018

Welcome to thoughty Thursday where the goal is to get your mental corn popping!

That Phoenix debacle that keeps popping up from time to time in my social media feeds or these curations? Yeah, that one. Here’s a video that may help explain things:

 

Sarah DiGiulio explains why your weird dreams actually make a lot of sense (according to neuroscience and psychology). NBC News

Megan Feldman Bettencourt: how forgiveness has been weaponized against women. In other words, to truly forgive someone, they have to be held accountable. Harper’s Bazaar

Linda Rodriguez McRobbie reports on the dead beneath London’s streets. Smithsonian Magazine

SciShow introduces us to the incredible biodiversity of Lake Baikal—plus, extremophiles!

 

Matt Reynolds examines the almighty tussle over whether we should talk to aliens or not. SETI, METI, and the arguments for and against. Wired

Stephanie Pappas: humans contribute to the Earth’s wobble. Scientific American

SciShow Space looks at the Dark Matter vs. MOND debate.

 

Eric Mack: NASA turns 60 and it’s reinventing itself for the SpaceX era. Cnet

Adrien Mauduit shares his time-lapse video of the skies over Tenerife:

 

Florence + the Machine cover Tori Amos’s “Cornflake Girl.”

 

Beck: Colours

 

I hope you found something interesting in this edutainment mix.

This weekend, I’ll be posting my next chapter update for September.

Until then, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 31, 2017 – Jan 6, 2018

Here’s some stuff that might just get the mental corn popping 🙂

More on the continuing Phoenix debacle: public servants have until January 31st to deal with 2017 overpayments. Matthew Kupfer for the CBC.

John Leland says, if you want to be happy, think like an old person. The New York Times

How society destroys your creativity.

 

Brenda Knowles: the biggest wound of relationships and how to avoid it. Space2Live

Eric Andrew-Gee says, your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial, and unhappy, but why can’t you put it down? The Globe and Mail

Danny Vinik reports on the real future of work. Politico

Astronomy calendar for 2018:

 

Kemp Reweti – Maori harpist.

 

And that was your edutainment for the week.

Be well until the weekend!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 8-14, 2017

Something in this grab bag should get your mental corn popping 😉

Julie Ireton continues her investigation: chaos inside the Phoenix pay centres—is anyone’s pay right? CBC

Shaun King: the airport bomber from last week you never heard about. The Intercept

Phil Plait shares Juno’s latest images: Jovian chaos. SyFy

SciSchow news: new confirmation for the “warm little pond” theory of life; helpful tumours.

 

ASAP Science presents scientific tips for surviving the apocalypse.

 

Living with high functioning anxiety. Jordan Raskopoulos TEDxSydney.

 

Benoit Denizet-Lewis: why are more American teenagers than ever suffering from severe anxiety? The New York Times Magazine

Ashley Rogers: consent, intent, and problematic convention behaviour. Nerd Caliber

Karla Lant reports on a new drug that fixes cavities and regrows teeth. Futurism

Ancient Egyptian treasures found at the bottom of the ocean. Daily Berries

Claudia Roth Pierpont exposes the secret lives of Leonardo da Vinci. The New Yorker

Kelly Faircloth shares an oddly compelling video about how medieval people used to walk. Jezebel

Hannah Rose-Yee: Swedish death cleaning is the morbid new way to de-clutter your life. New York Post

Jane Carr reports on female code breakers for CNN.

And that was your Thoughty Thursday for the week.

Be well until the weekend!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 1-7, 2017

Just a little bit of thoughty this week.

Julie Ireton: report says Phoenix was doomed from the start. CBC

What new Governor General Julie Payette’s coat of arms means. CBC

Sherri Borden Colley: after 200 years without a land title, Nova Scotia black communities offered hope. CBC

David Eagleman explores the impact of neuroscience on the criminal justice system: the brain on trial. The Atlantic

SciShow news: how to bring someone back from a vegetative state and generating energy from evaporation.

 

ASAP Science: how to learn faster.

 

Robert Wicks on the necessity of self-care:

 

I hope something in this mix got your mental corn popping.

Fare thee well until the weekend!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 16-22, 2017

At this moment, I’m somewhere over the Atlantic (I hope) on my way to Hamburg via Reykjavik. And so , yes, this will be your last dose of thoughty for a few weeks.

The CBC takes a look at how the Phoenix debacle has affected Sudbury’s public servants.

Melanie Lefebvre: it’s not my job to teach you about Indigenous people. The Walrus

Yvette Brend explains how Indigenous fire wisdom is the key to megafire prevention. CBC

Willie Drye reports that Blackbeard’s ship is now confirmed to be off North Carolina’s coast. National Geographic

Tom Spender: teleportation of photons today, humans tomorrow? BBC

SciShow: CERN’s new particle and the oldest form of (animal) life.

 

Brenda Knowles offers some tips for coping with social anxiety and how to build resilience. Space2Live

Mark Brown: report reveals that the arts help in recovery from mental illness. The Guardian

Peter Dinklage – light up the night

 

Emily Reynolds reports on ravens and their theory of mind. Wired

Bored Panda lists 50 of the happiest dog memes ever.

I hope to be back on the blogging horse on the weekend of August 19 with a post about the Writing Excuses cruise.

Be well until my return.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 23-29, 2017

Lots for the visual learner this week 🙂

I’ll just leave this here … Andrea Wallace shares her struggle with the failed Phoenix pay system. Medium

SciShow marches for science.

 

Deborah Tannen examines the (sometimes unintentional) subtext of digital conversations. The Atlantic

Why can’t you use your phone on a plane? SciShow

 

Rachel Ginder: introverts don’t hate people, they hate shallow socializing. Introvert, Dear

Veritasium looks at the sun sneeze gene (don’t know what that is? I didn’t either!)

 

Sandrine Ceurstremont reports that female dragonflies will fake sudden death to avoid unwanted male advances. This made me lolz. Way to go, ladies 😉 New Scientist

Dogs are doggos: an internet language built around love for the puppers. Jessica Boddy for NPR.

And speaking of dogs … kind of … this seal just wants a belly rub 🙂

 

Shel – Enter Sandman. Eerie and beautiful.

 

Now that your mental corn is popping (I hope) I shall leave you to your own devices until the weekend.

Be well until next I blog.

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