The Important Stuff

A Beginning

A story has to begin somewhere. If you've ever played a RPG then you know that many stories start in taverns. How else are you to gather...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Stop Shooting One Another!

I was slowly working on a blog post about my creative process and why I prefer to write in worlds not our own. Then… idiot shoots at Congressmen and Staffers playing baseball. And the police have released his identity. The man has a Facebook page, and if it is to be believed he is Anti-Trump, Anti-Clinton, and a big supporter of Sanders. A liberal in name at least.

This is going to become such a shit show.

I am first disgusted by the man’s actions. This is not how we solve our political dilemmas people! This solves absolutely nothing and is only going to make things worse. Before the shooting there were already completely different idiots who want civil war. They are salivating at the idea of taking down their perceived enemies so they can have their perfect country full of people who look and think like them. This idiot has just given them more fuel for their fire.

Our country is divided. You can say it is just political, but it comes down to morals and beliefs. How you wish to be treated, and how you wish to treat others. This divide is whipped up into a froth thanks to our 24/7 news cycle where everything is a breaking story, and when bad things do happen that will be all you see and hear about until the next bad thing happens. The big cable news channels are purveyors in what I call Disaster Porn. It is grotesque, exploitative, and never shares the truth.

Our current President sure as hell doesn’t help the situation. He ran his campaign on division. Us vs Them. Insiders vs Outsiders. “True” Americans vs Traitors. At least he hasn't gone off the rails about today's insanity, yet.

It is all bullshit. There is no us versus them. We are all in this together. We share this nation, this planet, and while we don’t always have to agree with one another. We should not resort to shooting one another because of those differences. If we all agreed the world would be a very boring place.

I don’t have the answer for solving the political and moral divide in this country. Though I think a lot of it could be assuaged by just respecting one another, and more importantly loving one another. I promise I am not about to sing kumbaya. But nothing is solved by hate. Hate only destroys. Hate is incapable of being used to fix what is broken. Hate only breeds more division.

Don’t hate someone because of who or how they love. Don’t hate someone because of their gender expression. Don’t hate someone because of what god they worship. Don't hate someone if they don't worship any god. Don’t hate someone because of the color of their skin. Don’t hate someone because of the country where they or their ancestors were born. Don’t hate someone because of how much or little money they have in the bank. Don’t hate.

Oh, you can still be angry. You can be upset. You can be disappointed. You can disagree. You are under no obligation to be tolerant of intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, or any other way people try to divide us. But don’t hate, and don’t act on that hate. And for all that you hold holy and dear, Don’t Shoot People!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Of Mice, Men, and Medications

I’m old. Not like retirement old, but Get Off My Lawn! old. Why are songs from my youth on the oldies station old! When did my knees start to make that noise old. Kids today don’t get all my cultural references old. I’m no spring chicken is what I am trying to say.

There are times when I look back on my life and wonder where the hell it all went. Wasn’t I just going dancing at The Chamber last week? What the hell do you mean it was almost twenty years ago? Get outta town! Didn’t I once have a plan? A wish to fulfill? Wasn’t I supposed to be doing X by Y year?

Well life has a way of getting in the way of the best laid plans of mice and men.

One of the ways that life has of throwing curveballs at you is mental illness. Thanks to the internet I now have the vocabulary and knowledge to look back at my life and say, “Oh yeah… that’s why I did that.” My primary demons are depression and anxiety. There may be a few more things thrown in for flavor but those were more a matter of nurture rather than nature.

First time I ever had real honest to goodness therapy, by the time I finished describing my life to the therapist she said I handled it remarkably well. As in other people might have broken long before I finally reached out for help. I wish I’d been able to continue with that, but the program through work I used only gave me so many visits and I didn’t have the money to pay for any more out of pocket.

It would be another five years before I reached out for help again. That time I was a student again as I was finally in college. Community college. I loved it. I sure as hell appreciated it more than I would have in my late teens. Not to mention it was through my college that I had access to therapists again. And this time I was on medication for the first time.

Prozac was good in that I didn’t feel like my head was going to explode in some cartoonish nuclear mushroom cloud when I stumbled into another of life’s roadblocks. Unfortunately, I went from a technicolor life to beige. Everything was beige. I had just enough give a damn to do my school work. But not enough to get into my creative writing and role playing which had been my go to stress reliever for years. I let a few friends down because I was just incapable of creating for any length of time. The rage was gone, but the fire which fueled my existence was down to a candle flame. It would be almost two years before I could create again.

I went off Prozac after a while. The crisis point had passed, I was sick of everything in shades of beige, and when I was no longer in school couldn’t afford another therapist, much less medication.

It would be another five or so years before I was able to vocalize my needs again. It was also the closest I ever got to self-harm. But thankfully there are things like crisis lines and social workers who show up at your door at the crack of dawn. Could have done without the sheriff deputies in my yard. But other than looking at my spouse with suspicion they were nice and polite.

I had my foot in the door of a program that works with us flat broke folks. I now have a therapist who has a sense of humor and is just enough of a geek that he gets my cultural references. I also have access to affordable medication. Wellbutrin has become my very dear friend. Vistaril is also really nice for making bad head noises pipe down so I can concentrate. It took a few months to get the right dosage but at this moment I feel the most human that I have felt in years. Or ever.

You may ask yourself. What the hell is the point of this? Well let me tell you Becky. In a matter of just under three weeks I wrote nearly thirty thousand words on my current project, and another few thousand on a side project. Which doesn’t count the countless political posts and rants I’ve done on Facebook or some rather detailed role-plays I’ve enjoyed. Compare that with the twenty thousand words it took me over a year to write on the previous section of that project. Or my inability to write any damn thing after the election where I left another of my stories just sitting at about six thousand words. I am giddy. I am fucking productive! This kicks ass.

There is a culture online and in meat space that scoffs at medications. Why medicate when you can take a walk in the woods? Well I live on nearly 20 acres of woods, complete with paths to explore, downright ancient trees to gaze upon, and a historical marker that makes me think we might have ghosts. I have gone on many walks in the woods with my dogs. They never helped as much as finding the right dose of Wellbutrin has.

Why medicate when there are running shoes? Honey, if I’m running, then something is chasing me. And I don’t need to outrun them, just you. I will put a cap in your knee and leave you for the Walkers. Besides. I learned back in my LARPing days that if you run you only attract the eye, and there’s always some young fast fuck who can run you down no matter how big of a head start you have. Act like there’s nothing wrong and you can get away with just about anything.

Ahem! So, where was I? Ah yes. Being productive.

While I still have some ways to go in fixing what is broken, or at least getting to a point where it won’t all fall down at a light breeze. If my brain can’t produce the right neurochemicals to keep me chugging along, then store bought are fine. Then maybe, just maybe, this wild and crazy idea I have about becoming an author and actually self-publishing won’t be so crazy after all.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Beginning

A story has to begin somewhere. If you've ever played a RPG then you know that many stories start in taverns. How else are you to gather a diverse collection of characters in one place at one time to send them off on an adventure? But what if a story started in a brothel? Not just any brothel though. This one only serves the rich and powerful. Those who work the brothel aren't just warm bodies to offer for carnal delight. Oh no, these are courtesans. Highly skilled, pleasing to the eye, and with a wide array of talents to keep the attention of those with the kind of money to buy anything they desire.

Welcome to the Empire of Shenendril. Over a thousand years ago an enemy rose to power who wished nothing more than the destruction of all humanity and their allies. It took one man, Shenendril, the son of the Gold Dragon Aurovath and a human woman, to unite the three human kingdoms into an alliance that could defeat their enemy. From that alliance the Empire arose. Now centuries have passed and the alliance is no longer as strong as it once was. The aristocrats grow greedy and decadent. The Guilds grow more powerful and sneer at the extravagant lifestyles of the nobility. While the common people of the Empire just try to survive.

Enter Lucas Leander. Orphan. Beggar. Thief. Plucked from the desperate poverty of the Gulch, cleaned up, educated, and now one of the most desired Courtesans in the House of Sighing Shadows. This is his story. His hero's journey. This, which I share now is an introduction. A peek into the life of a courtesan before his life changes forever. You will meet Lucas as the pampered whore. Lucas the pawn of his powerful criminal Mistress, the Empress of Shadows. Lucas the spy. Come and take a peek into the Empire, get drawn into the web of intrigue. Though be mindful of the shadows, who knows what is listening.

Sapphire Chronicles 0 and other short stories are also available on my Patreon and Wattpad.