May 30, 2000
Letting GoThis was a weekend of endings in a lot of ways. I finished several things. My book plan, for one. Finally. Right now I'm just waiting on feedback from the couple people I've got proofreading and editing it, and then I'll send it off to the editor. I finished reading Wizard and Glass, and I finally finished reading Snow Crash, which I started eons ago.
I also ended a rather long roleplay-less streak. It had been several weeks since I'd played over on Something Wicked This Way Comes, aside from one memorable scene with Rowan. That's odd for me. So last night I dragged out a few characters and played. Marisol finally, well, you might say she ran into one of her past lives in a rather startling development. Past lives are always fun to play with in Changeling, and I expect this story will be no different in that respect.
Well. Things got unexpectedly busy on me today. The phones have been insane and I've got piles of work on my desk that haven't been completed. Won't be completed, if the phones keep up. Ah well. I suppose I can't be productive all the time.
Back to the weekend, it had its ups and downs. I wasn't able to go visit my family like I'd planned, and Sunday night I got hit with a surprisingly hard core wave of depression. It came from several things, mostly my own neglect of me -- I hadn't eaten or slept enough that day -- and a misunderstanding with a friend that I blew out of proportion. It was scary and yet cathartic in a way. I spent several hours crying and I think got a lot of things out of my system.
There are some big changes coming up for me. I don't want to talk about them all yet, because I haven't thought through it all yet. I may end up moving, although I think that's fairly unlikely. Most of the changes are changes I'm going to have to make within myself, and some of them are things I've been resisting for a long time. For anyone who hasn't caught on yet, I'm very very bad at letting go of things. In order for me to move forward, I think I'm going to need to let go of a lot of things. Some of them are things I really don't want to let go of, and some of them are things I don't realize yet that I'm hanging onto.
I'm approaching all this change with my usual mix of trepidation and exultation. That too, should be no surprise.
May 26, 2000
From a DistanceThe poetry quote is in honor of me reading Stephen King's Dark Tower books for the umpteen millionth time. Wonderful wonderful books. Wizard and Glass, the most recent book so far, makes me happy and sad in ways I find difficult to describe. There's a certain inevitability to the story, even though I always hope it will turn out differently.
Tales of tragic true love always just tear me into itty bitty pieces. I'm a sucker for them. Heck, if you've peeked over at the MUSH page at all, or any of the scene logs linked from there, you'll see that I've played out more than a few of those tales myself. (Changeling is completely ideal for this sort of thing.) The more epic the better. As cynical as I get about love from time to time, deep down in my heart I'm the biggest, soppiest romantic you'll ever meet. I hate it sometimes.
I hate it, because I have a tendency to live out that sort of drama in real life. When I fall in love, I'm head over heels. You know the song from Grease, "Hopelessly Devoted to You"? That's me all over. I dote, I adore, I obsess.
And inevitably, the object of my affections is someone who, in some way, is unavailable.
I love best when I love from afar. I've been realizing lately just how much of my life is dedicated to keeping people at arm's length. The people I am closest to are the ones who are farthest away from me. There is really no one I see day to day that I'm really close to. Everything about me is designed to keep people away. A lot of people would say that explains a good bit of my weight-related issues, and I'm inclined to think they're right.
I do intimacy best when I'm not face to face all the time. Occasional visits are good. More than that, I apparently can't handle.
It's a strange issue, really. My heart hurts when the people I love best are the people I rarely see, and yet, I've chosen that. I always have. The vast majority of my serious romantic relationships have been long distance, at least at some point. My very first boyfriend lived 500 miles away from me. I complain and whine about being single, and yet I run from any situation that might result in a relationship. Or I try to form a relationship with someone completely wrong.
I post a detailed account of my own battle with mental illness on the internet, and yet I can't call my mom and tell her when I'm feeling depressed.
What does all this mean? I don't know, honestly. Somewhere along the line I got afraid of letting people who see me all the time in, maybe. Insecurity getting in the way of forming relationships. And yet, I do form relationships. Real ones. Close ones.
Why am I telling you this? I don't know that either. Trying to clear it out of my head. I've been thinking about it a lot this week. Trying to understand why I am the way I am. Understanding is the first step toward resolving the problem, I think.
Because this is a problem.
May 24, 2000
Caught UpAre there any other two words in the English language that sound so sweet together? Right now, the answer to that would be 'no'. It's no great surprise to anyone who knows me, but I'm a horrible procrastinator. All of the problems in my life right now were caused by my procrastination. I figured this out in the therapy session I was in Friday. Well, it wasn't actually therapy really, so much as an evaluation. So this is me, trying to cut down on the procrastinating.
Thing is, before I can do that, I have to get caught up. This will take some doing, but I'm doing it a little bit at a time. As of today, I'm completely caught up on all my projects at work. And believe me, I've worked my ass off getting here. I'm pretty proud of myself right now. Thirty-two hours of data entry in three days. Well, less than that, actually, because I'm almost done right now, and I doubt I'll be working on it until the time I go home tonight. Trust me. That's a lot of data entry in three days. I'm tiiiiired of looking at spreadsheets.
And, needless to say, I haven't done much work on my book at all, for those of you keeping up with that. I'm still working on the last two stories, which are having a difficult time coming from my brain. Granted, that's probably because my brain has been stuffed with numbers and spreadsheets over the past several days. And because I've been so tired. The plan now is to have the book outline to the editor by Friday. It's possible, but I'm thinking Monday is more likely at this point.
I am terribly optimistic right now. I don't know why. For all the good stuff I've got going on with my writing and recovery, there's a boatload of crappy things that are going on in my life too. But today, and for the past several days, it hasn't seemed to matter. I suppose it's partly because I'm starting to dig myself out of my hole. I'll let you know when I reach the top.
Lastly, all of you should go read KT's latest entry, if you haven't already. Stories like this are what make reading other people's journals really worthwhile. It just proves how closely linked truth and fiction can be.
May 22, 2000
Miss ProductiveGood weekend. Productive weekend. I had probably the most orderly weekend of my entire life. Each day I was up at 8 am and in bed by midnight at the latest. That's just amazing for me. Both days I worked on writing for no less than six hours, including a whopping eight hours on Sunday. The end result? Out of the seven planned chapters of my book, five of them are fully (or damn close to fully) outlined. And it's good stuff, if I do say so myself. I'm extremely pleased. By the end of the week I should have it sent off to the editor.
You know, I keep saying 'my' book. In a sense, it is, because the original concept was mine and all that, but there's no way this would be anything saleable without my co-author. I should make that clear. Brand and I have this amazing way of working together -- which shouldn't surprise me. An idea comes from one of us, and bounces back and forth until it grows into something that doesn't belong to either of us specifically, but is an amalgam of both of us. It's a great way to work, and I'm enjoying the process immensely.
So, without giving too much away, let me explain what I'm doing with this book. Tribe 8 books are different from any other RPG sourcebooks I've seen in one very big way: they're all written in first person, in-character narrative, except for the hardcore technical game systems stuff. The book that I'm writing will be a supplement, to develop the setting some more and provide some new story ideas for game masters. The set up is four different stories, all with different characters and different voices, set within a frame story that brings the four together. The plot ideas come from how it all interacts together. The way things are set up right now, I'm writing the four main stories, while Brand will write the frame story section as well as the 'technical' chapter at the end. And we'll both be editing each other's stuff as well. But like I said, because of the way our ideas bounce, none of the ideas in our 'separate' sections really came from either of us alone. I'm very excited about this. In case you missed that.
Having said that, I really want a chance to finish working on the outline. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen today, possibly not even when I get home. Work deadlines. Bleah. I don't know if I can make the one at work, but I feel compelled to try, even though I'd set my own deadline for the outline to be done tomorrow. Ah well. At the rate I'm going, I'll be working on the manuscript itself next weekend. Yay!
I told Brand last night that I can't remember the last time I felt so at peace and content within myself. He pointed out the obvious: "That's because you're writing, really writing, and it's something you've been wanting to do for a long time." *sigh* Yeah. That's it. I can deal with my bill-paying job, as long as I can keep this same sort of creative fire going. I'm already wondering what I'll work on after I'm done with this.
Am I getting ahead of myself? Maybe. Still, actually finishing a book, when before I'd have a hard time finishing a short story... that's really something to have accomplished. I've actually turned over the idea of a novel after this. We'll see.
May 19, 2000
H.F.S.Holy fucking shit. (Sorry, Mom.) That's just all I have to say right about now. To say it has been a whirlwind past two days is an understatement. I don't even know where to begin. If you're on my notify list, you know that yesterday I heard from Tribe 8's editor about the story I sent her Tuesday. I almost didn't open the email, because I was terrified.
However, a few key sentences: "I was very impressed by your resume and writing sample, and am looking forward to reading your proposal." She did have a few concerns about the story, one plot-related, the others more technical, but "[the] story otherwise is impressive, both in pacing and language..."
Holy fucking shit. She's interested in my book, friends and neighbors. That was enough to keep me flying (and writing frantically!) through most of yesterday. I zipped her back an email with a little more detail on the whole thing, and asking what I need to do next.
And then I heard from her again today. (Ready? Say it with me now.) Holy fucking shit. First off, she said: "...feel free to send me your proposal when you're ready. I'd like to see a book plan, so I can get an idea of the structure of the text and give the layout guys a heads-up if I accept it and it needs something new." She's really interested in my book.
And then I got to the bottom of the letter. She sent me a non-disclosure agreement to sign and send back. Which means, basically, "you're going to write for us, so we'll tell you major plot stuff we have planned for the game, and you agree not to tell anyone else." And in case I missed the significance of that, she adds, "I would like to add you and [Brand, who's serving as my co-author and my editor on this] to my 'stable,' but the NDA is a formality that has to be taken care of first."
H.F.S. (There, an abbreviation.) She's not just interested in my book. She's interested in me, as a writer. ME!
Hold onto your hats, folks. Yours truly is about to become a freelance writer. And this might be strange for a writer, but... I don't have the words to describe how that makes me feel.
On a side note, re: the whole depression thing. I was evaluated for treatment today. I'm back on Zoloft again, which is fine. The way I feel right at the moment though, I sure as hell don't need it. :-)
If you'll excuse me. I, uh, have a book to work on. *enormous grin*
May 17, 2000
InspiredI got ten hours of sleep last night. How scary is that? And that's without taking any Klonopin before bedtime. I got up and nine and wandered in to the computer room to check my email, and found my horoscope for today in my inbox (yeah, I know, it's bullshit, but it's still amusing):
With only the slightest effort from you, the creative process takes root and begins to flower immediately. It appears effortless, but somewhere along the way you've had a hand in it. Be proud of the creative flow you've got going on and explore it to the fullest. You can have the things you've been longing to achieve.And it's true. You see, yesterday I made my first submission to Dream Pod 9. I turned the story I wrote the other day into a full-fledged mini-adventure, complete with character write-ups and possible plot ideas. It's the sort of thing they post on their webpage, which gives me a start at least. Beyond that, I found out that I'm most likely going to be helping a few friends write a book for Tribe 8. Assuming their proposal for it gets accepted and all, of course. And... are you ready for this? I came up with a book idea of my own. It's so amazing and scary! Changeling inspired me to write, as evidenced by a lot of stuff in the writing section. But Tribe 8, due to the nature of the game books and the attitude of the company itself, is inspiring me to write things that might actually be saleable.
I'm not saying anything about the quality of the writing, mind you. I've written some very good stuff based off Changeling, it's just that White Wolf is much more distant, and the stuff I write isn't the sort of stuff they want to publish. I think what I'm developing for Tribe 8 is what they publish.
And I'm starting to wonder if this is 'it'. I know it's extremely premature to feel that way, but writing has always been a love of mine, and obviously, roleplaying is an obsession as well. I've always combined the two but didn't think I could go anywhere with it. Finding RPG companies that want the kind of writing I do... this has some definite promise. I don't know that I could do it full-time, or even if I'd want to, but doing freelance stuff when I want to and doing only projects that interest me? Sign me up!
I'm an idea bouncer. The best work I've ever done has almost always started out with me talking to at least one other person, sending ideas back and forth like ping-pong balls. For some reason, I've always thought of that as a weakness. I thought it meant that I wasn't a strong enough writer to do anything on my own. That's a silly idea, especially since I'm fortunate enough to have someone with whom I collaborate extremely well. More than one someone, in fact. I'm part of a sort of budding cabal of writers, and we're working on some great ideas, brainstorming project ideas together. Most encouraging to me: they all really liked my book idea. Now I'm just waiting to hear from the T8 editor.
I'm psyched and I'm inspired. I'm still feeling a little tentative because of the depression, but yesterday was an awesome day, and today is turning out well too. And that's how I have to deal with things, as cliched as it is: one day at a time.
May 15, 2000
Back to LifeTwo bits of good news to report first off. First, I get my car back tomorrow. My filthy, scuffed, dented, needs-brakes car. This makes me happy. This also makes me completely broke until payday and in debt to my mom again, but I'll survive. Also, I wrote a story this weekend. It actually started out as a background for a character for Tribe 8, but got revised in something more story-ish. I'm also looking to possibly rework it again into something Dream Pod 9 might actually want to publish.
Aside from that, I'm back at work today. I wish I wasn't. I mean, I'm glad I managed to drag myself here, but now that I'm here, I want to go home. I've been so high-strung that I'm really afraid of what I'd be like if I hadn't taken the Klonopin this morning. Constant feelings of impending doom. Every time I've gotten internal email or any sort of internal instant message, I've been certain it was to either yell at me or to fire me. I feel like my coworkers all hate me and think I'm a big slacker. I'm so self-conscious, I feel like everyone's staring at me. If someone around me says something snappish, I'm certain that it's me they're really upset at. I feel overwhelmed and buried in projects that I'll never catch up on. I'm frustrated and I can't focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time, jumping from distraction to distraction.
In short, I'm experiencing lots of the usual symptoms of anxiety and depression. Almost none of the above beliefs are true. Logically, I know that. That doesn't, however, keep me from thinking them, and it doesn't stop the physical reactions: increased pulse rate and breathing, tension, shaking. I've been near tears several times today already. It's hell, frankly. The most frustrating thing about it all is that I know that none of the things I feel have any basis in reality, that it's all based in physiology, and I can't control it. You'd figure that'd be a relief, huh? A sort of 'it's not my fault', but it isn't.
I'm so proud of myself for managing to make it here though. This morning was a struggle, and I made it. But I'll be so much happier if it were just 8 pm already so I could go home. I don't want this journal to turn into a constant bitch about depression. But I'd much rather be as honest as I can about what's going on, because I spend far too much time hiding. So bear with me. Hopefully I'll be able to chronicle my return to stable mental health.
May 12, 2000
Of Broken Vases and KlonopinIt's been a very long week. I haven't talked about it at all, but some people have managed to read between the lines and figure it out. I'm dealing with another depressive episode. I haven't had one in about three years. It's been hard. If I've cut you off this week, or avoided you... know that it's not you. It's hard to describe how it feels, to someone who's never had one. I've had a lot of problems with anxiety this time. Imagine being afraid all the time, and not knowing what you were afraid of. That's what's been happening to me. The phone would ring, and my heart would start pounding, sometimes my hands would shake. Someone knocked at my door once. The same thing happened. I've been intensely afraid of things I couldn't explain.
That's in addition to general feelings of worthlessness and lethargy. I haven't been sleeping well, and I've tended to isolate myself from everyone around, with a few exceptions. I haven't been to work since Monday. I've been beating myself up for being 'weak', and not being strong enough to fight off another episode by myself.
So yesterday I called the University of Michigan and made an appointment to start getting help again. It's not until next Friday. This morning I woke up, worried about how I'd get through the week. Don't get me wrong... I'm not suicidal. I haven't been suicidal this entire time. I've just been... sad, and overwhelmed, and worried. Tired, but not able to sleep. It sounds harmless enough, put that way, but it isn't.
So this morning, I got up and got myself to the U of M's psychiatric emergency room.
They asked me what I wanted in terms of help. I didn't know. After two and a half hours of talking about what was going on in my life, and giving them my history, I realized that I'd really just needed a professional to talk to, to confirm that I was right about what was wrong with me. In addition, the psychiatrist gave me an anti-anxiety drug, another first for me. I took the first one about two hours ago, and so far so good. I don't feel groggy. I'm a little sleepy, but I was sleepy before I took it -- Klonopin, for the curious.
There's another storm brewing outside, but I feel as if I've come through the worst of my own personal storm, for now.
When I got out of the hospital three years ago, and continued on therapy and medication, I hoped that all of this was behind me. After a year of no depression, I was certain that it was. I think I understand a little better now. Whether I like it or not, I'm dealing with a potentially lifelong medical condition. It's hard to think of that and not feel as if I'm 'damaged goods' somehow.
I should explain. Everything I do with my life, since then, and from the looks of it, from now on, will hinge upon how much stress it might cause me. On how well I can handle whatever it is. I think it was Stephen King who described the way I feel right now. He described mental illness and its recovery as gluing a broken vase back together. It looks as solid as ever. However, you're afraid to put flowers in the vase, because the water might dissolve the glue. Your image of yourself is never quite the same. I realize as well as anyone that depression is as much a physiological illness as a psychological one. But it changes you. Just as a heart attack victim is leery of overexerting physically, I feel leery of overexerting emotionally. I feel very... fragile right now. As if the peace of mind I have at this moment is something easily broken.
May 10, 2000
StormYesterday was a mental health day in the truest sense of the word. I stayed home, did some errands, got myself recentered, did a few 'me' things. I was doing much better.
Then the storms hit.
I grew up in Michigan. I'm used to big thunderstorms, tornadoes, watching the news to see if it's time to take shelter or not. This was the first one I've ever sat through alone. I didn't realize what a difference it makes. I kept a careful eye on the television, and sure enough, around 8:25 pm, a tornado warning was issued for my area. In fact, the predicted that the tornado would pass through my town at about 8:40. I live in a mobile home, so I scooped up Max, tossed on some shoes and grabbed my keys. Max started yowling as soon as we stepped outside. He hates outside, he was getting rained on, and no doubt he sensed that I was stressed. But I tossed him in the car, and off we went to the park office.
With a howling cat in my arms and the skies turning black and green behind me, I dashed through the rain to the office, to find a middle-aged lady and her elderly father, and a scared shitless security guard. The park has no procedure for tornadoes. You see, all of the trailers are tied down, so we're all safe to stay in our homes. Yeah, right. The park office has no basement, either, and no internal rooms. With the security guard not being much help, I suggested that we head into one of the bathrooms, which at least had no windows.
As winds whipped at the building and the storm got close, other people started trickling in, a few families. I ended up trying to calm down several crying boys, maybe between the ages of 8 and 12. Max was hiding behind the fake plant in the corner, and I was sitting on the cold tile next to him. It's funny, put me in any sort of crisis situation, and I'll start taking care of the people around me, no matter how upset or scared I am. I guess it gives me something to focus on. So I joked with people, and told the kids what little I know about tornado safety, and we all waited out the storm. The whole while I was terrified inside, sure that the outside door near me was going to blow open, or that the walls would come down, or some such.
By about 9pm, the worst had passed, and the warnings had all expired, so people started to go home. I was one of the last, gathering up Max, who started squalling again, and going back to the car. By the time I got home (perhaps a 3 minute drive), Max was hiding under the passenger seat. I had to drag him out while standing in the middle of a thunderstorm. We got back in the house and assessed the damage. One stressed cat, one stressed owner, wet floors from where I'd had the windows open. I also had a nasty scratch on my arm courtesy of Max, and several claw holes in one my best shirts. The lesson there is, next time I have to evacuate with the cat, he's going into his car carrier.
It took me several hours to calm down again. Every time thunder cracked, I jumped. Finally, after the storms stopped completely, and after a little bit of help from Bailey's and Kahlua mixed with milk, my heart stopped racing.
If I don't get over this, I'm afraid this is going to be a very long tornado season.
May 08, 2000
CrazySo. The weekend was good. Gaming was fun, if I did run a bit long, and afterwards I spent a great deal of time hanging out and talking with Dawn and Jason and Jo and Eric. Sunday was good too. I spent most of it reading Tribe 8. I'm amazed by it. If you're looking for a new and decidedly original RPG, check it out. Seriously.
Then I woke up this morning.
The voices I carry with me were loud and active and strident this morning. I think I've talked about this before. We all do what psychologists like to call 'self-talk'. My self-talk is usually compartmentalized into different aspects of my personality. I've mentioned this before. With everything that's going on in my life right now -- and everything that's not going on in my life right now -- those voices were berating and angry.
"You're worthless."I'm much, much calmer now. I was hysterical inside until about 2pm or so. I took off from my desk several times to go cry in the bathroom, insides twisted and aching. These storms are old, familiar sensations of mine, and they're often overreactions to things that are going on in my life. Molehills turn into mountains. All of a sudden everything in my life gets put under a microscope, and it all looks like shit. Nothing seems worthwhile. Everything about my life seems to be empty and wrong and stupid until I work myself up to such a pitch that it seems like I should just die and get it over with.
"You're a fucking genius, and you're wasting it doing nothing."
"You're a fraud, and everyone's going to find that out."
"Why are you even bothering?"
And perhaps most frightening of all:
"What's the use? What are you living for?"
It's what psychologists call 'suicidal ideation'. I wasn't going to try, definitely. I've never seriously tried. It's hard to explain. It's a power sort of thing. "I could do this, but I choose not to." "I have this power." "If things get too bad, there's always this." It's like... no matter how bad things get, there's always an option there. By having the power to refuse that option, to be able to say "Well no, things aren't that bad", I feel stronger. To have an option that you're able to refuse means that you aren't powerless and completely out of control. And by realizing that things aren't that bad... things seem to get better. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me. The trouble comes when I get in a cycle of perpetuating that hysteria, where instead of getting better, things seem to get worse and worse and worse until I feel like there's no other solution. I haven't felt that way in many many years.
So I'm calm for now. It's not completely a good sort of calm, I know. It's more a tired calm that waves a white flag in surrender. All of the things that had me stressing out this morning (money problems, existential 'what am I doing with my life' questions, etc.) are still around, still causing problems. The voices that were shouting at me this morning are still whispering in the back of my mind. They could get loud again at any moment. Cease fire, not detente.
I'm going to be okay. I know this. And I know I'm going to scare the shit out of some people with this journal entry, but I'm going to be okay.
This is a war I've fought and won before. I can do it again.
May 05, 2000
Big Pointy TeethAs you might have gathered from the quotes, I'm not in a precisely cheery mood today. Granted, the Monty Python quote is kinda silly if you know the context, though. This has just not been a good week overall. I've been tired, cranky and out of sorts for most of the week. I didn't exactly get into a fight with a close friend, but we sort of (well, I sort of) did a distance thing for a bit. I got my feelings hurt over some trivial stuff, and as a result, stopped talking. Brand has been pretty under the weather this week too. This is where Lisa starts to seriously believe she's psychically linked to the boy. He has a bad week, I have a bad week. Independent of each other. I'm starting to think I can gauge how his life is going by how mine's going. I know how it sounds, but it's getting eerie.
So. Wednesday night, I was driving home from work, after going to the grocery store. While I was on the highway, I heard what sounded like something hitting the bottom of my car, and all of a sudden the car started decelerating. I managed, amidst much honking of horns, to get over to the right hand lane and off an exit before the car stalled for good. After minimum hassle (yay, AAA!) I got the car towed to the nearest dealership and had to take a cab home. Ouch. $40 to get home, but I didn't have a lot of choice.
I wasn't able to rent a car, so I was stuck at home yesterday. I'm starting to realize how awful it can be to live outside Ann Arbor without a car. My transportation choices were take a cab or rent a car. The latter is cheaper. I rented a car today, after an amusing comedy of errors that left me walking all over Detroit Metro Airport in the blazing sun trying to find someplace that would rent to someone with no credit card. (Yay Alamo!) I got to work only an hour and a half late, and waited for news of my car.
Which I got, about an hour after getting to work. The grand total of the estimate is... everybody boggle with me here... four hundred dollars. Apparently I have a broken timing belt. My first response was 'wait a minute... four hundred dollars to replace a belt?!' It turns out that said belt is buried deep within the bowels of my hatchbacked beast. I don't have the money. Period. I'm probably going to borrow it from my 401K or some such. This doesn't include the cost of renting a car. Financially, I'm fucked. This scares me. I know I'll manage, but I haven't been in this tough a situation for a while. I had a lot of potential trips scheduled for this summer, I think they all just went down the drain.
Mrf. Okay. Enough about that. I'm also running Changeling again this weekend. Hopefully that'll be fun. I need something good to happen this week. Time to go plot more for that: "...death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!" *insert maniacal GM laughter here*
And by the way, yes, my office got hit hard with the 'iloveyou' virus. I'm so glad I wasn't here for it. I suppose that's a good thing for the week. I think KT has the best idea for evening plans. If the two movies I ordered last week from Amazon.com (Labyrinth and Ladyhawke) have arrived yet, I may follow suit.
May 03, 2000
Gaming and Stress IntensiveEver have one of those days where you get so swamped you just say 'fuck it' and start goofing off? That's about where I am right now. Good god. Now, logically, aside from heavy call volumes and a coworker on vacation, I'm not really any more swamped than I usually am at the beginning of the month, but I feel like I am. The first week of the month is when my big projects are all due, and of course, given my procrastination, that's when I do most of the work. Well, that and I really can't do most of the work until month end reports have been done. So, I'm feeling buried, and I'm writing this.
The game from last week went well. Not quite as I'd hoped, due to a missing player, but well enough. The story got started, and I think people are interested. Interested enough that I picked up a new player. Jason's little brother Adam was there to play in Jason's AD&D (again, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, for the uninitiated) campaign. He watched the first half of my game (which is set in the modern-day Seattle, with all the characters everyone's been playing all along), and looked through the Changeling game books that were lying around, trying to keep up with what we were talking about. Then came the second half, my big surprise. I'm telling a story of political upheaval and intrigue, and to point that up, and to add some depth to it, the second half of my game is set in New York City, 1969 -- which in Changeling history, is a time of similar political upheaval. (If anyone's really interested in details of my plan -- and if you're playing in my group, this offer doesn't apply to you! -- email me and I'll give you the whole rundown. I'm pretty proud of it.)
So, parallel stories, with different characters. I came up with characters for each of the players based on what I thought they'd enjoy playing and what I needed for the plot. Problem: I was missing two people! Now, I'm used to playing multiple characters. Not a problem. But in this case, these characters needed to be separate people. So I sorta grinned at Adam and asked if he wanted to play the extra character I had. He did, and am I glad he did! By happy accident, he and his real life brother were playing twin brothers in the game. By further happy accident, they were playing a type of fae known as nockers, who are the builders and engineers of the fae, cranky and the type who gets along better with machines than people -- did I mention that Jason's an engineer and Adam's an engineering major? They both dove into an in-character discussion of the events of the game, which included the Apollo moon landing. That was fun.
So now, I need to come up with a 1969 character for Eric (who was originally supposed to play Adam's character) and Adam needs to come up with a modern day character to join with the rest of the group. And I need to figure out what's going on this week. I've got a skeleton idea in my head, it's just a matter of refining it and getting it on paper. (I'm discovering that I'm definitely a note-intensive GM.)
On the personal front, things have been a little rough. Mostly just because when I get stressed I get tired and when I get overly tired I can't do all the things I usually like to do, so I start to feel withdrawn from my friends, which stresses me more and I end up feeling generally rotten about myself. Talk about a vicious cycle! Monday was bad. Yesterday was better. Today... well, I managed to drag myself here. That was an accomplishment. Monday I was cranky at myself and everything was turned inward. Today I'm cranky at everybody else. I suppose that's an improvement.
But, I do have two positive notes. I have some great pictures from gaming last weekend. (The above came from that series. The golden retriever is named Lion and belongs to Alex and Heidi.) Oh okay, most of them are of Alex and Heidi's new baby Joshua. I'll have them up on a separate page later tonight. I also started changing some of my truly, unbelievably, you-wouldn't -believe-it-if-I-told-you bad eating habits. Gradual stuff. Right now I'm just trying to drink more water, stop drinking pop and make sure that I'm actually eating fruits and vegetables. Small steps.
Oh, and another good thing: I finally resubmitted "At the Ocean's Edge" to another magazine. This one an online one: Intertext. I have high hopes, as they published one of the best short stories I've ever seen on the web, and a huge favorite of mine, "Sea Change" by Susan Stern. Go read it. It won't take long to figure out why it's a favorite of mine.