July 31, 2001

Post-Adolescent Griping

I'm sort of drifting through my days right now. At first, right after I dropped my classes, it was a nice feeling. I liked it. Now I'm getting restless. I keep thinking I have an ideal schedule for writing. My mornings are usually free or close to free three days a week. What better time to write? Except that I don't do it. Every morning I manage to find something else to do, whether it's aimlessly surfing the web or playing The Sims or reading or going back to bed. I did all four this morning, in fact. Then I come to work and actually do real work (mostly), then I go home.

The sad thing is, I've gotten out of the habit of writing. Not that it was a deeply ingrained habit anyway. I don't write at set times. I write when the mood takes me, and lately the mood hasn't been taking me much, despite having a lot of things to work on. It's not writer's block. It's just laziness. I'm not a disciplined person. At all. Never have been. It drives me nuts sometimes, but I'm not even disciplined enough to change it. Argh! So here I am, writing a journal entry bitching about how I'm not writing instead of sitting down and writing. I never said I was logical.

Jeez. I'm never happy, am I? If I'm busy, I bitch about being too busy, and if I'm not busy at all I bitch about how I'm not getting anything done! Naiad (another Ann Arbor girl trying to make good as a writer) keeps a writing journal complete with lists of works in progress and what her goals are for the month and all sorts of resources. It's organized and brilliant, and it would drive me nuts. I envy her that, and I suspect she'll go further than I will (despite never having read a word of her fiction) because of that system she's got going. Still... a strictly writing journal... I don't know. It's not that I would never talk about writing here again (because honestly, what else would I talk about? My Sims game?), but maybe if I put goals down on paper (or screen, as it were)...

I'm once again reevaluating huge chunks of my life. If nothing else, that's one purpose this drifting serves. Yesterday I installed Quicken on my computer in an attempt to get my financial stuff in order. Let me tell you, pulling up your net worth and seeing it come up negative is a sobering experience. So, I think, will be tracking my spending habits for a month or two. Sobering? Nay, depressing might be better. I know I make enough money, in theory. It just seems to all flow through my fingers like water. I want to save, though. I want to be able to afford school and a new car, and maybe someday (please god) somewhere to live that doesn't involve my parents.

I started to say something about how I'm trying to grow up again. That's not exactly accurate, though. I never stopped, really. It's just taking me a very long time to get there. I mean, I'm better than I was a year ago, two years ago. It just scares me sometimes that I'm nearly thirty years old and I still don't have a better handle on a lot of things in my life. I know I'm irresponsible about a lot of things. Money. Car maintenance (don't ask how often I get my oil changed). My health (ditto on checkups and teeth cleanings). I don't think I'll ever be someone who keeps an immaculate house and lawn and can be seen out mowing her grass every Saturday morning, or washing her car. I don't want that. It's not who I am. On the other hand, I don't want to be living in my parents' basement (or spare room, in this case) when I'm forty, either, still driving a shitty car and living hand to mouth.

On her notify list, Liz talked about scars from being poor, usually that period during and right after college when you can't afford anything. The sorts of scars she talked about have to do with patterns of thinking that remain long after they're no longer needed. I read that and thought, "Ohhh yes." I knew what she meant. I've had my poor periods. This isn't one of them. There were years when Gary and I were married where we made less than $10,000 in a year. Much less. We subsisted on public assistance and our parents, mostly the latter. There were days, living in Tennessee, when I wouldn't eat all day because there just wasn't anything except something for dinner. There were times when ten dollars slipped in a card from someone meant we ate. Both of us were too young and too sick and (let's be honest) too lazy to resolve the situation. Even after I left him and was working fulltime, there were months when things were tight, and dinner meant ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese.

What that means now is that I can't keep money in my hands. Even after ten years, I don't know. It's like there's this sense of entitlement, of wanting to make up for years of not having stuff. Or maybe it's just that I'm never quite convinced that the money will still be there.

Balance. It's all about balance. See, when I try to change (and past journal entries will probably bear me out on this), I try to change everything all at once. I try to go from being "messed up" to "perfect". Notice how I went from bitching about not writing to bitching about how I'm a thirty-year-old adolescent? Bingo. My life is not bad. I'm happy. I'm just wondering when I'm going to start feeling like a responsible adult.

Posted by Lisa at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2001

Sleepers, Awake!

I know, another sudden flurry of activity here! I finally updated the notify list page, so you can actually sign up there again. I also finally got around to replacing BlogVoices on the blog, so you can talk back to me there again. I've even been considering overhauling a few other things around here. Nothing like a journal redesign or anything -- I'm still pretty happy with this design. A few other sections of my site are hopelessly out of date, including one redesign that I never finished. My interests have always tended to run in cycles, but I think this is the longest I've gone neglecting my website!

So what have I been up to? Well, work's been one enormous data entry project for about the past month -- which is the biggest reason I haven't been writing entries at work. I'm also getting geared up to transfer out of here come September. I forget how much I wrote here (and I'm too lazy to go back and look), but I did get the job in technical support. I think my supervisor is a little traumatized by my leaving. Ha! So I'm gradually transferring some of my responsibilites on to other people. I don't think things are going to be pretty after I leave. See, there are about three competent people in my department. Out of six. Two of us are leaving or contemplating leaving. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.

So far the biggest, well only, downside of this transfer is that my school schedule is knocked for a loop. I'm going to have to rearrange my schedule for fall and only take night classes, since I'll be training during the day. In addition, I had to withdraw from classes for summer term (more on that last entry), so I've gotten a bit of an unexpected break from school. It was going very well, though. I expect it will start going well again in September.

I've also been roleplaying again (don't all my periods of extended silence have something to do with that?). This time I'm not exactly playing on a MUSH, but rather playing table-top style on a MUSH. We ('we' being me, Brand, Josh, and Laura, with Mo hopefully joining at some point) started playing 7th Sea last week. Right now Josh is running it, but after he finishes this story, someone else will take over. I love it! 7th Sea is a great, over-the-top, swashbuckling game -- and y'all know how much I love over-the-top. My melodrama is right at home in this game. Isabel, my character, is a bit of a twist on the gorgeous femme fatale type I so often end up playing. (Yeah, I know. I've long since given up psychoanalyzing the type of characters I'm drawn to playing.) Josh and Laura put up a fantastic site dedicated to our game. In addition to character info, it also has logs of each game session, which I think make for some pretty darn good reading. ;) (I find them entertaining, at least.)

Other than that, I've been reading a lot, spending too much time playing The Sims, and generally avoiding writing -- which isn't a good thing, I know. My brain feels all lazy. It doesn't want to do the hard work that comes with assimilating plot and character and story and fitting them all together. Feh.

Posted by Lisa at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2001

And to continue my talkative

And to continue my talkative streak (what me, avoid work?), I had to link to this, cause everyone else will be: Weeee!

If you scratch your head after seeing that and go "The hell?" you're right on target. Me, I've been giggling about it all day.

Posted by Lisa at 01:05 PM | Comments (2)

My latest RP obsession: Batten

My latest RP obsession: Batten the Hatches and Swash your Buckle, cause we don't know the meaning of surrender! Yes, it's true. Wicked Ink is doing an online tabletop 7th Sea game, and I'm having a ball. Take a wild guess which character is mine.

Posted by Lisa at 11:30 AM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2001

I keep trying to write

I keep trying to write an entry today, but the words aren't coming. Maybe later tonight, I don't know. It's the tenth anniversary of my wedding. I went through my entire journal here, all the way back to November of '98, looking for references to my ex-husband. There weren't many. So I want to tell a story, I just don't know which story to tell.

Posted by Lisa at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2001

Good Girl

I'm such a bad journaler. I know. And here I go, about to start making excuses (i.e., catching y'all up). July, for the heretofore uninformed, has been a royal pain in my ass. In some ways. In some ways it's turning into a life-changing month. My 29th birthday was on the 7th, and it was a lot of fun. I got to hang out with my friends and their babies, eat good food and be silly. Lots of silly, in fact. Next year I plan to be even sillier, if I can help it.

My grandma, who broke her hip on June 28th, came home from the hospital on my birthday. She's 93 years old and has always lived alone, until she broke her hip. Rather than put her in a rehabilitation center for several weeks, we decided to bring her home so she could rehabilitate there. To do that, someone would need to stay with her 24/7. Grandma has four daughters still alive and living nearby (and one son, but I don't want to go into that particular situation), including my mom. My mom's sisters are all retired or semi-retired. My mom isn't retired, but she can telecommute. I'm not retired, but I was already essentially working an afternoon shift this summer because of school. So I dropped out of school for the summer session and my mom made arrangements to telecommute.

Here's how it works. My aunts Helen and Hazel, who for all practical purposes live together (they're in different apartments down the hall from each other) come out on Sunday or Monday, and stay until Wednesday or Thursday. My mom and my aunt Vera are there Wednesday through Sunday, or whichever days are left. I fill in where someone else is unavailable (like if my mom has weekend plans), and I go over several nights a week (since I can sleep late the next day) to give whoever's taking care of grandma a rest. For the first couple weeks, Grandma was pretty restless and confused at night, and needed someone to stay awake with her. Lately, I end up sleeping on the couch in the living room, where her hospital bed is.

It's really hard. Grandma has never been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and she's not precisely senile, she just has almost no short-term memory at all. If something hurts (like her hip, when she was first healing), she'll tell you, and then five minutes later forget that she told you, and tell you again. If she needs to go to the bathroom, she would ask for the bedpan, and then five minutes later ask, "Did I pee?" I know it's hard for her to ask me for help, even more than asking her daughters, because I'm the baby. I'm one of her youngest grandchildren, if not the youngest.

I've thought about this a lot, probably too much. This is bringing up some old memories of my dad. There are similarities, both tangible and emotional. In some ways, by willingly giving up part of my life and doing something others see as self-sacrificing (I don't think it is at all, more on that in a minute), I feel almost like I'm doing penance for not doing the same things with my dad. I know he didn't want me to. Like my grandma, he hated asking me for anything, because I was the baby. I found out after he died that he didn't want me to go visit him in the hospital -- something I felt horribly guilty for -- because he didn't want me to see him and remember him sick. At the same time, though, a part of me has always felt like I should have given him more, or done more for him. I feel bad because I resented him and his illness keeping me from being 'normal'.

I know. This was twelve years ago. For the most part I've worked through it, but occasionally things still crop up. So I get uncomfortable when people tell me I'm doing something noble or self-sacrificing. For one, I'm just doing what family should do for family. I had one friend astounded that I would drop out of school for my grandma, like that was barely a relation at all. I mean, my grandma helped raise me. To be honest, dropping out wasn't a huge burden. I was ready for a break, and I'd given myself more of a schedule this semester than I could really handle. Also, in a big way, it feels like I'm doing this more for myself than for her. And part of my brain says I'm really not doing that much at all, particularly compared to my aunts and mom who are there constantly. I'm totally divided on this because while all of the above is truly how I feel, at the same time, when someone praises me for helping out the martyr-ish part of me that craves attention crawls out from her cave and basks and preens, "Yes, aren't I doing so much? Aren't I being so selfless and perfect?" The Good Girl compulsion runs deep in me. This is no surprise to anyone who's been reading for a while.

I can't stand knowing that someone doesn't like me or think I'm wonderful -- particularly if I can't do anything to change that opinion. There's been some flack online lately, some very vocal former T8 writers (and their friends), speaking out publicly against Wicked Ink, coming up with all sorts of inaccurate information about us. We got started writing for Tribe 8 because we're college friends of the editor. (We've actually never met her.) We stole someone's book. (We didn't. The original author blew every deadline they were assigned, turned in a partially completed, substandard manuscript, and left us with ten days to completely rewrite a 75,000-word book.) We're frustrated novel writers. (Okay, that might be true, but it's also irrelevant.) I knew to expect some criticism of my writing when I started getting published. I knew there would be people who didn't like what I wrote, or didn't like my ideas about Tribe 8. I didn't expect the politics and the personal backlash.

Hindsight being what it is, I should've expected it. Some of the former writers were immensely popular with the online fan base and were very vocal in public forums about the game. Unfortunately, some of them weren't very good writers, and got an overinflated sense of their own importance. Also unfortunately, the editor had no one with which to replace them. Then one day last summer, within about two weeks, she received five letters of introduction and writing samples from five writers who all apparently knew each other, including one book proposal (for Harvest of Thorns). We were absolutely literally in the right place at the right time. Hilary liked us, we liked her. When we did start writing books, we never missed a deadline, and we turned in work that rarely needed more than just a superficial edit or two. Yeah, I'm very proud of this. As a result, she kept working with us. Individually or collectively, Wicked Ink has put in eight book proposals to Tribe 8 over the past year. We've gotten seven of them. What I didn't foresee is how much that might piss off some of the older writers.

There's nothing I can do about it. And that makes me crazy. I've been insulted and condescended to in public forums (although not as bad as Laura, who's been drawing the most heat of any of us for her stuff in Word of the Dancers) by people who tell me to "go write some decent books for a change". And there's no answer for that. This is not someone who is interested in listening to the other side, is not open to changing his or her mind. This is someone, to quote Brand, who has an axe to grind, and is going to grind it in as loud and public a manner as he or she possibly can. So we're all being professional, and after a few polite responses, we dropped it. Hell, it's probably not professional for me to talk about it here, but oh well. Still, it's tough. I keep resisting the urge to email some of the loudest folks and say, "Hey! Quit hating me! I'm a nice girl, I swear!"

The absolutely worst thing you can do to me, I think, is to not like me. And if you like me, the worst thing you can do is to disapprove of me.

Posted by Lisa at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2001

Wow, if it weren't for

Wow, if it weren't for my friends, I wouldn't have any content at all here just lately, would I?

Fate's musical brain is hurting her tonight. My inward soundtrack just jumped (for no reason that I can discern) from "Sincerely" by the McGuire Sisters to "18 and Life" by Skid Row. Help me.
The Seed says "18 and Liiiiiiiiiife to goooooo!"
Fate says "I don't need that sort of help."
The Seed says "Tequila in his heartbeat, his veins pumped gasoline, it kept his motor running, but it never kept him clean. They say he loved adventure, Ricky's the wild one, he married trouble, had a courtship with a gun!"
Fate says "Okay, don't make me kill you. I'm /terrified/ that you had that memorized."
The Seed says "Bang bang! Shot em up, the party never ends, cause you can't think of dying when the bottle's your best friend."
Ruth isn't terrified. Because it involves shooting, and if there are any lyrics Brand has memorized it's songs with 'fucker' and shooting in them.
The sad thing is, she's right.

Posted by Lisa at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2001

I'm a really sick woman,

I'm a really sick woman, apparently, because this article made me laugh until I cried. (Thanks, naiad!)

"It was a real carnage: there was blood all over the place on the the ceiling, the floor and the walls. The cat was really traumatized by the water," Theriault added.
The last line is what really killed me.

Posted by Lisa at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

The Seed has to draw

The Seed has to draw 5 maps for a 7,000 word adventure.
The Seed says "A map of a village, a map of a ruin, a map of a dungeon, a map of a tower, and a map of a valley. Cause you know, you must have maps. You can't just say, "It's a tower. It's tall and round and hollow.""
Ruth says "Yeah, but how tall; how round; how hollow?!? I /need/ to know these things!"
Fate hees!
The Seed says "And how many feet across -- so I can figure if my fireball can kill everyone inside."
Technosmith says "Why the hell are you writing for D&D, again?"
The Seed says "Cause I'm getting paid 6 cents per word."
Fate says "American, yet."
The Seed sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver. Which you can find hidden in the moldy hay in the corner of the 10x10 stone room, if you make a Search check (DC 15).

Posted by Lisa at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2001

Well, it's official. I'm really

Well, it's official. I'm really really going to DragonCon Labor Day weekend. Tickets purchased, the whole bit. My first real sci-fi convention. Be afraid!

Posted by Lisa at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2001

Regarding lame email forwards:Ruth says

Regarding lame email forwards:

Ruth says "That's what I'm thinking, but then on the other hand, I don't want her to keep sending me lame shit. The principle of the thing, and all that. Doesn't she know this is all stupid? :P"
You say "No, and neither do a lot of other people either, unfortunately -- most of whom have my email address. :P"
I know. Things have been quiet here lately. I don't feel blocked, exactly, but my desire to write anything is super-low. Half the time I don't even feel like sitting at a computer at home. I spent all day today with my head buried in Stephen King's Bag of Bones (a very good book, by the way). No homework done for tomorrow, no laundry done, no shopping done.

My birthday was yesterday and it was wonderful -- maybe I'll manage to write about it tomorrow. My grandma came home from the hospital yesterday. We're all taking turns staying with her -- 'we' meaning me, my mom and my aunts. I imagine my mom and I will have the weekends. More about that tomorrow too, maybe -- it's very hard to write about it.

Posted by Lisa at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2001

Life is definitely not boring

Life is definitely not boring right about now. Summer semester started today. I'm taking two classes: Native American Literature and Intro to Philosophy. My grandma is having surgery tomorrow at 11 am; please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I'm very worried.

In other bad news, I'll be moving again soon. The reasons are not entirely mine to discuss (although the notify list may get a rant here shortly), but they're good ones.

And just to prove that there's no cloud without a silver lining, I got word today that I did get the job in tech support. I'll be getting a formal offer sometime this week and I'll start in September.

My head is spinning.

Posted by Lisa at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)