Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tell Me A Tale - Follow Up

Weeks ago I set for a challenge here: Tell me a Tale, that no one took as far as I know. Tonight, I decided to take it myself.


I took the photo and stared at it and felt cold air soak into every pore and into my soul as I remembered. The dusty, cobwebbed attic faded and time snapped backward until once again I stood on the bank of Smuggler's Creek.

I watched a leaf drift along on the current, turning and bobbing along until it disappeared around the bend. The stream moved so slow that there was barely a ripple to mar the dark, glassy surface, only an occasional swirl as something impeded its progress. 

Although quite narrow, the water was deep and black with tannin from forest runoff. I tapped on of the pilings that lined the bank with my foot and stared into the water. Impossible to see the bottom but my reflection stared back at me with wide dark eyes, an almost pleading gaze. 

I sniffed and looked across the way where the thick, nearly impenetrable forest crowded the bank. Cold winter winds had long blasted away the leaves, leaving thick knots of vines that would defy the best sailor. All around me, in every tree, they hung so thick it would take a machete to clear them. I glanced down at the one in my hand and turned to stare at the shed that stood at the edge of the stream. 

As sheds went, it was in excellent shape. The weathered siding showed no signs of rot and the windows were all intact and tightly closed. Even the small row boat inside was in good condition. And yet, no one would easily stumble upon this place. I doubted anyone even remembered it was here. 

Dead grass crunched under my feet as I made my way back to the shed. The rusty hasp made a rasping sound as I pulled it and the door hinges screamed.  I had to clean up and get rid of everything. There could be no sign I was ever here. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Taking Time

I've had a crazy week of writing. I didn't write each day but on the days I wrote, I wrote about 1000 words, and one day, nearly double that. So, while I wish I'd done it every day, I'm not disappointed with my progress.

Somewhere this week I mentioned that I had an epiphany of sorts when I looked at my overall word count. I'm at just over 57,000. That's not actually a novel length work. In fact, it is barely a novella.  I still need roughly another 70,000 words in the draft. That revelation had an unexpected and unusual effect on me. I felt relief and exhilaration. I know I have a nearly complete story arc and that alone is exciting, but I also know there is so much more I need to say to tell the story and to realize that I had another 70K words to do it was . . . well, that was awesome.

There are, of course, wrenches in the works. I only worked two days this week but I've been fighting fatigue. Some of you will now that I'm now using a CPAP machine for my sleep apnea. It works most nights quite well but this week has been a mixed bag. For some reason, I've been getting plenty of hours sleep but I'm still feeling extremely sleepy. Yesterday, I came home and got in the recliner and slept for about 3 hours ... like a rock. I didn't feel better when I woke up. I experienced the wobbly drunkenness that I suspect is fibromyalgia. Sleep apnea and fibro produce some of the same symptoms. Brain fog, unsteadiness, and severe fatigue are symptoms of both. Today, I'm still fatigued but not as severely as I have been the last five days.

Naturally, very little gets done during these times. I began sorting 10 days of laundry today. I managed to put some of it away before my back simply rebelled. I just can't stand next to the bed to sort laundry and sitting isn't much better. I have to get up and down to hang items. So, today, I sorted items that go on hangers from items that go into drawers. I put the drawer stuff away. I'm left with hanger things and I divided those between my stuff and Sarah's. I can't go to bed tonight until I clear my bed. I have three loads of sheets and towels in the living room.

I keep saying I'll watch television and fold them but I am trying to finish Felicia's throw by the end of the month so I've crocheted instead of folding clothes. They mock me from their chairs. I laugh at their calamity.

I haven't digressed from my point. Really. I have these health problems. I didn't ask for them. I can't change them. They're running my life, like it or not. So, I've started being nicer to myself about the writing. I reminded myself that this is something I love to do and beating myself up about not doing it is robbing me of the joy of it. So, I've given myself permission to write as little or as much as I can, when I can, and be proud of what I can. I can't fix me, but I can fix how I handle it.

The other thing I decided today is to put a stop to all my Facebook digressions. I spend too much time there of late and in playing a game online. When you don't feel well it is easy to just sit and scroll mindlessly on social media, reading every scrap of other people's lives and your own scrolls away with it. My writing suffers when I'm doing that but so does my life. Truth is, reading books is very hard these days. Concentration suffers and as a result so do other areas of my life. These diseases rob people of the things that make them happy.

I remembered my Site Blocker extension and turned it back on today. I've blocked out times when I can and can't be on Facebook and if I miss my time slots, well, I need to just get over it. They're very limited - noon - 3:30 and after 9 p.m. Sunday through Saturday. I did this last year and it did make a difference in the time I spent writing. Although, I can get on using my phone but I tend to spend less time on Facebook on my phone than I do on the computer.

My time is valuable and limited. I shouldn't waste what I have left on foolish pursuits while the things that define me are left behind. I may not be able to do some of the things I really want to do but I need to take time to do what I can and I need to be kinder to myself when I can't.

If your health has put you in a rut, remember ruts slope at either end. Walk out of it. Take your time but walk out of it.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cherry Cart Living

It would be really nice if I could actually schedule my life. You know - work, writing, family, business, crochet, reading, RA flares, fibromyalgia flares, fatigue, sleep, etc.

I should make a chart. I like making charts. Maybe a real planner or my Google Calendar. It isn't as if I can't plan anything. Work gives me a schedule the week before. I already put that on the calendar, along with other appointments. So, writing time could be slotted in, crochet time, reading time.Today I spent the day paying bills, working on the bank account, figuring out where the money goes. No, I did not find the hole. And I got nothing else done. I still have to do the statements for January and February will be out this week.

Most of the stuff I do could be scheduled, of course, but I can't schedule the RA and fibromyalgia flares. I can't predict when the sleep apnea will disrupt my sleep, or the machine will give me a problem - both resulting in poor sleep and extreme fatigue the next day. No. These are the bumps in the road. They upset the apple cart. . . if you equate my life with an apple cart. Cherry cart? Yes, cherry cart. Cause it is also full of pits.

Sarah has been sick since last Thursday. A sick child makes a tired Mawmaw. She goes back to school tomorrow. I worked two days this week and will again tomorrow. The rest of the time, I alternated between joint pain and exhaustion. On Tuesday, I worked a 4 hr shift and thought I'd die before I got out of there. I was so tired. In fact, I spent several evenings just sitting and crocheting a throw while I watched television. Gradually, I'm getting back on track with sleep but it takes a few days to get my brain sorted and it seemed a more intelligent decision today to do the checkbook and pay bills. Just so they don't turn off the lights, ya know? And that crocheted throw is coming along nicely.

All the writing I seemed to get done last week mocks me from a distance. I should have planned it, not left it to fate. So, Friday is upon me and no words to show for it. I'd be annoyed but I'm so tired that I really don't care.

And tomorrow is another day. Sarah will be in school and if I can stay awake long enough after I get off work, I might get some writing done. I'll only be working 2 days next week. Surely I can plot something.

I get so angry with myself for not writing. It doesn't matter why I didn't write. I didn't write. I should have written.

What kind of things interfer with your writing? 
Do you schedule writing time? What kind of things disrupt that?