Moments of Kindness, and the Coming Plague

I had a conversation about kindness at work the other day. My coworker was telling me that the thing that makes her most proud of her sons is that they are kind. She then told me a story about the week before in the city. The three of them saw a homeless woman shivering, and without even a thought, her sons went to the food truck down the street to buy her something (instead of giving her money, as homeless with money often makes you a target for other homeless. First it was water, but one argued that it was too cold, so they decided on tea. Then in expanded into tea with sugar and milk on the side and two hot dogs.

They were bickering over the best way to help the woman. That’s kindness. Just a random act, in a city where homelessness has once again become ubiquitous as rent, food, and medicine skyrockets. NYC can be merciless, but the people (believe it or not) are kind. We’re kind because unless you’re rich, we’re all a sprained ankle or staph infection away from living on the street.

I was moved by her story. So I said something cheesy, but true: Kindness is what really matters. We tend to measure success by being wealthy or having a good job, but so much of that depends on external factors and luck. Kindness comes entirely from inside of you. That’s the true way to measure success. To be a good person.

I think it’s true. I have to think so, because wealth, fame, and success have missed me. But if I can’t be those other things, I will be kind.

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2020 is the year of the plague.  My coworker’s family all have the flu. My dear friend has double pneumonia. My brother just went to the ER. A second strain of the flu virus is tearing through the area. Everyone on my FB feed has something or is taking care of someone with something.

Though not flu-related, I just found out that a friend had major surgery earlier this week, and may have cancer.

Heck.

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

 

Done and To Do

Hooray! I finally finished all of the online mandatory trainings for my job.  I hate binging something like that, but it needed to be done by friday. Still to do: gift shopping, finding out if I am exchanging gifts with my friends that have moved or cut me off.  Finding how to get my gifts for my brother to him in Buffalo. Figuring out what to get him.

I love gifting, but it is nerve-wracking.

I also need to get my stuff together with my next book and especially the reprinting of Song of Simon.

Also, shovel snow…heck.

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

Writing About Not Writing

I’ve been very disappointed in myself this year.  I have not been able to transition to the increased work hours while keeping up with my writing.  I know that it’s a lot for me to handle and not something that i am used to, but I have to get used to it.  I love to write, and I can’t not work.  Something has to give, or I have to change myself to be able to do everything.

And it’s not just writing that has suffered. I’ve had less discipline and progress across the board.  No more daily exercise routine. No more keeping track of my diet.  I’ve put on a good 15 pounds this year. Granted, I’ve had a lot of injuries, but still.  And I think it’s because my mind is so frazzled from all of the stuff that I have to do.

So I am trying a productivity app on my phone. Am I am going to sometimes journal from my phone.  Anything to get all of these thoughts out.  I think that we all know that every person needs an outlet. Writing has always been my main outlet.  When I don’t write, I get very stressed.  I have other outlets too: playing guitar, fencing, various SCA stuff, but writing has always been the key.  I think that if I want everything else to fall in place, I have to get back to what keeps me in the right headspace, and that is writing.

I can feel myself starting to relax already.

doge in space card redux

Tethers

I’ve been thinking today about tethers, how we’re linked with people for so long, and then they just disappear from our lives. We just moved in different directions, and we hold on to that tether for a little bit, knowing that we will likely let go someday. And that’s fine. Friends pass in and out of our lives. Family too. Life is long, and tethers are short.

And I miss a lot of my friends. And I still talk to them now and then. But there were times when we were so close, tied tight together. But the knots loosen under the strain of life and we drift away. One day the mockingbird doesn’t return to the beach. Out of the cradle, endlessly rocking.

 

EKCoP Assembly, and My First Performance

On Saturday, I did a thing. For me, it was one of the bravest I’ve ever done.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I joined the SCA in the fall, and became interested in Bardic recitation and performance. I did a very short story on Novice Day in front of a giant crowd of…three?..Four?.. It might have well been a hundred, for I was terrified. But I did it and I was hooked.

Saturday was an event for bards called the East Kingdom College of Performers Assembly and University. I not only taught a class on story structure (which I’ve done before at libraries so I wasn’t that worried) but I got up on stage and did two separate performances. Both were original pieces. I’ll post them below.

This is the first one that I did. I swear that I was trembling inside, and hoped that I wasn’t trembling on the outside too.  

This was the second one that I did. I felt a little more comfortable, but still nervous.

 

So why is this such a big deal for me? After all, I teach. I get up in front of kids all the time and talk away. I’ve even taught adults.

When I was a kid, I was impossible to understand. My voice was so garbled that no one knew what I was saying until aged 4 or 5. I had years and years of speech therapy and orthodontics (head gear, lip bumper, retainer, braces, the whole thing), to fix my crooked, chaotic mouth. Even then, my voice was still whiny and the target of many a bully.  (I still get mocked for my voice by students. It’s a very sore spot for me). Add in that I once literally froze while giving an oral report in college, and I have all sorts of anxiety problems.

This was a big freaking deal, and I’ve proven to myself that I’m not the unintelligible child that I was. I killed that monster that’s been hounding me as long as I can remember. Yes, my voice is still weird, but it was much, much worse.

I’m looking forward to more of this. I have many stories in my head that need to come out.

doge in space card redux

When Writing Stops Being Fun

Why doesn’t this spark joy anymore? What don’t the words make me happy?

I honestly don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t seem to get the same pleasure out of writing as I used to. Maybe it’s because I’m having trouble with this 3rd book in the Watchmage Chronicles. Maybe it’s because I’m burned out on promoting and sales are showing that. Maybe it’s because three publishers that have owned my novels have gone bankrupt. Maybe it’s because working at something you love means that you never stop working, and that love becomes a chore. Maybe I’m no longer amazed.

I haven’t blogged in a long time, and I don’t understand why. Writing used to be my constant Northern Star to sail the seas by. Now I’m constantly in the dark… I’ll be at the bar.

I need to be inspired again.

Maybe this is why I’ve been so depressed. I’ve been uninspired, so I lose the joy of writing. Without that joy, I’m uninspired, and so on. Wheels within wheels in the windmills of my mind. And while I used to tilt at those windmills, now I fall off my horse onto a dusty spring field. Even creating a trail of seemingly unrelated metaphors that lead into each other in obscure ways gives me only a small amount of joy. It was a happy accident, anyway.

Okay, it felt kinda good.

doge in space card redux