Upon a Distant Tide

Here’s yet another tale, told from the POV of my SCA persona and meant for oral presentation. I’m sure that another version will find it’s way into the book of short stories in the Watchmage world. They always do.

When I was away on a voyage, my betrothed, my loving sea, died of a fever. I returned home to the news, and raged that the fire in her soul consumed her body. It was a cruel trick of the Old Gods, and I swore that I would travel to the Otherworld, plead to the Gods, and bring her back to the living.

Six months later, my captain, Cornelius van Corlear, agreed to my request, and he sailed to Ynys Mon, the Sacred Isle, where the Romans once crushed the heart of the Druid religion, and where stood an entrance to the Otherworld. He gave me one week to return, or he would leave without me.

I left and found the famed cave to the Otherworld, and there I drank the rye-blight tea. I entered the cave and soon lost my senses.

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When I awoke, I was on a crystal ship sailing down a wide river. The sail was silver, and the oarsmen mere shadows. At the prow was the God of the Sea and patron of sailors, Manannan Mac Lir. “You should not be here, Drustan of Nordenfjord,” he said. “We sail for the Otherworld.”

“I must be,” I said. “My betrothed, my loving sea, has been taken before her time.” And I spun him my tale, and of my love, a woman of rapier wit and steel in her soul, a woman that never needed saving until the day I was not there to save her.

He shook his head. “You cannot sail backward, for that loving sea you dream of has flowed to a distant tide.”

“Please…PLEASE…bring her back to me.” I pleaded, but the god was unmoved. I panicked, trying to find some way to convince him. I looked at the shadowy oarsmen.

“I will pull an oar for 100 years and a day if you return her to life. I swear it upon the sea!”

The Sea God smiled for he believed my oath. “I will not take your oath or grant your request. You cannot sail backward, for that is the gift of we gods alone.”

I stood puzzled at his words and broken at his denial.

“Your offer pleased me, Drustan of Nordenfjord, and in these times, I am rarely pleased. So I will explain and share a secret of the gods. We live backward in time. We were born weak as kittens at the Sun’s final death. We grow stronger every day before, and at the height of our might, we will die setting the foundations of the Earth. Your past is our future.

I wept, for Manannan Mac Lir never lies. My loving sea was upon another tide and sailing backward would only leave me alone and adrift.

Finally, I said “If you live backward in time, allow me this humble request. Six months before now, please visit my love and give her three kisses: one for our love, one for our loss, and one for when we sail together again in the Otherworld.”

The great god agreed, and I lost my senses once more, awaking in the cave alone with my memories.

I returned to my captain and we sailed off to a new adventure. And once more I searched for a loving sea upon every distant tide. And I found her.

Like this story? Then you’ll love my series, The Watchmage Chronicles. The first book, The Watchmage of Old New York, is only 99 cents! Come visit a 19th century New York, where a world of magic and supernatural beings exists beyond the riches of the Upper Ten Thousand and the grim deaths of the poor.

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But People Want Happy Posts

I know it. When people read a blog on WP, they’re looking for happy posts that make them feel good. And I try. I post memes, jokes, stuff that might bring a smile.

But I don’t feel that way. I rarely feel that way. And as the pain in my neck and back from the accident refuses to subside, creating a feedback loop of pain>stress>anxiety>more pain, I feel even worse.

Yesterday I was overwhelmed with this thought: Everyone that you know and love will die. You will watch them die. You will suffer for them and mourn them but there is nothing that you can do but watch as they disappear. And then you will slowly forget them. First you’ll forget their voice. Then their face, the things they wore, good and bad times that you had, everything, it will all disappear like a sandcastle during high tide. All that will be left is a gravestone that people step over to visit other gravestones.

I know this for a fact. I can’t remember much about my grandfather, who died 22 years ago, when I was 18. He’s a mirage, a glimmer in my memory. I can’t remember my mom’s voice. She died 5 years ago. I’m having trouble remembering Valerie’s. She died four years ago. Soon they will vanish as if they never existed.

And the best case scenario is that we die first, so that we don’t have to endure those losses.

Anyway, here’s a funny meme.

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On Turning 40

(This is a bit introspective, but it’s my party and I’ll kvetch if I want to).

I keep telling myself that it’s just a day. I’m one day older than yesterday, no more, no less. But that’s not true. A birthday isn’t a day, it’s a milestone, a click in you lifetime that doesn’t mark time, but experience. It’s a scenic rest stop on the highway where you get out of the car, stretch your legs, and look at where you’ve been.

I have experienced 40 years on the highway, and I’m looking back. And the road behind me is not impressive. It’s gunk and potholes and endless, endless construction. It’s like driving through Northern Jersey.

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When you’re young, you love birthdays. They’re about excitement and joy and parties with friends. I’m not having a party. I have panic attacks when there are too many people around, and I don’t have many friends any more. I don’t really like bars. I don’t have room to have people over. When my dad turned 40, we threw him a big surprise party in our house…we had a house! I only know a few people my age that have houses.When my mom turned 50 we threw her a party at a hotel. I always thought that I’d have the same. I wanted what my parents had. Family, friends, and a place to celebrate with them.

Anyway, when you’re young, it’s about celebration. When you’re old, it’s about introspection. I think about my life: where I’m at, my successes, my failures, my flaws and things left undone. I think about the roads not taken, and whether they would have made a difference. I think about “what ifs” and whether I can back track with what I know now.

It’s why people have mid-life crisises. They’re not about “oh my god, I’m getting closer to death.” It’s about “oh my god, why didn’t I make the left turn at Albuquerque?”

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I have a lot of regrets. I wish that I could’ve been there when my mom died. I wish that I was able to save Valerie’s life. I wish that I didn’t waste so much time. I wish…I wish the world would slow down so I can catch up. But I don’t wish for a sports car or anything cliche like that. I wish that I could’ve done more Good. I wish that I made more of a difference. I wish that people didn’t suffer because I didn’t act. I wish I had the power to make a difference.

I don’t. I can’t even help myself.

I can’t say whether I’ve had a good or bad life. There are hundreds of millions of people who have it far worse than I do, and just as many who have it better. I wasn’t dealt the best hand, what with all of my medical problems that keep me from living a “normal” life (whatever that is). But I haven’t been homeless in a few years, and I don’t have to beg doctors for medicine anymore. Whether that changes in the future, whether the bottom drops out and I live out my life in a group home or a cardboard box, I don’t know. Whether I’m dead in five years, I don’t know. But right now I’m alive and in a good place. 40 is not an age that I ever expected to reach, so I’m ahead of the game.

I hope that on the road ahead, I can do more than the road I’ve left behind. But the car is getting old and rusty. The shocks are going, the radio doesn’t work, and a dog peed in the back seat. And that road goes on forever, with or without me.

But I’ll have some cake. Cake will make it better.

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My Twitter Acct Was Hijacked (by me)

I tweet…a lot. I tweet to promote my books. I tweet to promote other people’s books. I belong to a group called Rave Reviews Book Club, where we retweet each others novels and blogs, etc. It’s a pretty cool group, and though it has a small membership fee, the increase in book sales is worth it.

But I’m not here to promote Rave Reviews. I’m here to talk about the evolution of my Twitter account.

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Down With the Sadness

I try to keep my blogs about my psych issues scarce, but I’m going to write one anyway. I’m not ashamed of my illness–it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain, not something I brought upon myself–but there’s still a terrible stigma against it. Even my own father doesn’t understand and thinks that I’m lazy. It rubs off on me, and though I rationally know that it’s not something I can control, I feel like I’m a lazy slacker that doesn’t deserve respect or happiness.

Then again, when I was diagnosed at age 14, he pretty much washed his hands of the whole thing and left it to my mother. I’m not bitter, I just think that he couldn’t handle that his American Dream didn’t turn out the way he wanted. He wasn’t strong enough to be an emotional support. Few people are.

Anyway, usually my bipolar cycles last about a month. My mania manifests as panic attacks (sometimes several a day), and my depression manifests as a numb nihilism and extreme fatigue. I’m in a depressive cycle right now. It’s lasted since February, which is a very long time for a cycle.

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For about a month, I’ve been debating whether to add an anti-depressant to my anti-anxiety, OCD, and mood stabilizing drugs. The upside is that it’ll make me feel better. The downside is that anti-D’s always make me gain weight, significant weight.

Since January of 2013, when Valerie died, I have lost at least 135 pounds. I was so heavy that they couldn’t get an accurate reading, but I was somewhere between 375 and 400 pounds.I’m 235 now, still considered obese, but not terribly. The idea of putting on weight chills me. I’ve worked so hard, and gaining it back would be a nightmare.

But I finally gave in and went on Wellbutrin. Supposedly it doesn’t cause weight gain, but I’ve been on it before and gained about 30 pounds in 2 months. It’s gonna be a prescribe as needed thing. Hopefully I’ll only have to be on it for a month.

I’m scared. All of that work, down the crapper. Is it better to be fat and happy, or healthy and sad? Neither are good choices. I count calories, I go to the gym 3-4 days a week. There’s little more that I can do.

Thus is the life of the mentally ill.

In other news, I am trying to set up volunteer activity for MHA. There are a lot of people in the system that don’t do much besides sit around and smoke cigarettes. I feel that since the govt does so much to help us, we should find a way to pay it back. I don’t think that people should get something for nothing. I’ll feel better about myself if I earn that Medicare and disability check (though disability money is something I’ve paid into when I worked). Healing the world starts not with grand gestures and revolution, but with small steps and local involvement. In other words: if the roof is leaking, you plug the hole rather than burn the house down.

Hopefully I can break this depressive cycle. I’m sad that I’m so sad.

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Did I Make Amazon Mad?

I have no clue what I did, but over the past two weeks Amazon has removed several of the reviews for The Watchmage of Old New York, and blocked at least five (people have told me that their reviews were blocked). I’m now down to 18 reviews, and who knows how far it will fall.

I don’t understand what I did wrong. I’ve never broken the terms and conditions or tried anything shady. Hell, I don’t even let my family leave reviews for fear of breaking terms. I guess i’m just unlucky.

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They also removed several reviews that I’ve left on products and books. I think that this is kinda funny, but funny sad. They send me emails asking for reviews on this and that product, but it’s those reviews that get removed.

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Crazy Week Is Crazy

I guess it’s time for another “how the hell is Craiggers doing” post.

It’s been a pretty awful week. My transmission blew on Saturday. I found out the cost on Tuesday. Since last Thursday I’ve been dealing with pains in my stomach. I’m not sure if they’re anxiety or what. I’ve been in a pretty bad depressive cycle since January, to the point where I can hardly write. It’s a circle of suck: when I can’t write, I get depressed, and when I get depressed, I can’t write.

What’s concerning is that the depressive cycle began perhaps a week after a manic cycle. This has never happened before. Usually there are many months between cycles. While I am a rapid cycler (I think more than four a year is considered rapid cycling, and that’s where I usually am), they never happen one after the other like this. Even as I write this, I’m having an anxiety attack, the second today. I suppose this is more of a mixed state cycle then.

I have heard that bipolar syndrome gets worse as you get older. I’ve seen the old men and women in the group homes and treatment housing. I see how badly they’re treated–worse than you imagine–and they don’t even realize the abuse. I’m terrified that their present is my future. It’s not an irrational fear. I’m already in the system, and when I cease to be able to care for myself, that’s where they will stick me.

I couldn’t bear to be surrounded by so many people. It’s hard to be in the room with anyone at times. I need quiet, and I need focus.

Ok, this anxiety attack is growing into a full-sized panic attack. I think I might go sit in a corner now and pretend that it’s ok.