So, I’m home and (mostly) unloaded with an ouchie knee and tired feet but I’m very happy with the overall results of the day. I cannot begin to tell you all how relieved I am to have this first event out of the way! I was far more nervous than I probably needed to be but I didn’t have any panic attacks and I peopled pretty well and I didn’t even get sarcastic once! You could say that today was a pretty big deal.
It probably helps that my friend was at the table next to me.
I went in with absolutely no expectations, which I think was very helpful. I talked to a bunch of people, I sold a few books, a few boxes, a few bookmarks, an Alice in Wonderland inspired miniature topiary, and a few magnets and I bought myself a pretty octopus bracelet. I came out way ahead on the day and I’m actually even looking forward to doing it again. I’m calling today a win all over – not just for my goals but for me in general. I really did expect to have trouble with the people part of it.
For those of you playing along at home, you’ve still got a short bit of time to enter the contest to win one of my books!
I have many days, a few weeks’ worth in fact, before my first ever table at an anything. I’m starting small, at a local craft fair to sort of stick my toe in the water and see how I do. I’ve got the books in. In fact, the last box arrived today. I’ve got some geeky crafty type stuff ready to go as well. If you liked my Nazgul or my sorting hat, and you’re going to be near Weirton on the 30th, here’s your chance!
The fact of the matter is, I’ve never done something like this before and I really am quite nervous about the whole thing. I shouldn’t be. I come from two people who could convince most people that dihydrogen monoxide was polluting our water supply. My children have that gene too – the performance, the desire for applause. I have it too in a far more introverted way. I realized the other day that I might not be as gregarious, charming, or loud as my parents or my children but ultimately, I’m after the same thing – validation from people I don’t know! That’s really what writing books is, isn’t it?
I far prefer sitting back here, on this side of my computer screen instead of on a stage or behind a table, but, it’s a little hard to get my crowing heard from inside my house, shouting into the storm that is the Internet and full of people just like me. So, out into the world I must go. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I’m expecting. Maybe it’ll actually be fun and I’ll sign on to do more. Maybe a lot of things.
So, I’m sticking my toe in the water and maybe I’ll find myself at Steel City Con or Parsec down the road a bit.
Just for a head’s up – if you haven’t liked my Facebook page, now might be a good time as I’m going to be having a giveaway on April 30th (the day of said local fair). What I’m giving away will be revealed on that day.
It’s been a year. Which is probably the best thing that can be said for it. Sure, there have been some ups but overall, there’s a shadow over this year for me that just won’t let the light shine down on it.
Like many people, I lost several of my idols this year. I went through a bit of a downswing early in the year with my depression and that had some slightly more lasting effects than usual. There were some upheavals with my career, my house, and some stresses in the family that are likely mostly par for the course, maybe. We lost our OldDog who was a good dog and maybe the smartest dog I’ve ever known.
But there were good things too.
Eldercynne Rising came out. I love this universe and am so glad I get to play in it – the Arachwie are by far my favorite of my created peoples, even more so than the Jaffine.
I got my Alfred. I am a cat person. I am not a dog person. Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals but dogs are not really my cuppa. We’ve always had dogs because my husband and children are definitely dog people. I am an Alfred people. I’ve never had dog that I really really adored until now. I don’t even mind that he smells like dog! No one has ever been happier to see me in my life – and I’m including my children.
I’ve lost 50 pounds (thanks, Pokemon Go and MyFitnessPal). An old friend reminded me that people can be totally awesome for no reason whatsoever (thanks, Becky – you are awesome and totally made my kid’s Christmas!). My kids have been doing great in school and everything. Several times this year, I’ve managed to people without making an ass of myself. I have only had three little panic attacks this ENTIRE year and none of them were debilitating enough to do much more than give me a headache.
All right, so there was maybe more good than bad, or at least, bigger good than bad. It just feels like there has been so much loss this year. This Christmas was harder for me than usual. Everything has made me think of my mother and how much she would have enjoyed my children. I don’t have words to properly explain it. I blame Brad Garrett and his singing Frankenstein’s Monster because that’s where all my weepy started this year.
I am an incredibly lucky girl to have met and married a guy who gets me. He doesn’t always understand and sometimes he thinks I’m pretty silly but, where it matters most to me, he absolutely gets me. There are some people who I have never met but who have effected me in ways that probably sound pretty silly to people who aren’t dorks/geeks/nerds – whatever title they choose on any given day. For my birthday this year, I now own two of their autographs. One is pretty much the best present I’ve ever been given by anyone ever and totally made me cry. I’m fairly certain that there is no way that my husband can ever top this birthday.
As of today, I’ve met two of the three actors who ever actually scared me and both were so kind and sweet. I doubt very much that I’ll ever get to meet the third but two out of three is pretty damned awesome. Jump scare type things may startle me, but it takes a great deal to scare me and the first time I watched Candyman, I covered all the mirrors in my room for almost a month.
Tony Todd is really wonderful. Youngest son was waiting with me in the autograph line and pretty much on the edge of the convention being too much for him. He was stimming maybe the hardest I’ve seen him outside our house – but Mr. Todd took it all in stride, talked to him, and kidlet even handed him the squid he carries everywhere which sounds odd but is a great honor.
The Steel City Con is crowded (less today as it’s friday) and there are a ton of people and things to see. It could easily be overwhelming but the people there – the vendors, the artists, the stars – they’re all super kind and awesome and it makes going there fun (even if I always come home with too much stuff!).
Image: Sarah Wagner
Last year, around my birthday, the family and I went to the Steel City Comic Convention and, among other things, I came home with a TARDIS. I love my TARDIS. I’ve worn it very nearly every time I’ve gone out since that day. Some people think it’s silly but those tend to be the people who think I ought to grow up and do something with myself (because writing books doesn’t count) and I discount their opinion pretty easily.
The TARDIS is many things to me. It’s sentimental for all the hours spent watching with my mom and all the hours spent watching with my kids. It is a symbol of hope – all things are possible if you are clever enough. It is something of a calming fidget when I get anxious or nervous – something solid I can hold on to and play with, there is comfort in its weight and very presence for me. The interesting thing is that I haven’t had a big panic attack since I started wearing it. I’m not saying that has anything to do with the TARDIS but, at this point, I don’t want to jinx myself by not wearing it.
What I was not expecting was that my totem would also be an ice breaker. More often then not, someone comments on it when I’m out. I love Doctor Who as much for it’s broad audience as anything – people of every age, race, gender, and socioeconomic status know what my pretty blue box really is. Today it was the woman behind the counter at the grocery store who informed me she’s been watching since before I was born. She watched with her mom the same way I watched with mine. I don’t really people well – I struggle with social interactions and find them to be rather clumsy most of the time – but not when it’s about something like the Doctor – then it’s very easy to say hello and find a snippet of meaningful conversation to boot.
For some, it’s just a weird thing, a childish thing even, but for some of us, it is so much more. It’s almost a secret handshake in a symbol, and I’ve yet to meet a Whovian who didn’t greet it with kindness.
Filed under Anxiety, Geek, Life
I’m finding it a little more difficult than I expected to stop being invisible. Almost my entire life I’ve been striving for functional invisibility. It’s very hard to give that up and try and get people’s attention now but, for my stories, I do try. Marketing is not my strong suit – I find the whole thing overwhelming and scary to be honest. It is really hard to suddenly have to wave around saying look at me when all I want to do is hide away.
I wasn’t always comfortable talking about my anxiety and not just because of said anxiety but because most people treat anxiety like it’s something akin to stubbing my toe. In some ways, I’m glad they do think that as it means they’ve never ever had an actual panic attack. You don’t just get up and walk it off. I talk about it more now not to garner any sympathy – I don’t want that – but because I spent so many years thinking I had these attacks because I was broken and maybe, some other girl will see this and know that she isn’t broken or any of those other negative things she thinks of herself because I wish there’d been that when I was younger and this first really came to a head. Which is a really icky idiom by the way – pretty sure I sat here for five minutes while I’m making a hat ornament thinking about it while I was going over the words I should type. And now that image is going to be in your head too. You’re welcome!
Panic and depression have been arguing over who gets to control me for a whole lot longer than I like to admit. Mostly I win but sometimes it takes me a while. The internet has helped. I’m fairly certain that, with the exception of my monthly support group for families dealing with autism, 99% of my non-family human interaction is online. I do go to the grocery and pet store so that’s the other 1%. Most of my close friends, I have never met offline. I don’t want to think what I would do without the internet!
I’m trying to do better. I’ve even signed on for a slot during one of my publisher’s marketing parties (March 9 at 4:30 please come!). Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough but other times, it feels like much too much.
I love Dune, no question. It was one of those books that actually changed me. The Litany is something I say more often than I’d like but probably not as often as I need to. Fear can be huge and paralyzing. Fear can be small and insidious, sneaking up on you like smoke that’s been hiding in your shadow. Fear can be loud, quiet, boisterous, secretive. For me, fear is the Eater of Worlds, the monster under the bed, the Jabberwocky and the Nothing all at once. It is the mind killer and it takes everything and twists it – everything in my mind is suddenly connected with that fear, that what if, and it won’t let anything else in. Even when logic and intellect tell that fear that it is stupid and unfounded. There’s a difference between understanding and Knowing.
A while ago, I found a tiny little bump. At first I thought maybe it was an ingrown hair or a bug bite. But it didn’t go away, didn’t change, did nothing but sit there and be a tiny little bump. Given my family history, I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist who couldn’t see me for forever (ok 2 months but also forever). It has been driving me bonkers. And for no good reason as dermatologist confirmed my own opinion on the bump this morning – a clogged pore, a cyst, maybe but nothing to be concerned about.
The bump itself was not the problem. My problem is that fear is also the instigator of my tendency to look at all things through the lens of Worst Case Scenario. I knew the bump was nothing. I knew it but I could not get my fear to understand that. When my mother was diagnosed with melanoma the first time, it wasn’t a mole, a spot, a lesion or the usual, it came in the form of two marble sized lumps on her back. I am older than she was the first time she had cancer. I am not my mother but I can’t help but think in those terms when I find something strange. What would I do if? What would my husband do if? What would my kids do if? I know I’d jump into whatever treatment would be the most effective without care of hair. I know I’d do whatever it took. That’s good to know I suppose.
I haven’t been very productive in the last few weeks because my brain wouldn’t cooperate with me – it wanted to obsess and I didn’t want to so the kids and I had netflix marathons and played games and were bumps ourselves. Hopefully now I can get back to my regularly scheduled weird. I don’t talk about this stuff until after all is said and done because I don’t like to worry people unnecessarily and most everyone I know is dealing with far worse than a tiny little nothing of a bump.
Filed under Anxiety, Life