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Archive for June, 2016

I am, right now, reading through what I have written for a second Robert Louis Stevenson-based book–a sort of sequel to the one (The Beast of Gevaudan) I’ll have out here pretty soon. I’m about 40k words into it. Both books, at their core, are driven by Stevenson’s love for his eventual-wife, Fanny Osbourne. An American, she was eleven years his senior and married, with one adult daughter, a teenaged son, and when they met, she was grieving the death of her youngest son, still a toddler. You would have thought that these two people couldn’t possibly have anything in common, Stevenson, a Scotsman in his twenties, never married, no children, etc. But what they went through fairly early in their relationship, I think, spoke of something pretty amazing that none of us will ever really know anything about.

Biographers of Stevenson can’t seem to decide exactly how they feel about Fanny, which is understandable, as she was somewhat elusive emotionally and, at many points, erratic. They met in France, and from then on they’d spent about two years together, and by “together,” I mean that, too, was erratic. Then, a final summer during which they lived together–and she picked up rather abruptly and returned to the States, to her husband (who kept his own mistress). We can suppose she had her reasons, and they range from the impropriety of divorce in the mid-to-late 1800s to her own emotional instability. It was likely both, but it all must have been largely informed by who she was at her core, and the life that brought her to that sense of self, unstable though it may have been. Mostly, history doesn’t shed much of a kind light on her, Stevenson being so outgoing and his literary output so engaging and so well-loved. I, myself, have a hard time thinking of her as detached from what must have been going on inside, which few know much about. She kept quiet about a lot of that.

My assumption–and I think it’s a safe assumption, based on how people work–is that she was less restrained about how she truly felt about things with Stevenson. And whoever she was in those moments must have been rather amazing. I don’t know if anyone can paint a perfectly accurate picture of what their conversations and intimacy must have been like during those first two years, particularly during that final summer in France, when she nursed him as he lay dangerously ill. But what Stevenson had clearly come away with was a deep and indefatigable love. Fanny’s leaving nearly flattened him, though he kept moving, kept writing, kept falling into bouts of illness and eventually coming out. What’s clear, though, is that his dedication to her–regardless of the pain he was experiencing–didn’t waver for at least a year. During that year, he made his journey through the French highlands (the setting and backbone of The Beast of Gevaudan). In his Travels with a Donkey, on which my book is based, he included this passage:

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He was undoutbedly thinking of Fanny, who must have consumed most of his waking thoughts. This was a few months after she’d left. Yes, still pretty fresh at the time, and so understandable. But it was a year to the month she left that he’d received a letter from her, the contents of which no one knows for sure, that drove him into what was, at the time, a rather rash and unthinkable action, particularly in the eyes of his family and friends: He set off to America, and not just America, to California. It took him a month of hard ship and rail travel to reach her, and when he arrived, she received him coldly. He’d spent the entire journey terribly ill and near starving (as anxiety and his impoverished conditioned left him frequently unable to eat), and yet he took a horse and, in despair, disappeared into the desert (had he not been found and nursed back to health by a couple of ranchers, he likely would have died much earlier than the equally-tragic age of 44).

What on earth is wrong with this woman? Well, probably a lot of things. Her adult life on the frontier with a philandering husband who disappeared for lengthy periods was rather traumatic (at one point, he’d left his family to selfishly go prospecting, was rumored “killed by indians,” but returned no worse for the wear almost two years later–and she took him back, for the umpteenth time). Overall, she thought very little of herself and was fairly mistreated. She was prone to fits of “madness,” not in her right mind–which could have been emotional dysregulation brought on by so much unresolved trauma and disappointment. If she was difficult to deal with from another’s point of view, her garbage sense of self likely made it much more difficult to deal with herself.

This, I think, is the key to their relationship and obvious dedication to one another.

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Hold tight. These words make my heart ache.

Whatever her issues were–whatever made her do the things she did, however irrational and potentially hurtful–Stevenson knew better, because he knew her better than anyone. For me, that is the only truly rational explanation for their relationship, which sustained itself through years of turmoil and thousands of miles. The time they’d spent together in the beginning must have been absolutely bonding. There must have been something bigger and deeper than merely having things in common, or relating somehow, through all the various human experiences, or things comparable. It must have been, despite their differences in how they functioned in life, some indelible identifying as two individuals–it had to have been something that transcended the average give and take between two people. There had to have been such a monumentally deep level of understanding that forgiveness and affection came as naturally as a heartbeat. And this sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I would hazard to guess, though, that it’s not as common as we’d like to think.

Too many people throw away good people because of hurt or angry feelings, and many of us have been on the receiving end of that. Not every relationship could, or should, work out, but when you can see someone’s worth through their hurtful behavior–because perhaps that behavior stems from something beyond their control–and you refuse to let go because you know they are, in reality, much better than that, that’s probably something worth holding onto or holding out for. Stevenson held out and held on. He told Fanny, in what was very likely one of her “fits of madness” to hold tight. He’d be there. In the end, I think, whatever Fanny’s misgivings might have been about hitching herself to Stevenson in the long run (and she did have them), it surely was this that swayed her to his favor. That, for once, all she’d have to do is hold tight, and he’d be there.

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Fanny and Stevenson, with Fanny’s son, Lloyd (floor), King Kalakaua of Hawaii, and Stevenson’s mother.

My books are somewhat lighthearted, and involve the supernatural, which is always fun to write. But, the driving force, really, is the bond between these two people who, regardless of how things looked to others (and often even to themselves), refused to give up on one another. Stevenson experts will say this is too romantic a take, but I disagree. I think it’s a human way to think about all that missing information–those gaps of correspondence. He might have written to friends to say he was truly low, but considering he was half-starving, near-deathly ill and on a crowded, stinking train en route to a woman he didn’t even know would take him, “truly low” is a bit of an understatement. And Fanny didn’t talk. Rather than fill in those gaps with the views of his friends and family, gleaned from copious letters between themselves, which absolutely eviscerated this woman they barely knew, I’d rather fill them with an idea of true love, true caring, true understanding that can withstand the worst of what life hits you with, even when it comes from each other. This is the only way I can understand what Stevenson put himself through to be with “the woman a man loves.”

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AnnihilationChodron

This picture makes me think of Dokken’s Just Got Lucky video. Click through to find out why.

So, as it turns out, right now–where I am with things–conventional therapy isn’t going to cut it. I go twice a week, an hour each session. I have a lot of stuff that needs to be addressed, but as things get addressed, what happens is that the depressive states tend to get lower and become more persistent. This is normal and I expected it. And frankly, I’ve been going through it since the end of February, which is why I’m so absolutely raw and exhausted now. It’s been a constant struggle. Constant. And every week or so, I nosedive into an emotional abyss, like I did last weekend.

When this happens, my mind gets stuck on an uncontrollable loop of complete self-loathing and the refrain “I just want to die” gets played over and over. You’d think you could just stop thinking that, but it’s not that easy. It really is uncontrollable. If I let my guard down for even a second, up comes the refrain. It not conscious thought; it’s just there, like a stuck record in a locked room you can’t get into to get the needle off. As you can imagine, it’s pretty dispiriting. That’s an understatement, really.

So, I have a little technique in my pocket to hopefully combat the self-loathing to at least mitigate the experience overall, but what about that involuntary suicidal ideation? That’s tougher. It wired into me. It’s basically what happens when you’re a little kid and everything around you is falling apart, or worse, when everything inside you is falling apart and you have no experience by which to process it. You have no way out because the authority figures–the folks in charge of your well-being and very survival–are the ones causing it. You can’t run away; you can’t talk back. You can’t express your pain in any way (which is also where the self-loathing comes from…well, one place). So, your child brain truly thinks the only why out of it is to die.

How the hell do you combat something so ingrained, something that rooted itself into your psyche during the time when you’re forming your sense of self and your image of how the world works? It’s hard.

Here’s what I’ve come up with, and we’ll see how well it works over the next month or so.

The above quote sounds pretty brutal, but obviously, it’s not talking about bodily annihilation. It’s talking about the annihilation of the things in you that, frankly, don’t work when dealing with how terrible and cruel and unfair the world can be. It’s talking about your pre-existing ideas about how the world should work–the ideas that cause you the most suffering. Or even ideas about yourself, like your self-loathing or toxic shame.

What I am going to try to do is, when I get into that cycle of suicidal ideation, I will accept that I want to die. “Die” not being bodily death, and “I” being the unhealthy, inaccurate ideas I have about myself and who I am. If I want so badly to die to be free of this shit, I will learn to retrain that thought loop onto the ideas I want to be transformed into a more healthy, accurate representation of myself. In that way, I should be able to, rather than constantly trying to run away from this shit, walk right into it and embrace it. I just need to redirect that terrible, self-murdering thought into the ugly areas that, frankly, deserve a good, violent, horrible death.

How exactly to do that? Well, I’ll need to be aware of what I’m doing, so I have little reminder notes with which I can instruct myself when I am, to put it bluntly, out of my fucking mind. When I enjoyed the occasional recreational acid trip in art school–a long, long time ago–just to keep myself somewhat grounded, when I dropped, I wrote on my hands “You are tripping.” And when things got a little crazy or too intense, I’d see that and everything would generally mellow out. These are little notes and I know where to find them, and I’ll know when I have to look at them. Then, I just have to have some discipline, which, when you’re faced with suicidal thoughts, that sort of strength isn’t too hard to find because, let’s face it: No one wants to die. And if I can find the strength to not kill myself, I can find the strength to follow some simple instructions on a piece of paper. And the instruction is simply to remind myself to redirect those thoughts and really let those shitty ideas have it. And to keep at it until the whole mess passes.

That’s the plan. It’s as good a plan as any. It’s the only plan I have.

thrilled

This is how excited I am about intensive outpatient programs.

That said, we’ve been in contact with the local psyche ward here so that I can enter into an intensive outpatient program, which is basically as close as you can get to committing yourself without actually having to give up having a somewhat functional life. Three days a week, three hours a day. The purpose of this is to rework and rebuild some healthy coping mechanisms. Right now, I really don’t have any, except what I’ve just come up with above. This should help move that along. And I can’t really address the shit that’s behind all of this without having a way to pull myself out of the deep, dark holes it inevitably pushes me into. Once I get to a point where I can get myself out, I can go back to regular twice-a-week normal therapy. None of this thrills me, but it looks like it’s the only choice. And it’s better than living in the psych ward, which would be the next/last option.

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On an Internets article about subjects which writers can blog about (because my mind is too much of a burned-out wasteland to think on my own), it suggested talking about books that inspired me. I’mma start with this one:

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This cover is amazing.

Bernhardt J. Hurwood’s Monsters and Nightmares, 1967.

There’s not a ton written about Bernhardt J. Hurwood–I kinda, almost want to write a biography of him myself, that would rule.(I think the best bio I’ve seen of him so far is actually in The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead, 2nd ed.) Here’s his obit from 1987. I have a handful of his other books, but I’m always on the lookout for more. What is it about this book? I dunno, but I think I’ve read it about 80 times. Seriously. It was my father’s, which he probably bought around the time it came out. Sometime in the 80s, he tried giving it to my brother. I understand my brother started reading it, but it gave him nightmares (werewolf-related nightmares, to be exact), and so he returned it to my father, who then turned it over to me. Sloppy seconds, I know. But whatever. This book is awesome. I mean, just look at this TOC:

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Wut, wut? Yasssss…

The Monstrous Maggot of Death? The Horrible Legacy of the Cannibal Chef? The Holy Prepuce and the Miracles? (That one actually sounds like a band name, which…hmm.) I think I was 10 or 11 when I was handed this bad boy, and I read it until my eyeballs bled. It’s one of those collections of ghastly, true (or “true”) tales. It’s creepy and gruesome and everything anyone who loves horror wants, especially at such a young and accident-rubbernecking age.

I read a lot of stuff, but when I’d run out of books, or maybe I got bored with this or that, Monsters and Nightmares was my go-to book. So much so that the one pictured here isn’t even the original copy. No, that one is falling apart and tucked away in a safe place. This one I had to order from Amazon because, well, yeah, it’s 30 or so years later and I needed another readable copy.

I’ll be reading this on my deathbed, I’m pretty sure.

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gorguts-5

I know, it looks like he’s singing right now. Possibly recording. But he’s clearly reading a book by a writer he admires.

I have so much admiration for people that choose to be a writer as a profession, to sit down with a sheet of paper and ideas, and tell stories and write down ideas. That’s an amazing choice in life to devote yourself to, and I have a lot of admiration for that.
I was reading this awesome interview with Luc Lemay of Gorguts yesterday, and came across this lovely thing he had to say about writers. Je t’aime aussi, Luc LeMay…je t’aaaaaime… ❤
Seriously, great interview.

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I mentioned yesterday that I didn’t really know what to blog about. So, like I did to find out how to blog at all, I Googled it. Hahaa…oh, Internets.

There are, apparently, a bunch of things I could blog about. Many of those things require more thought than I have the energy for right this second. So, today, the Internets asked me (sort of) what it is I’m researching at the moment. Okay, Internets. I’ll tell you.

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The ol’ Horton coat of arms. A white stag and a dead fish. =/

I am always researching something on some level. If you’re a writer, you get that. Everything’s up for grabs. There are a bunch of things I’ve got going on for WIPs, but today, I started looking back into my family genealogy. It’s something I had been doing a while ago (and this is something I’ll probably get into on Mondays, because, frankly, while a lot of people are interested in their lineage, my interest stems from a real, deep-seated need for some kind of familial identity. I’ve never known, nor was I ever around, anyone from my biological father’s side. I had hit-and-miss contact with my Canadian mother’s side until I was nine, when it was essentially cut off completely when we moved to where my step-father grew up. And then I didn’t have much contact with his family because they didn’t like my mother. So…not a lot of familial connections for me. The concept of aunts and uncles and cousins are as alien to me as 13th-Great- Grandfathers from several centuries ago and an ocean away. That said, it is apparently easier for me to connect with a bunch of long-dead people than it is to forge bonds with more immediate relatives still living.

Staff of Life

Apparently, the Hortons of Mowsley owned this house/inn, The Staff of Life, from the early 1700s until the 20th century, I think.

So, here are some things that I know (as far as internet research has been able to tell me thus far, and this stuff is always up in the air): My grandfather, Lloyd Wellington Horton, can be traced back to the first Horton of our line to come to America from England (1638), Barnabas Horton. That’s pretty neat. Even neater, elsewhere, his ancestry has been recorded back to somewhere between the 1290s and 1345, in Mowsley, Leicestershire, England. Also very cool. That’s a surprisingly long way back and of particular interest to someone like me. The further back it goes, the more grounded I feel.

mowsley

Here’s a reversed (?) watercolor of The Staff of Life.

But what’s the research for, other than my own person shit? Well, I want to write a series of perhaps somewhat silly historical novellas. Maybe about that length. I thought of starting it with Barnabas, but it seems like a lot of been written about him, including, apparently, a few Christian romance-type novels (what?). Yeah. And honestly, he’s neat and all, but he’s not that interesting to me. I mean, not for making up some fiction. He is historically important, yes. He was a very prominent founder of Southold, Long Island, where, so I understand, there still stands his house (first frame house erected on the east of the island) and a lighthouse named after him.

What’s interesting to me is that, at some point, maybe in the run-up to the American revolution, my ancestors (perhaps Barnabas’s great-grandkids), Loyalists, were like, “Fuck this,” and they hot-footed it up to Canada. And there they stayed, as far as my personal line goes, literally until my mother hooked up with my biological father–an American from Alabama–and moved to the States. Aside from two years during my third and fourth grade years, she’s lived here in the States since about 1972.

Other Hortons–other kids of Barnabas–stayed in America, presumably fought for independence. There are a bunch of American Hortons. But, it’s interesting to me that, somewhere in my bloodline, my family stood for both sides. I imagine, with a little research, I’d find some American Horton “patriots,” and I do already know of a father and son North of the border who actively fought during the War of 1812. In a way, it makes perfect sense.

This is capturing my imagination more than the Puritan baker who hauled his own tombstone across the Atlantic (he did, seriously) to settle east Long Island. Though, really, he’s neat.

barnabas horton grave

Dude seriously carried this slab with him when he came over in his 30s. He didn’t kick it until he was in his 80s. Wut?

I’m not thinking of anything too serious, because I feel like if I got into anything serious regarding my family stuff, it would end up getting too serious and be too difficult to write. And I’ve already got some pretty heavy shit in the WIP pile. So, I’m thinking something light, funny, historical, maybe a little weird. That’s what I’m researching right now.

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Worst Blogger

worstblogger

See? Worst.

So, what did yesterday’s blog about sucking at having friends do with sucking at blogging? Well, like I don’t know how to make/have friends, I have no idea really how to blog in such a way that anyone would give a shit. Seriously, I am 41 years old and I had to have another adult tell me how/why to make friends. How do I learn how to blog? Ask the Internets, of course.

(This is probably the worst idea ever.)

I Googled the Dos and Don’ts of Blogging and came across this. We’re going to go through this right now and see how well this can work for me, and, in the end, you, because you have to read this shit. Also, let’s keep in mind that this is my author blog. This is part of my “platform.”This is my face to my readers (potential readers, future readers, readers from the future?). I am going to make terrible, terrible mistakes. Ready? The Dos

#1 – Be relatable

The key to a blog is getting people to read about stuff you know about. You do it by making it interesting and relatable to someone else.

Hahahaaa…hahaa…whew. That actually made me LOL, right off the bat. Did you read yesterday’s post? Geez, where to even begin…? I can’t have a 30-second meaningless exchange about the weather without coming off as extremely awkward, but, here, I need to make you interested in the things I have to say by…making it interesting. Relatable? What does that even mean? Like, between people? See, I’m already looking for a way out of this.

#2 – Picture it

Along with a decent layout, good photos bring structure and imagination to your blog.

Check out my awesome picture of the worst blogging ever up top there. Also, here’s a picture of my cat. Well, one of them. The Grey One. Look at her. She cares less about what I have to say than you do. Look at her face.

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She pushed the cushions over on the loveseat and made a tent with them and the curtain. She’s an evil genius.

Okay, I can do pictures. Lots of them. Mostly of my cats. And stupid, pointless shit. *fist pump*

#3 – Respond to all your comments

If people take time out to comment, suggest and inquire, let’s be polite enough to reply back.

Hmm. Maybe. Probably not. It’s not that I want to be rude. I mean, I do try. But honestly, I can go months without responding to messages from my own family. If not for my husband, if I died here in my house, it might be a long time before anyone found me. The cats would probably be okay eating my corpse and drinking from the toilet for a while, but, yeah. I’ve never been great at contact with the outside world, but it’s particularly bad lately. Well, I suppose this is something I can work on. Not that I get a ton of comments anyway–that is both cool, and not at all cool.

#4 – Keep it short

Lengthy posts are rarely read.  Limit your content by telling your story in a succinct way.

Again, did you read yesterday’s post? Today’s post was supposed to be yesterday’s post, but it started closing in on 1000 words before I even got to how shitty a blogger I am. That’s how shitty a blogger I am. This post will also be an epic saga of nothing…

#5 – Proofread your posts

Avoid embarrassing mistakes by checking, not once, not twice but at least three times to make sure your grammar, spelling and information is correct and from a verified source.  The best way is to read it out loud and to have someone else read it as well.

I mostly do this, but sometimes I miss stuff. I am a professionally trained editor. Hahahaaa… *sigh* Honestly, do I really have time to proof my 40k-word blog posts three times?

#6 – Get social with it

The best way to advertise your work is to share links frequently  on social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest  and more.

I don’t actually believe this is true. I find that people will “like* the post about the blog on Facebook, but not actually click through and read the blog post. So glad you liked that I shared the post. It’s a little like handing someone a sealed greeting card and having them smile at you while they toss it over their shoulder into the garbage. Social media is another things I’m terrible at. I can post there all damn day and still never really understand it.

Here are the Don’ts.

#7 – Be depressing

You can be real and gritty but still make sure your blogs are relatable without remaining on a low note. Don’t use your blog to fight a personal battle that no one else cares about.

HAHAhahahhaaa… *wipes away tear* No, really, wow. So, yeah. Part of the whole getting therapy and dealing with my trauma thing is working against the shame of mental illness and blah, blah, blah. But, I should apparently be just “real and gritty” enough to make people say, “Wow, that’s deep and I relate because last week, I was sad when my favorite TV show’s final season ended,” but not enough to make anyone uncomfortable. Well…I’ve thought about this long and hard. I have. And as much as I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable (really, I don’t), I just refuse to feel ashamed of my bullshit. And, right now, dealing with the C-PTSD is a big priority. Yep…I am a shitty blogger.

#8 – Use too many font styles

Don’t start off with Arial, size 10, bold in your first paragraph, and then shift to Verdana, size 14, underlined. That turns off readers off.

 People do this? Why would anyone DO this


#9 – Make angry posts

Refer to #7. Readers can’t  relate to your personal anger.

Surely some of them can! Actually, here’s something you need to know about me: I have a lot of anger. It’s true. I try very hard not to be angry all the damn time, but, as it turns out, if I want to: 1) interact with other human beings in any capacity, or 2) know what happens in the world on any level, chances are, I’m going to be angry. I understand that most people are capable of blocking out so much shit that most things don’t really bother them. I’m not one of those people. Maybe some day I can learn to, but this is how I’m wired. So, yeah, sorry in advance about that, folks who cannot relate to my personal anger.

#10 – Compare yourself with others

If you’re going to compete with other bloggers do it by posting intriguing content that people want to read, not by bragging about yourself or putting others down.

Oh. Well, good. Okay. Apparently, I am not the very worst blogger ever if there are bloggers out there that do this. See, I might be occasionally depressing or angry, but I’m not a complete asshole. I’ve got that going…

#11 – Ignore hateful comments

At some point you will get negative comments about your blog.  Don’t ignore them but don’t get into a beef  with the people who post them either. Just respond by stating your position.  No cussing please.

Hateful comments? Hateful? I’m not sure I can reconcile “hateful” and “negative” here. Negative comments, sure. Maybe those can be responded to in a reasonable manner. Clearing up a misunderstanding, maybe. But hateful comments? No, those need to be ignored. Because the alternative is a tremendous amount of cussing. Got to truck with folks who are hateful to strangers online (or anywhere, for that matter). Nope. They get ignored, or they get twelve brand new assholes. Like this POS:

freshprince

“Nice gut.”

I posted a gym pic on Instagram the other day. Freshprinceofpittsburgh is a complete stranger. I am over 40, 5’6″, 137 or so pounds, and a fucking vegan. I workout 5-6 days a week 1-1.5 hours a day. No joke. This is what my metabolism requires. Apparently, this stranger thinks I should have the skin elasticity of a 23 year old. For his approval. Trying to make a stranger feel badly about themselves? That is some hateful shit. Who does this? Who can possibly respond to this by simply “stating (their) position” and with “no cussing” (please)? Who are these people? These completely soulless insulting assholes and the equally soulless, nicey-nice responders?

Sorry, I am not that nice. I’m just not. So, it’s a fuckity-fuck storm, or that dink is getting ignored.

Also, as far as cussing: I sweat a lot. I mean, I find myself pulling back here, but if we were sitting, talking face to face, you’d probably get an earful of fucks. Truth. I don’t really see the point of going out of my way to pretty that up. We’re all adults here, right? *shrug*

 

#12 – Be afraid

So many people tell me that fear keeps them from writing a blog.  They’re afraid that their writing skills aren’t good enough, that they will be criticized for what they write or they won’t be able to think of something new.  I’m here to tell you that some of the most successful bloggers started off with those same concerns. If you want to succeed, at anything, including blogging you have to take some risks.

I am afraid of being the worst blogger ever. Or readers who might otherwise like my books very much might very much hate my posts that will occasionally be depressing, or angry, or most certainly full of fucks (I guess that doesn’t count as taking risks). I am also, as I pointed out yesterday, all over the damn place. It’s true, I don’t know what to blog about. I can blog about my C-PTSD, because it’s something I go to therapy for twice a week (I’d go three times if I could) and it’s a huge part of my life and what I’m straightening out right now. I can blog about how I feel about things in the world–those are probably going to be some pretty angry posts. I swear a lot when I’m feeling fine. The fucks go up to 11 when I’m depressed or angry.

Surely, though, I can write about other things. Right? I can write about my writing. I can write about my cats. I can write about my house, which is sometimes interesting. I can write about random shit. I don’t know. Maybe I wouldn’t be the worst blogger. But I’ll be pretty bad for a while. That is, in the event that I actually stick to it. Sometimes I fall off the face of the earth. It might be a crisis. It might be the C-PTSD. It could be nothing. If I can convince myself that I can think of things to blog about and that, maybe, I wouldn’t be absolutely terrible at it, I might keep it up. But I don’t know that my responses to this list of Dos and Don’ts are very good. Maybe my blogging, with all of it’s bullshit and swearing, is good blogging for a certain segment of the blog-reading population. Maybe not. Who the hell knows?

(About 1600 words. I really suck at this.)

Fuck.

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Here’s me dreading most social activities, including blogging.

Obviously, I’m one of those bloggers. Well, it’s not even fair to call me a blogger because I’m one of those people who blogs in spurts, usually separated by months, if not years, of silence.

Courtesy of my sweet-ass new therapist (*fist pump*), I learned recently why I don’t have many friends, and I think this information actually might have some bearing on this topic of being a shit blogger.

I am not a bad person. I’m a pretty decent person, I think. I’m probably pretty screwed up, though, to be honest, I don’t think that’s exactly rare. But, despite all the ways that I have no idea who I am (thanks, C-PTSD), generally speaking, I know. I’m a decent person whose intentions are good. I am a deep and wide thinker, and feeler, for that matter (these things are neither good, nor bad, but maybe often both). I treat others much better than I treat myself (working on that). I have many, many, many interests. I have a handful of core interests and while most peoples’ order of importance in terms of their interests drop sharply after that core list, mine tend to fall away very gradually, and they spread out. And when I say interests, I mean everything–the superficial stuff that we generally have “in common” with other people (movies, music, books, etc.), but also various topics, ideas, experiences, philosophies, etc. Basically, anything that fills my head, day in, day out.

Most folks have a handful of core interests that float around outside things like their significant other/family, their job, religion (or lack thereof), etc. Perhaps they like baseball, hiking, and romance novels–just about everything else is entirely off of their radar. This makes it much easier for them to make friends. Here’s something I didn’t know before, well, last week. My definition of a “friend” has been very different from your average definition. This isn’t surprising because I had a lot working against me growing up when it came to learning how to socialize. So, I thought that a “friend” was someone with whom you related to most–the person, or persons, who checked off the most boxes for you, personally. Apparently, that’s not what most folks do. And how hard it is to find those people anyway, amiright? (I thought I found one once, but it was a mirage) Turns out, most people have 3-5 “close friends,” and rather than each of them checking off all your boxes, they check off one. Maybe two. So, those people with fewer interests require fewer people to meet their needs. You got all your friends who have spouses, kids, jobs (you can all get together on that shit), and then there’s one for baseball, one for hiking, one for romance novels…you get the picture.

Based on this theory of friendship, you can see where my trouble lies. First, the idea of having more than, say, three close friends horrifies me. I mean, that sounds tremendously time consuming and stressful. In that sense, my initial idea that close friends should be the people who click the most boxes works–except, it doesn’t. Very, very few people click enough boxes. And let’s not forget that they must also fulfill other requirements–like not being a complete douchebag. No racists, misogynists, or homophobes. No one who says things like, “The poor are just lazy!” None of that, no. No people who make themselves feel good by openly belittling others. You know, that kind of shit. So, we just narrowed the pool down even more, because, wowee, is it me or are there just an ass-ton of jerks out there?

Second, the fact that my interests/needs are many and they are all over the place. I have never come across a group of people, a clique, a club, an organization–anything–that I have felt completely comfortable with. It’s usually because while I like/believe/appreciate whatever the thing is that brings those people together, I’m just as likely to like the opposite as well, believe that something counter could exist, or appreciate other things entirely. Most folks can narrow in on things–I can’t. So, in order to have enough close friends that actually fulfill my needs–who check off all the boxes–I would have to have more friends than I could possibly ever hope to spend any meaningful amount of time with without cutting into my sleeping and bathroom time.

So, what do I do? I throw up my hands and go, “Fuck it,” and isolate myself into an agoraphobia diagnosis (seriously, I was like, really?). I get completely overwhelmed with the idea that I require that many people that I shut down. Also, it’s often hard for me to focus on one thing, or even a few things, long enough to be “present” for any one person who is, at that moment, representing this or that need. Can you see how much easier it would be if I could just have 2-3 friends who were, basically, exactly like me? No pressure there. The polar opposite of that is the scenario where I have to socialize with people with whom I have absolutely nothing in common with. This, to me, is hell. And they could be the nicest people on earth…seriously. And I feel terrible about it. But having to talk to them–small talk, any topic, whatever–is liable to push me into an anxiety attack.

It’s fucking ridiculous.

But what does this have to do with blogging and why I’m so shitty at it? I guess I’ll have to tell you tomorrow, because, well, I’m a terrible blogger. No joke, I saw it on a list of dos and don’ts for blogging, on the Internets, so it’s obviously a fact.

#4 – Keep it short

Lengthy posts are rarely read.  Limit your content by telling your story in a succinct way.

See? Oops. But I’ll get into that in my next post…

 

 

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