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I haven’t played WoW in 18 months, so here is my piece about how massively multiplayer online games are now a moral failing for all of us

Tl: dr that I think about all the time.

I really have no idea what the hell my body is doing or where it’s going. My nerve damaged foot, which had calmed down, has gotten a little nervy again. When I put my hand over my appendix scar, it goes to a different place than it did before. I have a CGM sensor rash on my arm from the stuff you put on your arm so that you don’t get a rash from a CGM sensor. My hair refuses to change color, no matter what I do to it. I went shopping yesterday and ended up buying t-shirts — same brand/style, different colors — in three different sizes. They all fit.

About six months ago I got an Oculus Quest 2. Using the Quest requires having a Facebook login, which is all I really use my Facebook login for anymore. I’ll try anything once but most of what I do these days is Wander, play rhythm games, and watch Prada fashion shows.

One of the characters in my book is turning out to be susceptible to unvetted, unreliable information. I absolutely need to keep her from taking over the whole damn project while also figuring out what the deal is with that. Usually I’m down for a new challenge, but this one is frustrating. Probably because it took long enough to figure out, as old gamers say, in meatspace.

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A process cannot be understood by stopping it.

Not going to lie: posting that last post felt pretty great, and I’ve figured out why.

In certain types of company, I talk a lot about body stuff: sciatica stuff, fat stuff, getting old stuff, and especially T2D stuff. But I’m not interested in the evangelism or flagellation or complaining that often results from body stuff, particularly in my categories of body stuff.

When I read Dune for the first time as a kid, I desperately wanted to be a mentat. Years later, my wish has come true. We’re all mentats.

Talker Me and Writer Me draw from the same material but don’t work the same way at all, and I rely very heavily on both in order to Get It Right. To live my best mentat life.

So, I think I will keep writing about body stuff and posting it here, at least sometimes.

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LOL memoir

For most of 2019, I was a medical mess, and I took lots of notes.

In 2020, no longer a medical mess, I started working on a novel. The 2019 Notes became the stuff I worked on when I needed a break from the novel. I curated and cataloged The 2019 Notes out of a computer, a tablet, and four notebooks. Then, I did almost exactly what I do as a fiction writer — picking out stuff that seems like it could work, thinking, editing, putting it away for a while, taking it out again later, messing around with it until I think it’s messed around with enough, then sending it out to places I like, where I think it goes with what they do.

No one has wanted any of it, and I’ve been really embarrassed by how much those rejections bother me.

Unlike everything else I’ve ever sent anywhere, the stuff from The 2019 Notes really happened, and it happened to me. I’ve spent years and years as a reader of stories about other real people’s bodies without much interest in taking a turn myself…and when that (finally?) happened? Nope.

I might not be a big baby about fiction, but it turns out I’m definitely one about memoir.

The interesting part is that it’s made me look at the genre in a brand new light: How do memoirists even do that whole part of the process? How do they not see it as judgment of something with immobile parts that have nothing to do with craft? (Seriously, I’d love to know. I really think there has to be more to it than thick skin. DM or email me if you’ve seen a piece where someone talks about this. Even if they just say, thick skin.)

The uninteresting part is that it’s made me realize that I should add another genre to my list of Things I Should Only Try At Home. (See also: poetry of any kind.) When I’ve spent the last five or so years largely off the fiction writing grid and often feel the need to compose elaborate excuses for my absence, this one is rough.

I have a system that I use for exorcising failed fiction projects — it’s worked for me more than once, and it’s structured enough that I could teach it, hint hint. It might work for someone else for memoir, but I haven’t had much luck there.

So, I’m going to try something else: I’m publishing one right now, thereby making all other possible doors basically slam shut. Maybe then, I’ll be free!


Knees Over Toes

This will support you, the tiny physical therapist says as she pulls the bright orange belt around your waist. Is it too tight?

Three, you say, because that’s the number in How Bad Is The Pain when something else is upsetting you more than the pain does.

Do you want it tighter, she says, and starts to tug at the buckle. 

You say no, you were confused. You usually only realize you are confused while you are looking at your phone. Your texts and searches and games, they burst instead of flow. No one else notices, but you know: time now slips. 

You don’t say any of that because the tiny physical therapist who fastened the orange belt around both of you is now standing in front of you, and her face says you will stand up and walk across the room. She has worn the orange belt many more times than you have, yes, but.

Are you ready, she says.

Gray, you say. Gray is the see when you think forward and up, only a few inches in front of where you sit now. You can’t see how the view from the window you face will ever change. You can’t ever imagine the thincold cotton blanket on your lap further away than it is now. You can’t count the number of muscles and bones required to ever make you ready. You can’t even count to.

Remember what I told you, the tiny physical therapist says. One. Two, she begins to pull on the orange belt around you both in a way that, exactly twelve days later, you’ll learn is totally wrong. Three.

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April 29, 2011

I woke up with my lower abdomen just generally hurting like hell. It had hurt intermittently for about ten days before that. I’d already been to the doctor, who declared it a bladder infection. But that morning, the pain was enough for me to be scared. When my gynecologist couldn’t find anything wrong, I went to the emergency room. After a CT scan, the doctors told me that my appendix had burst, and they’d need to operate as soon as possible.

I told everyone who would listen how scared I was. One of the nurses told me something that helped: “It’s like getting into a plane. The fear is all about losing control.”

I went into the operating room. I remember putting my arm on one armrest, and being told to put my right arm on the other. A moment passed. I opened my eyes. “Hello,” I heard someone say.

The surgery had taken four hours — they estimated that my appendix had burst at least a week before. I was in the ICU for a couple of hours because my oxygen saturation was too low, but a cannula worked. I stayed in the hospital for six days after that.


To make sure I got all of the above right, I went back into my journals and reread 2011. Holy hell, that was a bad time. The almost dying part was a garbage jewel in a dumpster tiara. I want to give 2011 me a hug, and tell her: Even though there’s plenty of unimaginable garbage ahead, you’ll be so right to do some of the things you’ll eventually do.

Anyway, today is my tenth birthday and if you’re reading this, I’m grateful for you.

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be glad we can’t talk in person yet

blah blah blah blah blah I started wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) about a month ago, mostly because my health insurance started covering continuous glucose monitors this year. For a type 2 diabetic, it can be like taking a light saber to a knife fight. But “eat to your meter” is a big thing in the T2D world, and a CGM makes that much easier. Instead of having to find somewhere to wash my hands and accidentally dumping a bunch of test strips on the floor and hunting for a napkin when I fingerstick too hard and bleed all over the place, I just look at my phone because it talks to the Bluetooth sensor on my belly about once every five minutes, 24/7.

I also started taking one of the T2D medications for which you’ve seen some deeply annoying commercials. It’s currently going through the process of FDA approval as a weight loss drug. (All you need to do in order to understand that obesity is complex is to read about this drug’s mechanism of action, but of course it’s more fun to just keep judging!) In my case, it works very well for the approved usage, and I don’t know about the as-yet-to-be-approved one. You can decide for yourself when we meet again, if you care.

From all of this I’ve learned that I have hypoglycemia unawareness, which is not scary and very scary at the same time. I find out my blood sugar is dangerously low only because my phone starts freaking out, at a volume slightly lower than Amber Alerts. I’m never sweaty or hungry or dizzy, like most people get. Fortunately, it’s largely within my control to make sure hypo doesn’t happen — but it’s also a question of working out how to balance the various tools in my arsenal against the hyperglycemia, which I’m also not usually aware of until my phone tells me blah blah blah blah blah

So. Much. Bandwidth.

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Pandemic Jukebox

Well, well, well…

Not a huge jump to make, but I’m still going to pretend I’m a music producer for the rest of the day.

By the way, for years I’ve kept up a Spotify playlist of very fast music because workout playlists are always too slow to keep me interested. Here it is:

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Pandemic Jukebox

You’re gonna love this

I prefer this version because there’s a bland hallway involved.

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Pandemic Jukebox

It’s getting worse every year

I do not see what the problem is here.

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Pandemic Jukebox Shut up, Erin

how it’s been, how it’s going

I sent out some flash fiction last year (scroll down on the Writing page for two examples!) but I mostly worked on and sent out memoir. 2019 was a really bad year for me, and I took a lot of notes while it was going on. I tried doing some things with it all, and the response was universally: ugh, no thanks.

After years of wrestling with memoir overall, it was hard not to see that as a sign. So, we’re done. It’s cool.

It turned out there was a novel waiting for me. I’m well aware that novels are gambles in ways that shorter prose isn’t. In the last six years I’ve written two novels and set both of them aside. One I might get back to someday but the other one, I had to perform an exorcism. (Not joking, happy to send instructions on request.)

The one constant when I’m working on long fiction is that it’s always a little like The Talisman — there’s this world, there’s the world that the story lives in, and there are threads back and forth between them as we all move forward.

It has nothing to do with autobiography. It’s more like being on a field trip to Colonial Williamsburg, and your social studies teacher just said something kinda mean because she’s tired, and it affects what you think of and remember about the blacksmithing demonstration.

I know where the story is going. But some of the stuff in between, I’ve been avoiding. Or, to keep going with the analogy: I know I have to watch the blacksmithing demonstration, but I also have to wait for the social studies teacher to say something.

Some people hate the editing, but I hate the waiting. It’s hard to tell the difference between waiting and thinking and procrastinating. Meanwhile nothing is good enough for anyone else to read, and I’m just going to say it — there are no social media pellets when you’re in a long wager…or a long con.

That said: my favorite part, by far, is the magic. The song stuck in my head for the last two days has lyrics that are relevant. Someone says something in a chat box and it’s directly relevant to a section I’m going to take a shot at getting down on paper in the morning. I draw a tarot card (because that’s my Quarantine Hobby) and it’s Judgement reversed and I know exactly what that means and I laugh my ass off. A new title bounces into my head and it affects every damn thing I’ve done so far, and probably some other stuff I’m going to catch on the next draft. All of it.

It can be lonely, sure, but a fair amount of the time? It’s cool.

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Pandemic Jukebox

we all have doubts

The BRIDGE on this!

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Pandemic Jukebox

walkin’

This video…

…reminded me of this video…

…except they’re different.

(While looking for Bitter Sweet Symphony, I discovered there’s a super deluxe 20th anniversary edition of the Urban Hymns LP with sixty tracks. Meanwhile, the super deluxe version of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours only has fifty-eight tracks.)

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Shut up, Erin

I might post here more

I’ve been thinking about two things, just about simultaneously, all day. Here’s the first one:

And here’s the second one, (which I guess technically is the first one, because I clipped it months ago) from Sari Solden’s book A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD:

The only conclusion I’ve come to (so far) is that “fear” in Patricia Lockwood’s tweet is not necessarily the same as “unfamiliarity” in Solden’s passage — and it’s much too easy to think that they are.

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Pandemic Jukebox

mashup

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Pandemic Jukebox

Na na na na

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Pandemic Jukebox

don’t you look back

It took me way too long to find a version of this video where I can hear the USC marching band.

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Pandemic Jukebox

sometimes I get down

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Pandemic Jukebox

welcome to paradise

There are worse things to do with life than watch a few Avalanches music videos.