Air Guitar is a Thing of the Past, and the Loss of Pepper

Air Guitar is a Thing of the Past, and the Loss of Pepper

When I was fourteen years old, I saw this really cool-looking guitar in a music store in Edmonton. I was living with my mother and step-father, which was sort of odd for me since I’d lived most of my life with my (very abusive) grandparents. (Don’t let the semi-positive change fool you–they weren’t the greatest people to be raised by either.) We spent a fair bit of time in this mall for the couple of years I actually spent living with them, and every trip found us visiting the music store. My step-father played guitar, though not particularly well, and we always ended up getting new instruments like a banjo, a harmonica, I’m pretty sure there was a tambourine in there somewhere, and then we got a really nice electronic piano. It was one of the first that were touch-sensitive like a real piano, and it played really nicely. Full set of keys, you name it. I had spent much of my younger years, from the age of four and up, taking piano lessons, and I had competed and performed in a wide variety of places, so pianos were nothing new to me. A guitar, though…that was what all the cool kids played.

Somehow I knew, when I saw that guitar hanging from the hooks, that my mother and step-father would be getting that for me for my fifteenth birthday. I saw my step-father ask to see it, and then he played around on it a little bit. Maybe it was the fact that it was a copy of a B.C. Rich Warlock, which has a very distinctive shape, that assured me he couldn’t possibly be looking at it for his own collection. Case in point:

B.C. Rich Warlock

As you can see, it’s not exactly the kind of guitar that would appeal to conservative step-fathers. Mind you, the one he was looking at was a copy, with a very odd brand name, called Series A. It looked almost identical to the above image, except mine had a whammy bar…or tremolo bridge, if you want to use the technical name.

And so, along comes my fifteenth birthday, and surprise surprise, I got the guitar as a gift. Now, it had been $200 in the store, so part of me was surprised they would spend that much money, and yet I still somehow knew that guitar was coming my way. I was ecstatic. I could finally feel like one of the cool kids. (I had been very unpopular in the small town I grew up in, but when I moved to Edmonton I was actually very popular, except the scars from being bullied could never allow me to believe I really was cool.)

Now, as wonderful as the moment of receiving the guitar was, it could not overcome the disappointment I felt when I couldn’t play the damn thing well. I had played my step-father’s electric guitar and done fairly well with it, but with this guitar I could do nothing about the horrendous rattle I got from pretty much every chord. I mean, I already have short fingers and small hands, so playing guitar is more challenging for me at the best of times. On the plus side, I’ve got pretty strong hands from playing piano and typing my whole life (I started writing on an electric typewriter when I was twelve, rather than four like when I started playing piano, but that’s still a lot of my life). Having a guitar that rattled the way it did completely ruined any enjoyment I had when I learned all the notes for the melody guitar of Breaking the Law by Judas Priest (I had the official book, but that was really the only song I wanted to play, despite them being my favourite band).

I thought things would get better when I bought myself a small Peavey amp, since less of the rattle would come through the amp. It helped a little, except that I always played at night, when I was awake, which meant keeping the volume down. No matter how much quieter an electric is when it’s not plugged in, when you’re parents are across the hall from you it’s still too loud, so even listening on headphones wouldn’t have worked for me.

Eventually I just gave up on the whole thing and sold the guitar, not picking up another one for a few years. A friend of mine had a limited edition Gibson of some sort, however. After some time spent searching online, I think it might have been an M III, because that’s the only body shape I’ve found that makes sense. More than twenty years ago that guitar was worth at least two grand, which tells you what it might cost today. The point is, I picked up her guitar and found out I actually had a little bit of skill. It was a huge shock to me. I sounded like I was playing real music. Damn!

Not being able to afford several thousand dollars for a guitar, however, meant I just let the whole thing go for a couple of decades. Every once in a while someone would have a guitar and I would play on it a little bit, but I never quite got the enthusiasm back. Until a few weeks ago.

My fiancé has at least five guitars, and ever since he moved in they’ve just been sitting there when he wasn’t playing them. He handed me one of the acoustics one time, and I fiddled for an hour or so, but my nails were too long, and my fingertips got sore right away. Again I put it down and didn’t touch another guitar for months. Finally I tried his Fender Strat, which wasn’t bad at all, and then he had me try his Japanese-made SG (one of the ones with the thicker neck join so they don’t break, among other improvements to the original SG). That’s when I knew I could really pick it up again. Despite the fact that I preferred the body style and aesthetic of the Fender, I liked the action on the SG much more, and that’s what really counts when you’re trying really, really hard to play barre chords.

As a side note, barre is spelled three different ways, and they’re all correct when referring to guitar chords. Go figure. Bar, barr, and barre. Yet we wonder why people can’t freakin’ spell! Same word, same meaning, same pronunciation, but three different spellings. English is stupid.

Anyhoo. Suddenly I was practicing for hours every single day for weeks. My fingers were damn near bleeding, and hitting something with my fingertips was pretty painful for a while. They’re actually still sensitive, despite the rather impressive calluses I have now. The funny thing is, I still have a lot of surface numbness from my accident last summer on half of my left hand, so I’m not sure what made me decide to make my fingertips numb, too, but suddenly I could not stop playing the damn guitar.

One of the first things I did was print off the sheet music for a David Bowie song that makes my guy emotional, because he thinks of me when he hears it. It’s Wild is the Wind, and believe me, even after weeks of practicing it I still suck at it. The weird chords in that song are a serious pain in the ass for someone with small hands. From a C to a Cmaj9, and from an Am to an Am/G, are the two most vivid difficulties I’ve had with it. Every time my fiancé was out of the house, I was practicing that song. I have printed dozens of other songs, but I hid that one, hoping one day to surprise him.

You see, I had decided I was going to record that song for him for our anniversary present, which is exactly what I did. I laid down a track for the so-called drums by using a program called Stagelight. Now, I can actually play the drums, but I don’t happen to have any so I was stuck using fake ones. I just used a closed hat for a nice ticking sound in the background, so that I could keep time properly. Then I laid down a rhythm guitar track with just chord strums. I finally laid down a melody track with a fairly intense bit of picking throughout the song, but based strictly on the chord shapes. The last track was the vocals, and let me tell you, that was a serious pain in the ass. How the hell is someone supposed to sound good while singing off-key? Never mind the weird off-timing of the singing, and then the long stretches without any vocals at all, right in the middle of the verses and the chorus.

Long story short, I finished the recording the afternoon of our anniversary, after finally having to kick my fiancé out of the house to get it done (such nice behaviour for our anniversary, I know). I wasn’t even with him when he heard it the first time, because I sent it to him through Facebook as a PM. He did, however, react rather emotionally to it, so it was a gift that came off well. I played it for him later on my headphones so he could get the full gist of it, and again he was quite emotional about it. I guess you could say he liked it.

Just in case, however, I had already made plans to take him out for dinner. I’m hopeful, not stupid. We had a really good time for our anniversary. What did he do for me, aside from simply being the most wonderful man I’ve ever known throughout our entire relationship? Well, he got us tickets for a fundraiser dinner that we thought was going to be on our anniversary, but turned out to be on another date. It’s for a cafe we go to where you can buy buttons that people can use to pay for food if they can’t afford a meal, or even just for coffee to keep warm in the winter. We used to go there together a lot when it was warmer and I wasn’t in hibernation mode, and he goes there quite a bit on his own. As soon as I saw the event, I thought it would be a great thing for our anniversary. He bought the tickets on the spot. So, basically we’ll have taken each other out for dinner two consecutive weekends. For me, especially in winter, leaving the house two weekends in a row is pretty much unheard of, but my guy is worth it.

I haven’t stopped playing guitar, even though one of my biggest incentives was learning to play well enough to record that song. I do take a day or two off now and then, but I keep printing off new songs to learn, which keeps my interest level high. There’s no shortage of music I like, so I look forward to learning a lot of songs.

My ADD really shows itself when I practice, though. I’ll play a few licks of Metallica’s One, veer off to Blink 182’s Adam’s Song (which, if you know both songs, you’ll realize they are enough alike to be confusing when you’re learning both at the same time, even though I don’t drop the tuning for Adam’s Song), play Dan Seals’ Everything that Glitters for a bit, add Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years, and then bounce back to my old stand-by, Judas Priest’s Breaking the Law. There’s some Dwight Yoakam in there, with his version of Suspicious Minds, a whole bunch of Martina McBride, etc. I have a collection of 59 songs that I like so far. Most of which I can play at least some of the fingering parts, if not all, and I can generally play all of the chords now. Barre chords still give me trouble, especially getting my fingers in the position to start, but I’m improving.

I still need a lot of improvement, but I’ve become damn stubborn about it. Okay, I’m always stubborn, but I wasn’t specifically stubborn about learning to play guitar, as evidence by my quitting all those years ago. Now I put in an unbelievably amount of time practicing.

How’s the book coming along, you ask? Uh, okay, that’s kind of another story. Book three is on its third iteration, but it’s not too bad. At least it’s way better than it was, plot-wise, and for the third draft I stopped repeating myself and pontificating…I think. Part of the reason I’m writing this blog post, actually, is to get myself back in the habit of typing something out. Believe me, you really can regain momentum if you just start writing something…anything.

I did have one major issue that was making it hard for me to write, understandably. One of my ferrets died very unexpectedly, and honestly it’s still killing me. Not only am I grieving for him, despite it being nearly five months after his death, but I modeled one of the ferrets in my books after him. It was Pepper that we lost, on December 8th, and Pickle is his counterpart in the book. Having to write a scene with Pickle/Pepper in it was killing me. And there’s the stuff I wrote while he was dying. I knew he was sick, and was waiting for the vet to be able to see him. I was trying to keep busy. That part will probably not make it into the book, because I started writing a new version entirely, but I can’t bear to delete it. Normally I have no problem ridding myself of writing that I’ve rejected as being crap, but in this case I’m keeping it. Just like I’m keeping the small Pepsi bottle Pepper last chewed on as a fantastically noisy chew toy. I don’t care if that makes me weird. I’m okay with being weird.

It’s been tough getting back into it, despite the book itself being pretty damned exciting. I’m enthusiastic about it, but I’m a horrible procrastinator. Especially when something is painful for me to do. This book is now inextricably tied with the death of my much-loved ferret, and every moment of writing is something I kind of have to grit my teeth through, so I’ve been avoiding it. I’m about a quarter of the way done the final book in the trilogy. There will most likely be other books that will tie in to this series, but they will be separate trilogies on their own if I choose to go ahead with them. After all, a trilogy is meant to tell the full story arc. Tacking more books onto the end wouldn’t work very well, since there shouldn’t be any more loose ends to tie up after this one is done.

Shortly after Pepper died, I also got very sick. I was down for about a month if I remember correctly. I spent days in a blurry state of mind, with almost no voice, a horribly sore throat, dizziness, etc. Not a lot of fun. I stayed away from my future step-son because I didn’t want him getting sick. I would try to carry on a conversation with my fiancé or daughter, and it wouldn’t last long before my voice gave out again. Sometimes uttering a single sentence was too much for me. I’m pretty sure it was strep throat, though I didn’t bother going to the doctor for it. A lot of people I knew got really sick, too, and they sure as hell didn’t catch it from me. Hard to catch something from someone in another country, and nearly all my friends are people I know on Facebook. I’m not the most social of people when it comes to the in-person thing. It’s actually kind of a miracle I met my fiancé, but then we did meet on Facebook.

I’m not sure if I mentioned my accident in any of my blog posts either, though I know there haven’t been many of them. When I mentioned not having much feeling in my left hand, there’s a good reason. The reason? I’m a freaking klutz. I made a couple of over-easy eggs for my fiancé because he was hungry and he doesn’t react well to the lowered blood sugar (he gets really absent-minded and confused, plus frustrated and irritated). I didn’t want to send him off to the kitchen to cook something for himself in that state of mind, so I decided to make breakfast. The problem is, I was hungry, too, which means my hypoglycemia can decide to kick in rather fiercely and I start to freak out a bit. I was carrying the eggs back to our bedroom when my toe caught on a box. I am completely incapable of regaining my balance these days, and so I fell right into his plate of eggs. Scared the shit out of my daughter, who was also in the living room at the time, and my fiancé came tearing out of the bedroom to see what happened.

I didn’t think it was that bad, though the plate had broken. Of course, I hadn’t seen the blood yet, and the numbness in my hand seemed a normal reaction to a falling injury. It wouldn’t be the first time a body part had gone temporarily numb on me like that. So, my fiancé helped me to the bedroom and got his first aid kit. After seeing the wound on my wrist, I felt more than a little sick. I knew then that there was nerve damage. We went to a clinic, I got some stitches, and then I was sent home after being told I’d be contacted by the plastic surgeon, who may or may not do surgery on me. About a month later I was getting surgery. Apparently the nerve was trying to regrow through a neuroma (a tumour caused by trauma in my case), which explained why I was getting an electrical zapping/zinging sensation whenever the injured area was touched. I had a partial cast on it for a couple of weeks. I was supposed to be able to type, though I really couldn’t because it was covering the palm of my hand.

I know, I know…all these excuses! It does seem like this book has been jinxed right from the beginning. Admittedly, I took quite a bit of time off when my fiancé and I started dating, and then moved in together. I figured, after putting out three books in less than a year (one being the anthology I edited and wrote short stories for), that I deserved a bit of a break. Apparently life thought I needed a much longer one. Life is really starting to piss me off. Now I’m obsessive about playing the guitar, and have gone back to playing a lot of computer games, and my sleep schedule is way out of whack.

I also have to adjust for the fact that I’m sharing my bedroom/work space with someone (yes, that someone is my fiancé). I’m just not used to that. I was single for eight years. Happily single. I was not expecting to find someone so amazingly perfect for me. Yet, he basically works freelance as a paralegal, and he was driving for Uber (which wasn’t really worth it financially), so he’s around almost all the time. Wonderful for us as a couple, but not so great for my self-discipline when it comes to my writing. He would happily give me all the time in the world to write, but I miss him too damn much when he’s gone. I mean, yesterday he was only gone while I was sleeping, and I still missed him! We’re truly sickeningly sweet and affectionate with one another.

However, the other day I finally started cracking a bit. As much as I love my time with him, I’m very much an isolationist. Even when I don’t notice it, that need to be alone starts to build up. When I need my space, I really need my space. I turn into a bitch, where I have to protect him from me. What I need is actual, inviolable work space, where I absolutely cannot be bothered while I’m in that space. The moment someone walks in the bedroom, I’m distracted from what I’m doing. Or if I’m lying on the bed, just plotting out things for the book, he may not realize I’m actually working, and so he starts saying something to me. Believe me, he isn’t the kind of guy who would knowingly do that, so he feels horrible about it, but without a sign attached to me that says, “I’m working,” there’s no way for him to know that’s what I’m doing.

We’ll figure it out. After all, writers are pretty creative, so if there’s a solution out there, I’m sure I’ll find it. I just need to think of it like I do in my books. A problem to be solved. Of course, holding up a sign while I’m doing that might be a good idea.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, Just Less Misery

Until my daughter found a job again, we were living very close to the edge. Thankfully neither of us has any bad habits that take up what little money we were bringing in. We don’t smoke, drink, or do any illicit drugs. However, not having money meant we couldn’t do anything beyond pay bills and buy food. We were okay, but it’s not the best existence in the world. The thing is, if you’re lucky you can shut off all impulses to spend, and in my case anyway, I became even more introverted than usual.

It wasn’t until we started having  decent money coming into the household again, that I slowly broke out of that shell I was in. It’s funny, but the smallest things can make such a huge impact in a person’s life. In my case, it was when we went out and spent money on stuff for organizing the bathroom. We had nowhere to store anything except a small medicine chest, and that bathroom is very tiny. So we bought an overjohn (one of those cabinets that go over your toilet, hence the word ‘john’ being included), a toilet paper holder, a proper garbage can with a pedal-operated lid, hooks for the door, a shower organizer, and a new shower head. It turns out that it was money very well spent, because it was inspiring to me.

You see, suddenly one room in our house was no longer hopeless. It felt nice to go in there and see those things. Everything we bought had a nice bronze finish, which really spruces things up, and now we had places to actually store the things we needed to have in the bathroom. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I just had to keep going on other things. Like magic, poof, I reorganized my bedroom so that I was finally able to get some writing done again. Now I’m starting to take on other areas of the apartment. My daughter already has her own bedroom set up properly, so that’s another room that isn’t a disaster area.

Admittedly, my lack of domestic inclinations has a great deal to do with the fact that the rest of the apartment looks like a bomb went off. We do not do any living in our living room, so it’s become something of a dump site for everything we don’t put into our bedrooms. I’m at the point, however, where having a couple of rooms looking nice has been pushing me to get everything else looking that much better. No room in my home will ever be perfect, simply because I just don’t care about perfection. I want to live in my home, not photograph it for the cover of a magazine.

Still, I actually went to the extreme step of washing some dishes this evening. My daughter is at work, and when she comes home and notices what I’ve done, I’ll have to be ready to perform CPR. Too bad I don’t have a defibrillator, because the shock will be great, and there’s a very real risk of heart attack. I abhor doing dishes as a rule. Sticking my hands in dirty dishwater actually makes me want to gag. The idea of soggy bits of food floating around and touching me is almost more than I can bear. I think the issue stems from my stint as a dishwasher in a restaurant, back in the day when people could smoke in them. Just imagine the nasty mess in the bus-pans. Unfinished drinks with their ice cubes floating around, mixing with ashes and cigarette butts, pieces of steak, particles of eggs and pancakes. Quite literally a miasma of gross. I was sixteen years old then, and it probably scarred me for life. Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be dishwashers!

I’m very content being in my bedroom these days. I no longer look around with the faint urge to clean where I end up saying, “F*ck it,” because it’s just too much bloody work, and then going back to whatever game I was playing. I look around with a sense of satisfaction and comfort. My ferret still digs in his food dish and spills it on the floor, so I’m bound to have a mess of some sort, but that’s how it is with any kind of pet. Thankfully he doesn’t shed a lot of fur. He has his newspapers to make his other messes, and that makes them a cinch to clean up.

It blows my mind what effect a little bit of money can have on a person’s life. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Just enough to get a ball rolling. Inertia takes care of the rest. Curiously, I’m still in the midst of doing even more dishes. I should really get back to those, and then start tracking down that defibrillator. eBay probably has some for sale.

When Life Hinges on Chairs and Toner Cartridges

I didn’t fall into a black hole, though it might seem that I must have done. I wasn’t despairing about my current circumstances, or feeling depressed. The closest to that was exhaustion. You see, my life apparently hinges on a properly situated chair, and obtaining toner cartridges. Most of the delays I face at the moment are because I’m unable to print. Sound ridiculous? Let me explain. You see, Revenue Canada owes me a lot of money from back taxes. In order to file my returns I need to print the forms that need to be filled out. I can’t do them and submit electronically because I’m too far behind on them and can’t create a log-in, so they all have to be done in hard copy.

So, I ordered toner cartridges for a really good price from eBay, and idiotically forgot to change my address on there, so they got shipped to my old address in another city. It’s a huge rigamarole for me to get there, but my ex went to pick up his mail and got the cartridges after they’d been sitting there for weeks. I finally was able to arranged for my daughter to pick them up from him, since she works very close to where my ex is living now. Well, he was late getting home and they missed one another, which means waiting even longer to get them.

You may wonder why the money is so necessary. Well, I need to get a car. I need one very badly. I have to be able to get to doctor’s appointments all over the place, and I need to be able to run errands. My injuries are such that I’m not even supposed to be walking, yet it’s a 30-minute walk for me to get to my family doctor – never mind the specialist I see in another city. Buses are a huge hassle, especially when you need to walk several blocks to make connections, or they don’t travel where you need to go.

Another reason I need money, especially after yesterday where we had three blackouts, is because my computer is dying a slow and painful death. Well, painful for me anyway. It becomes agony for an impatient person to have to wait for a laptop to chug along and do something that should have been accomplished in a microsecond. My poor laptop has been subjected to a fair bit of stress. A lightning strike dinged my LAN cable input, so I have to use wireless now. The blackouts have messed up my sound through my speakers, and they killed one of the connections that involve my battery charging – so if my laptop is accidentally unplugged, or the power goes out, it just shuts off. I have no battery backup. Never mind the fact that it’s about 6 years old now, and you might as well brand it an antique. Computers this old are laughable.

A new computer means being able to do my own online show, too. I’ve got big plans for it. Check out the Aberrant Rain page on my personal website if you’re curious as to what it’s all about. For that matter check out my website in general, and don’t forget to bookmark it! You can find the home page at www.rainstickland.com. Welcome to my strange little corner of the world.

So, you see, I haven’t been entirely unproductive. I just haven’t been doing any writing really. I did write one piece for a new website I’m contributing to, called The Simple Keys. It’s a piece I’m rather proud of actually, and something I’ve been meaning to write about for some time. It’s called, “Don’t Just Survive…Thrive! Rape and Abuse Don’t Have to Destroy Your Life.” It’s subject matter that’s pretty important to me on a very personal level, and I’m very open about what I’ve gone through simply because I want to give hope to someone else who may not have healed from their own experiences.

The biggest reason I haven’t been writing is because I haven’t had a proper chair set up with my desk to be able to sit up and write. My laptop has been on my night stand so that I could lie in bed to use it. It’s not laziness that has me in bed, in case you’re not familiar with my previous blog postings. It’s injuries. I’ve got major damage to my hip joints that will require four separate surgeries within the next eight years. Good times.

I spend a fair bit of my time heavily medicated, which is another reason for my writing hiatus. I have to switch things around all the time because some drugs lose their effectiveness, while others cause damage to my liver. Thankfully the liver is an organ that heals itself if it stops getting pounded by something. I’m on a good drug now that’s non-narcotic. It’s a neuropathic pain reliever. It helps with the pain in my nervous system, dulling the pain signals that go to my brain. It doesn’t get rid of it entirely, but it makes my life a hell of a lot more comfortable.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to contribute to my blog all the time anymore, though I will certainly try to add to it far more regularly than I have been – which has been not at all for about three months now. Some people wondered if it was the presence of a new man in my life, but it wasn’t that. He’s very encouraging when it comes to my work. He’s not possessive of my time, or threatened if I’m focusing on other things. Besides, he’s well aware that I’m crazy about him, so insecurity will not have a foothold there.

Finally I have managed to get my old chair set up in my bedroom in such a way that I can write properly again. I’m in as comfortable of a position as possible, though it may take some getting used to. The last few weeks have been a bit of a horror show for me when it comes to pain, and we had a cold snap that made it even worse. It was hardly encouraging to my writing. I was getting ideas for a number of pieces, but just wasn’t able to bang them out on the keyboard. Well, hopefully I have resolved that issue and will be back in fighting form. At least for a while.

To be honest, I’ve been feeling somewhat discouraged about my current physical situation. You see, I finally got to see an orthopedic surgeon, but it turned out he no longer does surgery at all, and he never did hips. He didn’t even know of any other specialists that do. Most of the orthopedic surgeons he knew worked on shoulder injuries. Well, he is in a wealthier city, and those wealthy people do need to be able to play their golf games. I, on the other hand, live in an economically depressed city, seeing as I’m somewhat economically depressed myself at the moment. Apparently there are some world-class surgeons here who work on hip injuries. Yippee…except that it may take a year for me to get in to see them, and then be put onto a waiting list just for my first surgery. We’ll have to see what happens there.

When you’re fighting to get proper care, you’re in constant pain and living on drugs, and you can’t get around to your appointments without a great deal of struggle, after a while you just get tired. I’ll bust my butt for months to get somewhere, make a little headway, and just get worn out from it all. Then I just kind of give up for a while. I simply can’t keep fighting. I don’t think anyone can fight all the time. Especially when you get one piece of discouraging news after another. I got excited when I finally got in to see a specialist about my hips, and it was a huge let-down to find out he couldn’t help me at all. Not only that, but after some research and finding out it was going to take many more months just to get in to see someone who could help me, I just had to take a break from it to some extent.

I think I’m back for another round of struggle, though. I’m not entirely certain, but it seems as though I’m starting to get a few things done again. I did manage to make my bedroom conducive to working and writing, which was a huge deal for me. It isn’t easy to do housework of any kind when all you want to do is curl into a fetal position and moan, never mind moving furniture around. Still, it had to be done if I was ever going to get moving with my life. Maybe after this I’ll be in a lot of pain again for a while. Who knows? At least I’ve got things set up for myself, though.

I used to write a blog posting every single day. I liked having that outlet, I guess. It wasn’t just about personal stuff either. I wrote a lot of opinion pieces on various political and social issues. I don’t want to be one of those people that are screaming about things all the time, though. I need to be more positive. Are there things that need changing in the world? Sure there are. Are there things that piss me off? Absolutely. The problem is, yelling about it just makes everyone mad. Yelling at someone for it doesn’t change any minds. I decided a long time ago to approach things from a different angle, so when I write pieces now I’m going to try to write about what I think the solution is, or just outline possibilities. I have no problem with detailing the issues I’d like to see resolved, and spreading out the bits and pieces of them so that we can all look at an issue from various angles. I think that would be a much better approach than just getting upset and making everyone else either upset or defensive.

Nobody knows what the future holds, of course, so I can’t say for certain where I’ll go with my work, or even where I’m going with this blog, but I’ll certainly be writing a lot more in the near future. One thing I should note, however, is that I intend to do a lot of fiction writing. That means I need to be in a slightly different frame of mind. My postings on here will likely reflect that. I’ll be doing research on subjects that pertain to the new book series I’ve started, which means my curiosity will compel me to delve far deeper into a topic than I need to, as well as meandering onto other topics that pop into my head. I’ll be sure to find out a whole bunch of weird and interesting facts that I just have to share with everyone.

My new fiction series is going to be about demons, but in a new and intriguing way. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m starting to get a little bit tired of seeing the scads of books and movies in the vampire genre. Sure, I would love to stop aging and be immortal, but it’s not bloody likely (pardon the pun), so I think we probably all want to move on to something else for a while. Anyone who reads fiction probably isn’t looking for a lot of realism, but the same subject does get tiresome after a while.

Okay, now that I’ve updated everyone, and gotten back in touch with my writing identity, I think I need to rest up for a bit. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and everything I’ve been doing to get ready for it has tuckered me out! Back to playing games for a while tonight, and then I’m going to sleep. I hope everyone is doing well, and that life has been treating you kindly so far in the new year.

Time Wounds All Heels

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – time is life. Every second that ticks by is a piece of life. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” can become a mantra that causes your life to drip slowly away. Now stop for just a few seconds of that life and let that thought sink in. It’s water down the drain. Water that never comes back to you. We all take our lives for granted, probably far more often than not. Then there are the other excuses we give to ourselves. We’ll say it’s not the right time, but we rarely define what the right time is going to be. When we do actually define it, we push it back with another excuse. Obviously it’s not something we want to do if we keep finding excuses to get out of doing it.
Quite often there are legitimate obstacles to the things we want. We can respond to those in a few ways. First, we can throw up our hands in defeat. Second, we can flounder and whimper about how we don’t know what to do to fix things. Third, we can put off dealing with the obstacle even if we know what to do to get rid of it because we view the task on a level akin to swallowing live bait. Fourth, we can clamp down on our rampant idiocy in the face of resistance and actually do what needs to be done.
I’ve been meandering back and forth between all of those things in the last few days. Now that I’m finally feeling well enough to write and get some other work done, I’ve got a lot to catch up on and a life I’d like to get back to. It’s not that I’m not getting anything done, but there are some onerous tasks ahead of me that have me cringing like I’m getting feedback at 5,000 dB.
First, I have to clean my apartment, top to bottom. For a non-domestic type like me, that’s definitely cringe-worthy. Like many people I like my place to be clean, despite not actually wanting to do any of the cleaning, but my medicated state has induced a distinct lack of repulsion to any messes. Pet food scattered all over the floor because my ferret likes to dig in the food dishes? Check. Dust and hair on the bathroom sink? Check. Cat yak that has dried on the floor? Check. Then I look at the mess and want to cry, or sleep or something ‘cuz I don’t usually cry over spilled, well, anything.
If it were just those three things it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I have boxes I never unpacked from moving in here a year ago. Books that have never been put on shelves, paperwork that was never filed, burned discs that need sorting, dishes to be washed, laundry to do…ah, hell. I’m getting tired just making a damn list. I don’t get a lift out of cleaning, unless I’m feeling really hyper from way too much caffeine and mp3s blasting in my ears. It’s hard to find the balance with caffeine, though, because just the smallest amount too much and I’m nauseated from it. Back to looking at the mess and wanting to sleep. Instead I turn right back to my computer.

I can think of a million reasons not to clean without even trying. I’ll even try to blame it on my ferret who likes to get in the way. He takes serious issue with me removing his dirty potty pads, for one thing. I get the, “I worked on that all week,” look. It never fails that he wakes up the instant I start cleaning, too, and suddenly it’s the perfect time to play and jump on whatever I’m doing. He’s almost a legitimate excuse, really. However, my apartment does actually have doors, and I can either shut him up in my bedroom where he’s usually sleeping anyway, or I can shut him out of the bedroom if I happen to be cleaning that. It’s more an emotional thing, I think. I hate being separated from him, especially when he starts pawing at the door to get to me and my heart breaks.

Considering my million arguments against cleaning, I’m sure it’s easy to consider the possibility that I might not have quite so many reasons to clean. Sure, I need to organize my paperwork so I can do my back taxes, but that’s yet another cringe-worthy task I’m not looking forward to, so it’s not the greatest impetus in the world. There is a very good reason to get through those levels of resistance, of course. Revenue Canada owes me a whole lot of money. I just have to file the paperwork to get it. It might sound easy, but if you’ve never done business or corporate taxes you can keep your opinion to yourself. It’s not just my income taxes either. I have GST returns to do. Considering we no longer even have GST (Goods and Services Tax), I should probably get those done. Not that the government was actually kind enough to get rid of the tax completely. Instead they mashed it with the provincial tax. It’s no lower than it was – it just has a different name. Over the years they did reduce it from 7% to 5%, so it’s better than nothing, but then it wasn’t that long ago that they introduced the GST in the first place, and it was only supposed to be temporary. Now that our prime minister, Harper, has sunk the country into debt again (and this happened before the global economy tanked), I don’t see them getting rid of it any time soon.

Cleaning my apartment and getting organized is going to take a few days, and of course I always push it off until the next day. I’m not being lazy. It’s annoyance avoidance. I just don’t do the things I hate doing. I do a lot in a day. When I feel like crap because I’m in too much pain or whatever, I’ll play computer games or read a lot. When I feel like a normal human being I work almost all the time. Writing, producing, website work, business development tasks and conversations. They’re all things that need to be done, but they’re not as urgently necessary as the other things.

You see, I could really use the money I’ve got sitting in government coffers. It’s mine, and I want it. I need a new car and a new computer with a really good webcam, along with a passport, and I need traveling funds. Come hell or high water, I’m going on a road trip. I haven’t been on vacation in about 6 years, I think. that was my honeymoon with my ex, and it was four days. Before that I hadn’t gone on vacation in about ten years. Sixteen years with a 4-day vacation. The computer has become a vital necessity. This 5-year-old laptop has been to hell and back. It’s eaten many of the meals I have, as I can often be a bit careless that way. I wouldn’t be like that with someone else’s stuff, but when it comes to my own things I’m not too worried. They are just things, after all. It’s got a lemon for a video processor, though, and I can’t do any decent recording with it – something I have to be able to do in order to move ahead on a show project I’m working on for myself. Editing is the extent of its abilities right now.

I tell myself these things, and then that little voice creeps in to say, “One more day won’t make a difference.” I’m so full of crap when I talk to myself sometimes. Today is another day that I’ve made no dent in anything around the house, unless of course I did so by running into a wall and didn’t notice the damage. Making dents in my computer is not optional. Well, it’s been a productive few days, cleaning and taxes notwithstanding. So I’m not going to flagellate myself for one more day. In fact, I actually started a new blog about my experiences with disability, and how I’ve had to deal with family doctors and specialist. Not to mention all the weird tests I’ve been subjected to.

Then there are the drugs. I know a lot about pharmaceuticals, and actually have a copy of the Physician’s Desk Reference for both drugs and symptoms of conditions. My new blog is called Rain on Pain – I thought it was rather fitting. Don’t forget to bookmark it or subscribe to it if you’re experiencing any kind of long-term medical condition. This blog you’re reading now is as the name suggests – a torrential rain of my thoughts and whatever is going through that pretty little head of mine. Rain on Pain is focused entirely on coping with physical limitations, and helping people to get past them.

Speaking of physical limitations, however – I’ve reached the end of my tether and need to be dragged off into the arms  of Morpheus. A nice guy to snuggle with, I suppose. After said snuggling is over, I will return once again to the schedule I keep switching on my BlackBerry’s calendar.