A Capsule Update

I’ve been sick for a while. I’m talking about this to everyone and anyone who will listen. Ask my gf. Ask my brother. Ask last semester’s classmates. It’s a sickness that effects my brain. Where I have good days of minimal pain, and bad days of near complete forgetfulness, where I’m fighting to focus and get anything done. And those days where I have near complete forgetfulness are the ones where I’m congested, with a little cold, and my whole head seems to shut down. Just a simple, stupid cold makes me nearly incapable of basic function.

I had a great introduction laid out for my book, where I’d talk about real life complications while writing it; how, in the book, the story starts with a broken tooth and ends with a wooden one. Just like in real life, where my book began with a tooth operation (the reason for my initial tooth writing in the first chapter), and ends with the removal of the tooth and a long line of suffering. It would have been a great full-circle thing, a great anecdote to the complexities of how real life spatters into fantasy and science fiction. If my sickness had ended with the removal of that tooth, it would’ve been perfect.

It didn’t end. In fact, removing the tooth sent a whole new wave of bacteria into my system, punching forgetfulness and memory issues back to full throttle–something I had on lockdown since the beginning of November. Strange how you think you have a handle on something, in fact are nearly certain the issue is understood and workable, and then–nope. It isn’t the tooth anymore. It’s the bone, or the sinus cavity, or an abscess that isn’t draining. Or something even deeper: autoimmune, immunodeficiency, viral meningitis.

Yesterday was a nightmare. I woke up at 11:00 after having watched too much television the night before, took my diabetes medication, drank kefir and had a green drink for breakfast, checked my blood sugar: 195. Strange, given I had a salad for dinner the night before, hummus and broccoli and carrots for lunch, and a donut and coffee for breakfast. This meant I was fighting an infection. Again. Maybe the same infection.

Classes have started; day one was Tuesday, and I blankly stared at the syllabus on Wednesday, trying to understand what was expected of me for the semester. Hell, trying to understand the assignment for homework, due Thursday (today). I tried to read a short story, finished, realized I remembered nothing about it except it was by Octavia Butler (because I had been given that information when I was in a more receptive state), and that it was uploaded in an easy-to-convert-to-sound format and sometimes the fonts were shifted, the spaces between words longer than one. And the rims of my vision sometimes pulsed with my heartbeat because pus is putting pressure on your brain, on your eyes, the doctor said. Sometimes I can not see much at all, sometimes pictures move when in periphery, or seem to, because of the shifting sphere shape of my eyes. Straight up terrifying. What do I do? The low-grade migraine that flowed from the back to the front of my head, coupled by the pain in my jaw that I thought was an infected tooth now radiating from an empty socket, sending me into agony while trying to stare at a computer screen.

I readied a dose of $4,000/mo potassium powder, drank maybe .50 of product, felt better. Wanted to write. Wanted to do homework. Needed to get work done. I don’t have time for this, I thought, fell into the couch and watched some escapist scifi on Amazon Prime. Tried to have conversations with my brother online, slurred words coming from someone sober for months, my own damn mouth, wondering again what the hell is wrong with me, again, expunging that wonder in words to silence from the other side. Realizing, again, six doctors, two EarNoseThroat specialists said this is likely stress-related, and then some small-town allergist decided to give my face an x-ray to maybe see if something was going on up there. Yes, something is going on up there.

They’re calling it chronic sinusitis, or sinusitis that continues after four weeks. It’s been in my head for nearly a year now, perhaps two. My nasal cavity is clear as a whistle, always, but when I get congestion I fall to pieces. Sometimes something drains and my eyes roll in the back of my head from the sensation, like springing a leak where water shouldn’t go. Nurses tell stories of sepsis, people dying from sinusitis of late without really knowing why, “feeling” good one day, dead the next. I have a tremor in my neck, my hands that won’t go away. My ears sing like crickets some days, or cicadas the next, or a tintinning ocean tide. This is an orchestra of sick, perhaps of death, a death bloom of infection that grows and grows. I begin my third bout of antibiotics tomorrow.

Yet, this is another journey for my book to explain. Another parallel degradation of myself, burned into my main character as he trods toward the climax. This is a climax that may never happen, where my journey disrupts the flow of words by ending before the book does. Last semester I worried I won’t finish my finals if I can’t get this under control. This semester I worry I won’t see July.

What is July but a marker of time? I joked to a friend that I lived longer than Jesus, that this was my Jesus year of 33, and at least I have that accomplishment. Perhaps only just. Perhaps not. And what are accomplishments but markers of time spent?

And even this, this post, this discussion, is my strange way of pushing forward. I only realize that now, subconsciously everything planned out before I realize: one class requires short stories, and last night I worried I’d have nothing to write. Nothing at all. And I worried I’d sit for days in front of a computer screen and write nothing, all stopped up like a wine cork pushed too far in the bottleneck. This is not nothing. It’s about nothing. The fear of nothing. The fear of whole, abstract existence. The fear of not finishing. But why? But why is a good question.

Despite all the strangeness of this sickness, my conscious self and subconscious self are so in tandem I find joy in the simple understanding that still, I create.

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A Little Bit Sick, a Little Bit Rock and Roll

Personal update post! I know! They’re so exciting I can hear my followers running for the hills. Haha

First, I feel that for every personal update, I need a selfie. This is me putting myself out there to those interested (and not otherwise connected to me). Continue reading

Personal Life Update: Graduation, Grad School, and Humor (but not mine)

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Cthulhu Flower needs a hug.

I’m going to try and continue writing in this, consistently, until I finish my studies at UIS.

I have four research projects, 10+ pages each. I have been running crazy for over a month. In many ways, time moves so slow. So very slow: only a month? In many other ways, my life passes me by. Thirty three years old. I won’t go down the list my mother has engrained in my head since I was a child. The shadow CV, as Bella calls it. The things I should have done. The things I could have done. The things I didn’t do. Couldn’t, under circumstances. I’m in a place of processing, revisiting old experiences, old lessons in my large book of life.
Continue reading

It Might be Time for a Reboot

This is a writing blog. I haven’t written (much) in the past few years, so this blog has fallen by the wayside. And I’m about to pick it back up. It only makes sense that I don’t load a new pic for the post, since it’s a writing blog and not a mullet (Business in the front. Party in the back). I want it all to be a party, and bangs would just look emo.

I’ll start by greasing my rusty writing hinges; Hello, World! I’m ready to shaaare myself again!

The primary focus for this blog is professional updates on how I understand writing to be, in all its forms: literary and artistic reviews, updates on my work, and helpful hints along the way. I grew away from this professional blog due to (excuses) and now that I’m able to focus more on the often complex and changing needs of novel writing, I can also step back into this place.

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Writing Retreat: or, How to Avoid Writing

This week marks the first time I actively took a break from my 8-630 job to pursue writing. And, as expected, I spent most of that time putzing around, re-reading old works to get caught up to where I COULD write, and essentially removing myself from the world to continue doing what I do worst. Continue reading

Writing Insecurities

I’m writing on a novel I haven’t touched in nearly two years. Its only 20 pages (with seven added today). It’s about a character I created, who came to reside in the apartment above me, in my actual apartment. Oddly enough a year and a half ago a woman actually moved in upstairs, and she was nothing like the character I created.

Which has nothing to do with the story, really. I didn’t stop writing because of her. I stopped writing because the silly story required a kind of melancholy, a kind of vulnerable insecurity, where my chest is open and bared to the screen. No adventure. No thrill of the hunt. No meeting new people. This book is about an intimate relationship with a woman I’ve never met, who doesn’t exist, to a man I’ve come to see as a lofty ideal so distant from humanity he isn’t even human. He is the Overman, the Great Observer, and while she fights to find transcendence, he fights to find his humanity. Through their similar pursuit of “purpose,” she walks in the steps of a god. Continue reading

Who is in My Back Pocket?

In an effort to organize the craziness that is my writing/reading/professional editing career, I tried to stack my unfinished books in a pile to figure out how to get through them. My current reading list is As Follows:

Silentium by Greg Bear (Yes. It is a Halo book. It is the first fluff novel I’ve read in a long while. Don’t Judge!!! haha)
*Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore
*The Long War by Baxter and Pratchett
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
*Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
*Wise Man’s Fear by Rothfuss
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
*Ilium by Dan Simmons
*Olympos by Dan Simmons
The Terror by Dan Simmons
*The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other Short Stories by Washington Irving
*The Reincarnationist (Maybe)
Liber Novus by Carl Jung
along with several re-reads of books like
The Angel of Darkness
Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Lovecraft stories (I’ll never stop re-reading them, I think)

(* Denotes I haven’t started reading yet)

While I find most of this of high literary value (with a few, um, exceptions), I’ve spent a lot of time recognizing my interest, and love, of reading scifi/fantasy. Which is good, and important, given my love for writing it. My favorite cyberpunk novel is Starfish by Peter Watts. My favorite Scifi is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (even though I’ve read none of the subsequent novels written in the same universe). My favorite novel of all time is Drood by Simmons.

Yet.

It gets such a bad rap. Disinterest, perhaps, given this day of Science and Realism. Yet some of the biggest movies are scifi and fantasy, with superheroes thrown in to mix the two together. I’ve been in enough homes to know how important the murder/mystery genre is, how important the horror genre is. How important the romance genre is. But I also recognized how much of it is simply fluff. Something to do in the free time. A hobby to fill the space with silence.

I don’t know where my tangent is going, but everything I do goes back to my writing, what I pursue, how I pursue it. People like Simmons are so few and far between. People like Card, as well. I’m torn between reading and writing, mostly because reading takes up so much time. Writing takes up three times as much. Or, it should.

The single piece of advice I hear from other writers is to read read read. It doesn’t help me. Real life stuff, people being people interacting with each other, works a little. Dreaming at night, surprisingly (or not), alters everything about the day after. Living like this blooms my writing to great heights. When I was younger? High school to younger? I read everything I could get my hands on. But now? Most of what I read? I know I can do much better.

Except for that damn Simmons. So good.