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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Catching up, checking in
So, a lot of things have happened.

Roger Ebert dead at 70 after battle with cancer.

@TheAVClub: Some thoughts on the death of Roger Ebert, a man who meant a lot to us http://avc.lu/XsnEqE

@mikeryan: This wasn't easy, but I wrote about Roger Ebert. Specifically, how he was so smart but never made me feel stupid. http://huff.to/ZbgwcK

@nprmonkeysee: Esquire's profile of Ebert remains a thing of absolute beauty. http://www.esquire.com/features/roger-ebert-0310

A couple of weeks ago, my grandmother also passed away--she would have been 90 this past week, but it still happened sort of suddenly, and then the memorial and funeral were fraught with family issues (that turned out all right), but still. And before that, I hurt my back and ended up in bed on ice packs for about a week. (How did I manage this? I leaned down to pet Shelby and rose back up the wrong way, somehow. Genius.) I was struggling to manage the seasonal depression/bipolar mood-cycle thing and was doing pretty well, although it definitely took active management... until these last two weeks, but being sad is, you know, kind of a reasonable reaction. It's tough. I don't know. I spent about a week just going around saying "I don't know" every other sentence just like that, in fact.

I don't post much anymore because I can't really think of much to say. I know it's been eons since the last Secret Life of Dolls; honestly, I think the pictures would be more difficult than the writing at this point, but people (understandably) don't seem to enjoy the story as much without the pictures, I don't know (stop that!). I've mostly, purposefully been e-hibernating (yes, for months now) trying to finish The Novel of the Damned, which is now in its tenth year of writing and research, and will be a great and inspiring example to other struggling writers IF I EVER FINISH IT.

--oh, shit. I never did Breaking Dawn 2 in Fifteen Minutes, did I? Oh God, don't make me go back to that. (I have to go back to that. WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE SPARKLEPIRES, KATE!)

I don't know. I want to blog (journal? do we "journal" anymore?) and I want to be here but I just feel so finite and small--shy and inadequate. Like, "this is all I have," and "all I have" has to go towards the book. And I feel bad that "all I have," in terms of energy and fortitude, is apparently so little. Like... Twitter. Twitter is about what I can manage. Sometimes not even that, because I feel anxious and grey and weighed-down if I spend too much time on it. I'm thinking about recapping a show again (I haven't even watched actual TV in forever), just to have something to blog about regularly, but I think we all know how my recapping goes--place your bets now as to how many episodes I'll get through before life happens and I wander off again! (Honestly, I'm kind of proud that I recapped all the Twilight books back in the day, because, so help me, I recapped them all.) Being aware of your limitations is a funny thing--do you have an honest, helpful idea of what you can and can't do, or do you let your own perception of limits hold you back? Maybe I didn't write the Breaking Dawn thing because I felt like nothing I could come up with would live up to everyone's expectations--so I've let any hope of it being timely or relevant slip through my fingers. At which point, if I wrote it now, I'd have much lower expectations to live up to. When did I last post anything on The Secret Life of Dolls? Three years ago? I think people would like to see it back again, but--what could I write that would feel like a three-year break was worth it? What novel could be worth ten years? I know what you'll say to me, because I know what I'd say to someone else: "It doesn't matter! Just write it, write anything! It's worth it no matter how long it takes!" These are just the mathematics of anxiety, I guess.

I think there was a point where I needed to dig a hole and go somewhere quiet to get some work done, but I don't know how to climb out of it now, I guess, is what I'm saying. I just want to finish something. I'm afraid I don't know how to anymore. (That sounds pitifully ominous.) Mostly it just feels like a lot of fumbling and uncertainty and recovery, in some way. I don't know.

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I want to leave you a longer comment, but I don't have time because I'm at work. In short, I completely understand the urge to blog but the desire to channel that energy into other things (for me, currently, it's playwriting). Life gets in the way of so many things, and while I would love to see you recap a show again, personally, I'm just glad to hear from you once in a while. You gave me a lot of entertainment and joy when you were more active, and I'm pretty sure you introduced me to Mark Oshiro, who's just been nominated for a Hugo, so I have a lot to thank you for. You just keep doing what you have to.

I'm sorry about your grandmother.

Yeah--bless Mark, I wish I had half the energy (and discipline!) that he has.

Cleolinda, I'm sorry for your loss.

Have you thought about therapy? I have a lot of anxiety issues that makes it very difficult for me to finish things, and counseling has helped with that. I say that not as somebody who is expecting a recap or a chapter of Secret Life of Dolls, but just so you can feel better about your writing. I think most of your readers are understanding and will take what you can give, IF you feel like writing. If you don't, I think most people would be understanding of that as well.

Oh, I've been in therapy since I was 19. Quarterly med checks at minimum, and I had a visit right in the middle of all of this. Honestly, the weekend that my grandmother passed away, I holed up and had a couple of days of Thinking Time, and figured out a lot of things about my ~issues.~ I always run this kind of thing by my psych the next time I see her, but oddly--most of the really useful stuff has come from me working it out for myself.

I think there comes a point where you've said all there is to say, and it's just a matter of acting on what you've said. In a way, I think saying it here is my way of trying to do that.

(Deleted comment)
Aw, thanks.

(Oh, shit, you know what? I think I have a Varney recap tucked away that just needs a little polish. Maybe I can put that out sometime next week. I'd forgotten I had that to Blog About for the Sake of Blogging.)

I'm so sorry you've had so much to deal with recently. The accomplishment/existentialism questions become a lot tougher when other troubles are piled onto them.

I feel almost exactly the same about the writing and finishing and Twitter and smallness. I don't have a good solution. Just a lot of solidarity, and hope that both of us--and anyone else facing this sort of thing--will find a way to get to what we need.

(I'm so bad at finishing anything, I couldn't even finish the word "finishing")

Edited at 2013-04-05 08:29 pm (UTC)

Aw. Hee. I do feel a little bad being on Twitter sometimes--it probably looks like a lot of activity on my part ("but she can't even POST ANYTHING?"), whereas it's actually not a whole lot of effort to RT things and chat with people. Sometimes I can't deal with All the Things We Are Angry About Today, or my general fears about the publishing industry, so I stay off it. If not for Twitter, though, I think I might have fallen off the internets entirely.

Do (or don't do) what makes you happy.

Would writing Secret Life of Dolls make you happy, but not taking the pictures? Do it. If it doesn't make you happy? Don't bother.

Would NOT writing the Breaking Dawn recap make you happy? Then don't write it.

Don't write anything out of a sense of obligation. You owe us nothing. Everything you've given us here, on M15M, in Secret Life of Dolls, has been a gift. We are not paying for it. It is a gift. Anyone who is not grateful for the gift is not worthy of the gifting.

Would random blatherings on LJ make you happy? Then blather away! Does having people respond to your blatherings make you anxious? Restrict comments! You owe us NOTHING.

Would I like to see some writing from you? Oh hells yes, because your writing makes ME happy. But there's lots of things that make me happy! What's important here is what makes YOU happy.

If it helps, I've been trying to write the same novel for ... oh, geez, sixteen years now? I've written other things since then. But that ONE DAMN NOVEL won't come out.

So don't worry about us. Whatever you end up doing, we're going to be here cheering you on (coming from a perpetual lurker -- there's a lot of us cheering you on!). Whatever you put out, we will love (or I can guarantee that I, at least, will adore). Do what you can handle, do what makes you happy.

What makes you happy?

I would like to give my hearty endorsement to all of the above, with knobs on. Very well said.

I know these feels. And they suck. But the more important thing is you taking care of yourself. It's great when you interact, and we love your funny, but it's truly up to you.

And, really, a book that takes 10 years just means it took 10 years. And no one cares how long it took to write once it comes out.

Take care of yourself. We'll be here and non-judgy whenever you're ready.

Also, I'm so sorry about your grandmother. Even though we knew for years that she might die at any time, it was still difficult when she passed. I'm glad the drama llama didn't cause too many issues at the funeral. "I don't know" is a perfectly normal and reasonable reaction. *hugs*

Edited at 2013-04-05 08:42 pm (UTC)

Heh--see, that's exactly what I'm talking about. It's not a book that took ten years until it's actually a finished book. I can handle the amount of time it took if only that amount of time would END.

(Thank you.)

Having completely burned myself out on my websites, I completely understand. We are only human, with actual lives, and growing/changing interests. It's impossible to keep doing the same thing day after day after day. You burn out. Add in depression issues and it makes none of it easy to handle.

I took a break and then have found other means to keep talking costumes using Facebook, which I'm not 100% happy about but it's EASY and I can embed it into my website. Ultimately it came to the point where I had to find an easier way to do things or I wasn't going to have to stop altogether.

Point being, that you're not obligated to do Secret Life until you drop. Or never do anything other than Twilight coverage. If you need the time for your novel, then put your energy into that.

Ultimately it's about what's best for you and what makes you happy. And if this doesn't make you happy anymore, then that's ok, move on.

I do miss the LJ of old, but even I don't post as much as I used to. I think I too feel like I don't have much to talk about.


I think the nice thing for those of us who don't make a public THING of our hobbies (and dude, so not saying "please, don't share with the class" - I was just on your site last week and wishing I had a billion dollars to go buy ALL THE FABRIC and make ALL THE THINGS) is that it's okay for our hobbies and interests to change over time. No one gives the tiniest shit if I stop sewing for 18 months, which has happened. In fact, people only give a small shit if I start sewing again. I mean, I get compliments on what I make, and people see that I have something I'm doing that makes me happy, but the people in my life care not one bit that I do THIS SPECIFIC THING.

But I think if you're doing your thing publicly, it gets exponentially harder to say "You know, I'm really not interested in this right now. I want to take a break." And I think that's ridiculous. I don't want you, or Cleo, or anyone else who has a hobby or interest or information that I want to share in (however lurkerly) to feel like your audiences are putting huge piles of expectations on you to produce $SPECIFIC_THING because you're all allowed to move on as well.

That is probably kind of incoherent. I've been coding a website for the last omg too many days, and my words are running out.

I'm sorry for your loss. I've always enjoyed the stories you told about your grandmother over the years; she sounded like a very classy lady.

I feel like a lot of people have left LJ for tumblr and Tiwtter because it's more of an instant gratification, but at the same time so very, very angry. There is literally only so long I can stay on tumblr before wanting to scream at someone. I never feel that way on LJ, because the content is harder to come by, rather than just a reblog or retweet, that people think a bit more before posting and you aren't subjected to a thousand people's opinions in the space of a few minutes. So, I understand that battered down feeling.

I think the things I have enjoyed most from you over the years is just your everyday-type blogging, just chatting about life and the things that are happening. All the ongoing series are just little treats along the way, and however I get them or whatever form they come in is fine with me. If there is SLoD without pictures, I will read and enjoy that. If I get a few recaps and then they stop, I will enjoy them. You don't owe us anything, and I would much rather you do what makes you happy than have you slog along just to entertain us.

This is your blog. If it makes you happy to post, then post. And I will always read.

Edited at 2013-04-05 08:50 pm (UTC)

Actually, the grandmother I mentioned, my mother's mother, is fine; she was just over here for Easter, actually. It's my father's mother who passed away, to clarify.

Yeah--as far as Tumblr goes, I do post fun Twitter conversations and trailers and pictures now and then, a few times a month, really. I've nominally followed a lot of people, but in reality... don't check my dashboard very often. And the people I do follow are mostly pictures, like landscapes and corgis and things. Even with Twitter, I cut it down to a "movies" news list/filter and, if I'm feeling really courageous, a "quick" list that includes actual people. I still end up reading more than I meant to, but... it's a lot coming at you, regardless.

I was wondering how you felt about Hannibal, actually, when I watched it this afternoon. I literally only found out about it last night but figured you'd appreciate it as a SOTL fan. That said, do or don't write whatever you please! I've always appreciated your work but I've never felt entitled to it, if that makes sense. If you have something you want to say, I'm sure I'm not the only one still willing to listen.

I liked it! I had been looking forward to it, particularly since they cast it so differently and they were clearly going in their own direction. It was good and scary and what-all, but I found myself laughing a lot. Just that sort of "giggle of enjoyment" laugh. I mean, not at the sad/horrific parts, but at the "OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO TOTALLY THE WORST, MURDEROUS CANNIBAL" machinations. Or, like, "We just shoehorned puns about 'taste' into this conversation, because of course we did." Basically, this is what made me think I ought to recap it.

You are on TvTropes! With Batman! And Buffy! So you are more awesome, as it were. I know that your life is cramping your lifestyle-a club I am also a member of-but we don't visit you because of what you do, we visit because of how you do what you do. That thing you do, as you do. You know?

Heh. Bless TV Tropes. Honestly, I think the Secret Life page is far more extensive than the one about me by name. Although, this past week, I did see someone mention "the littlest cancer patient" in the comments of an old SCP Wiki article, which warmed my heart.

I'm happy to see you posting on anything, because I like you. ;) Don't feel obliged to make every post the Best! Ever! or following up on past successes.

You are not your work. Take some time to just be you, too.

Aw, thank you. But you know how it is. The whole writer thing, no matter what you write.

I actually don't know that I regret taking the time off per se (I definitely do not regret sitting out the Oscar controversy-trainwreck), because I did good work while I was "off," but I also... I don't even know what. Something. I wish things were done but I don't know how I could have done it any differently.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and that things have been hard and complicated.

As one of your readers, I want to tell you how much I enjoy your work, but also that I recognise that it *is* work: you don't owe us anything, and it's important that you use your energy in the way that's best for you.

As for the Secret Life of Dolls: I somehow missed the most recent entry, and only discovered it when I did a complete reread last month. Having a whole extra entry was a delight. So for me, it's as if you already came back after the break, and it was so, so worth it! So yeah, I love it and I'd love to see more of it - but only when and if you're ready. In this, and in everything, good wishes and admiration.

Thanks--I keep forgetting to copy that last entry over to the wiki. The thing is, I don't even want to give it up; I have one or two dolls I haven't even brought in yet (I can't even remember HOW MANY I haven't brought in at this point. Well, at least one is a stuffed animal). I've just noticed that the only thing I'm good at in terms of deadlines is missing them. I don't know. (Again.)

I just want to finish something.

I often feel this way when I'm going in too many directions and once and can't bear to even look at my todo list because if I contemplate all of it at once I just get overwhelmed.

Normally what I do is to pick a couple small, bounded things, and do those. And once I've actually checked a couple things off, even small things, I feel a lot better and more able to cope with the todo list of doom.

It sounds like all the things on your list are big. So what I'd do would be to take one of those and break it up into smaller pieces. Like, I dunno, pick a chapter of The Book and copy-edit it. Or pick one scene and write it. Hell, you can just fold your socks and put them away. Any well-defined, small-scale task. Now here's an important bit: excuse yourself from even thinking about everything else while you're working on your small, finite task. Just settle in and focus on that one thing. And once you're done, spend a few minutes contemplating the small thing's done-ness. It doesn't matter that the small thing is a part of a bigger thing; everything is always part of something bigger. That small thing is now FINISHED. Revel in its finishitudinousness. Repeat a couple more times. See if it helps.

My condolences on the loss of your grandmother.

Thanks. Actually, yeah, I have a number of things I (try to) do in terms of productivity. I ended up doing a TON of work on the book--throwing things out left and right, simplifying this unnecessarily complicated tangle of obsolete subplots, rewriting better ideas from scratch, etc. It's just a lot of legwork, and *I* know I did it, but I don't necessarily have anything online to show for it, you know?

I want to offer sympathy on the back thing. I have been there. One time I turned my head slightly to the left and everything went to pieces.
Definitely look into physical therapy if you can. Along with some massage therapy. It will be the key to preventing some of that nonsense in the future.

As for finishing.... and all of that. Oh man. Yeah. I feel ya.

Yeah, I once wrenched my ankle by standing still. Or maybe I took one step down the front steps? It was something perfectly normal, and I hobbled around for a week or two.

My back's actually doing pretty well these days. I just have to be careful and not sleep in weird positions or sit the wrong way in my desk chair for too long.

Very sorry for your grandmother's loss, and for your hurting your back; I hope you get some comfort and rest, and feel better soon. It's good to see you back here, and - what everyone else said; write what you want to write; you're not under some kind of contract to write anything specific, or on any sort of schedule.

I liked 'The Secret Life of Dolls' all right, but it did sort of seem to wind down at the end. So, maybe you're just done with that. 'Breaking Dawn 2 In Fifteen Minutes' would be cool, since you've done all the other sparklepire stuff - it's kind of become a tradition - but it doesn't have to be a masterpiece. Sheesh, it's not like the movie itself is one, right?

It's okay to fumble and thrash around sometimes. You've had a lot to deal with, still do have a lot to deal with, nobody expects you to be at the top of your game just now. 'This too shall pass', and the path you want to take will be clearer to you in a while, without your having to force it.

I think the "winding down" was more a result of my dwindling energy at the time, not a lack of ideas--I actually had a lot planned out. I felt like I couldn't do justice to it, so... set it aside. I think it also left off around Christmas whichever year, and deep midwinter is always tough for me anyway.

God, I want to get Breaking Dawn out of the way, drop the mic and never look back. Not that I ~hate~ it or anything, but--it's just time to be done, you know? And I can't be done until I do it.