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Occupation: Girl

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

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I have been struggling with a severe downturn. I think what's happening is that we're getting into the seasonal depression... uh... season. And then there was the ice this week (we're still shoveling it off the deck; it's too thick to melt enough on its own). I mean, maybe it's natural to be sluggish when it's 18 degrees outside. Even though the days are getting longer from mid-December on out, the lack of sunlight catches up with you about now. And I usually get depressed just after Christmas and my birthday anyway. I tried to put together a linkspam post four days ago, and I just couldn't ever get it finished. I can get on Twitter to hit a simple "retweet" button and feel like that's the next best thing, for short bursts of sociability. It's hard to explain how you can bob to the surface, perfectly cheerful for a little while, or giddy about this or that little geek-interest thing, and then sink back under for hours of brooding. The thing about depression is that you can often keep up appearances in front of other people. Sometimes I think that depression is almost a separate, sentient organism, and it works hard to protect itself--it wants to make sure you don't believe in it, that you think you're miserable because you're a miserable person who deserves it, not because you have uncooperative brain chemistry. It wants to make sure you cover for it, you convince people that you're fine. It has its own priorities and best interests, a sense of self-preservation, and the self it wants to preserve is not you.

I've been trying to write. That actually went pretty well for a couple of days, except that people kept interrupting and pulling me away to do this or that just as I was getting somewhere. So instead, I went back to reading--non-fiction, which is why I haven't mentioned it; I might do a quick writeup on a few books at once. It's the kind of thing I take notes on while I read and come up with new characters or plot additions for Black Ribbon; a lot of it is to get details for high-society scenes or help me get a grip on the international political situation circa 1889. I think I'm going to be doing this mix of real names and fictionalized characters; I'm okay with dropping the name of a real person, but much more interaction than that, and I start to feel weird. Maybe you'll be able to tell who it's meant to be, maybe not. Because the thing is, Black Ribbon isn't a wildly alternate universe, though it looks like some historical elements are going to be accelerated a little bit. Major anarchist activity is going to start about four or five years early (uh. That is maybe giving something away), and we're going to have some technological developments happen 5-10 years early. In a weird way, I think I feel more anxious about getting away with this because the story world isn't wildly different. If I were just going to do outright fantastical steampunk with the airship pirates and whatnot, I don't think anyone would call me on discrepancies, because they'd know it would be pointless. But what I'm doing now is close enough that people are going to think I meant to be historically accurate, but internets, let them tell me, I am WRONG. I guess the solution is to put in a few Wildly Different elements to signal that. I was hoping that a mechanical peacock in the first chapter would suffice, but maybe not. I guess the only thing to do is write it and see. The only way out is forward.

I know I'm behind on Varney and Secret Life, but... just... nothing. I actually think about Secret Life a lot, but I can't get the new entry to turn out right. You know how there's usually more than one storyline going on at a time? Like, we visit with two or three different sets of characters? I've got one set of characters planned out, but the other storyline or two, they're kind of vague. I don't quite know how to get this entry to fill out properly. I mean, it's a process I go through every time; I'm just completely stalled on this one. And I don't want it to take nine months to work out again. But I think I am going to have to call a hopefully short hiatus until I work it out, rather than show up each weekend and go, "Yeah... still not done" and feel worse every time. I think the guilt actually torpedoes me worse than the block itself.

Meanwhile, the Golden Globes are tomorrow night. This is one of the awards shows I traditionally liveblog (one of the many services we provide at Cleolinda Industries). I keep trying to gear myself up for it, and... ehhhhhhhh. And we've got a really good slate of movies this year almost none of which I've been able to leave the house and see, so it's not lack of enthusiasm for the nominee pool. We've got one of those rare years where almost anyone could win and it would be deserved. I just... can't muster the energy. But I have to. I hate defaulting on things I like to do just because my dumb ass feels whiny. So I'm going to try to do that tomorrow night. At least with Lizzie now, it's easy to set up in front of the TV.

Also, I can't find my Lillie Langtry bio, which VEXES ME. On the upside, I've been given a couple of new YA books, so I might get to those soon.

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Just my two cents' worth: I think a mechanical peacock is a pretty good "We are throwing out numerous bits of real life and adding cooler stuff" sign, myself.

Take however long you need, hon. We remember that neither GRR Martin nor you are our bitch. =D Seriously though, this is the season for cuddling up with a good book and recharging, or at least surviving.

Also, I'm sorry you're not feeling good, and I hope it picks up soon.

Know exactly how you feel. Every now and then, something will come up to brighten me for a moment, but the rest of the time I feel like I'm sludging through molasses.

You'd mentioned a couple of books a few months back about Victorian home life that I ended up getting for myself and they were very interesting. So I'd love to hear more about your non-fiction reading!

You are spot-on about depression. I've thought of it in very similar ways before. And the line from Shawshank Redemption, too: "These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them."

Hugs to you, Cleo. Winter sucks.

I think a mechanical peacock would be a sufficient "anachronisms ahoy" signal. Also, way cool.

Agreed. I also think that little details scattered through the book help better to stablish the differences than to say in the first chapter "BTW, there are zeppelins" and then go on as if that was enough.

you've just perfectly described what i'm feeling right now. after a really scary (re: near life threatening) manic phase in november, i'm now sinking slowly into the depression side of the oh so fascinating life as a bipolar person. i know that this comment doesn't say much, and i don't know how much usefulness you can glean from these words, but the fact that you were able to describe what's going on with me -- something i can barely bring myself to do because things are just too impossible some days (like getting out of bed, let alone voicing what's the matter) -- is... comforting. thank you.

oh and your assessment of the hunger games has made me want to read it. so. there's that. *thumbs up*

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Thank you! That was the most accurate, best way to explain what depression really is like. I've been looking for some of those words for a long time.

Wishing you better days ahead!

it wants to make sure you don't believe in it, that you think you're miserable because you're a miserable person who deserves it, not because you have uncooperative brain chemistry. HELL YES.

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Re: hey! and a YA book.

I just finished reading both Fallen and Torment, and "awesome" is not the adjective I would use to describe either of them. Unfortunately. However, I am sure that Cleo could snark them up delightfully.

Oh, sweetheart. You do what you need to, to get yourself through -- a lot of us have been there and may be again, and you've got our affection and good wishes.

I hope you feel better soon!

(And if you have any road salt, that'll help melt the ice and get it out of your way, I'm sure you know this though.)

January is the Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. Part of it I attribute to the sheer maniacal attitude surrounding December so that when there's the usual calm after that, it just deepens and gets worse.

It's like everything's covered in snow, not just the outside. A thick, muffling blanket on everything.

I hear you on the SAD thing, Cleo. My esteemed compatriot gets it pretty bad, and when we were living in northern Idaho, it was REALLY bad. He had some luck with light boxes and exercise, but it can be one long slog through this part of the season.

As far as the worries about anachronisms go, could you possibly put a note in the front of the book saying, "History nerds! This is an alternate universe! Please do not assume that I suck at research!"? Mechanical peacocks are good, too, though.

Also, is there a chance that we might get some doll commentary on the Golden Globes? I would love to hear what Tonner Edward has to say about overly foofy dresses.

You know, I was in the shower not five minutes ago wondering if I should let Tonner Bella watch them.

I'm sorry things are so tough right now. You describe depression brilliantly: those are such helpful images.

Snuggling down, keeping warm, doing what you need to do sounds just right. I hope you feel better soon.