Saturday, February 25, 2012

Alone Time

I was down with a terrible flu most of the week. You know, one of those flus where you can hardly get out of bed without getting winded. I managed to power through and get a little writing done throughout the week, but didn’t truly feel enthusiastic about getting back into it until yesterday.

I’ve been wanting to blog but had a difficult time coming up with a topic. I haven’t done much this week beyond reading, watching Netflix, and a little writing. I started to write a blog about health but bored myself to tears, so I gave it up.

I did have one interesting observation this week. It’s crunch time for the video game project that the husband and I have been working on. The Game Developers Conference is only a week away, so the pressure is on to produce a high quality demo in a very short amount of time.

This means that, despite my being terribly sick, the husband wasn’t being especially attentive to me. As usual, my phone pretty much didn’t ring all week. No one was texting me. I barely even got any email. Normally, such things would send me into a funk. While I’ve always enjoyed my own company, I usually need a healthy dose of social interaction to go with it. I like a balance, a week split fairly evenly between alone time, spouse time, and friend time.

With a surplus of alone time this week, however, I found my emotional state maintaining itself. It was a pleasant surprise, one that I take as a very good sign. I feel like I continue to grow as a person. I attribute this change at least in part to the fact that I abandoned the working world to write full-time. I love what I’m doing so much that it’s made me a stronger person. Friends have already remarked that in just a few short weeks, I already seem happier, despite the financial obstacles I’m currently facing. It’s extremely gratifying.

I’d like to believe that this even-keeled trend will continue, but you never do know. Life is a process and it’s not even a particularly linear one. I’m excited to see what changes are in store in the near future, both within my own mind and in the everyday.

Goal Update 2012

Goal 1: Wrote quest dialogue, website content, a two-page comic book, and two narratives for the video game project. Wrote two chapters of romance novel (up to chapter 16). Finished chapter 20 & started chapter 21 of fantasy novel.

Goal 2: Abandoned.

Goal 3: See above blog post. We did have some down time last night where we ended up watching some episodes of “The Three Stooges.” Beyond the slapstick, that show is pretty damn funny, with some great one-liners. We laughed a lot.

Goal 4: I was desperate to go outside this week as the weather was well into the 80s for much of it. Alas, I was too sick to do so. Eating has improved slightly, but is nowhere near where I’d like to be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

On my way to writing group last night, I got to thinking about all the anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment I’d seen on social networking. I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly “pro” Valentine’s Day. That is to say, the husband wouldn’t have spent the night on the couch if he’d forgotten to give me flowers and chocolates. However, I find the strong “anti” movement a bit perplexing.

A lot of people seem to think that Valentine’s is a “made up” holiday, an assertion that I find amusing. I am aware of no holidays that pre-date human existence. Therefore, all of our holidays were “made up” at some point. Despite what many think, Valentine’s is among our oldest holidays, first established in 496 A.D. Lovers have been giving each other flowers, chocolates, and cards on this day since at least the 15th Century (all factual data collected from wiki). So although Valentine’s, like most holidays, has suffered from rampant commercialism in the last 50 years or so, it’s not like it was a recent invention by the greeting card industry.

I also hear people complaining that love should be celebrated every day, not just on one holiday. Isn’t this true of all of our holidays? Ideally, we would be grateful for our blessings every day of our lives, not just on Thanksgiving. We would celebrate our freedom throughout the year, not just on 4th of July. We would give the people we care for meaningful presents whenever we felt like it, not just on Christmas. But that’s not reality. The truth is that life is complicated and messy and busy. We don’t always do the things that we should, like appreciate it and the people who make it great.

What’s so wrong with setting one special day aside to make sure that we do just that?

I suspect that when people express discomfort over Valentine’s, they are often really saying one of two things (or perhaps both): 1. I’m distressed by rampant commercialization in this capitalist society and 2. I find our society’s emphasis on romantic love distasteful (i.e. that old Sinatra song, “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You”). Personally, I find these points a great deal more valid than the ones I normally hear.

I don’t have any good answers to these charges. Essentially, I agree with them. However, I don’t think it’s an ancient holiday’s fault that our society has spun so oddly out of control. Fight the disease, not the symptom, I say. But I think maybe that’s a conversation for another time.

2012 Goal Update

Goal 1: Let’s just say that A LOT of writing is going on these days.

Goal 2: In light of my decision to pursue writing as a career, I think that I’m going to have to abandon starting a non-profit for now.

Goal 3: The husband and I are working on the same project now. Oddly, however, given that there are video game programmers in our house almost constantly (our house is serving as the studio for now), we spend very little time alone together. I’m working on ways to remedy this. I recently started watching one of his favorite shows with him, even though it’s a show I haven’t particularly liked in the past, because it pleases him. I’ve been enjoying it.

Goal 4: Now that I’m working from home, I’m having a hard time sticking to a schedule, so my eating has been thrown way off. I’m trying to get my act together. I went on a hike over the weekend and also took a walk in the park last week.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Doing Things the Hard Way

One day last week, I went in to work at my temp job, sat down at my desk, and realized that I needed to quit. So I did.

A lot of factors went into this sudden decision. I hated the job. I’ve lost any interest I ever had in being a “desk jockey.” What I was getting paid barely made it worth it. It was degrading to my level of education. But mostly, I realized that I just wanted to focus all of my energy on being a writer. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager. It felt like it was well past time to actually do it.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately for two reasons:

1. My mom. She came to mind often when I was at this job. See, my mom was always one of those “I’ll do it later” types of people. The one thing she always wanted to do was travel, but she never felt secure enough financially to do so (even though she was). She became so caught up in the money that she forgot to chase her dreams.

As she lay dying, that was one of her biggest regrets, I think. At least, she certainly expressed a lot of sadness that she never did the things that she wanted to do. She never expected to be dead at 63. She thought she had time.

Thinking about her made me realize that I can’t be that person. I need to chase my dreams now, while I have the chance, because you never know when it’s going to be over. In a way, I feel like it’s a tribute to her.

2. My whole adult life, I’ve bought into that idea that you can’t make it as a writer (or any other kind of artist), that you need to have a “day job” and do your art on the side. Well, I’ve been an adult for 18 years. Slogging away at day jobs hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I still barely have any money. I have no job or financial security. I’m working low paying jobs. My education is useless. It’s frustrating and depressing.

I’ve tried to do things the way you’re supposed to do them. It hasn’t worked. So it seems like I might as well try to do them the way you’re not supposed to. It might work out. It might not. I’ll never know until I try.

I think time will tell whether this has been the smartest decision I’ve ever made or the dumbest. On the surface, it certainly doesn’t seem very smart to be quitting paid work to do unpaid work, especially when we’re not getting much income from anywhere else. But at this point, as I sit in my home office, doing the thing that I love, it certainly feels like the right decision.

2012 Goal Update

Since things have been in a bit of an upheaval this last week, I haven’t really focused on my goals except for the one about writing. I finished Chapter 19 of my main story, wrote two chapters of a romance novel that I hope to publish online by the end of the month, and began working as a writer on the video game project that the husband has been working on. Also, I finally got around to doing this blog update and am working on an idea for another blog.

As for being a better partner to myself, I did quit the job I hated and I went on a hike the weekend before this last one. So I haven’t been a total slacker.