A few years ago, I would “practice” writing by doing speed writes based on a random three word link.

They were the equivalent of doing scales on the piano, though unlike doing scales, they are far more pleasant to consume, featuring snippets of interesting characters and/or concepts. I won’t post every single one I do–especially if I think I can turn it into something more — but I would rather they exist to be enjoyed than collecting digital dust.

I do believe that writing doesn’t always have to be about plot, characters, and structure. I know people enjoy reading these short little pictures, but it’s very difficult to be have them published. Though I write primarily for my own enjoyment, I also write to make someone’s day brighter.

I’ve launched a Buy Me A Coffee (BMAC) page to store these little snippets — they used to be here, but I didn’t like wordpress for this particular endeavor. This is my author page, and though it may sound odd to separate my flash fiction and other endeavors from my author page, it feels more right to me. BMAC is a platform meant to support creators, and I don’t get that vibe from wordpress (which is fine! time and place for every platform).

Heretofore, a lot of my writing has been self funded. I’m lucky to be in a position to do that, but I also want to see if my writing can be something more. I’m happy to try both the self published route and the traditional path.

If you’d like to read my short fiction you can find them here:

I did put a little button on my side column as well in case I write a particularly post that struck you.

Thanks for reading!

(feature image by by Micaela Brody)

So You’re Turning 30

A lot of folks I know are turning thirty, and they are bringing their angst regarding the age to social media. As someone who passed thirty some time ago and am rapidly approaching mid thirties, these posts do tend to make me smile. I hope one day aging will not be the frightening and demoralizing reality it is so frequently presented to be. Even though I remind myself that aging is natural, it’s okay, it’s sometimes even awesome–I still sometimes forget.

But today is not that day.

Our brains are usually done developing by the time we’re thirty. According to the internet, the age most reach full development is usually around twenty-five. Remember that when you lament how you haven’t accomplished anything or you haven’t accomplished enough. When this pitfall trips you up, just subtract twenty-five from your current age. It really does provides perspective.

Just because your brain has settled down, that doesn’t mean you still can’t change change as a person. At thirty, I was different from twenty-five. I’m different now from when I was thirty.

You never lose the ability to change. You never lose the ability to choose. It’s true that the longer you choose to think a certain way, the harder it will be to choose differently–but that’s not unique to thirty; that’s true with all ages. If you keep an open mind, with age comes experience which comes with more options.

You will probably know more people in your thirties, who can share different perspectives, different contexts, that can be mutually beneficial.

You will never run out of Firsts, but by the time you’re thirty, you will have had so many Firsts, even if they ranged in experience from great to disaster. You’ll have had time to think about those Firsts (especially the disaster ones) so you are better prepared for an exact or similar situation. You will have consumed more information, learned new things or more about old things, resulting in more tools in your toolbox at thirty than you ever did at twenty-five or twenty.

Remember that critical thinking is not a won and done skill. You never achieve critical thinking–you must practice it or lose it. Entering my thirties allowed me to see this more clearly than any other age.

Thirties are exciting because you’re still young, even if your back, knees, hips, and ankles say otherwise.

Yes, circumstance can affect what options and opportunities you have due to system structures. For example, I’m someone who is white, agender (normally assumed to be a woman), and a lesbian and my thirties will reflect that experience.

But I would still urge you not to dread your thirties. That age (every age, really!) has something to offer you–especially if you choose to seek it out.

Reading Corner: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Since pandemic times, my day job has decided to start a book club. I missed the first two, didn’t write a post about the first one I did participate in (I may backfill that), but our club’s current book is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

There will be spoilers in this review.

What’s It About

In short, it’s about regret and not letting that hold you back. Plot wise, Nora (our main character), is in a tough spot in life. Her cat dies, she loses her job, she doesn’t have a relationship with her brother, her mom died, she decided not to marry the guy days before the wedding. So she decides to commit suicide (content warning for that), which brings her to the Midnight Library, a collection of all the lives she could have had if she made different choices. Most people start with undoing their regrets.

The story brings us through several variations of her life–some that she knows aren’t for her nearly instantly, some where she lingers, thinking, maybe this one.

At the end, she doesn’t choose a variant life. Her very last book shows the impact she made on the lives around her (very It’s A Wonderful Life), and she chooses she wants to live in her life, the one she chose to end at the beginning of the novel.

She’s able to get help. She reconnects with her brother. Her life, shitty as it was, is full of possibility that she can now see thanks to all the different lives she’s hopped from.

What Format Did I Read?

Hardcover. Would have given the audio book a try, but a) more expensive b) my libby hold came through when I had already read a chunk of the hardcover.

Did I Like It As A Reader

I thought it was fine. It didn’t blow me away. Perhaps it’s because the concept is very familiar. It is essentially a Groundhog Day narrative, though instead of the same day changed with different choices, it’s the same life with different choices. It is It’s a Wonderful Life expanded, and with significantly fewer angels and explicit critique of capitalism. (Note, I haven’t actually watched It’s a Wonderful Life in years.)

As a reader, I was expecting something like the ending to happen (even though normally, as a reader, I try not to predict endings). As a reader, I was satisfied with the ending. It matched. It paired nicely with the beginning. But also, I wanted more than “see the possibility in your life.” Perhaps it’s because of the pandemic, where possibility meshes very closely with opportunity. After all, how realistic is it really for someone who has only had one piano student to be inundated with enough to pay the bills after putting up one sign at a failing music shop?

Also, Nora would always look out to see if she had depression pills in her lives. I couldn’t tell if she continued to medicate at the end, but it seemed needlessly anti depression meds.

There’s also a scene where her piano student is known to be a trouble maker, and he’s getting arrested by cops, and when she realizes that her giving him the piano lessons was helping him to keep out of trouble–that didn’t land right with me. I absolutely believe that involving people of all ages in their community will more than likely deter from “crime” but it didn’t really actually challenge the idea of crime itself or what even causes crime. As a reader, I’m left with the impression that if this young adolescent had more opportunity or his mom had been able to find something, then he wouldn’t have become a wayward teen inclined towards crime. But let’s be real — not having access to piano lessons or something similar won’t drive most folks to crime. Access to necessities, especially for those already struggling financially, has far more to do with that. And I just feel that this book was far too “pat” for me to be impressed by Nora’s discovery. Maybe this wasn’t the book for that pursuit but the scene was there, and it was written the way it was, and I didn’t like it.

Did I Like It As A Writer

Again, it was fine. I did like the very close third person throughout. Some turns of phrase did a delightful job at conveying Nora’s depression.

Sometimes the chapters were very short, sometimes longer but never very long — the shorter chapters made it easier to read before bed.

Sometimes the chapters were so dialogue heavy with just–nothing but dialogue. I heard once that readers tend to skip prose and go straight to dialogue, but I’m someone who prefers dialogue interspersed with some prose. I like to know what the characters are doing as they’re talking, otherwise I’ll read a play thanks. I didn’t particularly like Haig’s dialogue (I can’t pinpoint an obvious reason why but it just didn’t feel very realistic to me, maybe uncanny valley dialogue?) so that didn’t help matters.

Is It Worth My Time

If you’re looking for an ultimately feel good drama with a splash of soft sci fi then yeah, it is. If you want to read a book that reaffirms something hopeful then yeah, it is.

But if you want that little something more, something that just sparks and you’re like, I never thought about the world this way before (and who knows–maybe you ARE that person, but I’m not) — maybe bring it for that Long Arduous Thing you’ve been dreading that involves a lot of waiting where you need something to distract you, but not something So Good you don’t want to be distracted from it.

This Thing’s On?

It’s slightly hysterical reviewing my old posts.

Half of them are titled with sentiments similar to this one: I have a blog that I forgot about.



I’m still going to try to kick this thing back in gear again. I know the reason I’m not updating it is because I don’t know what I want “it” to be. But that will never happen if I don’t post.

What’s up with Sonja Natasha? We’ll bullet since that’s my preferred way to keep a word count trim.

  • Finished two novel length works in the last half of 2020. Very proud of that. Have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to editing something of that word length. Makes it very difficult to keep up steam but I remind myself that fumbling through it will be better than not doing it at all.
  • Read the Locked Tomb Trilogy (or what’s released of it). Do yourself a favor and read it too.
  • Actually did a far better job at keeping up on my reading than I thought, but Locked Tomb is still my favorite.
  • Will not be delving too much into Pandemic Effects. I’m very grateful for how lucky I am to be able to work from home.

What’s up in 2021 for me?

  • Editing these two books and prepping them for submission!
  • I have one little novella/long short story on Amazon KDP, but Amazon and I are currently not on speaking terms. Need to decide what to do with this story other than taking it off Amazon. It could also use an edit since I’m matured a lot as a writer since I put that up for sale.
  • I have another novella out on submission
  • I don’t have a strong speaking voice (though it has improved being in a leadership position at my day job). I dislike doing things “for my own good” without an immediate tangible result. Spoiler alert — podcast!
  • And by podcast, I mean, I’ll be recording my serial fantasy flash fiction pieces which I will most definitely be writing on some sort of platform which is almost decided but not yet quite.
  • Reading program (more on that later)

And that’s not even counting all the real life stuff lined up for me, which usually includes doing well at my job, attempting to improve my self (long for get a therapist, sonja), and improving my physical health (resolving insomnia and fatigue issues).

How’s your 2021 shaping up to be?

White Complicity

I sometimes forget about this blog. I don’t remember when I realized that my blog had remained silent for the past several weeks, even though I had been active on other platforms. Because it does need be said,

Black Lives Matter

I wrote this up about a week ago. I initially shared this on my personal Facebook, but I believe it needs to be housed here as well. I do not want to take away from a movement, but I also want to face my mistakes rather than hiding from them. I want to encourage white people to look inwards, recognize our racism and complicity in a system, and work on dismantling that system. So I share something I don’t talk about very frequently because it does shame me, and it’s not something I can undo.

When I was married, I was married to a correctional officer. That’s fancy for prison guard. I was also a prison guard for about three months (two months training, one month actually at a facility), and I quit.Everybody in that town was either working for the prison system (google is telling me seven in town which is fewer than I remember) or you were a student (prison town masquerading as a college town) or you worked minimum wage retail. The prison paid well. I could have made more working at the prison as a guard on just the weekends than I could working full time at Walmart.

Read More »

Reader’s Corner: The Starless Sea

As someone who has, a little bit, lost their energy for reading (I like to read; I just find it difficult to read working 40+ hour shifts, struggling with what feels like near constant fatigue that is constantly diagnosed as “stressed,” and diverting certain energies into mental and physical health), I have tried to be better about it. If I hear someone quote Stephen King one more time about how writers need to read–

One of the ways I started reading again was listening to audio books on my commute. It was comical when my commute was five minutes.

Now that my commute is 20-30 minutes, who’s laughing now?

(Me, I’m still laughing, I love my little jokes.)

The first physical book I read in a bit was actually Gideon The Ninth  (I’ll do a reader’s corner when Harrow comes out), then Corona happened, and my mental and physical health went to shit.

But, I’ve since started listening to audio books now that I’m getting better at walking (sunshine and fresh air…who knew?)

And then I read The Starless Sea.

I first cracked it open when I was at a coffee shop (this was about a week before the world started to shut down), and I couldn’t concentrate because people on one side of me were fear mongering about the virus and the other people on the other side of me were on a very introspective date, I think? And I couldn’t help but eavesdrop.

I was very intrigued about the pirate in the basement.

I didn’t pick the book up again for about a month.

I feel like this is a book I probably would have eaten up when I was 20 and was really into metaphors and books about stories and what they mean.

But I’m older now. I don’t mind a good metaphor but I also like some meat and potatoes with my reading. Like, actual plot with actual characters without the pages telling you that the pirate is a metaphor when I really want to read about the pirate.

That is, if the pirate were an actual pirate on a starless sea.

I would not recommend this book if you read slowly, like me. I would not recommend this book if you struggle with exhaustion, like me, because there were so many threads and imagery that meant something else I literally kept forgetting them. There are three images (that I’ve already forgotten though two of them are a bee and sword–third might be a feather) that were mentioned occasionally and that I kept forgetting. Then another three were added. There were also at least three other books within the book and the chapters would alternate and feed into the main story.

It also starred a main gay character, who was in love with a guy, and they ultimately got their happy ending with one of the most arresting images in the books–

but it was lost, to me, with all the other arresting images and I feel that if the author had just concentrated on the story+subplot leading up to that one arresting image, the book would have been much easier to read.

I’m sure this book is amazing for someone who isn’t me. But for someone like me, the prose was so luscious I got lost in it more often than not.


Coronavirus 2020: Insomnia Edition

When my team was asked to work from home starting mid March (with a tentative return date of April 8th — we’re still at home), my initial reaction towards The Whole Thing was to sleep. A lot.

I thought it was catching up on sleep debt, since I do tend to struggle getting my 8 hours in for various reasons.

Around the beginning or mid April, my tendency to sleep gave way towards insomnia.

I’ve had issues with insomnia before. Normally, what I do to fix it, is get an over the counter sleep aid. That’s what I did last December when I got it — but…I never stopped using it because I was sleeping 8 hours, was dreaming, kind of everything how I thought sleep was supposed to go, and that I didn’t get even when I didn’t have the insomnia.

The over the counter sleep meds stopped working a bit ago. When I wanted to see how much of a dose would be an overdose, it wasn’t on the label. I googled, found out it was a kind of benadryl, and I was not happy for how long I had been taking it.

It wasn’t working anyway at this point. I would take a full dose, wake up or not get to sleep at all and bad nights.

Needless to say, April and so far May (how has May for ten days been a thing? How has it been since six days since the Siege of Mandalore and the series finale of the Clone Wars? How?) have been quite difficult for me.

In the past, walking a few hours before bed did tend to help. But I was also able to box regularly at the gym (I do try to shadowbox at least once a week, though I’ve been aiming for more), I was climbing stairs, walking to help my coworkers, etc. I also mowed the lawn for the landlady every Saturday–I don’t live there anymore and I have no lawn.

I think I’ve identified my insomnia taking two forms:

1) a lack of feeling tired that can be exacerbated by naps. Normally, taking a nap before 3 pm was fine for me. Now, I’m wondering if it’s even earlier. It is very hard not to take a nap during the day when the night was sleepless so this has been a losing battle (including today where I did accidentally fall asleep for two hours in the early afternoon).

2) I am able to fall asleep but I wake consistently after 4 or 5 hours. I haven’t yet been able to figure out what wakes me up–regardless, I’m unable to fall asleep again even if I’m yawning with exhaustion.

Last night was a mixture of both — I napped too late, causing me not to feel sleepy until after midnight, and I woke up after five.

I do want to try walking again as that did help, and even though I have upped my activity level when I realized my insomnia wasn’t going away,  it hasn’t immediately improved which is unusual.

So, here is what I’m going to do, to the best of my ability, for the month of May.

  • Caffeine has zero effect on me. I drink coffee because I like the taste and ritual. In the past, I have drunk coffee with dinner regularly and slept well. I’m arbitrarily choosing no caffeine past 1 pm. Goes to show how desperate I am.
  • I will walk an hour before shift start. This will probably around 7 or so. I’ll start listening to my audio books again, something I stopped doing during quarantine because I listened to most of my audio books during my commute.
  • Starting at 9:55 through 4:55, I’ll be using the last five minutes of the hour to do an activity: jog in place, hula hoop, squats, lunges, burpees, jumping jacks, dumbbell exercises, pushups, etc.
  • No later than 5:30 pm, MWF will be my shadow boxing time for 45 mins. T/TH/Sat will be jogging outside for 45 minutes (I need to work up to being able to jog that long lol).

This will need some adjustment when we’re in the office, but I think the idea is clear. I’m wondering if my lack of movement throughout the day is somehow tricking my body it’s sleeping even if I’m working.

I’ve always worked towards a 9 pm – 5 am sleep schedule. Missed this today but I want to do a relaxing yoga routine at 7 pm, and then avoid anything that has the potential to upset me. No social media. No checking work. I may add no tv, but the likelihood of that happening is small. Either way, after 7, I’ll either be reading a book, writing, or playing a video game. At least an hour has to be for reading a book.

When I wake up at 5, my hope is to get the cats fed, coffee started, my puzzles to wake my brain up, and write until 7. If I wake up earlier, I am contemplating simply starting my day and seeing if I can grab a nap before shift start.

I’m hoping this plan ensures that I’ll be mentally and physically tired. My body will be encouraged to enter a deep, uninterrupted sleep. I’ll give it the month of May before I consider seeking a doctor. I don’t really want to look for a doctor during plague times, but I also think they’ll diagnose me with stress like they always do.

You may notice my schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for cooking and eating. I have a lot of quickly cooked foods due to the pandemic, and I’m used to eating at my desk or in front of the tv. If I do plan to cook a meal, that is most easily done on weekends.

One of the other changes I’ll be making will be to eat a light meal I know is safe for my stomach after my boxing/run. Heavier meals will be early in the day.

It’s very tempting to diet right now, but that is one thing I won’t be doing. The last time I committed to dieting and exercising at these levels had very unfortunate consequences. The only thing I’ll be doing is avoiding foods I know will cause gastro upset (except for ice cream because HD’s boozy ice creams are literally the best thing ever). But is that dieting or just good sense?

Putting this here for accountability purposes. It’s easy to say one will do things–and the times makes it easy to fall into a personal pit of despair. But one must try, right?

Coronavirus 2020: Opening Too Early (My Non Expert Opinion)

Time, always an illusion, feels even more so now.

I read the news every week, and I am unsure that my governor wants to do a phased reopening of the state. People warn that the second wave of Spanish Flu was more dangerous than the first. That story keeps popping up.

Are we done with the first wave? It doesn’t feel like it, reading the news.

My gym sent a mass email letting everyone know that the governor gave them permission to reopen in May.

I managed to get off my ass this morning and shadow box — interval training. 3 minutes boxing with 1 minute rest, just like in the gym.

I pushed myself too hard since my exercise has been patchy. I huffed and I puffed and you know how sometimes you breathe so hard that you spit? That happened.

Do we remember the main way the virus travels?

Through respiratory droplets.

I thought before that I would ask them to freeze my subscription in May. I knew, this morning, that there would be absolutely no way I would step foot inside.

I am going through so much soap. A lot of places are sold out of soap. I suppose it means the rest of the world is doing their part, but a germaphobe on the best days, washing my hands until they crack and bleed because what if I missed a spot, this has been a doozy.

Handwashing loops, I call them. Was that 20 seconds? Was the water hot enough? Does soap lose effectiveness the longer it goes on? Maybe do a new pump 10 seconds in, 20 seconds in.

I get shower loops too. These are much more irrational and ten times more irritating.

I entered the living room clutching pasta — cheese, butter, garlic, shell noodles, and smelled one of my cat’s poop in the air. I glanced down at my food. Was it contaminated? Should I eat it? Should I throw it away? If I can smell the poop does that mean it’s in the air? You can’t decontaminate the air. You can’t scrub it with soap and lysol.

It took me about 5 minutes to convince myself to eat my pasta and that I was being irrational.

Those moments of intense irrationality regarding personal cleanliness happen more frequently now.

And yes, I eat pasta now. Regularly.

For context, I struggle with my weight. I axed pasta from my grocery lists long before I tried the keto diet. That was right around the time I axed bread and cereal. If I were in a restaurant and there wasn’t a good steak and tater option, I would order pasta but it wasn’t something I kept in the house.

I didn’t lose weight. I lost a little joy.

So what do you do in quarantine when the unknown is all around even though you’re surrounded by the walls of your house, grateful you still have a job but chafing nonetheless?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I eat pasta.

Coronavirus 2020: Misc Thoughts

2020 been a year right?

And it’s only April.

The first quarter of the year is usually difficult anyway. It’s the busy season at work. I usually end up working well over 40 hours, and I have a very difficult time drawing and maintaining boundaries at work–at first, it was because I wanted to prove myself and get that promotion, and then I got the promotion and it morphed into doing the very best I could do and being the very best I could be for my employees.

So it is unfortunately, terribly easy for my own personal goals (writing every day, reading every day, boxing every day) to be first up on the chopping block.

This quarter hasn’t been any different.

I finished Gideon The Ninth (please read this book) and I was so excited that I had finished an actual, tangible book. I have primarily been listening to audio books on my commute, and in the silence, reading a physical book was difficult as my internal whisper can be deafening.

I was really, really proud of myself for that.

Anyway, shortly after I finished Gideon, I became more cognizant of the COVID-19 news. I was aware of the virus, but I had not been keeping a close tab on it.

I had just discovered a new pho place. I had also discovered a darling coffee shop. They became my weekend sanctuary after a work week, where I quickly found myself working seven days a week at the end of February that lasted about two weeks when I realized I was experiencing a slow death of the soul.

About a day after that, my work advised that we were all to work from home until at least April 8th. That timeline is no longer on the table, of course, but this was mid-March.

So my team and I switched entirely to remote. That was hard. It is hard. I believe a return in May is even optimistic.

At first, I had the same grand delusions: gonna finish that book, start that fantasy series I’ve been thinking about since January, gonna lose that weight, gonna read that other book.

I have done none of those things. Without a commute to structure my day, it is even harder for me to not reach for my computer when I wake up in the morning to check up on things.

Never though I’d miss the commute.

I struggle with wondering if I should order takeout to support local restaurants or if I should stick only to curbside pickup for my grocery shopping. People need work, but even essential employees need to stay home for their safety.

There is no right answer, and I pendulum swing from “no takeout ever” to ordering takeout. I know the problems that make things difficult for the working class is a systematic issue. It’s not my fault, but there is an element of complicity that I’m finding difficult to navigate.

My boxing club froze my membership when the governor closed all nonessential businesses.

I haven’t exercised in weeks.

Exhaustion, despite doing nothing but staying home, lingers. My insomnia is back which I’ve been treating with over the counter sleep aids. I was reading the back of the bottle a couple weeks back, and apparently I’m supposed to be using it for two weeks or so. I’ve been using it since December.

I have written maybe 30 minutes.

I have not read. Nor have I finished an audio book.

I am one of the lucky ones. As of today, I still have my job but I know we are buckling up. We are bracing for April…and May…and for however long this will last.

My dad constantly reminds me that we must take this day by day.

I will try.


New Year: Onwards & Upwards

Did you know that moving during the holiday season is incredibly stressful and expensive. I found that out this year. I still owe a gift to my mom.

At the beginning of December, I purchased a small condo (all that I could afford in this area), and moved from my toxic living environment where I was living with a roommate who was, well, toxic. And still owes me $3k, but I probably won’t ever see that money and ultimately that’s okay.

Around October, I realized that things had deteriorated to the point I needed to leave. I told myself that I’d like to have a larger down payment, so I would give myself until September 2020 to find a place.

I don’t remember what the inciting event was, but apparently around November, I was officially Fed Up with everything, and began looking at the retail listings in more earnest. I wish I had come to that conclusion before I put in a lot of effort (and my own money) to paint my previous living area when my landlord had new flooring installed. I had painted my room a lovely forest green that my landlord made me repaint white. The new floors are an ash-wood like tile so…not a lot of contrast there. The green looked a lot better but not my decision.

NaNoWriMo started around the time I found the place I ultimately ended up purchasing, and the only place that didn’t look like it would take a lot of work to fix up (things…I don’t know how to do, wouldn’t mind learning how to do, but wouldn’t be able to focus on writing if I had gone in that direction) that was still in my limited price range.

So I did not finish NaNoWriMo. In fact, I didn’t even get to the halfway point. I did get a good start on the story, and I will return to it, but only after I finish editing my first NaNoWriMo, and get that sent out to an agent. Every year I say I probably won’t participate in NaNoWriMo (because I lose two weeks due to a work event and the holidays) but nearly every year I still try. Not sure what that says about me.

On the day I was scheduled to sign, my boss also gave his two weeks notice, so I have new challenges and opportunities there I am hoping to rise and meet. Because of the transitional period, immediately followed by the holidays, today is the day I feel I really need to gird my loins.

The cats love the new living area. They seem more comfortable being on their own than when I was living with her roommate and her cat, who wasn’t a bully but liked to interject himself into their play and play rough with them–he was a sixteen pound ragdoll so he didn’t mean it, he was just a lot bigger than they were and didn’t always realize that. It’s just been gratifying to see Sayre, especially, come out of his shell and start playing again.

As most people do around this time, I’ve committed myself to become a better version of myself. There will be fewer tv binges and more reading, writing, and an attempt to make friends outside of work.

I actually doubled the books I read in 2019 compared to 2018, and I hope to do that again. I also accomplished reading more nonfiction books, something I haven’t done since college. I hope to continue that into the new year, as well as expanding into a genre I’ve tended to be skeptical of, self improvement.

My favorite fiction book of the 2019 was definitely The Goblin Emperor. I listened to the audio version of this, and though that didn’t give me a reference for the many and varied characters (and sometimes I did forget who was who, it was easy enough to remember via context), I do recommend this highly.

In an effort to make friends, I have also the local writer’s guild in a different chapter. The meeting time is actually easier for me to make, and I’m hoping to join the contests, submit to be in their anthology, etc.

I’m dedicating myself to also managing my emotions better. Instead of blocking off negative emotions with food or tv binges (or, worse, both), I’m going to really try to process them, feel them, and then let them go. Don’t worry, I won’t do that in this space here. 😉 But I have come to realize that my own mental blocks are caused by an unwillingness to process feelings and let them go, coupled with a lack of self discipline. I really hope to change both those things.