A Little More About Me

Yeah, yeah, yeah–my About page already exists. But it’s a little more of a blurb and less of a, hey this is Sonja, and this is what I’m about.

That picture is old. I don’t wear glasses anymore. My hair is blond now. I’m also about 20 lbs heavier than when that picture was taken so we’re not posting an updated portrait. Am I working on not being self conscious about the weight? Yes, I am. But I’m not there yet. It’s a WIP.

Second member of the family would be Sayre:

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He’s definitely one of my favorite goblins. He loves belly rubs and snuggles. He does an admirable impression of a gargoyle when he’s on a bookshelf glaring down at you.

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This is my other favorite goblin, Delphinium. Her ears are curved, her legs are too long, and she’s got fur in odd little places. Her head is a little too small for her body. She’s a brat.

They are both master nappers.

My day job is mid level management. There are things I love about it: employee development, achieving goals, that sort of thing. There are things I really dislike about it too but isn’t that the case with everything.

To help burn off stress, I did something that I’m still a bit baffled by and joined a boxing club–it’s just really unlike me. Physical activity in general is unlike me. But then — I tried it, and I liked it. There really is something very satisfying about punching a 100 lb leather bag in the face after an eight hour or longer shift. Pow.

I’m really far behind in my NaNo and it is only the third. Not off to the greatest of starts, but no cause to give up yet. This year’s NaNo will be about as self indulgent as my first. A science fiction piece set in the desert. Add in a big dollop of “that’s gay” and we’re set.

My favorite line, so far, is:

“Zoe.” It wasn’t her first name, or her second, or even her third. It was her name now, though it might not be her name tomorrow or in a decade’s time.

A Fool Like Juggler

When I first started this blog, almost every single post was public. Then, a year or so back, I decided that the internet didn’t need to know that much about me.

I put almost every single post to private, and gave little thought to my writing career.

Then, not to repeat the cycle, I returned back to my dreams. I finished the draft of my novel. I thought–I need to get myself out there. I returned to this website, and put about half posts public, half posts private.

I’m not entirely sure what was more depressing: the infrequency of posting in general, or just how similar the themes went.

It would be easy to see me as someone who keeps washing out. Ha, a writer. Like they haven’t said that before. Mmhmmm. Getting published. Mmmmhmmm. Sips a cup of coffee while they listen to me rattle on, right?

I prefer to think of it more like not giving up. Like that phrase in Panic At The Disco’s Hallelujah song, “You’ll never know if you don’t ever try again, so let’s try, let’s try, let’s try.”

The main common theme was work kicking my ass. And not just like, wow every day sucks kind of way but just, I have no boundaries when it comes to work. I enjoy the work that I do. I find it fulfilling. Is it mid level management. Yeah. Are there a lot of times I find myself going, I really don’t like this part of management. Also, yeah. Do I sometimes feel like taking my boxing class after work is a good idea so I can just punch a 100 lb leather bag? Definitely yeah.

But for the most part, I can say that I am happy with my job. I have a freedom to develop policies and employees. Those are the good parts.

The part where the boundary greys is when I am thinking about work nearly every spare moment. Where I will schedule myself 11 hour shifts for the good of the team. Where slack dings on my phone and I’m reaching for it so that I’m available.

Let no one say I never answer my Tash-taken slack messages.

This was a very recurrent them in the posts I reviewed–some of them are public (again), some of them are still private.

But this is a juggle that I’ve never mastered. If life is comprised of three balls (work, hobbies, and making sure you’re getting the trash out), I’m really good about managing two of them. It’s the third, hobbies, that I suck at.

And to be frank–I don’t want writing to be a hobby. I do want to craft a career from my writing. It’s just figuring out how to kick that ball back in the air, and to keep it there.

That said, I am for the most part happy with the self improvement I have developed. I finished a draft like three years in the making, right?

Gotta count for something.

 

The Present Mental Perspective

Until most recently, I’ve struggled more with my mental health as opposed to my physical health.

My mental health, in the past few months, has gotten better even as my physical health leaves something to be desired (but I am working on that as well).

I’ve come to the realization–not for the first time, unfortunately–that I lack faith in my writing. This lends itself to a lack of discipline, which is probably why I am a better writer in the past than I am in the present.

Part of this is because fatigue–both mental and physical. I have struggled with depression for years, and I also struggle with the need to be perfect and to constantly prove myself as having value.

This is why I’m currently working seven days a week. It was supposed to be forty hours a week but my own need to make sure something gets done (and gets done right) leads to a domino train of self sabotage in the name of paying the bills: for example, I am currently working seven days a week because we are short staffed and I volunteered for it. It is not a good way to keep myself healthy, physically and mentally speaking. In fact, I have never felt so burned out in my life.

The good news is that it paid off, and I’m officially a supervisor. #awesome

The other piece of good news is clarity: I need discipline. In the same way I need to start going to the gym again and also practicing self validation on a daily basis, I need to start writing again. Not tinkering around with minor edits before attempting to sell this unsellable story, but to start writing–anything.

Unfortunately, when I reach this realization (for the umpteenth time in my life), I self-sabotage again: no one wants to read what I’m writing, I’m not improving I’m sucking, etc.

More often than not, because I’m already tired and fatigued from my emotional labors for the good of capitalism so I can pay those goddamned bills–I listen. Or I think, I’ll do it when I’m not tired.

But the thing is, I am tired all the time. I keep thinking there’s going to be a day where I’m not tired, but the reality is that day is not gonna come. So I need to push through that like I push through most things in my life.

So, I am going to start writing again, and I am going to start practicing types of writing not in my wheelhouse (like comedy). I don’t know if I’ll be posting those here or not. The thing is to just make sure they get written.

My other moment of clarity came when I realized I wanted to start doing things again. A complete list, here:

  • I want to join a local writer’s league–one that pays dues (cheap dues but dues nonetheless). I believe the enforced structure (which may not necessarily be found elsewhere) would encourage me to produce even when I don’t feel like it, and to also find a community of writers–which is honestly very important.
  • I want to start weight lifting again–usually, like writing, this gets put off because I’m too tired after work, and I muddle through the day being tired all the time. But the reality is, if I can linger at work being, and I quote, “too tired for this shit,” then I can leave work on time (for once) and be too tired for thirty minutes as I lift some weight.
  • I finally wanted to watch the fourth season of Black Sails. I had “wanted” to do this some time ago, but the desire finally translated itself into action.
  • Black Sails lead to another desire: to learn how to sword fight. I actually took fencing at the Y in my youth, and I enjoyed it (for the most part). I believe, again, this would encourage discipline and meeting people outside of work.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I frequently bite off more than I can chew and it inevitably ends in disappointment and self loathing.

So here are the goals I’m setting for myself:

  • Lift Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I’ve heard this should help my gastro issues as well.
  • Write Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • Permission to relax (as much as one can when one must work) on Sunday.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Life Update

I haven’t been great at updating this. It’s probably because I don’t have a mission statement or something.

Anyway, here’s what’s been going on in the past month since I updated this:

  • I read the first three volumes of Saga. I am really enjoying the series and I have volumes four, five, and six from the library waiting to be read. No thinky thoughts regarding them because I am way to tired from the capitalist hellscape for critical thought. This is escapism pure and simple.
  • Speaking of the escapism, I was promoted to Customer Service Supervisor, a new position in our growing company. Today I wondered about the gender divide between job expectation and satisfaction.
  • Continuing this journey through the capitalist hellscape, I started working seven days a week because of how understaffed we are. This was with the expectation it would still come out to around 40 hours a week. Do you hear the wild, cackling laughter in the background about how that’s not happening?
  • I developed some health issues–nothing major but definitely disruptive and uncomfortable and limiting my diet of a good chunk of the things I like and can eat. The doctor told me it was more than likely stress–telling me things I already know but not how to fix it.
  • I adopted a truly magical cat.
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  • His name is Sayre and I love him very much.

Writing Update

With just barely a week to go before Strange Horizons’ deadline, I finally finished the first (haha) draft of the story I want to submit to them.

It’s been edited once since then, but it still needs a title, I’m still not happy with the name of one of the protagonists, and it needs further revision.

But it’s finished, and that means that even if I don’t get it to where it wants or needs to be, I can submit it to Strange Horizons and that’s really the only thing that matters.

Now, I still need to write the horror story, and there’s another anthology I’d like to submit to called UFO (Unidentified Funny Objects — deadline also April 30).

I’ve not written a lot of humor (actually more like zero humor) so I think it might be an interesting exercise.

I feel like I’ve been writing a lot lately, which is nice.

Author Update

In the past months since I’ve updated this blog, there have been several interesting developments:

  1. I sold a piece of flash fiction to Mothership Zeta. This is my first official sale and I am thrilled beyond words. I will be appearing in a future issue.
  2. Work is gradually evolving into a bloodless game of offices and unfortunately that is taking a lot of my energy, and I haven’t actually written much of anything except for that piece of Flash Fiction picked up by Mothership Zeta around three months ago. This has made me very sad, so I’m attempting to be stronger at forming boundaries. Work is to pay the bills, not my way of life.
  3. My next project is to participate in this Star Trek fan fiction contest. I’ve always wanted to write novelizations of my favorite TV shows/movies (specifically Star Wars, but Star Trek too I’m a fan of both) so I think this would be an exciting opportunity for me.

I was unable to participate in NaNoWriMo this year–but congrats to everyone who did. Maybe next year!