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Life On The Rocinante' (After Dark!)


Cynder

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SFM could have gone a lot better...  Not the worst show I've ever done but far from the best show.

When I was all set up and people started coming through the door, the very first customer who came to my booth took one look at me and the first thing she says is, "Where's D?"

I said, "He's not here." 

She said, "Is he coming later?"

Me: "No." 

Here:  "That sucks.  I got excited when I saw you were here because I figured he would be here too." 

Wow...  I really hope that doesn't set the stage for the rest of the season.  Nothing like feeling invisible right off the bat. And it wasn't even, "Hi, how are you?  Is D here?"  She just took one look at my booth and asked me where he was.  And her tone was rude when she asked. 

And then throughout the day, just about every customer, "So who's artwork is this?" Or some variation of that.  Idk...  when I walk into a booth and there's only one person there I assume that person is the artist.  Maybe people have this idea that artists are rich and just hire peons to sell their work at events or something. 

But last year, one of the first questions I was asked was who makes my prints and then this woman said something like, "Wow, I didn't know you could just print other people's work out from the internet and sell it for money." 

I don't know which was worse...  Someone assuming I'm basically committing fraud or someone who is only concerned about seeing my ex. 

There's been such a change in this line of work since the pandemic.  Customers expect free stuff.  And some of the new people who just became part of the scene are really entitled and rude.  At least the other vendors who do SFM are all cool people. 

 

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I wouldn't pay any mind to one customer said. I don't assume a single person in the booth is the artist -we have a number of art festivals in the major park down the block.  I don't always ask  but I don't assume. Years ago at a festival I bought a self published children's book for my son -the guy was the author -he probably told us but I wouldn't have assumed.  Nothing to do with gender etc. I'm sorry it frustrated you!

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15 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I wouldn't pay any mind to one customer said. I don't assume a single person in the booth is the artist -we have a number of art festivals in the major park down the block.  I don't always ask  but I don't assume. Years ago at a festival I bought a self published children's book for my son -the guy was the author -he probably told us but I wouldn't have assumed.  Nothing to do with gender etc. I'm sorry it frustrated you!

I guess my personal experience has to do with it.  I've been doing this for ten years.  I don't know a single person who hires other people to sell for them at events.  But that's just me. 

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2 minutes ago, Cynder said:

I guess my personal experience has to do with it.  I've been doing this for ten years.  I don't know a single person who hires other people to sell for them at events.  But that's just me. 

I've been going to festivals regularly for over 40 years in several different major cities. Met many who hire. 

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Holy hell...  I had no idea killing off a character could be such a punch to the gut.  I've known this person was going to die since chapter 3.  And I already wrote this death in the first draft.  But I really beefed up the brutality in the latest draft that I'm sending to my editor.  I did not expect to have such an emotional reaction to writing his death scene.  I sat here in my office and cried for a few minutes after writing it.  And I guess it's even more messed up that this character is an absolute scumbag.  He is one of the main antagonists of the story.  He's a pedophile and a psychopath. 

I cried when the guy who sexually abused me died, too.  That's something even I don't understand.  He was a family member.  He had a big part in raising me and my siblings.  He was a talented artist and he was really funny.  He also was the only person that seemed to understand what I felt when my dad died.  And those were the things I cried for, I didn't cry because a child molester died.  He wasn't born a child molester.  And he was molested too as a kid.  So, it was more like grieving for the part of him that was good.  Because I don't think anyone is pure evil or pure good. 

So, this is a character that I created, and I've known from the beginning that he would die by the end of the book.  But for some reason... his death really hit a nerve in me.  I didn't base him on my abuser, at least not consciously.  But everything a creative person experiences goes into their work at some point, even trivial things. 

My nephew makes an appearance in this novel.  He's a background character.  But he's in there.  D's dog is in this novel, too.  This dog was stolen, unfortunately.  So I immortalized him by putting him in my book. 

Anyway...  got to get some painting done before work. 

 

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Someone in a critique community commented on there being an f bomb six lines into my book.  They weren't offended.  They told me dropping the f bomb this early on means it's going to be an interesting read.  So I decided just for the hell of it to find out how many there are.  Needles boasts an impressive 93 f-bombs.  41 uses of the s word for poop.  14 a*$holes.  And 2 uses of the c word.  Most of this is in dialogue.  I don't just throw cuss words into the prose.  Like, "It was a warm sunny f'ing day..." Lol. 

This is just in the chapters I've revised.  So, there's probably more.  But this was a fun little exercise. 

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As a reader and only minorly a writer and on a number of FB groups for readers/writers and several friends where we share book recs - I think it's so individual like musical/fine art tastes as to what intrigues/interests readers or makes them get into a book. I'm sure there are many who would be not as into your novel in your genre if it wasn't peppered with salty language- so to speak!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have multiple friends/family members, and even acquaintances who practically beg to be beta readers.  Everyone really wants to read Needles, since it's almost finished.  But not one person who"s been sent a copy (accept D) has read it, or even started reading it.

If I send someone a copy and a couple weeks go by and they don't open it, I remove their access.  It's not good to have tons of digital copies floating around.  And I've removed access to pretty much everyone I've sent it to.  No one has even noticed. 

Just so no one reading this gets the wrong idea, I'm not running around begging everyone I know to please please please read my book.  These are people who asked me if they could read it. 

And it's not that I am just trying to get free labor out of people.  Beta readers are paid most of the time.  And I plan on paying some professional beta readers.  But there are people who beta read for free, too, and people I know have asked for that chance.  My ex (the vendor I dated) did free beta reads regularly for a handful of authors he knows.

My one friend who asked me for a copy multiple times keeps telling me she's going to start on it next week.  But "next week," has been coming for like 2 months.  I took her access away.  And last time she brought it up I actually told her I took her access away.  I was polite about it.  I said I take access away from people who don't read it because I don't want a bunch of copies floating around.  And she was like, "Well, I don't know about punctuation and grammar and stuff.  I don't think I'm the right person to go through and check for mistakes and all that."  Ok... that isn't what I expect.  Any copy I send at this point is pretty much scrubbed clean of all that.  And also, that's what I'm paying an editor for. 

Idk, I'm sure there will be people reading this thinking I sound like a brat complaining.  It's just frustrating that everyone wants a copy until they get a copy.

 

 

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It’s a bit flaky for sure. I read my friend’s book and gave an Amazon review. A genuine one. It’s nonfiction and not totally my topic but I enjoyed it !  I’d have not agreed unless I could. 

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7 hours ago, Batya33 said:

It’s a bit flaky for sure. I read my friend’s book and gave an Amazon review. A genuine one. It’s nonfiction and not totally my topic but I enjoyed it !  I’d have not agreed unless I could. 

So many people throughout my life have acted like it's such a big problem that I expect people to follow through with their words.  If someone says they will be at my house at 3PM, that's what I expect.  And then if they show up at 5:30 and I'm a little irritated, well, that's my problem.  I shouldn't have expected them to be there when they said they would.

I, like you, don't commit to something I can't follow through with.  And if something happens that changes things, I will at least tell them.  Like if I say I"m going to be somewhere and then something happens that makes me late, I will let them know.  Since I rely on public transportation I am not always in control of when I leave, etc.  I try to give myself plenty of time to allow for late taxis, etc.  But that isn't fool proof. 

I wouldn't tell someone I'll read their book and then not read it.  And I definitely wouldn't ask someone for a copy of their book if I wasn't planning to read it. 

But, I bet for at least a few people, it's been a matter or feeling pressured.  Not like I am pressuring anyone myself.  But since they know me, they might feel pressured to like it.  Some people might be thinking, "Well, she's my friend, and if I don't like her book, I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I also don't want to lie."  I am one hundred percent honest when I say I don't care if people don't like my book.  In the first 5 pages a teenage boy pins his father against a wall and holds a knife to his throat.  There's an f bomb six lines into the story.  There is a graphic rape scene, multiple murders, lots and lots of substance abuse, prostitution, etc.  My main character is a drug dealer, (who also occasionally sells himself along with the drugs.) I know this brand of fiction isn't for everyone.  I don't expect everyone to like it.  And I'm also kind of a masochist when it comes to criticism of my writing.  I don't know why, but for some reason when I get a scathing critique on Reddit, it makes my day.  I've said it here before, too, I can't wait for my first one star review.  I was reading reviews for The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things on Goodreads not too long ago, and someone wrote a one star review that said something like, "This is way too disturbing for me.  I couldn't sleep at night thinking about it."  All I could think was I hope someone writes something like that about one of my books one day, lol. 

Idk though, I take people at face value, but I've learned most people don't take anyone at face value.  People usually don't mean what they say, or say what they mean.  Everyone lies.  It really is better when I expect nothing.  So, maybe next time someone asks me for a digital copy I'll just send it expecting they won't read it. 

I also wonder if this is how it will be when it's out.  Are people who know me just going to buy it and put it up on a shelf somewhere, and then once in a while pull it out when they have company and be like, "I totally know this author!"  I guess it doesn't matter by that point.  If it's published and people are buying it I still benefit from that.  But I do hope people buy it and actually read it.  I also understand that no one cares about my work as much as I do.  That's a hard pill to swallow for a lot of creatives people.  No one cares about my paintings as much as I do, either. 

 

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My first revision on Needles will be done soon.  I'm getting pretty close tot eh end.  Even though I finished drafting it in December, it feels like finishing this revision is a bigger deal than finishing the first draft.  A first draft is usually so sloppy that it doesn't feel like the real book.  One good revision though, and then it starts to feel real.  Because then what you have is something you can actually show people.  I would never send a first draft to anyone. 

I've been coming up with so many ideas for the (sorta) sequel to Needles.  But it's not really a sequel in the sense that it happens after the events of the first book.  The way this whole thing started...  It originally was an anthology of short stories that all take place in the same town.  But the more I got into it, the more I was interested in telling the story of these three characters before everyone else.  So, what is now Needles is the story of three characters who all have really messed up pasts.  But, there are all these other short stories that take place in the same city that are good, too.  They just aren't in this book because they don't follow the three main characters.  So, I have a whole other book worth of short stories I want to release.  So, it's more like a companion book than a sequel, I suppose.  I'm starting to get ideas to expand on those stories, too. 

This messed up town where messed up things happen might be a series one day. 

People on Reddit are going nuts over the last two chapters I shared.  My editor is also working faster, too.  He's up to chapter 9 now. 

OF is this weekend.  I feel like such a failure as a vendor.  I have hardly any new paintings this year.  If anyone asks why, I'll tell them it's because I've been writing a novel.  It's the truth.  I feel like once Needles is done, I will probably do nothing but paint for a while. 

The Eclipse gave me a really cool idea for another novel, also.  I feel like there's so many things I want to write, and not enough time for it all.  I've seen new age quotes about how if the calling is strong enough no one can ignore it.  Maybe this is really something I was called to do.

I don't write high brow fiction, though.  I doubt anything I've written will change the world.  I don't write feelgood stories.  All my characters are morally gray.  Bad things happen in my books.  I've had people ask me if anyone in my Universe is a decent human being.  I've had people tell me I should seek professional help.  I've had people ask if I'm okay after reading my work, etc. 

It feels good being this close.  But I want to be finished. 

I'm sure I'm obsessing a little.  But writing these stories was something that kept me going when Z left.  I paint when I'm happy and I generally write when I"m miserable.  Right after Z left was one of the worst times of my life.  And I hardly painted anything but I wrote all the time.  I feel like going through all of that and then no one ever seeing the stories I wrote is such a waste.  Something good had to come out of all of that suffering.  And this is the good thing. 

 

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I've said before that every friend I've lost over the Z situation has come back and apologized and wanted to be friends again.  Well, I was wrong, apparently I forgot about one. 

This guy not only side with her but he tried to start a relationship with her a few days after she left.  We talked all the time.  I had known him for about 5 years then.  He's an artist like me, amazing photographer, etc.  He got really quiet and stopped talking to me right after she left. At the time I didn't really think much of it because I figured he just got busy, etc.  He messaged me about a month later and told me he was being quiet because his grandma died.  Ok, that's really sad, I'm sorry for your loss, etc. 

Well, turns out his grandma didn't die.  He was quiet because he was spending all his time trying to get in a relationship with Z.  So I just unfriended him and stopped talking to him. 

Well, guess who wants to be friends again?  Guess who is "so sorry" two years later?  Guess who really misses seeing my artwork and talking about creative things with me?  (It's always my artwork they miss, smh.)

Why are people always so sorry after the fact?  How come no one ever stops to think about what they're doing before they do it?  I do, but I guess I'm in the minority. 

He will get the same response everyone who sided with her has gotten.  Basically apology accepted, access denied.  If they question me further I tell them "Hey, you made your choice.  I don't care if she's not in your life anymore.  You chose her.  You don't get a do over."

 

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I've been on a real Guns n' Roses kick lately.  They were kinda before my time.  I mean, they were at their height of popularity when I was in elementary school.  But I did hear them a lot growing up.  I went on a road trip last weekend with some friends, and the guy who drove was playing Appetite For Destruction in the car. 

This song isn't on Appetite.  It's on Use Your Illusion.  But I'm in my office, got YouTube music playing.  My office speakers are awesome.  My roommate is at work so I don't need to worry about waking anyone up.   The song You Could Be Mine was just playing.  And you know when a song you've heard a hundred times is playing in the background, and you're not really paying attention...  and then one line suddenly stands out...  Well that just happened.  The line was "Why must you find another reason to cry?" 

I'm sitting here at my desk doing some last minute clerical stuff for OF this weekend.  And that line in the song just ripped me right out of work mode.  And then the line a little later in the song, "Five years been forever and you haven't grown up yet."

Even though since my last therapy session I haven;t thought about Z as much, those two lines reminded me so much of being with her.  Thank Gods I wasn't with her 5 years.  I don't know who the hell could put up with her for 5 years.  And I feel sorry for anyone who could.  Especially the line about finding a reason to cry.  I swear, she wasn't happy unless she was causing some drama.  Even if it's just being mad at me for leaving a box of hair color in the bathroom because the girl on the box is pretty and she will never be pretty, and of course me leaving it there had nothing to do with plans to color my hair later that night in the bathroom.  I left it there just to piss her off because I'm evil and I want to rub it in her face that she's not pretty.  I think she would find things to be upset about so she didn't have to think about her own issues.  And it was always something I did wrong.  She needed someone to be mad at to keep from turning on herself. 

D was at my house last weekend.  An Injured raccoon has been hanging out around my back porch.  I've been feeding him and giving him water. D came down to see if he could help the little guy. 

Well, this isn't intended to be a long entry.  Back to revising chapter 37.  Any day now...  Needles only has about 40 chapters.  Any day now....

And the song that took my out of work mode...  lol.  Now I have to get back into work mode. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know I keep saying Needles is so close to being revised. I posted 12 days ago that it was almost done.  Well, 12 days later, it's still almost done.  Not that I"m not trying.  I just keep hitting snags.  It's harder to end a book than people realize, even when the end is drafted already.  I've done so many updates during the revision process that I had to go back and change some things.  And now making those updates and tying up all the loose ends isn't a fast process.  I made a risky decision and changed a character's name in the last part of the book.  But, it makes sense that her name would change, considering she was associated with a murder and the whole town pretty much ostracized her.  No one wanted to give her a job, etc.  And it was her Dad who was murdered, she had his last name.  So, she legally changed her name.  So, since the book is told in three parts, she is one of the main characters in part 2.  And then in part 3 when we see her she has a different name.  But I didn't decide to change her name until well into writing part three. 

Her name was a unisex name, also.  And her having a unisex name actually makes it's way into a subplot.  It's not hugely important.  But based on her name alone, another character knew of her and thought she was a man.  So, when you make a major change like that, there's a lot that has to be fixed, for continuity.  It isn't just as simple as find and replace. 

There is also some taboo stuff that happens in this book, and I"m trying to make sure I handle it in as respectful a way as possible, while still telling the story.  My main character is in a sexual relationship with someone older than him when he is a teenager.  That all happens off page.  I don't have detailed sex scenes where him and his older lover go at it or anything because ugh...  It's kind of just hinted at for most of the book.  And then later on down the line when the older man is in prison (for drugs, not for sleeping with his underage protege') he has a lover in prison who is an adult but still quite a bit younger than him and who look an awful lot like my main character.  My editor told me I need to take that out because it's going to be too slimy for people.  I mean, I guess I can still keep it in that he has a lover in prison, and just not make him look like my main character.  But, these the the things I'm deciding on toward the end of the book. 

And even just errors that are small int he grand scheme of things...  Like the scenes of prison visits.  In one scene I have them talking on the phone with a glass partisan, and then I wrote another scene where they are at a table actually talking face to face.  The face to face scene takes place like 5 chapters alter.  I just forgot that before I wrote it with a glass partisan and a phone.  So, just small things like that that I'm catching now that I"m about to finish.  Yea, it might be a small detail, but those are things readers catch on to.  And whether or not you get to sit face to face and talk while vising someone in prison or if you talk on the phone through glass could go either way.  It depends on the prison, mostly.  Obviously a maximum security prison will be a lot stricter. 

Weed makes the revision process a lot louder.  I say louder because everything feels turned up.  And yes, I do get high when I do heavy revisions.  I know there are people who only read this thread looking for any juicy nuggets they can hold against me in the future.  That might sound arrogant and self centered.  But there are people here on this forum who have dredged up things I wrote in this thread 12 years ago as evidence of what a nasty person I am.  Well, there you go.  Have some cheese, lol.  Now you can pat yourself on the back and have your little moment because "Omg!!!!! What a trainwreck!!! She totally admitted she does drugs!!!!" Yup, I do "drugs."  Weed is legal in my state, both for medicinal and recreational use.  I don't smoke it because I don't like inhaling anything into my lungs.  I use tinctures, mostly.  I also have concentrated syrup that can be added to water (or any liquid, but I add it to water mostly, or tea.) 

I know some people are thinking "If you need drugs to write a decent book then...."  Mind altering substances alter the mind.  They don't suddenly make someone talented.  It's not like someone who is a horrible writer/artist/musician, etc can smoke some weed and suddenly they're a genius.  Hemingway was a drunk.  Bach smoked weed.  Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were pro Acid.  Psychedelics played a big part in the making of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club, and that is considered one of the best rock albums of all time.  The whole novel was written without the use of any substances.  But while revising, being stoned unlocks certain channels.  That's the best way I can describe it.  I can think up things I probably wouldn't have thought of sober. 

Anyway, now it's time to go continue revising chapter 39.  No, I'm not high right now, but I will be here shortly.  I'm about to go make myself some tea with syrup mixed in. 

 

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In 1987 my creative writing professor (english major with concentration in creative writing) gave us a weekly short story writing assignment (that was the class) and he advised taking a long hot bath if you couldn't think of what to write.  My thing always has been -both way back when I wrote creative and all the years I have to come up with writing that is creative but for professional/nonfiction purposes -is cardio and most often outside works better than inside to get the creative juices flowing (never tried and will never try -that's the plan anyway -an illegal drug or weed even if I'm in a location where it is legal -unless it's for something like cancer/medical reason and I've never been drunk so I have no clue what impact if anything those substances would have on my creativity). 

Always liked what that professor said and he was right!

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4 hours ago, Cynder said:

And even just errors that are small int he grand scheme of things...  Like the scenes of prison visits.  In one scene I have them talking on the phone with a glass partisan, and then I wrote another scene where they are at a table actually talking face to face.  The face to face scene takes place like 5 chapters alter.  I just forgot that before I wrote it with a glass partisan and a phone.  So, just small things like that that I'm catching now that I"m about to finish.  Yea, it might be a small detail, but those are things readers catch on to.  And whether or not you get to sit face to face and talk while vising someone in prison or if you talk on the phone through glass could go either way.  It depends on the prison, mostly.  Obviously a maximum security prison will be a lot stricter. 

 

 

This is really bugging me... I swear I typed partician and not partisan.  Two completely different words.  Smh...

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Omg... chapter 39.  Chapter 39.  CHAPTER 39!!!!

Holy hell...  I've known the events of chapter 39 would happen since about chapter 4.  But knowing that didn't make it easy to write. 

This was easily the most emotionally charged bit of fiction I've ever written.  It's 11 pages, about 4k words.  I worked on it all weekend.  I just finished it and I was shaking when it was done, and crying my eyes out. 

For one, trying to get inside the head of a character who has done awful things, took a bigger toll on me than I expected it would.  I know I"m not my character.  But writing from the perspective of a monster was eerie and unsettling.  I guess I'm going to have to flex those muscles a little more if I want to write a whole novel with a Machiavellian main character.  To write a whole passage where this character is sitting in prison justifying to himself why he had sex with a 15 year old...  etc.  It was just appalling to write and I felt like I needed a scalding shower after. 

If anyone is wondering, the sex with the 15 year old happens off page.  Like, I didn't write scenes of that happening.  It's just eluded to.  But then when he's in prison later on (for dealing, not for statutory rape) he spends a lot of time sitting in his cell thinking about it.  I don't get detailed in his thoughts either.  But he is talking about how he couldn't help who he fell in love with, etc.  And at one point (this was the scene that really got me... I didn't expect it would trigger such a reaction out of me) he writes a letter to his victim, explaining how he stole their childhood, etc.  He tells his victim he doesn't want them to think he's a monster, etc. 

I'm not going to sit here and say none of this is inspired by my life, to some degree.  My abuser wrote me a letter from prison apologizing.  I forgave him, and I appreciate that he actually had some semblance of remorse.  He was molested as a kid too.  That doesn't excuse it.  But abused people turn into abusers pretty often.  So, while there is no excuse, the fact that someone did it to him too makes him seem a touch more sympathetic in my eyes.  I know that's awful.  I know people are probably reading this thinking I'm nuts.  And I am a little nuts, I won my nuttiness, lol. 

But the fact that someone did it to him, too.  Idk...  I am at least able to see that he was also a victim.  He just didn't process his victimhood.  He also grew up in a time when seeking any kind of professional help was taboo, especially for me.  It still is, not as bad but there's still a stigma associated with mental health issues, and especially with men going to therapy, etc. 

He was a phenomenal artist.  And he was really funny.  He could have been so much more than a drunk and a ephebophilie.  People are probably wanting to know why I didn't call him a pedophile.  Well, because that's not actually correct.  Pedophilia involves prepubescent children, not teenagers. 

And I actually had it a little easier in regards to what he actually did to me.  He had sex with both of my sisters when they were teenagers.  He never had sex with me.  I guess being the ugly daughter worked to my advantage there. 

Ok... well here's the most chill song ever after a really heavy bit of word vomit.  I didn't seek this song out.  It just came on.  The universe is attempting to make me feel better.  🙂

 

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So, apparently in some writing communities online, there is a special circle of Hell reserved just for people like me who think ChatGPT is useful.

Before anyone asks, (even though this should be a given) No, it doesn't write for me.  But I have used it for research, as a critique helper, a brainstorming tool, and for simple entertainment.  (In other words, sometimes when I'm bored or whatever, I just start messing around and giving it weird prompts, like, "What if there was an octopus who's also a serial killer?"  "What if there was a guy who was in love with a cockroach?" "What would happen if an elephant took PCP?"  Etc. 

But I guess to some people that's a big nono and all of this means I'm not a "real writer."  Because you know, "real writers" don't need AI to help them.

I talked to my editor about this and he told me the actual real writers and artists of the world aren't threatened by AI.  And anyone with common sense uses what tools are available to them when they are available.  Adopt, adapt, or atrophy.  The technology is here, whether we want it not.  And it's not going away.

I'm fully aware there are people using GPT to write whole novels and then throwing them up on Amazon to make money.  I don't agree with that.  But there's also no regulations against it.  I personally wouldn't do it.  But I'm not going to sit around stewing in anger because someone else did it.  It's not my problem.  I have more important things to devote my energy to. (Like writing my own book.) I can see people being pissed because this is taking attention away from human writers.  But, if someone is good enough, they will always have an audience.  

If someone likes a book written by AI, so what?  People are allowed to like what they like.  I don't think books written by AI can compete with books written by humans.  At least, not right now.  But give it time, and AI will be able to out-write us.  It sucks.  But it's going to get to that point.  That doesn't mean there still won't be a place for the human author.  If AI is out there writing a lot of bestsellers, there's still nothing stopping human beings from writing bestsellers, too. 

Same thing with AI art.  Some of the AI art that's out there is amazing.  But that doesn't mean human artists can't still be artists.  I know MidJourney can never replicate my work.  So, if someone really wants my work, they can only get it from me.  And that's why I'm not threatened. 

I do love to play with MidJourney, though.  It's fun.  When my nephew used to come over, we would always make art with MJ.  I would let him type in whatever he wanted. 

Some people act like if you're a creative person and you're not just completely disgusted and appalled by AI, then you're part of the problem.  I just don't see it that way.  AI use is on a spectrum like everything else.  There's a huge difference between using it as a tool and using it as a crutch. 

 

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Well, I'm revising chapter 40, 40 of 42.  And then there's an epilogue.  The closer I get to the end, the more the fear of failure creeps in.  I'm still going to finish it and put it out there.  Fear of failure has never held me back before.  But my perfectionism is causing me some trouble.  I feel like I have to obsessively revis everything until it meets my standards, etc.  I am considering doing a full on rewrite of chapter 6 even after my editor edited it.  The reason is simple, I'm not happy with it.  But, no work of art is ever finished, only abandoned. 

And since I had this whole conversation in a writing group about AI, now my OCD is gnawing at me and I keep being afraid people will think my work is AI generated. 

I was a digital artist when digital art was new and everyone hated on digital artists.  Now digital is just another media that people have no issue with.  But, now digital artists are always being accused of using AI.  It's easy to lob that accusation at a digital artist because there is no physical media to prove it.  Yes, digital images can be printed.  But it's not like a painting on canvas where someone can just hold it up and be like, "Yea, AI didn't paint this." 

When I showed my tentative book cover in a writing group, the first comment was someone scolding me for using AI instead of paying a real artist.  And it wasn't just "Hey is that AI generated?"  I mean, this person was brutal.  They just raged at me for paragraphs about how I'm stealing from real artists, etc. 

So, now digital artists have gotten through the time when everyone hated us because we "don't have any real skills and ar jsut pixel pushers!" And now we have to deal with, "Omg!!!! That's AI!" 

So, my OCD just can't let this rest.  Lately I just keep thinking about that.  Like, are people going to think my writing isn't actually my writing?  I talked to W about this (my editor) and he told me he can tell my work is not AI generated.  But as an editor he is more in tune with people's writing style, etc.  So, him saying that did make me feel better in the moment, but there's no shutting up the OCD demon. 

I don't know why I don't just learn to keep my mouth shut online.  The fact that I use ChatGPT for quick critiques and sometimes to organize my thoughts and brainstorm means I'm a failure and not a real writer, according to some.  It was actually W who suggested I use it for those things.  And I've been honest about it from the getgo.  Lot's of authors are using it the same way I do and not being honest.  I've wasted a lot of time over the last week or two putting chapters of Needles through AI checkers.  And even though everything comes back as human text, I still can't shake the fear that someone will accuse me of generating my work and I won't be able to prove that I didn't. 

It's such a rough time to be an author.  And the writing community is toxic AF.  I am part of one really awesome critique group on Reddit, and there are so many brilliant people there who don't beat each other down and who actually support each other.  Groups like that are rare.  The conversation I'm talking about happened in another group I'm not active on.  I do read things there though and this was one of the rare occasions I decided to chime in.  And when I tried to reason with this person by saying my editor suggested this, well then of course I'm a liar, or I'm just too stupid to realize my editor was just messing with me.  Well, the whole conversation with W happened via email, so I can go back and re-read exactly what he said.  This person actually wanted me to screenshot the emails, but I refused because I shouldn't have to show my emails with someone just to prove I'm telling the truth.  It's not like I'm on trial for murder.  This is a random person on the internet.  And this random person has probably never published anything because they're too busy sitting around talking trash online.  (And yes, I'm well aware that I haven't either, except for when I had that one story published when I was 12.) 

Oddly enough, I just discovered that one of the personal trainers at work uses GPT to write workout plans for people.  I only know this because I had to do a training module on my bosses computer last night.  Everyone who works there uses his computer for various things, before everyone starts questioning why I was using my bosses computer.  And his computer was never shut down yesterday and the trainer who used it last left everything open.  Well, I moved the mouse and there's a big browser window open where a trainer was using GPT to write up a workout plan for someone.  I don't judge her for this.  I'm sure she does that because she would rather be out on the floor actually training people instead of sitting at a desk writing out what she wants her clients to do.  And I'm sure my boss knows because she uses his computer.

A lot of people are pissed off because they fear the unknown and anger helps them compartmentalize fear.  Maybe it's because I'm so into futurism, but I think the whole evolution of AI is really fascinating. 

I know there have been two entries about this back to back.  But lately it's been on my mind a lot.  I've always seen it as a tool.  As long as it's not writing for me, I've always considered what I do as fine.  But a lot of other people in the creative community disagree.  But also, there was a time when people who used spellcheck and grammar editing software were hated on because that's cheating.  There was a time when if a photographer used Photoshop he was a hack because that's cheating, etc. 

In other news...  D and his husband are separating.  I really hope he can get through this and keep his sanity.  And I hope he can find a place to live with all his animals.  Having to get rid of any of them would devastate him. 

 

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It's interesting how since I cut all the toxic assh*les out of my life, I've started noticing patterns among toxic people that I didn't notice before.  Like, every toxic person I know has multiple Facebook accounts.  Yea, I know I have a dummy account so that doesn't make me innocent either.  I have that account so I can still use FB and get the benefits of using it without having to deal with he drama that comes with it.  But people I know who are really toxic have 4, 5, 6, sometimes more Facebook accounts.  And usually those accounts are all active to some degree.  Z had like 5, all under different names.  Some under her dead name.  And there's her legal dead name and then there's the other dead name a lot of people know her by.  It's still a man's name but if's not her legal name.  Like, imagine a guy named Bob just deciding one day he wants to be called Ike.  That's pretty much what she did.  And people know her by two different last names too. 

But I've also noticed that toxic people cycle through the same friends.  It's like, "Well, I pissed this person off...  but it's been a while, so I'm sure they forgot about it."

Idk what it is over the last maybe 8 weeks.  But so many people I kicked to the curb have come back around wanting to be friends again.  Last night I got a message from a girl named SKye who I haven't talked to since 2020.  She was not part of the grand Exodus of 2021 where a lot of my friends stopped talking to me because of Z.  I distanced myself from Skye before that.  She never wronged me personally, but I watched her be a complete jerk to other people and I knew it was only a matter of time before my turn would come.  (And from what I was told by two people, she said a lot of bad things about em and made fun of me a lot behind my back.) 

I actually met Z through her, though.  Z and Skye were dating when I met Z.  I knew Skye through the festival scene.  She's not a vendor.  She's just someone who goes to a lot of events.   She did talk a lot of crap about me when Z and I split up, though.  But by that point I had already not talked to her for over a year so I didn't really care. 

She also hit on me a lot when I was with M, my vendor ex.  And it was always, "Well it's not cheating if you're sleeping with a woman."  "M doesn't have to know." Etc. 

And I've mentioned before how Z used to call me out over ancient Facebook posts when we were together.  Z told me once that Skye used to make fun of me all the time when they were dating, and that Skye would screenshot my Facebook posts and send them to her to make fun of me. 

Jeez... just typing this out feels so juvenile.  This is why I don't talk to these people anymore.  Let's all sit around acting like a bunch of high school mean girls, yea we're so cool, lol. 

But long story short... guess who messaged me and sent me a friend request last night around 2AM.  Yep, Skye.  I've always given people a chance to at least apologize to me when this happens.  She asked me how I was doing and told me she missed talking to me and seeing my art.  (It's always my art they miss.  And then people wonder why I think that's all I have to offer.) And she wants to hang out soon.  She wants me to meet her new BF. 

Um...  I haven't talked to you in four years.  Why would you want me to meet your new BF?  But it could be because she's out of friends right now and so she's trying to cycle back through some of her old ones she pissed off or pushed away.  I was polite in my reply but in reality I don't give two craps about her and her new BF.  And when I say I was polite...  I guess the better word to use would be civil.  Because I basically said, "I'm doing well.  I'm confused about why you're messaging me because you talked a lot of crap about me behind my back.  Good luck with the new guy."  Basically, "Yea I'm good.  Hope all goes well.  And I didn't forget about what happened, lol." 

Well, need to go to sleep now so I can get up and go edit video tonight. 

 

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I have to give myself credit here...  I hate writing sex scenes.  But as a minimalist writer, I am really proud of this one.  How many people can pull off a whole sex scene in 60 words?  lol  I also don't know if this really qualifies as a "scene."  But it's a point in the story where two characters have sex.  And it's obvious that's what's happening in 60 words. 

"The conversation evolved as the night unfurled. Weed and words passed between them in her living room. He never told her about the smudge of charcoal on her face. But he kissed it while inside her later that night. This was a different kind of conversation, one without words. The act of love peeled away another layer, raw and tender."

I know it needs polished up.  This is taken straight from an ugly first draft and hasn't been revised at all.  I just really like how simple it is.  My writing style has gotten a lot more elegant over the last year. 

 
 
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  • 2 weeks later...

Needles is finished!!!!

Well...  at least this revision is finished.  My editor still needs to go through it and I need to make revisions based on what he says.  But my own revisions are done.  Revisions were so much more grueling than the drafting process. 

And revision can go on forever.  At some point I'm going to have to decide to be happy with it.  Or else it will never truly be finished. 

I just hope my editor will step it up a little and work faster now that it's done.  I've sent him 42 chapters and an epilogue.  I've gotten back 9 chapters.  And I'm sure on some level he's been thinking something like, "She's not even finished yet.  I can take my time."  And that's fine if he is.  I'm not paying him by the hour.  I'm paying him by the word.  How long he takes to do something doesn't really matter from a financial perspective.  But now that I am finished...  I'm waiting on him.  Basically he will go through and make his suggestions, I make revisions based on his suggestions, and then we will have a final draft.  Then I can start doing all the other things authors have to do, like file for copyright, get my ISBN, etc. 

Originally my goal was to release by July of 2024.  Well, that's not happening.  But not because I didn't work my ass off.  Sometimes a goal needs re-evaluated.  I would love to release it by the end of this year.  But that is probably pushing it, too.  There's a lot that goes into this process... and it's an expensive process, so, money might delay things even more.  Like, I might have to wait to have inventory printed up to sell until I have the money to pay for it, etc.  Self published authors get to keep all the money they make... but they also pay for everything. 

Part of me still wants to try traditional publishing.  It's more like I just want to see if I can do it.  Like, do I have the chops to be traditionally published?  But, I don't think I need to prove anything to myself.  Every author I know has told me self publishing is the way to go.  And I know some who are traditionally published as well as self published. 

Anyway, I need to go get some sleep.  Now that I'm done, maybe today when I wake up I'll paint something. 

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I really wish more people understood what it's actually like working third shift, mainly my boss. 

I worked on Easter even though the gym was closed.  Because "Well, we still need you to clean.  And it's not like you're giving up your holiday."  Well, I'm not a Christian and I don't celebrate Easter, but I was looking forward to a 3 day weekend.  Well now, Memorial Day is this weekend.  And I have to work even though we're closed.  No holiday pay, of course.  Because, "Well, you're not giving up your holiday!" 

I was told this is going to be a regular thing.  That third shift is going to be coming in and deep cleaning on all the holidays.  Uh... how the hell is that fair?  If deep cleaning when we're closed is so important how about we rotate what shift does it?  Or how about everyone just comes in and we all bust it all out in like 2-3 hours?  And then they wonder why they can't keep help on third shift?  And aside from all that, our task list just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.  Right now it's impossible to do by myself unless I halfass some of it.  Like, the spa area used to be second shift's responsibility.  Well, about a year ago they gave that to third shift, on top of everything else.  That's ten more rooms we have to clean.  Honestly, if I did everything they want me to do, I could spend a whole shift just on the spa.  And since I'm there alone, I do all the customer service stuff too.  And this is the busiest time of the year.  I usually don't even get away from the counter until around 1AM. 

I really do like my job.  But I like it a lot better when I have help.  They hired this one girl who showed up twice and then just stopped showing up, no call or anything.  I'm kinda relieved honestly though because I wasn't sure if I was going to get along with her.  She never smiled, at all.  When my boss was training her she just had an attitude the whole time.  I was looking at her Facebook just out of curiosity, and all her posts were about what an a*shole she is, what a b*tch she is, and stuff like, "If you don't like me then go f yourself."  And there was just a lot of drama on her page that I could see just as someone who dropped in for a quick look.  There were multiple posts where she was arguing with people, etc.  She reminded me of some of the people I kicked out of my life a few years ago, lol. 

But anyway, another thing that annoys me...  People find out I work third shift and they just immediately start expressing sympathy.  Stuff like, "Wow, I feel so sorry for you...  I can't even imagine how much that sucks!...  Omg, I feel so bad for you!"  I love the hours I work.  I don't even want to work during the day again.  I'm a nocturnal creature.  For years I tried to live a normal existence in the daylight.  I've been an insomniac my whole life, and when I started working overnight, my insomnia went away for the most part.  Once in a while I have trouble sleeping, but hardly ever.  And when I worked during the day I never got enough sleep. 

I'm frustrated with my editor. He told me over a month ago that he would have the next chapter to me "In a few days."  I understand people get busy.  But this is getting ridiculous.  I'm the one paying him. 

Anyway...  need to get to bed so I can get up and go edit video later. 

 

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Since multiple friends I kicked out of my life have come back around lately, I've been reflecting a lot on past relationships, etc. 

So many former friends miss me so much, etc.  And Most of my exes have come back around at some point (not recently, just throughout my life and told me I treated them better than anyone ever has.  But it's funny, considered everyone who has told me that cheated.  Ok... so I treated you so good, but you screwed around? 

I think there are a lot of broken people out there who just can't handle being treated well.  Z even used to tell me she had never met anyone like me.  She told me on multiple occasions that I am "down to Earth."  She told me most of her exes were really jealous and controlling, and I'm not, so she wasn't really sure how to deal with someone who didn't act like that.  (Apparently the conclusion she came to was to just ghost me, lol.)

Pretty much everyone I'm with ends up strongly disliking me or straight up hating me in the long run.  And I've spent a lot of time reflecting on why, since I don't treat people bad. 

Being a doer and not a talker, I think is a big issue for a lot of people.  Doers are intimidating and we are usually perceived as really selfish.  And there's a degree of truth to that. 

My first serious boyfriend had this really narrow world view.  His parents met and were married three months later and they were only 15 and 17 when they got married.  And it was a shotgun wedding.  His older sister, pretty much the same thing only she was 17.  So, because that's the way things were in his family, he thought that's the way everyone is supposed to live their life.  So, he expected to knock some girl up as a teenager and then marry her.  I threw a wrench is all of that.  For one I wouldn't sleep with him.  And this life he wanted didn't sound appealing to me at all.  So of course I'm selfish.  Ok, I don't want to spend my life barefoot, pregnant in the kitchen raising your kids.  If that makes me selfish then fine, I;m selfish.  He was also a talker.  He'd sit around blabbing about all the stuff he wanted to do, and never do it. 

My ex husband was a doer, also.  And two doers are a lot more compatible.  But unless what they want to do is pretty closely aligned, then that's not going to work either.  And he also expected me to drop everything to help with whatever creative project he was working on at the time, and usually I didn't mind helping him because what he was working on was fun and interesting.  But if I asked for any help it was a hard no.  And then it got to the point where he just expected me to devote all my time to helping him and not do anything for myself.  Like, "Why are you writing?  You should be editing my book for me!"  "Why are you painting? You should be working on my CD cover?" 

The final coffin nail was me going to Europe.  And it wasn't so much that I went.  But it was that I worked my ass off to save the money to go when I could have spent the money on him.  All our bills were getting paid.  It's not like we were starving and living without electricity, etc, just so I could go to Europe.  I got my paycheck and put what was left after bills and food, etc away toward Europe.  He got his check and after bills blew all his money on cam girls, DVDs, and energy drinks (he was addicted to Monsters.) And then when it's time to book my flight he just expects me to cancel the whole trip and buy him a car.  Um no.  So once again, I was selfish.  But even when he had a car, I never got a ride anywhere.  I walked to work in the rain more than once while his car was gassed up in the driveway.  I relied on public transportation, etc.  Because him and his family were convinced my eyes aren't bad and I can drive and I'm just faking it.  So he refused to give me a ride anywhere.  So hey... why the hell should I buy him a car?  And man, that was one of the most satisfying no's I've ever said in my life.  Because by that point I'd already busted him cheating on me more than once, etc.  I came back from Europe and started apartment hunting.  

This is a topic I want to write more about.  But I need to leave and go do some video editing.  

 

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So, getting back to what I was writing about before...  My ex Aaron...  my second longest relationship...  He was a doer, also.  And what we both wanted was pretty well aligned in the beginning but we branched out in different directions.  Psychedelics was what tore us apart, in the simplest version of the story.  When we started seeing each other, I was just starting to find my footing as an artist, and he was just finding his as a software engineer.  I think he really wanted me to come more over to his side of the fence and live more of a white collar existence.  He hated that I worked in the automotive industry, etc.  He really wanted me to find an office job.  And because we were together for a long time, he got established and got the good job, etc while he was with me.  And once he had the good job, that was it.  Which is fine.  I'm all for someone getting to a place where they are comfortable in life and staying there.  But once he stopped looking around and started settling into his role with his new company, he just expected me to stop evolving, also.  He was content to spend all our time just watching Netflix, etc.  And it didn't help that around the time he got the good job and started settling down, that's when I decided it was time to fly halfway around the world and do Ayahuasca.  And it as also around that time that my abuser was being persecuted for abusing my sister.  I hadn't even spoken to my Mom in months and the only thing that got us talking again was she was convinced I was going to die in a hut in the jungle.  So it's interesting how my decision drove Aaron away but brought my Mom back into my life. 

He was very anti drugs.  And there were no exceptions.  Someone has really bad chronic pain and the only thing that helps is weed.  Too bad, they can suffer, etc.  And this is something that never made sense to me because he drank.  So alcohol is OK because it's socially acceptable?  And the conditions we both agreed on were that I would go on antidepressants when Ayahuasca didn't help.  He was so set on thinking it would do nothing for me. 

And so then when I did it... and I came back to the states and went full ham with my art and dove headfirst into the festival scene, he decided he couldn't handle me anymore.  I didn't find this out until over a year later, but he also met someone else and ended it to be with her.  So, looking back, I don't really know if it was both reasons, or if he just used all my issues as an excuse to go be with this other girl.  In those situations, people usually do try to justify their own actions by blaming the person they're leaving. 

My vendor ex, M, was most definitely a doer.  And at first I thought I won the dating lottery because what we wanted was so in line with each other, and we had the same drive, etc.  We were like the festival scene power couple.  But he can't handle competition.  he feels threatened by everyone.  And he's rich, so he just throws money around tog et his way.  He doesn't like someone, he just has them banned, and pays the organizers off. 

And him and I had completely opposite attitudes when it came to how to run a business.  I'm not saying one way is right, etc, because everyone runs their operation differently.  But my way is my way for a reason.  And I became scene royalty for a reason.  Over time he stopped seeing his girlfriend and started seeing another competitor that he needed to knock down.  But it was really hard for him to knock me down because we sell completely different things.  I never saw him as competition because he's a leather worker.  If someone wants  a leather bound journal, or a leather bag, etc, they're going to go to him.  If someone wants a painting or a print to hang in their house, they'll come to me.  I don't even see other artists as competition because everyone style is different.  Like, if someone wants art like what Banksy does, they won't come to me because that's not my art style.  (Not saying anything against Banksy.,.. dude's a genius.)  Basically, if someone like my work, they'll buy my work.  There are so many other talented artists out there.  I don't see any of them as competition because no one is the same. 

He would have a bad show and be mad at me for a week after.  If I had a good show he would get really pissy with me and insist in a rude demanding way that I pay for dinner, gas for the drive home, etc.  And I never refused to pull my weight.  But him insisting that I pay for all of that stuff just because I had a good show was so juvenile.  Then we would get to his house and he'd tell me to go sleep in the guest room because he doesn't want to sleep next to me, etc. 

I think a ;lot of that had to do with him just getting his way all his life and being spoiled.  So he never learned how to handle disappointment or not getting what he wants. 

And then there was Z, who resented me for doing what I want to do.  I don't need to go int all that because I have before, recently.  And like M, she also saw someone she had to knock down, but for different reasons. 

Looking back, the only person who was also a doer and who didn't resent me was D.  And he's a doer like I am.  I've considered that him and I weren't together long enough for him to start hating me.  Because just about everyone that came before literally started to hate me while we were together. 

I know OCD has played a role to some extent here also.  But my OCD is pretty self contained.  Like, I don't expect everyone around me to do things a certain way because that's how I do them, etc.  That becomes a real probably with a lot of people with OCD in relationships.  Most of mine are so bizarre that they don't really impact other people around me.  Like, I hate wet clothing.  Especially other people's clothes.  I don't even like touching my own clothes when they are wet but I make myself do it when I do laundry.  It's not like life is full of situations where handling wet clothes is absolutely necessary and I've had a lot of fights with SOs about why I won't do it.  Bathing is really ritualized for me, and I have a hard time bathing in someone else's house until I reach a certain level of comfort with them. 

D understood all this, but oddly enough he has some of the same hangups about clothes and about bathing. 

I'm not trying to sit here and say I'm a perfect angel.  But I don't treat people the way a lot of people have treated me.  And so many people have said I treated them better than anyone.  But most of them really started to resent me and dislike me over time. 

It's also harder to connect with people post NDE. 

And I wish I had a little more time to go into this.  But publishing Needles does scare me a little.  It's such a hard time to be an author.  Authors can't do or say anything without pissing someone off.  And yes, I want those scathing one star reviews on goodreads.  But a one star review is different from people personally attacking someone.  And a lot of authors get personally attacked for what they write.  Just trying to do honest research got me threatened with doxing.  And people read my work and think I"m a man which is a huge compliment because male writers are taken a lot more seriously.  But it also sucks because men can't do anything right in our society.  The men's rights movement deserves a lot more visibility.  I hate the way men are treated and think this whole "men are scum" attitude needs to go away already.  There are plenty of scum women out there too. 

Anyway... this little stream of consciousness rambling has been fun but I really need to go get changed for work. 

 

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