Houses of the Broken and Other Stories

Posts tagged “advice

Sticks and Stones

In Houses of the Broken, Lacey reflects “There’s nothing more pathetic than being dumped by a loser… ”

But, many of you won’t know if that’s true or not.

After nearly 18 months, my ‘indie publishing’ experience has come to an end. I can’t say I’m thrilled, but the thing about taking a leap of faith is; sometimes you fall. Does it hurt my pride? Sure. Do I feel stupid for trying? Absolutely. Did it send me in to a debilitating pit of despair over the past 6 months? Most definitely.

Will it stop me? No.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say, but I won’t say most of it. I don’t want to break the internet. (I have a vivid imagination and the vocabulary of a well educated sailor.) But I feel it can best be summarized the classic parent trap: I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

I gambled and I lost. It happens, just spend an afternoon browsing Writer Beware. What will I do now? Rally. It might take longer than I like, the Valley of Darkness is long and wide, but eventually it will sink on the horizon behind me. And there it will remain, a wasteland of forgotten times.

I’ve come eye to eye with the worst than can happen. From now on, there is no fear, just some healthy motivation based on spite.

xoxo

-Katherine

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Back to my roots – Time for Camp NaNoWriMo

I need a kick in the pants after this past year. My head is spilling over with ideas but I can’t seem to transmit them from the chair to the keyboard. Life, as it tends to do, keeps getting away of my long evenings in coffee shops, wine bars and opium dens…. wait, I never really did any of those things… but I’d like to think I would, given the chance.

I really got my start writing feature length pieces thanks to NaNoWriMo. It took me a few tries to hit 50,000 words, but once I did, there was no going back. Houses of the Broken actually started as a NaNoWriMo project. I won, that year and stared down the path of publishing.

The following year I had the issue of hitting 50k but being nowhere near done! I thought this was a great problem to have… until I tried to pick it up and finish it…. that one may just remain a cliffhanger for a while.

It wasn’t long before the bottom dropped out and life got in the way again. Half way through NaNo I was unemployed and facing an ugly winter. My muse skipped town, and that flighty little minx hasn’t come back to roost since then – longer than I’d like to admit. The ideas are there but they’re trapped under the ice of reality, waiting for her radiant warmth to break them out and set them free.

So,  thought I might try to get my muse in to boot camp. Thankfully Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! I’m a new camper, I haven’t tried this event before but I’m hoping it’s just the right amount of peer pressure to work in to my busy summer schedule. With any luck, soon people far and wide will be reveling in my unnatural love for woodchippers and creative problem solving.

Until then, if you see my trixie little muse, by her a one way ticket home.


Third Life – Prompts and Circumstance

Soul searching is a tricky beast. The time spent rambling around in my own head would make me a millionaire if I could put it to better use. Times change, preferences shift and every once in a while you’re left working without a net and the only way out is down. I problem solve for a living, but the down side is sometimes that analytical beast looks in the mirror and it’s hard to break the gaze.

Seeking a little more organized way to rationalize through things, I found a career blog that suggested asking yourself the following questions, stream of consciousness style. They are universal in nature and could easily be adapted to almost any person and situation. After compiling and reading over the responses that took me several days I did have to chuckle to myself. It reminds me of a Tarot reading that high school kids would give each other, flipping through the little book of divinity sworn to give you all the answers. Your mileage may vary.

Q.1) What are you working on? What is important at this point in your life? What are your own goals? 

A.1) I’m working on keeping an income, finishing my house and establishing myself as a writer. At this point being financially secure and finishing my home is my main energy usage. My goal is to wrap my passions in to my daily life, have time and means to explore and experiment, and have a sanctuary for myself and my family. Another goal is to quit being stressed based on the actions of others – get away from the negative vibes and the stranger I feel myself becoming.

But now I know it’s best not to tell others your goals because once it is out, the internal governor has no power.

Q.2) What is your ideal situation? How would you like your life to look? What would you change in your job, your living situation, your activities and your relationships if you had a magic wand?  

A.2) If I had a magic wand – and only with a touch of magic – the house would be done, correctly restored inside and out with a workshop and a clean play yard. I would be out of my *profession and/or in a position where I wasn’t stuck at a desk and didn’t constantly have to compromise myself. There would be encouragement, humor and innovation with hands on applications.

I would de-stress my personal relationships. More time to do the things we need to thrive, not just survive. I’m tired of being just a survivor.

Q.3) Write about your day. What did you think about? 

A.3) After reviewing my inbox, I spent the day waiting to hear from people that never reply. I stare at the screen and my desk and try to think of ways to keep productive while I wait since I never know when I might get the critical piece of information that will allow everything to fall in to place.

I think about how nice it is outside after this god-forsaken winter, and how it’s a crime to sit here and stare at nothing.

Then I send another email to an unresponsive consultant.

I think about everything I wish I could focus on. House, garden, farming, future, books, art, cooking, chillaxing with my dog… I think about what it would really be like to leave my *profession.

I think about being gobbled up by the Nothing.

Q.4) Write about your ideas. What have you been thinking about? 

A.4) I’ve been thinking about how to make a better root beer, imagining taste profiles that I’ve been missing and how they would combine. I’m thinking about how much I actually want to sell my soul to get what I want. I’m tired of compromise, is it worth the risk? Will I have spent all of this time and energy and wind up with nothing? I’m always thinking about how to protect myself.

I’m thinking about getting my cookbook together. Re-starting the food blog. I need to find my passion again. I need to get back in to my Saturday morning routine.

I’m thinking about how to get our bathroom finished and how the heck to get the monster bath tub upstairs without injuring someone.

I’m thinking about my next book and if it’s even worth finishing.

Q.5) Write about the people who buoy you up and increase your mojo level. What is it about those people that make them mojo builders for you?  

A.5) There aren’t many people in my life right now that meet that description but when things were good it was the people who were genuinely interested in what I had to say, encouraging and happy to find out how things were going. People who were able to exchange ideas and brainstorm without drowning out my voice and challenging everything I said whether they needed to or not. Being believed in can go a long way.

Many people are encouraging until you actually start to make progress.

Q.6) Choose one thing you’d like to add and one thing you’d like to take away. 

A.6) I would like to add more travel and take away being chained to my desk.

Q.7) What do you want to accomplishing during the rest of your life?  

A.7) I want to find something I’m good at that doesn’t make me feel miserable, compromised and out of control. I want to be independent and stable, the less I have to rely on people the better.

I don’t really care about a bucket list because tastes and values change, along with the economy and politics around us. I want the freedom and flexibility to explore things as they come to me without having to justify myself or apologize for being different.


*profession withheld for the safety of the human race.


Third Life: Fool’s Gold – Week 3: Purgatory

Did you ever have one of those weeks? One of those weeks where you exist inside of a business but you’re on your own desert island? That was this week.

I haven’t been able to even interact with people due to varying schedules and timelines. 10 minutes tops with the management all week, let alone trying to catch other team members. It’s been great for some work in progress plot development, but has left my overall experiment stunted and skewed.

A few more hours and we can chalk this entire week up to a mulligan.


Ready to Pounce

One minus T-10 days till Houses of the Broken takes the world by storm. I’ve been wishing my month away waiting for the big release (and a few warmer days.)

In the mean time I’m trying to prep myself for blog tours, interviews, private jets, paparazzi…. Well, a girl can dream at least…

But my muse has rolled back in to town, tapping on the outside of the window pane like the delinquent in every high school movie, trying to convince the good girl to play hooky and live it up. *tap tap* *tap tap* *tap* I see you, you naughty minx… I’ll be out, just you wait. And the bodies will drop with a vengeance!


Third Life – Fool’s Gold – Week 2: Don’t Look Up

It only took a couple of days before I realized one fatal flaw to my plan of reinvention. Once you know someone, you don’t look at them. You might see them, and acknowledge their presence enough to hand them something or not run in to them at the coffee pot, but you don’t really LOOK at them.

Short of wearing bells, I’m not sure any subtle changes to my appearance or stance are going to get noticed. Maybe it’s a good thing, since it answers the big ‘what if’ but it seems like a lackluster result.

The dreary cold will not let go in our region. I suspect that until the sun shines for a couple days and we start to see the flush of green, that most people will still continue in their hibernation state.

Wake me in July.


Third Life: Fool’s Gold – Week 1: Gilding the Gauntlet

Is it better to be pretty or smart? Welcome to my poorly contrived social experiment.

As my professional and life experience grows and I become entrusted with more responsibility, I can’t help but feeling more left behind. I’m in my mid-30’s, never been a ‘girly girl’ and most often wore the badge of ‘nerd’ in my academic days. I have a mind for problem solving, and enough social skills to get me through some of the most complicated business meetings (Smiling through clenched teeth should be listed on my resume under special skills or maybe additional languages.)

This bad idea started as most bad ideas do. At the bottom of a glass at the end of the bar, at the end of another long, confusing, frustrating week. “… you know, I have a push up bra too, maybe I need to wear it to start getting some recognition around there…” And that’s all it takes for an idea to bloom in the prickly garden of discontent.

I wish I could encapsulate the montage of identity crisis that followed.

“Maybe I should dress nicer… maybe I should wear make up… maybe I should keep my mouth shut…” this would go on for a few minutes before the angel on the other side chimed in.

“Screw them! Your cup size has nothing to do with how well you do your job. Big hair and bad perfume shouldn’t dictate who gets more attention.”

“But….” the other side would whisper “… it does.”

I was vexed. After some serious rationalizations and my friends evenly dividing between “No, you don’t need it!” and “Do what makes you feel best.” I decided to hit the warpaint store. I don’t even know how to shop for make up right. It all looks the same to me and all costs 3x more than I think it should. My goal, however, was fairly simple. Start testing out new looks. Simple, understated and professional. Going full on clown college was not going to get the right response for my goals. (Well, we may revisit that later…) I am the type that gets funny looks when I show up in something other than boots and dockers. I hate being cold and uncomfortable, and I have to be able to go crawl through a muddy basement or a dusty attic at a moments notice. It’s hard to wear a wiggle dress and climb up on a roof, no matter how dedicated you are to looking fabulous.

While I do sometimes envy the women that can run a 5k in stilettos, I don’t often have issues with the fact that I’m not one of them. (Though being able to wear a pair of heels for more than 5 minutes without an oozing blister or calf knotting foot cramp would be nice.) I do my job, I do it well, and I’m usually pretty well prepared…but… BUT…. not being polished and prissy in the process sometimes holds me to a disadvantage. I don’t get dragged in to extra important meetings (well maybe this isn’t exactly a disadvantage…), and I don’t get invited along to the quick lunches with the clients or consultants when they pass through town. (I’m rethinking this ‘disadvantage’ thing…) And while I hate wasting my time on the social niceties, it still… stings.

So my bargain with myself is thus: Start presenting myself as a stereotypical female, for a month, and see what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. But then I’ll know.

It was grey and bleak this morning. I took my time getting out of bed, so I didn’t have a lot of extra time on my hands getting ready. My hair was done (takes 5 minutes) and I turned to leave the bathroom.

“Oh… shit… that’s right…” I stared at the medicine cabinet longer than I should have, trying to dismiss this whole idea as silly so I could just be on my way. It only takes a few seconds…the other voice chimed. “Fine.” A few swipes of neutral eyeshadow, enough to claim I did it.

The gauntlet has been thrown.


Every day we run out of another tomorrow.

Use your time wisely.