Houses of the Broken and Other Stories

Posts tagged “perserverence

When the Levee Breaks

When I grow up, and I mean when I have more control over my own destiny and find myself on the other side of the management desk, I intend to turn things around. Tell your friends what we’re like. Tell our competition what we do. If you don’t like something, say it. Don’t leave it a carefully guarded mystery, festering in a cave of fearful doubt.

The world is slammed with non disclosure agreements and expectations. But I want to disclose. Oh, how I want to disclose.

Too many strings make for a heavy burden when you have to keep nearly every aspect of your daily involvements short, sweet and anonymous. No one wants to get bad press, but the more iron clad the agreement, the more you should keep a wary eye to the big, flashy smiles behind them.

Some people *ahem* are good at telling stories. Some people *ahem* love telling stories and some of the best stories aren’t fiction. Does someone need a champion? Someone to blow the chained cubicles wide open? Someone to ask the other minions if they’ve been treated the same? (I hear some people are good at asking all the wrong questions.)

The best way to keep people happy is to keep your promises. Setbacks are reasonable, if not expected. Deception, well, don’t expect that to succeed for long. Ignoring problems also doesn’t tend to make them go away, unless your goal is to alienate and irritate people in to leaving. And those people, aren’t going to recommend you later down the line, even if they are subject to a gag order.


2014 in Review. AKA – Things I never thought I’d do.

2014 has been a strange year. On paper it doesn’t look so bad, but to many of us it has been a mind numbing, soul crushing sequence of days. For me, this year has seen a lot of unrealized potential. Small flashes in the pan that keep a person spurred on, perhaps. While not much came to fruition, there are a number of things I didn’t realize I even had on my bucket list, that I can now cross off.

The year started with a new job. In the middle of the polar vortex. In a very old building. Nothing like starting a new job and immediately having to notify someone that the plumbing was frozen.

In lighter events, here is a simple list of highlights, there are a million emotional roller coasters that happened as each item played out:

  • Started a new, higher profile job.
  • Pitched a reality TV show.
  • Tried to start a business.
  • Joined roller derby.
  • Auditioned for a different reality TV show.
  • Got a book contract for my first novel.
  • Tried to start a business.
  • Survived a season of roller derby and actually played a bout (at my age!)
  • Covergirl for a photography business.
  • Tried to start a business.
  • Got unintentionally published in a magazine.

This was not a year of travel and adventure for us, it was a year of change and keeping things close to home due to such a shaky job market. Realignment of priorities, establishing some aggressive goals, and keeping ourselves sane. It didn’t always work, and it was never really easy, but we’ve made it so far. I’m still not sure where summer went.

Overall, I wish the word ‘perseverance’ didn’t come up so often, but there’s not much of a choice if you want to change your stars. 2014 started the trend of letting go, and I suspect 2015 will include some of the same. It’s a challenge not to give in and quit when things are hard. I’ve dealt with some new people I hope I don’t ever have to deal with again but I’ve also met some new people I’d like to get to know better.

Pipe dreams were chased and many glass ceilings were revealed. Now all I need is a brick.

All I can say to 2015 is – Bring it on.


Say Something Nice

I’ve been waiting to post something until I had something nice to say. It’s been a whirlwind summer and I’m still recovering. Lots of new things, lots of old things, and lots of tiring things.

I’ll start simple.

I like leather.

I like wine.

I ordered new business cards! Woo!

Now, why is it only Tuesday?


“The Call”

On Friday the 13th, under the Fullness of the Honey Moon… I’d like to announce that I got ‘the call.’

The call. THE call. The CALL.

I liked your manuscript! Tell me more!

An hour later, my head was spinning. Is this for real? Couldn’t be… my cautious nature waited for the other shoe to drop… and waited… and I reviewed the draft contract… and waited to hear that shoe go ‘thump’ and then… hard copy of the contract made out to me, notarized and in my hot little hands!

No thumps required.

Without fear and further ado, I’d like to announce my signing with Cliffhanger Press, for my debut novel manuscript Houses of the Broken.

I was thrilled to talk and work through everything with TJ Loveless, and can’t wait to see what kind of package we can put together. I just hope she doesn’t have to empty out too many red pens on my manuscript! *eep*

Buckle up for a new adventure! I still can’t believe it’s happening… But please, keep your shoes to yourself….

 


Technically Writing

I miss my woodchippers. I truly do.

I’ve been writing my fingers off in recent months but it doesn’t feel like it because it hasn’t been anything ‘fun’. Agent queries, product specifications, legal transactions… yes, I’ve been trapped in the world of technical writing and it just makes me yearn for the greener page all the more.

Some frivolity of tossing ne’er do well bodies in the ‘chipper could do me some good. Not to mention the question of what’s in the ‘meat’ that has everyone going crazy for it? The muse is demanding 80 degree days and fish bowl size tropical drinks heavy on the pineapple and rum. I would love to indulge her, but the Great Lakes region is not so forgiving.

In the mean time, the morning commute behind the local woodchipper service serves as a good reminder of what’s waiting for me on the other side.

Maybe soon I’ll be sharing exciting agent news! At least for now I know I’m official as the rejections come piling in. Until then… we wait.


Changing the Rules?

Why keep trying to beat someone at a game you don’t want to play? Interests and focuses evolve and change as we learn new things about our world and ourselves.

THEY say “Hold On!” But whose dreams am I holding on to? What do you do when you realize you’re still trying to measure yourself by goals you set before you even  joined the adult world? Naive expectation based on the way things “should” be, informed only by hope, logic and fairy tales.

This is not the way of the world.

The legacy of civilization carries with it inherent flaws which have defied evolution, lurking in the shadows of subtext. A generation is a small window of time, educated by its peers and environmental influences; it fails to grasp the bigger picture of how the machine began or the necessary evils that make it tick.

There is no level playing field and there never will be.

I neither want nor expect to have the life I wanted at 20. The world changed, forcefully, not long after that. The bright hopes on the horizon flickered and faded. Things got harder, things got leaner and the competition for merely enough to pay the bills increased.

It’s been that way ever since. Wondering when the other shoe is going to drop has become a way of life. Someone stole the brass ring and sold it for scrap.

It’s a new game… the old rules are useless.


Third Life – The 7 year glitch.

The more things change, the more things stay the same … thoughts from this time – 7 years ago…

My Year

This is going to be my year. And no, this is not a resolution, this is a lifestyle change. To think it will all change at once is foolish, but over the past year I have been slowly laying groundwork and reevaluating certain priorities.

One big step in ridding myself of negative influences has been my employment switch. The new job may not turn out to be all it’s cracked up to be, only time will tell, but regardless of that I will always have the fact that I looked out for myself and at least tried.

I really have to stop being so afraid of failure. I’ve taken a lot of chances this past year. Reconnecting with old friends, looking to better my career, trying to come to an understanding with my family, traveling abroad in a time of terrorism and uncertainty. None of those are safe or easy things. Some are big and some are small, but all it takes is a chance, and look where it’s gotten me so far: I have reconnected with my friends, and they didn’t reject me, I got a new job and got an offer from every interview, my family is a work in progress… every family is, but I think it’s getting better. We had a great time traveling and had no problems whatsoever, despite a bomb scare on the very flight we were scheduled for not two weeks before.

I think fear is healthy, but it shouldn’t be paralyzing. There are many times when I avoid activities or events because they’re unknown or uncomfortable and I’m afraid I’ll end up looking stupid or embarrassed or somehow fail. I’ve come to peace with that… I will look stupid, it’s what I do. It’s part of my charm.

Yes, I’m a dork, have always been a dork, will always be a dork, but you know what? The best friends are dork friends. They don’t judge you by your hairstyle or the size of your jeans. They don’t get jealous when something good happens to you, they get excited. They’ll be supportive, even if they might not agree with you. And at the end of the day, they’ll just be there ready to talk, or not talk; whatever you may need.

I’m sure there will be many times when I feel defeated and hopeless. Too tired to care or try anymore and discouraged to the point that I want to crawl in to a dark little hole and never be seen again. It’s hard not to be a self conscious little girl when you’re insecure and afraid. Hopefully I will be encouraged to not give up and have support when I need it. If I remember to listen to myself, that will be half the battle.

There will always be things I need to work on; it’s a fact of life. But I’ve been feeling more centered than I have in a long time, and much of that comes from being true to myself. Rekindling interests of the past, reconnecting with old relationships and the only people I felt ever really knew me, and sometimes just plain putting my foot down and not living my life by someone else’s rules and expectations. If I’m happy but someone else is disappointed in me, that’s their problem, not mine.

That settles it! I’m going to be a roller derby girl. If not now, when?


Some like a little warrior with their princess.

Some of my girls like conflict, I admit it. We… They … thrive on being able to best an opponent, no matter what gender, age or size. My dames dig damage. The rest of the world doesn’t always agree.

It’s not proper. It’s not ladylike. Don’t let them know that you’re stronger, faster, smarter. They don’t like that. Don’t talk that way. Don’t like those things…. it’s not appropriate.

Things that aren’t lady like are the best kinds of things. It’s no fun being a lady, I’ve had to do it a lot. No one says “Remember that time I knew what the shrimp fork was?” though they might fondly remember “Remember that time I ripped apart that entire chicken* with my bare hands?” Carnage is awesome.

Some of us are drawn to opposition, conflict and the like. Not because we want it, but because we’re not scared. It’s encouraged for boys to be brave. Why shouldn’t we be? Because it’s not ladylike….

I make a horrible damsel, it’s true. My hair isn’t long enough, I don’t wear dresses and I tend not to trip awkwardly when running away from things. IF I bother to run away. If a conflict can’t be neatly sidestepped, I’m more than happy to meet it head on. This tactic has had mixed results over the years but I rarely regret not running away. Bullies don’t know what to do with that, even as adults. It’s not always a matter of physical confrontation, but of self esteem and emotional control. You can’t make me cry. You can’t make me run. Your. Move.

“Princess” culture has never been my thing, despite being raised to know when to be a lady. Even as a kid, I wanted the princess’s horse, screw the girl in glass heels. (They’d hurt terribly anyhow. No wonder damsels trip.) What the modern self proclaimed ‘princesses’ fails to realize, is what the life of a REAL princess would entail. Extensive schooling, extensive training on etiquette, trivia, sewing, philanthropy, dance, strategy, arranged marriages for political gain…. it’s not all tutu’s an bon bon’s.

Keep your tiara, I’d rather have my soul.

I encourage all girls (and women) to add a little ‘warrior’ to their ‘princess’. Test your limits. See how well you can aim. Don’t be afraid of a friendly tussle. We get older and we forget… how we ran and played and bounced off the ground or tree or rock without a second thought. How we physically interacted with our environment beyond a keyboard and a screen.They are useful extensions for thoughts and ideas but they don’t compare to the feel of rough bark sliding under your fingers, or a cold stream shocking you awake as the water permeates the seals on your ‘water resistant’ shoes.

Learn strategy and how to pick your battles. Life shouldn’t be a constant fight nor a constant retreat. There’s no use ‘playing small’, because the more you do, the smaller you feel. You will be invisible if you act invisible. It’s a super power I’ve seen… or not seen… first hand.

Don’t be afraid to make them think. Make them nervous. Make them wonder… Even if you are wearing a skirt and a smile.

*Cooked. I’m no monster.


Rekindling the brain waves.

January is sliding quickly by and I’m getting back into the habit of being a working girl. It seems that a little bit of structure suits me. Or at least that the more structure I have, the more I want to break out of the box when I have a chance. It’s a passive-aggressive work habit at best but it seems to work for me. Deadlines help.

Speaking of deadlines… In an arbitrary discussion with myself it was decided that the summer solstice might be a good time to try to get my next work in progress out in print. It seems so far away but with the pile of editing I have to do, I know it will be here before I know it. And that’s not even taking time to format and tinker and perfect the look and feel of the product.

After the winter hibernation – which still calls to me in its fluffy, wooly tones – getting the brain back in the game is taking a little more effort than I’d like. But like any great training program, I need to up the reps and stick to a schedule. Don’t touch my chocolate though, I do have my limits…

The problem with having more ideas than energy is finding which one to focus the finite amount you have on. As much as I’d like to multitask when it comes to writing, keeping a linear process seems like it’s working out best for me – especially in the editing phase. I pause long enough to scratch down ideas for future projects, but diverting any real attention often just pulls the train right off of the tracks.

In the hopper now is the cannibal love story that refuses to follow any outline I put in front of it. If it, and I, survive through editing, it might just see an attempt at a screenplay as well. Because… why not? I’m not sure if I can make it in time for HorrorFest this year, but it is a far flung goal I’d like to attempt. If not, being able to have a second book at my table would be an awesome enough accomplishment.

I’m sure life doesn’t have any designs on innovative new ways to thwart me while I’m busy making plans…


NaNope

This is National Novel Writing Month… a month that has been sacred to me for years now. It’s a special time when all of my friends and family know to bugger off and leave me alone while I WRITE STUFFS!

It’s been good, it’s been bad, it’s been ugly, but I’m proud to say that over the past few years, despite life being life, I’ve managed to at least hit 50k when it was down to the wire. I work good under pressure, and I know it. And usually, I can buckle down. Usually…

I’m fairly certain I’ve been writing about 5,000 words a day. The problem is, very little of it has been ‘fiction’. Life turned topsy turvy on me in a very short amount of time. I thought the trip west was going to be my biggest obstacle in this year’s process, and I anticipated having to ‘dig out’ once I got back home. Little did I know, that would be the least of my worries. Long distance travel, jet lag, an ill timed sickness… and that was the easy part. The month was young, I still had time. I could have pushed myself, but I didn’t want to burn myself out too early.

And then…

No job. Just like that. *poof* It’s gone. Well, shit.

I’d love to tell you that my book (Houses of the Broken) was doing well enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about being a cube monkey any more, but that’s not yet the case. Working a day job, finding time to write, blog, promote, live life, sleep, eat, bathe occasionally… it takes a toll. And I’m tired.

Now that I sit with more time on my hands, I still can’t find a moment of peace. Suddenly I’m in a scramble to take care of all the things I didn’t have the chance to fit in to a 24 hour day. Meanwhile, I have to evaluate if I’m ready for a permanent career change, if I’m stuck in a career change whether I like it or not, thanks to the lack of current jobs, or if I just want to throw caution to the wind and do something… different. Really different. Flying without a net different.

*spoilers* I’ve always been the conservative one. Even talking about this makes my heart start to tense up ever so slightly. *thumpthump* Ack.

I should be writing right now, but not writing here. That’s the other part of the problem. All this adversity just makes me want to blog, and talk about life and things, and the plight of Generation-X. And maybe wear flannel two sizes too big… I’m feeling nostalgic. I rocked the flannel.

So, this year I get to accept failure. Failure at being an adult, and failure at NaNoWriMo. I’m still chipping away at it, and the good news is, even deep in personal strife, I’m still stacking up the words… just half as fast as usual. I want to just quit, I do… it would be easier. I want to quit everything right now, take my ball, and go home. Maybe hide under the covers too, at least it’s cozy there. I could go for some winter hibernation, hiding from my problems and the difficulties of the real world. Maybe, crazy enough, I will even let myself have some ‘down time’ and not feel guilty about it. Nah. That won’t happen.

At least not until December.


Third Life – Generation X-employee

Again. Seriously?

I almost laughed as my boss handed me my walking papers. “Not enough work,” he said. “Effective immediately,” he shoved a box at me.

Yeah, I know. I’ve heard that before. Two times before actually. This layoff was the least impressive to date. The last time I had to find a job in this market, it took me 6 months, and someone had to die for there to be an opening.

The market has not improved since then.

That same week, reports rolled in from my friends. Laid off. Laid off. Laid off. Five of us in a week. Lord have mercy. This doesn’t even account for other personal disasters. November is a hell of a month.

I can do anything and nothing all at the same time. All of the project lists I’ve been staring at and revising for the past year can now come to fruition. And I have no income. I can finally ride my horse and get back into shape! And I have no health insurance. Forgive me if I don’t want to tempt fate.

I come home to my spouse, ready with a hug. He’s home mid-day because he was already laid off earlier in the week. Second time in my life this double hit has happened. First time with this spouse. Things have a way of going in cycles. We meet up with my parents and do what any good family does: We drink.

It’s Monday morning now, and I’m watching the coffee pot bubble and brew. The coffee pot I bought during my last layoff, because I finally had time to make myself a pot in the morning. The $15 has been well worth it. There are a million things I could be, should be doing, and I have no idea where to start. I’m on borrowed time, never knowing when the next shoe is going to drop, never knowing when the next opportunity is going pop up.

At least this time I’m fairly sure I won’t end up in my parents basement. Small victories.


Coming in to the light.

My first book signing has been confirmed! September 14th, I will be having a signing at the Erie Book Store. I am both excited and anxious.

Up to now I’ve kept my identity… obscured… in my publications. There are a variety of reasons, but most of them come back to my day job and the potential clash of realities.

There is the question of who I want to be. Who am I? This part of me? It’s not the part that sits pushing technical documents around 8 hours a day. It’s not the part of me that’s expected to be responsible, reasonable and a good example at all times. It’s my artistic side. The side that gets to flex her mind, think outside the box and stir up mischief. The side that gets paid for pushing people into woodchippers. <spoilers>

How do I bring what’s inside, out?

“I am me.” That’s a phrase I often used in adolescences to give myself solace that being different might not be such a bad thing. But the truth is that on the surface, I’m not so different; just your ordinary, average office worker. Nothing to see here. But that’s not who I want to be, that’s who I’m expected to be.

So what’s a girl to do when the facets of her identity are at odds with each other? How do I show who I am and not the facade I’m expected to maintain on a daily basis?

If anyone has some suggestions, I’m all ears…


Dames dig damage.

I’m working on a theory: Women like 2 things. Sex and murder.

The first one isn’t much of a theory, I’ll admit. I think 50 Shades of Somethinorother nailed that just fine. <pun intended> Murder, carnage, fascination with sharp pointy things and a cathartic righting of wrongs… that’s what they really want. They’ll take sex, but let’s be honest, they ‘d just as soon nudge you when you’re a step too close to the woodchipper.

It’s an escape, a release of a whole other kind, to gleefully banter about how to plan the perfect ‘accident,’ and practice the batting of eyelashes. I’d like to say it’s innocent enough, but it depends how much I feel like obscuring the truth.

The girls I knew yesterday, and the women I know today, all express these darker tendencies. Birds of a feather? Perhaps. Or maybe, truly, it’s part of a larger truth that the male marketing media has long denied.

Dames dig damage.

Talk to a woman, any woman, no matter how happy, or well rounded, or comfortable she may be, and see how long it takes her to utter the words “I could have killed him.” Red handkerchief in with the delicates? One swig of milk left in the jug? That bag of garbage left to ferment and walk itself out to the curb? The co-worker who constantly farts in your cubicle?

It doesn’t take much. And that’s just the daily grind. Think of the conversations that happen in the thick of relationship turmoil. I might need a poll for scientific accuracy, but I’m not sure I’ve ever met a woman who didn’t relate to and admire “Thelma & Louise” just a little bit. Women are hardwired for protection. Never mistake a nurturing spirit for weakness.

And for your own good, put the seat down.

 

 


Createspace on your shelf for me!

See what I did there?

I’ve been sitting on pins and needles since the launch of Houses of the Broken last week. To put it mildly, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been interesting watching how Createspace and Amazon handle the publishing, and sales. And torturous as to how long it takes for sales to report from the various outlets.

Every day I check my ‘sales’ list, and my Amazon ranking. Some days I’m happy, some days I’m said, some days I’m just plain confused. I need to get a better media blitz together, but it’s difficult when no one returns your inquiries… I could argue back from a ‘no,’ flat out ignoring is a lot harder.

In many ways, it’s what I expected: It’s a lot of work. It’s a leap of faith. It’s not great for immediate gratification or questionable self esteem. And Kindle formatting… good grief. Don’t let the ‘it’s easy as pie!’ sales speech from CS or Amazon fool you. If you have a formatted file for a print book… be prepared to completely reformat it. This is still a work in progress and I even have people to help. I’m already wondering if the $69 fee to convert it in CS might have been worth it… but I’m the stubborn sort, and I like to know how things work for myself. So… Kindle version will be out… eventually… Besides, spreading out the action should be good… I think.

For now, I’m keeping an eye on the sales numbers vs. the number of copies that are showing up in people’s hands. If they don’t match, I’m not going to be a happy camper and that will lead to a whole other series of blog posts in the future. But for now… I must wait.

Take a chance on me!


If at first you don’t succeed… do it again.

This is the theme of the week and this potentially wine laced tirade. Nothing has worked right the first time, but perseverance is paying off. I hope.

I bought ISBN numbers. Or at least I thought I did. A few hours later my celebration was cut short by a note from customer service… somehow I had managed to log in to their site during a test phase. So neither my account, nor the numbers I bought were valid.

Try, try again.

ISBN numbers re-claimed, profile re-established, onward to the final phase. Createspace and uploading! *the crowd goes wild* The proof comes up, I start to page through it. The few minor image issue flagged aren’t really important until…

Where did my header go? *crap*

I had wanted blank pages in the front of the template, which CS hadn’t provided. Apparently in my previous attempt to insert them, I manage to scrub out the header information in the entire file. Not good news. Thankfully there was a formatting fairy to the rescue, and I was able to get the doc fixed to re-upload. On to the cover.

Oh, we only take PDF not JPEG. *sigh* Ok… cue email to my friend doing cover art. //facepalm.

It’s taken 2 tries on everything this week, but things seem to be working… now I wait to hear from CS and see if my info and files are all up to snuff.

And now we wait, until the morning…


Formatting the Beast.

I’ve been in a bullet biting mood.

I unceremoniously sat down this past week to start formatting Houses of the Broken for CreateSpace. I was in the mood, which is something that has not happened for a very long time. ABNA helped me in a few ways. I made it a few rounds, got some good feedback and most importantly… was faced with a deadline to get my stuff together.

It took an hour. No lie.

Well, for the first blush at least. Before I knew it, I had a nicely formatted novel looking document sitting in front of me in Word format. Immediately I learned a few things….

My manuscript program sucks for grammar and spell checking. So does Google Drive. Word is where it’s at. This was a bit disheartening at the time. I’ve been using Scrivener, which I really like for formatting and ease of story organization but good grief… the amount of errors that flashed up on the screen once I copied it in to Word was just plain disconcerting, given it was something I thought I had made a substantial amount of read-thrus on.

I’m not sure how to rationalize my work flow now. I like the way the manuscript program organizes, but if everything ultimately ends up in Word… why waste time going back and forth? It seems like extra busy work .

Very soon we’ll be wrapping up the graphics portion of the document and then it will be proof time! I can’t wait to get a copy in my hot little hands, though I’m sure the minute I open it up I’ll see 20 more glaring mistakes that mysteriously weren’t there the last 30 times I looked.

But it’s getting close… so close I can almost read it.


May Day

I disavow any knowledge of April. It’s dead to me. Water under the bridge. A pillar of salt in the rear view mirror, if I was to look…

ABNA was the least of my obstacles this past month. (There I go immediately talking about what I just swore I wasn’t going to talk about…) April really doesn’t deserve a recap, so it’s not going to get one. I will just bask in the sunny glory that is May for today, and savor it. The light is at the end of the tunnel and a little mental recoup is hopefully on its way.

It finally quit snowing… for a few days… I’ll take what I can get at this point. Any day I don’t have to scrape off my windshield is a good day at this point. All of this may have been telling me that I need to revisit my first complete NaNo (that rarely gets talked about and/or admitted to): Mother Nature, Inc. It’s been sitting in the shame pile for a couple years now but never quite quit nagging at me. Might be time to give it a fresh look and a serious scrubbing.

As always, too many ideas, not enough time. But now I can make espresso at home… who needs sleep?


Self-publishing, it is!

I’ve taken the better part of the day to mull over my thoughts on this morning’s list.

I didn’t make the cut.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was a complex mixture of disappointed, unsurprised, and relieved. In my mind, I made it about as far as I expected/hoped to go. The feedback was fairly positive overall, even my final review. Sure, I’ll wonder why I didn’t make it and why others did. That’s human nature, but really… it doesn’t matter. It was a lesson that gave me nothing to lose.

There is no negative outcome for this, which is the great part. I made it far enough to get some decent feedback, and I didn’t have to pay a cent. Complete strangers told me what my close friends had been trying to get me to believe all along. And I won’t lie, it felt good.

Maybe I was a lucky one, even in losing. I saw some of the reviews that came in… there was some tough loved dished out here and there. I had my critiques, but they weren’t unfounded.

Well… except for the one that said I had a foul mouth. *mwah*

Within 10 minutes of getting the news, I was letting my dear photographer Shane know to put the new book cover on the top of his to-do list. Problem is, I’m too much of a designer and I have a vision for this production. Sure it would have been great to be published, but I have ideas… bigger than just pages and pages of text. I’m not sure I would have taken well to middle management telling me ‘Oh yeah, that’s sweet that you have cover art all worked out, but this is what you’re getting.’ Not for this one, the next one maybe, but not this one.

This one is mine.


Dead calm.

When the pressure builds exponentially, and the chaos turns to white noise, this is the dead calm. When the little distractions and annoyances fall away, leaving you with the meat of the problem, a semblance of direction and a path of action, this is the dead calm.

A nemesis identified in the eye of the storm gives you no path of retreat. Surrounded and poised for action, your only option is to dig in and overcome; there is no choice, there is no hiding.

Face it. Take it on. Persevere.

Perseverance has been the theme of the new year. As much as I had hoped 2013 would issue in a phase of ease after the debacle that was 2012, it just hasn’t happened. There have been moments of stumbling, moments of feeling overwhelmed and swallowed up by the evolution of life. But even the spider climbed and re-climbed the spout when it needed to. I could do without the Sisyphean tasks, but I really have no choice.

Onward, I roll.