Schedule shifting

This weekend brings one of (if not the absolute) my favorite events of the year: the University District Street Fair. So of course I’ve been mostly anticipating that instead of doing anything very productive. In my defense, I ALSO spent spent most of this week writing out to-do lists and game plans for myself, to try and get back on track with that. I find the practice very soothing, even if I don’t necessarily follow through on it. There’s something nice about laying things out in actual words, even if, again, putting them into practice doesn’t always work out exactly the way as originally planned.

But of course the fair itself has dominated most of my excitement this weekend, and we ended up spending nearly the entire day out — I was gone longer than I am during the week for the day job, but I came home much more excited and interested to work on things than I have in… a while, really.

Of course a lot of that energy is directed towards other art projects, rather than my writing, but I have also gotten some ideas for writing, and some experiences I’d like to be able to fold in, at some point.

I love open-air markets, and I’m glad that I live close to such a large permanent one (Pike Place Market, in downtown Seattle); I’ve loved them in fiction since I was a child growing up in the suburbs. I’d always wanted to experience them, and a more cynical adult might worry that I was romanticizing them, the magic hasn’t yet worn off for me. I’m perfectly content to wander around for hours even when I have no spending money, just to see what’s there. Yesterday we hit up multiple jewelry stands, some clothing stalls, various candle sellers, (of course) lots of food, wood-carvers and wood-turners, face painters and chariacture artists, street performers, leather workers… and there were a few more esoteric artists whose stuff I couldn’t rightly put into a single bucket, but I know parts of the internet would love.

An excellent Saturday, all in all. I don’t feel reset, exactly, in where I am mentally — the world keeps turning and things are still incredibly stressful and scary — but I do feel a swing towards the optimistic. At least for now. Surely that too will pass. But it’ll also swing back again, and I want to learn to be better prepared for those moments.

For writing, there are definitely projects I am interested in picking up. Some of it is more of “picking it BACK up” and some of it is brand new, but I am hoping, at least, for better progress. Last week’s exercise in writing out my game plans, and laying for myself the things I want to do, was a nice one.

I used to resent the idea of trying to schedule my free time — it’s free time, after all! If I want to take a day to gallivant around the local market, or go to a special event, then I should be able to! Who cares about all the rest!

Except that’s not always how things work out. I’ve become more aware of it as I’ve gotten older. If I define “free time” as “the time when I am not at the office,” there’s still a lot of things that have to get done, one way or another. I still have to make dinner (and with the lifestyle changes I’ve been working on, it’s far better and healthier for me to cook more than it is to eat out — less expensive too, haha), I still have to do my part of cleaning, I still have to take care of the cat… once all that is rolled into the picture, having a schedule is more of a relief than anything else.

And it doesn’t have to be a brutal one. Myself, personally, I think I have a habit of going too hard when I try to set up something new. The harder the regiment, the easier it is to fail, so for now I’ve got myself on something gentle. I can ease up into something harder. I’ve heard writing creativity as compared to a muscle group: of course, the more one exercises it, the easier it is to use it as it should be. I was there once, and I’d like to be there again.

On the other hand, next week is Folk Life, which is another open air market with lots of artisan vendors, so we’re already talking about going to that, too. Life still has to happen, the good fun things as well as the mundane ordinary grind and the bad.

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Scheduling my schedule

Trying to get back on a schedule is hard.

For a while, I was doing very well with writing; it was easy to at least sit down and do maybe about 1.5K words every day with about half an hour of time. They might not have been the best words, but they were down, and I could come back to edit them later. It didn’t feel like a strain, but more like a comfortable part of my routine.

But over time, I’ve fallen off that schedule.

It’s not like any actual major event happened that knocked me off — I’d say it was more just the slow accumulation of other things coming up and smaller life changes that came together until I realized I was way off. I can blame part of it on larger anxieties. The world continues to be a terrifying and uncertain place, even if I can only do so much.

Of course there’s more to it than that. The front desk in my building now closes an hour earlier than it used to, so if I need to pick up packages I have to rush straight home, rather than take the extra hour to find somewhere to write. I’ve had to make some small but significant adjustments to my daily routine for my health as well, so I’m cooking more and more carefully and watching more of what I eat. A lot of pastries are now out of the picture, which means that coffee shops and tea houses are also out.

(What sort of artist am I, now? I can’t even go to a coffee shop anymore!)

So the end result is that now I don’t really have a consistent writing schedule, and while there are bigger things in the picture, I think that it’s not really helping my productivity. Honestly, there are more days than not where I don’t write anything new or creative fictionally, I just sort of dump a lot of freeform thoughts onto the computer and call it good. And while I think there’s still merit in that practice, it’s still pretty disheartening. I had goals for this year! And the year’s almost half over and I’m not really keeping up with it and — yeah. It’s tough.

So for the past two months or so, I’ve been giving myself a pass. Part of that is related to aforementioned health lifestyle changes; I need to get used to that, because that has to be a key part of my life and diet from now on. It doesn’t matter how much I write or otherwise create if my health goes downhill, and I would very much like to stay alive and healthy. I do think it’s getting easier, now; I have a better idea of when I get home from work and the sort of food I can make that’s still easy but keeps me in a relatively “safe” range for what I’m eating.

And now that I am getting the hang of things, I do need to focus on my productive schedule.

My friends like to tell me that they admire me for my discipline. I don’t really feel like I have much of it, especially in regards to my writing and falling of schedule with that. My finances have also been seesawing since I had to throw out a lot of my kitchen staples and buy ones that were compatible with the diet changes I needed to make. I think those are also beginning to even out, though, so… fingers crossed!

With those things squared away, I do want to get back on track with writing. I have figured out something that might be a workaround for how much better and easier I work when I’m not at my “home base,” so to speak. As soon as I come home and sit down at my desktop computer, it’s like everything else goes out the window. I’m “home,” I’m allowed to goof off… even if I haven’t done anything that I need or planned to do.

So hopefully that workaround does, in fact, work. Hopefully I can get back on the horse and get myself back to a more consistently productive schedule. There’s still a lot of things that I want to write and do, and I think I could honestly get those done! …I just need to pull myself back into focus, and be consistent about that. Once I can get that ball rolling, I hope that everything will, if not fall into place, be easier to nudge into the positions they need to be.

Wish me luck!

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Scene snapshots

This hasn’t been a great week for writing, in the strict sense of “sit down, write your actual coherent scenes and your characters interacting,” but it’s been really great for scene snapshots.

It’s not a technical term. The scene snapshot is what I call those moments where you’re doing something else — household chores, sitting on the bus, browsing the internet, listening to music — and you get the flash of a scene. Maybe it’s just a wide visual shot, like what happens in movies. Sometimes it’s a character, a face and/or a name. It could be two characters and a snip of dialogue or interaction. Once in a while it’s just a tagline, and I love those because I generally struggle a lot in trying to figure out a snappy way to summarize my stories. Occasionally they come connected with others, which is when I usually start trying to build something out of the pieces.

For me these scenes always quite vivid. It feels like I was dropped into something partway. Not even in medias res the way a story might be deliberately shaped, but like you walked into a movie or TV show partway through something.

These scenes are never connected directly to anything, not as they first appear. They just exist as they are, and it’s up to me to puzzle out a larger context or setting if I want to go forward. Who is the young man with a scarred face staring longingly up at the rainy gray sky? Why is that girl with a wolf’s hind legs so pleased with herself, tucked away in the back corner of a dark bar?

I don’t know yet.* But that’s part of the process. Maybe this is just how inspiration works.

* (Except I do for these examples, because these are two of the oldest characters I ever developed. I haven’t actually written their stories yet — but they’ve been kicking around in the back of my mind for nearly two decades now, waiting for the opportunity. Someday soon, I hope I can do something for them.)

On the other hand, there are a lot — a LOT — of these scene snapshots that come and go and I don’t try to pursue. Most are pretty self-indulgent to embarrassing degrees. And while fiction writing is an industry that generally expects you to pick a niche and stick with it if you mean to be successful, for me, at least, there’s also a desire for some self-indulgence as well — writing because you want to tell this story, because this is a topic that interests you, because this is something that you want to explore in the safety net of fiction.

But even then there are scene snapshots that I have to file away as “I’m not sure what to do with this,” or “I like it, but boy am I embarrassed to put this anywhere.” Some of them echo back to my teenage love of intense melodrama (the fantasy of the rest of the cast realizing how much they’ve wronged a good long-suffering friend, mmhmm) and some of them are just too esoteric for me to even want to figure out. There are certainly some writers who’ve made enviable careers of tapping into that love of melodrama! I just don’t think I could manage it. I’d be too embarrassed of my work, and that seems like a pretty poor way for a writer — or any kind of creator — to live.

Also, in all honesty, as satisfying as a scene snapshot of someone groveling for forgiveness after wronging someone else can be, I feel like it’d be incredibly irritating for anyone else to have to consume. Yesterday my roommates and I went to the mall, and in one particular store every single song was some variation of “I know I wronged you but please love me again,” which got old really fast.

If I’m going to flesh out one of these scene snapshots into something more, I want it to be something that I wouldn’t mind reading myself. I’d like to do justice to those little snapshots that come to me that feel like they want to be part of a bigger story. Even if I can’t do something like that right away — see those characters (and their related casts) I mentioned above — I at least have a framework kicking around. I’ve got something that I can come back to at a later date, ready and waiting.

At this particular moment I’m working mostly on doing a first-read edit pass of a thing I finished back in early 2016 or thereabouts, so I can’t really focus too hard on starting new things, but at least I’ll know that they’re ready, whenever I can get to them.

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VS Social Media

Social media is hard for me.

When you start trying writing on the pro side, submitting pieces and books and getting paid for them, you’re completely inundated with the advice. Get a Twitter, get a Facebook, get a blog and a mailing list and do everything you possibly can to get yourself out there and visible. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy or socially awkward or low energy or whatever; you are your only (free) means of PR, so you have to do it.

To be quite honest, I think I am failing at most of that. I am, in fact, that shy forgetful person who’d much rather put my energy into the actual writing and editing process rather than the PR side. I’m awkward, I’m quiet, I tend to get lost in my own head even when there’s conversation going on around me. As far as Being A Professional Writer Who Sells Her Work, I’m not doing so hot at putting myself out there.

I do have a Twitter, but I haven’t touched it in months; even on good days, it’s completely inundated with intense drama about either politics, civil/social issues, the environment, or some intersection between any of those.

And I absolutely don’t begrudge people tweeting (or retweeting) what they want, especially in their own space, it became too incredibly exhausting to me. I know there are ways around that! I’ve read advice there. Create lists, mute keywords, all that, but neither of those actually helped. Muting only seemed to work for a single tweet; my phone didn’t like the list viewing option.

Maybe those are just excuses. But in the end, I’ve just been on a general Twitter hiatus.

Case in point and small tangent, the news that came through about the peace talks between North and South Korea earlier this week is an incredibly personal topic to me. I still haven’t fully processed the news. Despite being born decade after the armistice, the war had multiple impacts on my life. I want to know more, but I don’t want to be inundated. I don’t want soundbites. I want time to think.

Back to the actual topic of social media, Twitter also goes at such a breakneck speed that I feel overwhelmed trying to keep up. Again, I know lists are meant to be the answer. “Set it up small, so you can read only select list regularly.” But that also feels like it defeats the purpose of social media. I want to participate in a community, if I’m going to be part of it. I don’t want to filter by actual people if I can avoid it.

So that’s on me. Maybe I’ve shot myself in the foot here. I can’t know, though I can hopefully come back and rebuild myself, and try to establish a better presence in the future.

Facebook has always felt skeevy and weird to me, even before all the scandals broke in the news. I can’t actually recall any of my friends talking about a positive interaction on Facebook — it’s always been family fights and passive-aggressiveness, or else friends of friends or strangers also coming in to pick fights about social justice. None of that has ever sounded appealing. Now with the news, it’s even more of a “no thank you” issue, so that’s also out.

Tumblr is… well. That’s a gigantic can of worms on its own. It’s worth its own standalone post, to be honest, though the rabbithole there goes so deep, and plenty of others have discussed the issues there. Purity wars, virtue signaling, people lashing out in extremes against any perceived flaw — I’ve both heard about it and seen it on tumblr.

But it’s on Twitter too. And Facebook. All social media platforms have this, which is an unfortunate fact. Right now I find tumblr the easiest to keep up with because it does let me curate my feed in a way Twitter so far has not, even though I’m another drop in the sea of many. The post queuing system is not great, but it does exist in a way that I can access and edit even on my phone.

I have hopes for Pillowfort, though activity over there has been so slow that my own activity dropped to nil in response. Again, that’s on me; that might be another instance of ruining things for myself. My hope is that it will eventually gain momentum; I’m keeping an eye on things just in case.

And then, of course, there’s this blog. I am proud of keeping up fairly steady updates on this (barring the week of health issues) since I started this up again. I’d honestly like to do more here, if only because this is much more my own space than other platforms. It’s less “social” than most social media, but it’s the closest I have to approaching the writing side that I’m more comfortable with. At this point, it’s just the sort of amorphous “more” that I haven’t yet defined, but hopefully soon.


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The conflict is conflict

I am conflicted by conflict. (There’s a sentence for you.)

As a person in my daily life I am not fond of it. I don’t seek it out, and I don’t want to try encouraging it. As a writer I enjoy it, but that’s also a much more controlled situation for me. Even if I don’t have everything planned out, I am at least able to make adjustments. And if worst comes to worst there’s always fixing things in the revision process.

Yesterday, a small group of my friends got together to play a round of Fiasco. It’s a tabletop-style roleplaying game where the general gist is to come up with — to quote from the website:

“FIASCO is an award-winning, GM-less game for 3-5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with six-sided dice and no preparation. During a game you will engineer and play out stupid, disastrous situations, usually at the intersection of greed, fear, and lust. It’s like making your own Coen brothers movie, in about the same amount of time it’d take to watch one.”

This is the second time my friends have played it, and my conclusion has ultimately been that while it’s a lot of fun to watch, it’s not really the sort of game I want to play a lot in. If there’s something I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I don’t generally enjoy taking part in escalating drama, even in the safe situation of a game. And again, it’s not that it’s a bad game; far from it! It has been genuinely entertaining to watch, and my friends have been enjoying themselves immensely. It’s not a knock against the game, and it is hopefully not a knock against myself.

I suspect in part it’s because my stress levels have been high in general for a while now — I am a naturally high-strung person, really. I get excited and then I over-commit and then I exhaust myself. Or maybe I just get worn out even before we hit the commitment stage; whatever the reason, I get worn out pretty fast as a result.

Which I suspect ties at least partially into something I’ve talked about before, both in this blog and just with friends in general: I am so tired and sour about this prevailing notion that a “darker” story is somehow the “better” one. Stories where characters are ground down and broken, where everything is bleak or things just keep going wrong and keep going wrong, or stories where things are bitter and unresolved — these all certainly have their merits and fans! I’m not trying to say that they’re all bad. I just continue to be… not resently, precisely, but perhaps low-key irritated at the attitude that the opposite is somehow boring or trite.

Yes, a story requires conflict. It’s not much of a story if it’s just some happy little scene — but it’s not really much of a story if it’s just a bleak crushing one, either. To me, there has to be some sort of movement, whether forward into the positive or backwards into the negative, to distinguish writing a scene for the sake of the imagery one wishes to convey.

But forward motion in a positive setting doesn’t need to be a boring thing. A happy character with a good life is not somehow inherently a worse protagonist — it’s just a matter of personal taste. It’s so easy to assign objective value based on one’s subjective tastes. I’ve done it; even being aware, I’ll continue to do it. It’s not any less true for being a subjective opinion*, after all; for me, personally, things I like in fiction are good and things I dislike are bad. There’s always going to be that conflict, and the defensiveness that comes when one’s own point of view is disparaged. Thankfully my friends have never actively tried to make it its own conflict (haha), and for that I’m grateful.

(* I want to clarify, even if it’s unnecessary, that this is all about things in fiction only. Obviously there’s a lot of stuff in fiction that skirts into real life issues as well, the bad and the uncomfortable. There is a difference, I think, between fiction that uses ugly and horrible real life things to tell a story, and a story that uses those things to get off, and to encourage others to get off. That line might be thinner for some than others and it’s all subjective, but still an important distinction.)

What it all ultimately boiled down to is the fact that I enjoyed being the audience to the disastrous “movie” my friends created yesterday (involving demon penguins rising up from a fault line in the Antarctic and the douchebag bro becoming the Penguin God and– well, it was pretty spectacular), I’m not sure I would want to participate much myself.

But for anyone who would be into that, I do recommend giving Fiasco a try.

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Thoughts on good-byes*

(Just to clarify, I’m not going anywhere. The good-byes are more abstract, for me.)

I’ve been thinking about good-byes a lot lately.

Not just in a sad sense, though obviously there’s a huge element of that at play most of the time. Even temporary good-byes are sad.

(Full disclose, my girlfriend has been out of town this weekend, and while I wouldn’t say we’re completely codependant, she is also one of my best friends, so things at our household have been kind of quiet for the weekend.)

So maybe it’s a little bit of that. Maybe it’s because I’ve had One Last Time from Hamilton stuck in my head off and on since we got to see it live. It could be because they’re ramping up to do a new adaptation of a show I have a lot of fondness for, in spite of its weaknesses and faults.

(That would be the anime Dangan Ronpa 3, which my friends who are fans of the franchise as a whole tell me fell down a lot with regards to its story and messaging compared to the first two, which were video games. And I can admittedly also see where some of the cracks exist, though as someone brand-new — if not unspoiled — I think I had a better time with it than most of them, to be honest. The point is, spoiler block, I had three favorite characters, two of whom died and the last one is grimly obligated, through both the narrative and his own need for atonement, to live on and bear their burden.)

We could go both deeper and wider and look at a picture of the world as a whole. Things are pretty grim! As much as I felt better coming into 2018 a lot of that has faltered or soured. I’ve almost completely given up on Twitter because there’s so much news on my feed. And I don’t begrudge that of the people I follow; this is our shared world, and it’s important to know what’s going on. Everyone has their own comfort levels and desire for engagement, and for me, I hit that limit a while ago.

So there’s another one of life’s small good-byes: to Twitter. I’d like to go back eventually, though I’m admittedly daunted by the idea. For now, at least, I’ve mostly bowed out there.

I should note that while I am terribly anxious about a lot of this — hence the issue with my Twitter — I am not interested in bowing out permanently. I’d hazard a lot of my anxiety is because I’d like very much to keep on keeping on, though I worry about what the wider world landscape will look like as one does.

Good-byes have been on my mind. Those that come deliberately planned, the ones that happen entirely by accident, and the ones that come so slowly and drawn out that you don’t even realize it happened until it’s long over. Even with the short-term ones there can be a bittersweetness that’s hard to shake. It lingers. Like any sort of grief, there’s an ebb and flow. Things flare up and they fade, but they never quite go away. And maybe that’s part of why it’s been on my mind.

It’s a strange feeling too, because I’m not really one for the bittersweet or the angsty. When it comes to fiction, I don’t mind a harrowing or unhappy story so long as it has its brighter moments and a happy ending. The continuing attitude that the only “worthy” or “realistic” stories are the ones where things are grim and dark and struggling is anathema to me.

Of course there are definitely good and worthy stories along those lines. There are some I’ve enjoyed! (I mean, I’m also a fan of the horror genre, and there’s not a whole lot of “overall lighthearted” to go around.) But as an overall trend and preference when I am consuming new media, I want to look for things that are happier in tone.

Maybe it’s true that harder stories are more realistic, but that doesn’t mean I have to want to consume more of it in my fictional media. I want the version of the story where the good-byes become hello-agains; I want to see the story where instead of being crushed by grim obligation, the characters live on because there’s something better that exists within sight — a goal that can be worked for, instead of some ever-distant impossible ideal. I want more sweet than bitter in all things.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it.

The good-byes stay with you.

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Cherry tree thoughts

(Or maybe I should call it cherrypicking? Sorry. Sorry.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about fairytales again.

Weird as it sounds, I’d blame the weather for it. Spring is a time of transition in my mind. Maybe it is for the collective unconscious of the world — I would assume so, given everything, though I haven’t done enough reading in this category to be certain.

Here in my part of the pacific northwest, it’s been seesawing between jacket-wearing cold (the low 30sF) to light cardigan weather (mid 60sF) and undulating between gray rainy overcast and bright clear sun. In spite this, there are cherry blossoms in bloom all over the place. Around every other corner is a tree that looks innocuous and staid for most of the year, but right now — for this rolling one-month period — they’re covered in delicate little pink to white blossoms. There are places around my dayjob office where the sidewalks are carpeted with tiny petals. The trees outside my condo window, while not blossoming, are covered in tiny persistent pale green leaf buds.

Flowering fruit trees are some of my favorites, just to look at them, though I always find myself thinking about the stories that are connected to them. (All of this is Asian in nature, though I do know the story about the Virgin Mary wishing for cherries while she was pregnant.)

They’re tied to life and death — there’s the most prevalent one about how Japan views them as a symbol of the briefness and fragility of life, and the association with both fallen samurai and kamikaze pilots. Several stories talk about spirits that inhabit cherry trees, whether naturally being the spirit of said tree, or being a ghost that has taken up residence within it. A Japanese story that has reached some degree of urban legend status postulates that the pink color of the cherry blossoms come from blood spilled on its roots. (Some variations go as far as to state that a corpse is buried underneath a particularly red-blooming cherry tree.)

There’s a definite association with femininity and romance. You’d be hard-pressed to find a shoujo manga series that doesn’t utilize cherry blossoms to some degree throughout. Why not? They are lovely even in the middle of an urban landscape. I have friends who go to view the cherry blossoms at the university every year, and when as a student I saw plenty of couples canoodling, not to mention a decent handful of wedding pictures being taken. Not everyone knows the stories or the symbolism, and that’s fine. They’re still beautiful.

But the route I take home from work goes through parts of the International District that stand further removed from the downtown core. It takes me away from the former Amazon building and the big brand grocery store, where the shopfronts are weathered and worn down rather than glossy and bright. More cherry trees grow in this area, planted in street medians, along sidewalks, and in tucked-away little urban parks.

Most of these bloom very dark pink.

Not all of them, of course. There’s still plenty that are a more ethereal pink, that faint saturation point that tips between white and some other color. But compared to the trees I find on my walking breaks, I see a lot more darker pink trees.

Now, I’m not a gardener. My mom is. If one asked, she could talk a lot more about the composition of the soil, or the health or species of the tree. Maybe she’d know why this happens. It could be that they’re a completely different species of cherry tree. All I can tell through the window is the color, and the magnitude of petals on the sidewalk and street. Maybe the soil is different six uphill blocks away from my office. It could be differing amounts of light, or that people are pouring (or placing) different things on the roots of these trees. Honestly, it could just be idiosyncrasies in the tree’s own genetic makeup, the way that most living things aren’t exact copies of their fellows, even under the same growing conditions.

There are dozens of reasons why this could happen. But me, I keep finding myself looking out the window as we slowly roll by these trees and wondering, how many bodies? How deep down? If the color stays true year after year, does the supply need refreshing? Do the people under the trees simply fade away, absorbed into the tree’s life entirely? Or could it be that they maintain their own independence — as much as one can, at least, being a ghost and tied to a specific tree?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

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Just a quick update to say I’m not dead!

I’ve definitely been having some on-again off-again health things (and the attendant anxiety that comes with said health things), but I do actually believe it’s all under control at this point. Hopefully for real things are back on track now. (Knock on wood.)

Last week I didn’t have much of an excuse; it was Sakuracon weekend and I had a bunch of friends from out of town visiting. We were pretty busy the whole time, so it was only after some decompressing and getting back to my regular schedule that I realized — aha, I have been slacking off here.

Anyway, I honestly don’t have much to update in general; I’ve spent most of the past couple of weeks trying to make the lifestyle changes I need for my health and getting used to that as the new normal. I’ve been dealing with a couple of other unrelated issues as well, but it all ties down to “I haven’t done a lot of writing and I’m terribly sorry about that.”

More excitingly, my publisher, Less Than Three Press, turns nine this month! They’re having a big ol giveaway and everything for it! There’s a raffle where you could win a kindle (two of these available), nine e-books of your choice (two of these), or a $9 gift certificate (nine of these), with an entry for every book you buy this month.

Which means (drumroll shilling), if you’re interested, why not check out my books? Everything’s on sale for 29% off, which is a pretty nice discount, I’d say.

For the curious (or the lazy), you could always check out:

Ravenhearth (m/m), which was my first novella, and which I have always in my heart thought of as “Beauty in the Beast meets Bluebeard.” A young orphan wants to learn magic and is willing to become the companion of the mysterious Keeper at Ravenhearth Castle in order to learn. Not everything is as it seems.

Simon’s Cat, (m/m) which is Puss in Boots, but with a catboy. Because listen, catboys.

• I also contributed a short story, “The Fox-Bride,” (f/f) to Fairytales Slashed, volume 8. A girl saves a fox, who in turn gives her a hand when she needs to help her ailing brother. I like foxes and I like fairytales; it worked out pretty well.

Hold Fast the Knight (f/f/m), which is a short novella about a young man who very much wants to be a Knight Of The Kingdom, with all the prestige and honor it brings. He’s told that he might have a chance if he rescues the kingdom’s prince from an evil witch, but quickly learns that everything he’s heard so far might, in fact, not be the real story. He adjusts accordingly.

Forward The Hunt (m/m), which just came out at the end of February! Super exciting!! It’s the story of Haruki, a young man who’d like very much to fully and properly be considered one of the citizens of Salfea, the city-kingdom where he grew up. But as the son of immigrants with very conflicting beliefs to the rest of the city, he’s always had a hard time with that. With the advent his first yearly Great Hunt as an orphan, though, he just might have a chance… you know, if he can resist the dragon he finds.

So yeah, if you’re interested, please check it out! And anyone else you might encounter there — LT3 has a lot of great stuff available, so you’re pretty certain to find something there that you’ll like. (ノ^ヮ^)ノ*:・゚✧

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Another quick update

For various reasons, this has to be a quick entry. (Well, quick as I can usually make things — which, when unedited, is not very.) Most of this is related to health; I went to the doctor for a general physical for the first time in [embarrassed mumble] years, and the doctor has been vague about the results, which of course means I am catastrophizing in my mind. Paired with a couple of other emotional blowouts, this whole week has been a wash in terms of me trying to think of anything at all, whether to write about for a blog entry or to write about in general.

(Also: seasonal allergies. They’ve been pretty bad this past week.)

I’ve been trying hard, mostly, to get myself back into the habit of things. I’ve had multiple friends tell me that they’ve always seen me as a person of routine, which honestly I’m pretty glad for. It’s not like I can see how this could be bad for someone who craves adventure and excitement and lots of upheaval, but I’m not that person. I was very aptly named. Terra likes to put down her roots and follow patterns for good habits.

Or at least, I do most of the time. I’ve been pretty bad about it for longer than I care to admit. Some of it is in reaction to bad political climate and trying hard to stay involved without being so involved it wrecks me, some of it is the weather, and some of it is just, I think, sheer human laziness. You get used to a routine, then you think you can give yourself some slack, and then suddenly it’s ALL slack, no discipline.

And there is a part of me that does feel like, I should be allowed to do what I want (within reason, of course) with my life! Let me eat whatever I want, sleep when I want, and enjoy my free time away from my deskjob how I see fit!

But the sad truth is, if I do give in and just indulge in that, I end up feeling pretty bad. It’s not just mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds, or eating that second slice of pie — it’s the fact that I fall down on other habits that I feel make me a better and happier person. Going to bed at a regular time, even if it’s earlier than Teenaged Me ever enjoyed, or eating a lighter breakfast, or keeping up with my hobbies in an orderly fashion, rather than being scattered all over the place. My writing has slowed, and even my other hobbies are slower than I’d like. It feels silly because I have plenty of time after work, even accounting for daily chores, but it also feels like I’ve been in a pretty slow holding pattern.

My hope is that with the better weather (pollen and other allergens aside), I can take advantage of it to accomplish more things. I’ve never thought of myself as someone affected by SAD, but the longer I live up here in the Pacific Northwest, the more I suspect that even if I don’t get outright depressed, I DO feel a lot less energetic and willing to put in effort.

So that’s the goal going forward: to get back into the good routine habits, and to try and get those established by the time winter rolls around again, so that they’re at least ingrained. Cut out soda almost entirely (once in a while I hope is fine, but not as much as I have been), eat smaller portions, and generally be active more. With all that, hopefully I can pull back on health scares, and actually keep myself as a more balanced person.

(Of course, I anticipate it won’t go perfectly. I am certain there will be setbacks; mostly I hope that I can get myself back into the routine enough that I can have an easier time swinging back into it. I’m old enough that a lot of my bad habits are set, but hopefully young enough that changing them will work, even if it takes time and effort.)

And hopefully NEXT week, I can actually get back to less general rambling and more talking about fiction. I’ve been reading again lately! I’ve been looking at open submissions and thinking about my options! That’s even with all the other craft stuff I’ve been working on, so hopefully this is all a change for the better.

Onto next week!

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Another weekly catchup

So, in true vacation style, I only got a few of the things done that I meant to. In review, I’d say it was about 50% successful in terms of “getting non-dayjob stuff done at all.”

I managed to write every day! Which is pretty difficult when you’ve set up shop in the busiest spot of the house and your parents are eager to see and talk to you after having not seen you for a year. It wasn’t as much writing as I’d like (just my bare minimum per day, most days), and some of it was just trying to write an outline for another story, but I’ll take those as victories regardless.

However, I did get some progress done on bead and craft-related things, much to my mother’s amazement. (“They’re so small,” she said, as she watched me. “How can you tell where the holes are?”) I had to work with a limited palette, since there’s no way I could — or would even want to — cart my entire collection down for a weeklong trip, but I got a couple of pieces done. We also discovered a nice little store about 20 minutes away from where my parents live, with some incredibly good deals (I’m amazed at what I came away with), so that felt pretty good. Beadwork is something I can do while listening to podcasts or audio books, so it’s much easier for multitasking during a conversation.

And there were a lot of those. There’s nothing really like coming back to stay with your parents for a short while, after you’ve been away for a year. I could definitely see a lot of my worst habits reflected in them; I can only hope I have some better ones available as well. But that’s probably a topic for another day.

Coming home to Seattle didn’t really help much either, in terms of being a productive person. Friday I mostly spent trying to do small errands and recover from 6 solid hours of travel, and also comforting my cat, who spent half the day being aloof and annoyed, and the other half glued to me. I didn’t even cook! We delivered a care package to a friend and then went out to eat, and I have to admit, I enjoyed having that day to unwind. (I did do my writing to the bare minimum that day as well, as I worked on the writer’s reading edit for something that has been long finished.)

And then Saturday, yesterday, we had a cat health scare in the morning. My roommates had bought some flowers to celebrate my homecoming, because the cat had shown absolutely no interest in any other displays we’d had in the house… and then, Saturday morning, we catch him chewing on a plant that looks an awful lot like lilies.

Which of course are incredibly toxic to cats. The articles I found suggest that if they were day lilies (like we’d suspected), he would very likely be dead within a day or so.

So cue a flurry of phone calls to the local emergency vet (thankfully only a few blocks away, though all uphill) to rush him in. I signed papers and agreed to let them induce vomiting if they needed to, and then… the tech came out and assured me that they weren’t lilies, but a lookalike cousin. I started crying a little at that point, paid the bill (hooray for unexpected bills!) and then took him home. Other than being annoyed and yelling at us for it, he’s no worse for the wear.

I spent most of the day after that alternating between trying to focus on any sort of creative project and fussing over him. He enjoyed the attention up until the point he decided to sleep in the closet instead.

Then in the evening, we went to see Hamilton. Which I might write about later, because for all that it’s a fictionalized presentation of real historical events, and we’re in such tumultuous times in the USA right now… it was still an amazing performance, and it gave me a lot to think about in terms of the staging and the choreography; I loved how the set itself never super changed, just the pieces being utilized, the lighting (and colors of lighting), and the props. I already want to see it again, though the shows are sold out here for the rest of its run (and I mean, rightly so).

But now that I’m back in my proper city, in my adult home, I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things — more writing again, walking more, and otherwise trying to handle myself and things better. The weather’s getting nicer! I still have a lot of plans and ambitions!

And hopefully next week, I can start blogging about stuff that isn’t just mundane weekly catchup, haha.

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Home again, home again

You can, in fact, go home again.

(That’s where I am right now, in fact: my parents’ home, my childhood home, on the other side of the country from my usual home. My parents and I agreed a long time ago that trying to arrange traveling during the actual holidays was too much of a pain; and given that they live in Texas, it’s preferable for us to avoid the summer months, of which there are many.)

I only do this once a year, and every year, there are so many things that are the same — the old Walgreens that’s been there as long as I can remember, my favorite local-only sandwich chain, the wide streets that are still so cramped because of the constant, unending construction. The redbrick exterior of my childhood home looks untouched: there are some cosmetic changes to the yard, reflecting my mother’s whims with her gardening projects, but outside it looks exactly the same.

Inside, it’s a little different.

My parents are older and it’s showing; they’ve made updates and changes to the interior to reflect some of that. A year and a half ago, they ripped up all the carpet that’s been in this house since it was made (nearly 30 years ago, whoosh) and replaced it all with hardwood. They installed a new sound system and remodeled their kitchen to update everything. My bedroom is stripped of a lot of what I left behind — there’s a handful of my old books, a couple of stickers I slapped onto the walls when I was 6, and a handful of clothes in the closet.

Even with all of that, the house still looks the same. Every time I walk in, it’s not like walking into a stranger’s home; I know where everything is. I know where Dad keeps the giant baggy of free toothbrushes accumulated from dentist visits; I know where Mom keeps the spare trash bags. I know how life goes in this house, where my parents live in their retirement, where I grew up.

But it also doesn’t really feel like “my home” in the same way. It is, but it isn’t. It’s a lot of house for two people — to be honest, it was a lot for three people, when I was growing up — but my parents have held on for various reasons. Initially, Mom wanted me to have a familiar place to come home to, when I was back from college. Then it became about the garden (it might have always, in some ways, been at least partly about the garden). Mom’s put so much work and money into it over the years, and it shows. It’s practically a sibling to me, in some ways. I know where the little walkways are, where she has the vegetables versus the flowering fruit trees; I know where the little stone Buddha is set and where she’s planted her roses.

I know where everything is; this is still a home to me, even if it is not my home anymore. There are spaces here for me, but they’re the ones left for me, whether by time, familiarity, or a deliberate attempt on my parents’ part.

(I love my parents, but by now it is quite apparent we’re very different in our tastes and preferences in life. I get a lot of the very bemused, “we support you but we don’t understand why you make your choices, and because we don’t understand we’ll be inadvertently pretty insensitive sometimes about the matter.”)

These are not spaces I made for myself. This isn’t the home where I choose to live. Austin is not “my” city, in the same way Seattle is; I’m not familiar with its roads and layouts. I barely know what downtown looks like, because my parents live out in the suburbs. I grew up detached from the city, even as I was considered part of it. People are friendly, but also do things like openly speculate about my race to my face like it’s any of their business, or speak to me slowly and over-enunciated, like they expect me to not understand what they’re saying. Walking through the airport, I am one of maybe ten Asian people period.

That’s not necessarily a fault of the city. People live where they live, whether by circumstance or choice, and Austin has been good to and for my parents, who continue to live comfortably in the home that they built.

But for me, I can go home again, but it’s not really home in some ways. I don’t live here, I just visit.

(For one thing, it’s actually pretty hard to get anything done, because my parents keep hovering even when I’m trying to focus and get things done and talking to/at me. I haven’t even been here for 24 hours and Dad’s made me watch 4 trailers and Mom keeps asking me about what I want to eat as soon as I’ve finished eating. Parents.

Wish me luck in making it through this week without getting into at least one fight.)

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Characterization serendipity

While chatting with my roommates last week, we ended up discussing the idea of character serendipity — which we defined as that moment when a character (or characters) in a story have a consistent and interesting arc and personality, and even if the worldbuilding and plot don’t live up to their promises, the(se) character(s) “reward” someone looking with a great and memorable personality. These are the characters that stick with you even if everything about their greater narrative is forgettable.

And obviously, everyone has a different set of standards for what makes a character memorable and what makes a story forgettable. That’s why serendipity, because it’s all chance and circumstance in the end. I have a friend who’s into strong, tough fighters with buried trauma and a soft spot for a chosen few… and bonus points if they’re missing (or lose) an eye or an arm. It actually happens more than you’d think.*

* The whole losing eyes and/or limbs thing seems to be more prevalent in Japanese media than US media, but we did watch Thor: Ragnarok last night, and there was definitely a point near the end where I laughed inappropriately due to a certain turn of events.

In our conversation, one of my roommates called making this happen partially instinct, which I liked and agreed with as a phrasing. It’s that sense that comes from our experiences with ourselves and others in our lives, and from other characters we’ve seen with story conclusions that have made meaningful sense to us as an audience. One develops a certain sense of what are “realistic” or “understandable” directions for a character to progress.

Again, everyone has a different idea of what makes a good or compelling character. There’s a whole battalion of female characters in big-name franchises who have suffered because their male writers felt that taking their arcs in a certain direction was right, only to create an awkward teenage-boy fantasy to be put into her place. I’ve seen a similar argument made about women writing m/m fiction. There is plenty of discourse on the subject, and I’d rather leave most of that to the people who’ve done their proper research.

The point is that most everyone does have a certain “feel” for how character arcs should go, or how pieces fit together. Writers make their careers, paid or otherwise, in refining that instinct for sharing; it’s their responsibility, so to speak, to keep a consistent traceable characterization throughout the course of a story. And as a writer, I’ve always tried my hardest to do that. Of course my success is variable, because there’s no such thing as a perfect writer or story, but I have at least tried to stay consistently true to the story I am trying to write.

On the flip side, as a reader, it can be quite rewarding to see a character have a nicely-released and fully fleshed out arc that comes together without needing explicit explanation. And for me, at least, a character with their own strong story can bolster or even outright save their larger framing canon.

I’ve definitely fallen prey to overthinking it, too, on both sides of the process. One of my worst habits as a writer is to have something so solidified in my head alone that I forget it hasn’t been translated, even subtly, to actual words. If a character’s arc is a mystery explained by their story, then it doesn’t help to leave out any of the key clues. And as a reader, I’ve definitely grabbed onto little throwaway bits and comments in order to justify why I would characterize someone the way that I do. Of course the character snapped, look at these scattershot hints here and here. Of course they’re in love, look at how they treat each other in this one particular scene. It’s the serendipity of the moment.

Sometimes that’s embarrassing (honestly it’s more when I do it on the writer’s side, and then my girlfriend has to gently remind me that people cannot, in fact, read my mind), but sometimes, it’s just fun. I’m not one for devil’s advocacy a lot of the time, but having a conversation (or two, or many) with someone who either is likeminded or at least open to the ideas you present can get a lot of fun conversation mileage. Why did this bright-eyed idealistic young man fall so hard and fast, but still manage to claw his way back to balanced sanity? Did this character who seemingly died as a villain actually have some sense of her sanity back before the end?

Maybe they’re not things explicitly explained within the context of the series itself, but as far as speculation goes, I am all for it.

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Productivity recalibration

Phew, what a week!

I slacked off, writing-wise, for most of this week. Partly because I had a belated Valentine’s Day date (we went out on Friday instead of Wednesday), but also because I was involved with some stuff with the dayjob that I am both very hopeful and very cynical about. That took a whole of time and mental energy, and it remains to be seen how well that will all come to pass. I have my last pass of reviews to do for Forward the Hunt before it comes out on February 28th (if you preorder, there’s a discount!), but to be honest, I’ve been in such a tizzy over the dayjob stuff that I’ve neglected this.

I’ve still got a few days, though, so I’m not too worried.

We also had a minor scare about the cat’s health, since he stopped eating for a couple of days, but he’s since bounced back into demanding his meals about half an hour before the scheduled time. Even if it’s irritating when I want to sleep in on a weekend morning, I’m grateful that he’s feeling better.

So between all that, trying to teach myself how to properly use my new camera, and trying to both keep up with the news and not go insane with despair over things, it’s been a very productive week! Just not for writing. Technically I did have the raw time for it throughout the week, but I spent most of that decompressing by reading new things and watching art process videos. And I’ve definitely felt bad for this “slacking,” though perhaps not as badly as I “should,” or normally would.

After the slowburn disaster that was my productivity last year, the worry about “not being productive enough” has definitely weighed on me. I’ve talked about it before, but I still both envy and admire the people who managed to continue maintaining a steady output throughout 2017. The idea seems foreign to me. Even now, I’m definitely not back to my own personal height of productivity. After all, the world remains in a terrifyingly uncertain state; I might not be obsessively picking at the anxiety like a scab, but it lingers. The awareness remains that we live in those proverbial interesting times.

But I’ve been trying to forgive myself more if I’m not on the ball with all things at all times. My girlfriend has been pretty key in helping with this; even if she can’t change the world at large (unless there’s some really big secrets she’s keeping from me), she remains a steadfast and practical bastion of support. So I am trying to give myself passes — not so much that they become constant, consistent excuses, but enough that a week with plenty of outside influences and circumstances can take precedence over just being a steady stream of output.

I do this, and sometimes it’s more effective than others. But this has definitely been a week of letting myself roll with those punches. While I still wish I could balance things better, one of my ongoing goals is to work on not blaming myself for being human. Balancing priorities happens.

Some of it feels genuinely difficult because I am not a “fast” writer, at least not by my own standards. On a very good day, when everything perfectly falls into place, I can write about 5000 words in three hours. And I know that’s nothing to complain about, but getting everything to fall into perfect alignment is more serendipity than anything I can control. Most days, I make it to a standard 750 words or so in an hour (give or take distractions both legitimate and lazy), and call it good. Writing a short piece of story every day has helped, but not I’m still envious of people who can make more of their time when they have it.

…On the other hand, one thing I’ve heard over and over is that everyone writes at their own pace. Someone writing 300 words in a day can be just as, if not more, impressive than someone else’s 3000, depending on how they write and their circumstances. It’s one of those things where applying that logic to others is a lot easier than applying it to oneself. At least I am still feeling more positive than last year!

With this upcoming week, I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing. I’m still trying to work with and learn more things to eventually get an etsy shop rolling, but I’d like very much to get working more on the writing goals I have for 2018. Or maybe it’ll continue to be a week where I have more input than output; at this point, I honestly can’t predict.

Either way, fingers crossed it’ll be a good one (and that I’ll hear good news sometime next week!).

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Romantic tropes (to name a few)

If the timing could have been worked out, I would do a post on Valentine’s Day itself to talk about romantic tropes that I enjoy in fiction, both in reading and writing. But I’m trying to keep this blog on a regular Sunday schedule for my own sake more than anything else, and the belated date day my partner and I had set up had to be postponed due to an interview. Certainly we COULD still go on the 14th itself, but we’re old ladies who don’t like dealing with the throngs that are certainly going to be present.

And since Valentine’s Day falls on Wednesday this year, right smack dab in the middle of the week, if I wanted to talk about romantic tropes (spoilers: I do), doing it the Sunday before or the Sunday after doesn’t change things up much.

So since next Sunday I’ll probably be a decompressing mess after my interview, now’s a good time. I’m absolutely not going to cover everything here; I (like most people, probably?) have a lot that I enjoy to varying degrees, and what I remember immediately isn’t really indicative of favoritism or lack thereof. There’ve been plenty of times where I try to make a list, only to come back later — as soon as minutes, as late as months — to be like oh! Why didn’t I remember [x]?! Jeeze!

Therefore I’ll just stick with three. Again, not necessarily my top three, but three that I could talk about, and three that have come to mind while I’m writing this post.

1. Loyalty(/dedication), sometimes to the point of obsession.

This is one of those things that I always feel I have to caveat — of course in real life, between actual people in a relationship, while loyalty is important, there is a certain point where it goes too far. I have had friends stuck in relationships where there’s too much blind acceptance going on, where everyone BUT the person involved can see how toxic the situation has become, and yet that person refuses to hear anything wrong about their partner. As far as a thing that happens to real people, this is one that I’d take with a grain of salt.

But in fiction, where there is the freedom to explore and dig in deep without hurting real people*, I love it. My favorite characters tend to be the ones who are faithful — devoted — sometimes to the point of their own personal detriment. These are the people who wholeheartedly commit themselves to a person, ideal, or position. Maybe they suffer for it, and certainly some of them are punished for it, but ultimately (because we ARE talking about this in a romantic context), they are rewarded.

(* Of course, I also feel I should disclaim that I know sometimes fiction can hurt people. Maybe it’s intentional; maybe it’s not. But I would still argue that overall, fiction is meant to be exploratory, not weaponized. That’s something to discuss another day.)

I like characters who are intensely, incredibly in love with something or someone. It’s one of those things that I can point to in a variety of media and say yes, this character, that’s one I like.

2. Mutual understanding

This one is surely straightforward enough, though — to tie it into point #1 — I do like it when the audience isn’t immediately aware of this, either. And again, there is a fine line between a relationship where it’s mutually destructive and unhealthy and disastrous, and a relationship where the people involved understand each other and don’t need to justify that connection to others… even if “others” in this case is the audience.

Obviously this works better if the balance between the characters is made more apparent in the text. It doesn’t need to be blatantly spelled out, but if the context clues are there, such that a reader (or viewer; I’m not limiting to just written media here) can pick up and put together. Maybe the ice-cold closed-off director treats everyone with apparent disdain, but always checks on his right-hand man first in times of trouble, to make sure he’s okay — or he relaxes some of his posture around this person, even if only a little, in private.

And yeah, that does smack up against veering into “staying with your abuser” territory, which is awful. At the same time, I think that a skilled writer can pull it off — and sometimes one just serendipitously creates a relationship that works out. But when it does work, I have to say, I am honestly all for it.

3. Domesticity

Maybe it’s because I’m a homebody myself. Given the choice, I prefer to stay home rather than go out. Restaurants over bars, home over restaurants. (Especially living in a big city, where the delivery options are plentiful and varied.) But I want to see characters interacting the way they would if plot weren’t happening. I want moments that aren’t fueled by high octane circumstances, internal or external.

If a relationship can only exist in times of strife, where there are forces propelling the relationship, then that’s honestly not a relationship I want to read much about. I want to believe that characters can have quieter moments together — even if it’s not something that I personally would do, I want to see how they’d come together afterwards. I want to see signs that these characters can stick it out and last even when their main story is over. It doesn’t have to be intense — rather, I’d like to see the defusing of that tension, instead.

But when all is said and done, these are only three of many romantic tropes I enjoy in the fiction I pick up, and neither of these are a make or break scenario, either. I’m not going to be upset if you don’t have characters who have intense loyalty as a defining trait; I’m not going to disbelieve in a set of characters forming a lasting relationship if I never get to see them in those softer moments.

I hope that people who are planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day, whether with romantic partners, friends, or taking advantage of chocolate says, have a good and fun one! But let’s be honest, Wednesday is the midpoint of the week for most of us in office jobs, so maybe that’s cause for celebration in and of itself.

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Blowing Bubbles

Here’s a series of convoluted thoughts for you: commentary about Seattle weather led me to thinking about how social bubbles are so, so easy to fall into.

The weather for the past week has been gray and overcast when it isn’t raining. Not hard, nor intense, but it’s definitely wet out there. And yesterday, on an errands-and-shopping outing with my girlfriend, I heard another girl exclaim to her companion, “this is just so Seattle!”

But to me, in my perception, Seattle isn’t nearly as rainy or gray as it gets portrayed. It does have a lot of overcast days, but it’s not all the time. It’s not eternal, like some stories would have you believe. (In fact, as I’m writing this post, the sun has come out for the first time in a week, and everything is beautiful and golden outside my window.) So I boggled a little at the idea that someone would think that.

And that puts me in a minority, I think: my own little bubble, floating along until it bumps up against another. It’s not a bubble I consciously put myself in, but here I am, as easy as breathing.

This isn’t really a new or groundbreaking statement, but it’s one that I periodically find myself reminded of all over the place. The internet especially makes things a lot tighter and a lot looser; you find people all over the world who share your opinions to form an echo chamber, or else you find yourself smacked in the face by dissenting voices when you expected to find a neutral opinion, if not outright agreement. Of course politically this is a big thing in the United States right now, but even on the everyday mundane level, I’ve run into this a lot.

And it does make sense on that social level, too. You find likeminded people through a shared interest and you stick to them. Some people trickle out, but others flow in, and a bubble grows as you share similar opinions and find new media to consume together. At this point in my online life, I think Meredith is the person I’ve known the longest — we’re talking almost 20 years at this point. (Wow.)

You get to know people, and they get to know you, and a community grows around familiar opinions and thoughts. And like any community, outliers exist, but those get ignored, reconciled, or else they move on. Sometimes your bubble bumps up against a different one, and there’s a clash. You’re reminded that even though “everyone” you know has similar (or at least compatible) opinions to you, the world is much, much larger than what you’re accustomed to.

Sometimes this makes a community difficult to break into. If only social bubbles were as easy to break into as real bubbles!

I’ve definitely run into that trouble. And certainly a lot of the blame is on me, because I am often shy and awkward. It’s easy for me to say my pieces in my own space, like this blog, or on plurk, which is my personal social media network. In areas where I am trying to cultivate connections with new communities (like Twitter, which I have been exceedingly bad at keeping up with), I end up stumbling and faltering.

And I think part of that is intersectionality coming to play: obviously, a lot of people who write and read(/consume) queer media are interested and concerned with queer issues. That is 1000% legit and I don’t mean to imply that this shouldn’t be important. But for me, who identifies more with my heritage (Korean-American) and my favorite activities (writing and crafts), and then as being bisexual — as someone who gets more excited to see a Korean person in media rather than a queer one (which I should stress, I’m not not excited to see the latter, just more for the former), it’s difficult to figure out a way to connect with the people I would like to get to know.

It’s just easier, ultimately, for me to be able to say, “hey, so, the new episode/chapter of [series], wasn’t it great?” That’s me as a person.

I didn’t make any resolutions this year about being more social outside of my comfort zones and usual circle. I did decide I wanted to be a better friend to the people already within my bubble, because I do think I fell down on that over the course of last year. But maybe, if February isn’t too late to revise these things, I should try to be more open to trying to meet new people, too.

(Though not right away. Small steps first. There’s still a lot of year left.)

Also eyyyy friends, a final last shilling note that I have a new novel coming out at the end of this month! It has dragons and one of my very favorite protagonists I’ve written, so I hope you’ll at check it out! (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

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