So the fox is getting married

The fox is getting married Any time it rained when the sun was shining, my mother would tell me, “The fox is getting married.”

I grew up in Texas, which for many years I considered part of “the South,” as it were. Geographically it made sense, and a lot of the people I knew would instead say “the devil is beating his wife,” which always struck me as both extremely unpleasant (why would domestic violence even be a name for this sort of thing?!) and incongruous (the bright sunny day with the rain coming down felt like a best of both worlds scenario, and why would something so beautiful have such an ugly name?).

I vastly preferred the fox idea. Though to be honest, I had no idea what a wedding really was like; my experiences with those were limited to watching processions on TV — my parents are big fans of the original The Sound of Music so we certainly watched that plenty of times — and one dimly-remembered instance of a wedding at my grandmother’s church. As I recall it now, the service was itself a more USA-style wedding (the bride in white and the minister speaking his blessings) but the entire ceremony was in Korean. And as a kid, I knew more than I do now, but it still wasn’t enough to keep up with what was going on… not to mention a five year old in the audience of a wedding ceremony isn’t going to be paying the most amount of attention.

Still, in my mind, I imagined a fox’s wedding to be a strange and bright thing: of course it had to be, with the weather conditions necessary for one to happen. Of course there’d be a lot of white involved in the decoration and in the outfits of the marrying couple. Of course there’d be food and music, and by the end, at least one pair of foxes would be lawfully bonded.

But once I established that image, I wondered if perhaps they held large group weddings. Sunshowers were a rarity where I lived, and it seemed rather unfortunate if that was constrained by the whims of the weather and the need to go one at a time. Did the wedding end specifically when the sunshower itself did? Were they still allowed to celebrate afterwards? As a child (and even now as an adult, having been to more weddings and having a better idea of what they’re like), the celebration with the food afterwards was the part that appealed to me, personally, the most. Of course I care about my friends being happy with their Officially Sanctioned Partnerships, but I always have — and I assume always will — look forward to the food and socializing after the most.

And surely foxes, clever and hungry and also wanting the very best for their loved ones, would also want to have the part that comes after the wedding: the part with the food and the friendship. It seemed a little cruel to force them to contain all of the elements of “a wedding” to just the period of time for a sunshower.

Like I mentioned last week, when I was a kid, foxes were my favorite animals. The fact that most of the stories I knew painted them as villainous in some fashion didn’t really register to me; I liked that they were small and scrappy and clever, which was something that I (small, soft, and at least smart for my age) admired. I liked that it took brains to defeat them, not a simple show of strength, and I liked that they were not a single set character: it was not simply Fox, in this one story or series, bound by a set personality and arc — it was the fox-sister, leisurely devouring the livers of her borrowed household; it was Fantastic Mr. Fox carrying off his daring chicken heists; it was the fox-courtesan who seduced the Emperor to live a life of hedonistic luxury until she was discovered and dealt with.

I imagined they had their own humanlike societies, hidden away from our view, and every time my mother would say the fox is getting married, I’d think about them breathlessly watching the sky, ready to set up the festivities to go in a heartbeat. Would they pause, the way sunshowers sometimes paused, their heads lifted and hoping for the rain to continue, so that the wedding could as well? If the clouds cleared up and faded, did they simply pack up the party and go home?

Of course, I always pictured a happy ending for all of these foxes. Back then, like now, I always liked those the best. Surely the whole wedding wasn’t dependent on this; surely they just needed the sunshower as a catalyst, a symbol of good luck for the union, but not necessary to keep going.

Somewhat related, I’m planning on trying out a new writing experiment for the upcoming week — one that I can hopefully make into a regular occurrence. My hope is to write a short (1000-word max) story a week, just to practice with flash fiction, and to post 200 words of it a day onto my tumblr and pillowfort. I will be trying to compile them here on this blog for the Sunday blog.

And I’m thinking a fox’s wedding might be a fun place to start.

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An apology, and a story bit.

I had a lot of ambitions about writing about foxes this week, because that’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart. When I was a kid, foxes were my favorite animals; I decided this in the way that small children sometimes do: I read a story that I thought was cool and latched onto it. This was still a point where my friends and I were enthusiastically playing pretend every day, so of course when I had to pick an animal to pretend to be, it was a fox.

I meant to talk about that, and some of my favorite fox stories, but then on Thursday I started getting sick, and pretty much from then on it’s been a blur of sleeping a lot, taking meds, and wheezing pitifully whenever I was meant to talk. It’s not really conducive to any sort of focused time to sit down and write, so my plans for working on this blog post for today kind of fell by the wayside. I could talk about the home remedies that my family utilized when I was growing up — we never did chicken soup, though my mom would make <I>jook</I> whenever someone had stomach troubles, and while there were OTC medications, my parents’ first and foremost response was to make tea of some sort. Ginseng was the most popular, and also (for me as a kid) the most awful.

But that also involves being able to sit upright and focus. This post so far has already taken more concentration than by all rights it really should. Normally, getting words out isn’t a struggle for me; sometimes I drag my feet and mutter about it, but I don’t actually have that much trouble once I’ve actually sat down and omitted to working. But today I’m still sick, so I’m still honestly trying to stay focused and upright without degenerating completely into incoherency. Yikes.

So in lieu of anything like a full blog post, I thought I’d just go ahead and share a bit from a story that I’ve been working on, off and on between larger projects, over the year. (When I say off and on, I do mean off and on; this is the story that I wander back to when I am between working on larger projects. According to my outline, it’s about halfway done, which given all its roadblocks, is pretty exciting.)

And hey, it kind of ties back into what I was going to talk about this week — foxes. Though the fox itself doesn’t come into the story until much later. This is one of those stories that I’d classify as YA, except I think the protagonist is a bit younger than I think normally fits into the genre. Like nearly everything I write, it wants to be a fairytale, of some sort.

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Writing tigers

Writing about the tiger

The writing tiger, recalling the persimmon The last time I wrote about tigers, it was about how a particularly greedy selfish one helped to create the sun and the moon, and whose blood dyed buckwheat roots red. This was the very first story I can remember hearing about tigers when I was a kid, and so I spent a lot of my childhood thinking that they were sort of the Big Bad Wolf equivalent — the predatory animal that lurked in the shadows to eat misbehaving children.

And while in Korean culture, tigers are considered benign guardian spirits, some aspects of Buddhism considers them a symbol of anger — whether the transformative sort or the mindless kind. Sources vary, of course. But for my own (very basic, at this point) research, it seems like that is the thread that reconciles the stories I heard growing up versus the much more noble and dignified beast that one sees in the wider cultural beliefs.

Because see, other than the sun and moon story, the other two folk stories about tigers that I remember from my childhood were all kind of — not. There’s one that I don’t like very much, about a man who is so angry at his puppy for essentially being a puppy that he leaves it for tiger bait. The story ends happily for the man (and for the dog), but not so much for the tigers.

The one that charms me till this day, though, is the story of the tiger versus the dried persimmon.

(As a side note, I really dislike dried persimmons. That is not a taste I ever acquired. These days I really do like red bean and sesame candies, though it took me years to get over my childhood betrayal, where I bit into a red bean popsicle thinking it was chocolate.)


The dried persimmon story, though, goes a little like this:

One night, a tiger was slinking around a small human village. His hunting that day had been poor, and his belly was empty. His pride was low enough that he was hoping some of the humans had left something out for him to scavenge.

But as he was searching, he heard the sound of a young child crying, and he was drawn to that noise. As he lurked, he could hear the mother, increasingly frazzled, trying to soothe her child. Finally, perhaps driven to a snapping point, she cried, “If you don’t hush, I will feed you to the tigers!”

Of course this excited the tiger very much. While he was not a man-eater by preference, he was very hungry, and a child was far easier than an adult. He lurked as close as he could, his stomach growling and his tail lashing as the child began to cry. He could hear the mother moving around the small cottage and he was certain that at any moment, she would open the door and bring the child to him.

Instead, the mother said, “Shhh, shhh, here’s a dried persimmon for you.”

And at once, the child stopped crying.

The tiger was stunned. What sort of thing could be so incredible, so terrifying, that it would stop a child’s tears more than the threat of a tiger?! Surely this dried persimmon was a beast so great that — even though he had heard of no such thing — it might even pose a threat to him. He held his breath and strained his ears, but still he heard nothing. The dried persimmon had succeeded where he had not.

This in turn weighed on his mind as he turned to look around. What if the dried persimmon was also lurking in this village? He had to be sure to avoid it. So he flattened himself to the ground as best he could, and began to carefully creep his way out. As he went, through, a sudden weight dropped upon his back, nearly knocking him to the ground.

The dried persimmon had come for him!

So he ran as fast as he could out of that village, as fast as his legs could carry him, thrashing as he ran to try and knock the dried persimmon off his back. He bucked, he reared, and he roared; he ran straight into the woods and it was only after that he was able to free himself from the terrible being pursuing him.

And once he was free, he swore he would never, ever return to that village ever again.

(As it turned out, the thing that had fallen upon him was a thief who meant to break into the house he was lurking around. The poor man had dropped down, not knowing a tiger was under him, and once holding onto the tiger, he was too frightened to let go, knowing that the beast could easily attack him in its confused rage. It was only after the tiger entered the woods, and the thief was able to grab a tree branch, that they were both saved.)

After that

And now, my own personal writing tigers — the beasties that I am torn on how to tackle, lest I be sacrificed to the dried persimmon.

Which is to say, I’ve honestly been going back and forth on what I want to do with this blog. I miss blogging! I miss writing in my own voice, versus my narrative voice. But as far as writing meta goes, I don’t think I’m the sort who can give advice; nor am I someone who’s great at writing reviews. I feel like I do a lot better giving that on a 1×1 basis. I’d like to do some blend of short flash fiction and chatting about the thing.

If anyone else has input, I would love to hear it. ╰( ・ ᗜ ・ )╯I’d love to write more short things, but I’d also like to be able to chat with people. Please let me know!

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Thinking Positive

A ray of sunshine umbrellaI’ve been thinking a lot about writing and my own relationship with it lately.

Storytime diversion

There’s a story about a woman whose life is consumed by constant worry. One of her two children is an umbrella seller; the other makes and sells straw sandals. During the summer, one of her friends remarks on how nice the sun feels.

“But I am worried,” the woman said. “My son who sells umbrellas needs the rain, and he must be having a difficult time.”

Eventually the seasons shifted and the rains came. The woman’s friend commented that it was now surely the season of the umbrella seller.

“But I am worried,” said the woman. “My son who sells sandals needs the sun, and he must be having a difficult time.”

So her friend said to her, “You have to stop fretting about such things. Rather than worry, when it is sunny, think, ‘oh, how nice! My son will be able to sell a lot of sandals today.’ And when it is rainy, think, ‘oh, how nice! My other son will be able to sell a lot of umbrellas today.'”

And the woman learned the power of positive thinking from this, and was forever happy.

But then,

…Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it? Like all we’d need is to always think on the bright side of things and then everything will be okay. We’ll be happy forever.

But of course life is more complicated than that. A few weeks ago I mentioned that the general state of the world has been really difficult on my creative drive. And since then I’ve definitely been able to pick up the pace somewhat! I’ve actually started writing regularly again. I’ve got a story about a hapless cambion who’s getting pulled in against his will to care about a very charismatic almost-vampire, and I have a story about a newly-awoken incubus who keeps accidentally seducing people. He tries to cover up incidents with clumsy owl imagery. Beyond that, I’ve got a story that just needs a final edit pass before I can submit it, about a princess who isn’t really a princess falling for the fairy who kidnapped her prince. (All of my writing wants to be a fairytale on some level.)

I even have a brand-new story for preorder, a fairy tale about a guy who wants to be a knight and goes to rescue a prince, only to find the situation is very different from what he expected.

And this is something that I am extremely nervous about, because — for one, it’s a much shorter story than I usually write (about 25K words) and deals with some elements of transphobia. And while I had people read it over for sensitivity issues, that isn’t a guarantee that I will have written it properly or well. I can think of a whole host of things that I am anxious about within this story alone. (Though, let’s be honest, I feel that way about anything I submit, whether it gets accepted or not.)

And honestly, I’m really scared about that. Of course my friends will give me the benefit of the doubt; they know me, and they will trust that even if my best isn’t as good as it could be, that I’ll learn and move forward from that. But as soon as you write something and submit it, it becomes part of the larger, wider world. I have no guarantee that anyone will read it, and I have no guarantee that they’ll like it. Of course I would love it if they did; hell, I’d be ecstatic if everyone read my stories and everyone loved them. Unrealistic as it is, that’s the not-so-secret wish in my heart.

I’ve talked to a number of people about this story since the jitters about it started. I’ve talked to friends with more experience in the field, I’ve talked to my girlfriend (who is my first beta reader in everything original I write), and I’ve talked to friends experienced in other fields of art. They’ve all been very lovely and encouraging, and I’m doing my damned hardest to try and actually believe them. It won’t be the end of the world if a story pans, or if I made mistakes in how I handled the subject matter.* I’m still writing and I’m still trying to get stuff finished up and sent and pushing forward.

* I should note that I would very much like to learn how to improve my handling in the future. I know it’s not anyone’s responsibility other than my own to learn, and I am definitely committed to that.

“Instead of thinking, yikes, there’s a story that’s coming out and what if people don’t like it, I want to think, ‘oh, how nice! I’ve got a new story coming out, and hopefully people will like it.” …Is what I know I should be telling myself, but it’s hard.

How do you handle your nerves? What are your methods for happy distractions?

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[fiction] bul-gae

Or, the sun gets a dog. Building off from last week, and because I am trying to get into the swing of writing shorter (1000 words or less) contained fiction, have something relatively short as a first try.

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Korean folklore, the sun and the moon

(And the eclipse.)

On Friday, I jokingly said to my girlfriend that everything about my heritage is “the South” before I moved to the PNW — I was born in Florida, raised in Texas, and both sides of my family come from South Korea. My parents met in an arranged group date, then hooked up again a couple of years later after they both came to the US for schooling, and there they stayed. According to my mother, she clashed with baby me a lot in trying to have pride in a heritage that felt extremely distant and alienating, growing up in a series of very white-populace bubbles.

Ultimately, though, the way my mom won me over to caring more was by buying me a couple of books on Korean fairytales, folklore, and legends. From very early on, I’ve been into fairytales, and folklore, and general mythology; even my interest in the horror genre centers a lot around urban legends, and the modern day mythology that our society builds. As much as I grew up reading very European-centric fantasy and genuinely enjoyed it — still do! — I do find myself going back to those first stories I remember reading.

For example, thinking about the eclipse that’s coming on Monday, let’s talk about how the sun and the moon came to be.

Of course every culture has their own take on this, but the Korean take goes that a single mother is devoured by a tiger on her way home from something — work, a market, something that required her to travel some distance from her home — and the tiger, greedy for more, decides it would very much like to eat her children as well. It disguises itself as her and manages to trick the children, a brother and a sister, into letting it enter the house, but as soon as they realize what’s going on, they flee. As it pursues the children, they pray for the heavens to send them a rope to help them escape.

“For those who are pure of heart and intention, let this rope be strong and steady, but for those who are wicked, let it be frayed and brittle.”

That was the gist of it. And of course, being good kids, they were able to climb all the way to heaven, while the pursuing tiger falls to its death. (Incidentally, this also supposedly explains why buckwheat roots are red: the tiger’s blood stained them that color forever. That was in the version I read, though the variations I’ve read since don’t include that fact. I remember it, though, as one of baby-me’s first exposures to how casually brutal and capricious the world of mythology and fairytales could be.)

But the children do escape. They make it to Heaven safely. But they cannot simply stay there without contributing to the society above the clouds. Ultimately, the Emperor sets the boy to driving the sun and the girl to driving the moon, but the girl, kindhearted but timid, is afraid of the dark and has to switch places with her brother. And she’s a very modest girl, too shy with all the people looking up to admire her, so she began to shine brighter and brighter, until it became impossible to look at her straight on.

(That’s also a thing that later versions I read don’t usually mention. But I’ve always thought it was a nice touch; sun deities are usually bold and proud, so one would assume they would want for people to look at them! Instead it’s this shy young girl who isn’t sure what to do with the attention she’s getting.)

On the other hand, the story that Korea has to explain the reasons behind an eclipse was that the king of a dark kingdom — maybe the underworld, or maybe some strange distant land — is sick of suffering in the darkness, and so he sends a pack of his dogs to steal the sun and the moon for him. The problem is that when the dogs bite at the sun, it’s too hot, and when they bite at the moon, it’s too cold. Eclipses result from the attempts to fetch these things for their master, but those are doomed to fail because of the temperature of those bodies.

In this story, the personification of these heavenly bodies is absent, though I like to think that perhaps there’s some proactivity going on with that brother and sister. I mean, they escaped a tiger that had gone a step further than the Big Bad Wolf; surely they could do more to protect themselves.

You know what? I’ll come back to that one.

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Baby steps, maybe

I’ve been having a hard time of things lately.

And that feels sort of wrong to say when, in terms of my actual personal day to day life, things are fine. My partner is loving and supportive, my friends and family are healthy or getting help, my day job is boring but steady, my cat is cuddly. Even the hellish weather we’ve had in Seattle for the past couple of weeks has cleared up to cooler smoke-free air (for now).

But if I’m honest, I’ve been having a very hard time engaging on a wider scale since November 2016, and I’m sure people can get why in two guesses or less.

Of course I’m not naive enough to think that it’s a shock that racists still exist in the US. I grew up as one of maybe six Asian students in a “rich white bubble” community in Texas. I was the only Korean. The kids got better about it as we got older — or maybe they just learned to hide it better — but that’s not really the sort of thing you just forget, even as time goes on.

Except I guess it is, on a national level.

Again, it does feel stupid and overdramatic to put it in blunt terms: that ever since the 2016 US presidential elections, my creative drive and drive to socialize have dropped to a trickle, if even that. In my heart I really want to do this thing! I have achieved my dream of being an Actual Published Author and past-me would be in awe and jealous. But there’s also the social aspect of it, where one has to network and do what one can, both to help out others in the community and promote oneself and in that… I have completely flubbed. Both my girlfriend and one of my oldest friends have told me it’s not too late to start doing it, but it feels incredibly daunting, especially in the light of the world right now. How can I talk about “hey, buy my novel, buy my novella,” when the country seems to be on the verge of imploding and taking the rest of the world with it?

(I realize this might be dramatic, again. But to try and keep abreast of politics in the world today is to be exposed to constant doomsayers, and it’s difficult to pick what is the “truth,” such as it exists. Maybe things aren’t so bad. But especially in light of what happened in Charlottesville yesterday, that’s especially hard to believe.)

I’ve finally started taking steps to start writing more seriously again — I have been doing the bare minimum since November, with occasional better days and (much more frequent) cheat days, where I just used things I was editing instead of actual fresh words. And that does feel pretty good! But the writing has always been the easiest part for me. It’s the part where I have to overcome my own inclination towards shyness and wallflowering that has always been difficult, and remains harder than ever.

And that also feels selfish to say. I’m not the only writer who’s shy and anxious. I’m so far from remarkable in that that it’s laughable. The problem is that I have been letting it get the better of me — pretty much since Ravenhearth was published. I keep expecting that magical moment to come where it’s like yes, this is what I should do, this is how I engage! and that’s silly. I know it’s silly. Plenty of others have managed it, and I admire them immensely. Just maintaining a twitter feed with other writers is amazing to me. Those people are so cool! I want to be among their number someday!

But it’s hard to reconcile selling my stuff (softer things, fairytale stories, worlds where the issue isn’t if a boy kisses another boy or a girl kisses another girl but always something else, societal or personal) when we’re in a world where politicians are blustering us to the brink of nuclear war, and the government hems and haws about condemning actual literal white supremacists murdering people in broad daylight.

This isn’t really an excuse. I know that in the end it’s on me to either step up and deal with it, or else resign myself to being unknown and glossed over. I’ve known that for a while, and I’ve been trying my best, at least, to pull myself up out of that even in spite of the disaster of the world outside. I’m doing it slowly, and who knows what will become of me, but I thought at least I should lay that all out, as an introduction and an apology and maybe a greeting.


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[Tuesday Freewrite] The Scholar in the tower

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[novel sidestory snippet] a boy and a hound

“Write a story about Nikolas and hounds,” my girlfriend said.

In spite of my best intentions, the dog dies at the end.

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[novel sidestory snippet] untitled #3

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[novel sidestory snippet] untitled #2

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[novel sidestory snippet] untitled #1

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[freewrite] Fire from the sky

Fire came on a Sunday morning, sharp and steady. It fell from the sky like rain, and it trailed smoke that lingered like clouds in an otherwise clear sky. Most of it fizzled out quickly in the air, whistling into nothingness. Where it struck the ground it steamed and hissed and left blackened charred spots, which crisped and flaked off with the wind. No one knew why it had come, or what had triggered it: only that it was steady and inescapable, and those who were caught outside when it came were burned badly, unless they managed to flee very quickly for safety.

Broadcast stations were overrun by terrified reports. TV evangelists thundered that this was a sign of the End Times, and it was proof that God was finally bringing his judgment down upon the deeply sinful world. Soon the angels would descend, they claimed; they would come and shepherd off the true believers into the bosom of heaven and leave the rest of the world to burn.

But the fire ended on Sunday evening, as suddenly as it had begun. People crept outside to survey the damage in the light of the fading sun. Everything smelled of smoke and ash and all the things that had burned, bitter and black. There were scars left even in stone and concrete, and places where glass had melted and warped. Some of the debris was left for Monday morning: it was too late to do anything now, they said. Some things would need to be checked in full light of day, they said.

On Monday morning, the fire came again. People stood at the windows and watched as it rained down from the sky, and the smoke was thicker than it had been the day before. More if it hit the ground than before. Smaller fires caught in the dry grass and sputtered and smoked, but they faded out quickly enough.

Again the TV evangelists beat their breasts and screamed. Further proof! Soon, now! Soon the time would come when the true believers were saved and the scum that had abandoned their faith would be punished for their foolishness.

But again, the fires stopped on Monday evening. This time, people came out and tried to clear away what they could — the ruined cars were towed (when they could be), the worst of the clutter in the streets were swept away, and people stopped and looked at each other in confusion. There was a silence in the air that felt more like anticipation than curiosity. Some people murmured to each other, low and nervous, but it was the sort of night for quiet, for wondering and for worry.

Would the fire come again on Tuesday? Everyone looked at each other and nodded: of course it would, somehow, whether people were prepared for it or not. The countryside was already burned in so many places; cities were pocked and blistered and ruined as if a thousand years had passed in the space of two days. How much worse would it be when the third day of fire came?

But it did not. Tuesday dawned sunny and bright, but without any more fire.

This was the calm before the storm, the evangelists roared, before their listening crowds (and how much bigger those audiences were than they had been just a few days before; rows and rows of seats that had stood empty on Saturday now swelled, and there wasn’t enough room to accommodate everyone). After this, oh, after this the fire would return, greater and more terrible than before; the whole world would drown in flame; fire would sweep everything and rebirth the world into something pure and new.

There was no fire on Wednesday, nor again on Thursday, nor Friday. Nor Saturday.

When Sunday came again, there was rain.

The skies billowed thick with dark black clouds, and for a moment the whole world held its breath, waiting–

And there was rain. It was cool and it was sweet and there was no sting of fire to it, no brimstone or smoke or anything terrible. People who were caught out in it — and there were very few, after the mishaps of the Sunday and Monday before — were only soaked to the bone, with nothing worse to show for the event. The soot was washed away in places, and in others it had been burned in too deeply, and the world watched through its warped melted windows.

People inhaled. People exhaled.

The world went on.

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[In Other Words] Topsy-Turvy

Whoosh, and it’s only Wednesday.

This whole rolling week has been just a little off-kilter for me so far — nothing tremendous or off the rails, but just enough oddities that I end up listing when I should be on solid ground.  On Friday I ended up going out with roommates, and that was fairly nice and relaxing, though I ended up a little stomach-sick later.  (I have a delicate stomach even at the best of times; it’s apparently just a legacy of my family.)  The weekend was fairly fine, though on Sunday night, I went to bed early with the tiniest of headaches … and woke up almost four hours later with the most excruciating migraine I’ve had in years.  I literally woke up unsure who I was for a few seconds, because it felt as if my head had split into some hideous alien creature of pain.  I ended up actually viciously ill for another couple of hours, and I have to say that whatever evolutionary point led us to the ability to have migraines, I don’t want it, take it back. 。゜(`Д´)゜。

Of course, being sick for two hours in the middle of the night meant that my Monday was extremely off — I can function all right on six hours of sleep, but not it’s broken up in between.  I spent most of the work day plodding through what I could and dead-eying my screen; I was deathly afraid of the migraine coming back (since I had woken up with a head that still felt delicate, like one wrong step would send me crashing back into pain).  I also made sure to buy Excedrin after work so at least next time, I will be more prepared.

Tuesday I was still kind of recovering; it was mostly my stomach at that point.  I don’t get migraines — or even headaches often — but stomach troubles are an old recurring midboss in my life, so I settled for eating light and eating a lot of candied ginger and muddling through.

Today my alarm didn’t go off at its proper time — I checked my phone and everything was working; the alarm was on and correct, it just … hadn’t gone off.  I am proud of myself that I still managed to get to work less than ten minutes late, which was really a combination of living very close to my office (on the other side of downtown) and super hardcore rushing to get myself out the door.  My cat was probably very put out by this, since he seemed to think that me being in bed longer meant that I was going to stay home and cuddle him; when I came home earlier he proceeded to yell and then crawled into my lap to yell even more.

So I have been mostly making it through — hopping on one foot more than not, though at least I am still plugging away at keeping up with my writing.  Somehow, in spite of all the other hiccups, that has been going relatively smoothly; I am already over halfway to my monthly wordcount goal!  (Which is just # of days in the month x 1000, so it’s fairly easy to remember.)  I made a fairly big push during the weekend, and even though I fell short of my actual total goal, I came close enough to feel satisfied that it’s a real and possible thing I can do.  At least I can still be productive.


Tonight, though, I’m going to bed early and no one can stop me.  (What a life of luxury, being an adult …)

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[flashfiction] About Falling

One of the first things you learn is how to fall properly, whether it is by lesson or by necessity. There are proper ways to hit the ground so that nothing fragile takes the brunt of your weight. It’s bad enough, of course, when someone strikes you across the face; there’s no need to add a carelessly-snapped wrist or ankle on top of the bruises. You’ve seen people who’ve taken longer than sooner, and the consequences that follow. It’s just something that you learn–but like all lessons, it can also be forgotten. Time passes and you’ve fallen enough times that there are brittle places that have cracked and flaked open. Then something soft creeps along and winds its way into the core of you, and the next thing you know, you’re walking flat-footed as if the world under your feet is solid, smooth walking from here to eternity.

You have no one but yourself to blame when things fall apart. You misstep and put your foot through the fragile parts of things you let yourself believe were strong enough to bear your weight. The ground rushes to meet you, and you know: you’ve forgotten how to land.

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