truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher CreativityThe Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

I can't rate this book, since my opinion of it veers wildly between five stars and zero stars.

Read more... )

View all my reviews
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)

After two years of wandering disconsolately from specialist to specialist like the bird with no feet, I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

ON THE ONE HAND, this is a relief. It means I have a name for why I feel tired and achy and depressed all the time. (And, yes, it probably started cascading back in 2010, when I broke my ankle.)

ON THE OTHER HAND, I'm trapped in a good news/bad news joke. The good news is, I'm doing everything right. The bad news is . . . I'm doing everything right. Diet, exercise, sleep, biofeedback/mindfulness, etc. I already take the most commonly prescribed medications for fibromyalgia for the RLS. There wasn't very much the fibromyalgia specialist could recommend, and I appreciate that he was upfront about it.

(Additionally, because this is the internet, and I know how the internet works, please assume that I have already explored my options thoroughly. I am grateful for good wishes, but I do not need advice.)

So I find that I have to rethink a lot of things. This is not the person I wanted to be at 42, and I'm trying to figure out how to manage myself to get closer to that person, who writes stories and plays music and rides dressage and loves what she does. (And who answers email. Jesus Fucking Christ.) My principal focus is on my writing, because for most of my life if the writing goes well, everything else goes well, too, and hence this blog's new name (all the content from Notes from the Labyrinth is here; I deleted my LJ account, but I did not burn down my blog), because I am in fact experiencing more than a few technical difficulties. As I have the energy to spare, I'm going to try to blog about them, on the theory that other writers and creative persons may be experiencing some of those difficulties themselves, whether because of fibromyalgia or for some other reason.

(Book reviews will continue as they have been.)

We do the best we can with what we have, and this is what I have.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: glass cat)
[first published on Storytellers Unplugged, September 29, 2007; thanks to the Wayback Machine for helping me rescue it]

click! )
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: glass cat)
[first published on Storytellers Unplugged, July 7, 2010]

click! )


Aug. 7th, 2011 05:08 pm
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (horse: fd-milo)
One year and one week ago today, I broke my ankle at--as it happens--a horse show.

The fact that it was a horse show was pure serendipity. I wasn't showing, and my injury was not in any way horse-related. But it lets me have one of those tidy pieces of ring composition that fiction does so often and real life so rarely. Today, at the same facility, Milo and I rode in our first schooling show. In the Intro-A test, we came in second in a field of three with a score of 54.38. In the Intro-B test, we came in third in a field of five, with a score of 59.38.

This is respectable for our very first show, and I am very happy.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (horse: fd-milo)
1. The tow truck guy, bless his tattooed heart, figured out what's causing the Saab's psychosis before I had to pay him to tow it to the service guys.

2. It's the ignition switch. Now we wait to find out whether the service guys can rebuild it or whether we have to get a new one . . . on which there is no ETA. I love my 1997 Saab, but there are drawbacks.

3. Speaking of drawbacks, my insurance company voted no on the Lyrica prescription. I need to find time to call my doctor's office and find out what we do about round 2.

4. On the other hand, the acupuncture is working. I took a walk with [ profile] mirrorthaw yesterday after my appointment and had to double-take twice. Once because my ankle didn't hurt and once later because my thigh muscles weren't stringed-instrument-tense. It didn't last, but boy it was nice while it was there.

5. And finally, today I had the odd experience of consciously witnessing myself have a breakthrough. I've been struggling for most of a year, since before I broke my ankle, with cantering. (Yet another thing fantasy writers don't think about.) I fell off the first time I tried cantering off the lunge line--actually it was three hundred and sixty-three days ago, May 19, I just went and looked--and since then I've been struggling both to learn how to canter and to stop being afraid of it. (The huge hiatus because of the ankle did not help.) But today we were working off the lunge line, and I asked my teacher if we could try cantering. Not because I thought I ought to, but because I wanted to. She was delighted.

Milo and I cantered. I didn't fall off and I wasn't terrified I was going to (although I do need to quit trying to grip the stirrups with my toes). It was splendid.

Day 101

Nov. 9th, 2010 02:44 pm
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
So my little cloth lace-up brace is my new best friend. Not only can I wear TWO shoes again, I can wear pants. (Pants! I have a whole new appreciation for pants, let me tell you.) And on Saturday I was actually able to ride Milo. It was for fifteen minutes, and it was the most boring lesson ever, and it was AWESOME.

However, some verisimilitude notes for writers. I still can't go downstairs normally; it's bad foot down one, then good foot to join it, then bad foot down one, then good foot to join it. Although I can walk relatively normally, and even fairly fast (although not without pain), there is a point beyond which I simply cannot go faster. There is, as Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, no there there. Also, I cannot run. (As we discovered on Saturday night, I cannot even jog to cross the street ahead of oncoming traffic, and [ profile] rarelylynne, I'm sorry for scaring you.) Uneven surfaces are hell. And this is with the brace. Without the brace, I can sort of limp/shuffle around on the nice flat floors of my house.

The RLS continues to be bratty and abysmal, and now that I'm off the narcotics entirely, it's harder to sleep. Sunday night I was up every two or three hours; last night, I was up at least once. (The difference between RLS and insomnia: with insomnia, I'm just not sleepy; with RLS, I'm desperately sleepy, but I've got the invisible goblins poking me and I can't sleep. I'll take good old-fashioned insomnia any day.) I'm starting magnesium supplements ("it might help," said the doctor's office), and on Thursday I have an appointment with an acupuncturist. I will of course report back.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (smaug)
Jim Hines has two great posts:

1. contact information for reporting sexual harassment in SF/F

2. This Is What Asperger's Looks Like.

3. (via [ profile] buymeaclue) an important PSA for riders: WEAR YOUR DAMN HELMET.

4. [ profile] yuki_onna has cover art for Fairyland.

5. [ profile] jaylake has been posting pictures of a train recently. This one is my favorite (possibly because I'm thinking my blind automaton meets clockwork dragon* story needs a talking locomotive called The Bullroarer, and although the period is all wrong, the picture really helps).

Today started for me with a really awesome piece of bad news, which I will share with you all as soon as it's official. (I know, I know, the cognitive dissonance will drive you mad, but I'm not being sarcastic. It really is both.)

*I realized last night that actually my statement in this post could have been even better and more descriptive of my work as a whole, because it really goes like this: I write literary fiction about two women meeting in a train station and exchanging their life stories, except one of the women is a blind automaton and the other is a giant clockwork dragon.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (valkyries)
LAPS: 34
YARDS: 1700
NOTES: 3 sets of 4 continuous freestyle laps. Even though I apparently can't kick and breathe at the same time.

The riding equivalent of stand up on it is ride through it.

Something a friend said in a locked post made a lightbulb go on for me: One of the reasons I enjoyed teaching "non-traditional" students (i.e., adults) was that, by and large, they'd gotten past the phase of trying to outsource blame. It's part of learning how to learn things, more than it's specific to any particular discipline. You don't blame the reading material for being too hard, or the needle for not going where you want it to, or the piano for the fact that you haven't practiced all week. You say, Okay, it's on me and either cowboy up and get it done or accept your failure as the result of your own shortcomings, choices, or inexperience. And when you fall off the horse, you get back on.

This also made sense for me of why, a couple times in the first few months, my dressage instructor checked in to be sure I wasn't blaming the horse for things not going well. I was a little baffled--no, of course not--but my instructor had no way of knowing, without checking, that I wasn't still in that phase of learning how to learn. And since a horse is one of the most sensitive feedback-loop instruments you will ever encounter, I can see where, once the rider starts blaming the horse, things can get locked into a negative spiral very quickly.

It's easy to backslide. I caught myself today trying to blame the other swimmers for the fact I couldn't seem to get a proper breath. And there's a fine line between trying to outsource blame and trying to explain why you're not doing well. One of the two is a necessary part of learning: you have to articulate what's wrong before you can fix it in a way that will stay fixed. The other, though, is a way to avoid learning. If it's the piano's fault, or the horse's fault, or the other swimmers' fault, it isn't your fault, and there isn't anything you can be expected to do about it. But an explanation should lead to problem-solving, even if the solution is only, Do it again.

Ride through it.


truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)

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