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A Small Holiday Gift

November 30th, 2016 by

It’s no secret that 2016 has been a rough year for us all: in so very many ways the world got a bit worse. There are lines from a poem (What They Did Yesterday Afternoon) by the extremely wonderful poet Warshan Shire which describes this year perfectly:

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

Powerful stuff.

Anyway, I think the only sane response to all this is to try to make the world a better place, each in our own small or larger ways, as we are able. Not in a hippy-dippy buying-the-world-a-coke kind of way, but in small acts that bring a little brightness back into the world. Feed some people. Spend some time talking to an older person who is lonely. Carry a sign. Donate a few bucks to an organisation who does good in the world.* Since I’m an artist, I can offer my art.

Dreams are important. Positive role models are important. Being able to read a book or watch a movie and see a main character like yourself represented is important. Experiencing a story that draws you into someone’s world who may be very different from yourself is important because once you connect with them it is much harder to see them as “other,” as someone to be feared. Diverse characters are important.

So what I’d like to do is offer a free book cover for one person with a story featuring a diverse main character. Yeah, full-on SJW stuff on my part…and why not? I’ve never seen being a social justice warrior as a bad thing. Goddamn right I’ll stand up for women, or people of colour, or LGBTQ folk because I’m a decent human being and not an asshat. Maybe I’m more of a social justice mage or priest, but whatevs…

I’ll do a post tomorrow with the details. :)

 

*A couple of organisations doing good things that I care about are Medecins Sans Frontieres and the ACLU.

 

Going Forward From Here

November 22nd, 2016 by

Just a short post to say that I’m still here, sort of. Depressed, sure…but who isn’t?

I’ve been binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix when I can and it’s helped a bit with the blues. Yes, I realise that I am firmly sticking my head in the sand but it’s so lovely, this false world of hope and good people and cute mother-daughter shenanigans in an impossibly quaint and quirky town. Hey, we all need our coping mechanism and massive quantities of alcohol just wasn’t working for me. :)

I’ll figure out a way to save the world tomorrow.

Going On From Here

November 11th, 2016 by

I am feeling human again today, barely, after surviving an absolutely cataclysmic hangover. I say this as someone who once drank most of a bottle of Gran Marnier and had a four day hangover while LIVING ON A BOAT. You think you’ve had a hangover? Try having on while being on a rocking, lapping, creaking boat and see if you don’t want to die.

Like a lot of Americans living abroad I went to bed the other night worried because the election was so very close, but still hopeful that sanity would prevail. It seemed impossible that this huge sociopathic orange festering monster could sway enough people to actually get in. I mean, I know people are horrible, but surely they’re not that suicidally stupid, right?

As it turned out the next morning, they were.

I’d woken at 4:00 am and gone downstairs as I had a feeling and couldn’t go back to sleep. Turned on the TV, and while it wasn’t all over it was obvious which way it was going to go. I felt as though the whole world had been knocked offkilter during the night, that impossible things had happened – I actually don’t know how to say it except that it felt inconceivable. But you know what they say about that word. Figuring that the whole world was ending in flames, I started drinking scotch and continued to do so throughout the entire ugly day.

Anyway, I’m back, the headache has ebbed and I might be able to eat something today. Yaay me. The world has gone on, it didn’t actually end, and we must all somehow find a way to live in it. People are starting to fight back (a bit late after the fucking fact, I might add), all of the racists and misogynists are celebrating and we’ll all go on somehow. Some of us less well than others, but hey…what’s a back alley abortion or a hanging or two?

While I was sloshed to the very brim with scotch I made the decision to cut a lot of people out of my life that I’d cut a lot of slack previously. I grew up in a small town and left two weeks after graduation. My sisters all stayed, got married, became stay-at-home moms. Their politics are very, very different than mine. Their world is very different than mine, which is something that I can’t blame them for – when you live in a small town with a destroyed economy, when you basically don’t know a single black person personally, when the only Muslims you see are on the TV, carrying black flags and beheading people, you have a certain world view. When you’ve never gone out into the world and worked, you don’t know how hard it is for women. When getting pregnant is just a prelude to getting married and settling down, you don’t understand about girls bleeding to death in the back of back-alley abortioner’s filthy vans. This is a very slight exaggeration, I know that most of them have seen a black person on the street now and then. The point is, they are a product of the place they’ve grown up in, one very small sliver of the world.

The next day I reconsidered (or as much as I could with a brain that had turned to grey mush). I have very little family left and what I have is precious to me. And in the end I thought no, I did the right thing. We all overlook the racist memes that certain members of our families post on Facebook, we chide them when we see them reposting shitposts about Obama and Hillary and Muslims wanting to do away with Christmas. Hey, most of us grew up with that uncle or grandfather that said racist things at Thanksgiving, you roll your eyes behind their back and love them anyway. It’s just what we do.

For a long time conservatives have been making snarky comments about how Muslims should be policing their own communities, it is their responsibility to stamp out extremism first. And while I generally despise the people saying those things, there is a certain amount of truth in that these beliefs are overlooked by the people who love them. We forgive our brothers and sons because we love them, and then they plant a bomb or go join Daesh. It is the same thing here. People feel justified in their misogyny and racism, they feel that since no one says anything against them it is okay. They feel that the majority of the US are with them. I don’t want to let things slide anymore, because it’s really NOT okay, it is wrong and I will stand up and fight against this no matter who you are. Even if you are someone whom I will always love very, very much. And that is an extremely hard thing.

I’ll close by saying that I do understand. I’ve lived in cow towns, I was in 4H as a kid, my dad was with the Sherrif’s Department, my mom with the church, the County Fair was the high point of the entire year, and Walmart coming to our town was the best/worst thing that happened to it. But still…but still.

These two posts say it so much better than I could, they’re worth reading to understand (if not forgive): Rural America and How Half of America Lost Its F**king Mind

I Forgot

November 2nd, 2016 by

Actually, I have done a few things recently. I did this, which I don’t think entirely sucks.

 

Art by Ravven

This and That

November 2nd, 2016 by

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything, as I’ve been feeling…not good? Off-kilter and rudderless, not quite enough to be thinking breakdown, but definitely not normal.

Yeah, yeah, I know…as if I was ever normal. :D

What I always was, though, was full of plans and ideas and projects that I wanted to do, a thousand and one things that I was in the middle of, or planning, or had dropped to make way for new ideas. What I am at the moment is stagnant, kind of like someone in a fairy tale who sat down to sleep in a wood and never woke up, grown over with brambles and blanketed with fallen leaves. It’s not pleasant, but I don’t know how to get out of it.

It’s November, time for NaNoWriMo, and I have several projects that I’d worked hard to clear some space for, and I’ve done nothing but panic every time I sit down to write. No exaggeration, actual panic as though someone had reached a hand into my chest and squeezed. Horrible.

It’s the same with everything else, it’s all coming out broken or I get breathless at the thought of starting. I hate it, but I’m really not sure what I should do. Bah.

I haven’t been doing a lot of gaming recently due to the need to give my hands a chance to recover. The doctor thinks it has something to do with lupus, but I’ve lived with that for a long time and I think she’s mistaken. There’s a definite connection to repetitive stress from gaming, also making it difficult to lift anything. I’m still subbed to FFXIV, and really want to get back into the swing of instances and so on, but can’t face it right now.

One surprising thing that I’ve really been enjoying is Overwatch. Granted I’m no longer a kid with fast-twitch reflexes, but the strategy of it all is fascinating. I’ve actually been watching some of the World Cup matches and enjoying it, and watching e-sports was always something that I would rather have pried the eyes out of my head rather than watch. Go figure.

So that’s it, I suppose, that’s where I am this month. Stuck like a character in a fairytale who got lost in the woods and slept for a few years, or a century.

State of the Game

September 29th, 2016 by

FFXIV

I’ve been an MMO serial monogamist for years. I get passionate about a game, either brand-new or one that I have played off and on for years, play the hell out of it, and then sneak off for the stereotypical pack of cigarettes in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. It’s probably a character flaw.

Legion was one of the best Warcraft expansions that I’ve ever seen, and everything was a huge amount of fun. I reached cap on my hunter and then…just kind of gradually petered out. I suppose it’s my usual performance for Warcraft xpacs, mainly due to the fact that I don’t raid (which makes it all seem a bit pointless). Raiding definitely falls into that second-job territory, and although I’m a bit ambivalent about committing to raiding at all in any game due to the time suck factor, if I did it would be in FFXIV as I think the content is more interesting.

Playing at all with the ongoing problems in my hands, wrists and lower arms has been tough. I’ve done a lot of fishing in FFXIV as a result – it’s the only thing that I can do with minimum stress on tendons. Boo suck.

Recently I started playing Overwatch, which I haven’t played since beta. I suck, but I’m having a lot of fun. At my age, my reflexes will never be able to compete with teen FPS players. Should I be playing on teams that I won’t be able to give my best to? I must be a bad person because I am, and I enjoy it. I keep voice chat off as I’ve no desire to be cursed at by eleven-year-olds of course…they can all kiss my ass. Yeah, I’m a bad person. :)

Halloween is coming up and in October I plan to dive back in to The Secret World, longtime love and the absolute queen of horror games. I used to be religious about buying and loving all new issues, but as content got less and less forgiving for solo-only players it got tougher to justify. It’s a shame. Tokyo was such a slog as a solo player that I haven’t played much since.

That’s pretty much it. I’m a lonely MMO vagrant, just looking for companions along the way.

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