One Small Step for Woman, One Giant Leap Toward Adulthood

TGW Song, Will - CopyWhaddup, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. Because Danielle promised she’d finally post about what’s going on in her life, but for some reason, she doesn’t like talking about herself. Which, wow, makes absolutely no sense to me, because talking about myself is like 80% of what I do. No worries, though! ‘Cause she’ll always have me to do the talking for her. ^_^

So! Here’s what’s new, Part 1: Danielle’s gonna be a carpenter.

That is, she is currently, as this post goes live, getting ready for the second day of her first week (out of 9) of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters pre-apprenticeship program.

Holy moly, hold the phone, since when is author Danielle E. Shipley interested in carpentry?! Well might you ask. (And I mean, you might have asked. I didn’t actually hear anyone asking, but some of you are bound to be curious, right?)

It all started when Danielle was at some other job, and she’s like, man, I need to be making money, but can it be through doing something that doesn’t suck the soul right out of me? So she decided to try carpentry, since it involves two things she already knows she likes: Creating things, and wood. Plus, she’d get to feel like Little John or a Pontipee brother, which I guess is a plus?

How does one become a carpenter? In many steps over much time, that’s how. Like, to the point that trying to remember everything we did to get here is kinda fuzzy, but I’ll throw out what I can remember.

– Go down to the nearest union carpentry training center and ask, “Hi, I’d like to be an apprentice. Please to tell me how?”

– Obtain a letter from your district that’s basically like “Hey, I officially recognize this person’s interest in entering this program”, to be placed in the pool of hopefuls. (You gotta ask first. And provide personal information. And hope Santa didn’t notice what a punk you’ve been all year.)

– Take a math proficiency test. Reading proficiency, too, but they don’t cover that in the test prep session a week before the exam. They do yell at you not to bring cell phones in the school building, though. I guess some staff member got murdered by a cell phone, once. #NeverAgain

– Get notified while on a road trip with your sister to Pittsburgh that you passed the test! (The road trip part may actually not be mandatory, but Danielle is just that thorough.)

– The notification will basically read, “Congratulations, you haven’t failed YET. Now you have until X date to get a note from a doctor that clears you as physically fit to be a carpenter, OR YOU’RE OUT.” Letter writers are never quite as sunny of disposition as they were before watching an associate get cell phone murdered.

– A doctor’s appointment, which you’d think would involve, I dunno, some running or lifting or other evidence you’re not a weakling, but no, all Danielle had to do was bend down, touch her toes, and promise she wasn’t entirely suicidal. Okay then!

– Search hither and yon for hardcore work boots made for little lady feet. (The suffragettes died for this.)

– “Congratulations, you haven’t failed YET. Now show up on X date to pee in a cup and prove you’re not on drugs, OR YOU’RE OUT.”

– “Congratulations, you’re not on drugs! See you at orientation!”

– We actually had no idea after passing the math test exactly when she’d be scheduled to start the program. All the tributes who haven’t yet died a horrible death get put in a lottery based on their test’s date, and your name’s up when it’s up. Could be weeks, could be months… For Danielle, it was actually pretty quick. Took the test… back in May, I think? And started the program yesterday. And if she makes it through the 9 weeks, then the 4 years of actual (paid!) apprenticeship will begin, and she’ll be on her way to becoming a fully competent journeyman! Her mother and I will be so proud.

What’s new, Part 2: Danielle’s got her own apartment!

Temporary Apartment

Temporary Apartment, she calls it, since it’s just for the duration of the 9-week program. After that, she’ll find another place*, because the main idea is to not have a hellish commute between where she lives and where she works.

IT’S SUPER EXCITING, because after all her adventuring in Europe, her parents’ house just wasn’t doing it for her anymore. She needed a proper Dani Space. And now she’s got one. Way to fake adulthood, girl!

 

*Full disclosure, it’ll be mostly her mom finding the other place, just like it was mostly Mom who found this one, and Dad’s name on the lease. Like I said: Faking adulthood. She’s getting there, though. X)

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Don’t Be There, Don’t Be Square

Coming next week: An update several months in the making on the corner my non-authorial life has turned.

Coming not long after that: Sneak peeks and whatever fun content I can think up to tie into my October release, Outlaws of Avalon 3.

Today: Remember my allusion in my Printers Row recap post to the lack of cooperation I got with Square? Here (finally) is the full story.

Just Say No to Square

I attempted to get Square set up on my phone, but it kept saying that it couldn’t “verify my identity”. Over and again I tried, over a handful of days – careful to ensure the information I input was accurate; switching out e-mail and addresses and phone numbers, on the off chance that one might prove more accessible to their system than another. No avail. And looking through their support options yielded nothing more helpful than troubleshooters telling me to make sure all my information was correct. …um, thanks. Been there, done that.

By this time, I was pretty much sure this wasn’t going to work out for me, so I reached out in a couple of Facebook groups I’m in, asking whether anyone could recommend an alternative portable credit card reader. Frustratingly, half the responses I got were people saying that Square worked just fine for them.

Cool. Great. But I JUST SAID it’s not working for me, so… what else ya got? (Funny how they all got quiet when I asked specifically what I should do if Square refused to verity my identity. <_<)

Aaaaaanyway… Eventually, I moved to my laptop for a more concentrated support search. I still didn’t find anything helpful, but did receive an e-mail from Square fretting over the “suspicious activity” that was me trying to get in from another of my devices. The e-mail came with a link to click if I needed help, and BOY, DID I, so click I did, which took me to a page that was all, “Thanks for reporting suspicious activity!”

Wait. No. That’s not what I need help with. X( But hey, there’s a comment box where I can provide them with more information. Time to set the record straight. I wrote:

I did not intend to report the sign in as suspicious. The activity in question was in fact my own, from a computer instead of my cell phone — the phone being what I’ve been using to try (for days) to create an account, without success. No matter how many times I input my information, Square insists it cannot verify my identity. When I saw the “Need help? Let us know” in your email, I’d hoped that clicking it would direct me to someone able to help me get verified/approved so I can use the app without further trouble. Please advise.

Square Support shortly replied:

Hey Danielle,

Thanks for reaching out.

I know this is disappointing, and I wish there was something I could do. Your last application to accept cards with Square was not approved, and I can’t offer any additional chances to apply. Because Square offers a limited number of application attempts, this decision is final.

I wish you and your business the best of luck going forward, and I’m sincerely sorry for the frustrating experience.

Okay. Fine. I was past being mad. At this point, I just wanted some answers. So I wrote back:

So be it. However, for the sake of enlightenment:

1) Can you explain why my attempts were unsuccessful? I would like to have more to answer anyone asking about my Square experience than, “I dunno, it just didn’t work. Cannot recommend.”

2) What exactly is the limit? (I wasn’t keeping count; 7 tries? More? Fewer?) And is it a limited number of attempts per applicant, or per email address, or…?

Their reply:

Hey Danielle,

Thanks for your email. I’m really sorry we can’t give you another chance to apply, but there’s nothing else we can do to change this decision.

To protect your privacy and security, we don’t have access to the information you entered during the application process, so I cannot provide a more specific reason for why your application wasn’t approved.

I understand this situation is frustrating, and I wish I could be more helpful. I recommend speaking with other companies that offer similar services, like your bank or other mobile payment providers.

All the best, etc.

TL;DR, “We’re not interested enough in your business to even tell you why we won’t accept it. Bye, Felicia.”

Which brings to me to my new-and-improved response, should anyone ask about my Square experience: “I dunno, it just didn’t work, and the customer service was terrible. Cannot recommend.”

So heeey – if anyone reading this can recommend an alternative portable credit card reader, do please speak up in the comments! I’d love to have a better option in hand for next time.

Books You May or May Not Know Anything About Even After I Post Re: Them

As I hope you’re aware (since this is not the first time or place I’ve announced this), The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book 1)” is currently half-price on Smashwords, as part of the site’s Summer/Winter Sale (July 1 – 31).

Of course, if you weren’t aware, I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s a lot of noise on the internet, and the average solitary voice will only travel so far. Heck, even readers shopping the Smashwords sale for deals might not know I’m a part of it. The selection is E-NOR-MOUS. This I know, because I’ve been browsing the titles myself, eyes open for stories I might take an interest in.

Slow as I am when it comes to my Kindle app library (pages on a screen and I don’t get along as well as me and the printed word ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), if I waited ‘til I’d actually read these books before talking about them, odds are that none of you would know they exist until well after the sale is over.

So in the name of doing unto others – and on the chance that you might want to nab one of these babies while the discount lasts – here are the faces and teasers of the e-books I’ve download from the sale so far.

*

zEbooks01

Merlin Slept Here (Wizard’s Inn, Book 1)” by Rob Summers

Store clerks by day, innkeepers for the Magi by night! Twenty-year-olds Bob Himmel and Julie Beckerhof aren’t getting paid anything, but the thrills are there. If the inn isn’t sold out from under them, and if they can keep their guests alive—number seven on the list of innkeepers’ rules—they just might get married and settle into this.

Polish, Dust and Sparkle” by Brian S. Wheeler

The men in the tight suits and narrow ties grow wealthy by cultivating the worth of their towers’ sparkle. Yet their economy depends upon the toil of the polishers, who work to keep so much glass clean. A magic dancer jeopardizes the fragile skyline when her steps summon a thundering herd, turning the polishers into hunters, and threatening to shatter all the foundations made of fragile glass.

Hollo (The Magic of Thedes, Book 1)” by Devon Michael

Shortly after her twelfth birthday Hollo finds herself alone in a world that has never seen a wooden girl who can talk, let alone do magic.

A Certain Number of Hypothetical Scenarios” by Joseph Wright

A Certain Number of Hypothetical Scenarios is a collection of sixty-two flash fiction stories written in a series of Julys between 2010 and 2013. Prepare to expose the inner workings of an illegal pixie dust operation, encounter various not-people personified, witness the assassination of a pet cat, and possibly be eaten by a grue.

zEbooks02

The Society of Imaginary Friends (The Conjurors, Book 1) by Kristin Pham

Valerie Diaz has a power that she can’t contain, and it’s killing her. Bounced between foster homes and the streets, she only has time to concentrate on staying alive. But a visit from the imaginary friend of her childhood opens a world of possibilities, including a new life half a universe away on a planet that is bursting with magic.

Demon Lord (Demon Lord, Book 1)” by T C Southwell

Seven blue wards have imprisoned the Black Lord in the Underworld for aeons. Now he has stolen a human child and made him a mortal god. After eighteen years of torturous training, Bane sets forth to break the wards with aid of a dark army. The Demon Lord will release Arkonen and destroy the Overworld unless an innocent young girl can turn him from his savage path…

Oberon’s Children” by Hal Emerson

An orphan girl named Mol wakes in the middle of the night to music. Enchanted, she follows the sound into the forest of Arden, where she is taken captive by a man known only as the Erlking; a man who rules a kingdom of monsters. Leaving her life as an urchin far behind, Mol becomes part of the Erlking’s Bower for reasons she cannot understand, her only guarantee a future shrouded in mystery.

A Soul for Trouble” by Crista McHugh

When an insane stranger is murdered at the inn where she works, Trouble becomes the next Soulbearer for the disembodied god of chaos, Loku. Yes, it comes with the ability to channel the god’s limitless power, but at the cost of her sanity — literally.

zEbooks03

The Slivers of Avalon: The Abandoned Edge” by Eden Tyler

Visions of another dimension usher a young woman through an adventure of immorality, virtue, and self-discovery.

Betrothal (Queen’s Honor, Tales of Lady Guinevere: #1)” by Mande Matthews

17 year old Lady Guinevere is caught between the responsibility of her crown and the desires of her heart. Without brothers to ascend the throne, marriage to her will assure any man the right to rule. Imbued with Celtic Lore and Druid magic, Queen’s Honor puts a new spin on an age old legend.

Shreiber and Tome: Unlucky Vamps (Shreiber and Tome, Book 1) by Andrew Day

Welcome to Chapter City. Where the undead live alongside humans like everyday people, and where private investigator Lil Shreiber and her partner Michael Tome (ex-warlock) have been enlisted by a vampire prince to help track down a serial killer viciously murdering other vampires. Up against a powerful supernatural creature, and alongside an angry FBI agent who hates them, things soon get bloody.

Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride, Book 1)” by Vera Nazarian

Many are called… She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

COBWEB BRIDE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book One) is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

The Sword of Sighs by Greg James

A young adult fantasy about an American girl who travels to a fantasy world and becomes embroiled in its war against a dark evil.

*

And there we are. Golden Rule: Applied. Now to carry on and hope that someone, out there, is talking about “Ballad”…

Open Journal: Who Am I?

My spirit’s been having a rough time, lately. Even though it’s been several months since The Trauma at the end of Germany, I still haven’t been able to write like I used to. Short stories, sure. Flash fiction and scraps of poetry. But nothing like a novel.

And it’s awful because so much of my identity – so much of my self-worth – is Danielle = writer. That was my thing. My gift. My magic. So my brain says to me, If you’re not churning out books, then who even are you? And what is the point of you?

Because my brain is not my friend.

Fortunately, Will and Tirzah are.

I was speaking my sadness to them; sighing my wish that I were a cooler character in my life’s story. And thus spake they of me:

Tirzah: Hold on. Someone, write up all the things about her that she would find cool if she heard them about someone else.

Will Scarlet: Well, we’ve covered the hell-ton of written/published works and Europe. Also: Ren Faire.

She can hear dialogue and music cues from childhood movies and radio in her head. Surely that’s a low-grade superpower.

She has a lute. She owns a cool hat bought in Manchester, and epic boots reminiscent of Merry Men.

She makes friends of fountains. She’s in love with the moon.

She’s never too old to sing the songs she likes from kiddie stuff, and geeks out at krakens and balrogs.

She apologizes to books for dropping them, and takes care not to smother her stuffed animals.

She drove the back end of Maui – where even the locals dare not wend!

Me: Okay. You make me sound credible.

Will: Then I’m failing, cuz you’re INcredible.

Tirzah: She’s created great art. She’s adventured far and wide. She’s written, lived, and loved stories.

She’s had an eye for the beauty in every place she’s been, and faced many fears for the sake of beauty and adventure.

She’s come up against Giants and been wounded, but not defeated. She rises up again after every blow.

She’s kind in spite of all, and true of heart in spite of much. She’s always pushing onward, herself and others – sometimes in vain, sometimes too hard, but sometimes to glory. And sometimes to simple survival.

She’s noisily brave. She’s faced trials in and out. She has kingdoms hidden under her hats, of which she has many – figurative and otherwise. She’s always pressing forward and branching out and learning new things.

She’ll do what she must. And what she must is, in her mind, a far higher standard than most would dare raise their eyes to.

Me [through literal tears]: Thanks for liking me, guys.

Will: Pssht. Why wouldn’t I?

And I share all this not so readers can see me, but so that those among them who need to can maybe see what they’ve been overlooking in themselves.

Being cool, being somebody, being Enough – it’s not all about Big Things you can do or have done. It’s not all about achievements or talents.

It’s also about the little ordinary things, and the everyday weird things, and the quirks and the quiet strengths that all add up to the person you are.

I needed to hear that – and probably will need it again, before I’ve healed enough to return to my old word wizardry. Hearing likely won’t always mean believing, but as the West Wind once said, “what is true does not require your belief to be.” So believe it or not, Danielle, here is the truth:

Danielle = writer is inaccurate math.

Danielle > that.

Kingdoms Hidden Under Her Hats 06

Recap: It Was Lit

The Struggle™ with feelings of inadequacy aside, Danielle of a Decade Ago would be astonished at Present Me’s “to-done” list. On cast at a Renaissance Faire? Done it. Traveled Europe? Done it. Published books? Done it. Several times. And as of Sunday, I’ve even sold those books at Printers Row Lit Fest!

Here’s how that last item went down:

Printers Row 01

Months Before = I’d originally planned to buy table space on my own. But during a different book-selling gig – a library’s local author open house, back in January – my mom got a tip from another author that signing up as part of a group could be the more economical choice. So I joined the Chicago Writers Association and snagged a time slot with their tent. (There are, of course, other membership perks as well, but the Printers Row tent was my main draw.)

Printers Row 04Days/Weeks Before = This phase included designing and printing out signage, constructing table displays, and ordering a heck-ton of books. You can never how well the merchandise will sell, so I went with higher numbers of Books 1s (“The Swan Prince” for The Wilderhark Tales, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” for The Outlaws of Avalon), second highest with immediate follow-ups (“The Stone Kingdom” / “The Seventh Spell”, “The Marriage of Allyn-a-Dale”), and less stock with books further along in the Wilderhark series.

Because I wished to be able to accept credit cards (cash only during the last hours of a book event? Not ideal), I reached out to family friend / professional fashionista / all-around phenomenal human being Peach Carr for advice in this area. Because she rocks, she let me borrow her own portable card reader. Aaaaand because Square refused to cooperate with me directly (more on this in a future review post, methinks <_<), Peach and fam (*waves to Molly and Wayne*) hooked me up with a workaround that involved the lending of iPads, protracted battles with the Technology Fiend, and the juggling of funds. In short, they were my patron angels, and will be richly rewarded when I ascend to my dark throne.

Denebdeor Crest

Noble stag horns and swan wings. It’s like the artisans were in my head.

Day Before = Foreknowledge is a chronic worrier’s best friend, so on Saturday, Mom and I hopped the train downtown to scope out the CWA tent, the better to get an idea of how we’d want to set up the next day. Seeing the space helped firm up the list of things we’d want for Sunday (e.g. anything we could think of to keep an enthusiastic Vesparya wind from blowing all my stuff away), while seeing the Poetic Earth tent full of handcrafted leather goods made me want to spend money I shouldn’t. (I restrained myself, but come on, one of the journals looked like the everlovin’ crest of Denebdeor!)

The Day Of = Never to be outsmarted by horrific city traffic, my parents and I left the house plenty early, and reached our destination with time to spare. Setup was a little hectic, due to wind mischief and authorial nerves, but we got it sorted by the time my 2-6pm selling window opened. Although I started out a little shy, Mom’s energy compensated until I’d warmed up a bit. And before long, the sales were trickling in!

The Carr family stopped by about midway through the day to say hi and buy a copy of every book on the table. (Have I mentioned I love them?) And a little later on, my brother-from-another-mother Cean Gamalinda came to provide a bit of walk-around advertising while I manned the table and Mom ‘n’ Dad got sandwiches.

Printers Row 06

Peach and Me

Printers Row 07

Me and Cean

By the last quarter-hour before 6, the rest of my tent mates had called it a day, and the crowds were close to nonexistent, so we packed it up and went home, weary but satisfied with the day’s blessings. Despite my darkest “what if?” fears, I made back what I spent on the table! (…if not the cost of all the books I brought to sell. But hey, that just means I’ll have the remainder already on hand for whenever the next event comes around.) And outcome aside, I decided I wanted to do this thing, and Danielle and Co. made it happen. So much for inadequacy. ^_^

Best Moments =

For Will: When a young woman named Scarlett bought a copy of “Ballad”.

For the Sun: When a little boy was offered (as an example of all the free designs available) a Lumónd bookmark, but pointed to Raeóryn instead.

For Me: Oh, how to choose?

– When my first book sold, so it was too late to go home with zero sales.

– The first time someone paid with credit card, and after all the trouble beforehand, the sale went off without a hitch.

– The pair of customers with whom I shared high fives over the Bristol Renaissance Faire.

– When one of them came back later like, “Oh, duh, I should have had you sign my book!” Sign it I did; to Emily.

– The little girls who came for bookmarks. Then came again for a Wilderhark Tale. Then came again for another Wilderhark Tale. Then yet again because – oh, yeah! – you buy two Tales, and you get a third free! All of ‘em signed; to Mia and to Averi.

– Averi [looking at “Ballad”]: “Who’s Robin Hood?”

Mia: “What do you mean, who’s—?!?!” *smacks Averi with “The Seventh Spell”*

– Averi [counting her remaining cash for a 10-dollar “Ballad” purchase]: “I only have eight dollars.”

Me: “Y’know what? Take it.”

Because eight dollars is better than zero, and young people who get excited about books deserve good things.

Things Worth Trying at Gigs Like These =

– Freebies, y’all. There are plenty of folks who won’t spend book money, but will take a complementary Wilderhark bookmark and/or sign up to receive an e-ARC of Outlaws 2.5, “Truly Great Words Never Die”. And yeah, there are also people who insist on walking by emptyhanded, but there’s nothing to be done about that. X)

– Don’t feel comfortable shouting, “Hey, you! Buy my books!” at passersby? Try calling out, “Nice dress!” “Those boots rock!” “I love that color on you!” Maybe they’ll stick around your table a little longer, maybe they’ll just keep walking. Either way, compliments cost nothing (see: Freebies), and you may have made them feel good.

– Price to sell. Offering your $7.99 novella for $5 (buy 2, get 1 free!) may offend your sensibilities – (because for goodness’ sake, your art’s got value!) – but think like a customer. Nice, round, low numbers make for more easily justified impulse buys.

– Hydration. Always a good idea, but particularly when it’s 94 degrees and you’re an introvert expending social energy.

– Bring scissors and extra tape. Even if you don’t end up needing them, your fellow authors or a little girl with a balloon’s ribbon trapped on her wrist just might. (True stories both. And heck yes, we were prepared!)

That One Totally Minor Thing I Woke Up Having an Anxiety Attack About the Next Morning Because I Wish I’d Done It Differently = Nope. Not gonna talk about it. Because it wasn’t a big deal. And everything else was. So there.

Printers Row 02

Open Journal: Who Died?

I don’t recall when I started thinking so, but it occurred to me that the depression I’m going through right now feels a lot like grieving. It’s not a constant thing – not just all the time down and sad, 24/7. There will be moments – minutes – hours – in which I feel pretty much fine. Then I’ll Remember, and boom. Crash. Back down again.

And if this is grieving – if this blue lethargy and difficulty coping with the smallest disappointments and inability to harness the true might of my Get ‘Er Done superpower and authorial magic is all a form of mourning – it begs the question: Who died?

What was it inside of me that I lost during That Time at the end of Germany?

And can it be someday, somehow, returned to life?

*

A number of online friends have quietly reached out to me in concern over the past few weeks. Thanks, guys. You know who you are. And if you were thinking of or meaning to check in/offer support and just couldn’t make yourself get around to it, hey – I see you, too. I know exactly how that can go. Engaging with people – even just typing a few words in a private message box – can take more out of you than you’ve got to spare. That’s the case for me, anyway.

I’ve been spending a lot less time in my social media spaces than in days of yore. As an introvert, I didn’t have a ton of social energy to start with, and there’s even less to go around these days. But I’ve yet to drop out of sight completely – in part because I’d hate for everyone to be like, “Haven’t heard from Danielle in a while. And last I saw, she seemed really down. Aw heck, did she kill herself?!”

Because even if you’re not me, whose default assumption that anyone who disappears for an hour is dead, I can see how my disappearing just now could be construed as alarming.

Don’t worry. Wistfully morbid fantasies aside, and despite the fact that I don’t always feel like staying alive, I’m not about to deliberately take my own life. 1, I haven’t got the guts. 2, it would be wasteful, and I detest waste. 3, my loved ones would be too sad. As someone apparently in mourning, I can’t bear the thought of putting my family and friends through this kind of grief and then some.

sometimes-he-comes-in-the-clouds

The thing about grief, though: Life goes on. Drops of joy slip in amidst the rain, and sometimes he comes in the clouds. The whole may hurt, but parts are maybe worth it, if we make it through.

So I’m still here. And barring accidents, here I shall remain. If anybody wants to send over a nice sympathy casserole, though, I’m sure Will Scarlet would make me eat it.

Open Journal: Nothing is Forever

Over my birthday weekend, I dyed my hair. The color doesn’t like to just stick there. I sleep with a towel over my pillows to protect them from stains. Scratching my head leaves my fingertips blue. It’s kind of a weird tradeoff for looking like a boss.

red-leaf

I’ve been asked whether I’ll go on to dye my hair other colors, in future. I really don’t know. I don’t even know how long I’ll hang onto the blue I’ve got before shaving it back down to black.

It’s a temporary color. It could be gone at any time.

*

My day job is technically a temp position.

The workload’s been a bit sporadic, lately. Some days, there’s plenty to keep everybody occupied for a full shift. Others, things slow down to a crawl. I’m the type that’s big on diligence and reliability, so unless I’m instructed otherwise by my higher-ups, I’m there either way, working with what I’m given with the best attitude I can muster. Makes the prize all the sweeter when I’m sent home with a surprise half-day.

If and when the day comes that there’s just not enough work to go around, I may be one of the folks that get let go. Part of me goes, “Oh, no! But… money!” (Since, y’know, the darling book babies only bring in so much, at this point.) The rest of me isn’t that bothered about it. It’s a fine job for now – close to perfect, in some ways – but I wouldn’t want to get stuck doing it for the rest of my life.

*

I used to think I wanted to make books for the rest of my life. (During my heavily depressed episodes, the thoughts went more like, “I want to make books until it kills me,” or, “I look forward to being done making books so I can die.”)

There’s still a list of stories I know for certain I need to publish before calling it quits. Beyond that… I don’t know for sure. I’ve still got words in me. I doubt I could or should ever fully turn my back on playing with them. I only wonder if playing so hard over the last few years has burned out my passion, or if I maybe need a season of pursuing something else. What else? I haven’t a clue.

keep-calm-and-find-a-new-dream

*

“So, you’re back from Germany. Where are you going next?”

Again, no clue.

I knew when I went that Germany wasn’t to be my forever home. In part because a “forever home”, however sweetly it’s meant when used it reference to adopted pets and such, is not a thing. There is no forever, in this life. That comes with the next. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

That aside, I want my long-term, settle-down home to be in England. Or Ireland. Or San Francisco. Someplace that calls to my heart in a language I can fluently speak. (So, es tut mir leid, Germany, but that means you’re right out.) As for the exact “where” and “when”, I don’t have any answers.

My future is a big, blurry question mark. My present is just me, pushing through day to day.

It’s not a condition I much enjoy. But on the bright side, I know it’s not forever.