Lyrica brain mush

I am coming off Lyrica. Slowly. Off a tiny, tiny bit. And my brain is so fried, I can’t promise this will make sense. But I have to write this. I have to remember that when I am like this, when my brain refuses to find words at all and I can’t remember to put on the sock in my hand, that I still am.

Isn’t that a funny thing? That I need to do this so I know I am? And not even right now, because right now I am moving my fingers over the keyboard in teh blind hope ‘muscle memory’ will do this for me. That it will take the thoughts and feelings and put them out in ways that make sense. Ways that I can’t say, because at the moment I don’t think I can make much of a coherent conversation. I have lost nouns. I called hairbrush ‘the thing with the pointy bits that makes the icky tangle things go away’. My partner gave me the hairbrush and I smiled up at him like an exhausted child home from a day at the zoo.

Or I might not have. My brain could have made that whole thing up. I don’t know. It could have made up that we went to the market this morning and I didn’t desperately crave donuts. It could have put a pretty little story in there, and I can’t tell the difference between that and anything else. Because my brain is trying to work out what to do without one less little pill of Lyrica.

I only had four. Four little white pills, two twice a day, and they were meant to make the pain stop. They were meant to make breathing okay. I think they did. But the put holws in my brain and I don’t know if I can fill them up again. I don’t know if I can stop the rest of my brain from falling into those holes, like those horrible sinkholes that appear and devour cars and roads and houses and suburbs. That last one might be a movie. I don’t know.

I am taking three little pills. Two, then one, and then the Endep for bed. And I think it’s going to make me better, coming off the little white pills. The doctors and psychologists and physios at the hospital who are so eager for me to do the pain course think so. They would know. They’ve got decades of research, and they’ve supervised the course numerous times. They would know. I think I forgot to tell them things. But what those things were are where the holes are, and I have no way of getting them back.

It’s July. The second. It’s Camp Nanowrimo. I love Camp. I wanted to write today. But I couldn’t remember the project, and I looked it up, and then I lost my pen, and something else happened. And I haven’t written words. Not ones on the story. I don’t remember the story. I know I put it up somewhere. It was a challenge. A push. I mean, not a big one. I was using for a purpose, this July Camp story. I used it to test something, but I don’t remember what. That’s in a hole too.

And at the bottom of my ribcage, the spots the doctors and physios called ‘trigger points’ tingle. Like the edges of the water when you drop in an Aspro-Clear. It starts off as nothing, just a little distortion on the surface. But you know more is coming. In that case, you want more to come because you can’t drink it until the whole lot is dissolved. But I will take the little blue Endep and the little yellow Endep, and they will stop it tingling.

They stop a lot of things, the little Endep pills. But the doctors aren’t worried about them yet. One drug at a time. One little white pill at a time. Check ins. And I will take notes. If I remember. I will take notes so I can give the doctors what they need. I don’t know what that is, but if I write things down, maybe it will help. Or maybe the things that help will be in those Lyrica pit-traps, so far into the blackness I can’t see them, so deep no rope will reach. Maybe that’s okay too.

Because I’m still here. Moments out of time, brief and sparkling clarity, starlight on the country-dark night sky. But here. That counts. You can learn a lot from that, right?

Mimic and Ash

Mimic was black and white. She changes coat every year. Funny pony.

Looking Back on 2016

This has been a weird and wacky shaped year indeed. So, since I was terrible at keeping things up to date, here is a quick overview of the things I did. Which I may, or may not, be able to put posts up about next year should I get through the brain fog.

Part of the reason for the lack of posts has been exhaustion, some of it’s been a change in medication and the resulting brain mush, and part of it has been that I wasn’t sure what to even say anymore.

I honestly believed I had done nothing and therefore there was nothing to tell. Yeah, I was wrong about that.

This year, I have moved house, got a cat, and a dog, had to say goodbye unexpectedly to Duchess bunny, learned a little about gardening, and done a lot of reading and listening to craft discussions. That’s not even counting the writing I’ve been doing.

So, in no particular order, here are the things I’ve managed to do this year.

I have worked on a modern fantasy novel I actually plotted, with the working title The Black Dog. I only got about 27k into it in Camp NaNoWriMo, but I had run into a plot problem and had no idea how to fix it. Then I found Save The Cat by Blake Snyder, and I found out I had been putting the points in place for a different kind of conflict than the ones I’d thought. What a neat thing that was!

For NaNoWriMo, I took the Beat Sheet from Blake Snyder and whacked it over my ridiculously fun fantasy world for Abernath and the Mermaids’ Tears, which I managed to finish. I hit word count, and I wrote The End. All while managing to be largely accurate to the plot points and having enough room to move. When you have a young griffin as your point of view character, a little room to fly is always handy.

I also managed to get two spontaneous story ideas, which is a big thing since I had been going through the process mechanically for the last few years due to brain medication. It was glorious! One was a cute little story of a young Abernath rescuing a wet kitten, and the other was a story from the same world but that will be a bigger piece. Princess Astrid has a war to stop, and that’s no short thing.

Of course, that mechanical, skill based process means I have been reading craft books on everything from the actual words to the writerly mindset. Those notes I will put up in posts, because they are going to be handy to go back to.

There are some good podcasts I’ve found as well. There are writing craft ones, self publishing ones, author mindset ones, and ones I’m not entirely sure about. Those I will also post about somewhere, because I had recommendations that led me to the good ones.

I’ve started the terrifying task of editing my vomit copies, and it’s messy! Especially the things I wrote well before I had managed to work out the delicate balance between plotting and discovery writing. I’m still working on that, but I have a better handle on it than I did.

So, all told, I did a lot in 2016.

Who knew?

Here’s hoping 2017 is as productive, and that I actually remember to post things.

birdget-farrier-1-301216

Bridget, showing me that it’s not just writing I’ve done a lot with.

Journal: That Story

This weekend I discovered that doing something different can give you a new outlook on where you are, emotionally, mentally, even in relation to your goals. I helped my dad build a fence, and even though my first response was ‘I can’t do that’, I managed somehow and felt better for it.

Today, I was talking to my amazing Thesis Supervisor, and she asked me about how I got so organised. I’m not organised, by the way, I just make it look like it. And I learned it through being sick. Which, as I sat on the train staring into the rainy night, I realised Alicia doesn’t know she’s learning.

Suddenly, the block I has been happy to leave there shifted a bit and the story moved a little in my head.

And a black striped cat stuck his head through.

Jax: a small, short haired black cat who appears on the fence post of Huey’s yard. He has green eyes, and he really would like a cuddle if he doesn’t have to go too far from his big furry friend. Often seen stalking the sparrows, but yet to be seen catching one, he claims Alicia as his person. He is actually really striped up close, but it may take a while for anyone in the book to find out.

Journal: That Story, 8/8/2013

Guess what? I did it! I met my Camp NaNoWriMo goal of 20k!

And then curled up in a ball and hid under the blankets until today. Not the most productive outcome to a Camp NaNoWriMo, but considering the struggle to get from under 5k to 20k in about three days, I think I did pretty well.

Needless to say, something had to happen in that mad-dash 15k, and I am happy to say that not only have we met the potential Male Romantic Lead, but Hubris has arrived as well!

Hubris, or Huey, is actually a rather large, funny looking bay Thoroughbred ex-racehorse that was going to go to dog meat, but Casey and Greg (MRL) saved along with his half sister Ivory Tower. He’s a dopey, sweet natured sort of horse, who I think will cause some interesting moments in the story to come.

Thank you Camp NaNoWriMo, I actually made it to where the story starts to get interesting! And that is pretty awesome.

Journal: That Story 23/7/2013

There is something to be said for pushing on regardless.
This is particularly true of NaNo. Which I should have remembered instead of whining that my story was terrible.
Of course this story is terrible, it’s a NaNo, that is exactly what it’s supposed to do. This is not a story that will sparkle and gleam as soon as it hits paper, it’s going to be messy and unbalanced and about something I never intended or realised when I wrote it. That is the glory of NaNo.
The best bit, however, is the use of the fabulous trick of ‘the general idea goes here and stuff happens and then we get to a bit I actually know’. All those bits I don’t know how to get to, I can skip the bits I don’t know and it still counts! Yes, I will have to make up the words later, but given my appalling progress this far, I think anything will be better than what I have so far.
Time to knuckle down, and get to work. This week will be hard, but it will be worth it.
Week 4, we’ve got a lot to get done, so I’m planning to meet you running.

Journal: That Story 17/7/2013

There is a reason it’s been so long since my last journal entry on this project.

I haven’t done much.

Honestly, that’s what’s happened. I though July would be an awesome time to actually get my head back in the productive space, but apparently July and I have other ideas.

The story, because of a few things that have to go in to make it work, has been really hard for me to really think about. However, despite not wanting to write about the things that come up, I know I need to. I would be able to do something in my usual genre otherwise.

On the good news: I managed to get what feels like a chapter done! Which is brilliant considering how much I haven’t been doing. Which means that I have somewhere to start, and a character who has left a note in the letterbox. Because that’s what she did…

The bad news: I have to get back to doing uni work in a serious kind of way. Assessment time is going to leap up and try and kill me if I don’t do the work, so that has to come first.

The Ugly: I’ve managed to make myself sick, somehow. Nothing serious enough to actually go to the doctor about, just the kind of sick you get when you’re overtired. Unless you have some magic way of not getting sick when you’re overtired. Or not get overtired. I need to work on that…

The hopeful: There are still some days left in July. I can do this!

And because I should keep a note of her somewhere. meet the letterbox messenger sender!

Casey: 16yro, with older and younger siblings, she goes to the local high school and walks up the road from her house to the bus, which takes her straight past Alicia’s. She’s a pretty friendly girl, though she doesn’t really have close friends at school. She wants to do something with horses or animals when she grows up, but that means getting through the next two years of school well enough to get into uni. She loves her family, and doesn’t really want to move, which makes her that  much different from the other kids she goes to school with.

Journal: That Story, 4/7/13

Today has been a surprisingly good day, for me and That Story. Much thanks for that must go to the comment I got on yesterday’s blog. Thank you!

I actually managed to get some words done, not that it’s reflected on my Camp word count at this stage. This, I have discovered, is what train trips to uni are for. And from uni, if I can get a seat.

Someone very much wiser pointed out to me that I was looking at the story all wrong, and what I should be looking for was ways to draw out tension and drama since I’m not used to the genre. Which, really, makes a lot of sense.

And on the way home, I encountered a rather interesting individual:

Jessica Kelly; Alicia’s older sister. She lives in the city with her boyfriend, and is making a niche for herself in marketing and PR. Ambitious, gregarious, she’s always tried to look after her little sister, but sometimes it can be very difficult to figure out what that is, so it’s much easier to just make her laugh and then that’ll make everything better. Determined to find the up side, because practice makes her job easier, Jess keeps in contact with her sister as much as she can around work, and her boyfriend. She’s thinking about buying an inner city flat, with her boyfriend, but she’s not sure about it. There is something in the wind with this one.

Now I have two characters! And we’re only in Week One! Good news!