MM - 4-9-18

“The #world as we have created it is a process of our #thinking. It cannot be changed without #changing our thinking.” ― #AlbertEinstein

It’s time for a change here too, so I give you #MonochromeMondays. Ask anyone that I went to #College or #University with and they will tell you that I am a firm believer that #Iamnotapoet. Personally, I like to think of myself as a #WordSmith more than anything else because I love words, molding words, and recreating the idea of words. So here’s to #creating mess, new work, and late wine nights while trying to finish #Teagloom.

Didn’t I say to finish projects before new ones…

Here’s the thing…

(we started out friends… just kidding, I’m not Kelly Clarkson)

Life has a way of getting to some people, others seem to flourish with what they are given or provided. Both scenarios are ideal to some and not so much to others. I could sit here and complain about how I’ve been feeling, I could voice to you my lows and highs of the last year, and I could pin it on my lack of self-esteem or on a specific situation but really it just comes down to me.

Have I been feeling different? Out of it? Depressed? The internet allows me to self diagnose, but there is no guarantee that is the answer. I am not a doctor, I didn’t go through years of schooling to advise on health – but I am afraid of doctor’s offices and hospitals. Instead of going to my appointment… I ended up cancelling; it was for a decent reason, I needed to rush to the passport office with Mr. A for our passports to be reissued. That was in December, you say, what about in the months since? There’s no excuse.

Moving to another city, dismantling everything I know about having a job, and trying to find my way in a home I once knew has been jarring. I grew up here, always wanted to return here, always wanted to reconnect with this place and it’s life – yet here I am retreating from the outside world and effectively becoming a hermit. Transit is nearby, but I don’t go; shopping is nearby, but I don’t go; food is near by, but I order-in or cook. I even work from home, in a tiny office hoping that today will be the day that my neighbors will have some common courtesy regarding their noise.
Of course there are some positives about life here:

  • Everything here is so diverse
  • Everything can be ordered online and delivered relatively quickly
  • Everything has a million options
  • Everything exists here, in one form or another

Living in a big city means that the world is almost at your finger tips – you just need a little effort. The problem is that in a world of everything it is hard to stand out or feel important in any form. Do I need to feel important? Sometimes, in fact I think we all do. We need a connection to something in some way, but being surrounded by everything can make a person feel minuscule and sometimes obsolete.

We are into the fourth month of the year and I haven’t been consistent with posting. Is it because of how many options I have? So many other things to do? No. There is just so much opportunity that I feel swallowed whole. So what’s next,  you ask.

  1. First goal is to find a rhythm – I don’t know what type or how or cadence it will be, but it’s a start
  2. Leave my house – which, to be fair, I do leave to pickup the groceries I ordered online, and to see my grandparents occasionally
  3. Finish a project – there are a few things that I would love to complete and get out there, so why not
  4. Find something new – it’s important that this happens after completing something else. If I continuously start new things before finishing something then it’s just a vicious cycle
  5. Sound proofing – it would be nice to be able to work in peace, but whether I sound proof here or find a new place or a studio? Who knows, LOUD NOISES

Here’s to a new year, a new place, a new cat, and all the things that come with writing.

-A

Extra Life & some new rules

Extra Life_blue

Another year, another Extra Life!

Extra Life is a great foundation that has been working to help kids be kids even if they are sick or in the hospital. “Since 2008 they have raised more than $30 million for sick and injured kids” – and that’s straight from their site.

So, what’s the situation? A 24 hour video gaming marathon to help raise support. Tried my hand at it last year after a few years of watching others, and now it’s time for round 2. Being a kid you get to have this unique freedom and imagination of the world around you, and it doesn’t last long as you grow up – but kids shouldn’t have to grow up sooner because of things beyond their control. Point: it’s a great cause and it’s well worth losing sleep over (which is why Extra Life was also the subject of my P4A video last year).

I play for my local CMN Hospital, BC Children’s! Last year we cruised through a few games on my stream: Five Nights at Freddys, Overwatch, Little Inferno, Post Master, Epic Stickman, World of Goo, and Organ Trail.

This year we’re aiming for a 24 hour steam of Stardew Valley, which I started streaming early this year to get used to the controls and game play. New to this year are a few things:

  • I am going to be hosting on Twitch with a side-along cast on Youtube (last year I was on Youtube only)
  • I am introducing some donation perks! That’s right! #YouMaketheRules 

Starting today – the next five people who make donations of $10 or more will have the ability to create one “suitable for all viewers” rule for one hour of the stream. You pick the rule, and you can pick the hour it’s going to take place (first come first pick).

Want to donate, but unsure of the sort of wacky rule you could impose?

  • Can’t say the word “the”
  • Can only drink Sprite
  • Has to use a Kazoo
  • Balance books on my head
  • Maintain chopsticks as walrus tusks
  • Play game of your choosing (I’ve got a few in my library :D)

The possibilities are endless – so what will you choose?

You can donate directly to my Extra Life campaign here!

Can’t donate now and you’re worried that you won’t get a chance to boss me around for an hour? There may be other donation perks around the corner. ^.^

 

Chat soon!

-A

Deconstruction of a Creative Space

Moving is something that has become a part of my genetics at this point. Having grown up with my parents separated and pursuing their own lives, it meant that I was always moving between houses regardless of whether or not I would return to them. Sometimes it was just going away for the weekend, and ~11 times it meant that we were actually moving out of the house.

We have moved 4 times since 2008 and we are about to move again. There is always a chance, as a renter, that your landlord will want to sell the place and it is their right to do so. When we found the condo in 2015 it was a saving grace, but it’s best to jump back a bit.

Early 2013… I want to say… we found our own place ahead of the wedding and settled in with a few roommates. The room that became our bedroom had a small offshoot from it that evolved into my first creative space. Walls were covered, writing desk was in the corner, scheduling work was laid out, and overall the space just inspired.

When you are a creator of any kind, it is nice to have a space that is your own – a place where all of the tools and mess can come out, a place that is yours to fuel the fire. As a writer, my space is usually a combination of books, tools, a desk, pictures and words, memories, and things that I’ve collected to help spark my brain when it decides it’s blocked. It’s a massive combination that sometimes requires rotation… which rarely happens so some stuff just gets left in a box for a while.

Our landlord then had to declare bankruptcy a few months before our wedding… so… it was a bit of a nightmare at the time and I was less worried about dismantling my space. We had to stay with my in-laws until after the wedding so that we could focus a bit more, and then after we found this condo. It was in town, walking distance to work (for me it was 5 minutes), and it had a niche for creativity. Our property manager came for an inspection and said that it was the best use for that area that she had seen in the condos. The layouts are pretty much carbon copy on our side of the building – so she’d likely seen a few.

Catching back up to today – my space is a combination of stuffed animals, beanie babies, pillows, a desk, fan art, Zillas, book shelves, books, sewing, cosplay, printer, post cards, stamps, … there’s just a lot in there for such a small space and it just works. This time we have two months to leave (why we didn’t last time is another story) and the dismantling of the room has begun – it’s hard.

That was a long lead up to get to this point, but taking down all of my inspiration and sparks is sad. There’s a chance that we won’t have this room in the next place (yet to be found), so there is a chance that I may not see some of these things for a little while. I actually started to pack up the stuffed animals and beanie babies first (they were on the top shelves) and I started to think about purging. Did I really need the 20+ beanie babies that I bought in my early 20s because I had thought they’d be worth something… I’d keep the ones my Dad got me when I was a kid… but the rest of them? I sorted out a chunk of them and turns out I could make about $300 from them if they sold at top price… but then I started to second guess.

It had now been 4-5 weeks since we found out the condo was being sold, and two weeks since the sale was finalized and I have one shelf packed and another on the floor… this is a struggle. It feels like the loss of creativity – which is even harder since I had been revising Teagloom for a hopeful print in June. One box and the wall covers down… except for my pink display board which I have no idea how to pack. If I remember correctly, we had a long skinny box last time… but it was horrible, heavy, and falling apart.


Happy to say that we managed to find a place and we have moved in. The tear down of my office at the condo was hard. It had been my niche for all things writing for two years and was just starting to feel like home. Our new place has a bigger space for me – a bigger space for my words and creativity. There are still a few things to organize and hang, but the exciting part is that I finally had the space to bring the chair!

This is a bit of a side tangent, but too bad!

When I was a kid, I used to visit my great-great-grandparents at their home. My grandmother was partially raised by her grandparents, so they were always a big part of our lives. Most people don’t get to know that many generations before them. We would visit their apartment in the home, check out the tea room, and sometimes stay for dinner. There was a creek that created its own path along the outskirts of the property, and it always seemed to be a relaxing place to be despite the inevitable death of the all of the occupants.

Point – my great-great-grandfather had this pale green, high back, winged, la-z-boy type of chair in their place. He was always in it, never said much (likely due to his health), but I could always crawl up beside him for a hug. After he passed away the chair stayed in the same place. After my great-great-grandmother’s health decline, she was moved in with my bajillionth-cousin and my grandmother ended up with the chair. When I saw it in my grandparents place it seemed sad and out-of-place. They also got their couch and love seat, but that pattern… I don’t think I could get that pattern past Mr. A at all. It’s a very floral-esque – but the chair is stoic. And now it’s here in my office and I hope it will rub off its history and tradition on me and my creative processes.

So out with the condo and in with the townhouse. Here’s to brighter and better creative spaces and, now that we are settled, here’s to getting Teagloom all squared out! (More on that next week)

-A

It’s 2017!

It’s actually three months into 2017 and the year seems to have plateaued already. January 1st came and looked back at the year that was 2016 and then decided that it was just going to cruise. That it could get away with not doing anything because so much happened in 2016.

2016 was a fairly interesting year for myself. On the writing front I was able to move into some content writing with my day job, Nanowrimo was completed with a week to spare, a month-long series of letters to myself (May Amy), and Teagloom started to test the waters of the world. Outside of writing… there was a lot: four 5K runs, a 10K run, a half marathon, two job title changes, 2 competitive seasons in Overwatch, a trip to Walt Disney World, a new vehicle, and my family moving closer. There was also another completion of the 12 Days of ScrtChristmas and another failed attempt at reviving the 50bookchallenge channel (which will hopefully have better luck this year).

The only thing that feels lacking is the writing front. As an individual I feel somewhat accomplished with 2016, but as a writer… there is more that I could have done. Last year was the year of running so I am going to try to make writing the focus this year. The goal (finances depending) is to get at least two of my novels out there: Teagloom and Death Defines Us.

While I think that DDU has a more widespread audience there was a fair bit of interest in Teagloom after it was posted on Inkshares for the Geek & Sundry contest. There were a fair bit of eyes on it and quite a bit of contact after the contest had ended about when it was going to come out so that’s the goal. The checklist is a medium-sized but doable before summer… I think:

  • Second draft completed
  • Copy edit
  • Cover designed
  • ISBN purchased
  • Imprint formed
  • Kickstarter… maybe?
  • Published
  • AND at least one convention appearance
    • which means a table and marketing material

 

All things considered that seems fairly doable.

-A

 

#Last26of26

Alright. I post here and then I don’t post here. It comes and goes, and its in bursts, but I’m back again with another project.

#Last26of26

There are 26 days left in my 26th year on this planet so I thought let’s do this! We’ve been through every day May Amy, what’s next. And the answer is more challenges for myself and pushing the limits of my creativity.

What can you expect? I wish I had a cut throat detailed answer for you, but all I can say is keep an eye on my social media channels. The next 26 days will entail posts across my main platforms:

-A

 

First short = complete!

It’s been a great every day May and I am already looking at the next everyday for July. Eventually I might be able to make a post every day or every other day, but for now it is time to focus on some planning and some marathon training.

Thanks for reading the letters – a little cheesy, but it was definitely interesting for me – hope it was for you!

 

In case you were wondering, the first runDisney Short happened and here’s how it looks:
Series.5K.1_Bib
I ended up doing a little over 5K in 47 minutes on an elliptical and a treadmill for the Yellow Shoes virtual run. Still getting my body used to exercise in general so it was odd to try to pace my 5K. Looking forward to the next Mickey Short which is June 5 – June 18, 2016 and is Red Pants!

Aiming for a faster pace this time – fingers crossed!

-A

 

 

May Amy – #31 – Thirties

Dear Amy at 30,

Well… we did it. We joke with Alex that we want to celebrate a birthday in our thirties at Club 33. It would be amazing to us if it was our 33 birthday, three years from now, but that seems a little cliché or typical. It is also quite unlikely that we will be able to find our way into Club 33 without how stringent the rules are now for members, but there is always a bit of hope for pixie dust.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of us: whether we are still in Kelowna, whether we are still pursuing the imagining career, whether we have a house, do we still read obituaries, do we still play video games, do we still waste too much money on trips to theme parks. I guess I have more questions for you than I have goals or recommendations for you. It is hard to know where we will be at thirty, but I hope that we are as happy or happier than we are now.

I can’t tell you who to be or what to achieve because only us in the present really  knows what we are aiming for. We have goals, sure, but even those can change as we rediscover ourselves in different scenarios. The Amy who started to write these letters is not identical to the one I am now, and the Amy tomorrow will have learned something new to. It is never a bad thing to learn or want to learn and adapt, but don’t lose yourself in the process. Don’t lose us. Present Amy jokes about being “here for the woo” with the team, and hated the idea of being the token extrovert who isn’t necessarily good at anything else. Being the woo doesn’t mean that at all – it just means that we find it easier to be outgoing than others in similar situations. Don’t forget that.

I’m not afraid of thirty – in fact I’ve experienced loads of women in their thirties who have been just as much fun if not more fun than I am now. It’s just a number to signify your existence on this planet – it doesn’t define who we are or what we should have achieved. Here’s hoping we still get ID’d though when we feel the need to indulge in a bottle of White Zinfandel or Pinot Gris. Wine didn’t used to be our thing, but then again we did used to drink over our capacity in high school and then stopped after graduating to avoid becoming an alcoholic. Different ages, different perspectives, different variations of the same person: Amy.

This is starting to feel more like a wordy cliché bouquet than anything else, but it’s true. I look forward to seeing how and when we will grow next and I hope that we get to learn as much as possible before we are thirty and even afterwards. It’s been an odd month of writing to myself and I am sure that I would do it again dependent on the timeline. Do I feel like I know myself better? I don’t know. Do I feel like I’ve come to terms with more things, or things that I thought I had been over? Some wounds shouldn’t be reponeded, but those weren’t necessarily included either. See you in four years to spill all of my secrets and scenarios from growing up? Well, I will see you tomorrow, but rewriting memories and revisiting this concept later sounds good to me. Here’s to the next thirty. May they be adventurous.

-A

 

 

May Amy – #30 – Almost there

Dear Amy at 29,

By this point… if we haven’t published one of our novels, even self-published, then we need to drop all fears and find ourselves a great self-publishing offer. That’s it. No more excuses. It must seem weird to you that I am pushing this so much, but current Amy still questions a lot of things. Probably sounds even weirder given how outgoing we are as an individual, but it’s true that we tend to over think and over analyze. It makes us a good sounding board, and we are quick to consider multiple options.

It is my hope that we have a new cat by now and that the healing process has come full circle. Jones was such an important part of our lives and I feel bad thinking that we wouldn’t give another cat a chance at a new life. I think Jones would be glad that we gave another feline friend a better home outside of the shelter. There are lots of cats at the SPCA and other shelters here, and it would be nice to take in one that has been waiting awhile. I know that the older ones are less popular, since they are closer to the end, but I think that would be a great fit for us. A cat companion who is older and calmer, one who likes to eat and sleep and cuddle, and one who is happy in the sunshine through the window. Damn… I miss that cat.

It may be a morbid thought, but I wonder how many more people will die between now and 29. So many of our friends and family members have already passed on that it seems almost inevitable that the count will be high.We found out about another loss this week, our Tim Hortons companion, Des. Sad to say that we found out much too late. We had gotten him a Christmas card but didn’t see him much around the winter. It’s still here at the house because when we did see him the few times after the holidays we just didn’t have it with us. I’m avoiding looking at it. It’s in our office on the pink memory board.

This will also be the year of our five-year wedding anniversary. When I asked Alex what I should write about to you, he said that I could write about us being together. Seems like an obvious statement to me now. Why wouldn’t we be. It’s a thought that I don’t say out loud too often, but I really believe that he saved our life. We weren’t in the best of phases when we met him, but he was there and open to helping anyway he could. He’s the yin to our yang, keeps us balanced and we reciprocate, notices the small changes in demeanor, shares our love for perfection with flaws, and would stop the world if needed. That probably sounds like a lot of cheese, but at least its Gouda.

We had joked about going back to Walt Disney World for our fifth anniversary and renewing our vows at the parks — or in some place unique anyway. I am pretty sure that we suggested the parks and he didn’t argue. It would be nice to do something small anywhere really and just celebrate how far we’ve come. It will be five married years, but it will also be twelve years that we have been together and worked through any divots. Tate used to joke that we were like Hawk and Dove, balancing and understanding of each other in such a unique way that is specific to us. I just hope that we continue to talk churros, cartoons, and cheeseburgers.

-A

 

May Amy – #29 – Dreamin’

Dear Amy at 28,

When we were younger we used to think about staying 18 forever. Every dream or ideal involved us staying 18 years old. At 28 this will be 10 years past our once ideal age, but even now I am glad that we didn’t find some weird way to stay 18. We aren’t a huge fan of birthdays because they tend to be negative, but getting older isn’t something we are really worried about anymore – I hope we still feel the same.

If we don’t have a house by now… I think I would be a bit disappointed in my older self. Granted it doesn’t have to be a house, if we could own some sort of property by now that would be an accomplishment. Also, I hope that we still have our friends from DI. Having lost connection with so many friends in the years that I have already existed, I would be surprised if we kept any – but hopeful 26-year-old me is optimistic about the latest set of friendships.

I would tell you about how much we want to have our novels published, how much we want to be an Imagineer, how much we want to be in California more often than now – but I think you know all these things. We’ve just recounted 26 years of our existence so if we don’t remember this two years from now – take it as a potential red flag.

Another topic of interest will probably be whether or not we are having kids. We’ve changed our minds a few times. Before we got married, our agreement with Alex was 2-4 kids and then after the honeymoon it switched to no more than 2. Now we are all under the same impression that we don’t really want them at all. Children can be great for a lot of people, but we are happy with it being just the two of us. Will be interesting to see if this changes again by the time we hit 28.

If we are still in Kelowna, still in the condo, still without one of our novels published – don’t worry too much, Amy at 28. I know us and we will judge ourselves until the cows come home or whatever the saying is… actually… I know us now, but maybe we won’t be the same. We come off fairly strong and secure, so maybe we will mirror it at 28.

– A