Speaking of Stuff

Remember that move I just went through? I know I do. Unfortunately, I’m about to go through ANOTHER ONE in November. I’ll be taking some of the furniture items with me (divorce is no fun and I don’t recommend it) but not all of it, blessedly. All the same, I’ll be moving from Virginia back into Maryland, where I’m happier anyway.

Can we invent the Star Trek transporter technology very, very soon? That would help immensely. It would surely save on movers and packers!

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It turns out that trying to “shop” for a new rental/apartment more than three months in advance doesn’t really work. Property management just doesn’t work that far ahead. So I feel like I’m sitting on my hands, knowing that I need to find a place but not quite being able to do anything about it. It’s torture for a To Do List maker like myself; the item “find new place” is just sitting there, mocking me.

It’s also highly strange to live in a place for such a short time. There’s really no sense in me investing any time or money into this townhouse since I’ll just be moving out in a few months’ time. I’d like to hang curtains to cut some of the natural light out (thanks, chronic migraine) but it just seems like a pointless exercise. I honestly might just nail a blanket over the windows at this point!

Speaking of migraine, that thing’s been keeping me out of work for over a month now. It’s misery about one-third of my waking hours and then when it’s not world-endingly awful, I just have a terrible headache 24/7. Doctors’ suggestions and treatments aren’t working and I might go insane.

To wrap up: I do not recommend getting divorced (it is expensive) and I do not recommend getting a migraine for something like 55 days now (it is miserable). Just don’t do it. Don’t do the thing.

 

Wizards in Space

I’ve recently been published! Bloom and Fade, my post-apocalyptic western short story, has found a home among the stars in Wizards in Space volume 01. Please support this fantastic magazine (seriously, issue 01 is full of some incredible talent from all walks of fandom) by buying a copy here.

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I’ve absolutely got to give a shout-out to my favorite piece, Like Knights of Old by Eileen Gonzalez. And I’m not a poetry girl but Bodies in the Sky by Evelyn Deshane haunts me in the most beautiful way.

Experiences vs Stuff

As my last post addressed, we just moved to a new place a few weeks ago. And, with moving, comes the realization that you own a lot of stuff. Maybe too much stuff. Me? I’m just on the cusp of too much (I craft and sew and we seamstresses are notorious packrats). I’m not terribly sentimental most of the time, though, so throwing out things that I won’t ever use again isn’t terribly hard for me.

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For me, the feeling of owning too much stuff that weighs you down (and speaking of weighing you down, can we talk about how books weigh?) does rub me the wrong way. I used to think of myself as nomadic but, lately, I just keep acquiring things. Lots of things.

There’s a sort of movement going around, with plenty of articles and blog posts to go with it, that experiences are more important than stuff. And while I don’t disagree on principle with the idea that doing can be better and more interesting than owning, I can’t help but feel that the idea of experiences > things is pretty classist (not to mention ableist – but that’s another rant for another day). Some of us simply can’t afford to eat at fancy restaurants, take amazing vacations, or see films and plays.

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So don’t let people make you feel bad if you prefer stuff. Or if you prefer experiences. Aren’t they both perfectly fine? And isn’t what makes you happy more important than fighting about the value of doing vs. having?

Moving House

It’s okay. I’m literally moving house. Not, like, blog business or anything. The kind of moving with a truck and boxes and stress and self-loathing and everything.

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Friday, July 8th (yes, I know I missed this post by about a week – something went wrong in my queue!) is the big day with the dudes and the truck and the furniture and all of that good stuff. We’re also having a small crew come and help us pack the night before because between my husband’s job, my job, and my chronic pain/fatigue, there just isn’t enough time or energy between us to get the job done in so little time.

Why so little time? Because out landlord gave us verbal notice that we had to be out asap at the beginning of June because she wants to sell the place that we’ve been renting. We don’t want to buy this townhouse, so off we go! Our written notice technically gives us until the end of July but we are trying to be nice tenants and we’re getting out as soon as we’re able – our place wouldn’t be available until the 8th, so the 8th it was.

There’s nothing like packing and moving (which I’ve done now five times in eight years – ugh) to make you realize how much stuff you have. When I first moved down to this area from Philadelphia, I had a pretty minimal amount of possessions. The necessities like clothes and toiletries, plus a crappy laptop and a few kitchen extras like my KitchenAid stand mixer (which is crucial to my happiness) were all I really felt like I needed. But I traveled light at that point!

Sometime around moving in with my then-fiance, I started to just… have more stuff. More clothes for my office job, more fabric for my sewing hobby, more makeup and toiletries – the stuff just slowly crept in. And now, every time we move again, a part of me tries to nest a little more by adding stuff to the hoard: books, fabric, clothing, cookware, etc. It just piles up.

I’ve always felt like a bit of a nomad and all of the moving hasn’t bothered me much until this particular relocation. We’re only moving about fifteen minutes away from our current place, so it’s not a big deal distance-wise. But it’s still too much stuff to just get a friend with a truck and some pizzas and make it work. We’re a little too old and grumpy for that, anyway. Maybe I’m finally at that age in my life where I want to know what’s mine and where I can hang my hat long-term.

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I’d like to think we will buy or keep renting this new place as long as there are no glaring problems with it. Buying is a long-term plan that we’re not really dealing with right now, but it might be nice to think of myself as settled down somewhere by the time I’m 40 (so we’ve got about 8 years to get these ducks all in a row).

Don’t we all just want some place that we can call our own?

 

The Universe Has a Sense of Humor

It’s true. It’s true! All it took to get my writing career some momentum was me taking a “real” job. I’ve got two pieces of good news to share!

My short story, tentatively titled “The Untold Story of Pizza Rat,” will appear in the forthcoming anthology, Ghosts on Drugs. That anthology, to my knowledge is still expecting submissions, by the way! I will, of course, post more information when I know it. For now, enjoy a picture of a cute little rat dude eating some popcorn (it’s relevant, I swear).

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Another short story was sold as a reprint to the exciting new project: Wizards in Space Literary Magazine. The post-apocalyptic showdown Bloom and Fade will appear in their inaugural issue which I have been told will hit digital “shelves” sometime in July 2016. Again, more details as those become available.

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BANG.

And the best/strangest part of all of this? These two pieces of news came in two days, one right after another. Can you see why I thought maybe the universe was pulling my leg? That’s a whole lot of good news all at once and, these days, who on earth is actually used to that much optimism? Not me. But maybe I should try.

Flash Fiction: Blue

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She moved through the water like a mermaid. Ron fell in love with her the first time he saw her even though he moved through the water like a drunk octopus.
She dove for a living, taking surveys of fish populations for some government agency or another. Ron had always been terrified of two things: the deep sea and deep space.
Claire came home one day and found a set of tanks and some diving equipment that wasn’t hers.
“I’ve been taking lessons on the side,” Ron confessed. “We can go together now.”
“Together?”
“Together.”
Claire sighed. “Please don’t. The sea is my space. My world. My blue home. It’s private.”
Ron said nothing. The next day, an ad appeared on Craigslist:
Diving gear, tank, mask etc. Brand new. Free. Please just take it.

A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

Dear 18-year-old Deidre,

I know you didn’t get into your dream college but – trust me – that’s okay. What really matters is applying yourself where you are right now and making the most out of these next four years. College offers many opportunities. The fact that you may not be interested in boys or drinking or parties is okay. They’re not that important right now. And you will make amazing friends who are so much better than a beer or a sloppy makeout session or a hangover.

If and when you do decide to drink, make sure you are with people you trust and who will take care of you.

Study. Study harder. Keep studying. You’re going to do great.

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You are not as fat as you think you are. You are not as smart as you think you are. You are as pretty as you think you might be. You are kinder and more sympathetic than you imagine, despite your sometimes-gruff exterior. You hide behind “radical honesty” because you’re afraid of being lied to by yourself or others. This is okay but you will learn better ways to use the truth in your life and relationships. Try to be more forgiving of yourself and others. Listen to the life experiences that people different from you bring to the table and remember that your life’s narrative is not the only one possible.

You are healthy. That is so fantastic. Take care of your body. You eat pretty healthy right now – be sure to keep that up. Cheese fries from the cafeteria are okay once in a while, but try not to give in to temptation too often, okay? I know the gym is dumb and scary but maybe give it a try once in a while and learn how to use the machines. This is valuable knowledge and you will need it so you don’t feel like a dork when you try to start working out in your twenties.

Wear sunscreen. My god, I cannot say this enough. And wash your damn face every day. Learn how to cleanse and take care of your skin now because 31-year-old Deidre had to figure all of it out by herself and she will resent you forever.

Your weird cosplay habit is one of the best things that is ever going to happen to you. You will meet so many people and make so many friends because of it. Keep it up. Enjoy it. Learn new sewing skills and tricks when you can. Don’t wait until the last minute to start projects. You can make beautiful things with your hands.

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Be kinder to people. Be kinder to yourself. Don’t judge others; you don’t know what they are going through. Be sympathetic at best and be silent at worst. Saying mean things about people does not make you better than them or funny or seem smart. Do not kick people when they are down. Treat your friends with the respect they deserve and that you hope they will give you.

You are worried about a lot of things right now. That’s okay. Worrying is normal and everyone that you know is worried about something.

Remember that your parents are just two people who are trying their best and who raised you with love and joy in their hearts but they have and they will make mistakes. Forgive them.

You aren’t sure where love and sex and sexuality fit in into your life right now. If it turns out that you are a lesbian like you keep joking that you are, that’s okay. If you don’t ever like anyone enough to want to be intimate with them, that’s okay, too. If you meet someone and they make you happy and you want to have sex with them, just be safe and make sure everyone involved consents.

People who act like they like you? They probably actually like you! They’re not just pretending in some complex plot to ruin your life. This is true of your professors in addition to your peers – people 2, 5, 10, or even 20+ years older than you can actually like and respect you as a person. Let them.

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Finally, if there is just one thing I can tell you, just one nugget of wisdom that I can leave you with, it is this: calm down and enjoy your life. You are a very serious young woman right now and you work and study very hard. That’s great. But overloading on courses and working two campus jobs at once isn’t necessary to consider yourself “successful.” You can slow down a little bit and everything will still be okay. Take the time to breathe and acknowledge the hard work that you have done.

You’re doing great. I love you.

-Deidre

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P.S. Buy Apple stock. Just… trust me on this one.