Earlier this week I had a fairly startling experience.
I was thinking back to what I was doing around this time last year and…I couldn’t do it! I honestly couldn’t remember anything that happened in May 2020.
I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes and willed my brain to work.
Eventually after a few breathing exercises to calm my panic, I was able to recall certain things—especially my overwhelming sense of dread that the pandemic was not going to be over anytime soon, contrary to what everyone thought as spring turned to summer here in the DMV.
It still bothers me that I don’t have a gasp on the mundane. I think—although I could be wrong about this, how would I know?!—that I used to have a better memory. I don’t remember it being that difficult to recall where I was or what I was doing in years past before the pandemic.
This NYT article about feeling scatterbrained gave me a bit of comfort, mainly because I’m not the only one experiencing this, but I wonder…will my memories come flooding back? Do I want them to? (This piece from the Atlantic is also really worth a read.)
During my writing session last week, I actually made myself cry. (Maybe I needed a cry anyway? Perhaps my brain was subconsciously mourning its scattered status?) One of my main characters, Leopold, is having to face the repercussions of his very bad actions in Book One, and he’s realizing that trauma isn’t something that can be dealt with overnight. Trauma invades your mind. It sits with you. It changes you.
Pretty sure Leopold’s dealing with his trauma because I’m having to figure out how to deal with mine.
Oddly, writing this has made me morbidly curious about what I will start to remember if my brain allows it.
Was May 23, 2020, an interesting day? Or a boring one?
Guess only time will tell…or not.
A Thing I Enjoyed This Week
I’ve been a fan of Ronald D. Moore’s storytelling for decades now. His episodes for Star Trek: TNG & DS9 are some of my favorites. I also enjoyed most of Battlestar Galactica. (Hated how that show ended, but that’s another blog post for another day.)
This week, my husband and I finished watching the first season of For All Mankind and I gotta say it’s a must watch (Apple TV).
The show tells the story of an alternate history of the space race, starting in the early 1960s. I won’t give anything away, but I really enjoyed the sometimes very subtle differences and details in the new timeline.
That’s all I have this week. Happy Sunday—and stay safe and well, Serrulata Saga pals!
So apparently the hardest part of writing is…marketing?
Yes, yes, I know that this is not groundbreaking. If you’re a writer—especially a self-published one—and you’re on Twitter, you’re probably familiar with how difficult it is to get your work noticed. I know I was even before I started to think about self-publishing, but I wasn’t prepared for the utter frustration that I’m now experiencing!
This past week was very hectic for me at work so perhaps exhaustion is really to blame here, but on Friday I found myself staring at my screen and feeling like an abject failure. My book has been out a month! And I only have two reviews! And very few people like my book tweets! Do I even deserve to call myself an author? What am I doing?
Ah, yes. An existential crisis.
Instead of fighting the impending sense of doom, I allowed the negative feelings to wash over me. I took a deep breath. And then, like a good Virgo, I set to work and began writing more social media posts.
Honestly, I think this part of the self-publishing process is really helping with my personal growth. I’ve never been a patient person. The fact that I have to keep working at this reinforces that success doesn’t come over night. Also, I might have to redefine what success means to me. I do tend to put up blinders when I’m really involved in a project though and am worried about burning myself out.
I have to keep going, but I have to be careful, too.
We Need to Talk About Violet
Lately Friday nights have been my nights for writing. (I’m not one of those people who can write every day. I’ve never been able to do it—but kudos to you if that’s your jam! Really, I admire you!)
I’m plodding along with Book Two and lo and behold I’m realizing I’m going to have to change some things if I want to keep the story focused on my MCs. It is after all, all about them!
I had planned to introduce two SCs in an early chapter but, as I started writing I realized that wasn’t going to work. I’ve already done a scene with the first SC, Patrick, but I think I’m going to have to hold off on introducing Violet. She’s mentioned in Book One and I had planned to have her show up in this early chapter, but as I was reading over what I wrote, I realized it was too much.
Now I’m staring at my outline and wondering if I’m doing too much with all of my SCs. And that has me questioning what I’m even doing in this book.
Who are my characters really? Where are they really going?
Is it possible to have an existential crisis about fictional people?
But here is another opportunity for me to practice patience. Violet, I think you’re going to be a great character, but you might have to wait in the wings a bit longer. And apologies to my other SCs—but you are SCs, not MCs—and so your chapters might get cut or your scenes might get shortened too.
Perhaps one or more of you will get a spinoff book? (Spoiler alert: Two of my SCs already have! Their novella is in the works!)
Taking a step back this week really helped me. Patience is a virtue, after all.
A Thing I Enjoyed This Week
I’ve always liked true mysteries and a recent New Yorker article did not disappoint. I’d learned about the Dyatlov Pass incident during high school, probably from a documentary on the History Channel (when it actually used to show documentaries) and I’d always thought the conspiracy theories surrounding it were wild. The CIA. The KGB. Yetis. Aliens? Nuclear weapons! Shockingly, none of those things had anything to do with what actually happened. Read the article! I found it fascinating!
If you like that article, you might also enjoy:
Stay safe and well, Serrulata Saga pals!
Spring is in full force in the DC area and a lot of folks (myself included) are awaiting the arrival of Brood X. The last time these interesting insects emerged, I was celebrating graduating from undergrad and looking forward to starting my First Real Job as an adult.
Suffice to say, the world is a different place now. I know I’m not alone in feeling as though I’ve lived several lifetimes over the past five years or so, and the pandemic intensified my feelings of dread and helplessness. 2020 was not a fantastic year for me and I’m sure most of you can relate.
Perhaps it was naïve of me to think that I would feel better after Inauguration Day. Or after I was fully vaccinated. Restaurants, bars, and venues are starting to open back up around here. The weather is better. (I abhor the cold.) And yet, I still find myself struggling to get out of bed some mornings. Intense feelings of panic, rage, and despair still overwhelm me, especially at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. I do not feel as terrible as I did last year but I continue to struggle with “getting back to normal” and I know a lot of others are, too.
I came across this article about languishing from the NYT earlier this week and have been sitting with it since Monday. While the concept helped me to think about why I’m feeling the way I am still, I was also drawn to the notion of toxic positivity. It’s not new to me by any means but I’m blogging about it because well, I’ve fallen into its trap.
During the pandemic, I found myself responding to questions from friends, family, and co-workers with “I’m fine!” or “Well, doing my best to do my best!” instead of being more honest. Looking back, I think this is behavior I learned when I was much younger. I’ve realized toxic positivity has had a stronghold over me for most of my life…and I’m blogging about this now because I don’t want that to be the case anymore.
I don’t have concrete solutions or action items, other than to try and be more honest here. Perhaps admitting that I have a problem is the first step? I’m not really sure.
What does this have to do with my writing, you ask? Well, a lot, quite frankly. I’m working on a particularly difficult time involving my four MCs. One of them has to come to terms with the fact that yes, emotions are real and sometimes you have to verbalize them in order to deal with them. In addition to moving the plot along and developing my characters, writing this chapter has been cathartic for me. I’m making slower progress than I’d like with this particular WIP, but I’m trying to come to terms with this because writing really is my sanctuary.
So there you have it. Languishing is something I will continue to deal with. Toxic positivity is something I will continue to battle. My WIP will get done when it gets done.
A Thing I Enjoyed This Week
I recently finished the fifth book in Ann Swinfen’s Oxford Medieval Mysteries Series. I fell in love with this series late last year, despite not normally being drawn to the mystery genre (though I will admit to a particular fascination with medieval European history). Swinfen has an incredible way with words—her descriptions of scenery are paramount—but she also has a way of getting the reader invested in her characters. Additionally, the England she writes about is recovering from its own pandemic—the Black Death, though these books were written long before COVID-19 hit.
I’ll wrap up for now. Mother’s Day is tomorrow here in the States, so I’m posting a day early.
Stay safe and well, pals!
I guess that's as good a beginning as any! Since you're here, welcome!
I'm going to be honest, this is my first time blogging and I'm nervous as hell about it, but I'm diving in because I'd like my site to be a place where readers can get to know me in addition to my books and characters. I plan to share my thoughts about my writing process, character development, and musings on my self-publishing journey. I might also post about media I really like and what brings me joy. I don't wear rose-colored glasses, but I do want this to be a fun space for both me and you, Serrulata Saga pals!
I didn't really have an idea for this post other than to, well, define what I'd like this space to be, so I'm going to keep this one kind of short. (Maybe they'll all be short. Who knows! This is an evolving process for me!)
I will close with A Thing I Enjoyed this past week. My husband and I are comic fans and just finished watching Invincible. I'm a fan of the idea of subverting superhero tropes, and if you are, too, I'd check this show out. (CW - graphic violence. If that's not your jam, this isn't for you.)
Well, there you have it. My first post. Short and sweet. See y'all next week!