Sunday, 9 February 2020

On Grief

TW: Death

This is a hard post to write. This past month has been hard to deal with. A close friend, and a brilliant Australian author recently lost her life to cancer, and I'm still not sure how to deal with it.

Steph Bowe was a shining star in the Aus YA sphere. She published her first book, Girl Saves Boy, when she was 16. Around that same time, we became friends online and bonded over our love of writing and books. I didn't meet her in person until the release of her third book, Night Swimming, when she moved down to Melbourne, and we were able to hang out more often.

God, she was such a weirdo. She obsessed over the strangest topics, and would gush in detail about them. She was always hungry for knowledge. The last time we saw each other, we had a decadent brunch, where she told me all about arousal nonconcordance. That was who she was. She loved psychology and the weird parts of brains, and she loved teaching people.

She was known for always being in gorgeous floral dresses, no matter what the occasion. She was always so bright, the most beautiful flower in a garden. You could sit down with her and talk for hours about nothing and everything.

This is the first time I've lost someone close to me, so I don't quite know how to feel. I'm numb. I cry every few hours because I'm reminded of something she would have liked. I look at beautiful dresses and my stomach feels like it's shrivelling up. I look at her books, set on my Aus YA shelf (because of course I have a shelf for #LoveOzYA) and I'm reminded that she'll never write another book again.
Just before the New Year, Steph was so optimistic that her bone marrow transfer was going to be a success, and she was excited to tell us about the new story that was brewing about in her head. I wish I could read that story.

The writing community lost a brilliant soul, I lost a great friend of 10 years, but her works will always remain. Read them. Reread them. Let Steph fill you with her words.

Vale, Steph.

Left to right: Me, Danielle Wilkinson, Steph Bowe, Shivaun Plozza, Jes Layton

Monday, 3 February 2020

Books Read in January

I told you I was back!

So, my goal for the year--for every year, really--is to read 100 books. This used to be easily achievable, but with my mental illnesses come a shocking loss of motivation to do the things I wanted (but that's a whole other post). Yet I still persevere. I figure if I blog about the books I've read each month, I'll be more inclined to read faster, better, and with more gusto than usual.
"A book is made of paper, but a story is a tree."
pg 448

This month I read

1. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
2. Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #2) by Ilona Andrews
3. The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski
4. Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee

I'll be posting reviews/dissections of The Last Wish and Loki because those are the two books that left me with a lot of thoughts.

The Starless Sea, though... That captured my heart. It was a book for book lovers. This is an unofficial review, more of an excited squeak and demand that you go out and read it.

Well, that's it for today, but stay tuned for reviews and news about upcoming projects. Here, have a puppy Layla to see you off.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Hi, I'm Back, and Probably For Good

I know, I know,I haven't been posting much lately. For years, actually. I've been busy with life, and blogging just took a back seat because I didn't think I had anything to write about.

But now I do.

I've started NaNoWriMo 2019, but that's not the big news. The big news is that I'm working on several projects at once. That may sound like a bad idea, and a good way to burn out, but because of my BPD, right now, I'm manic and all I wanna do it share it to the world.

So, item number one: I'm writing the first book in a series on greek mythology where the goddesses and women who have been scorned have their chance to tell their side of the story. To begin with, the so-called kidnapping of Persephone by Hades. This is my main novel project, and will be the first of many books, if publishers would want more.

2) I'm editing a novel that I wrote almost 10 years ago, getting it ready to be published. It's not far off from the copy edits stage, and I'm slowly drafting a query letter. Some of you might know what I'm talking about, if you're old followers. If you're not... well imagine Aladdin set in 1948 Ireland with faeries and leprechauns.

3) This excites me the most. This is my most secret project of all the things I'm working on, so I don't want to give away too much, in case this flops. I'm going to be self publishing a zine/anthology of short stories and poems every few months. I'm hoping to make it a quarterly thing, but who knows. I've written a lot of things, some just a few paragraphs long, some 20 pages long.

That's all I have to share with you today, but stay tuned, because I aim to be back very soon.

Monday, 2 January 2017

A very personal, but important post


This time last year, I woke up in hospital not knowing what had happened, but keenly feeling disappointed to be alive. The night before, I disassociated--for those of you who don't know, it means I lost myself in my head, and my body moved on its own accord. I was no longer in control, and that's a scary feeling--and packed a bag with as many sleeping pills as I could get my hands on, a water bottle, and my kindle. I told my parents that I was going for a walk. They must have known that something was up. Everyone who's seen me disassociate has told me that it's like I'm a completely different person.

It was late evening, on a gorgeous summer day. It must have been 7pm, or so, because I remember that it was still warm and bright, so when I walked off the track in the reserve behind my house, I could easily navigate through the brush and fallen logs, and out through the other side. I don't quite know what was on the other side of the small forest. It felt like I had walked through a portal. On one side were houses backing up onto the walking track, and then on the other side, there was this strange and peaceful field, kept in immaculate order. There were lakes with ducks that angrily chased me, and footpaths that stretched on.

As I walked, I started downing my pills. I found a spot, a dip in the field, surrounded by reeds that towered over me. I pulled out my kindle and read while I waited for the pills to hit me. It was starting to get cold and windy. The reeds protected me from the worst of the wind, and I felt safe among them.

By then I knew that my parents would have been worried. I knew that my boyfriend and my girlfriend would be worried. No one knew where I was. I didn't even know where I was. Months later, when I would try to find my way back to this place to come to terms with what I did, I would fail. It disappeared.

I don't know what time it was when I first saw the helicopters searching for me. I'd been slipping in and out of consciousness. I had laid my head on my bag and it felt as if time was moving faster than it should. But I wasn't dead yet. I wasn't even asleep. I turned off my kindle so that they wouldn't see the light in the middle of this field, and waited some more.

It must have been hours later when I decided that I was a failure--that I'd failed at killing myself--that I got up and decided to go back home with my tail between my legs. But I was lost. I followed the pathway I'd taken, but it led me to unfamiliar places. It was so cold for a summer night. When I came across a hole in a fence, I decided to take my chance and go through it, thinking that maybe it would be another portal that would lead me to safety.

It sort of was.

I came out in a small alleyway surrounded by houses and I had no fucking idea where I was. But I walked. I picked a direction, and walked. I couldn't even use my phone for a map because I purposely made sure the batteries were dead. Stupid stupid me. At this point I was delirious, but regretting it so much. If I'd have waited in that field another hour, I'd have passed out.

I made myself vomit. It tasted awful. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I would walk past each house and vomit on its nature strip. This close to Christmas, some of them still had lights up. It was beautiful and torturous. I worried I would never have another Christmas again. My birthday was in 7 days. Would I make it to turn 24?

At one point I lay in the bushes on some person's lawn, and a cat came up to me. It reminded me of my babies, my two cats, Luna and Selina, and my giant dope of a puppy, Layla. How would they react to my being dead? Would it hurt when they missed me? Would they understand that I was gone forever? Or would they sit on my bed every day, inhaling my scent, waiting for me to walk through the door and shower them with love?

And what about my boyfriend? He was not just my lover, but also my best friend. He had called the ambulance on me so many times during my many suicide attempts. How could I hurt him like that? How could I leave him like that, after all the moments we had together? Forcing each other to write; driving me an hour to get my two beautiful cats; being the perfect father for my pets. Even if he weren't my boyfriend, we'd still be best friends. We had a connection, that was kind of like soul mates, but that's too much of a cliche. We were soul-buds. Friends that were made to be together.

And what about my girlfriend? I'd known her for only a couple of months, but we had a connection. She was gorgeous and tasted sweet, and I loved our tea dates in the city. (About a month after this event, she broke up with me because she couldn't handle the stress and the pain of being with a mentally ill person. I don't blame her. She's since blocked me on all forms of social media, but I don't hate her for it. I just wish I was a better person for her, and that I didn't have to put her through all this pain and uncertainty.)

Finally, I saw a car, and I got up on unsteady legs and waved at them to stop. Please don't be a serial killer, I thought to myself. It would have been so ironic for me to have been murdered just when I decided I wanted to live again.

But it was a woman, and she was so nice. I asked her for directions to my street, and instead of pointing the way, she offered me a ride. It turned out I was walking in the opposite direction. She took me to my street, where there were cop cars and an ambulance. When I got out and surrendered myself to them, I finally lost all memory. I lay on the uncomfortable gurney, and started losing consciousness as they asked me questions. I think I fell asleep. I don't remember anything after that. All I can remember is waking up in a hospital gown, with wires taped onto my naked body underneath--I'd been hospitalised too many times to feel embarrassed about a nurse undressing me and preparing me like that.

I could have cried when I woke up and saw I was still alive, but I was so dehydrated from all that vomiting, and the IV drip was working far too slowly for my liking.

In that moment, I made myself a promise: that I wouldn't attempt suicide again for the rest of the year. And I fulfilled that promise, I'm proud to say.
Now, I have another promise to make: that I won't attempt suicide in 2017.
I have so many friends that love me, and it gives me strength.

So, here's hoping I can write a post a year from now about how I survived 2017.

TL;DR: I tried to kill myself, but didn't succeed, and I'm happy to be alive.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

February's Book Haul

What I've been up to in March + future plans

March is a strange month. It comes after the 28 or 29 days of February, and it's got daylight savings to boot.
For me, March was a month where I got very serious about editing my current novel, and lazy about writing a different novel. Now let me tell you, editing is hard.
See all those red lines and scribbles? Editing is no joke. I plan on writing a series of posts about my editing processes. Because it is looooong.

On the personal side of things, life is bumpy, as it always is. I have my good moments where I edit whole chapters in the space of a day, and days where I barely have the energy to leave the house.
But I've been slowly slowly beating depression's butt.

With depression, it's hard to actually get up and do something productive. I've been writing this  post since February. But I really want to reconnect with the online world, so here I am.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

My Relationship with Books

To be a writer, first you must be a reader. (I think someone important said that.)

My first interaction with books was when my mother would build me little forts out of books, and I'd choose one to pore through. I don't have any memory of this, but mum insists it was really cute.

My first memory of books was reading in the dead of night. When I was a child, I was scared of the dark (still am, come to think of it), so the light in the hallway outside my door was lit until one of my parents woke up or so. Each night, I'd wait for my parents to fall asleep, and creep out into the hallway and sit right down on the floor with one of the numerous books I'd borrowed from the library.
That was how I'd read most of the Harry Potter books, and the Lord of the Rings, as well as playing Pokémon Silver. When I heard the creak of my parent's bed, or the sigh of them being roused from sleep, I would hustle back to bed and pretend I'd been asleep. If I was lucky, it would be a false alarm, and I could go back to reading until it was time for school.
To this day, I have reading-induced insomnia.

When I was in highschool, reading was never really cool, so I stopped it for the sake of joining in with my friends. What they didn't know was that I was devouring books like Les Miserables and attempting at War and Peace. I was the first one in my group--and probably the school--to read Twilight, and thought it meh before moving on to real vampire books like Anne Rice's series.
I'd also spend my nights reading fanfiction, or original fiction online, on fictionpress and its sister site. I must have read hundreds of words worth of books in those years.

It was only when I had graduated from highschool, when I'd removed myself from several toxic relationships, that I'd enveloped myself in the world of books.
I firmly believe that it was my lack of books during my teenage years that made me so heavily suicidal. Now years later, I have my books and I feel so much better.

Books are magic. Everyone says that, and that's because it's true. Twilight was so popular because girls could leave their boring/over-complicated/abusive/etc'd lives for a little while. And it's because I can leave myself for so many hours at a time that I've been able to cope with depression.

And with the devouring of books came the inevitable writing of books. I'd run out of books I'd wanted to read. I'd read everything on fictionpress; so I wrote something I'd want to read.
That part still remains. Right now I'm in the mood for selkie/mermaid hybrids and the end of the world and human sacrifices, and that's exactly what I'm writing.
Write the book you want to read (I'm sure someone definitely said that.)