Okay, I’m done. But don’t worry—I’m happy about it.

 

I'm done! image
ID: White speech bubble against a brown and turquoise background. Text reads: Guess what? I’m done! But it’s totally cool.

I just this evening had a BOIIIING moment. I’m done with writing for 2018.

And you know what? That’s perfectly fine. It’s been a great year for me. A Night at the Rabbit Hole was published in the Alice Unbound Beyond Wonderland anthology, and I got to hang with some awesome authors. The Hilltop Gathering will be published this or next month in the We Shall Be Monsters anthology, which led me to be on a great Frankenstein panel at Can-Con 2018. And after writing my wee buns off, The Stealth Lovers (the prequel to Life in the ’Cosm) was accepted for publication by Renaissance.

This Spoonie would like to rest on her laurels for a little while and maybe not rigidly plan any writing activities for 2019. What I do, I do. Plus, I’ll be busy co-editing Nothing Without Us with my BFF Talia C. Johnson and continuing to edit great stories by my clients.

I need some unstructured play right now.

So, I’m not going to do NaNoWriMo.

I’m gonna play.

And that decision makes me happy. I need to acquire more writing spoons and taking my foot off the pedal helps.

Let’s see what happens with this freestyle approach for the next wee bit!


Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Her latest WIP, The Stealth Lovers, is a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Dwyer Knightly and Vivoxx Nathan Tirowen. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also working with Renaissance and co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (call for submissions are ongoing until Dec 31, 2018.)

Managing the Dumpster Fire of Life

Fire image
ID: Orange flames filling the entire background.

CW: Sexual Assault

This week on Twitter, my timeline has been full of posts with the #WhyIDidntReportIt hashtag, in response to all the ignorant people who really don’t get how difficult it is for survivors of sexual assault to report these crimes. Some have gone to the police, their parents, school administrations, and the like, but were met with disbelief or questions that put blame on them instead of their attackers. Many haven’t said anything to anyone because they knew it would amount to a billion questions that again, would put the blame on them—Were you drinking? Were you walking alone? What were you wearing? And so on.

Say it with me now: The single cause of rape? Rapists.

So many people (and not only cisgender women) are affected by what’s going on with the Kavanaugh hearings and all of the news related to sexual assault since the #MeToo movement rose to the next level. One one hand, it’s really powerful when we do speak up and support each other and strive to affect change. On the other, it’s draining, triggering, forces people relive their worst nightmare, incurs comments from the worst people, and makes me want to hide in a couch fort.

But you know what? It’s okay to hide in a couch fort for awhile. Self-care and mental breaks are enormously vital for those of us who are triggered by these events and the horrible trolls who don’t believe us. (I also feel that women who trash other women are particularly revolting.)

If you need to step away from social media or turn off the TV and read a book you love, then do that. The other day I posted a photo of a happy bouncy llama. I needed that visual break. A friend of mine also stopped to take photos of the sky because it moved her, and she posted them for a break from the dumpster fire.

Derailing the focus to something positive is often a grounding tool for people who manage PTSD. Let them post their sparkly unicorn GIFs, happy baby photos, or a review of a film they love.

You’re not less of an activist or a human if you need a break or to excuse yourself from the discussion. You live in you. You know yourself better than any of us. You have the perfect right to take care of yourself.

I must say, though, I’m dead proud of all the people offering support to each other at this time. There has been such a sharing of empathy and love, even between total strangers. In the midst of such horror, something in the human condition still shines through as kindness. That gives me hope for humanity.

Take care of yourselves, my lovelies. We need a world with you in it.

Also, for what it’s worth, I believe you. ❤


Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Cait has recently submitted the prequel to ’Cosm called The Stealth Lovers, a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Knightly and Vivoxx Tirowen. When she’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts for indie authors and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also really likes cake

Cartoon

Choosing ‘The Funny’ While Managing Anxiety

It’s amazing to me how people who deal with mental illness can be stigmatized as being weak, ’cause I’m like, Really? Really, doods? Do you actually have the teensiest clue what it’s like?  I manage OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) impulses and anxiety. It wasn’t enough for me to have chronic neuropathy throughout my body. I wanted a mental illness, too, for shits and giggles.

Working through physical disabilities is challenging and then some. Accessibility limitations, chronic pain with associated fatigue, and people saying the most ridiculous things to me as “possible cures” are all part of my regularly scheduled life. However, as difficult as those things are, for me the mental stuff feels way more like constantly lifting hand weights. It takes up so much of my capacity and spoons, and if I had to prioritize, it would often be my mental health over my physical comforts. That’s just me, though.

But today I want to talk about the most common word people use to describe me: funny. I make people laugh. It’s my jam. I’ve chosen to be a humour author as my career. Even when I write serious themes, I always bring it back to something to chuckle about. Why? Probably because (1) I love doing that and (2) if I didn’t go to the whacky place, I’d not still be alive today.

Oscar Wilde said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” I would probably lie in that gutter and make up goofy stories about a couple of the stars. Meet Blinky and Twinkles, two star-crossed lovers, who find that expression a bit odd since they’ve not moved from their orbits in five billion lightyears . . .

Cartoon

Now I need to do a flash fiction about Blinky and Twinkles.

I wrote Life in the ’Cosm while in a great deal of physical pain. I’m now writing The Stealth Lovers, a prequel, while having to go through therapy after an unspeakably horrible 2017. Last month I had a terrible day with debilitating anxiety, and I remember taking out my laptop to write a chapter in The Stealth Lovers. Oh, I was a mess that day. Writing often soothes me, though, so that’s why I’d chosen that activity. A few days later, I reread the new chapter . . . and laughed my butt off. I said aloud, “How the hay did I make it that funny? I remember how badly I’d felt!”

The mind is sort of a miraculous thing. It let me bypass the PTSD that overtook me and led me to a spot in my brain where I could escape to be ludicrous. You’d never guess the state I was in that day by reading the words on the page. And you know what? That alone made me feel damn proud.

Somehow, someway, I can still choose to be funny. Heck, I’m sorta funny even when I’m in therapy—not as a way of covering up what I have to say, but because I tend to find humour even in the worst situations. I still get my point across so I can be treated, but I just express myself in this creative fashion.

Mental illness is weakness? Yeah, that doesn’t compute for me. We have to be strong AF to function at our best potential. And you know, meeting with a medical professional who’s a virtual stranger and admitting your deepest secrets so you can get better takes a shitload of guts. Wanting to care for one’s mental health is probably also one of the most intelligent moves anyone can make. There’s nothing feeble about any of it. Badass warriors, we are. One of these days, I’ll paint myself in woad. (But I’ll spare the world seeing me naked. Yeah, you’re welcome.)

We’ve seen it’s not uncommon for comedians who are completely hysterical to have come from tragic or difficult circumstances. Or, they can be people who deal with mental illness. Robin Williams, my all-time favourite, battled with severe illness and demons. But I celebrate him for all the times he chose the funny. Because he chose the funny, he gave himself a reprieve and some joy, and then gave us treasured memories for a lifetime. Gosh, I miss him. (Why does it always feel like it’s still “too soon” when it comes to talking about Robin Williams?)

Whatever battles you might face, I hope you can find the support you need with medical intervention and great people who have your back. Then I hope you can find the funny, whether you write it yourself, listen to it, watch it, or binge-read it. There’s something about the funny that’s like nectar for the soul.

Dont you find?


 

Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague. Cait is currently working on a prequel to ’Cosm called The Stealth Lovers, a rom-com military space opera. When she’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts for indie authors and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors are writers with disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also really likes cake.