Tag Archives: life

Hogwarts Houses and Hexarchate Factions

slytherin badge

I have been taking quizzes! Apparently I’m Shuos and Slytherin…

Although *folds arms* I’m going to disagree. Your personal opinions are allowed to influence your choice of house, and I seriously don’t think I fit “cunning, resourcefulness, and ambitious”. I wouldn’t sell my own grandmother out if it got me something I wanted. I’m not going to screw people over just to get ahead. I’m not entirely sure where that answer came from on the Pottermore quiz, but nope.

And Shuos…I think that one’s slightly more fair, but still not entirely me. I like long-term planning; I’m happy with games. But I’m not exactly a long-term strategist and my point of view isn’t centred on winning (or getting the best of the game), so…

I think, from looking at the options (and changing one answer on the Hexarchate quiz) that I’m actually Hufflepuff and Liozh.

Students belonging to this house are known to be hard-working, friendly, loyal, honest and rather impartial.

hufflepuff badge

Which, y’know, seems a bit more like me than “ambitious”? I may have been quoted as saying, “screw that shit” to the idea of ambition! And a lovely friend (naming no names, Sammy!) was disparaging about Hufflepuff and suggested Ravenclaw, but I don’t really think I’m particularly witty. I do love learning, so I can see where that comes from, but “taking pride in being original in their ideas and methods”….mmm, not really. I’m not that experimental! Maybe I’m just a fairly intelligent Hufflepuff? (Yeah, I know. Buying into the stereotypes already.)

I’m definitely not a Gryffindor, I know that – my quote may have been something along the lines of, “I’m not that f—ing stupid”.  Fully paid up on the Mad Ideas club? Check. Ready to sacrifice themselves for friends? Check. Courageous, loyal, and with absolutely no sense? That’s Gryffindors. Not me.

Liozh faction badge

Anyway, back to the Hexarchate – Liozh. Whisper it! Suppressed centuries ago for the heresy of democracy, the Mirrors were the heptarchate’s governing class. Thoughtful and principled, you question everything and are open to everything, and always try and serve the best interests of the majority – and to leave no-one behind.

It also means I’m a heretic. With a badge. I’m so proud. (It may be stuck to my computer screen at work!)

You can take the Machineries of Empire quiz, and as for Harry Potter….hmm. I dunno. Has anyone got a more reliable quiz than the Pottermore one?

The Igor system: what goes around, comes around

I used the phrase “Igor system” to someone the other day and got a blank look…

Igor, servant to Dr Frankenstein

The phrase I use is from Terry Pratchett, who has a mostly-related family of characters who are the typical mad-scientist helper: they’re all called Igor (well, it’s not confusing to them), like green bubbly things, talk with a lithp, are pretty good at self-surgery, and swap body parts.

And it’s the body parts where the phrase comes from; you take care of your heart, because it was your dad’s, and someone else could use it after you. You accept the help from an Igor when you’ve had an accident and need a new arm, or a finger, or a liver – and then when it comes to it, you pay that on. You give what’s needed, “because what goes around, comes around.”

And I think it works really well for both the writing community, and for life.

I help a writer who’s just starting out because I was there, once – and so I’ll check over her submissions and help with copy-edits and grammar and how to put names in headers because it pays it forward. I’ll buy a chocolate bar for a friend because hey, it’s been that sort of day. I’ll do my best to listen and support and give that extra bit of help, even when it might be tedious or tiring or something I don’t have to do – because I was there, or I will be, or because it’s the right thing.

And I’m seeing it come back. I’m getting so much support from my colleagues within the writing industry, and I can’t pay that back in any conventional sense – and so I’ll pay it forward: when I’m there, at their stage, with their knowledge – I’ll pay it on to someone who needs it. I’ll recommend books I love and support authors I enjoy and do my best to put energy into things that need the support, because somehow, it’ll come back to me. It’s a version of karma, I guess, but I try to direct it; because I don’t always have the unspecified energy to spend doing randomly good deeds, I try to use that energy where I know I can help most.

So I do my best to live by the Igor system – and if you ever hear me use the phrase, that’s what it is!

5 Happy Things: June 2018

What’s going on this month? Stuff. Things. Swans being f***ers (seriously, those things are absolute gits!) A lot of walking around Oxford. Friends. Being tired. It’s been a pretty good month so far, even if I have been exhausted for some of it… so, best bits?

Revenant Gun cover1.Reading sequels to awesome books. I love my job! (Ps. Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun is out this week! My colleague and I may have been fangirling over Ninefox fanart…)

2.House-hunting. I’m currently looking for a place of my own with a couple of friends (as I’m currently in a friend’s spare room) and it’s been fun to see bits of Oxford I might not otherwise have gone to! I’ve been doing a lot of walking, and it is adding to my anxiety levels (phone calls, timing issues, more phone calls…) but it’s exciting as well.

3.And we might be getting a cat! I miss my furball (despite the fact he regularly woke me up at 3am for breakfast when there was food in his bowl, and his favourite sleeping spot is obviously on whatever you’re currently trying to do…) so a potential new furball is great! We don’t know if it’ll actually come off, but it’s a nice dream. My housemate has been looking at cats…I’m currently trying to persuade him that kittens are adorable bundles of squeaky fluff, but they are also FUCKING HARD WORK.

4.It’s weird, but “coping mechanisms” have been a good thing! I broke last week; I was completely exhausted, and had a couple of days where I really could have used my walking stick (and not just to hit people with…) but actually, I feel quite optimistic about it. There wasn’t a specific trigger so I don’t know exactly what I could have avoided to prevent it, but once I realised what was happening, it felt like a routine – I knew what I needed to do, I did it, and I looked after myself as best I could. I was still able to get into work, and even though I was tired, I didn’t burn myself out. So – it sucked, but actually, I got this. I can cope with it.

5.And a little thing…Revels. I used to eat them a lot in school and I’ve rediscovered them. My favourites are the orange and coffee, and I’ll reluctantly eat the raisins. I guess they’re better than Bertie Bott’s, at least – no vomit or dog poo!

So that’s halfway through June…now I’ve got several books to read, several things to edit, and general chaos to administer – so back to work!

For anyone who’s lost a friend to suicide

Trigger warning: suicide and depression (just in case the title didn’t warn you).

There’s been a lot in the news recently about suicide, for fairly obvious reasons, but I’ve been staying off Twitter because I can’t handle it. I know it’s meant kindly and it does help, but the message of “just talk to someone” or “just reach out” just leaves me knotted and angry and crying. I’m always going to be raging against the sheer futility of mental illness and the complete and utter fucking mess that our brains can make of our lives;  but I’m still frustrated and knotted and just…it’s taken time to untangle things.

I want to believe that friends make a difference. I want to believe that humans can change things. I need to keep hoping that someone being there, reaching out, can make the difference. It matters. Listen, and do it. Be there. Connect. It’s the best defence against the sheer hopelessness that depression brings.

But, in the middle of the messages of support and hope and friendship and love, I want to say this:

To anyone who feels like they failed. To anyone who reached out and got knocked back, or pushed away, or didn’t get through. To anyone who did get through, and was there, and lived a brilliant life next to someone who suddenly stepped away from it all-

It’s not your fault.

You might have tried and not been able to give what was needed, and that’s not your fault. You did what you could. You tried. You offered. It’s someone else’s choice if they want to accept or reject, and it’s someone else’s decision. You did what you could.

You might have done everything. You might have provided warmth, love, safety. You might have been a friend who stood there in every battle you knew about, every battle you saw, and you won. Every time, you won.

But it’s not your war to fight.

You might have done what you could or you might have done everything, and it wasn’t enough.

It’s not your fault.

I miss him. Not every day now, but every week. I still call him an idiot. I still wonder what life would have been like if he’d won just one more battle, one more day. But I don’t blame him at all. I’ve been there. I know how fucking hard those battles are to fight, and how endless it all is, and I don’t blame him one bit.

And I’m finally realising that I did everything I could, and while it wasn’t enough – it wasn’t my war.

I’ve been seeing the motto, “Be kind. You don’t know what battles others are fighting.”

And that extends to yourself. Be kind to yourself. You can’t fight someone else’s battles for them. Stand with them, hand them friendship and love, support them; be the best friend and the best human you can be. But you can’t win for them.