Tag Archives: life

Tresha, Relief, and Writing

 “Tresha. It was the thankful, humble, vulnerable feeling that came after someone saw a truth in you, something they had discovered just by watching, something that you did not admit often to yourself.” – Becky ChambersThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

I have tresha, but also what feels like the reverse; someone doing something that lets you release a long-held breath, helps you let out something that’s been held inside; unlocks something that I’d known would come back, but I didn’t know when. And it’s from someone doing something completely unsuspecting; as a friend said to me, just by being you.

For the first time in over a year, I’d picked up a piece of Dresden writing again – I had to travel to Lymington this weekend, and just started thinking about plot as I drove. What if I jammed two unfinished stories together? What if the solution to one problem was killing someone (well, this is me: I’m not nice to characters) and seeing where it goes? It meant throwing out some writing – but that happens – and it meant thinking about motives again…

So I was poking it on Saturday evening, got a bit written, and briefly mentioned it to a friend who then asked about the world and the factions. I explained – and they upped and ran with it! We were up until 2am talking about a spin-off idea, looking for mood images, discussing motives and character traits and how the world and politics and factions might work…

Tangled Secrets by Kate CoeAnd it felt like letting out a breath.

If you’ve seen the rest of the site or read this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I loved the Dresden world; I loved the game, the characters, the intricacy, the factions. The fact that I have about 100k of fanfic words on Wattpad (either published or not yet) and more in a folder tells you how much I loved writing it. And it got locked away when Ryan left, because I couldn’t face it on my own. I’d lost my friend and my partner for that world, and I couldn’t tell those stories any more. It’s sort of been coming back, slowly; putting the words out there has helped, even though I haven’t really been able to write anything new.

And while this isn’t that world and partnership, and never will be – it was letting out the same breath. It was loosening the bands that held it all in. It was being able to talk about something I loved, and be back in that sort of world with someone who gets it.

I cried, and I laughed, and I don’t have the words to be able to say how grateful I am even for that small loosening of the tightness. For the small relief in the knowledge that says yes, this will come back. This can happen again. This feeling isn’t gone, and isn’t it wonderful?

And then I got hit in the chest with a bagful of emotions in return.

As you may know, I tend to be enthusiastic about encouraging people to write, and don’t tend to have much sympathy for excuses – in a nice way! I just don’t hold that you need to be good enough, or have An Idea, or be writing The Right Thing, or wait for whatever it is you’re hoping will make you write…I will always have sympathy for writer’s block, though, because just not having the words does suck (as I know!) But anyway, said friend had mentioned that they used to write, and now don’t, and they wanted to start again but

Well, that got short shrift from me when they mentioned it a few months ago: short enough that I actually started a document, filled in the first line and sent it to them – and they wrote something! WIN! But what I hadn’t realised until they told me was that it wasn’t me gently prodding (ok, not-so-gently prodding) that made them write. It was me.

It was the fact that I’ve been through depression and anxiety and still live with both. It was everything I’ve done in the face of that. It was the published books and short stories and words and blog and ideas.

It was the lack of excuses that I give myself.

I have to remind myself, when I’m not doing well, that the fact I’m alive is a huge thing. The fact I’ve made it another day is everything. And anything I can do, when I’m feeling like a failure for not doing enough, is all I need to do. I hate the idea of being inspiration because I feel like a failure, and I hate someone not being able to see that I’m a mix of both. But I need to acknowledge that I have done more than I could have, and maybe more than I should have. I keep going, even if it’s one step at a time through fog. I do this. I can do this. I have done it.


Having someone else tell me that, outside of my own head, took my breath away.


And – and – I’m writing! Despite being a sounding-board, it’s not going to be my story to write (we can have the argument about that later, Badger, because I know you’ve just grumbled at the screen) but I have images and scenery and snapshots, and I scribbled a short piece as soon as I woke up on Sunday morning to send over. I’m used to rpg writing and so the idea of pieces being used, changed, discarded; that’s not a problem for me. But being able to put the flashes of scene onto paper, being able to scribble down a conversation, being able to write a chunk of description – even if it never gets used, it’s wonderful. It’s there. It is coming back.

It’s another infill of gold; and it’s a breath, held for too long, suddenly let out.

The words are coming back.

I Can Stay!

Yesterday, my boss leaned over and said, “So, I’m not going to conduct your six-month review.”


“Or any other review.”

I thought for about three seconds that he was going to fire me (hey, my brain sucks).

“You’re now a permanent employee.”


I’m official. My probation period’s been ended two months early, and I’m a permanent employee of Rebellion! I’m officially a Junior Editor (although the Commissioning Editor is still determined to get rid of the Junior, which I think makes him feel like The Responsible Member Of The Editorial Team) and I did squeak. And nearly cried. And then got The Highest Of High Fives from my editorial colleague, a cup of tea from my boss, and a frankly terrifying editing project in my inbox…

(On which note, I did have a small panic over it. We’ve got some stories in from an author that I seriously admire: I took their books around the world with me, they are the author that I want to be when I grow up, I absolutely adore their style and worldbuilding and language, I know I will never be that good, and I have to tell them where their writing could be improved.

Hah. Ahahahaha. *goes off to cry in a corner*

My editorial colleague has expressed full support and it’s a serious level-up for me, so I’m going to do it and absolutely rock it, but…. *is mildly terrified*)

Anyway! Job. Editor. That thing.

It says a lot about my brain that a) I seriously thought I was going to get fired, b) I spent most of the afternoon in shock and it hasn’t sunk in yet, c) I got some annoying news (I’d made a typo on a project) and that promptly overshadowed the whole You Can Stay At Rebellion until I told my brain to get a grip, and d) it feels completely overwhelming.

And it’s a relief.

I spend so much of my time fighting my brain as it’s telling me I’m stupid, I’m not perfect, I’m doing everything wrong, I’m going to fail or already failing: and it’s wrong.

I can do this. I’m doing ok. They like me. I love this job, I love this team, I love reading and commenting and organising and deciding and laughing and just being able to be part of something so interesting, so exciting, so frustrating and wonderful. I love Oxford: I’ve found beautiful gardens, odd tucked-away houses and intricate carvings, elegant buildings and busy streets, gentle streams and wide rivers, fields of waving grass and built-up estates, and the red kites soaring overhead every morning. I’ve made so many good friends already and I’m making more; I’ve found a games group to play with every lunchtime, people to plot world domination with (while eating cake, obviously), someone to share burgers and Romans with, someone I can sing along to 90’s pop and talk about nothing or everything with, someone who is amazingly interesting and so intelligent that I feel stupid in the best way possible, and so many people that I’ve only just started making friends with…

It’s saying that it’s ok. This little fragment of stability that you’ve found in a beautiful city – you can keep it. You can add to it. It’s real.

It’s another layer of perfect gold across those cracks in my heart, another layer to the shield against the anxiety and the fear and the depression, another set of voices supporting me when I can’t do it on my own; and it’s wonderful.

I am absolutely, thoroughly grateful to everyone who has made my first few months in Oxford and my job so brilliant, and I have found my place*.

I can do this. I can.


*My anxiety promptly tried to qualify that. Shut the fuck up, brain. I know it won’t last forever: just be happy for five minutes, m’kay?

A Reminder That You’re Awesome

Apropos of this post from a few weeks ago, a very wise friend recently said to me;

“You can’t fight someone else’s fight. You can, however, wait until the gunfire quiets down a little to remind them that they’re awesome.”

And, from the still-cracked part of my heart that’s slowly getting inlaid with gold – go and tell your friends what they mean to you, because they need to hear it.