Tag Archives: personal

2018: The Year of “What The F*** Just Happened?”

Well, when I started 2018, I had a bunch of aims – mostly for 2018 to be less shit than 2017 was. I wanted to have a better year, finish some old writing (mostly my Dresden files and possibly Madcap Library, with a side order of No Man‘s) and start something new, improve me (aka. get out of the house more), and read more.

Ha.

Hahahaha.

Well, I sort of turned my life upside-down in April when Rebellion offered me a job, and since then this year really can be summed up as “What the hell happened?!” – in a really good way, but seriously…what the fuck?!

I have a new job working alongside amazing people – I get to read varied, complex and interesting fiction on a daily basis, alongside doing admin, organising, talking to a whole bunch of interesting people, formatting, and generally loving everything I get to do. I have a new relationship with someone that I adore, and who thinks I’m splendid (their words!); I have two frickin’ annoying and absolutely adorable cats, and two equally frickin’ annoying and adorable housemates (mostly joking about the annoying bit – love you, guys); I have a bunch of fabulous and wonderful friends who make every day better; I live in a beautiful city; I get to walk to work through a stunning landscape that makes me dream; and I have a life around me that is astonishingly and unexpectedly wonderful every single day.

I do still miss everything; I miss Ryan and the pub and my cat, and the relationships I walked away from. I miss being able to do random DIY, challenge myself with projects, laugh at old jokes. I miss the memories and the experiences and the comfort.

But I feel like the last few years have paid off – they were worth every lesson and every struggle. I am ridiculously, wonderfully lucky, and I am so, so grateful to everyone and everything around me that has made this year amazing.

So, how did I do with my aims?

1. For 2018 To Not Be As Shit As 2017 Was

Yup. Blasted through that one!

2. Something Old

Hmm, this one’s a bit more variable.

  • I did get the Dresden Files writing up, and I’m so happy with that! It’s still scary, but I love it. I’m just getting the last bits of the final story up, and then it’s all there.
  • Madcap Library is still in formatting, and it’s simply fallen to the bottom of the pile.
  • Greensky…don’t ask. (Yes, I STILL need to finish Book 10!)
  • No Man’s is all ongoing, as is Shadows.

3. Something New

No, but…I think I might be excused on this front! I’m still doing bits and drabbles, so at least there’s still something there.

4. Improve Me

I think kicking Depression’s ass, along with whacking a whole bunch of weasels, definitely counts as improvement! I’m walking every day, drinking more water and less caffeine, and generally feeling better about myself. In terms of other improvements – I got my SFEP membership and I’m still doing my formatting (plus I’ve been learning so much at work), and I’m slightly accidentally revising a whole bunch of history knowledge thanks to wandering round various museums with friends (Ashmolean FTW!)

As for “Don’t Be A Hermit” – well. Yes. I think between working at Rebellion (my boss commented with some astonishment that I seem to know more of the staff in six months than he’s met in 12 years…whoops!), conventions, friends of friends and general havoc, I definitely haven’t been a hermit.

5. Read More

Um. Yeah. This definitely hasn’t been a problem.

That said, most of my reading has been for work, and I am missing doing personal and freelance reading – so actually, this may stay on the list!

So, overall, it’s been a ridiculous and wonderful and amazing year. It’s been hard, yes, but I’ve coped and learned and battled and I can do this.

I’m going to do another set of aims for 2019, and we’ll see what that brings – onwards and upwards!

5 Happy Things: December 2018

Happy things for December 2018?

1.Fabulous books!

Lies Sleeping coverI got given the latest Ben Aaronovitch at a publishing Secret Santa, and I’m part-way through it; I’m also getting to read some of the best SFF from 2018, and I’m currently adoring Alix Harrow’s A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies (published in Apex in February) – it may have made me cry a little bit. At work. Possibly. (It’s just SO GOOD. And so relatable to any librarian that I really want to just quote the entire damn thing at everyone!)

I’ve also been re-reading the Etiquette&Espionage series, am halfway through The Tethered Mage, and have even managed to start Norman Davies’ Vanished Kingdoms. Hopefully I’ll have some more time for personal reading over Christmas…

2.I’m dating again!

I’ve been seeing someone for the past few months, and they’re wonderful: they make me ridiculously happy. I’m not going to go into any more detail than that simply because I prefer the privacy, but if you see me and I have a stupid smile on my face…that may be why!

3.Small fluffballs

They’re cute. (And pains in the butt. But cute.)

Jodie’s getting used to being picked up and having scritches – so we may shortly be able to get cuddle-able fluffballs! (Peter’s not so sure, which is fair. We’re not forcing it.) They are also nearly Doing Laps – or at least eating treats off laps, so there’s progress there too.

4. Winning games

Not that I’m vindictive or anything – and I’m definitely not competitive! But there’s something extremely satisfying about winning one hand of Dominion and then two games of Seven Wonders in a row – and absolutely trouncing everyone in the second Seven Wonders, HAH. Having gone from feeling fairly anxious and pretty much losing every game to actually being able to hold my own – it’s incredibly satisfying. I still routinely lose, of course – but that’s part of the fun! But I’ve obviously learned enough now that I actually have something of a chance against the power-mad gamers who regularly love to screw everyone else over with a well-placed Bandit… (love you, guys!)

5.Fabulous friends (again)

I was thinking recently about the amount of friends I’ve lost, one way or another; either life has taken us in different directions, I’ve deliberately separated myself from them, or we’ve simply drifted apart. It sometimes feels that I’ve lost everyone who has been close to me, one way or another…

And then I give the weasel a glare, and tell it to shut the hell up.

I am absolutely blessed with a whole range of friends, old and new – and I love the sheer range and diversity of communication that I have with them. Some I don’t speak to for six months and then can spill everything over a burger, and nothing’s changed; some I haven’t seen in person for ten years and yet I know I could email them with anything. Some drop by my desk at work every lunchtime, some live halfway across the world. Some I trade jokes and memes, some I’m only there when they need me – but every single one is amazing, and I love the variety of people. I know a lot of people hate Facebook, and I have some reservations about it, but I love that it lets me keep up with people I otherwise wouldn’t. I get baby pictures, holidays, day-to-day life, cats and pets…and it’s wonderful. I have so many brilliant, talented and thoughtful friends in my life, and they make it richer every day.

So that’s most of the way through December! Christmas promises to be quiet, and I hope it’s going to be filled with writing, books and cat fluff – maybe that’s a sixth thing for this month 🙂

Images of Mental Health

I don’t particularly have a visual imagination; I tend to think in word clouds. But sometimes, I’ll be able to compare how I feel to something; an image, a still-frame photograph, a hanging painting that just sits for a moment surrounded by the feeling.

When I was back on anti-depressants, coping with a new job, struggling with the end of my marriage… a chandelier of broken glass, hanging shards; the darker coated ones turned away from the light, the brighter ones glinting: false, brittle, glinting.

Being on new tablets that had something odd in them, which sent me manic for about a week; a metallic cylinder in my chest, tinted and brittle, coating everything.

Everything piling up: layers of thin board, stacking and stacking, weighing down but not yet breaking.

And the feeling of pills that I knew would sink me: a helium balloon filling my chest, raising me – and an iron weight on it, pushing down, not letting me rise, not letting the happiness bubble.

And six months of happiness in Oxford… A golden fountain, bubbling and roiling, sending whirls upwards:  light and lifting and wonderful.

via GIPHY

5 Happy Things: November 2018

November! In addition to Hadrian’s Wall, cats and random music, this month has been really nice for overall random happy occurrences.

1.Frosty mornings!

It’s been gorgeous across the fields, especially with the sun rising over the rooftops and trees.

2.Writing

I managed to get a short piece written; I don’t know if it will go anywhere, but it’s nice to have the inspiration while I’m walking across fields. Otter’s been reading some of the Ghost stories (not that I dare add No Man’s Land to their TBR yet, but shorts they can do!) and has been gently prodding me – which has led to me, in standard Kate fashion, waving my hands and going off on random tangents as I try to explain three 70k novels, two outlines, six short stories and an entire world in as short a sequence as I can!

I was planning to do NaNoWriMo to get No Man’s Land rewritten, but that went out the window when everyone decided they wanted formatting in October and November (I love doing my freelance work, but it definitely get in the way at times). So, I’m currently planning on looking at it over Christmas and hopefully booking myself some time off in the New Year.

3.Work

I feel like I’m starting to fill my outlines; starting to have more confidence in my tasks and decisions. I’m still worried I’m going to get things wrong, and I am still getting things wrong – but so far, it’s been the most wonderful, supportive and creative environment, and I still can’t believe I’m working there.

4.Baking (again!)

I’ve made natas and macarons, plum cake and pancakes, fairy cakes and muffins, cheese straws and pizza dough. I feel like I’ve got a lot of memories associated with many of the recipes; pizza dough was hard, as was leafing through my favourite cookbook – but I’m now making an effort to overlay other memories. The originals won’t sting any less, but maybe they won’t be the first thing that I think of.

5.Cats

ThudthudthudTHUDTHUD MEOW!

Silence.

Trrrrrrlllll? Which essentially translates to, “Brother, where are you? I wish to murder you.”

“Jodie, are you trying to kill your brother again?”

*very innocent cat sitting in the hallway*

They’re both still very adorable! Leaves are The Best Thing Ever, and Peter brought a stick in the other day – which was treasured and adored until it had been chased under the coffee table fifteen times and chewed to pieces, at which point he went to find another one…

Holiday Update: Hadrian’s Wall

So I was on holiday at Hadrian’s Wall last week! We got SO LUCKY with the weather; only minor spots of rain, some nicely dramatic skies, and it was pretty warm for the entire week. It was a bit windy (as in “let’s not go up that cliff, we’re in serious danger of getting blown off”) but even that was amazing. The skies were the best thing; I love the drama and the wind.

I also got to squeak about Romans, so I was Very Happy! We did Housesteads, Steel Rig, Walltown Quarry, a brief stop at Brocolita’s Mithraic Temple, and a visit to Chesters; we also got over to Carlisle, Hexham and Newcastle – including the cat cafe! I got in so many naps (it was amazing) and read exactly one book. Well…eh. I can’t do everything.