Now I want to visit! Cartoon from the excellent Tom Gauld and words from John L Walters.
No post on Monday because this weekend completely wiped me out; I didn’t make BristolCon and barely made it off the sofa on Sunday!
But, happy things for October?
1.I feel like an editor!
“Hi, [Agent]. If you’re after David, he’s probably covered in paint while entertaining a small child. It’s half term.”
“Actually, I wanted to tell you I’ve got the latest by [novellist] ready, but I need a million pounds.”
“Uhh… nope. I can draw you a treasure map, how’s that?”
“Oh, that would be a wonderful diversion. So no million pounds?”
“No million pounds. How about a hat?”
“A fabulous hat?”
We did actually get onto discussing another book – and it felt like everything was there. I could chat, knew what I wanted to ask, knew when to check with my colleagues… you know when you feel like something just clicks? It doesn’t happen often but it was really good – I felt like I knew my stuff!
2.Happy pills – literally!
I’ve been on anti-depressants for a month now; they are doing some good (I have been baking, although no small birds have been helping me yet) but I’m still feeling a bit grey. I had a discussion with my doctor about upping the dose, so I’m just going to keep trundling along for a bit and see how I do.
I can feel things slowly breaking up, though – I get flashes of what feels almost like spotlights. The sunlight through the trees, an offhand comment that sparks a moment of story or character, a brief moment of hope for the future – and then it goes again, but it gives me hope that it will lift eventually.
It is very weird feeling again when you haven’t been able to for a while, though. I’m expecting it to be a bit rocky when everything does hit in again!
Erin Lindsey’s A Golden Grave turned up in the post; I’ve finally got Kindle editions of Three-Body Problem, Witchsign and Embers of War; I’ve started reading The House of Shattered Wings (I adore Aliette’s short stories and I’m enjoying the novel so far!); and I’ve had some wonderfully fun books at work.
Add to that my haul from FantasyCon and it’s been a good month for reading!
I need to do some reviews…
We’ve been given a bagful of pears, so I previously did a pear & almond & dark chocolate cake, and this weekend tried a pear & pecan cake – both from the BBC Good Food Cakes & Bakes book, which is one of my favourites. It’s got flour stains, folded corners, post-it notes, butter splashes and sugar in the spine. It’s well-loved, basically.
I also made sweetcorn muffins from Jack Monroe’s cookbook – I’m making more things from that, which has been fun!
It was really good to see people at FantasyCon, and it’s been lovely connecting with people on social media recently – I actually feel like I can cope with the world! (Ish). Everyone is absolutely lovely and supportive too, and it keeps making me cry (in a good way).
I’m also planning birthday and Christmas presents for various people, and that’s lots of fun! I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it!
Also, I’m really looking forward to Christmas!
Trigger warnings for… I’m not sure what. Trauma, miscarriage, mental health? It’s a bit of a jumble of thoughts, really.
So I trundled off up to the hospital yesterday for some random tests (I’m fine, it’s only minor stuff) and I’ve been given some medication. As part of this, I was Strongly Warned that I shouldn’t be taking it while pregnant. Hah, no, no plans to get pregnant. And that was…ok. I felt fine with it. It didn’t feel weird to say or think; it was just a Thing. I’m not planning on having children, and that’s ok.
And the nice thing, I realised afterwards, is that the doctor actually listened to me. At no point did anyone try to change my mind, disagree, tell me that I’d want children eventually, disapprove… considering there’s a lot of stories of women whose medical advisors don’t listen to them – particularly when it comes to not wanting children! – I’m incredibly grateful for the empathy and understanding that I get from most of the medical professionals that I’ve interacted with. (I make an exception for one doctor, but I try to be charitable and assume things got lost in translation with them.)
I also had to mention the miscarriages, and that was actually kinda weird. The doctor’s reaction was sympathy, and I can understand that – it’s a shitty thing to happen to anyone, and if anyone told me that they’d had the same experience, I’d be entirely sympathetic. But actually, I’m ok with it. I’m not particularly sad, or traumatised, or… whatever I should be feeling. It sucked at the time, but I think sort of expecting it to happen helped soften the blows. It’s crap to have one miscarriage, let alone three, but it’s not as big a deal as it could have been. Which isn’t to say that it’s not for other people, and it shouldn’t be treated as such: miscarriages fucking suck balls, particularly after 12 weeks. I’m just saying that I think I’ve come to terms with mine – which is good, I think. A little worrying, maybe? I wonder if I’ve repressed it or something, especially as I’ve been feeling grey for a while. But I don’t really know how you find out if you’re repressing stuff (especially as I’m ok talking about it) so… I guess I just don’t worry about it too much?
It’s fairly easy to figure out when you’re not dealing well with something. I don’t really know how you figure out if you are dealing well with it, beyond it… not really being a problem.
I’m also incredibly grateful for the NHS. I trogged around four different departments and it cost me £9 plus a bus fare – and that’s for two blood tests (same arm – I was GRUMPY), a batch of about six other tests, a chat with two doctors and a nurse, a pile of pills and the promise of check-ups. All for less than £15!
I was also very grateful to not be blown off about any of the problems I asked people about. It’s reassuring to be listened to and given solutions, particularly when for most of my life the solution has been “oh, you’ll grow out of it” or “GENERIC PILLS” or one of a list of standard things that I’ve tried and haven’t helped. So that was nice.
My work also rock; I got in and, in the words of Otter, looked a “bit grey”. (I took that to mean “have you seriously just walked out of one of our Zombie games?!”) David got me tea, the Boss told me to drink it, and I got to just chill for a bit until I was less shaky. It’s really nice to just have my limitations accepted! (And be fed tea on request.)
Also, I got a red bean bun from Rachel’s as a treat for not fainting during the blood draws. GO ME! (Also also: it’s still a point of serious pissed-off-ness that I’m not allowed to give blood because I faint. Like, seriously?!)
So, there we go: a Kate ramble of thoughts and weirdness for today.
So I was chatting to Otter about their writing, and they expressed worry about the Bechdel Test. “I mean, if I have a male main character, should they… overhear a conversation? I mean, I could have them eavesdropping. Or maybe just walk in on one? But that would mean they’re in the room-”
“Hang on, hang on. They can be present during the conversation.”
“Oh! Ok. I thought it was a conversation without a man present.”
“…no. The bar is literally set low enough that it has to be a conversation.”
And there was a moment of silence as we contemplated exactly how low the bar was that just one conversation between two women is hard to hit.
“And it can’t be about a man?” Otter adds.
“So… an argument about who’s turn it is to wash up?” I got another ‘really?’ look. “Yeah. Seriously. Hey, have you come across the Sexy Lamp Test?”
“You have got to be joking.”
“And Sexy Lamp With Post-It. Ok, go look up Mako Mori. That’s a good one.”
Some more contemplation was had, possibly about the state of the world.
“So… what happens if you don’t meet the tests?”
“Nothing. It just depends if you want to your books to be bought by readers who don’t want to consider women as characters.”
Because life has been hectic, and sometimes I need a reminder to just relax.
Via Sebastien Millon