Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Clean Slate and Putting Up With Less Than You Deserve

This kitten has absolutely nothing to do with this blog.
He's just here to be adorable.  Good job, Wulfie.
(For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for some time, you’ll notice that some things are missing… like the last two years’ worth of blogs.  Sometimes you just want a clean slate, ya know?)

It’s Saturday.

I woke up at 7am with the knowledge that I had a ton of stuff to get done before a birthday party I’m going to this afternoon. 

Naturally, this means I have been finding every excuse I can to procrastinate doing what actually needs done.

Thus the revised blog.

As you know (or don’t know, if this is your first time here), I’m writing a book.  I came to terms with the idea about three or four months ago and set myself a target deadline for having it written.

I will have my book written by May.

But as it turns out, writing a book is more than just merely thinking up random situations and hijinks to throw your characters into.  It seems that writing a book, especially a sci-fi space-travel book, means creating not just a world, but an entire universe.  And I don’t’ know about the rest of you, but if God created the heavens and the earth in only seven days, he must’ve been mainlining coffee-laced crack-cocaine to get the job done so quickly.

How will the physics of this world work? Are the planets that my hero visits inhabited by human settlers, or different humanoid-ish species, or something in between? Does everything I write only seem to be derivative of one of the hundreds of sci-fi/fantasy stories I’ve heard before or am I straight up plagiarizing my favorites? Do I need to worry about the fact that at this point in all of my characters seem to be speaking with the same voice – namely, my voice?

And most of all, it’s no wonder that I find the character and place names in Dune to be so laborious to read. (Tlielaxu, indeed.  WTF, Frank Herbert?)  How does a person create differentiated and memorable names for alien lands and species when one only has the mildest understanding of how our modern Earth languages are formed?  At times it feels like I should just free fall into the English alphabet and pull out letters at random in order to name places.  They can’t all be called New Iowa, right?

Needless to say, although I’m over 100 pages into my writing, I’ve decided to start over.  Relax; I’m saving what was written so I can use it again in the future.  I just need to get to know my universe better before I can send my hero on an epic quest to save it.

But still, I have four and a half months to get at least a shitty first draft of my book written.  I think I can handle that.

In other news –

It’s surprising what a difference sleeping on a level surface can make in a person’s life.  (How’s that for segues?)

Over a year ago, when I was still living at the Barpartment, I realized that one of the casters attached to my bed frame was bent.  After ten-years of drunken sleepovers and countless hamster-piles, I guess the sonovabitch decided it needed a reprieve.  It was only slightly bent, so using the carpeting in my bedroom at the Barpartment I was able to keep the caster held in place and I didn’t think of it again until moving into my current apartment.

My bedroom now has polished concrete floors,which means that not only was there nothing to aide with holding the bent caster in place but my bed was also extremely prone to rolling around in the middle of the night.  It was not uncommon for me to awaken to my alarm and find that my bed had rolled three feet from the nightstand the alarm sat upon.  This motion surely helped in worsening the bend in the caster, but hindsight is hindsight.

Shortly after moving into my apartment last April, I began to wake up every day with a sore back, barely able to move.  By July, my morning routine would include vain attempts at stretching, shedding tears as I shampooed my hair, and eventually popping a couple Aleve to get me through the day. 

“My body is aging before its time,” I emphatically told myself with the depressing clarity that comes only when one is sure that they have reached the end of their lifecycle.

(*ahem*…You may or may not know that I often like to ignore the rational part of my brain that tells me when I’m overreacting about things.  This was definitely one of those times.  Just like when I was five-years old and screamed and cried as a chipmunk tried to befriend me.)

It took until October for me to figure out that what was really happening was that I had been sleeping on an incline.  Apparently facing my imminent demise was more exciting than taking a moment to follow the logical thought process from “Hmm, I wonder if I should investigate what’s causing this problem?” to “Oh, duh. My feet are a good four inches lower than my head each night.  I bet my spine hates that.”

No, I lived for six months considering how I would tell my parents that they would soon be caring for their invalid daughter.  Some part of me even spent the time rejoicing at how much writing I’d get done when luxuries like walking and sitting were no longer an option for me.  It was all very romantic, in that depressingly pitiful sort of way.

Until one day when I snapped out of whatever stupor I was in and realized that there is a hell of a lot more life left in these rattling old bones.  I could put up with my situation, or find a way out of it.  Luckily, the remedy was as simple as removing my bed frame and moving the fuck on with my life. 

The whole debacle has made me aware of how easy it can be to accept what seems to be the worst-case scenario (I’m dying) instead of looking for a simple solution (take the frame off the damn bed) to improve everything.

So why the hell did I feel the need to share this sad little tale with you all? 

Well, I think a lot of us tend to put up with shittiness like this from time to time without considering the ways that we can improve our situation.  In my case, it probably had a lot to do with fear. 

If I always kept the “maybe my bed’s just fucked up” thought in the very back of my mind, I could ignore the possibility that maybe I had a back issue I needed to deal with.  Because if I fixed the problem with my bed frame and the back problems persisted, I had a much scarier process of figuring out what was actually wrong with my body to face.  That thought alone was scary enough to keep me sleeping on a slant for six months.

Taking such a simple action required little actual physical effort (although, do try removing a bed frame while balancing a queen-size box spring and mattress on your back and then tell me how easy it was for you) but I had to cross some mental hurdles to get myself there. 

What shittiness are you putting up with out of fear?  Maybe it’s as simple as removing a bed frame.  But maybe it’s something more.  Either way, fear is never the reason to put up with less than what you deserve.

And in case you’re wondering – you deserve awesomeness.

Much Love,
Annie Jay

PS – I find it really creepy that as soon as I got done writing this post I went on Facebook and saw a link to this TED-Talk in my newsfeed.  I guess the NSA really is watching what I do online.  At least they’re being helpful about it.


  1. Congrats on a clean slate! I just did a major overhaul this weekend and decided to switch to WordPress and self-host. It's been crazy and I'm still working out the kinks

    I can totally relate to the mattress issue. I do a crazy balancing act just trying to rotate my mattress by myself.

    1. Ooo I'll have to come check out your new digs! I was thinking about switching over to WordPress too. Do you like it?

      Haha I've done that too! The joys of living alone!

    2. I do like it. But the transfer was painful. Although I had a custom domain and wasn't clearing your history. If you're going to do it, now is the time. I had to pay someone to help because Blogger and Wordpress use a totally different format for links and such.

      Come check out my new digs!

  2. That mattress/bed/slope thing is insane! I know that your bed and mattress make a huge difference in your back and overall health, but I would never have guessed sloping makes a difference! Now I'm checking min, given that I live on a hill.

    I'm glad you're back and posting!