Because the 100 Things project was on hiatus for so long, I’m skipping the segment interlude post. We’re changing our topic now to the written word, be it in blog or book format, and today we tackle one of my favorite authors.
Something like this.
Over the month of March, inbetween cracking back down and getting into a writing schedule again (being off my meds is a trip and a half), I’ll be crosstraining my creative mind by recording a playthrough of a classic favorite game of mine. Updates will be weekly.
A Note: I’m cutting a wisdom tooth right now, and beyond eating, I don’t plan on using my mouth for anything else, and that includes narration—lest I chomp a hole in my cheek with this new sharp pointy thing sticking out of my jaw. So the snark is purely captions for this game
If it wasn’t obvious by now, I love to write. I love putting words to paper—or screen, as the case may well be.
It wasn’t always this way.
Gimme a baseball bat. I swing left. If I try to swing right, I just can’t twist that way and it doesn’t work.
Gimme a volleball. Even though my right spike is harder, it’s…well, I’ve seen scatterguns with higher accuracy. So I serve left.
Gimme a sabre. I’ll fence right until my arm gives out—which is kinda fast. Then I’ll switch left and be slower, but more accurate and last longer. …I guess that’s one we can validly call ambidextrous.
But overwhelmingly, if I have to do something I’m going to reach left first.
Which is why writing frustrated me at an early age. I’d thin left, but them Mom would walk by my little yellow worktable and ‘correct’ me—which probably explains the serial-killer slant I have to hold the paper at to even write on a straight line. It was a necessary evil.
It wasn’t until I was about seven, when we got cable, that I thought about writing for a reason that wasn’t a homework assignment. Nickelodeon introduced me to a cartoon called Doug, the main character of which regularly wrote in a journal—giving rise to my realization that writing things like that didn’t have to be a super girly “Dear Diary” moment, something I actively avoided being because—well, I liked videogames and cars, I simply couldn’t do that!
I saved my juice money from lunch for two weeks, then on a family trip to Family Dollar I bought a cute little journal. It had pretty lined paper and a picture of a kitten on its glossy cover. At around the same time, I bought my first ink pens—journaling didn’t seem like something that you took to as lightly as a silly homework assignment. I was coming at this with a pretty blue pen, just like Doug did in his show.
…of course that first entry was a goofy, jokey affair in which I introduced myself to my new journal, gave it an idea of what to expect, and then closed off with a signature.
For the first time I noticed that things around me were interesting sometimes. It was hard to keep to that clearly delineated two pages per entry after a while, and I developed my distinctive TINY handwriting.
I was still journaling when I lost my mother. Most of the following year and a half seems to have been an extended fugue state, and even though I’d think that the time just hadn’t happened, reading over those entries every few months was a reminder that time had simply not stopped, and I hadn’t just fallen out of the world at some point. At that point things were very straightforward accountings of what had happened that day. There were no associated feelings, just facts.
It wasn’t until fifth grade that I realized that writing could also be inventive and fun—hilarious in hindsight now that I think about it—when we get a homework assignment. We were to rewrite the ending to a story we read for class. I remember having the woman go insane, snap temporarily back to forgive her friend for something that hadn’t actually happened, then snap right back into madness (at one point I had her conversing fluent French to a tree). The third part got copied off of me and the turkey never got called for it—but I didn’t care. I’d started having fun doing little narratives.
Fast forward to seventh grade I’m twelve, in literature class, and BORED. I’ve pulled out a sheet of my good looseleaf—the narrow-rule paper—and have started writing down things that come to mind. Nothing I’ve committed to, just little snips of ideas.
Suddenly an assignment. Creative writing. Write whatever, as long as it has a clear plot, progression, et cetera. It must be based off of a legend.
I wrote my first short story for an assignment in class.
I didn’t know if it was well-received for a while…but then there was a thing in the school paper.
For one, suddenly we had a school paper.
For another, my story was in it.
Later that year, when our principal/lit teacher left the school, she flagged me down, holding a box. It had one thing on it: A note, reading “Never stop writing.” Inside was a Cross pen and pencil set.
I haven’t stopped since.
That’s when I get my idea:
Firstly: The next 100 Things post will be up sometime Friday evening. There is no guarantee that I will work that day, but there is no guarantee that I won’t either. In either case, there will be much work done with the upper body and I will need a GENEROUS nap before I do any writing. I didn’t work today, but I decided to work out today. *listens carefully* Ah, there’s the ever-present question:
“DO YOU EVEN LIFT?”
Actually, thanks to my knee, it’s all I CAN do. I have the feeling that by the time June hits, I am going to be amusingly off-proportion.
Despite my crap leg, I have to try to stay in passable condition for working, and thus, I have to make sure I do a few things a week. Depending on how money is, this may include a few mall walks—I had the money to pay my rent and…that was it.
HOLY CRAP, DOOD
I was at work today picking up my scrawny little paycheck when I found out that there would be a Comic Con in my area in a very short time. It’s a little more than the usual price for Anime Central in Chicago, but the fact is that I might not be able to go for a reason completely irrelevant to money—my damn leg could sideline me before I get the chance to do anything else. In fact, not even the SIDEWALKS, at last check, were accessible worth a damn—I was gimpy as hell last year for the Distant Worlds event, and the steps were agony. If I’m lucky, the overflow will jam up the hotels to the point even our location’s full up.
(If you’re a con chaser, consider coming down/up—for one, Stan Lee’s gonna be at this one; for another, if you haven’t had St. Louis style pizza, you’ve GOTTA. The provel cheese may be a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but the crust—whoa, MAN, that buttery crispy thin crust is delicious.)
I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took a hotel to the knee
I’ll be perfectly honest with you guys: right now my pain is NOT managed. I’m out of the prescription I got at the initial injury, and the antispasmodic I take is nowhere near as effective as it used to be—which is to say it’s fine if I need to sleep, but it doesn’t do much beyond stopping the unrelated hand twitch (it MIGHT be related to the fact that it’s literally the same bottle as the last fill, stashed an squirreled away in case of such an emergency as this). …you probably have no idea how hard it is to type with one finger constantly going “twitchytwitchytwitch” every time you try and remember how the word pfefferneuse is spelled.
I’ve tried to climb stairs (HAHA NOPE) and the left knee just isn’t having it. For the first few hours of movement in the day, I’m pretty mobile, but it doesn’t take long for me to be reduced to dragging the thing around like some sort of dead weight—and the direction of the stairs, up versus down, makes no difference.
So my erratic presence is therefore explained. It’s going to be a while before I’m reliably present anywhere, as I focus on training my knee to stay in place while waiting to hear back from my doctors.
Best guess for acceptable management: Monday. Saturday at the earliest. I don’t have much in the way of painkillers—some off-brand Excedrin that may or may not be expired, a few borrowed naproxen tabs, a few prescription-strength ones whose potency and freshness are up for debate—I’m going to be pushing my luck here.
But hey, it could be worse. My leg hasn’t fallen off yet.
Appropriate that after my hiatus from writing and reading, I get right back into the spirit of things by doing a post on reading.
When I was a kid, I read before I could read. My mom and dad instilled a love of words into me (perhaps why I was always told I talk too much when I was growing up—I LOVED words). I’d pester them as they read their books and the newspaper (remember those?), constantly asking “What’s this word?” as they read to me. This is probably why, before I was old enough to be sent to school, they taught me how to write. I remember sitting at my little yellow table in the middle of the hallway, in front of Mom’s closet that we never really opened that much—I would later sneak in, find her old glamorous clothing from her model career—and I learned how to write my letters. That came AGONIZINGLY SLOWLY—the problem was, I was a born leftie and my mom was training me right-handed. (The relic persists in sports.)
But reading came fast.
Before I knew it I’d blown through all the stuff in my room and was looking for something more challenging to read, something bigger across than a piece of an inch.
This was why my dad spent a day plucking me off of progressively higher bookshelves in the house: Stephen King is not appropriate reading material for a five-year-old.
Weirder still, my favorite part of books was when you opened that new book for the first time—the faint creak in the spine, and that delicious, delicious new-book smell: like the faintest vanilla and some unknown, long gone spice. Before I began reading a book, I’d crack it open to the middle, where that smell was strongest, inhale deeply, then flip to the actual beginning of the book, that aroma still tickling my nostrils.
When we were allowed to order from the Scholastic Book Club in school, I remember wishing I was coordinated enough to do cartwheels around the house. While I LOVED my video games to death, my first love was reading, and so I picked out what I wanted to read and asked my parents “Can I can I can I please please PLEASE???” until they let me send in the form.
(I honestly don’t think they thought about it all that hard: I grew up in an area where it was a rare sight to find someone reading at their grade level, let alone above it as I did.)
Two weeks passed. I started to think that the books would never show up. Then, one day, I come home and there’s this…MOUNTAIN of books sitting on my bed. I squeal, run in to give my parents rib-crushing hugs—and then shut myself in my room to read.
Really, it’s a habit I haven’t broken. If I’ve bought a bunch of books—whether old-fashioned paper or new-fangled e-books—I basically hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on all of my social outlets and dive into the book. If I’ve mentioned getting a new book, it’s almost useless trying to get my attention, because it’s going to be basically impossible to get my attention until I’m done reading. I’m a bookworm at heart, after all.
Three short words in a tiny doctor’s exam room mean much more than I though they would.
I’m partially feeling vindicated and partially wondering why it took so long to find out. Last Friday, I’d gone to see if I could get some freelancing done (gotta have money to feed the starving writerbrain after all) when—on a perfectly normal step with two of my best friends watching it—my knee decides that now is an awesome time to slide the hell out of joint.
I’m pretty sure the resultant shriek might’ve scared a few people in the next building.
I’m in enough pain that I can’t consciously direct my fall somewhere safe, so I wind up hitting my head, while with my other hand I’m trying to prevent my kneecap from going anywhere else it’s not supposed to be. Somehow I manage to wrench it back into the proper place, and I have to grit my teeth against the physical contact as my friend helps me gimp over to the couch. The swelling started almost immediately—but I knew something was just plain off about this one.
…of course, a vicodyn later, I reeeeeally don’t give a fuck. I concentrate on bending my leg every once in a while because otherwise, it will lock into place.
Not even a whole day later, I’m napping after work and suddenly, the familiar sawing-buzzing-pulsing pain in my leg alerts me to the fact that my knee has simply drifted apart again in my sleep. (I bet the neighbors thought I was getting flashbacks again.) Again, I wrench it back into place. The leg feels more wrong than it did the day before. I make an immediate call to the doctor’s office to have the thing looked at.
“Work keeps sending me to physical therapy,” I answer. “…I just try to keep a lot of anti-inflammatories in my system to keep it from getting as big as a brick.”
“…yeah, that’s not going to do you any good.”
“It’s bad enough that I’m beginning to think that lupus isn’t such a joke.”
“I don’t think it’s lupus. Normally that doesn’t cause joint damage. And you don’t have any arthritis anywhere.”
Well, crap, I think. “Then that means…?”
“I have no idea what’s happening to your knee. But it’s pretty obvious the thing’s falling apart.”
“Lemme get this straight.” I put a finger up, ticking down the facts. “We don’t know why this is happening. We do know it’s dis-integrating. And we’ve done everything that can be done outside of busting it up and putting it back together again.”
“Not how I would’ve put it but basically.”
“Nice. How the Sam hell did I mange that.”
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
Yep. My knee is officially toast.