Weekend Community Post – Sunday 3 November 2019

A curtained window taken near sunset. The lighting and color is intensely golden-yellow, inside and outside.
Took this last Saturday. I was on my computer when I suddenly realized just how golden the light was outside, and how it had transformed my office. Within 5 minutes, the light had faded, but I’m glad I was able to capture it in the moment.

I want to open regular posts to comments, and so I’m starting with this one. I’d love to hear from you if you’re an old friend or a new reader! Let’s build a community. This is especially important to me since I deleted my Facebook account. I’ve been spending time on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr but I would also love it if visitors felt comfortable here.

It’s Sunday morning in my time zone. I’m in front of my computer, full of oatmeal and bacon, with a half-pot of coffee, and no outstanding plans except to write as much as my little fingers will manage. That means I’ll be in and out of the blog.

Leave a hello! Ask me anything. Or comment on some news you saw this week—I’m more partial to good news than bad, but speak your mind.

I’m still writing a full comment policy, but for now, just know that I’m not opposed to disagreement. I am, however, going to dump in the trash any obvious spam, hate speech or pro-fascism. There may be other lines I won’t allow commenters to cross, but for now, that’ll do for some ground rules.

Happy 16th Birthday to This Blog

On this day, 16 years ago, I clicked “Publish” on my very first Lunar Obverse blog post. That’s a long time.

If I had been planning ahead I might have more to say about it than this, but as you may know, I’m on Day 2 of NaNoWriMo and so most of my writing energy has been going towards that project (the rest of it has been texting my friends and tweeting about how far behind I am on my NaNoWriMo goals.)

The good news is that I did, in fact, reach my Day 2 goal today. As of right now, my project-in-progress is at 3,643 words. I’m about two or three scenes in, maybe one and a half chapters, and I have introduced four named characters and a handful of important-but-so-far-unseen characters. I have no idea where the story is going yet, but it’s early, and I just want to keep up my habit and momentum, as I have talked about repeatedly here.

In related news, to help promote the blog I started a blog-related Instagram account. Go follow LunarBlog if you have a mind to. The blog is mostly words, and Instagram is a visual medium, so I’m not certain how to cross-post there, but I’ll figure something out.

A lovely writer’s account on Twitter, Tara Neilson, gave my Twitter account a boost, along with a bunch of others, to get our writer’s follower counts above 1000. I currently stand at 961 thanks to this post. I believe I gained at least 10 new followers, and I promptly followed them all back. It was a very nice gesture and not one I expected or asked for, and I thank Tara for the lift.

#WritingCommunity Lift writers under1,000! @SeeLoveFollow @Story_Beard @ellysejmoir @SerraSwift @wendywyant @RRozow @RebeccaL_Carey @BRBWilcox @MarkScully365 @J_D_Wilkes @kattitudereads @NicoleJSimms1 @Graybird_Grace @brooklynstasher @lunarobverse @erintheinfp Go #NaNoWriMo2019! pic.twitter.com/ydQZdJfuzt— Tara Neilson (@neilson_tara) November 2, 2019

Thank you, Tara! If you’re readinig this, go follow all of these mentioned accounts!

And now, since I’m caught up, I’m going to give myself permission to play The Outer Worlds some more, until tomorrow. Goodnight, and I love you all.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

I managed 560 words this morning before work. Was busy all day and had to work late (monthly server patches), then happy hour with Terry and Ken. Then a short visit with Max before he starts his new job. Then a stop at WinCo for food to get me through the next week.

And now I’m home and exhausted and feeling spent, too spent to write the next scene.

I wrote something today. I’ll write tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

G’night. I love you all.

An Auspicious Night

Hurley knows something about taking action over feeling sorry for yourself. “Let’s look death in the face and make our own luck.”

What does the word cusp mean, anyway? What’s its etymology? Where is it from and what is the metaphor behind its meaning?

After tonight, two things change for me. The first is me quitting something, the second is me beginning something.

I’m quitting Facebook. It’s a cause of anxiety and joy. I’ve posted about that before, and I’ve written about my reasons—mainly political in nature. I don’t like how the company is being run, and I don’t like the awful things its behavior has enabled. Looks like they’re going to go on enabling those things because the money spends just as well as any other money.

I suppose it’s possible that Zuck believes what he says in public, but I doubt that. I do like that hundreds of Facebook employees wrote a stern letter taking their boss to task for his misuse of the phrase “free expression.” I also like that Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter (which is its own dumpster fire) made the exact opposite decision and subtweeted Zuck about it. That was fun.

Am I going to miss some things about Facebook? Sure, I am. There are some communities there that provide me with a little light, a little hope, and a little laughter. But I can find those things elsewhere. I’ve been connecting with people online since way, way, back. Those skills won’t leave me. I’ve joined BBS’s, forums, Usenet groups, and social media sites. I’ve made my impressions and gathered friends from there. I’ve had this silly blog for a decade and a half, as well as the founder of other, long-gone blogs.

My presence will remain on the internet. Just not on Facebook, after tonight.

The thing I’m starting tomorrow is a cause of joy and anxiety. Completely different. Starting tomorrow I turn this “write every day” thing up to 11. Or, rather, I turn it up to 1,667, because that’s how many words a day I would like to be stringing together. NaNoWriMo technically begins at midnight tonight; I won’t be staying up late to do any write-ins, though, because tomorrow is a workday.

I’d like to get up early and do some writing before work. Hopefully, typing that out doesn’t click in my brain and satisfy the urge to do it, which is apparently a thing that can happen. Saying you’re gonna do something sometimes kills the actual drive to do it. Brains are the weirdest thing.

I’ve managed over two months of daily writing, but my word count hasn’t gone up as much as I’d hoped. I’m going to have to dig deep. Or I’m going to have to just turn off my inner critic and write whatever comes to mind. Probably the latter.

Look, I beat myself up a lot, about a lot of things. I don’t have to beat myself up about this. I can just relax, have fun, go crazy with writing, and see what happens. I’m going to pants it—as in, fly by the seat of my pants. If I can keep the daily writing up, and there’s literally no reason to think I can’t, as I have proven to myself, then at the end of November I’ll have 18,000 words added, only these words will not just be random, unconnected blog posts, but all on the same story. That’s awesome! That’s more than I’ve done in years. And if I push, I can reach the half-way point of a full NaNoWriMo. And maybe the momentum will push me to write more and more.

Maybe my muse will come back to me, whisper in my ear, and encourage me further. If not, I will have put in the seat time. Either way, I win.

Winning is a good thing. I can use a win these days.

Wish I Knew Why

An older man sits, head bent down, holding the top of his head with both hands. Rays of light shoot out from his hands surrounding him in a halo of white-orange spears.
Pain, radiating from the head. This is what it feels like.

Woke up with a headache this morning. It was mostly in the back of my head, near the base and down into my neck, although it also felt like my sinuses were throbbing a little. Could have been a sinus headache or a tension headache. It’s a frequent sort of headache for me to wake up from sleep with.

I googled it.

I should not have googled it.

The results came back as you would imagine. Brain tumor. Extreme high blood pressure. Sleep apnea. Terrible, terrible things that require extensive medical intervention—diagnoses that triggered my anxiety and hypochondria. Statuses that made me worry for my life, and then have to play the game of “do I dare try to find out if any of this is what’s really happening, find out it’s true, and then have to deal with the life-long consequences of requiring medical care in the only country in the world where ‘medical bankruptcy’ is a thing?”

I took some aspirin and went about my morning.

Other things I fear that might be causing it: too much sugar, or untreated diabetes. Stress and tension. Poor posture. Changes in the weather (it’s been unusually cold lately, or something something pressure changes.) Again, this is just my active imagination working, and not any real sense of what my body might be going through. Just my brain, casting a wide net to snare as many adverse outcomes as possible and parading them before my horrified id.

About an hour or two, after I started working, I walked across the street to the Thriftway and bought a pint of half-and-half for my coffee, and gave in to buy a delicious but very sugary raspberry scone. I regretted buying it and regretted eating it even more. Why do I do these things to myself? The momentary pleasure of the taste is never as rewarding as the angst I put myself through before, during, and afterward, and the very real physical aches and pains eating a bunch of sugar cause me.

The headache lingered the rest of the morning until close to my lunch break at work. Slowly the back-of-the-neck throbbing was joined by overall body aches. Were they caused psycho-somatically, or biochemically? Or is there a difference?

Saying something is “all in your mind” is a phrase that people use a lot, even non-religious people, to try to indicate that there exists something other than your physical body, which includes the organ inside your skull, the brain. The “mind” is made up of your thoughts, your consciousness. The mind is acceptably science-y enough to use in casual secular conversation; where saying “soul” is, even now, more religious in nature.

I don’t think “mind” is a useful concept. My mind is just the result of electrochemical processes that happen in my brain and my nervous system; it is shaped by the hormonal and chemical soup of my various other bodily systems. Telling me something is all in my mind does not describe anything real. I don’t buy into any mind-body duality. There is only body. My thoughts are shaped by my body and are centered in my brain, which is a mound of mostly fat with some protein and salts in a fluid sack and wired to various sensors in a meat robot.

Still, headaches hurt like crazy. Wish I knew why I woke up with them so often.