June Check-in

A suspension bridge spans across the Columbia river. The sun beams down from the top of the frame. A few bushes and trees appear on the edges, closer to the camera, but do not obscure the bridge.

There’s a lot I feel like I should write about right now. I just finished the audiobook of The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson, and should write a review. I have at least one gamemastering article half-written in my head. I’ve been having lots of thoughts on friendship, loneliness, depression, and other mental/relationship health things lately, and while I’m not sure any of them amount to more than a self-pitying wank of an essay, maybe I should try to write that, too. But, instead, mostly because of those issues, I’m giving you all an update on how I’ve been doing this year. Overdue, too, since I haven’t written one since…MARCH?!? Sweet Historical Jesus.

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Writing Consistently: This has been improving as of late! I’ve been getting more editing in, and I even managed to do a quick draft of a few flash fictions the other day. I really miss putting together new work, but prioritizing editing means I’ve been making semi-consistent progress on Shivering Deeps, and I love how that feels. Now I just need to get to the point where there’s no week-long gaps between editing sessions and I’ll be happy clam.

Picture of a left hand in typing position on a keyboard. A small bearded dragon lizard stands next to the hand, facing away from the camera, with one foot on the hand.

My sometimes-assistant is very sweet, even if she gets in the way of my typing sometimes.

Reading: I’m currently mired in a ton of books, from I’ll Give You the Sun to Aftermath: Empire’s End. I did just finish The Ghost Map and learned more about 1800s London’s poop-disposal systems than I ever thought I would, in the service of learning about the 1850s cholera epidemic. It was fascinating, though! I’m hoping to wrap up the couple of books I’m in the middle of right now, read my library book on frugality, and then roll into reducing my TBR pile a bit.

Exercise: I was doing well before a trip to Idaho a couple weeks ago that was good but exhausting. Since I’ve been back I’ve been super-tired, but I’ve been doing my best to start doing something every day, even if it’s just some pushups or running a neighborhood errand on my bike. Due to some cleanup of the house, the weight set is currently inaccessible, which I need to change soon. Tiredness has also made morning runs a tough proposition. Hoping to get momentum back soon, and the tiredness might be addressed soon, as I’m seeing a sleep specialist later this month to try and determine why I’m always exhausted.

I’ve also been working on improving my diet. Mason jar salads: they’re better than you’d think! Now I just have to try and kick my deep, deep seated love of pastries and other sweets down to a reasonable level.

Languages: Still working on Spanish. I’m eagerly awaiting Duolingo’s Japanese program coming out on Android and their web version, as that will give me a great, easy way to study that I just don’t have access to right now. Suggestions for alternatives are most welcome! I’m mostly looking to study Kanji and vocabulary right now, so even a good flashcard-style app with good Japanese decks could suffice.

Sleeping More: I’ve been being bad about this, but even when I do well it doesn’t seem to help. I’ve also gotten worse at sleeping straight through the night, so that’s fun. Wheee. Looking forward to my sleep specialist appointment, where hopefully some solutions will be proposed and I can start making progress on getting more energy out of the amount of sleep I do get. (It turns out even on six hours I shouldn’t be falling asleep at work every day! Weird!)

An animated image of a yello duckling sitting on the edge of a white piece of clothing set on grass. As the clip progresses, the duckling nods off, closing its eyes and going to sleep.

If only it was this cute when I did it.

Self Expression: I need to buy summer clothes, and that seems as good a time as any to kick off some more deliberate self-expression through fashion. I also keep meaning to do a second weeding of my clothes, and to stash away some of my “easy to wear but I don’t love it” stuff, so I can focus my expression on clothes I’ll actually be proud to wear.

Getting Work Out There: I’ve been blogging more often, which is good. I’ve still been drawing, though less of it has gotten out there than might be ideal. I’ve been lax on submitting to magazines and the like, which I need to get back on. Someday my little fleet of short stories will find a home! I’ve also been working on getting some freelancing work, so I might be able to get some bylines/publications from that angle at some point, too. (If you feel like I’d be a good fit for a project, please let me know through the contact e-mail in the right-hand sidebar!)

Finishing My Shit: I officially put Nautilus on the back burner for the time being so I can make some progress on The Shivering Deeps. Other than that, not a whole lot of projects that could be neatly started/finished lately, except for a couple of essays I want to write but haven’t yet. Hrm. Still, I don’t feel too bad about those, because while I have the ideas I have made little to no progress in realizing them, so they’re still at the very early stages instead of being a stone’s throw from being done.

Cutting Down on Noise: I honestly forgot I had this as a goal. Going out to Idaho and being somewhere with no Internet or cell reception for a few days was really nice and helped clear my head a bit.

A muddy meadow takes up the lower half of the picture, receding into a deep green evergreen forest approximately a quarter mile away. Beyond that, snow-capped mountains thrus up into a pale blue sky with only a few clouds visible.

I’ve also been doing a little better on deliberately deciding when to use social media, but not great. One of the biggest issues I have is that I often use social media to not feel lonely, and so I’ll plug into it to try and cheer myself up. However, it only works sometimes for that. And with all of the news and political spectating going on these days, it can get overloading, even if it is important to stay up-to-date about what’s going on in the world. Bleh. Maybe I should work on some ways to stay in touch with people that sidestep Twitter, Facebook, etc… Except there’s lots of people I can only contact through those channels. Hrm…

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And that’s it for this check-in! May the next one come sooner. Until then, I hope your lives are all going well and that you’re enjoying the summer if you’re in the northern hemisphere. Talk to you again soon. 🙂

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