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Filling the Kettle

There is an electric kettle in the office breakroom. I don’t use it every day. (Luckily, I can still work from home once in a while.) But I always make sure it’s got at least a liter of water in it. (Yes, I’m American. Yes, I know what a liter is. Deal.)

There’s a reason. I want the other people in the office to do the same, so I model the behavior. 

I want other people in the office to leave water in the kettle so that I don’t have to fill it on the days when I’m feeling dragged out and just want my tea to start steeping. 

I also know that if I get my tea steeping, I will have time to fill the kettle to the 1 L mark and put it back on the base well before the tea is ready to drink. But I will have accomplished the step of “making the tea” that required there to be water in the kettle. 

Let’s follow this into the realm of creativity. My kettle has been dry for a few months now. Writing has been hard and keeping up with a blog was not going to happen. 

Why?

Because I took a job that required all of my emotion, worry, and care to maintain. I was in that job for three months and it was already stressing me out, using up my mental health resources. I realized that I was heading head-first into burnout. 

Because I hadn’t been hired to do actual counseling, and suicide interventions, and triage. I’d been hired to check in on people once a month and make sure that they were taking their meds and making progress on their goals. 

But that isn’t what I ended up doing. I ended up being a life-line for people who needed real therapy, but couldn’t afford the plans with the real therapists. I didn’t mind the conversations with the CEOs and creatives who needed someone to help with hacks. I didn’t mind the stoner who needed to talk about limits and making a new start with her relationships. But the woman who wanted to die and needed me to make a safety plan with her? That was not what I wanted. 

Keep in mind. I have a MA in Psychology. I am a trained, but not licensed counselor. I have the skills to do the job and I’m ACE at it. 

It just kills me. 

It drained my kettle to the point where I was barely able to scrape up enough creative energy to start a craft kit that came with everything I needed. (We don’t talk about WiPs or UFOs.) 

It’s taken a few months away from that job and the application of just, doing nothing productive, and reading a damned book once in a while to start to refill that jug. 

Just the other night I got a new story idea. That hasn’t happened in ages. I’ve been picking and prodding at old projects in hope, but a new story idea. That’s hope. Even if it never goes anywhere.

My kettle is filling up again. And maybe it will actually hit the minimum fill line and I’ll be able to get back to work at the things I love. 

Pour the water.

Fill the kettle.

Drink the tea. 

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Why I Wear a Poppy

Poppy field with sunset from Pexels.com

We are more than a century away from the War to End All Wars. And yet, we have continued to fight.

That means that we have veterans all around us. My grandfather was in WWII. My father was in Vietnam. My coworkers were in Afghanistan and Iraq. And others fought the Cold War.

I wear the poppy to support them. To remember them. And to remember that there are those still fighting.

I also wear the poppy to remember those who are fighting the secondary battles of PTSD, depression, or physical therapy. These are our veterans and they deserve our support.

And everything should read this once a year: In Flanders Field

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47380/in-flanders-fields

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Books Read May 2021

Fiction

  • Red Queen – Christina Henry
  • Day Shift – Charlaine Harris

Non-Fiction

  • It’s All Absolutely Fine – Ruby Elliot

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3-29-21

No update today. Allergies are trying to kill me. But look, I kept the streak going.

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Books to Read December 2020

Chokehold – David Moody

Genius Squad – Catherine Jinks

Little Creeping Things – Chelsea Ichaso

Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi

Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past – Sarah H. Parcak

Profit First – Mike Michalowicz

Playing to Win – AG Lafley & Roger L Martin

Measure What Matters – John Doerr

How Brands Grow – Byron Sharp

Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

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Writing from Prompts #5 Creep (Orig Pub 3/30/2014)

Ellen slipped down the holly festooned stairs. The wooden treads had only one creak which she deftly avoided. Her nightgown brushed along the edge of the holly, catching occasionally on a leaf. The lights were out, except for one candle in the window to guide the Mary and Joseph to a safe place.

She crept through the front room back toward the cozier family room. There, in the corner of the room was her target, the stocking with the little puppy on the front of it. It was smaller than the others by just about one inch, which really wasn’t fair. The cookies and milk they’d left out for santa were eaten, and there was a chocolate santa left on the plate.

She smiled at the sight. That was for Petey. She was too old for that sort of thing now. She was almost eleven after all. Petey was just five. The tree wasn’t lit because Mommy was afraid of fires, but the ornaments glittered in the moonlight. The draft from the fireplace made the ornaments twist and send sparkles across the room. She smiled as one of the lights bounced off of the spangles on her stocking.

Sticking out of the top of it was a rolled up puzzle book. A doll peeked out from the edge. Ellen longed to run over to it, but she had one mission tonight.

She stepped in front of the fireplace and up onto the hearth. She looked at the blue stocking with the puppy. Her mother’s stocking was always almost empty. That just wasn’t right. She looked down at the bottle in her hand. She’d saved up her allowance for over three months for it. She tucked the perfume into Mommy’s stocking, then stepped down carefully.

She was about to creep up the stairs when she noticed the man by the tree. His beard was white and his suit was red. He smiled at her and winked. Then, he crossed the room and stepped up onto the hearth. He nodded at her once, then he turned in place and was gone in an instant.

She gaped at the empty hearth. Then, a slow smile crossed her face. She slipped up the stairs and back into bed. Santa was proud of her.

FIN

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11-23-2020

eBay sales: 1 plush, 1 action figure, 1 wig, 1 book, cookie cutters

#MilWordy Update: 96,263 words (3205 words/day to complete)

#NaNoWriMo Update: 12,236 words (4721 words/day to complete)

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Books Read in October 2020

Fiction

Non-Fiction

Short Stories

  • Ten Tales Calculated to Give You Shudders – ed. Ross R Olney

Comics

Long-Form Journalism

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10-17-20

eBay Sales: Stuffed toy, pattern, vintage doll

Craft Projects Completed: 0 and none attempted

#MilWordy Update: 68,551 words (2920 words/day to complete on time)

Had to get up at a horrible hour this morning in order to travel home. I’m not even close to unpacked and I haven’t even pulled out my keyboard from the suitcase. It’s not as though that is an excuse for not writing. It’s just the tiredness from traveling. I took a three hour nap this afternoon and I’m still tired. Maybe it’s not enough caffeine in my system or something. At least – knock on wood – I might not get airplane-crud because everyone had to be wearing their masks and there was enough bleach on the airplane to kill almost anything. I feel that this is the point where I should be warning people about not mixing the wrong cleaning agents, but I don’t have the list handy.

Just bleach + ammonia = BAD. Do not do this. It is deadly.

I have, however, figured out at least one plot point for one of my sequel books and I think I might be able to get that one finished by the end of the year and ready for publication.

Two of my short stories are back from beta with very minor edits needing to be made. I should be able to get them turned-in for my Patreon requirements sooner rather than later. I’ve made progress on one of my supernatural crime stories too. (I have recurring characters who pop up in my short stories. Some day I should be able to publish those stories in collections. I’ll be able to put them into chronological order too. Even if that’s not the way they’ve been written.)

I suppose I should get to doing something vaguely productive before the end of the night. So, at least one good sprint today, I think.

TTFN.

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Writing from Prompts: Demon (Orig Pub 8/6/2017)

Smallis leaned back in his chair. It had taken a long time to learn the arcane symbols needed to program a video slot machine, but he’d finally done it. He’d created the most powerful summoning program ever created. He was going to be famous. He spun the chair around twice, then clicked to send the app live.

He put his hands behind his head. “Suck it, you archaic dicks.”

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