Art, Simplicity, and Joys

This week was the release of Written & Whim. I am very excited and grateful to have it done and out there. Still trying to wrap my brain around the fact I have published 23 full-length poetry books since September 13, 2011 aka the day The Heart of Autumn was published.

There are only 8 more books until I complete the A to Z theme. That is a bit baffling too. When I started on the A to Z journey in 2011, I thought it would be crazy to write 2600 poems over 26 books. I have less than 750 poems left to write now. Overall, I have written 2615 poems since 1994-ish. The bulk of which were written since I started publishing my work. Publishing my work has been a powerful motivator to write more which is fantastic.

No rest of the artistic. Already a quarter of the way through on writing the next book, Doll & Discarnate. At the beginning of 2019, I had this grand plan to write and publish 4 books during the year. I didn’t count on, foolishly, life things and other creative pursuits slowing that progress. Despite the error in judgement, I forge ahead with the words.

For several years now, I’ve been work on and toward a more simplistic life so I can spend more time with my passions and joys aka creative pursuits. I neglected my passions and joys quite a bit for many years prior which brought much sorrow into my life so simplicity is very appealing. Never want to feel that destructive, bone-deep sorrow again.

I keep coming to points where it seems I have finally reached a nice level of simplicity to only see it falter later. No. In fact, I have more to work to do. The chaos that ensues has been getting less and less chaotic over time. Yay for progress! But the fact that chaos creeps up and in so quickly tells me I have more work to do.

I’ve been neglecting such work this year. I think this has been to the detriment of my creative process and myself. Have to take time in the coming weeks to really clear out things weighing down my environment and triggering chaos. Cleaning up my apartment on a weekly basis, even though it is a deep clean, just isn’t enough to stop the creeping.

A few months ago, I sat down and wrote down everything that brings me joy no matter how small. The list surprised me. Poetry, painting, and creative things made the list of course. (Simplicity and no clutter also made the list which was surprising yet not surprising.) Some of my joys are not things I can do every day as they are seasonal activities. However, a lot of my joys were little things – like having my fingernails painted black, and the scent of sandalwood – that I could incorporate into my day every day but I wasn’t for some reason. As if I didn’t realize the joy they bring, as if I hadn’t forgotten what joy could be within the little things. Since I’ve done this list and started incorporating the little joys more and more into my daily life, I find myself much calmer and happier. As someone who has suffered from severe depression and wild mood swings for YEARS, it is kind of weird to be calmer and happier but it is growing on me.

I typed up all my joys into a word file on my computer. I go back and look at it to remind myself from time to time, especially if I am feeling sad or lonely or upset, then go and do one of things on the list.

So I leave you with this…

What are your joys? Do you involve as many as you can into your day?

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NaPoWriMo Review

And another NaPoWriMo is done. This was my sixth NaPoWriMo. This year wasn’t as successful as other years but it certainly was not the worst. I ended up with 45 new poems across 4 different poetry books. I had intended to write more for Written & Whim so it would be done and ready for publishing soon.

However, life had other plans. An emergency tooth extraction on April 11th made the rest of the month kind of odd as things aren’t healing, recovering as quickly as I would like. Prior to the extraction, I had been more tired than what is typical. I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so for me to notice this, the exhaustion was WAY intense. I suspect, now, it was due to my body fighting the infection that led to the tooth extraction. Worse than usual exhaustion remains – though not as badly – through recovery. I only have so much energy to give things, anything, in a given day. The infection, the extraction, and the recovery have been consuming most of it.

I had hoped to go to a concert during the month but fatigue vetoed that. I wasn’t a total recluse during the month though. I managed to go to the coffee shop a few times to write even if I didn’t really want to. The days I want to spend the entire day in bed, I force myself to get out even if it is for an hour at the coffee shop and I make myself write. I may go back to bed when I get home but, at least, I did something productive with my day.

I spent Easter with my niece and nephew. On April 6th, I worked a craft & art show. Sadly, the crowd was minimal at best. I sold nothing. My friend sold 2 items. It was very disappointing yet we forge ahead with getting our art out to the people.

I did quite a bit of sewing prior to the show as I constructed more drawstring backpacks out of my fabric stash as well as create an Easter-themed mixed media piece and an Easter-themed mosaic.

I started figuring out how to make things from polymer clay which was prompted by an idea for a mixed media art project but being unable to find the components in order to make it a reality. I need to finish constructing the clay components this coming week so I can start on the project. I also have several mosaics in various states of creation. Working hard to motivate myself to finish them. A few have been languishing, unfinished, for a while.

My hopes for May are:
– Complete most, if not all, of my mixed media art project
– Finish off at least 3 of the 6 mosaics I have in progress
– Finish the sewing project I have sitting on my cutting table
– Finish the clay pot art project I have sitting on my work table
– Finish Written & Whim while making more progress on Doll & Discarnate, Letters & Locks, and Tincture & Thorn
– Finish the healing process of the tooth extraction site
– Have a very successful craft show on May 11th

2018

It is 2018. Not entirely sure where much of 2017 went but I am very glad it is over because what I do know is that it SUCKED for the most part. The bright spots of 2017 were finishing and publishing Hallow & Hearth and Glyph & Grey, reigniting my passion for Metal music with some new-to-me kickass bands, reconnecting with the violin, going to my first Metal concert, and finding a new meditative craft. I am optimistic for a great 2018. I do not have resolutions but I do have a few goals I would like to accomplish during the year.

1. See a Carach Angren headlining show.
2. See an Avatar headlining show. I have tickets for one on Jan. 31st!
3. Meet Seregor of Carach Angren (He was sick last time so I didn’t get the chance).
4. Get a picture with and talk to Carach Angren.
4. Meet some (at least) or all of Avatar. Pictures!
5. Take better care of myself. I know what I need to do, I just need to do it and keep doing it rather than throwing the towel in frustrated after a couple weeks.
6. Do better about writing every day.
7. Do better about practicing the violin every day.
8. Be more open to changing up routines, trying new experiences, and such because I am in a very unhealthy rut and have been for awhile now. The concert in November 2017 was the first time I had done something way outside of the rut. I was terrified/anxious/neurotic prior to but I had a lot of fun. Meet some cool people while waiting for the doors to open too.

As for other experiences, I have a wishlist of concerts I am hoping to attend in first few months of 2018. Don’t have tickets for them yet but optimistic in the potential of going. They are Starset, Myrkur, Septicflesh/Dark Funeral/Thy Antichrist, Cradle of Filth/Jinjer/Uncured, and Insomnium. There’s several other bands I would like to see this year too but they haven’t posted any tour/show stuff yet.

Not sure what else I will do for new experiences or changing up my routines yet. Will have to figure it out as I go along. I just knew after seeing Uncured, Lost Society, and Carach Angren, that concerts were something I need to partake of more.

February Be Gone

February has been a profoundly rough month. One that has led to no Poetry Wednesdays, near radio silence on this blog, and minimal productivity.

I started out the month with an upper respiratory illness. Finally recovered in time for a chiropractor to accidentally dislocate all of my ribs from spine and sternum. Dislocated ribs, for the record, hurt horribly. The kind of pain where I could sit up, stand up, or lay down without wanting to cry, pass out, or violently expel stomach contents. At times, it was all three reactions. Been dealing with dislocated ribs for two and half weeks now. Secured a new chiropractor two weeks ago. Things are slowly getting better with two appointments a week. Nearly all of my ribs are back into place and staying there. Sadly, there’s a few stubborn ribs which need further coaxing before my muscles can heal from the ordeal, and my pain goes away. I feel fortunate though that the ribs were not cracked or broken during the dislocation incident

Immediate family members also had an unfortunate month with health concerns and loss.

But we are forging ahead into March, and trying to look forward to seeing extended family at one of my cousins’ wedding near the end of the month.

Not sure how productive this blog will be in March but I am going to attempt to schedule March’s Free Kindle book along with Poetry Wednesday this weekend.

Eve of NaNoWriMo 2014

NaNo-Participant-2014It is time for National Novel Writing Month once more. November is gearing up to be great with a lot of write-ins – one every day! Never have I been so excited for write-ins before.

In preparation of this year, I went through the first draft of Reaper’s Moon and pulled all the ‘weak’ areas so I can rework them. Determined to get a solidly finished draft done for Reaper’s Moon. I plan to also complete Elysian & Ether and Nightmares & Nevermore so I can get started on Passion & Prudence. If time/creative energy allows, there are several other novels in progress that would like my attention & affection.

This past year has been really tough on my creative process. I hope NaNoWriMo will help give me that ‘kick in the ass’ I need to get writing done.

There will be no Free Kindle download or Poetry Wednesday for the month of November. Those features will return in December along with the release of Russian Hymns. The Kindle version of Russian Hymns is available for pre-order.

Pre-NaNoWriMo Stats

Reaper’s Moon: One half is done, one half to rework/rewrite {sad panda face}
Elysian & Ether: 63/100
Nightmares & Nevermore: 65/100
Passion & Prudence: 0/100

NaNoWriMo 2014 will bring a major change to my day-to-day as part of reclaiming my creativity through health. Oh, I’ve had a lot of starts and stops in regards to becoming healthier. Unfortunately, things have gotten to the point where I am nearly crippled from pain. Back in October, I gave up wheat and sugar for a few days before caving in to my addictions. This ‘caving’ has made the pain even worse. Clearly, wheat and sugar are definitely not for me but I am horribly addicted. November 1st is the start of a program that claims it can kick such an addiction. It has a 3 day jump start where I eat every 2 hours in order to balance blood sugar and reduce cravings. I plan to do this jump start for 5 days to err on the side of caution. I really do not want to fail again. I am really sick and tired of being pained and tired all the time. I’m into this change-for-the-better with a lot of planning. I have 80% of my meals for November planned out. I’m happy there is a write-in nearly every day to avoid the toxic influences lurking around my mom and her house. I spent yesterday and today making grain-free snacks and prepping (travel friendly) meals for the next few days. After the 5 day jump start, I start alkalizing supplements and re-introduce exercise.

I am certain my NaNoWriMo 2014 blog posts will contain a bit about this change to help hold me accountable.

On the note of addiction and toxicity, there will be no spending in November beyond groceries, gas for Luna (my car), and a set amount for a caffeine-free sugar-free beverage at coffee shops ($2 max per coffee shop visit). Living with a hoarder has been heavily coloring my spending habits lately and it isn’t for the better. I had worked so hard to declutter and simplify yet it seems for nothing right now.

Yes, NaNoWriMo 2014 is for reviving my lagging creative process but it also serves as a distraction to, I hope, keep me from paying attention to the screams of dying addictions.

Little Homes, You Torment Me So

The land/house search has not gone well. I found a little plot of land at a tolerable price. Finally figured out who to speak with about what could be placed on land. From there, I witnessed my hopes go up in smoke. No tiny homes, no homes under 750 square feet, and no manufactured or modular homes. These restrictions quickly put the housing potential into a price range I could not afford.

I then expanded my search (and my budget) and ended up in a decently sized town 22 miles north of the land. I found several homes under 900 square feet within my budget. My mom pestered me to expand my budget higher citing that we could always give a lower bid. I did although I thought she was playing a dangerous game. Her idea of max budget is twice what my max budget is. This price increase led to a few more homes yet they seemed like they were in worse shape than the cheaper homes.

Finding a realtor to show me these listings was an issue. I emailed two and never heard anything. Called another who came highly recommended by folks I knew in this town. She did not return my call until August 17th which was too late. I eventually called a real estate office and they connected me to an agent who was there in the office. He was clearly a little nonplussed by my budget and requirements given the tone of his voice. Nevertheless, he promised to show me my listings and some others he’d pull on August 19th.

On August 18th, my mom, my maternal grandmother (who’s visiting from Ohio), and I headed down to the town. It is a 3 hour drive from my mom’s house. We passed through the town to the one I had found land in. For a district boasting a lot of stuff, it had nothing except a lot of fantastically wonderful A-frame houses at prices 10 times more than my budget. If I had the money to build my own small home, it would be an A-frame. Was sort of glad that my idea with the land fizzled so spectacularly though. We went up in the mountains near there to visit Bishop’s Castle. A castle being hand-built outside of San Isabel National Forest. What was built was quite lovely although, for those afraid of heights like myself, it was also very terrifying to tour.

Stayed the night in the town with the houses. Our hotel was only two blocks from the real estate office which was really nice as my mom kept getting lost driving through the town to the hotel. Met up with the realtor at 9am and quickly realized that he did not pull any additional listings. To make matters worse, he did not book the showings until the night before/that morning so some of the listings I had pulled were unable to allow showings. He really did not take me seriously.

The most expensive listing ended up being the worst house. Its floor was caving in, and its entire interior & exterior needed to be redone. The cheapest listing was actually two 576 square foot houses. One of the houses was not considered habitable (no bathroom or kitchen), and had been used as a painting studio if the multicolored paint splatters everywhere are any indication. The interior of the habitable house needed work. The kitchen and ceiling were in horrid shape. The bathroom was badly designed and needed help. The worst thing about both houses, though, were the crappy additions. The houses would have been ‘perfect’ otherwise. Sadly, the amount of repairs they need pushes them well out of my budget and my mom’s “budget”.

My mom and my realtor ended up betraying me though. The realtor found out my mom was considering buying several rental properties once I was established there which meant he no longer had any interest in me, and started kissing her ass. My mom betrayed me because she knew that I wanted a small house yet she later informed me that I could not have a house that small. If I wanted financial help in getting a house, I would have to get one that met her standards for a future rental property/one that had high resale potential. This means a home bigger than 1200 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths. A thousand gallons of NO. Nevertheless, by the time we made it back to her house, I was pissed as hell.

The realtor told my mom that he would scope out other listings for us and let us know if we should come back down again to look at houses. I sent him more listings in my size and price range yesterday. Will not let others’ disregard for my needs deter me from having my ideal home.

After all these years, I have the right to be selfish and put my needs first.

I’ve been dreaming of those two 576 square foot homes. I really wish I had the money to obtain them and fix them up. They are from the late 1800s, and it is so sad to see adorable old homes get disgraced. I do not need two homes but I figure the other one could be finished out then rented. There is an university and several colleges in the town so rentals are a very good thing.

I really wanted to move by the end of September, and have a home setup by the end of October so I could spend all of November writing. I see this want/hope/dream getting more translucent and tarnished as the days go by. Trying really hard to be optimistic. Just incredibly challenging when faced with the reality of my housing prospects. Hoping for a decently sized sum of money (~$50,000) to come my way so I can buy and repair that duo of small houses.

Simplicity Reveries: Moving Along toward a Tiny House…Maybe

This blog has acquired a lot of new readers since September 2013 so the following post requires a little background before the main intent.

I am a recovering hoarder. I hoarded to fill large empty spaces as I have kenophobia (a fear of open or empty spaces). I hoarded to fill a 2000 square foot home. In November 2011, I began to rid myself of the hoard. Along the way, I became more creative, and discovered tiny houses. Of course, a tiny or small house was not in my future at that time. In September 2013, a massive flood hit Colorado destroying the foundation of my home. I sold it to investors as I could not afford to fix it. From mid-November 2013 until late June 2014, I lived with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. Their 3000 square foot home was rather overwhelming to my mental well-being. I did get the opportunity, while living with them, to pay off all my medical and credit card debt which has been amazingly wonderful.

I presently live with my mother who is a severe hoarder. Her home is down right terrifying to me. I thought I could ignore the hoard and be productive. I had forgotten how exhausting and oppressive the hoard is to a person. I have been struggling to find a place that I can afford and is small enough so I can get away from the hoard.

Now that all are caught up…

 

I have an itty-bitty budget. This budget means moving to a small town far from familiar cities within Colorado. I found extremely affordable quarter acre tracks of land in southern Colorado. This is way more land than I need/want but willing to make due.

The town is small but it has some decent amenities and isn’t too far from Pueblo. I am going down there in about two weeks to view the parcels of land, and get to know the town. In the mean time, I am trying to figure out the details of types of construction, minimum square footage requirements, and other building codes for the area. Unfortunately, the town isn’t an actual town. It is a census-designated area which makes it very difficult to find the various bits of information I need.

At worst, I can put a 780 square foot modular home on the property according the real estate agent I’ve contacted about the land. A little larger than I want but if I can get one into my price range, I’ll be content. Still, I hold out hope for a tiny house. I’ll be contacting the county this week with my questions to find out if a tiny house can be legally done.

I really want a tiny house now more than ever. I have become more intent on this mission since seeing several episodes of Tiny House Nation. My mother is insistent that a tiny house is a stupid idea that I’ll regret. She suggested I tour some travel trailers/small RVs in the same size range so I can get an idea of how cramped a tiny house would be (aka how stupid tiny houses are).

Yesterday, I went to a local RV dealership. I toured an 18 foot travel trailer and a 24 foot travel trailer. The 18 foot one was nice but the “bedroom” was a twin sized bunk bed setup, and the bathroom was a touch too small. While workable, I’d prefer something a little larger. The 24 foot one was perfection despite the manufacturer’s design wasting a lot of storage potential. The 24 was roomy and adorable. Loved the layout of the main area and the bathroom. The price tag was unbelievably high though.  The price and wasted space confirmed why people opt to build houses on trailers rather than buy a RV.

I am glad to have toured the travel trailers. It gave me a sense of the space. I do need to downsize my possessions some more. I already knew I needed too but the tour just made the concept more real.

If you are considering a tiny house, I strongly encourage you to tour small travel trailers that do not have slide outs so you can see what kind of space a tiny house is.

Over the next month, my focus is to sell off a bunch of items I kept but clearly no longer need. I’ve done without them for 10 (going on 11) months now. I never think of them as needed so they obviously should find new homes.

In the interest of raising money for my tiny house, I have lowered prices on all of my books in order to increase sales. I hope, dear readers, that you will purchase some of my books to help me move a little closer to my tiny house dream.