Back at it

It’s been far too long since I wrote anything, and I’m clearly overdue for something resembling an update.

The last several months have been trying. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both of my knees, which goes a long way in explaining why they have hurt so fucking much over the last couple years. It was going to happen eventually, what with both my mother and grandmother having it, but a lifetime of random knee injuries (thank you softball, cross country skiing, and roller derby) and my weight gain over the years meant it just happend a lot earlier than expected.

Since knee replacements only last about 10 years, and you can only do so many of them before you run out of leg bone, and I’m only 36, surgery is an absolute last resort. I’m going to physio when I’m actually in town (with exercises to do at home and out in the field) and I’m working on taking some weight off to take the pressure off the knee joints. I’d like to not hear that gross bone-on-bone grinding sound if at all possible.

I also have to start moving more. I stopped going to the gym because of the pain, but apparently I need to keep moving even though it hurts to do so… total catch-22 over here.

So that’s me health-wise. Not great, but working at doing better.

I’m marking my one-year anniversary with my new career as an oilfield medic, and it’s been a pretty great year if I’m being honest. Working with people that actually respect you and care about your wellbeing is weird, but also kinda nice? I actually got a mini-lecture from a coworker about not letting people know I was OK when I got back from the field on Monday, because they were worried when no one had heard from me.

I had a whopping TWO incidents on site, and both times the guy just needed a band-aid. So the rest of my time was spent devouring books, watching Netflix, and crocheting the shit out of everything.

I set a New Year’s goal for myself last year to master the Magic Ring for crochet. It took forever, but looking at the things I’ve made this year, I think I definitely succeeded. Take a look here to see my first attempt at amigurumi and here to see how far I’ve come over the year. I’m pretty impressed with myself.

I’ve even managed to sell a few things, so maybe that should be the goal for 2019? Get myself set up with a Facebook page, get a good supply of stock together and try to make some bank on this little hobby. Couldn’t hurt, right?

I’ve already started to turn the spare room into the offical Craft Room so I have a specific place to crochet and write, as I’m doing now. When I’m actualy at home, I intend to spend at least an hour in here doing something creative, whatever that may be.

So yeah, that’s it for now. I’m planning to get back into my weekly rants again, but we’ll see how that goes. Keep an eye out if you’re of a mind.

-A.

Tell me a story…

So as I wrote in another post a while back, I’ve been working on my fiction writing skills.

After several attempts to turn words into coherent sentences, I finally got a short story written, revised, edited and submitted to a lit magazine contest.

Pulp Literature’s Hummingbird Flash Fiction contest was for stories under 1000 words and could be about pretty much anything. Coming off a decade in journalism where you write clear, concise, and to-the-point articles, writing a flash fiction story felt more natural than trying to world-build and extensive character development.

Is that a cop out? I dunno, perhaps.

So I hummed and hawed and questioned myself and doubted myself and let my anxiety run away with me for a bit before hitting ‘submit’ on the website.

And then it went to the back of my mind and I almost forgot about it.

In the meantime I worked on some other stories – I wrote three pages of a post-apocalyptic dystopian story that got wiped from my hard drive and started on a creative non-fiction piece, which is more in my wheelhouse – and just kept going.

Then I got an email one night saying my wee little story made the longlist for the contest. That means it was good enough to be considered for the top prize. That means it wasn’t terrible.

If that’s not pure validation I don’t know what is. Considering all I was expecting was a critique of the story, this was very exciting.

I didn’t make it any farther than the longlist, but I still feel pretty accomplished.

Now, I had a few people as to read to the story, because of course they do, why wouldn’t they? But I am reluctant to share the story at this point in time.

Why? Because it’s about a mass shooting in a grocery store.

You may have heard about a similar situation in the states at a Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles on July 21. This was a coincidence to the nth degree, though I suppose it was only a matter of time before mass shootings in the states went from schools, movie theatres, and churches to the local supermarket.

Another “why” folks may be asking is, why did I write about such a bleak subject? My short story ideas come from a list of nightmares I’ve had over the years. If the dream is vivid enough that I actually remember it, I usually write down the gist of what happened and use it as a story prompt. One of those was about hiding amongst the hot dogs while someone was holding shoppers hostage at some random store.

So, yeah. It would be a bit insensitive to post the story here where the public can see it. Maybe some day, but not right now.

For the time being, I’m just gonna keep plugging away on my little Chromebook and get some more of these ideas out of my head.

Wish me luck.

-A.

UPDATE: I received the critique on this story last night and it was positively glowing. A couple things to change, but beyond that all positive feedback. I really don’t suck after all!