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Category: Ritur Babbl

Giving It Away

About six months ago, my therapist looked at me and said, “You give away your power a lot, don’t you?”

“Um,” I said, and then babbled out something that got me a skeptical look.

Honestly, I didn’t have a good answer for her then, but six months on, I do now.

Yeah, I do. All the time.

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my hands are back

“Oh hey Steph did cooking today,” you might say. “Been a while since I’ve seen that.”

Yes it has. Reason for that.

Back in October, things started hurting. More than the usual hurting. Then by November, things started tingling. And by December, it progressed to a mixture of tingling, burning, numbing, and constant throbbing.

So I did the thing I can do as a person with excellent benefits and onsite services: I got physical therapy. And the PT person prescribed a lot of exercises, some ergonomic adjustments, and general advice to eliminate some repetitive stress motions. Which, it turns out, were coming from work, play, and cooking (aka “work-play”).

I reluctantly stopped playing Overwatch for about a month (which was fine because OWL was coming online then so I just sat back and watched people way better than me play), and I really reluctantly stopped cooking almost entirely except very simple dump-and-done recipes. I signed us back up for Gobble, and Mike volunteered to cook again. I replaced my old home desk with something lower and more friendly to my height (I’m so, so short).

And so now here we are, in March. Things don’t throb anymore. My hands aren’t going numb when I cook anymore. We’re probably still going to keep Gobble because as a working lady it’s cleared up time during my weeknights and weekends; meal planning is and always has been a chunk of time out of my schedule, alas. And it’s not perfect. But nothing is at this age. Especially when you’ve got one kid who still needs to be picked up on the regular and hauled out of bathtubs, or onto changing tables, or nestled into cribs, and he’s built like a tank.

I’ve still got a story due (in — gulp — May) so not a bunch of cooking between now and then, but maybe after then I’ll go back to some projects. Stella from BraveTart gave some insight on how to convert my Lentz cookie dough to an all-butter recipe, so I may give that a try. We’ll see. And there are other things I miss that I used to make on the regular. Also last night the Daughterbot informed us she wanted rice with roast beef. Where that came from I don’t know, but no problem, kid. You’re basically asking for pot roast with rice, and I can dig it.

It’s good to have my hands back.

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trust the process

I’ve done this enough now that when the invite shows up and my initial panic of I DON’T HAVE AN IDEA sets in, I know to just give it a moment.

Take a step back.

Let the feeling happen.

Okay, good. Have you had your moment? Are you done panicking? Feel better now? Let’s….

  • play some new music
  • play some old music you haven’t listened to in a decade or so
  • take a bath
  • go for a walk
  • bake a tea cake
  • go for a swim
  • go for a massage (after being well rested — falling asleep on the massage table doesn’t help)
  • catch up on all the sleep
  • lightly skim the last story and the notes we made last time when we staggered over the finish line
  • read someone else’s stories
  • play with the kids
  • do anything and everything to exit the routine and shake up our brain

But most importantly: remember this is a story, not the end of the world. Have a cup of tea. Let it churn.

Now: throw some words on a page. Stop judging.  Just throw them on the page.  NO NOT THOSE WORDS.  Ugh.  Not those words either. AND DEFINITELY NOT — wait.


Aaaaaand there it is. The seed of an idea. Almost certainly not the final form — it’s just never that easy with my brain — but it’s got potential.

I could be talking about a story. I could be talking about building a client’s web application. I could be talking about having a baby or planning a garden or planning an itinerary overseas. Creating things isn’t easy, iteration is part of the process, nothing is set in stone.

Take a deep breath.

Have your moment.

Trust the process.

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Another Year….

…another Valdemar anthology.  This story will continue the Adventures of Wil.  That’s all I’m saying about it right now.

Mostly, though, I’m trying to find something longform I want to write.  I’ve been somewhat in a slump, and it’s possible that has everything to do with getting-married-buying-two-houses-having-a-baby but it seems unfair to blame life, like I didn’t have life before all those things.  It does seem the more you bring people into your life, the less of your own, private life you have.

But Marion went through similar (and worse), and still managed to write, so the question is why haven’t I carved out the time? Well…I’m trying. Mainly what I’m trying is getting up earlier so I can write in the morning, before the other humans start encroaching.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my humans.  Very much.  My family is the best thing that ever happened to me.  But I tend to be better adjusted when I write, when the private world gets a chance to vent.  I know that.  I just need to find a way.

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the lost art of long-form blogging

I miss it.

Facebook and Twitter make it easy to be off-handed and clever (or what passes for such around here), but I admit to missing my longer blog posts, where I tried to be off-handed and clever in more than 140 characters.

I’m also pondering a new domain name.  I know.  I already have, like, twelve.  Why another one?  Because a lot of who I was three years ago has changed, and is still changing, and the old domains just don’t fit anymore.  Domain names!  Like tattoos, without the regret.

Anyway.  I am pondering The Wind Through the Keyhole and whether I want to read it, and the answer is, probably, yes.  Understand that The Drawing of the Three and specifically the characters in that book are some of my favorites in literature, and I was absolutely disappointed by the way The Dark Tower ended.  Not the end-end (I thought that was right), but the ultimate final showdown with the Crimson King, the seeming uselessness of Song of Susannah, and the weird spider-kid whose only purpose seemed to be to “meaningfully” kill off  a couple characters.

But King has always had issues, it seems, with ending stories, and The Dark Tower as a series started to show structural weakness around Wolves of the Calla, so the ultimate decline and decay of the story doesn’t surprise  me.  (Given the themes of the series, it almost seems inexorable.)  If there had been no Crimson King showdown at the end, I think I would have actually thought that final book perfect, and just ignored Song of Susannah.  Ah well.

But yes, I will probably read Keyhole.  Because as I said: Roland’s ka-tet are some of my favorite characters ever, and I am a sucker.

Writing-wise: not going to talk about it.  Just safe to say whatever I’m working on right now is brewing in my brain.

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Courting the Muse Lizard Brain

I got married in September. To the surprise of no one, I wrote my own ceremony and vows, a rare collaboration with my (now) husband and our officiant.

Wedding planning took a lot out of me. I basically didn’t write for months, or wrote sporadically, and what I wrote didn’t sing to me. I played with concepts I’ve been wanting to write about: princesses posing as princes, shapechangers posing as gods, all manner of creatures that have been poking about the haunted wilds of my mind.

There was a point where I could feel panic rising. I’ve lost it, I thought. I’m never going to find a compelling story again. I’m going to be stuck trying to make cross-dressing royalty work, and it’s never going to happen. This was a real concern, and I can remember sitting there, staring at a chapter, begging it to work for me — but it didn’t.


Until last week.

I am still convinced that letting people in on a story too early is the surest way to kill it before it has had time to hatch, which is why I won’t be telling you much about my latest gambit. I will say this: it involves vampires, which has got to be the stupidest move my muse lizard brain has ever made. Vampires are so played out. We all know that. But this is what’s inspiring me right now, and I’m not under any deadlines, my livelihood does not depend on it, so — vampires it is.

Vampires. Why’d it have to be vampires?


oh hey

I sold a story back in January?  February?  Well, anyway.  I sold another Lelia story.  It’s called “Otherwise Engaged”.  Much less Wil in this one.  But that’s okay, because I’m pretty sure if there is another Valdemar anthology that the next one will be mostly him.  (He’s like that.)

I also moved.  To Southern California.  Which as some of you know is where I lived before St. Louis.  So yeah.

Aaaaand speaking of moving, I have a new job, which had a writing contest, so I wrote a vignette for work.  Depending on what happens to it I’ll either post it here or keep it a secret.  Forever!  Ha ha!

I have ideas kicking around, and I need to write one of them.  The hard part is picking one.  But the sooner the better, or Athena’s going to pop out of my skull and won’t that be messy.

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We’re getting the basement fixed, which means I had to go through boxes of books that I realized I will never read again and add them to an ever-growing Goodwill pile.

Mike snagged a couple s-f titles I had on hand, because he is that flavor of geek. I am keeping mostly things I consider truly excellent and re-readable, or of a strong sentimental value (the ones signed by friends and colleagues who have since passed on are of particular worth to me). I am letting go of a lot, though — in some cases books I have had since high school.

All this made me want to write, so I did. I may do it again tomorrow. Who knows! Life is funny that way, especially right now.

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slight overkill

I’m teaching myself Microsoft Project (because I’m nuts, that’s why), and I’m contemplating building a project plan for a novel.

Of course, I’m an idiot if I think building a plan is a guarantee of finishing anything. It’s just another trap to fall into if you aren’t careful. Mainly, I want to do it to teach myself a tool, and because it’s more fun than the example the book I’m learning from is using.

Also, I’ve been mulling this over for the last few weeks. Good article. Salient points. Need time to digest.

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