Characterization and multiple personality disorder

I had a revelation today that shouldn’t have been a revelation. All of my characters are really part of my own personality. I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me before.

I mean, honestly.. Don’t ALL writers do that? Don’t we all take part of our consciousness and spill it out into a page in some way or another? And don’t we all end up writing facets of our own personalities?

In terms of an astrological chart, I think I’ve figured it out. Vine is my sun sign, Bear is my ascendant. Vesta is my moon, while Rowan is my Mercury and Trixie is my Venus. Liam is my Mars, June is Jupiter, and Aggie and Branwyn both share the dubious distinction of being my Saturn sides. As for the rest of the planets, I’m sure they’re there too.

I should really do an astrological chart for Vine. *ponders*

*******************

What brought about this revelation is a short story that I began noodling out on my way to work today. I had a great line in mind, and I developed it as I drove. I think it’s kind of fabulous, and it really sums up how I’ve been feeling lately. In short, it’s negative, self-pitying, and all of those dark gooey things that we don’t like to admit to.

As I began to write it, I realized that it was an attempt to work some of that stuff out of my subconscious. And the only person who could have said these things was Aggie. It occurred to me that she’s my Saturn. She’s the limitations that I impose on myself and that life imposes on me. She’s the person who goes through all the personal tragedy and loss, and she’s one tough bitch because of it. But it hasn’t left her without a certain amount of bitterness.

And in this story, she’s experiencing yet another loss. She’s trying to make light of it with a messed-up metaphor, and it’s barely concealing the fact that she’s feeling helpless. But instead of crying and flailing, she tries to make a joke and drinks another sip of scotch.

I can really relate to it right now. And I think now that I know what I’m doing (as far as working out personal things through her), it will be helpful for me. I also think that having a drink or two while I’m writing it will help. It’s definitely a story that I need to relax into. My hope is that it doesn’t become a pity-fest, but that it becomes its own, fully-realized short story. We shall see.

********************

So here’s a goat for Aggie. And for me. And for all the shit that we’ve gone through.

Gathering ingredients for Samhain incense

My husband is lovely.  Simply lovely.  He truly is the best thing in my life.  And when I asked him yesterday if he would like to go to the cemetery with me to gather some ingredients for incense, he didn’t hesitate.  He was even a bit excited for another one of my cemetery adventures.

Cypress

A gravesite being taken over by a leaning cypress tree

He gave me space to meditate and commune with the trees to ask if I could use some of their materials for my incense, and he held what I had collected while I went on my mad search to find the next thing I needed.  Did I mention that he was sick and felt gnarly the whole time?  He’s lovely.

At any rate, I haven’t decided if I’m going to list my entire ingredient roster here, since I have a dream of one day hawking my incense wares on ETSY or some similar forum.  But I will show what I got on my collecting trip.

Ingredients

This is the stuff I gathered for my Samhain incense and altar

I got some graveyard dirt (and quartz and acorns and a shard of milk glass) to put into a small jar to keep on the altar.  I also got some leaves from a live oak, and cypress needles and bark.  The cypress smells soooooo good!  Those will all go into my incense.

Unrelated to the Samhain incense, I also got some lovely, crispy-dry hop flowers from an unnamed source.  Hops are great for anything having to do with sleep or relaxation.  They may find their way into a dream pillow at some point.

*****************

On Figment a few days ago, there was a contest where you were asked to describe a totem in 33 words.  I seriously thought about it, and while I decided not to enter the contest, I did consider totems in my world, and which character would benefit from something of that nature.  Vine weaves charms into her dreadlocks as she moves along on her journey, and that was what sprang to mind immediately.  However, I began to think about some of the more peripheral characters, and dreamt up a short story for a character that’s dedicated to Cernunnos.  I’m feeling especially drawn to Cernunnos right now, probably due to the time of the year, and it seemed to write itself.  Now to type it out.  🙂

Pain and Tiwaz

Good news: I found my runes while looking through my old herb collection!
Bad news:  All of my herbs are waaaayyy too old and stale to use for anything.  They all smell like dust.

Good news: I found a great supplier who sells the herbs I need cheap on Ebay!
Bad news: I spent my last $20 getting some things I needed for a Samhain incense.  Should have been more responsible.

Bad news: Spent last night in the ER.  😦  Have been having some serious back pain, which escalated in a major way last night.  I was also having trouble breathing.  I was scared that I was having a heart attack.  Everyone else is doing it, I thought it was my turn.  😦
Good news:  They Xrayed my chest, and heart and lungs look good!  Also got an ultrasound, and my gallbladder and liver look good as well.  I was really nervous about 3 of those 4 things in particular.  My heart, for obvious reasons, my lungs because of all the lung cancer in my family, and my liver because that’s where the majority of the pain is centered.

Bad news: Still no idea where the pain is coming from then.  It’s mostly centered around my right rib cage, but my entire back is pretty fucked up as well.  I’m a little worried it might be something chronic.
Good news:  I pocketed a vial of my own blood that was just sitting there when I was released.  It’s going on the Samhain altar.

Good news: I’m making a Samhain altar.
Bad news: I don’t know where all my stuff is so I’m having to buy more.  I really should organize one day.

**********************

This pain thing really has me in a weird headspace.  I’m kind of feeling like this is my karmic lesson for this lifecycle.  My great skill is endurance.  I endure pain and stress.  It’s pretty much the thing that I’m best at.

I’ve had chronic pain from my hip for most of my life.  I had a hip replacement and a hysterectomy when I was 31, and that alleviated most of my pain.  It was such a huge, welcome relief.  I hardly knew what to do with myself for those years that I felt good.

But it’s creeping back up on me.  Part of it is that I have a somewhat physical job.  I could handle it if it wasn’t for my hip, and the way my body/skeletal/muscular system was twisted (straightened, actually, but I was so used to being twisted from my bad hip that the straightening fucked everything up).  I sometimes feel OK, just a slight ache, and sometimes I feel like I’m being stabbed.  There also isn’t a single morning that I wake up where I’m not in pain.  It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way, but it goes a long way to robbing me of any joie de vivre I might otherwise be able to summon in the morning.

I’m just..  Tired.  Very, very tired.  All I want to do is sleep and hide from pain.  There isn’t a great way to do that and make a living.  If I move around too much (like at work), I hurt.  If I sit around here at the house, I hurt.  I can take ibuprofen and feel somewhat better, but if I took the dosage I need as often as I need it, my stomach would be a bleeding mess.  I’m going to switch to Naproxen and see if that doesn’t do the trick.

So, I just keep doing what I have to do.  I have to work to pay bills, etc.

Why am I bringing this up here, on my writing blog?  Because it’s yet another excuse for why I haven’t been writing.  You would think that writing would be just the thing to get me through all of this, but I find that I don’t have joy for much these days, except for Bear.  I’m going to try to power through, but it just is what it is.

Also, reading back at previous entries, I’m noticing a trend.  I come here to make excuses for why I’m not writing.  Maybe if I was a bit easier on myself, the stress wouldn’t compound like it does.  Because I’m 100% sure the stress is just making things worse.

****************

Anyways, enough whining.

As I was digging through my herbs, I found my runes!  I have been looking for them ever since I moved to this house, and I was SO happy to find them.  However, the paper I’d printed with the meanings wasn’t there.  That’s fine, I’ll make a new one.

Today I pulled Tiwaz.

Tiwaz

Tiwaz

According to this website;

Tiwaz:    This is the Rune of faith, truth, trust, loyalty and devotion, summed up by the old word “troth.”  You can expect justice, especially if you base your actions on well thought out plans.  The path to enlightenment may lead through self-sacrifice.  If you have dark corners, clean them out now.    If you need help to cleanse the corners, seek an expert.  Only then can the harvest ripen.  If you evidence “troth,” you can expect it in return.  This Rune may signify a scientist, philosopher or scholar.

Hopefully soon, I’ll dig out my tarot cards as well.

******************

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately.  If you’d like to see my favorites, check me out over there at http://www.youtube.com/user/AmieRavenson

One of the things that really strikes me about some of these videos is the materialism of Wiccans and Pagans.  We do like to have our specific herbs/candles/oils/etc.  I’m guilty of this myself.  However, I definitely believe that you should be able to build an altar in your mind, and do a ritual with nothing more than your imagination.

I may make a video on that topic.  It’s one of those ‘maybe someday’ projects.  Along with a description of the difference between Wiccans and Pagans and why I don’t tend to call myself Wiccan.  *shrug*

Vine- Character sketch

VINE  (Capricorn)

Smells like: Rosewood

Patron deity:  It’s a surprise!

Color: Green, midnight blue, black

Music: World fusion

Food: Candy

Animal: Toad

Number: 8

Tree: Birch

Style: Colorful, crafty/punk, leather Domme when she dresses up

Eye Color: Grey blue → midnight blue

Hair Color: Blue → purple → iridescent black

Skin Color: Pale

Car: 1995 Jeep grand cherokee

House: Sprawling English manor, grey stone, lush gardens at the end of a long, gravel driveway

Distinguishing Characteristics: Dorky, sarcastic, fiercely protective of her family,

Job: Photography

Hobbies: Photography, watching horror movies, reading, brewing, gardening

Relationships: Partners are Bear and Trixie

Sexuality: Pansexual

Bad Habits: Candy, drinking, food as comfort, smothering people she cares about by trying to take care of them.

************

This is one of my reference photos.  Click the photo for a link to the original page.

Vine- a reference picture

Vine- a reference picture

 

Throw about 10 years and 50 lbs on her, and you’ll be pretty close.  🙂

Cardinal- bird omens

Yesterday, I was getting dressed, getting ready to start my day.  And as I was doing so, there was a beautiful, bright red cardinal right outside the window next to my pillow.  I usually take bird sightings seriously, especially when they’re so blatant.  He (only the males are that bright) stayed for a few minutes, even when I approached the open window and began talking to him.

According to this website, cardinal energy is tied to ‘recognizing your self importance’.  I don’t think that means recognizing that you’re very self-important, but that you have a purpose.  Cardinal is ‘a signal to stop everything and look around’, and realize ‘where you are in that moment’.  I was getting ready for work.  (It seems like that’s all I do sometimes.)  Cardinal also ‘asks you to pay attention to what your body is telling you, and if necessary, take care of any health problems.’

My job hurts me.  A lot.  Whoever said that retail isn’t a physically challenging job just hasn’t done it before.  I keep twisting/wrenching my back, and I know I need to get it checked out.  I just have other catastrophes to deal with first.

*****************

Also, I HAVE decided to change the name of my town from Glint to Willowisp.  The idea was that it was something seen out of the corner of your eye.  Something that led you deeper into the forest on a search.  Maybe even something that only the initiated, magickal, or truly mad could see.  Glint sounds a bit more southern, but it doesn’t invoke the hippy/pagan roots of the town.  It also adds a touch more magick to the setting.

In my next few entries, I’m going to start introducing my characters.  I’ll probably share the short character sketches at the very least, and some reference pictures.  This is NOT procrastination.

Yes it is.

🙂

Just outside of Milledgeville

Down and Dirty Marketing for Authors (notes)

This was absolutely the most helpful panel I attended at the entire con. Again, I was trying to catch a little of EVERYTHING, and most of these notes are what I gleaned that would be applicable to my own writing and marketing style.

********************

Panelists: Gail Z Martin, Kiernan Kelly, Cynarra Tregarth, Sascha Illyvich

Think about Kickstarter, Twitter paper.ly.

Gail published ‘The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Marketing  -#1 mistake is not realizing that your book is a business.  Don’t assume that the publisher will take care of promotion, etc.  They usually spend their time on the big, tried and true authors.  Also, don’t wait until the book is out to start promoting it.  The idea is to have people waiting for your book by the time it actually comes out.

Kiernan Kelly- writes MM romance -Be creative and cheap.  Think of new and interesting ways to market (shows a pencil with a handmade head on it instead of just another postcard).

Cynarra Tregarth- Easiest things are to create a website and register the domain.  Group together and cross-promote.  Blog and chat together, have Facebook parties.  Add a signature to every last piece of email with as many ways to reach you as possible.  Add your FB, Twitter, website, etc.  Give people a thousand ways to find you.

Sascha Illyvich- Sizzler editions (adult).  Look at your ROI (return on investment).  Use free story sites with excerpts and well-written blurbs.  Draw people into your world. 

-Give away free short stories, not free books.  Maybe a prequel?  Do NOT write a cliff-hanger as a prequel.  At the end of the free story, give a link to pay for the book.

-Etopiapress.net, sizzlereditions.com, renaissance editions, loose-id.com.

-Look into the Kindle lending library instead of an actual free download.  Do the free book for a very limited time, then increase to $1.99 or $2.99.  $.99 seems to cheap, and a lot of people won’t buy anything less than $1.99.

-Give book away for a week and tell friends to help promote your free book.

-Print books feed your ego, ebooks feed your wallet.  People will only line up to buy your books if you speak somewhere, but ebooks will sell better if your main interaction is online.

-Kindlegraph- Kindle autograph app

-Platforms for ebook are very important.  DRM can be a pain in the ass for your readers who actually pay for the books- can sometimes require a password.  Pirates will still pirate, but they’ll pirate other books that don’t have DRM, and you can lose out on exposure that way.

-Need to establish a personality, etc, so that people like you and want to root for you.  Develop a persona.

-GET ON GOODREADS!

-Get to know websites that your target readers read.

-Try to make commections with people, build a buzz about anything you’re releasing.

-Other authors in your genre are competition, but they can also be your best friends.  Friend them on FB, congratulate them on new releases, etc.  They may return the favor.

-Do a podcast with readings?

-Also think about self pub/publisher.  You can find ways to do both!

-Always reply and say thank you to 3, 4, and 5 star reviews.  Pay attention to 1 and 2 star reviews, but don’t respond.

-Build an author support network.

-Adult Fanfiction, 1 free month if you mention D*Con.  Don’t count out fanfic people.  They’re voracious readers and will check back over and over to see if a favorite author has uploaded a new story or a new chapter.