Anxiety About Writing, Drawing, Life and Tomorrow

(I haven’t forgotten about you guys, the internet is really fickle where I am right now, sorry.)

The release party for the magazine is tomorrow and I get to read some of it aloud.
I am not a public speaking kind of person, extrovert, or experienced enough with semi-formal events to have my own persona for it like I do with work (I have what I call the “perfect granddaughter persona” for work that I use with my in-home care job to behave, care for, and speak with my clients like a client might perceive as a perfect granddaughter).
I’m mostly anxious about wearing girly clothes I’m not used to wearing, practicing makeup and hoping it doesn’t look like warpaint, and, well, having to confess that I went through some things in foster care. Sure, last month was child abuse awareness month, and the timing and themes were pretty good for this, even if it’s a few days off, but I still get to confess things I’ve been through that my own godparents may not have known I’ve gone through, and to find out in such a way is pretty neve-wracking.
Thinking of nerves and anxiety, I finally managed to get a doctor appointment for my hand a few weeks ago. By standard procedure, they did x-rays of both hands. Thanks to that, not only does it turn out that the painful little lump is not only not an easy-to-treat ganglion cyst, but bone growths, and yes, there was not only one, but multiple in both hands…
They don’t know what they are–we just know they aren’t ganglion cysts, bone cysts, calcium, and that they won’t stop growing and it’s causing the connection between my hand bones and wrist bones to widen. For now, they’re having me wear splints at night and then some if I choose to (I can’t go without them now) to limit my wrist movement to ease the pain and slow the rate of growth before they’re going to decide to do tests and figure out what they are. Since the growths are in my hands, the surgeons are worried that they’d do more damage by operating than by letting them stay and slowly cripple my hands, leaving the solution to be “learn to live with it” (yes, I’m trying to get better doctors for this).
I won’t because I can’t–it’s compromising my ability to draw and write (by hand at least, I can obviously kinda type as long as I take breaks). Any artist I’ve told this to always takes the “learn to live with it” worse than any other type of person in my life, probably because they can empathise with the possibility of losing their ability to express themselves for a silly reason. To think that I just got started on a comic series and some food-paid commissions too.
The good news though is that I may have found hope with a new doctor. Since she had endometriosis in the past, she understands my pain, and is hoping for a partial or bilateral oophorectomy. I’m hoping so too. It’s a matter of getting the right requirements for medicaid to cover it and finding a doctor willing to do the operation in my doctor’s honor–since she has a type of osteoporosis in just her hands and fingers, she’s unable to perform such an operation herself, and thus needs to find a doctor willing to do it for her. I can only hope that she does keep up with such a promise. I’m so used to disappointment that I can’t help but be wary of it. Hope for the best and expect the worst I suppose.

On the topic of writing, drawing, and my commissions!
I am still able to draw so long as I’m careful, wear some kind of brace or splint, don’t press too hard, or do it without a break.
I recently me one of my friends’ friends. She’s a professional illustrator (I can’t remember the animation company she works for, sorry) and gets to share a booth at DCC this year. A lot of people I’ve met who are or were going for some kind of art and design degree have snobbish personalities and viewed other artists, no matter how well they did compared to them, as competition and was rude in their “constructive criticism” (there’s a difference between saying “give up, there’s no hope for you” and “you did this part well, I like what you did here, this could use some work, here’s a suggestion based on what I do and how i was taught, but you’re free to explore your own style because art is about expressing yourself”). Again, that’s how most I’ve met have been. This girl accepted me with open arms, gave constructive criticism to help me with my blocking, and presented her highly contagious optimistic perspective on art. Naturally, I took up her suggestion and discovered a wonderful art supply heaven called Meininger’s–they have a bigger and better stock than hobby lobby or michael’s and at better prices. I got motivated enough to get the attention of people who wanted me to do the commissions!
The food-based commissions may need some explanation–for some reason, from what I have experienced, people are more likely to spend 20 bucks on food than they are to give 10 bucks cash. With that in mind, I could technically get more out of the food with the leftovers and satisfying cravings than if I were to get the cash. What I save can be spent restocking supplies and materials. Sure, most people would rather the 10 bucks, but I honestly offer them the option of cash or food, either way, I still get what I deserve out of it or get what I’d spend the money on anyway. If I can get everything more stabilized, I may end up doing commissions online too, no promises on when yet though.
Again, sorry for the lack of posts–health issues and internet connection issues are the worst combo for this. Thanks for understanding!

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I got Published with Progenitor!

I wasn’t expecting it, at all. It’s not only great news, but a great way to start the day, a great thing to wake up to. (Although having my friend’s border collie jumping on me at the same time took away a little of the magic haha.) I woke up to my phone ringing. I normally try to answer numbers I don’t know just because I’ve been in the situation where I’ve needed to use a strange number to call someone and I know how it feels to have someone ignore the call simply because it’s a strange number. I wasn’t as excited as I could’ve been, simply because I woke up mere seconds before from my phone ringing in my ear and my friend’s dog wanting attention.

As excited as I was, my depression kicked in later.

It was probably accepted out of pity, I thought, if I could get in, anyone can, so how is it an accomplishment, or anything worth bragging about really?

I had to remind myself that not everybody gets formally published. I had to remember back to when I worked for Progenitor, how we usually liked the pieces written by people who have bachelors or masters degrees in creative writing or english and that great pieces by those who didn’t really had natural talent. I had to think about what the value of being published in a literary magazine before might mean to a literature publishing company.

The depressive rain cloud of my recently discovered health problems casted over me just the same.
Let’s just say that surgery is definitely being discussed and is most likely going to be in my near future, everyone’s just exchanging their records and reports on my health history first.

As painful as it was to recall the struggle to get everyone caught up, it didn’t depress me as bad once I was able to remember that my accomplishment really was an accomplishment.

When I did, I felt like there was new hope for me, that I really am more than something ill or diseased whose sole existence is to suffer to get someone else money. Knowing that my odds of getting published with a traditional publishing company have increased, I almost feel obligated to see what my limits really are.

It makes me wonder if my life will return to normal again one day, that I’ll have that fair fighting chance to beat the statistics that almost every foster kid wants.

Progenitor Submissions End Tonight!

Progenitor will be done taking submissions 3 hours afters after this post is published.

I nearly accomplished my goal of making the maximum submissions. I’m short by 2 art pieces, but I met the max for all literary art and that’s better than nothing.

My post was originally going to be a lot longer, but chronic pain triggers depression which triggers pain–the debate of whether the chicken or the egg came first comes into play on this. Overall, I’m not too sure how I feel about getting all the literary pieces in.

Even though I don’t know how I feel, whether it’s shame in myself for finding this a challenge or pride for pushing through the pain and dizzy spells, I do know that I want to try (self)publishing whatever doesn’t get into the magazine. Progenitor’s staff would have ownership of the piece if it gets in after all. That’s not a bad thing, it just means that the magazine would be the only place someone can find it. That’s not a bad thing either, it’s just how it is.

I’ll put up what I submitted if none of the pieces get in and then self-publish whatever the true product will be. A lot of editing had to be done to fit within the 2,000 words or less limits. They’re still complete, I just don’t think they have the same feel as they do with more complexity and different methods of explanation.

Maybe I’ll be able to properly reflect when I feel better later. I just don’t want to let pain, illness and depression rob me of my ability to write. It’s the bets thing I’ve got going for what’s left of me, I can’t let it go without a fight.

What Illness Does to a Writer

Quick comment: my laptop is very outdated and it can no longer update (we’re talking over 8 years old here). With that, I can’t fully access my wordpress on this thing anymore, so I can’t do anything with comments, sorry.

This may be a series of posts, simply because there’s a lot to say about such a topic. I may not do them much though since, obviously, illness effects my ability to write.

I’ve seen how illness effects a person’s ability to live a normal life. My in-home care clients wouldn’t need me if that weren’t the case. I may not need someone to do in-home care with me (at least not yet), but it still effects my ability to do much. For me though, the most devistating part is how much it takes away from my ability to write and draw.

I’m still able to do it, but not as well or as often as I used to.

Losing my ability to do this allows my depression to grow worse, feeling down and upset with myself for not being abl to accomplish what I want to or what I used to be able to do.
There are times when writing feels like a chore–my energy is drained, if there’s anything to even drain, and I have all the pain, nausea, dizziness, and other strange feelings distracting me on the side. Something that’s supposed to be fun or relaxing, even invigorating, becomes difficult with everything else in the background. I try to push through it, but there’s only so much I can push through.

Comparing how much I used to be able to write compared to now can feel depressing, sometimes inexcusable despite spending many hours sick when I’m not at work or trying to get things done.
I keep telling myself I can do it again, that I can be like that again, maybe even better, but part of it is trying to accept that that’s a time in the future, not right now.

It’s hard to think in the cloud of dizziness. Depression and anxiety with my living situation isn’t helping either, but that doesn’t slow me down as much. I’m forgetting and scrambling up words and I’m becoming more aware of this. People point it out to me too and sometimes have to help me.
Some doctors think it’s just stress, some say it’s a sign of my illnesses getting worse. Whatever the cause, it’s frustrating to be someone who struggles with something they’re supposed to specialize with.

There’s less than a week to finish three art pieces and write one more short story for the 2015 release of Progenitor.
At this point in time, I don’t care about getting in as much as I do getting at least one of each in. I want to get all three art pieces in, but at this point, that may be too big of a goal for me anymore.
I’ve been trying to push myself, but it’s been one distraction after another with everything getting worse.
I want to do it so I can take pride in myself for accomplishing that much. It’d be an achievement for me to at least get something out of me through this fog and weakness. It’s the same sense of accomplishment as taking your first shower or some other independent act since a surgery.

It did inspire the idea I needed for the short story and the art piece.I have just enough in me to write the short story. I don’t know about the art yet, but I’ve been drawing bits and pieces here and there when I’m able to. I do worry I won’t have it in me to finish it in time, but I am glad I got it about 75% of the way there.

It is such a relief to finally find that spark in me again. I almost want to cry from joy, but then I won’t be able to see to write it haha.

Whatever doesn’t get into the magazine, I’ll try and post. I dont’ know where I’ll be living at that time, but I’d just need internet long enough to post them.
I’m making progress in a permanent living situation, but it’s a matter of enduring until all the puzzle pieces fall into place and that there aren’t too many distractions. That’s a post for another day though.

I’m thinking a lot of this is the lupron shot they have me on, but it’s my last option and it’s not working. The doctors theorize that I’ve been weakened by this to where I’m too weak and at risk of damage to be operated on again. My only options were pregnancy and the shot, but I don’t want a child for 1001 reasons and I cant guarantee I’ll concieve if I try.
I do plan on looking for other doctors to confirm the whole too weak for surgery thing too.
It’s just their observation. How do they know my organs are too weak to endure surgery without tests and just by looking at me? Can they put an ICD-9 or an ICD-10 code to what is causing the weakness?

Until they can, I’m not giving up.

Since I’m having some symptoms in the “rare but serious” list of side effects, I may have to go to urgent care later today and that’s why I wanted to try getting this post out.
I want to write as much as I can of this story as I can until it’s time to decide. Whether I end up going or not doesn’t really matter, I just want to do this much.

I finally understand how my grandmother felt when I took care of her and why she did the things she did, and that’s where my inspiration for this story came from…

With my new health problems, changing (improving) situation, and everything that’s helped me change and learn for the better, I’ve been struggling to be very creative. I’m even struggling to think of the right words for this post.

I have a steady, permanent job and I’m staying with a former coworker (long story short, I helped a coworker end some horrible bullying and they’re helping me after I strengthened our friendship by +10 haha), so my living situation is doing a whole lot better than before, but my health getting so much worse has balanced that out to feeling like there’s been no progress in fixing my life.

It’s different from a normal hemorrhagic cyst where a vein just bleeds into a cyst–the ovary itself is acting like a water balloon in holding the content of a ruptured vessel. It’s too unstable to be operated on just yet because of it being so large (the smallest one was the size of an onion) and hemorrhaging into every single cyst, making it complex and highly susceptible to rupture.
The doctors found out about two or three weeks ago that the uterus is permanently deformed and weakened from having the health problems for so long and the stress of previous surgeries. Once the mass is stabilized, it can be surgically removed and I can start physical therapy to strengthen it back up for further treatment.

I’m not in the mood to point fingers on who or what caused this. Getting treatment is a bigger priority than attempting malpractice lawsuits.

I’ve learned a lot from not only getting to take care of my health, but being forced to respect my limits and see that people take them seriously. It’s left me with a lot of time to reflect on everything I’ve been through over the course of one year.

Something I’ve noticed is that I’ve changed and grown to the point where what I like to create has changed too, yet I don’t know what those new things are just yet. I’m not too sure how to describe it.

I still have desires to complete unfinished projects, but with the changes, I want to completely redo them. I don’t know what I’d want to change them to or what new projects will be. I don’t know how much of my new health condition will affect what I create. I do know that people who’ve doubted me in the past are starting to realize that the stuff about this happening one day wasn’t crazy talk. Even if they’re starting to understand and respect that now, it somehow creates even more disconnect as I connect even better with a smaller group of people and less with majority groups.

The hospital has a policy to assign a therapist to people who go through more longer-term or difficult health problems to help them cope. In my case, a bit of it was to cope with the scary aspects of surgery, which aren’t that scary after having a few, but mostly for the fact that with these new-found conditions, my health is a part-time job that affects all aspects of my life and creates a disconnect in not having too many people my age go through these things. I don’t know anyone in person who does and they know that can create problems, so they want to help. I’ve yet to have a therapist respect the detail that I don’t know many people my age who have health problems that affect them like this. They’re even nice enough to respect my statement that my depression is almost always situational and that medication doesn’t need to be started right away.

I’m hoping that I can mentally recover well enough to figure out what I want t create too. I have game ideas, mostly because of how appealing parallax mapping is. Writing is surrounding a lot of that genre lately. Visual art is related to designing the character sprites, face sheets and busts of course. I’d need to save up for RPG maker of course, but that doesn’t mean some kind of short piece couldn’t be written to sponsor it haha.

Thoughts on Test Scans (With Pictures)–Creating Manga and Comics on Createspace

I can memorize something better if I tell someone about it. I also see it as a sign that I’m meant to teach if I need to share knowledge in order to have it for myself. It’s a strange step up from writing it down, but since I’m also working with others (when they can) on drawn projects, there are a select few that I absolutely need to report my findings to if we are working on a team project. Even if it’s for fun, I still take it seriously; if saying I self-published before landed me the best jobs with Progenitor, then this is a project I can brag about too.

A few people and I are forming into what’s called a Doujinshi Circle and creating “Doujinshi”. It isn’t always porn and it isn’t always romance(if you’ve heard of it and don’t know this already)–it is the Japanese translation for something that is self-published or published through a private company while a manga is different in length, printing size, and is done so through a mainstream company.

As for doing a Japanese styled comic book in America, the word choice of doujinshi over comic book is mostly for the phrase and style. It’s cheaper and easier to do this style and to print at a smaller size. The contents of the pieces will have a lot more of American touches and styles in comedy or horror too. I can’t advertise projects we’ve hardly started, so there’s not much I can say at this time, but I will when more progress is made (a website is also in production, but we need a lot more content to attract viewers and show what we’re about first haha).

To save money, we are using regular printing paper, pilot gelpens and sharpies. It’s easier on us to do the lineart traditionally and then do all the tones and textures in photoshop/manga studio. With that in mind, we need to make sure we know how to be resourceful and functional.

I did the math and measured the dimensions to equal out to 5.2inX8.5in drawing space for the most accurate resize into an 5inX8in print. As you can see from the bottom left corner, 6mm were still cut off. It was measured with anticipation of losing those 6mm on the length and a little more on the width for the sake of clean cropping and the least distorted resize. A good 2 or so millimeters may be lost in the clean-cropping. Even so, this is not a major loss from the piece–knowing how much will be lost will allow me and the fellow artists to know where to put the contents to make sure nothing is accidentally cut out.
I’ve seen a few manga prints with the font falling off the page. I don’t know if it’s intentional or if it’s a printing error, but I personally find it distracting and it comes across as a poor or lazy print job. Knowing what will be trimmed off allows us to better visualize and respect the bleeding, trim and safe zones.

WP 001 BW

The Black and white feature isn’t perfect, but it’s easy to fix. I didn’t clean out the onyx pixels out of the pitch black ones this time (the black is just barely light or blue or purple enough to become an isolated pixel, hence the onyx versus pitch black sarcasm), mostly because this was supposed to be a quick test for the pens and sharipes to see how well they scan, register between the black&white and color scan settings and how their weight changes when printed in actual size. The quality is acceptable and it’s easy enough to clean up without being too time consuming. Doing this test first also demonstrates whether that detailed cleanup will be necessary or not.

HELPFUL TIP: Print something through a regular printer is extremely accurate to the createspace final product. The color is 99% accurate to the gloss feature, the 1% of it is not having the exact level of shine from ink versus a gross coating. Matte finish will make it about 35% lighter than what will come out of a printer, so be sure to darken the colors accordingly.

From what I saw, not only is the non-photo blue accurate to not showing when scanning black and white, but apparently a lot of my colored pencils are non-photo…

WP 001 Color

The test page itself is completely covered in the different colors, yet when I scanned it in the color setting very few showed and they appeared noisy. I was hoping to use these colors for the cover or color pages, but they didn’t show as well as I had hoped.
These are the cheapo hobby lobby brand, which may or may not explain it. I can’t afford Prismacolor and I also tend to have trouble sharpening pencils of any kind as it is, no matter how careful and gentle I am. This is also an older printer/scanner, which may also explain a little bit of it to.
However, my main concern was the pens and sharpies being scanned in the black and white setting. It’s possible that I would just need to use watercolor pencils instead.
I don’t have the money for my own scanner or to go somewhere to pay for use of a scanner, so I’m checking out what I have available around me.
This also tells me what I may or may not be able to do for submitting art to Progenitor, but I may just pay for a better scan job for a literary magazine entry or two or three.

Please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see.
I may take all my notes from doing this and format it into a guide from createspace. If I do, I’ll post about it. Let me know what questions you may have regarding this particular subject and it may end up in a printed book.

Kindle Direct Publishing is Flawed

Of course everything is flawed, especially in art of every genre and medium. However, there are some problems that can come across as intentional or are more frustrating than others as very easy fixes.

It’s not the wait that gets me. I can understand that. They won’t tell you if you need to correct something until after the 12 hours or so it takes to put it up on amazon, making the task take a few days if they don’t go into enough detail of what’s wrong and give the guidelines in a way that will help you fix it right away.
One publishing attempt took almost four because there was no set explanation on the guidelines to fix it with. I was left guessing until I got it right.
If there was a better way to check before submitting, then the process would be faster. It’s possible that it’s in the works, but I have yet to see news of it if it is.

You can’t clean your bookshelf. This is a similar problem with Lulu as well.

That bugs the heck out of me!

It’s like a poltergeist haunting me to see old work. I think it’s that way for many artists; it’s hard to look at your old work. For the KDP bookshelf, even if you unpublish it, it’s still there, like a stain on the wall you can’t paint over.

I tried painting over them, but the stain bleeds through…

I’ve tried posting other stories and redoing covers over old things I’ve unpublished to better cope, but the changes don’t set–any comment or rating or cover doesn’t go away, even if it seems like it does from one end in the right lighting.
The forums claim that it’s not only impossible to clean your bookshelf, that you have to call the heads of the amazon company to hack into amazon.com itself to fix that (wouldn’t that be like having to call the owner of facebook in order to delete a status update?) and that it can take a few days or weeks to possibly fix the redone publication. However, I only saw one thread that had this happen successfully, others had to start completely over.
I was one of them where it didn’t set in.

I’ll give it one more try and check with the forums again, maybe asking the repetitive question myself.
If it doesn’t work though, I’m trying somewhere else.

It’s not so much that traditional publishing is looking better, it’s more that I don’t exactly have the resources to try it–it costs money for postage, printing manuscripts, editors and agents and I don’t have the money to gamble. If anything, I’ll just hang a picture over the stain and hope it doesn’t fall and reveal the stains.

Juust throwin’ that stuff out there…