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Quick comment: my laptop is very outdated and it can no longer update (we’re talking over 8 years old here).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…

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.

Progenitor Submissions; What Else?

In the sidebar, you’ll find the magazine I helped with earlier this year.
I submitted some things the other day, checking through with what I have so far and touching them up so that I can get stuff in while I can.
The submission limit policies (which they don’t tell anyone but staff for some reason) is
3 poems
2 short stories
3 art/photography

With that in mind, I still have 1 short story and 3 art pieces left that I can try submitting.

I don’t know what else to do though.

The max is 2k words and I’m limited on what I can draw for the art pieces considering the genre and the manager of the team working on it. Knowing the judges may help, but I also know that it’s a little bias based on the people in charge, which is slightly discouraging…

Even if I don’t get in, there’s still try for other magazines. Even so, I know this one accepts submissions for free and I want to give it a try. If you give it a try, I wish you the best of luck!

I suppose I’m struggling to think of what to draw because of a simple question; abstraction is allowed, but just how abstract can you go with the general fiction genre?

Scanner Available and Better Job Offer

Two great pieces of news that can only be topped by the fact I got two Barnes and Noble classics the other day.
The best gift to ever get a girl is a book she likes and her favorite food; she will thank you dearly once it’s in her hands and again once she’s finished reading it, which may take time, but rest assured, she will.

I got promised a job with an in-home care agency. I would need to bring them my ID and Social Security card and then I’ll start the training. It would pay better than Sam’s Club and be a lot easier on my body during this delicate time of treatment and diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do my best with them, but I already have a good five years of experience with in-home care and my body is better fit for this. I’m more worried I’d lose my job and get accused of incompetence with a retail job because of my health conditions slowing me down, but luckily my friend’s parents would already rather I worked with the agency since they see I’m not physically fit to handle a retail job as well as other people in their early 20’s. They also offer CNA training, which would get me an extra 2-3 dollars per hour on top of what I’d already get. I may take up that offer, but they’re willing to take me on with the informal experience I already have.

As for the whole scanner thing, this would mean that I would be able to put up more art! Yay!
If my ex was able to make a buck or two off of selling a crummy doodle I did in his notebook with a ballpoint pen in less than a minute after posting it on ebay, I may be able to get some decent spare cash from drawings with effort. It’ll give some extra stuff for my website too. I’ll share what I can, but I also need to produce the art, which may take a little bit of time for when my schedule gets busy.
If I sell it, the photo of it won’t be as great or high of quality as the piece in person, mostly so that it’s more likely to be sold instead of downloaded. I can also start some other art projects I was hoping to do with other people.

This is going to be fun…

Happiness Like an Acme Anvil and Technical Writing

I can’t point out exactly when it started.

Maybe it started when my grandmother quit smoking for my tenth birthday or the pneumonia her nicotine addiction lead to.
Maybe it was the discovery of her aneurism and the stress that drove me to attempt suicide.
Maybe it was that failed attempt that landed me in foster care.
Whenever the greatest challenges and duration in hell started, I now know that was temporary.

Last time, I was couch surfing. I had “come to realize the personal law of my life’s track”, that my current situation would be the best it will ever be and to enjoy what will be the peace in comparison to my future.

My godmother spoke with her hairdresser and found me a permanent home.

It reminded me then, and still does, of the flash fiction Pockets form the literary magazine I helped with. It was all about how the seemingly unimportant job of a dry cleaner influences the lives of all of her clients, brightening them to near impossible quality that no one else could achieve.

The woman she introduced me to suffered depression. Her puppy brought her an average of three smiles and laughs a day, but it wasn’t enough to help her care for herself with all the limits that come from having a leg amputated. The experience everyone called “child abuse and neglect” was now seen as “work experience”, connecting me to a kind woman who needed a friend just as much as she needed a care taker.

I have never met someone who encouraged my artistic side this much! Before, I wouldn’t have been able to do enough with my diorama for my art appreciation final. Thanks to her acceptance, I did the impossible; my extra creativity got me enough extra credit points to get an A instead of the B she said was the highest letter grade possible.

I may not have gotten the grades in time to keep my job with the computer lab, but it’s opened up considerations that may lead to opportunities.

After helping a friend’s ex with his technical writing final, I was able to test my suggested talent in technical writing, only to find out that the talent other people saw was indeed there. There is still art and creativity in technical writing just as there is logic in art.

To my surprise, he liked my diorama enough to keep it (I didn’t want to keep it, so I didn’t fully care what happened to it). The creativity that got the points was a hand-painted fish on the top. It was my first time painting anything in about five years, and even then I just learned the basics of mixing paint and the color wheel.

His social and talkative nature took over from there when he showed it off to others.
I now have a few commissions for koi thank you cards amongst other pieces.

As for writing and literary art, I’m going to switch my degree to technical writing and transfer to a university and leave my community college. The sudden increase of ease and happiness with a permanent home that allows creativity and is okay with temporary unemployment (even better, Denise is patient about this) allows me to progress. I no longer need to struggle to stay stable, I can now work hard and move forward.

koi for blog

This is the best quality picture I have at the moment, sorry. I’ll share any commission or art selling information if/when available.

In Memory of the Angel in the Flour Sack Dress

My grandmother’s birthday is today.
I don’t know if she would have been 79 or 84 though—the year she gave me was 1935, but I knew she took off 5 years from her birth certificate several years before I was even born. I don’t know if ’35 is the actual year or the new year she had on her birth certificate. Anyone who would have known has passed away too.

Every year on her birthday and the anniversary of her death, I create something in memory of her. In my childhood, she was literally the only one who not only allowed but encouraged my creative side, believing she had no right to take away a part of who I really was when the world was already trying and going to. My creative side resided in drawing and writing, advancing into creative writing. Had she discouraged it, I probably wouldn’t have done well enough in English while in foster care to have survived. With that, I view my success as her doing. I not only have to thank her for that, but for raising me from infancy to fifteen years of age. Even if people didn’t like her and didn’t want me to mourn over her death, I vow to be the person to always respect her as a human when no one else will.

This time around, there will be multiple pieces created and things done in her honor. I intend to take the next step towards creating pieces I had in mind. I originally wanted to just create a 9X12 graphite and colored pencil drawing, but she would have wanted me to branch out to keep my creative side alive, so for her, I’ll try creating a painting of it too.

I have written poetry and allowed myself to write difficult things in dedication to her. I may do the same, but I still want to create visual work too.

They will be late, mostly due to any submission windows not being open for a while and thus wanting to prepare for the window that opens around December. However, she was never one for receiving presents, or much kindness for that matter. I suppose I’m disrespecting her wishes by making things in honor to her, but she wouldn’t expect anything else from me.

New Website (In Progress)

I apologize in advance if I seem to have a negative tone, I may have sprained my ankle slipping on ice this morning.

I wouldn’t say I’m moving, but my experimentation with wix.com for the Progenitor site took on a life of its own…

I’ll make the link available when it’s ready, but I’d like to have plenty of pieces available first.

In that regard, I may make artwork (graphite and characoal for sure) available for sale–the pieces will be priced to at least buy back materials used and cover shipping and handling on my end. Anything that isn’t submitted for contests and literary magazines will be made available. Even having the original advertized on the web during the time of submission can count as publication and automatically disqualify a piece from entry.
Since I need to work on pieces to submit for literary magazines and I’m stocking up on supplies for my Art Appreciation final, paintings may be available. I may not have thoroughly worked with paint in about five years, but I’m not expecting any art to even compare to Da Vinchi. Even if some say “it’s the internet, people wlil buy anything”, I don’t see it as an excuse to not put effort into what I create.
There’s a possibility I’ll work on short stories to sell individually for 99 cents no KDP, but I’d prefer they would be over 10,000 words to make it worth the money in length (having previews and blurbs available are always nice too). They’d be compiled into collections later, but that wouldn’t be until there’s enough to compile into a paperback.

Please feel free to share what you think. I’m curious to know what everyone thinks about purchasing art.
(I’ll try and offer concept work to present on this blog, but I currently don’t have anything with me. I put in the same amount of effort into the concept work as I do the original, even if the concept piece is oeftn smaller and on cheaper paper.)