Finding the will…

Hey, readers. Sorry it’s been a month. I haven’t forgotten about you guys at all, I swear. It’s been a bad month, mental health-wise, is all. Between living in COVID central (wear a goddamn mask, folks) and it being as hot as three hot pockets and a Mickey Ds apple pie straight from the microwave outside, I’ve been trapped inside a whole hell of a lot without surcease. There was a flurry of activity in late May/early June that included putting up shelves and finally (!) setting up a writing station for me in the apartment so the other half can work from home, but after that…

Nope. Nothing. Except existential loneliness and the incessant whining of my cats, things have been kinda… dead around here. Great for someone with anxiety and depression problems, right?

Yeah.

The other half has been learning CAD? I think. Computer stuff is basically Sumerian to be, only not as cool because I’d love to learn Sumerian and freak out assholes who insist I say Merry Christmas even though there are several holidays around that time of the year. Yeah, I’ve got a perverse sort of humor like that. Plus, Sumerian is an isolate language, which is super interesting, and following the way it married into other languages of the area, including Hebrew, would be super exciting for me. Alas, I’m not sure Learn Ancient Sumerian is included in the Great Courses Plus.

OK, full disclosure, I haven’t looked yet. I’m afraid I’d rack up some Sisyphean credit card bill if I were allowed access to that site, so I’ve mostly been avoiding it. But if the depressive spiral I’m on lately doesn’t quit, I might have to dive in… with a strict budget overseen by the other half. When it comes to stuff like that, I’m like shoe people. You know the ones. Seriously. Go find some shoe people and say something disparaging about, uh, Jordans? I don’t know. What are the cool kids buying these days?

I’m almost done editing Mercutio. As if now, between the various edits A and I have done, over 50,000 words have been removed from this behemoth, and it’s finally below 110k. I have gotten rid of some stuff I desperately love, but I’m willing to get rid of it if it makes the novel the best it can be. Also, so agents will, you know, take a chance on it. As much my work is precious, I’m not precious about it. If that makes sense.

Finally got all the feedback for Liar, so I should be diving into that soon. Thankfully, I don’t think it’ll need the work Merc does. It’s tighter as it is, and already well within the norm for SFF word counts. I’m really, genuinely unable to do anything but editing right now because it’s the only thing that doesn’t leave me absolutely knackered after twenty minutes. Not a great place for a writer to be, but that’s the reality for some of us sometimes, you know?

You heard it here, folks. Don’t ask when a writer will be done with their book or comment on how easy it is to write one. It’s very, very annoying, and there’s no guarantee said writer won’t murder you. In their book, of course. Though if there’s any group of people who could get away with murder, it’s writers. Trust me.

Anyway, that’s it for me here, readers. Please wear a mask. Stay safe. Don’t be an asshole. And check out your people. Especially the ones with mental health issues. And the extroverts. Make sure they’re OK. I can only imagine how much worse off I’d be if I actually liked being around people for long stretches of time.

Ciao!

-C

Summer. Why is it here?

Hi, guys! You might have noticed I disappeared for three weeks this time. I was super serial about that thing where I’d only write when I had something to say. This time, though, it was more that I had too much to say, but I wasn’t the person to say it. If I had a platform at all, I would have used it, but I don’t, so it would have been a white woman shouting into the void about things that aren’t any of her business. Let’s just say Black Lives Matter, and if you don’t agree, you can fuck right off.

So, I just wanted to talk about how much summer sucks here in Florida. The temperatures might say the high 80s, but it’ll really be in the 90s or even the 100s because of the humidity and whatnot. (Which of course means that all those protesters really need to take care of themselves, and the cops should maybe stop making it worse by acting like they’re at fucking war with the people they’re meant to serve and protect.) It really gets to you. What is this pleasant summer people talk about, you know? For us, it’s hurricanes and sweat rashes and the oh-so-pleasant smell of mosquito repellent (or a gazillion bites). I’ve literally never understood the whole, “Florida has such great weather year-round” thing people talk about. Like, did you know part of the selling point for Disney World’s Orlando location was the weather?!

IN FLORIDA?!

Some people are insane. Truly.

I’ll bring this around to writing now. Since that’s sort of meant to be my thing. And, honestly, I’m pretty damn good at making things link up. That’s part of the history degree. Or maybe it’s just a natural gift of mine. I did kiss the Blarney Stone when I was fifteen, so that might be a factor. Anyway…

PLEASE STOP WRITING THINGS SET IN FLORIDA WHERE EVERYONE IS EITHER SOME GLAMOROUS BEACH PERSON WITH TANNED SKIN AND A BOAT OR A GODDAMN METH ADDICT ‘FLORIDA MAN’ SITUATION. And I’m looking at you, especially, TV. Seriously. Check it out. Florida is either South Beach or still living in the Confederacy. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are parts of Florida that are exactly like that (drive up 75 through Tampa and there is literally a giant fucking “Confederate” flag ((it was never actually the flag of the Confederacy, but you know what I mean)) flying on the side of the road), but it’s… more than that.

Places aren’t stereotypes more than anything else. We’re always warned away from creating characters that are stereotypes, but we’re willing to do the same thing for places? Stop that. STOP IT. I hate Florida with every fiber of my being, but I hate having it whittled down to idiot tourists, old people, beach bunnies, and rednecks. I hate it because that’s not actually what Florida is. Jokes are fine, but I’m afraid people have really taken it to heart and decided that’s Florida. And it isn’t.

Stop dealing with stereotypes. In characters. In places. In everything. It’s fucking annoying.

Oh, and, just in case you forgot from the beginning, Black Lives Matter. If you don’t agree, fuck off.

-C

A (Because We’re Stuck At Home) Re-birth!

Greetings, readers of Nerd Cactus! You know, if there are any left after more than a year without an update. Yeah… we really dropped the ball. Like, we didn’t even go to Stratford together last year. I (C) went with my significant other while A was all, “I must be a responsible adult!” and worked like, you know, a responsible adult.

She is so much better at grown-upping than I am.

Anyway. With the advent of staying home for days, weeks, and months at a time (neither A nor I are selfish idiots, so of course we’re staying at home), I realized this was the perfect time to do the blog again, and A agreed. We’re probably going to forgo the schedule of the blog from before, mostly because the schedule was what killed the blog in the first place. Admittedly, because I am so much less adulty than A, I’m more at fault. Mea culpa. But I’ll do my best to make it up to you.

Now. First things first. Several of the performances from Stratford we talked about here on the blog are available on the interwebz. They’re only available for something like three weeks at a time. As of the writing of this blog, King Lear (which was from the year before we went) and Coriolanus (from the last year we went together) are available, and Macbeth (another one we saw, and admittedly one we liked less) will be up in a another couple of days. PLEASE go watch these–and please, if you are able, support the season. They’ve had to postpone the entire season (*SOB*) because of COVID19, so like many theaters, they’re suffering even as they’re providing free entertainment to help us get through these terrible times. I know a lot of people are barely able to take care of themselves right now, so absolutely make sure you’re not hurting yourself by helping other people. Transferring the problem from one place to the other is not helping anything.

And if I can help in any way (talking, helping to dispel the loneliness, etc ((but please no face call type things–those are very anxiety-ridden for me))), I’m over at the @NerdCactus handle.

Anyway. I haven’t actually decided what I want to do with this time yet. A and I agree we’re going to continue book recommendations, but I’m also thinking of spreading the recs to shows, movies, YouTube channels. Anything to wile the hours away until the powers that be decide we the working masses need to die in order to restart the economy (or, you know, we actually get to the point where there’s a working vaccine). I certainly have a lot of things to recommend.

I’m also thinking of writing about more of my personal interests. I like more than Shakespeare, reading, and writing. *gasp* I hear you say. *double gasp* Yeah. I’m way into history, mythology, and other such nerdy things that in no way translate to practical, actionable skills in the real world. It’d be nice to give way to those passions, and yoink this blog away from A like my Miles does with the food bowl when one of his brothers is eating something he wants. Miles is a cat, for the record. Anyway. It’s not a hostile takeover, or anything. It’d just save me from having to start my own blog, and being able to build on this instead of building from scratch. This is, of course, only with A’s approbation. If she doesn’t particularly feel like writing except as maybe a guest poster.

In case anyone is still wondering about Mercutio. No. No one has offered to rep it yet. I am once again editing it to see about making it tighter, maybe a bit more accessible, etc. One day, it will happen! As for any of our other ideas, those are… not happening. We live on opposite sides of the state now, and making our schedules match has been difficult enough just to keep in touch. Maybe getting Mercutio published will make it easier, but who knows.

As for my stuff, Liar has gotten beta feedback! AND THEY LIKE IT! I’m so excited! I really want to start querying by my birfmas in the fall. So I’ll keep updating about that as time goes on.

Glad to be back!

-C