a spirit of place

Being Medicated: Phase Three

Hey, it’s been a while because I am literally the worst at blogging! I keep meaning to post something but my life is so boring I don’t really have much to say. I work, I read, occasionally I manage some writing. (I just completed the draft of Ch50! Thought I was never gonna get it done -_-)

The Zoloft is doing its work. My anxiety is still pretty much gone, my depression is…manageable. The sleepiness is a small problem, made worse by the incessant heat–summers in Texas are no joke, and it makes me so, so tired. Doesn’t help that I get up right in the middle of the day most days, when it’s getting really hot, and then go to work in a place that is like, 90% windows, coolers that blow warm air, and a 550 degree pizza oven–I really hate that thing.

Summer has never really been one of my productive seasons for that reason, unfortunately, but I feel like this year was even less so than usual. I don’t want to complain about my anti-depressants because they’ve made my existence so much better, but the main reason I got on them was so I could be productive again, and aside from the boost I got right after upping my dose, they have…not really done much for that.

If anything, I’ve gotten a bit worse. :/ I’ve been stuck on Ch 50 for months, my brain feels so scattered whenever I try to focus on anything that requires serious concentration, and I’m pretty sure it’s executive dysfunction that keeps me in bed till noon or later nearly every morning.

So on my last follow up appointment, I mentioned to my doctor that I thought I might have ADHD. Long story short: they made me an appointment with a psych nurse, she is leaning towards an ADHD diagnosis (it is apparently difficult to diagnose adult ADHD because there are so many reasons why adults could have attention issues) and I started on medication for it today.

I was leery of doing this because when I was researching long term effects of drug addiction for Woodhaven, I discovered that literally every single ADHD med is on the big, scary list of frequently abused prescription drugs. So yeah. I really do not enjoy taking medicine in the first place, and I think the fact that I faffed about over the issue until I was 36 years old despite being miserable a good 90% of the time says pretty clearly how reluctant I was to take this step, and even though I am glad not to live in a vortex of anxious despair anymore, I kind of resent being dependent on medicine for something that most people take for granted.

Yet here we are. I took my first dose of Wellbutrin about an hour ago. It’s not an ADHD med, but it is used to treat it in situations where stimulant based drugs can’t be used. Hopefully it will help my concentration issues. I’m not sure if it’s doing anything yet, because I slept like crap last night. I’m on vacation this week, so it’s a perfect opportunity to keep track. I’ll keep everyone posted. For now, though, I’m going to laze about in bed a bit longer, because what’s the point of a vacation if you can’t? ;p

Being Medicated…Phase Two

So, last time I talked about my antidepressant stuff I sounded so optimistic, but then I crashed hard. December was…literally the worst. And January wasn’t too hot either. (Literally or figuratively…my electric bill! *sobs*) So my doctor doubled my dose of Zoloft. I have to take it twice daily now, which is a pain to remember even with alarms on my phone, but it also means that forgetting for an hour or two doesn’t mess me up as bad as when I was on one a day, so that’s nice. I’ve actually managed to be productive–not super productive, but I have managed to write about eight thousand words in February, which is better than the two previous months combined. Unfortunately not all of it was for AFWT. o_o;

It’s not unusual for me to come out of a depressive spiral with a new story idea–I tend to find something to distract myself–a TV show, a movie, a new books series–and start poking at it until it suits my tastes. This one started off as fan fic of my own characters, a fluffy tea shop AU, but the idea sort of blended with the books I was reading recently (Psycop and the Rowan Harbour Cycle) so now I have a third story to tell in my Genius Loci series, Woodhaven, about an asexual enby artist/seer who works part time in a cafe run by genius loci descended wolves in a town hidden in a forest, which is populated by a variety of genius loci who have lost their ancestral territories and human magic-users hiding from the eyes of the world. It takes place some time after the events in the two previous planned series, Golden Wolf and A Spirit of Place, but I don’t know if the characters will cross over yet, since I haven’t quite crystallized the plot details in my head. I should probably do that, lol.

I am chipping away at the next scene for AFWT, but it’s a duel scene and those are hard. (It doesn’t help that I can’t get my lazy arse out of bed early enough to have time to work on anything.) But it is getting worked on. Soon I’ll be done with the beginning of Woodhaven and my brain will hopefully get back on track so I can finish the beast.

New eyeglasses imminent

My eye appointment was today, and picking out my new frames by myself was just as frustrating as I had imagined. The place I went was pretty small, and the selection of frames they had to fit my tiny face was also…quite small.

I, uh, had to choose my new glasses from the kid’s rack. But! They are metallic fuchsia, a bit lighter and redder than my current glasses–or at least the color my current glasses used to be before I finally rubbed the color off from wearing them WAY past their expiration date. (You do not even want to know how long it’s been since I went to the eye doctor.)

Then I went to Half Price Books, because it was right across the street, basically, and looked for those reference books I didn’t find at Book People. I found Austin, An Illustrated History, which looks to be a good general history. Remarkable Plants of Texas also looks like it will be good, as it contains not just info about the plants, but their historic uses and cultural significance. Indians of Texas was on my list for the original version of Golden Wolf, so I bought it even though I’ve changed a lot of stuff since then. After I got home I realized I already had one book with a similar title that I found on Ebay last year. Oops. Oh well. I also bought some books about digital photography–a general guide for dummies, and couple of books about nature and wildlife photography–because the male lead of Golden Wolf is a nature photographer.

I should have looked at books about the Hill Country too, but I spent entirely too much money today already.

Speaking of nature photos. I went for a walk. Have a sunset.

I live for sunsets

Research and other deadly foes

I sort of fell off the internet for a while, except for Tumblr, which, as social media outlets go, is the most benign, being 99% pictures of cats and webcomic updates. My depression and anxiety have calmed down a bit, so I recently dove back into the wilds of Twitter.

This proved a boon for that one weird novel idea that came to me last year, featuring the supernatural oddball combination of a unicorn and an incubus. (This was inspired partly by a side character from the Kate Kane series I talked about here and an offhand comment from some social media post ages ago about unicorns in urban fantasy.) The two main characters came pretty easily, and a conflict soon followed, but the bane of my writing existence is actually plotting so I struggled to find some way to get the book moving beyond introducing the characters. Worldbuilding was also a bit of an issue with this one–how do you handle the ubiquitous urban fantasy tropes? Especially when you’ve already got another urban fantasy-ish story that you’ve determined will have none of them in the works at the same time?

It was given some steam, quite by accident, when I saw this tweet

It struck my attention because the working title for this book is Lion and Unicorn, because the antagonist is a lion avatar of a goddess. Still working out the main plot, but now there is some forward motion on it, and I was inspired to work on the details, which led to searching such things as sacred plants in folklore, ancient deities who have lions as sacred beasts, genius loci, Celtic fairy lore, and all the other usual suspects in urban fantasy, ie, werecreatures, vampires, and the like.

I learned, among other things, that hawthorns feature in a number of folklore traditions, including vampire slaying, but all the things I found are European in origin. I started looking up American analogues, and let me tell you, it was hard trying to get information on the species native to the Central Texas area, but I did it. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has a very nice database, so I was not only able to find some species of hawthorn to use, I was also able to look up wild roses and verbena, which also have prominent places in the folklore. I still need to look up local folklore. I have some books to read on that subject; they just need to be unearthed from my massive TBR pile.

I have parts of two chapters for this book already, but I probably won’t get to work on it seriously for a while. My priority, aside from ATWT, is going to be the ace wolf shifter story (working title:Golden Wolf) and the other urban fantasy, (working title:A Spirit of Place), which share a world and have crossing plotlines, which both need research as well, mostly on the setting. Going in search of a good history book about Austin this weekend to that end. The magic system for that series is going to be based on genius loci, so that’ll be fun.

Um…not a lot else to talk about, really. I’ve been plugging away at AFWT, currently on Ch46 of the fifty-two I have outlined. My anxiety has gotten a lot better, but my depression is still kicking my ass, and this week’s work schedule isn’t helping. I wanted to do Inktober, but after the first day, work was such that I came home Monday dead on my feet and spent the next two days half zombified, so the second page of the work, inspired by the aforementioned A Spirit of Place, the protagonist of which is a webcomic artist who co-owns an art supply shop.) is barely half drafted. There was perspective involved, which makes me twitchy anyway, and the hardest part of making comics is actually trying to decide the best way to compose the panels, so it took me like, three hours to do even that much.

I was planning to get back to it today, but I ended up being depressed and also full of allergies so I slept most of the afternoon, and my brief attempt to write was…not successful. But my sister made me dinner and I had a nice walk, and a book that I pre-ordered will be coming out tonight, so I’m giving myself the rest of the evening off, and I’ll try to get back to the drawing stuff tomorrow night.

In the meantime, have this shot of the cover/first page of ‘cold’ by Elise Davenport, the MC of A Spirit of Place.