Sunday, July 6, 2014

Should I Be Medicated?

I avoided doctors for years.  I paid for that by suffering through hyperglycemia earlier this year before discovering I am diabetic, and beginning treatment for that.  I paid for it in other ways in years past, too, but that's not going to be detailed here.

I worry that I'm never going to stop paying for it, mentally speaking.  I was diagnosed as a clinical depressive about ten or more years ago.  I was briefly on medication for this; I honestly don't remember how much it might have helped.  I know the whole prospect scared me enough that I quit taking the pills and simply never went back to see that psychiatrist/psychologist.  I want to say I was seeing a male psychologist, and had to consult once briefly with a female psychiatrist to get the anti-depressive prescription.  I only concretely remember two things from this period: one, that I was holding back from the psychologist because I was not yet out as gay; two, that I was afraid the medication would eventually "water down" my creative side, and that is entirely why I stopped taking it.

On the surface of my choice, anyway, that is why I did it.

I think I wanted to see how far the road of crazy I could go down before I just couldn't turn back anymore.  I wanted to flirt with absolute self-destruction, because that's what I do.

I only had to worry about myself, I thought.

This was years before I ever even considered the prospect of living a life WITH someone.

Now, these days, it isn't just me paying the price for my old choices.  My old, bad choices.  My mistakes now affect my partner as much as they affect me, and most days, it's like I get into this fog in my head where I just can't see that clearly at all.

I don't have paranoid flights of fancy that are immensely recognizable as delusion; instead, my brain sculpts perfectly possible little nuggets of paranoid nightmare for me to live in, and it's my partner who has to suffer through the accusations as well as my terrible rants and tantrums.  I never resort to physical violence against him, because I won't ever do that, but the emotional violence is damning enough.  I sometimes wonder if there's any hope of me stopping this.

And then I wake up and it's a new day and I don't worry about it so much anymore.  I figure, it's over; move on.

But how far can I move on when this thing is still inside me, just waiting around corners for its next opportunity to strike?

I've fetishized the idea that it is something akin to Dexter Morgan's Dark Passenger, though I did this long before I ever read Darkly Dreaming Dexter or watched the TV show; Dexter's Dark Passenger simply resonates with my own concept of what I am, and what I have in me.

But it's just me.  It's just a chemical imbalance in my brain; I understand that much.

When I'm in those moments where things turn, I feel like I have turned into something else, someone other than who I want to be and must be to accomplish my writing.

Would medication really change my creative side so much?  Is it a risk at all anymore?  Or should I just try harder to control this all by myself?

I don't know if I can let another doctor in.  I'm still going through enough minor turmoil dealing with figuring out the right way to treat my diabetes (it's an ongoing struggle, apparently).

I feel like I should just "man up," but of course that doesn't apply.  Depression and paranoia are sexless things, and man, can they really get in the way of better things.

They have been holding me back from some creative things, to be honest.  I've been working on my comic book series, but a little too slowly for my own liking.  The artist I've been corresponding with has been fantastic.  She has her own obligations and can only spare so much time for something that isn't paying her yet, but for that fact, she has turned out fantastic work so far and shown she is excited for even the prospect of this project getting picked up and being published.  So really, I'm just mad at myself that I haven't been finishing scripts ahead of even HAVING a schedule to worry about.

More significantly, I stopped working on the first drafts of Volumes Two and Three of my serial killer series.  I also have done nothing to find a way to hire an editor; at this point, if I'm going to stick to the release date I set for Volume One of The Killers Club, I just have to edit the damn thing myself.  I haven't started that final, REAL, deep editing phase yet, and I still can't afford to pay an editor.

Boo fucking hoo, right?  It could be worse!

I could be alone, homeless, jobless, and still unaware of my diabetes.

I have to focus on the good things that are still in my life, and the great things still to come!

How much longer can I remember them?

***

Live excellently.  Forgive freely.  Admit your faults.  Embrace weirdness.  Hate no one.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hate: Evolution's Perpetual Stopgap

This is an opinion piece.  Take it with a grain of salt; I'm not a scientist, evolutionary biologist, or expert on anything.  I'm just a writer with an opinion.


(picture from pixabay.com)

Hate

Evolution's Perpetual Stopgap


Whether you are on the evolution or creation side of the ongoing debate, you probably understand that hate is part of the equation of our evolution as a civilization on this planet.  One group neighbors another; the two exist in relative peace or at least ignorance of each other until they start competing for the same resources, and then they develop an innate hatred of one another; usually, this would lead to war.  Why do we still repeat this pattern in the modern day?

The simple answer is there are simply too many people on this planet, and we aren't working toward a solution to that on a large scale.

As a science fiction writer, I see the larger scope of this problem.  Over time, resources on the planet continue to dwindle while an unchecked population (of the entire human species, NOT ANY PARTICULAR SUBSET THEREOF) continues to expand.  Material space diminishes.  Natural beauty is rendered unimportant to a consumer society, merely so it can be crushed and replaced with commercial space and for commercial gain, which only perpetuates the problem further, and faster.

Instead of focusing on an actual solution, we perpetuate hate.  We don't realize the ultimate goal of hate; the absolute destruction of one's enemies.  We vilify anyone we don't understand.  We demonize those we partially understand, but disagree with.  We let those we don't like suffer and spiral downward toward their own destruction.  We don't work toward a future for our unseen future generations anymore; we are caught in spirals of NOW NOW NOW.  What can I get now?  What can I have now?  Why don't I have this now?

Eventually, maybe our enemies will die out.  We'll just find new ones.  The problem continues.

On a large scale, unfortunately, this is currently a problem for our governments.  Gods help us all.

On a small scale, what can you do about this?  Subtract hate from your own life.  Teach your children, your friends, your customers/clients, your coworkers, and anyone you meet that hate is not the answer.  Meet hate with sympathy, empathy, and an attempt at honest understanding.  Learn the reasons behind that anger in others, where you can.  Don't hold onto your own anger.  Analyze it; take it apart and remind yourself that anger isn't going to get you anything.  Anger will only waste your time and perpetuate your own bad mood.  Wouldn't you rather be happy?  Wouldn't you rather people just be happy?

The more happiness and understanding we spread, the better chance we have as a species of uncovering an actual solution to our problems.

Hate was a stopgap solution to the ancient problem of resources competition; aren't we better than that now?  Don't we fancy ourselves as more evolved, more learned, and more creative than our ancestors?

Answer hate with something else.  Find what that thing is for yourself, and hand it out frequently.  Give it away, or if it's something you can make, hell, sell it.  Just spread it, as long as it brings joy to someone, even just yourself.  Contentment isn't so hard to find.  It's only hard to keep if you let it be so.

Give up hate.  Burn it up on more productive pursuits.  Use any remaining anger you have to fuel exercise, passion, fair debate, menial labor (at home if not at your job), or creative endeavors.

Live your life as if it is a dance viewed only by all the most appreciative, understanding, loving, giving, and caring people you have ever known or can imagine.  Make every move count, every day that you can.

There will be days where you forget this, or it simply seems impossible.  Analyze why things didn't work out.  Figure out how to change your reactions to maybe stop that happening again.

Hate is not the answer.  Hate can never be the answer again.

Make art or silence or love instead.

***

Live excellently.  Forgive freely.  Admit your faults.  Embrace weirdness.  Hate no one.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Killers Club is coming (Volume One release date announcement)

The Killers Club
Volume One

The Accidental Killer

(Over 120,000 words; eleven chapters)

Chasing an escape from misery, Andrew will find himself going down a dark rabbit hole into an underworld he will never be able to escape.

Can anyone survive The Killers Club?

Release Date:
Monday, September 1st, 2014

***

I have been putting this part off for quite a while.

I'm a great procrastinator, which is something I continue to try to overcome.  Some things do seem to get better with age; other projects fall completely off the back of the stove and disappear into nothingness.  Occasionally, they come back from this state.  The Accidental Killer sat untouched for a very long time, and I've been happy to return to it recently with a little editing and finally starting working on the rest of the series.  As I work on Volume Two, I will explore options for getting Volume One edited by someone other than myself.  At present, I cannot afford an editor.  I may explore options for funding that, or simply teach myself to do a better job at editing this as if it isn't my own work.

Now, I have a deadline.  Now, there will be no more excuses.  Come what may, The Accidental Killer will be made ready to publish by September first of this year.

Perhaps I'll even move that date closer up to the present date.  We'll just see how things go with that.

***

Live excellently.  Forgive freely.  Admit your faults.  Embrace weirdness.  Hate no one.

(and no, I never got around to singing/recording The Starnaut and his Ship.  Yet.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Starnaut and his Ship


The Starnaut and his Ship
(Copyright 2014 Erik J. Avalon)

To travel so far
I gave up my all
The stars, they did call
Yet you are my home

Expected none of
It, yet this is how
I found it to be
Yes, you are my home

Leave it all behind
Fly and you shall find
All that you could seek
Yet you are my home

A place uncertain
A world forgotten
A land unforeseen
Now you are my home

You are just a thing
They tried to tell me
Use, but do not love
Yet you are my home

It is such a strange
Thing to realize
How close can we be
But you are my home

Just a ship, but more
Always waiting for
Me, there you are, and
Yes, you are my home

No matter how far
We venture into
Space and beyond, al-
ways you are my home

Now I realize
Just how dear you are
I have lost the key
Are you still my home?

Lost and drifting 'lone
Crash and burn; stand; wait
See alien 'rises
You must be my home

Many years have I
Wandered lost; afraid
You I have not seen
Yet you are my home

My heart never left
Your warmth and your cold
Your steel and embrace
You will be my home

Here I'll die, waiting
Never again will I
Step into your hold
You are not my home

You are so much more
Than I can explain
Though apart, together
You're more than my home

No computer, they
Said would ever be
Enough for the trip
So they took my home

To be, and inside
Nestled spirit of
The person I loved
And made you my home

Sent me deep into space
With your voice, disem-
bodied; such a waste
Just to make a home

Was it worth it? How
Can I ever decide
Was it all for naught?
Now without my home

Was it right, what I
Have done; set you free
To roam all the stars
Forever alone

I hope you forget
As the eons roll by
That you ever knew
Me; please, find a home

So here I will rest
Lay my bones to rot
Watch the skies roll by
You are not my home


(images from pixabay.com)

***

Live excellently.  Forgive freely.  Admit your faults.  Embrace weirdness.  Hate no one.

Friday, May 16, 2014

How Net Neutrality Changed (Saved) My Life

About six years ago, give or take, my mouth cost me my job.  I have a habit of not always thinking enough about the things I say before I say them, and this particular time, I was working for a small business where that could get me fired.  I didn't say anything particularly nasty or untrue, but the way I said it was unfair, and I understand why I was fired.  That's not the point; just the beginning.

For several months to a year, I worked through a temp service where you came in extra early, got in line, waited for them to call your name, and hoped for work.  You got paid that day for work that day.  It was never much.  It was barely enough to get by.  During this time, I let my brother and his friend move into my apartment with me.

Late in this year, I moved across town for a personal experiment, to see if I could uproot myself completely and move on.  It didn't work out.  During this time, I expected my brother and his friend to keep up on the bills at my apartment; they weren't able to.

When I came back early the next year, it was to an eviction notice.

Enter: the man who saved my life.  But it wasn't that simple.

The Internet saved my life as much as Kurt ever did.

I've always had trouble interacting with people in public or social situations, so largely, my social life has been online.  I barely even had 'Net access at the time, but I was a member of a site called Gay.com, which is vastly different now than it was then, but that's besides the point.  I went into the Cincinnati chatroom on Gay.com with no hope.  I was jobless and soon to be homeless, so I figured, what the hell; just do whatever I want, right?  That involved meeting a relative stranger, and not to go out on a date.  I had Kurt over to my apartment.  Neither of us expected anything more than it was.  Within a week, I was living with him and his roommates at that time, and we've been together ever since.

Without net neutrality, I wouldn't have had access to that website, and I never would have met Kurt.  I shudder to think what, where, or who I would be without that crucial series of circumstances that led Kurt and I to one another.  I thank the universe every day for that man in my life, and we almost never met at all.

Net neutrality is essential to the Internet remaining the free domain it has always been, free to express and interact and live as the people we deserve to be, but maybe can't always be in the lives we find ourselves in, in the real world.

The Internet opens the world up; losing net neutrality will shut it back down again.

Don't let that happen.

***

Live excellently.  Forgive freely.  Admit your faults.  Embrace weirdness.  Hate no one.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Admit Your Faults


Good morning.

I'm going to start my day by admitting I don't know what I'm doing.  I don't have a fucking clue.  I make it all up as I go along.

My family didn't have money when I was growing up, and I wasn't a dedicated student in my second half of high school, so scholarships weren't an option.  I didn't go to college.  I haven't pursued further education, and honestly I don't see myself ever doing that.

I learn from life, from books, from the 'Net, and from the people around me.

Now, of course, there aren't that many people around me; thank you, neuroses, paranoia, semi-agoraphobia, depression, and any other psychological malfunctions I'm misplacing.

I never figured out how to keep people in my life.  Some people have stuck in the timeline of my existence like thorns, but in a good way.  Some people won't let me leave them behind or forget they exist, and I'm thankful for those precious few.

Most people assume I just don't like them or don't care.  I care, but I don't know how to go about expressing that in safe or acceptable ways.  Or maybe I honestly forget.

I go into writing feeling like an absolute idiot.  I'm constantly amazed when I'm able to pull off sentences, paragraphs, and whole chunks of chapters that seem to make any kind of sense whatsoever.  I look back at things I have written and wonder where the man went who wrote those things, because he couldn't have been me… could he have been?  Did I do that?

(imagine Steve Erkel saying that last sentence, because I just did)

I sometimes call writing my drug of choice, and I'm scared half the time that's all it is; just my own, personal, quirky, absolutely free (well, mostly) way to get "high."  Drugs either bore or scare the crap out of me, and weed's the only one I've even done (setting aside the insistence of stoners that weed isn't a drug; just accept that the general, non-pot-smoking public doesn't agree, or understand, and move on).  I've never felt higher at any time in my life than when I'm writing and I get close to one of those moments in a story that I've been waiting to tell, something I've been building up to for the reader, for the characters, and for myself.  It's a thrill I hope my future readers share someday.

I asked my partner Kurt for help in deciding on a release date for The Killers Club, Volume One: The Accidental Killer.  He suggested a few options: roughly a month from now, which would satisfy my impatience; the fourth of July, which I shot down because it just doesn't seem to fit for me; then, I think he suggested Labor Day, if that's in September; well, it was something in September, and that seems far enough out that I could simultaneously set some kind of deadline for Volume Two in the series, as well, to coincide with the publication of the first book.  One of these days I'll decide.

I've been in a self-made vacuum for too long.  I'm still trying to pry myself out of it.  We'll see how that goes; social interaction's never been my strong suit, in person or online.

I don't know what I'm doing.  As in writing, so too in life; I need to just do it.  Just be.  Just live.

***

Live excellently.  Forgive freely.  Admit your faults.  Embrace weirdness.  Hate no one.