Posts Tagged ‘Brain’

My life over the past couple months has been taken unexpected turns. It’s not all bad, I don’t even know if, in retrospect, any of it has been ‘bad’, actually.

I stopped writing, not so much by choice or even lack of motivation / creativity, but because of ‘real’ life interfering. I was too busy cutting wood to keep the house warm, and working on making the truck run to really have time to sit and write. When I did find time, I was too worn out to actually do so.

Then my wife said that we were going to be active again in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I wasn’t necessarily being bitten my the bug to do so, though I had been on and off for the past decade. I didn’t complain because is was clearly a good thing for her. I knew, once we started playing, I’d be swept up in the life and that has proved true.

When this decision was made, I was already getting to the point where less time was being taken up by wood cutting, due to warmer weather. I had more free time, but wasn’t quite in the zone to write. Instead, I threw my creative energy into what I used to do last time we played SCA – jewelry making. By jewelry making, I mean carving / shaping bronze, and brass, bone and wood, into ornaments, decorated my hand shaped glass ‘gems’ all in the style of 1500’s venetian period. It is an exacting, creatively challenging, hobby that is very rewarding.Maiden's Heart #1full copy

So, in one way, I’m glad I wasn’t writing when this life change happened, because I would have found it harder to adjust and slip back into the life. I have plan on stopping writing. I honestly don’t think I could, even with the ‘new’ distraction. In point of fact, my mind is percolating, starting to work on a short story I started months back. working a short story is a good way to get back into the rhythm, I find. From there, delving back into the novel will be easier to accomplish.

When will this start? Saturday. How can I know? Because tomorrow, I go to Windsor for my twice annual cat sitting job which is always a writing retreat – a stimulus for getting the words out and onto the screen. I’m looking forward to it, the zen of writing, the enjoyment of submersing myself into another world. I am also packing the equipment needed to work on jewelry, so that I can have both creative outlets available to me. I will have the time, and the desire, and plan on indulging.

If I have any doubt about getting back to writing – or the value of completing another short story – all I have to do is look at the reviews coming in for my second released book, Blondes, Books, & Bourbon. The anthology has been getting some very encouraging things said about it :

anthology 5* – “I loved this book even more than Mr. Ridley’s previous one, Tomorrow Wendell, which BTW is also about Jonathan Alvey and is super awesome! I absolutely loved all the stories and will re-read them very soon (yes, it’s that good!) All the stories are unique and adventurous… Mr. Ridley has created something more than just a likeable character, he’s created a character sensation. Jonathan Alvey is an extremely well developed and an amazingly crafted character”

5* – “Ridley opened this anthology with an interview that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and an even bigger reaction in your brain to continue on reading.
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Tomorrow Wendell, you’ll still enjoy this collection and get to know Jonathan Alvey, as well as a few other recurring characters”

5* – “Ok so I want to start out by saying I have a strong dislike for short stories in general. But I really enjoyed the time I spent with each one of these. Alvey is an awesome main protagonist that is easy to get along with and root for… I never felt lost reading these stories, and I was never just wanting to get onto the next one either. I can honestly say I like each and every one of them. Even if you haven’t read Tomorrow Wendell you’ll have no problem keeping up or getting to know Alvey…If you like magic and the supernatural in your stories, then Blondes, Books, and Bourbon: A White Dragon Black Anthology is for you. If you’ve never really tried out a detective story, then this is the one I would recommend finding out with. Great writing, amazing characters and fun yet creepy new monsters you don’t normally run into.”

5* – “This is an amazing read, although short stories, all the stories are linked through Mr. Jonathan Alvey and this is a unique collection that reads like an amazing novel. The reader follows Private investigator Alvey as he takes on paranormal cases. I won’t go into each one but just know they are interesting and compelling cases that will have the reader glued to this amazing anthology… This is an amazing book and the author has done a wonderful job creating a special story. Believe me this is a do not miss story!”

5* – “Alvey is a fantastic homage to the hardboiled detective fiction of old with a fresh insertion of the mystical and arcane. Conjuring images of rot-gut bourbon, duplicitous dames and dangerous foes, Ridley manages to channel some of the best traditions left over from the old school of detective fiction… Full of intrigue, danger and bleak humour – the stories in Blondes, Books and Bourbon not only expand on the world Ridley introduced us to in his debut novel Tomorrow Wendell, but rather supersede it.”

I know – I know… I have been remiss in my postings. I place all the blame, squarely on Winters shoulders. That bitch had me in a strangle hold, and it’s hard to type when your fingers are frozen.

My routine, the entirety of my days, was all about getting wood ready for the furnace to keep warm. I had little time of my own, and less energy when I got it.

Also my truck wasn’t running, which added a level of stress, and time consumption, which didn’t help matters any.

I haven’t written in — an embarrassingly long time.

All this is beginning to change, as does the weather. Warmer days, and nights, means less wood consumption, which means more free time, which means an ability to return to usual habits.

My truck is running now (why she wasn’t before remains a bit of a mystery) although I do need to take her into the mechanic today – her axel U-joints are in bad shape. So I have to drive into town and spend money we don’t quite, really, have. But there is not to do about it especially when I look at the next month and see the travel we want to put on her.

This weekend we go to London for the SCA event ‘Winter War’ – or first event in over a decade. In a little over a week, I go to Windsor to watch my sisters cats again, and thus want to be sure I leave my wife a working vehicle – especially as she is going to be coming into Windsor for another SCA event during that that time. When I am done my cat sitting duties, I then get to go to the Ad Astra Convention, which I have been looking forward to since… well, November. That’s in Toronto, which a couple hours drive from me… so truck running = good.

The truck must be fixed, and so she will be.

anthologyOn top of all this, my White Dragon Black anthology ‘Blondes, Books, & Bourbon’ comes out this Friday the 13th (actually you can get the paperback now from Amazon – HERE)

So this month won’t quite be ‘routine’ but it’s will be a good break from what Winter was doing to me, and get my brain back on the right track. Hopefully soon, I’ll be back to posting about word counts, and story arcs, and characters.

There has been silence from me on this blog of mine.

I have been busy trying to keep up on the wood needed to heat the house and too exhausted afterwards to do anything but slump onto the couch. That has been my life, really, for almost two weeks. This is getting harder as the snow plies high, and the temperature drops into dangerously cold levels

The only deviation in this is that I have rejoined the SCA (society for creative anachronism)  and thus there is, in my breast, the desire to begin creating work of art in jewellery form. But – time ….

B,B&Bcover

 

I haven’t – much to my chagrin and pain – written in over two weeks. This seems like some sort of cheat as my anthology comes out in less than a month. On March, Friday the 13th, a new book with my name on it is birthed into the world. As it is a collection of all my short stories, this is a brand new sort of anxiety I face.
To top off my current life struggle (ignoring that it is my usual bipolar cycle time) I managed to break the tip of my right ring finger. It’s amazing how often that part of the body comes in contact with — with, well, everything!

So in pain, distress, and anoyance I move forward dreaming of a day were the tempurature stays above the freezing mark

Our truck has some issues with starting, there are a number of linked reasons this is probably occurring which I’m going to try to attend to come next month (next pay period). The odd part is the majority of the time she won’t start if the trip is based on my wife’s need to go somewhere and will start if it’s because I need to go somewhere.
Wednesday: wife needs to go to appointment – no start.
Thursday: I need to go get chicken food – starts okay.
Friday: wife needs to go to her mother’s place – no start.
Later Friday: I need to go out for ….well we’ll get to that – starts okay.

So this is yesterday –

First I get a good writing session in on the new novel. That makes the day start off great, as I haven’t been able to have my morning writing session in three days, due to that four letter word – life.
but then…
The truck won’t start, meaning I can’t get my wife to her mothers, where she goes every week to clean the house (my mother-in-law is in no shape to be able to do it herself anymore). This is annoying, frustrating, and time taking. After an hour, I have to give up and my wife reschedules for Saturday (today)
With my wife not going it changes the day. I was going to chop up the few pieces left of the wood giving enough wood to make it until Saturday. Then Saturday, when she would be home, use the chainsaw to cut more wood.
So now, instead, I need to take more time out of Friday and cut the wood then Saturday, chop it. More time doing what I don’t want to do, and less time for what I had planned, and had been looking forward too – namely writing.

So already this day has gone from good, to not as good. All right, things change – move on, go with the flow, and adapt.

A hole was discovered in my wife’s studio wall – a large enough hole for a small cat to go out of … and obviously a lot of heat as well. I had purchased expansion insulating foam to temporarily deal with the problem but had not used it because I wanted to use the remained of the can in the craw space under the house to block another hole which lead to pipes freezing from strong, cold east winds. (yes the house is falling apart it seems). I figured, as the day wasn’t going in the direction it should, I’d tackle this project and get it off my list.

Filling the hole in her studio goes off without a hitch, if you don’t include having to make sure a kitten doesn’t get himself, or his fierce attack paws, coated in insulating foam. So then I combat crawl under the house. I use the remainder of the foam, and am turning to crawl out, when I notice that there is water trickling off the water pipe.

I discover it is coming from the plastic couple which joins the bit of remaining copper line to the PEX I installed a few years ago. I don’t know if it was leaking before I got down there or if I hit it and caused what was clearly an already weak piece to break. It didn’t matter at that point the outcome was the same – I had to fix it.

Now not only was I not going to get any more writing in today, it seemed as though I wasn’t going to get much wood cutting done (no wood = no heat = more issues than I care to think about including more pipe issues).

I crawled out, turned of the water at the pump house, and searched my plumbing supplies for something to replace the broken bit. As luck would have it, I did. I grabbed the tools to attach the piece and crawled back under the house, where I discovered the piece was 5/8ths and the pipe was 1/2 inch.
So I crawled back out, slightly damper than I had gone in.

Now I needed to go to the closest town and buy a piece. But would the truck start?

She did – almost no problem. So I drove to town and, with the help of the employees, got the piece I would need to fix the issue. It is a device that slides onto the pipe and then clamps hold – really the only way to attach copper to PEX. Just as I was walking away the man pointed out that the device was reusable. He showed my the $2 and change little piece of plastic designed to slip over the pipe and add in releasing the connector device from the pipe.  As I didn’t I didn’t plan on needing to take it off (since I was getting it to fix a problem that wasn’t going to go away without the connector) I thanked him for telling me about it, bought the connecting device and drove home.

Once more I crawled under the house. I connected the two pipes pieces with the device I had just bought, and went out and turned on the water. Then, once more, I crawled back under to make sure everything was working. As soon as I got to the entrance point to the crawlspace, I knew something was wrong. I could hear water. What I didn’t know – just what was wrong. So I crawled back under (did I mention this is not easy, a combat crawl dodging pipes and fitting through narrow spaces) and across the much wetter space to get to the joint.
It is spewing water! A three foot geyser shooting out of the place where the device is attached to the copper pipe.
It was the PEX pipe side that had been the original problem. ~sigh~ (actually I used a whole bunch of four letter words and not one of them was ‘sigh’)

I crawl back out and much wetter this time, turn the water off, then I crawl back under again to try and take off the device so that I can put it back on, assuming I just hadn’t snugged it firm enough agains the copper pipe. (don’t know how that would be possible but it seemed the likely issue)
Remember that little tool?
Yeah – I finally gave up trying all sorts of different techniques to remove the device and, with an aching back, a kinked neck, and wet clothes, and a mood to make Genghis Khan look like a peacenik, crawled back out from under the house.

I grabbed my wallet, phone, keys, and squelched back out to the truck. The truck started with little issue, and I drove, with gnashing teeth and foul words, back to town. I grabbed the tool and the guy suggested I buy a second device, incase I have to cut the pipe and find myself not having enough to connect. I could use the second to insert another short length of pipe, bridging the gap. Sounds like an idea to me, and if I don’t need it, it can go into the plumbing supplies.

I drive home, I empty my pockets, I crawl back under the house. I use the tool – which, although I used in the store on the practice piece with no problem – which doesn’t seem to want to work. Finally I get the pipe out from the device and a piece of the internal mechanism of the device (which goes inside both ends of the pipes and where the water flows) goes popping off into the muddy water. It wasn’t that I had not put it on right – it was that the piece had broke.
I manage to get the device off the other end of the pipe -the PEX side – only to discover the other side of the broken piece is still jammed inside the PEX piping. I curse, I try to pry it out with my teeth, I finally give up. I’m going to have to cut the PEX just below the broken insert. But – do I have enough total length to make the cut and still connect the pipes with one device?

Turns out I have enough with a hair’s length, maybe two, to spare. So I take out the pipe cutting tool, I’ve had in my pocket since the second trip under and cut the PEX. Now the pipe cutting tool, is a circular blade set in a device that can be slowly tightened, you spin the device around the pipe, the blade cuts in and you tighten it and turn, tighten, urn , tighten – and then the pipe is cut. It works great on copper pipe, on PEX, which is bendy and soft… not so much. So the first two attempts are failures and with each one, I have to move where I’m cutting back just a little, but I can’t go too far or the pipe won’t connect. Finally I get a clean cut.

I attach the new connector. I crawl out from under the house, I go tot he pump house, I trun on the water, I crawl back under the house. I don’t hear anything but that doesn’t mean it isn’t leaking so I have to crawl all the way there.

It’s dry, well the pipe and connector everything else, including me, is not.

I crawl out. I go into the house and stripping off the wet clothes tell my wife I’m going to the neighbourhood diner to get myself a burger, should I grab her one to. She says yes. I put on dry clothes and go out to the truck…

which refuses to start.

I come in. pour myself a shot of whiskey, down it, and then spend the next half hour listening to music so I don’t go rampaging about with an axe, destroying everything I lay eyes on.

When I manage to get some control over the worst of my mental state. When I wrestle myself from the brink of a total mental snap. I went back out to the living room and suggested we watch some Doctor Who.

Yesterday was a whisper away from my complete break down, shut down, and melt down.

Today– today I’m feeling the effects or yesterday. Anyone with mental issues knows that there are ripples from the bad days. These ripples from the cause, create more bad days, slowly easing off to whatever ‘level’ is at that time . . . unless something else happens to disturb the control, and then the ripples from the new add to the ripples of the old and create something bigger than either of the originals.

I am afraid I can already see the next cause – it’s right there and created by yesterday’s issues. I simply don’t know if I’m going to have ‘levelled’ before this issues disturbs my daily life.

All I want is to write – I need to write. It is my therapy, my grounding, my escape. Days like yesterday though make even that hard. I wrote this, but it is a recording of what happened, it isn’t a release of creativity, it isn’t escape. But because of yesterday I don’t – my brain – I am disturbed too much to find that way into my world of fantasy.

All I can do is try to resume some normalcy; grasp at the common and hope it all settles.

So after yesterday’s post, I thought I’d better update and share today’s happenings so far – for balance.

The truck did, eventually start. First tried starting it at a little past 1 pm and finally turned the engine over at around 6:30 pm. I then drove along the verge of the field next door to toss all the wood in the back of the truck over the fence by the furnace. I managed to empty the bed and was pulling away and a branch from a dead shrub at the fence row was snagged on my mirror – it thwaped loose …

only to spring back and shatter the driver’s side mirror.
I got out and collected up the few pieces on the grass and then pulled the rest out of the frame. Unsure I had got all of the pieces however, I cut hard to the right and into the field to avoid running over any…

and got stuck in the mud.
Put after putting the truck in over-drive and some careful rocking, I managed to make a turn across the field back onto the verge and back into my drive way.

The truck was good the entire rest of the trip, into the city, even though we made three separate stops each for over an hour.

This afternoon, my wife had an appointment in town. Truck started as per usual and – so far- has gotten her to all the errands she was running.

I got a good writing session in this morning, with over 1600 word in the fifth novel ‘Backstabbers & Believers’. Finished up a section, connecting it to some previously written scenes. I can move forward now and an maybe even start allowing thought of the sixth novel to bubble. Okay – better not push it.

I also got the edited forward back from my editor, and after making one tiny change returned it. I think ARCs are coming soon (Advance Reader Copies).

Also, I got an email from a reviewer turned fan (in India) – I had mailed her a single page, cut to fit inside ‘Tomorrow Wendell’ and signed by me. She has received it and was grateful – that put a smile on my face.

So all in all things have worked out not too bad. Of course, this is me, and my life so I will admit it — I’m really half expecting the other show to drop. I hope it waits for a couple months (but no where near the Ad Astra Convention)