Patron Blog #4: Moving Forward

This post coming to you from Starbucks, because my mom’s WiFi connection is almost nonexistant. There aren’t any tables available for recluses in the corner currently, so I’m at a long table in the center of the room, and be sure to wave at the kid next to me playing games on their phone who keeps periodically looking over my shoulder at what I’m doing. It was entertaining before I started writing, now it’s a bit nerve racking.
On My Relationship To America
Speaking of nerve wracking, Donald Trump won the presidency. I think we’re all stunned and unsure of how to process that. I’ve posted a couple of blog entries recently about the election, one about my response (calling Trump’s bluff), and another about the response of others toward me (in a word: bullying). If you haven’t seen Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live playing Hallelujah dressed as Hillary Clinton, you should. It’s a beautiful tribute to mourn the recent death of Cohen, and despite how tempted I am to make a joke about also mourning the death of America, I’m going to try and remain hopeful.
Hopeful that America can eventually grow up and join the rest of the world in accepting all people, and treating all people with equal rights. But the truth is, I’m honestly not interested in sticking around to help it happen. I don’t mean I intend to remain silent, or even that I refuse to be an activist, neither of those things are true. But it does mean that I want to leave. Genuinely.
Everyone has been making jokes about moving to Canada since before the election. It isn’t a joke for me. And it doesn’t have to be Canada. I’ve asked people in the Sloth Group if they might be willing to take me in, and so far I’ve had offers from people in Canada, England, Germany, and China. If I can figure out how the hell to get a passport and actually travel there, I’ll do it. I really will.
America has never been my country. I understand that plenty of Americans love this country and it’s values and want to stick around to help it through dark times. That’s great. But I’ve never felt any affinity toward America, except in the manner of “well, it could be worse,” but that’s what people in abusive relationships say to justify their abuser. The truth is, America has never shown me any promise for my future, only blockaded by future and that of the other non-straight, non-Christian, individuals within this country. I’ve watched as over and over again, America makes a fool of itself, and I’ve never felt anything but embarrassed to live here.
I’m not an American, not at heart. I’m glad to have my citizenship here because I know that if I had to live in certain other countries in the world, I would honestly not be able to handle it, and I would probably choose to die. But truthfully, I find countries like Canada and the UK to be much more appealing to me. I feel at home there, just based on what I’ve experienced through citizens of those countries and through their media. I would love to live in the UK.
I miss Robert and Zack. I don’t want to leave them here in this country and let them fend for themselves. Of course I don’t live with them now, so it’s not like I would be doing anything for them otherwise, but still, I can’t abandon this country when people I care about live here. When I say abandon here, I mean emotionally. I still would be happy to physically leave.
And that’s that. Maybe I can find some way to get out. I don’t know yet.
But for the time being I have to pick up the pieces of /my life.
Moving Forward
I spent a few days moping around after the election, and truthfully I’ve spent about a month now moping around at my mom’s house. No one has put a ton of pressure on me to get a job, but I know I’m running out of the grace period before people start asking questions. And besides, I need to have money to change my license and get my car transferred to South Carolina.
The first step is to find a job. I still haven’t started looking, but I plan to begin tonight. I’m going to set my sights on I.T. jobs or office work. My worst fear is that I’ll end up standing in front of a grill or a cash register at a restaurant or retail store. I’m sick of that, but I have no real experience anywhere else, and no college degree of any kind.
I need to work on getting started with college. But how can I even do that when I don’t know where I’ll be next year? I don’t want to be here, AT ALL. But I need to start somewhere. I don’t know how to begin. I don’t care if I have to go into debt for the rest of my life as long as I can just go to school now. I wish it were possible to live on campus and focus on school without needing to work. I don’t know if that can happen.
I’m going to put a wish out into the universe here: I’m going to keep working to try and be self-sufficient, but what I sincerely wish is that someone would give me a place to live and be safe while I go to college. A place where I could focus all of my energy on school and not need to worry about work. I don’t know if that can happen, but stranger things have happened in the history of the world.
I’ve learned that I’m just not really capable of taking care of myself. And I’m not saying that as an excuse, because I’m going to try and take care of myself for the time being. But the truth is, getting up and going to work everyday, paying my bills, being in charge of my own welfare, it’s just too much for me. I need to have personal autonomy but truthfully, I only know how to function when someone else is footing the bill. Does that make me a user? I feel like it’s to do with my mental health and my anxiety. Maybe one day I CAN be self sufficient, but the pressure is so much. Just getting up and getting through the day is often too much pressure to bear, much less being expected to be relied on to get up and go to work every day without fail, with no potential end.
My goal is to work from my computer, so I can travel wherever I like, and stay wherever I want, and keep writing. A writer is what I want to be. And if possible, a musician too. I just have to keep trying.
What To Expect From Me Soon
And on that note. I haven’t posted much on this Patreon account since I created it. It’s because I haven’t written much new stuff, or when I have decided to write it’s just been to write these Patron blogs. So far just about everything I’ve posted has been blog entries, and that’s fine, I love sharing those, but I do want to show some of the other things I’m capable of.
And in that spirit, I’m going to try setting up some scheduled posts. I think this week I may set something up to post every day. A lot of it will be pulled from my past writing, stuff that’s already available on my blog. But now that I’m working “monthly” through Patreon, rather than “via each post,” I don’t mind sharing so much stuff. I want to be able to create a broad picture of who I am as a writer, and share some of the stuff I’ve written in the past with you that I’m most proud of.
Except to see some essays, some past blog entries, and maybe some philosophical musings in the coming week.
I’ve also been working on music a bit since my mother’s house has a piano. The piano is unfortunately out of tune, so it’s sound suffers a lot because of that, but I have been playing it a lot nontheless. For years I’ve been making prospective track lists for an album or an EP, but currently I have about 11-12 songs that I need to work on, and get ready for recording, whenever I find a way to properly record some things. Stay posted for updates on that. I’ve been working on a new song recently, and reworking two older songs.
I’ve also been vlogging a bit more lately. I created a vlog (which I sometimes refer to as a “V Blog,” because that’s the way Imogen Heap did it and I was consciously emulating her) on my Youtube channel a year ago and it went almost entirely untouched while I lived in Delaware, but I’ve found now that I have more of a need to vlog and keep my thoughts in order. Currently I haven’t had a good enough WiFi connection to upload anything without it being corrupted during the upload, but I recorded two vlogs recently, one of which is very personal, in which I was crying and talking about how hopeless I felt. I’ll probably share that one on here for anyone who wants to see but keep it unlisted on Youtube. I also recorded another, much more optimistic vlog, in which I gave a tour of my mom’s house and the scenery surrounding it.
Speaking of which!
You may notice that my Patreon page has gotten a bit of a makeover. Previously I used a header image of my face pressed against glass in the style of Tori Amos’ From the Choirgirl Hotel album photos. I made those back in 2011 or so, and they’ve served me well, but I’ve needed some kind of new header image for a while. Right now I’m using a photo of my mother’s backyard, which is beautiful. I took a photo with my phone a week or two ago but the quality wasn’t good enough to be a header photo, and then I remembered that my sister happens to have a professional camera, so I used it to take some shots.
I also got a few of myself, but the bright blue sports shirt I was wearing looked very out of place so I took it off and most of the pictures I took were shirtless. So if you’re wondering why I’m standing around half naked on my mother’s back porch, that’s the reason.
Not that I wouldn’t love to frolic naked in the woods in any other circumstance.
I was also finally happy enough with a photo of myself to ask my friend Cherie for a personalized sketch , she does these from time to time within the group. Check her out on Facebook, and as a favor for me, if you’d like to ask her for a sketch, throw her a couple dollars as a gesture. If the $8 I received for my first month on Patreon is any indication, artists LOVE receiving pay for their work, it certainly gave me a feeling of legitimacy. It also helped me to believe that one day, if I keep working at it, I might be able to truly make a job out of writing. $8 is the starting point. If I apply myself, I can attract more readers and make a career out of being an artist. I may as well try, nothing else will make me truly happy, so why not?
And maybe one day I can live my dream of going around the country in a tour bus.
I’ve also gone through and labeled each post in the title with the type of post it will be, for instance blogs being with (Blog), and in the future you’ll see posts labeled with (Poetry), (Essay), (Review), (Chapter), (Video), (Music), etc.
Concerning My Novel
I can feel that it’s going to be time soon to finally begin writing my novel in earnest, and I want you guys to be a part of it. So far the Prologue and possibly the first chapter have been written, but I’ve decided to upload it all to a Google Doc, for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s very difficult to accidentally lose progress in Google Docs due to the file constantly saving it’s changes, and the second is that I no longer have a working copy of Microsoft Word. My plan is to share this Google Doc with you guys so that you can check in on the story or see it being written / revised live, if you so choose, though I will be posting updates here on Patreon. I’ll keep you posted with that.
So Basically
Stay tuned for a lot of exciting stuff coming from me in the near future, and particularly in this coming week, where I’m going to schedule some posts in advance. I’m also going to ask you guys as a personal favor to please comment on anything that you take the time to read, if you took the time to read it you actually kind of owe it to yourself to make your feelings known. Did that work? I read something similar once and it worked on me, but at any rate, regardless of what you choose to do, please know that comments mean a lot to me, and are very validating! I know that I haven’t been commenting much on the posts of those who support me, but I plan to change that soon and start leaving more comments.
Thank you so much for reading, and keep creating!

Patron Blog #3: Keep Creating

It’s been a little while.
I’ve been trying to write this post for about a week. And by trying, I mean psyching myself up to write it and then never doing it.
See, on an almost daily basis, I think about what I want to write, and then sometimes I actually get excited and decide that yes, I am in fact going to sit down and write that. And sometimes I even get things all set up: I clean the room, I get some tea, or coffee, or soda, and I sit down in front of the computer, I stretch and I’m ready to begin. I turn on some nice piano music to help me get into the mood to write. Everything is perfect, everything is ready.
And then I just don’t do it.
And it goes on for days and days.
And there’s so much I’ve wanted to talk about, so much I’ve wanted to tell you, so many new things I’ve wanted to create, but it’s all just been passing me by, as far as writing about it goes.
I’ve learned some things about what writing does for me. In the first place, it gives me hope. That rush of endorphins that you feel when you’re a child, and you get to go somewhere that you love, or play your favorite game, or see your favorite cousin? I don’t really feel that much as an adult, and the depression and anxiety see to it that I’m actively incapable of feeling it some of the time. The best I can usually hope for is quietude and maybe solemnity. Sometimes peace of mind. But rarely do I actually feel what you could call joy, hope, excitement, readiness for the future.
Writing does that. Well, actually, thinking about writing does that. Actually writing does it too, but I find that one thing that motivates me to keep moving throughout my day, and gives me a rush of hope, a feeling that I can have a life worth living, it’s the idea that I’m going to write. It’s funny, because I don’t think I really noticed it until recently. So often just THINKING about writing helps me feel better.
I constantly keep notes. It’s been going on for years. It used to be in an actual notebook, then it moved to the notes feature of my iPod, cell phone, anything that I could write in. I write down all the abstract ideas, the more the better, and I can choose later which ones to keep. This makes it incredibly difficult to organize them, and organizing my notes is a mammoth task that I’ve still been unable to completely accomplish.
I have mountains of ideas for blog posts, stories, my novel, everything. And sometimes I write in tiny pieces, things that a character might be saying, or I actually write a few paragraphs of a scene, and often times I have quick one-liner quotes pop into my head and I write them down even though I don’t know who is saying them or entirely why. I just write it all down.
Turning those notes, that coagulated, quivering mass of ideas, into a solid creature, is difficult. Because my notes are like my mind: they scamper from idea to idea, from music to fiction to autobiography, to religious observation, to book and movie reviews, to political opinions, and there’s so much happening that I don’t know where to begin.
So often times I just don’t.
The best place to start right now is to talk about what’s happening in my life. So here it is.
I’ve moved. I’ve talked about how I ended up where I am before, but put briefly, I’ve been jumping from home to home since I was a teenager. My mom has a penchant for kicking out children when she gets angry with them, she’s done it to myself, my brother, my cousin, anyone who she’s allowed to. And before she could legally put me out, she threatened to give up on me, to send me away to boarding school, to boot camp. As a teenager I laid my head on the pillow of my own bed or of a friend’s bed, and I didn’t know where I might be laying it tomorrow night.
The complete lack of anything resembling a home has had a deep impact on me, I think. My mother’s constant psychological, emotional, and on occasion physical abuse, has resulted in my becoming an adult who is mostly a quivering and terrified child, grasping for love or safety, and stumbling into a loud and overstimulating world with no safe place to hide, and no firm hand to keep me stable. I’ve lived with friends many times in my life, and at many ages.
After making me homeless and forcing me to live in a hotel room for a few days before moving in with my boyfriends at the time, my mother ultimately allowed me back into her house when that living situation didn’t work out. She was quick to remind me that she could pull the rug out from under me at any time, that if I didn’t watch my step, she could and would devastate my stability or my emotional fortitude. I was becoming desperate. I was running out of stamina. I wanted to die.
There was a day when I thought about how I might kill myself, I decided I might drive to a bridge, about half an hour from my family’s house, and jump. It was a beautiful scene, but the fall probably wouldn’t kill me and it would probably be painful. I thought about the bridge I used to live by when I was an early teenager, an old abandoned railroad trestle that rose high above the river. I wasn’t sure if the fall would kill me or if I’d drown.
Ultimately I did nothing, because I was just too exhausted to get out of bed. I was too tired to move. I didn’t want to move. I just wanted to sink into nothing, and be gone.
I told a friend.
I told a lot of friends, actually, and I think that every single patron I currently have are friends from a group of Amanda Palmer patrons, which we sometimes refer to as “the Sloth group.” The sloths are people who have saved me many times and in many ways. One sloth was Zack. I told Zack briefly about my mother, about how afraid I was of being kicked out, and how tired I was of living with her, and how broken and unstable I was. He told his husband Robert, and they offered to help me.
I’ve talked about this before. In a nutshell, they saved my life. They brought me into their home, which was four hundred miles from South Carolina. They gave me a room, and a bed, and clothes, and food, and medicine, and resources. But they also gave me a home, a family.
The thing that I never expected was that I started to go through a kind of emotional withdrawal syndrome, similar to when you come off of a drug like a narcotic and your body is unable to cope without it. It’s good for you to get off the drug, but it can sometimes nearly kill you to do it. I don’t know how I’d coped for so many years with my mother’s abuse, but I guess now that I was safe, my walls could come down, and when they did, it hurt. I found myself in an emotional meltdown every day or so, reduced to a sobbing mess on the floor, afraid, and broken. I just kept saying “Please don’t make me back there, please, I don’t ever want to go back.”
Zack would hold me and say “I promise, you won’t ever go back.” I was safe.
Over time these meltdowns became less frequent, until one day I suddenly realized I hadn’t had an emotional breakdown for maybe a month. And I also realized that maybe I’d been having breakdowns like that my entire life, and never known anything else, so I never found it odd. Now that I was safe and stable, and provided with love and support, and not constantly living in fear, not constantly being abused, I was capable of standing without cowering in fear.
I lived there for a year. A few months ago, when a particularly unpleasant job wasn’t working out, I decided to take one of my mother’s many offers to come and stay with her again, while I got on my feet, dealt with my Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, and started school. It’s not that I thought I could trust her, but it started to seem like anything would be preferable to working full time in a pawn shop in the bad part of town, sandwiched directly between the homeless shelter and the liquor store. I packed everything, had a tearful goodbye with Zack, and drove down, but immediately realized something was wrong. I knew I’d made a mistake. After a couple of days I asked if I could come back home and Robert and Zack allowed it.
I stayed for another few months. I wasn’t able to hold down a job. I’d promised Robert and Zack that no matter what, if my job didn’t work out, I would leave. Not because they wanted me to go, not because they didn’t trust me, but because I’d genuinely used up all their reserves of extra resources they could afford me. They’d accepted me into their family, but even in a family you have to pull your weight. You can have all the support you need, but you still have to contribute. I was trying, but I was failing, and whose to say what was at fault. It could have been my anxiety, or my depression, or it could have been that I just wasn’t able to try very hard anymore. For whatever reason, it wasn’t working out, and so, for now, I had to go.
It was very sad. We all cried. A lot. Zack took it especially hard. He and I have been pining after one another since the move like two lovers separated by an ocean.
My relationship with Zack and Robert is the only relationship, the ONLY one, in my entire life, in which I have ever felt completely secure. I don’t second guess my feelings, I don’t question our dynamic, I don’t feel that anyone is being lied to, and I don’t wonder if it will fall apart.
That being said, even though I know that I’m safe inside, because I will always have my true family, Zack and Robert, to support me, wherever I am, it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel shaken up being so far away from them, and even being here in particular, where I’m currently living, at my mother’s house. My sister is here, and she’s a good resource, but she’s also fifteen, and I lean on her a little, but I try not to do it too much. After all she has her own things to deal with; being fifteen isn’t easy for anyone, and especially not for her, she’s been through a lot in her life.
The first day I was sad. Deeply sad. I went to bed early, I pulled my mom’s dog into bed with me and held her tight, and cried, and fell asleep. The second day I was angry. I was so pissed off at everyone and everything. At myself, at my family, at this house, at life, even at Zack and Robert. I was mad at everything. And I just kept crying.
Today… I don’t know what I feel today. Just that I’m ready to write, and I’m ready to start moving forward now. I have to find out what the next step is. My mom has offered to help me find and pay for an apartment of my own. That is a very good first step. I’ll have to make sure that she’s obligated legally to keep her end of the bargain, because I can easily see her (and can virtually guarantee it) saying something along the lines of “If you don’t do what I say, or respond how I want you to, I will stop helping you pay for your apartment and you can find somewhere else to live.” It’s her way. She is not to be trusted.
Not that she hasn’t made an effort. Yesterday when I got so angry, I lashed out at her when she commented that I wasn’t going to be staying here permanently. I asked her, “Does that mean you’re going to kick me out as soon as you get mad at me?” She seemed genuinely shocked and asked, “Why would you say that?” This exchange happened over the phone, and when she came home she asked me to hug her, and said that she was shaken up by that, and that those kind of things were in the past and she wants to move forward, and that she just wanted to make sure I was alright.
They are pretty words, I know. They sound like something a loving mother would say. But when you’ve spent your entire life defensively protecting your emotions from her sporadic stabs, you learn that she is not an enemy to be bartered with, treated with, or given any ground on which to stand. Existing in the vicinity of my mother is a battle, and even if I wanted to lay down my arms, I cannot, and I would not.
The situation is far from perfect. But it isn’t the worst it could be, either. Thinking like that doesn’t usually help anything, if anything the “it could be worse” model is almost always used to shame people with anxiety for feeling anxiety, as though we have control over it, rather than having our brains ravaged by a disease. But, as it stands, it is as good a situation as can be managed with the given materials.
I don’t know where I will go. Right now, the best course of actions seems to be to find a job at which I know I’m suitable (meaning: not in restaurants or retail, and hopefully in an office, I’m thinking of trying a temp agency), and to find a reasonably affordable apartment. I have an acquaintance nearby who is also looking for a place to live, so it’s possible that we could be roommates. I don’t honestly know if he’s trustworthy or what it’s like to live with him, and I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but it’s at least worth talking to him and seeing what he needs.
I don’t plan to be here for long. If anything, I’d like to start saving money so I can move somewhere else, either back to Delaware to be near Robert and Zack and continue my life there, or to Michigan where another friend wants to help but is unable to just now.
So, that’s where life is for me, right now.
I haven’t posted much on this Patreon, and the reason for that is that I wasn’t sure WHAT to do with it. I started it with the intention of using this platform to write my novel, and I still plan to do that, but I’ve also found that I just want to use it as a sort of extension of my blog, where I know people are actually invested in reading what I have to say.
So for now, I’m going to just be posting whatever I’m writing: blogs, poetry, fiction, autobiography, reviews, and more. There are segments I want to try out. I want to try one which I’m tentatively calling “Spotlight” or maybe “Song of the Day,” where I pick a song, or an artist, or an album, or a television show, or a book, or ANYTHING I want, and just write about it as a prompt. Not necessarily a review, just a jumping off point to talk about the memories I have attached to the thing, and what I think about it, and maybe just go off on a wild tangent about something else entirely. I also want to write a book about my experiences with religion, and rail against Christianity, which has had a profoundly negative impact on my existence. I want to, of course, keep writing my fantasy novel, and maybe try out some other story ideas.
Right now my system is going to be to post whatever I’m writing about with a quick parenthetical notation in the title describing what it is (i.e. fiction, essay, poetry), and go from there. I’ve also changed the patron subscription from “per thing” to “per month.” I initially went with “per thing” because it was what I was used to seeing, but also because I didn’t know that “per month” was an option. It’s probably a much better idea because I’m not sure I like doing “paid posts” anyway, I never know which posts to charge for, and I feel pressure to create the KIND of post that seems like it deserves to be paid for. Ultimately I think that the “per month” model just works better for me, right now.
I also want to take a moment to apologize to some of you who may be following if I subscribed to your Patreon and then cancelled my pledge. This came about because I got very excited and decided I wanted to support all of my friends all at once, but quickly realized the amount I was pledging was more than the amount I was getting paid with Patreon, and I’m not sure what my income is going to be like while I’m in this process of relocating and reorganizing. Currently I’m still subscribed to a few people, and I’m sure that I’ll be back for those others for whom I had to cancel my subscription, but I just wanted to explain that in case maybe you thought I was fickle, or just decided I didn’t like your work. It’s probably a good idea for me not to putting out more than I’m taking in.
So that’s where I am. In South Carolina. I almost said “back in South Carolina,” but I’m not back anywhere. This is not the past, and I am moving forward. I have changed place in space, not in time.
I have to keep moving, I have to keep hoping, and I have to keep writing.
Keep creating.

Patron Blog #2: On Things

One of my friends says this should be my author photo. Honestly I needed an excuse to wear this shirt because it just looked so cute that I had to buy it

One of my friends says this should be my author photo. Honestly I needed an excuse to wear this shirt because it just looked so cute that I had to buy it

Hello everyone! The first thing I want to say is THANK YOU so much to those of you who are giving to the Patreon. It means more to me than you can imagine. I appreciate every single one of you. Currently we are at seven patrons, and $8 per thing with a goal of $20 per thing. Like I said before, I’m new to this, so I’m just trying all of this out to see how it works and to see if I can really be successful at creating art in exchange for money.

I haven’t said much since I made the Patreon last week, mostly because I felt that I didn’t really have enough content yet to actually go advertising my page. After all, plenty of other Patreons are loaded with art, webcomics, and short stories. What I wanted to do was to start writing my novel, and to make the first couple of chapters a “thing,” and release it to patrons.

But a funny thing happened. Firstly, even though I’ve felt inspired enough to write (and I’ve been reading Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, which is regarded as one of the great master works of modern fantasy), I actually haven’t sat down and written anything. This isn’t really anything new, I think every writer probably struggles with the discipline of making themselves sit down and get the writing done.

But today something really unexpected happened when I sat down to write on my blog. My intent was to write about how I came to live in Delaware, in an attempt to help myself sort out my feelings and come up with a plan for how to proceed next with life. I decided that a good place to start was with my breakup from my boyfriend two years ago, as that is when things started to change in my life. But I accidentally started writing about our entire relationship, from the beginning, and what was intended as a quick aside to set the scene for how we got together and then broke up, became an incredibly details account of our whole relationship together.

It’s not like our relationship was anything so unique that it’s a better story than anyone else’s relationship stories. But I kept writing, because I just wanted to get it all out, I wanted to explain my side of things, and (knowing that my ex-boyfriend is friends with me currently and might want to read what I wrote), I wanted to share my side with him and really apologize for all that I did wrong. I’ve had so much time to grow from the experience, and reflecting on it, I see a lot more mistakes than I realized I’d made before.

I wrote this really just for myself, but I just couldn’t stop writing, and after a couple of hours it was to 7,000 words, and then to nearly 10,000 words. I thought to myself, “Now if I can just write something fictional that’s that length and I can release it on Patreon.”

But then I thought wait. I really put my heart and soul into writing this, I think it’s an interesting story, and in examining myself and the relationships, I managed to talk about a lot of things that are important to me: anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, death, parents, relationships, polyamory and monogamy, physical and emotional abuse. I decided that maybe I SHOULD share this with you guys, as the very first “thing.”

It isn’t a novel and it isn’t music, but it is something I wrote from the heart. It’s autobiographical, and it’s substantive enough in length that I feel it constitutes it’s own piece of work. If my patrons were a group of mostly anonymous strangers who were only following my page because they wanted to read a fantasy novel, I would think twice about posting this as the first “thing,” but since all of you who are currently following me are my friends, who not only care about my life and my experiences but also enjoy discussing life experiences, and who are invested enough to care about the story, I’ve decided to share this with you all.

I promise I haven’t forgotten about the novel. I intend to start soon. I think I already know what’s going to happen next. But for the moment, this will be Thing number one. It’s an autobiographical account of my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, beginning when I was twenty years old and moving forward to when I was twenty-three. Like I said before there are descriptions of abuse, anxiety, death, and other possibly triggering subjects, so be prepared for that if you do decide to read.

I’m going to post the story as a patron-only post right after this one, it may take a few minutes to get the images in and have everything formatted properly.

Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for listening. Thank you for caring.

Patron Blog #1: Creation

(The following is cross-posted from Patreon. If you don’t know what Patreon is, basically it’s like an interactive Kickstarter, except that instead of funding one big project, you pledge a certain amount per creation, as much as you’d like to give, to support artists who are creating anything you can imagine. I’m trying this out as a way of gaining feedback and motivation to write my novel, and hopefully get a taste of what it’s like to actually make money for my art. I’m not trying to make a living on Patreon – not yet at least – but this is a great starting place for me. If you like what I write, or you like my music, or you just want to support me creating something in any way, you can become a patron and get access to a lot of neat stuff.)

patreon blog

I’ve always created stories.

As a child, the way I had fun was to wander around outside, on my own, using my imagination to create big adventures. My first inspiration was and continues to be video games, and I still remember when I was seven years old, running around the back yard with a stick in my hand that could be used either as a sword or a gun, whenever I needed it, and creating stories about my favorite video game characters.

The first game to ignite my imagination was Final Fantasy VII. I loved this game in a deep and profound way that can’t honestly be described. The music, the scenery, the vivid story hooked my attention and my imagination and never let go. I used to draw the characters on paper, then cut the pieces of paper out and use them as toys and have them battle. I would go outside and grab a stick, and sing the battle music and I executed turn-based combat all by myself, playing both the player character and the opponent, in what I’m sure was a hilarious sight to behold.

As I grew older I continued to play this way, and it’s the way I got out my creative energy. I never wrote down the stories that I made up, which started out as fanfiction, long before I knew that fanfiction existed, and even long before I knew that there were OTHER people who also loved Final Fantasy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Zelda and Mega Man the way I did. When I played with my toys, I created platformer video game style levels for them to hop around and pitted them against enemies in video game fashion. When I was thirteen, my method of play didn’t change, in fact it evolved. Now the stories I made up were a little more complex. There were villains with motivations, there were relationships between characters, and I even started to come up with stories that, even though they were heavily influenced by video games and television, were still my own.

At fifteen I continued to play this way by myself, only it was much more conspicuous to be seen waving a stick around and talking to yourself, especially with the emotion of someone acting a character on stage, so what I began to do was just go on long walks, and see the scenario in my mind, and speak the characters’ dialogue under my breath. When I was seventeen and started to enjoy listening to music, I would create dramatic music videos that often involved fight scenes between characters in the games I loved, or even my own characters.

I’m twenty six now, and I still come up with my stories this way. If I have an open space where no one can see me and a stick, I will indeed pick it up, use it as a sword, and engage in my own RPG style combat against imaginary enemies, create characters and soliloquize from the perspective of villains or protagonists. I also take copious notes and write a lot of scenes out of order, with the result being that many of those scenes no longer make sense in the stories the way they are now.

The first time I sat down to write one of my stories I was twelve. Well actually, technically the earliest story I can remember writing was a Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction when I was in second grade. My mother still has the paper. I also wrote one in third grade about James Bond, in the style of the Nintendo 64 game Goldeneye. But the first earnest attempt to write an actual book, a real cohesive story, was when I was twelve. It was a fantasy story, intended to be an epic in the style of Final Fantasy. The concept was that the story took place in a world which had once been devastated by a great flood akin to those in various religious mythologies (indeed, the first thing I sat down and wrote was a prologue that occurred during the Christian Biblical flood), and a certain demon who could take the form of a great leviathan had survived the flood, and was now out to kill a young man whose destiny it was to vanquish him.

Not the most novel idea, but I still say that it wasn’t bad for a twelve year old. I didn’t get very far with the story, but it stayed in my mind and continued to evolve. I created more characters as time went by, added subplots. The main character’s brother was killed in the opening scene, but when I started listening to My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade, I decided that he had faked his death to protect his brother. When I started listening to Queen, I added a scenario in which the main character was thrown into prison in a gladiatorial coliseum, and created a character named Dexter to help him out of the situation, and funnily enough Dexter actually survived and is now a character in the novel I’m writing. When I became interested in choral music I created a mournful scene in which Dexter lamented the death of his lover (no longer a part of Dexter’s character in the new novel, by the way).

All of this played out in my head, very little was written down. And this is the way my stories have always been. Pages and pages of dialogue are improvised by me and most of the time I never write any of it down. It’s still the way I’m most comfortable writing, although now I’ve learned to either record myself speaking, or take notes as I’m talking.

Every idea spirals into a series of ideas, and eventually they start connecting to one another, and then there’s an entire story, complete with subplots and character arcs and relationships… but it’s all in my head. I speak the characters lines when I’m in the shower, when I fall into depression and I feel lonely I play a scene in my mind of two of my characters cuddling and falling asleep. These stories are a part of me, and they go with me wherever I go. These characters exist. And I want other people to see them.

Music is probably an important part of everyone’s life, in one way or another. But the funny thing is, I actually hated music (that is, pop/rock music, anything you might hear on the radio or on a CD) until I was a teenager. My mother actually commented to me how weird it was that I didn’t like music, and I did ultimately start getting CD’s (the first one was In The Zone by Britney Spears, the second war The Very Best of Cher), but I hadn’t developed any kind of passion for music yet. But over time I realized: I DID have a passion for music and I always had, it’s just that it was all video game music. Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, and theme songs to television shows, I LOVED that music.

I started learning to play piano when I was sixteen, because I wanted to learn how to play a song I really liked (it was Axel F from Beverly Hills Cop, as remixed by Crazy Frog). My chorus teacher taught me to play the song and I instantly wanted to learn to play others. The second thing I learned were the opening chords to Roxanne by The Police (simply because that was the nearest songbook on hand in the chorus room), and then of course one day I realized that Final Fantasy songs could be played on piano, so I brought him the sheet music to one of my favorites, the Final Fantasy VII battle theme, and watched him play it. I was amazed. I was really, truly hearing the music, in real life, coming out of a real instrument.

From that point there was no turning back. Video game music was why I learned to play piano, and as I grew up and discovered Tori Amos, Amanda Palmer, Imogen Heap, Amy Lee and other artists who use the piano to communicate their music, I learned to play their songs, and I learn more about how to play every time I play one of their songs.

And that’s the thing. I’ve always thought that I couldn’t be a writer or a musician because most of my ideas aren’t entirely original, they’re borrowed. I borrow my story ideas from Final Fantasy and Breath of Fire and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, I borrow my musical structure from Evanescence and Tori Amos. I’ve always thought to myself, “Well yeah I like to play music and write, but no one would pay for it, I can’t actually be a real artist, because everyone will see right through it to the sources from which I pulled.”

But I didn’t realize that everyone pulls from everyone else. No ideas are entirely new, and in fact most of the best stories are retelling of mythological stories and campfire adventures, with characters who are archetypes. Some of the best musical pieces in history are variations on themes from earlier times. Good artists create using borrowed ideas as well as their own ideas, and what comes out is something unique that no one else can create in exactly the same way as that artist created it.

Everyone’s voice is unique. Their vocal ability, the playing of their instrument, and the way they write their poetry and their stories, it’s unique to them. Neil Gaiman says, “Tell your story in the way that only you can tell it.” Every artist fights against directly copying their inspirations, and it’s terrifying to see something you’ve created and know that a part of it’s skeleton is borrowed from another artist. The bones holding together my stories come from more places than just my own imagination, and the chord used to keep my songs going don’t come from my mind alone.

But that’s okay.

What’s important is that the creation happens. What’s important is the warm, beaming pride I feel when I look at the screen and see the words that came from me. Their origins may have come from other places, the ideas and the concepts might have been borrowed, but those ideas were churned through my mind and I created something that only I can create. Sometimes it’s better than other times. That’s okay. Kesha says “You have to give yourself permission to suck.” And it’s true. No one becomes a great writer by starting out writing something brilliant, and no one becomes a great musician by composing their master work on day one. But the important thing is to KEEP CREATING.

So that’s why I’m here. I’m here to create. I’m here to write the novel that’s been growing and living inside of me. I’m here to write the songs that I sing to myself, and to recite the lyrics that I hurriedly copy down on sheets of papers, sticky notes, and the notepad of whatever device I’m holding.

I want to share it with you, and I want to know that you hear me. I want to hear your ideas about what I’m creating, I want to know what you think.

Everyone is going to die. Most of us are afraid of that. I certainly am. But it helps me to know that I can create something that will be here after I’m gone, a record of my thoughts. A story that talks about the things that are important to me. Characters who address the things I’m afraid of, the things I long for, the things I wish were true, and the things I hope will become true.

There is much work to be done. There are more details to go into and more specifics to explain. But this is where it begins.

The simple explanation is: I’m writing a fantasy novel. I write poetry, I write fiction, I want to write a nonfiction book about my experience with religion and maybe even an autobiographical book of stories from my life. I play piano. I sing. I write songs.

This is the first step.

If I keep going, I might be a real artist one day. Someone who wakes up in the morning and does what they love.

That is my dream. That is my wish, and my goal.

Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for listening.

Let’s get started.