January 11th, 2016

avatar, shava suntzu, secondlife

Hello again!

It has been forever since I picked up lj, and ive decided I need to do this for my own sanity, lol. Every other form of social media has been taken over by the persona of my second career as a writer -- which is incredibly paradoxical, since I went into this naively thinking that I was finally just getting to write for myself, but of course not, because I am still writing for advocacy and I am as of a couple months ago writing for money again.

And then, this week, my success rather overwhelmed me, and I decided I needed a third place to hide my somewhat abraded introverted soul.

In September, I was fucking depressed.  In January 2015, Joseph and I agreed that my householding days were over, and he whisked me away from nine years living with Fish and 40 years of living as an independent adult, to living in a cedar closet, a tiny illegal room in his common house in Medford.  I had no income, very little mobility, my health care got totally bolluxed up due to the move, and the snow set in.  I have to say, it was a low point -- my physical and mental health condition was declining all through the year. 

I applied for SSDI in February, and was approved as 100% disabled in five months, which is something of a land speed record for Social Security, dealing with "invisible disabilities." However they also decided I had spent too long between leaving Tor taking care of my mom hoping to heal up, and applying -- so everything I paid into the system?  Bupkis. I'm ineligible. I'm appealing.  That will take years, if it produces anything.

They had me on two kinds of painkillers by the time we moved to larger (for me) quarters in September.  Room for more than a futon folded in half, a tiny desk, and an upright dresser, with no more than 18" clearances around. It was like living in a ship cabin for 9 months, under eaves.  I could breathe in the new room!  It has two windows!  It has a closet, rather than being a closet!  It has a lovely ceiling fan.  A prior tenant had left a desk armoir, and a desk, and a bedside table.  I got a cheap wire frame platform for my futon so it would be off the floor (Joseph had declared my wooden couch frame "not worth moving," and I believe thrown it off the second floor porch to shatter rather gleefully).

But the meds made me sleepy, stupid, and unmotivated.  I wasn't writing, I was sleeping often 18+ hours a day.  People talk about having no life.  This is the raw fact. 

I decided, and spoke with Joseph about it, that I would taper off the pain meds.  There's a very high pain threshold in our family -- Joseph has it too, and it both helped him and got him into trouble in the Army, but it will probably serve him well to learn it early.  For me, it was running and coaching cross country, and intensive yoga and modern dance.  But as my head cleared, I made it a discipline to write more and more daily, especially on Quora, which is a perfect hog-heaven of writing prompts, not to mention intellectual "someone is wrong on the internet" dopamine.

"In a year or so," I thought, "perhaps I could get Top Writer on Quora, you know, 2017, after I've been at it a while."  After all, I know a lot about a variety of topics, my writing is literally professional grade from a career of advocacy and sales and media work, and even accounting for downtime from illness, slow processing speed, and losing words and concepts and having to fall back on Google, I still have more time, net, than most.

Well, it was still early fall when several Top Writers took notice of my work, and this past week I was named one of the one hundred Top Writers on Quora, 2016.  This comes with an embroidered messenger bag, a year of NYTimes digital (nice!), and a lot of community attention.

We seem to be expected to answer dozens of questions regarding who we are, how we started writing, what our desks look like (?), who our favorite authors are.  It is nice, but it's not even like we published a book or are getting paid, guys… But I am trying to gently find excuses to plug my Patreon page (shameless plug: http://patreon.com/shava23) which so far has produced nothing out of this hubbub.

Still, Quora has been my workplace, my watercooler, and a reason to wake up for months, along with G+.  Quora syndicated a piece I wrote to Business Insider, where it attracted the attention of a young social media consultant and documentarian in South Africa, who's coming to Boston in July to film me, and wants to help promote my writing.  Not sure how good he is, but I can't fault his enthusiasm.  I keep having to convince him of what I can no longer do, because he wants to focus on past performance, it's tiring. 

I expect I will be at Arisia, but commuting.  I was going to be crashing optionally with Larry and Tasha, but Larry told me this morning they are not coming this year.  But I'm usually short on spoons by evenings anyway and my own bed is attractive and Prospect Hill is so much closer than Salem.

And my new years resolution this year is to try to be less of a hermit, despite spoons, health, and no budget.  So if you feel inclined, one of the things that means is to not be shy to invite yourself to tea.  Visiting shut ins used to be a thing; I declare myself qualified. 

I literally have left my front door perhaps twice this past month other than doctor appointments, and will have to do things to my medical regimen my doctors would disapprove of to get through however much of Arisia I manage -- after which I will pay for it for a week-ish.  It's not fishing for sympathy, it is what it is.  Consensus seems to be that it beats the alternatives, but I find this based on questionably verifiable data.  Still, Joseph insists he wants me around and I have work yet to do, so I am not off the hook. ;)