Candy Crush and other forms of escapism

selective focus photography of jelly beans on jar

Photo by Graham Walker on Pexels.com

I am admitting to a few faults that stop my writing progress. One of them is the game “Candy Crush.” Yep, the one that is advertised on those streaming services.

I don’t even remember if it is a TV commercial too. I see it so often that I roll my eyes, but I still play the silly game.

I don’t know why it is so addictive.

My world is divided by before and after illness. Before my illness I escaped mainly through books. I read a lot of Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Isaac Asimov, and other fantasy and sci-fi authors. My parents received some first and second editions of Edgar Rice Burroughs, which is why I know he wrote at least one Western. It was really good and sometimes I wish I had stolen that book from my parents library before they sold everything.

After my illness, I had a period of time where I couldn’t read. I would read a sentence and seconds later I couldn’t remember what I read. I would sit on the word “the” for hours. It was then that my late-hubby, Otto Tune, introduced me to games like “Bejeweled.” That first year I would sit in front of the computer, looking at the jewels and losing every game.

Even though a normal person would think these games were time-wasters, I found that every day I got better and every day my mind started to make connections. While I was on some serious chemotherapy, my brain had lost several connections. It was amazing that I could speak. As I got better with “Bejeweled,” “Candy Crush,” and other games like them, by brain started recognizing patterns again.

I learned a very important concept. Reading is pattern recognition.

It took over a year before I could read again. It took another year before I could write anything that was comprehensible. It has been over fifteen years since I lost my life. I have built a new life because of the wisdom of my late-hubby.

When I rebuilt the connections to my brain, I found that the memories that were so vivid had lost the emotions connected to them. A lot of the emotional pain except for the deepest scars were gone. I wondered if I had lost the ability to feel.

Sadly I found out that I hadn’t. When my late-hubby died four years ago, I felt the greatest emotional pain that also hurt my physical form. When the pain became too great to bear, I turned to my little Foxy and to the games.

I’ve been told that escapism is bad. I actually don’t believe that. I think that when the emotions are too powerful, it is a blessing when we have something to distract us if only for a little while.

Escapism becomes bad when we lose ourselves and don’t come back.

In a few days I will celebrate the life of my late-hubby. On the 19th it will have been four years since his death. I can think of him now without wanting to escape the emotions. I think that is a win.

 

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Re-doing “She Called It, Wolf”

She called it wolf cover 2017 This year I wanted to release book two and a short novel in the EJ Hunter series. When I went back to look at “She Called It, Wolf” and I could tell it was a first novel. I wrote it in 2009 for Nanowrimo. I also was on some heavy chemo at the time so I couldn’t see the mistakes. Of course, it was a first novel. I did say that, right?

First I knew as I read the book that I had made a mistake in using third person. I completely changed it over to first person. It made the book more immediate and personal, which made me write description that fit with the characters.

I hadn’t understood when I first wrote this book how description can mirror the temperament of the character. It seems obvious now. When I wrote description before I had struggled with how to connect it with the story. I relate it to my own life. Sometimes I see rain and thunder as exhilarating and other times I see rain and thunder as depressing. Sometimes the rain will hit against the window and shake my apartment to the point that I wonder if someone is trying to get in. I know that it’s fanciful.

I had to do the same for my characters. Also I took this to a friend who had been an typist and editor in another lifetime. Even though I have an English degree and did very well–thank you very much– I still didn’t see my own mistakes. I lost “the” and “to” and misused other prepositions. Plus since I changed this from third person to first person, I was having problems changing “her” to “my.” Apparently, I read it the right way and left the wrong pronoun.

So thank you Doris Mace for looking through my manuscript and finding those little, but annoying errors.

The story has the same basic plot. What changed was that I was able to pull it together better. It is a more interesting read in my humble opinion.

Now I have to do the same for book two in this series. Editing seems to take longer than the first draft.  Plus I still have these mind glitches. Thank goodness for the help I have received with this one.

I’m hoping to have this out by October or earlier. Also crossing my fingers tightly because I want to get the other two on my list done by the end of the year.

 

So I had an interruption

I won’t get into the details, but this last week was incredibly stressful. The only hint I am going to give is that it was about money. So yea, incredibly stressful– but I don’t want to talk about what caused the stress. It will only make my mind roll and loop until all I can think of is how to fix an unfixable problem.

What I want to discuss is what I do to snap myself out of such loops and stresses. It isn’t easy because when I see a problem or an injustice, I want to fix it. If I can’t fix it, then I want to discipline. When I see a problem, that is the point where I try the cooperation thing. You know–talk to the company or representative. When I find that the person or thing is not interested in cooperation or even in a little give and take, I go immediately into the Viking mode.

There are folks here who know what I mean. I come from a family who are mostly Nordic and can claim berserker blood in their genes. The scientific world is seeing this as the MAO gene. At one point they thought that predominantly criminals would have this gene, which turned out to be false. Folks who have this gene spend a lot of their time learning ways to keep these impulses under control. To others who don’t have to deal with this emotional turmoil, it looks like the person who is controlling themselves are control freaks.

So what do I do when I reach the boiling point?

I used to have a stuffed bear that would fall to pieces when I threw it against a wall. It would make a satisfying thunk and then I would come to my senses. I would put the bear back together for another time when I the stress levels got too high. However, I learned this last few years in therapy that using violence to relieve those feels i.e. throw the bear or thump the pillow reinforces the violence. So I am trying a few new ways, which take daily practice.

Meditation:

When I practice meditation daily, it takes a lot more stress to reach the mind loops. When I am in a mind loop, I found that if I light a candle and just watch the flame for fifteen minutes that my mind will go quiet. It is a very useful tool when my mind has become unruly.

QiGong (or Tai chi):

This is also a daily practice that will quiet my mind. Once again it needs to be practiced daily. It gives the mind other grooves besides the one– of hurt and betrayal. When I focus on how my body moves, the mind doesn’t have time to ruminate.

Walk:

I go outside with the dog and walk around the property. When I begin to see the birds and rabbits, then I know that my mind is quieting. The dog is so joyful when we walk that I can’t stay stressed. Her tail wags back and forth and she walks purposefully. We travel at speed.

Recently, I was told that many of these techniques are called “grounding” in the mental health fields. I think of it as keeping my mind busy with something else so it stops making ruts in my mind. I have worked had to overcome many childhood problems–and I don’t want to fall back into the patterns of victim and betrayal.

Still when I get this stressed it takes days to get back into my peace. This time though I went for help. Considering that I have been a very independent woman and solved most of my problems myself or tried, this is a real break-through. It didn’t take months or years before I asked for help. I asked within days.

So now I am ready to write Unlicensed Sorceress. I now have some experiences that will enrich Hilda’s frustration with agencies. I wonder if she will solve her problems with her mind, magic, or sword?

Between the health issues

So if you have been on Facebook with me, you know that I have had a very sick little dog. This is the second time (a year apart) that she has had pancreatitis. This time I was very careful with her food choices. Next week I will be taking her to the vet so that we can talk about some treatment plans and labs for her. I would rather know that she is heading for an attack and do some preventive medication than to get surprised again.

It seems that we won’t be using peanut butter anymore to get those crushed pills down her throat. But that will be part of the treatment plan.

For me I am still working with asthma. I have found that if I forget my allergy pills and inhaler in the evening, I will wake up startled with my sinuses closed. I have a sleep study for next week as well. So again I have been shuttling between the dog’s doctor and my doctors. It is interesting that my doctors are worried about my hearing and balance. It turns out that my inner ear and assorted bits and pieces in my head are working fine. There is possibly a disconnect between my brain and my body– I could have told them that.

So near the end of the month, they will put me on a harness and have wild ride, while I try to walk on changing terrain– apparently it’s supposed to be fun. This could lead to more physical therapy– which doesn’t bother me much. I like physical therapy. Call me strange.

Most of this stuff is interfering with my writing– of course. To compensate in a creative way, I have been playing with my food– i.e. making new meals. It seems that I feel better when I change my diet to low carb, low protein, and higher fat. I used to feel nausea in the morning– now I don’t. Food is powerful medicine.

Also been experimenting with baking soda and Epsom salts for cleaning, since the asthma reared its ugly head. Also vinegar-water mix for windows. A quick hint. If the baking soda won’t pick up from the tile or linoleum, then pour vinegar on it. This causes a chemical reaction that makes the baking soda foam, which makes it easier to clean up.

I have done some editing again. I went back to re-edit, what I had edited. Sadly, it needed it. Also I am into the third story in the series– Hilda has to answer to the king’s mage service for being an “unlicensed sorceress.” Davi is keeping his heritage under wraps. Rooso– well he is a rogue.

Don’t be surprised if I break out in cross-stitch or even sewing. I have had a craving to sew lately. Just need a machine.

Summer days– ays–

So where is Surely?

dragonboy2016

“Slowly, but surely” was something my grandmother would say when we asked her when she was going to complete one of her projects. She liked to crochet and would make an afghan for each of her grandchildren when they graduated from high school.

One year she had three of us graduating in the same year. Later she said that she had cramps from all that crocheting. It was a relief that the next grandchild wouldn’t graduate in two years.

When she used that phrase, she usually meant that it would be between days and months before she had finished a project.

So in memory of my grandmother who died over a decade ago, I am using that phrase again. I am slowly, but surely editing and revamping Dragon Boy. The main structure story is strong, I just had a few problems with description and viewpoint. I had started with Hilda as the main character. She does have a major role, but the main character is actually Davi.

If you remember him, he was the dragon in human form who helped Michael reach Delhaven. Davi in this book finds his powers as a magical being. He finds the instability inherent in magical beings and he grows up.

Hilda does have a major role in his growth.

When I am finished with the edits, then it will be time for beta readers.

Yesterday while I was working on the edits, I finally saw the direction of the next book. The main character will be Hilda. Oh yes, and I have a title “Unlicensed Sorceress.”

For those of you who enjoyed “Hilda’s Inn,” I am planning on having “Dragon Boy” ready for beta readers at the end of the month. As soon as it gets out, I will be starting the next sequel.

Thank you all for the push to keep me writing.

The Quickening

At this time I am in the last quarter of Dark Moon Rising, the second EJ Hunter book. There were a lot of stops and starts for a couple of years on this book, however, all of a sudden this morning, while I was writing a thousand words, I started to see what was coming next.

The first draft will be done by next week. I have a third story in this series, but before I write it, I want to finish a small novella from the EJ Hunter world called Diamond Butterfly.

dragonboy2016 As for Dragon Boy, I have not started the second draft, which will pull the story together, discover the plot holes, and add descriptions.

I was lucky to find the image last week for the cover art. So here is the cover for Dragon Boy. The image was created “by Mel” and I am so fortunate that I can use it for my cover.

So this is the State of the Writer. Even with a cold and now I think it is extended because of allergies, I have continued writing. I want to have this story out this year.

My sincere gratitude to the excellent digital artists on the ‘net. Without them my covers would be a lot worse.

 

Unexpected Surprises

Joshua Tree, Boulder City, NV 1/29/2016

Joshua Tree, Boulder City, NV 1/29/2016

There is a small park just behind the post office in Boulder City, NV that is on the side of the hill. Since I was feeling a little restless, I put Foxy in her seat belt harness so that we could drive there.

In my twenties I would have walked to that park. It is a slice of green in an otherwise desert world.

So much to my surprise, I found an old Joshua tree in a small strip of land across from the park. It is bordered by three streets and houses. What makes this such a surprise is that it had to have been there for a very long time. In Nevada a resident is not allowed to move or transplant these trees.

The last time I saw a Joshua tree growing in a residential area was the small town of Goldfield, NV. The tree was right next to an old shanty. It was in much better shape than this tree.

I felt a kinship with this tree. I was also living in a small city and feeling the need to go somewhere else that wasn’t all houses. Boulder City is not necessarily a huge community, but it is outside of Las Vegas.

Since this tree can lay down roots and survive since 1931, maybe I can survive here, too.