Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SM Johnson ~ Thursday Morning Coffee ~ End of Exile

Good morning, darlings!

Well, it's that time of year again - the grueling month of November, which thousands of writers around the world look forward to and dread at the same time.

Perhaps you've heard of NaNoWriMo?

Oh yes, indeed, National Novel Writer's Month is almost upon us, the month in which a whole bunch of crazy writers attempt to capture 50,000 words of one novel in one month. It's a wonderful and somewhat daunting task... and yet it's only 1,167 words per day.

I had two thoughts in mind about NaNoWriMo this year - the first to write down the two short stories that have been flitting in and out of my head, each running probably 25,000 words or less... or to skip the NaNo thing entirely and give myself the month off.

But, grrr, I've been in exile on hiatus for so very, very long already, and not writing is not healthy for me, for the following reasons:

1. I get depressed
2. I get lazy
3. Winter is coming (refer back to reason #1)
4. What the hell is clanking around inside my dryer?
4. My stress levels soar out of control, which leads to
        a) skin problems, specifically eczema
        b) physical problems, specifically ulcers and decreased immunity to colds and flu
        c) relationship problems, specifically I am bitchy and impatient
5. Little things like socks on the living room floor piss me off to an irrational degree
6. What is that godawful noise coming from the dryer?
6. Insomnia. Because I tend to fall asleep working on whatever scene I'm planning to write next
7. Compassion Fatigue

(Wikipedia) Compassion fatigue (also known as a secondary traumatic stress disorder) is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is common among trauma victims and individuals that work directly with trauma victims. It was first diagnosed in nurses in the 1950s.[1] Sufferers can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, and a pervasive negative attitude. This can have detrimental effects on individuals, both professionally and personally, including a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus, and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self doubt.[2]

You see? Even though writing novels is a bitch as well as a total pain in the ass, I fool myself when I think I can live happily without this activity.

The fact is that I write because I can't not write. It's what I do. It's how I process, how I seek revenge, how I live alternate lives. Writing helps me to stop obsessing on the small irritations that are a part of daily life, the stuff that makes you crazy if you let it. And it helps me cope with some of the bigger stuff, too - like working on an inpatient locked psych unit, which is not always easy. Trust.

I have read a slew of awesome books during my hiatus (find reviews by SM Johnson on Goodreads and Amazon), but it's time to look forward to November and all that November will bring.

Like my mom moving into her new condo.

Like the first snow fall, which I can hardly stand to think about, but which comes on barely-noticed whisper-soft-slippered-feet so long as I'm deep into a NaNo novel.

Yeppers. Let's do that, k?

So all I have to figure out is what to write.

I have at least 50,000 words left to write on A Year of Sundays. If write it for NaNo, it's a slight breaking of the rules, which state one should write a brand new project. But I would write 50,000 new words, and I certainly wouldn't count the words prior to November in my NaNo word count. So I'd probably complete the first draft of the thing itself, which I could then feed to you, my readers, in weekly installments.

Or I could write a 3rd Dungeon book.

Above the Dungeon and Out of the Dungeon are both selling beyond my expectations, which, admittedly, are fairly low. I am thrilled beyond belief to sell one book per day, with a goal of selling 30 books per month. So far in October I have sold 120 books from Amazon alone, and 428 "sales" of the free short story My Fifteen Minutes.

This astounds me. I have been missing from the blogosphere and social networking for at least two months, and I'm still selling books.

So here's a huge THANK YOU to every reader who's purchased one or more of my books. I hope you loved them, and I'm sorry if you didn't, but you took a chance on me, and that is absolutely priceless.

And if you have an opinion about which book I should concentrate on in November -  Sundays (clean and sweet) or Dungeon (down and dirty) - go ahead and leave me a comment! It would thrill me to make a decision based on what readers want most.

Expect to see me blogging regularly again come November, and thanks for having coffee with me!

Have a great weekend, darlings.

PS - there were two pennies in the dryer. I know, just call me Sherlock.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Coffee, but not on Thursday ~ Hands

I wish I had beautiful hands.

Hands touch, soothe, excite, comfort. Hug and hold and type and jot thoughts down with a pen.

My husband's hands are rough and callused from all his hard work. Sometimes his fingerprints stand out in stark relief, marked with grease. They look strong and capable, and ever the more erotic against the smooth skin of my thigh or waist.

Ahh, but I digress.

A writer ought to have amazing hands, don't you think? Hands like this:

image from

image from

For most people hands just exist, down there at the end of their wrists, very convenient and helpful. I doubt they think about them all that much, until they get a sliver or a paper cut.

I have crone hands, and I am aware of them almost every minute of every day.

Not because they are ugly. If it were just ugliness, I could get a manicure and a sweet polish job like that glittery metallic purple.

I have eczema that currently manifests all stress into my hands, and so my hands hurt all the time.

My child grabs my hand to lead me somewhere, and I gasp in pain.

My husband holds my hand and brushes his thumb against my skin as a gesture of affection, and I hold my breath, wondering if I can pull my hand away from him without hurting his feelings.

I walk past a sink full of dishes two dozen times before I'll finally sigh and pull on heavy-duty purple rubber gloves to tackle the job. The gloves don't even help much - dry is good, but heat is still bad.

Shampoo - aargghh. Absolute torture, burning into my flesh like acid. I buy brands that aren't tested on animals, because the cruelty of animal testing is very real to me. I test it on myself every time. And it hurts.

I open and close doors with my elbows whenever possible.

The other night I tripped in my daughter's room and fell straight down onto my side, crashing to the floor like an old oak in the forest, the litter of toys on the floor causing bruises and abrasions to my right ankle, hip, flank, and shoulder. It didn't even occur to me to try to catch myself, because anything made of hard plastic with an edge would tear up my hands.

I wonder if a palm reader would get lost on an endless journey, following the lines of my palm?

I think I'm a little lost myself, today.