Thursday, May 22, 2014

Random latin quote for the day.

This comes from Claudian.

Armat spina rosas, mella tegunt apes.


Thorns arm the rose, bees conceal their honey. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Challenges and chances.

I wish I could report that my lack of posting was due to something fun. Unfortunately, I had been struggling over the last three months with depression. It seems that one of my medications stopped working properly and I wound up in the hospital for a bout a week as the good doctors and nurses sorted that out. I have been home for a few days busily trying to catch up on all the things that got missed or forgotten in that fog of depression. Writing pretty much anything was a struggle, let alone regularly blogging.

On my new medication regimen, I am feeling much better. I have had some ups and downs over the last few days but nothing like what it was before I went into the hospital. I am somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that I let slip by. Fortunately, Beloved has been totally awesome and caught things like the car insurance bill that I forgot while I was away. I am still trying not to over do it, but it is frustrating. A part of me wants to say that since I am no longer as horribly depressed, I obviously am well enough to jump right back into my usual routine.

I try that and then I come away exhausted, upset, and generally disheartened. FLYLady's methods have been helpful to me. I didn't realize how much I had moved away from using them during my more serious period of illness until I looked at my little journal and noticed that none of the appointments of the last two and a half months had been written in there. It rather shook me to see that. I am, however, recommitting myself to the program.

A strict bedtime has become a necessity. With my new medication regimen, I find that I need to be in bed by 9:30 or 9:45 at the latest or I have a very hard time waking up in the morning. The nurses at the hospital said that the side effects that cause such morning sluggishness will wear off as I acclimate to the new medicine I'm on. I am optimistic, however, that I will find myself able to go through life with less extreme ups and downs now because of it. The other antidepressants that I have been on are not typically prescribed for someone with bipolar (which is one diagnosis among many that I have now). This one, however, is one of the most frequently prescribed ones for people like me.

I have returned to reading some every day. During the hardest portion of my latest severe depressive episode, I had a hard time concentrating to read a paragraph, let alone a page. It may sound silly, but I missed reading books while I was ill. I knew that I was on the mend when I sat down and read the rather cheezy romance novel that was kicking around the hospital wing I was in and finished it in an afternoon. I was more then a little bit amused by the nurses' general expressions of shock.

I'm currently reading the first book in the Harry Potter series. I'm about halfway through it. I have come to the conclusion that the thing which would cure Draco Malfoy's snottiness would be a spanking and getting grounded. I'm told that this character becomes more tolerable as the series continues. I hope so, because I wouldn't want to start throwing books at the wall. I've seen two of the movies. I can say in all honesty, the movie portrayal that Alan Rickman did of Professor Snape is dead on target.

I have started work on my gardening projects for the spring/summer. While I'm not one hundred percent convinced that we're past the danger of frost, I still sowed some seed yesterday. I planted seeds for lettuce, nasturtium, a day lily variant, and a few other things that I can't recall right now. I have a box of shade seed mix to spread out front where there is a big barren spot beside the front steps. On the box, it says that it is good for places that get one to four hours of sunlight in the day. I think this particular spot gets one hour of sunlight, two at most.

My reclaimed firepit that is getting turned into a circular-ish bed is currently a bit stalled. I have some gardening fabric that I put down to block weeds. I need to cover it with soil before I can even begin to think about planting anything there. My plan is to put down the old soil from a few big pots over the fabric. I want to then put a layer of mulch over it before covering with fresh bagged soil. That spot gets a lot of sunlight.

I don't think a rose bush will do well in that spot because it doesn't get quite enough sun to call it full sun. I will, however, plant things like marigold, phlox, and a few other things that tolerate that kind of lighting. I have a tiny little shepherd's crook in the middle of the bed. My plan is to take a twig and make a little set of windchimes to hang there with the remains of two broken windchimes. If by some wild chance I can somehow afford that lantern styled stand for in the middle of that spot, I will replace the shepherd crook with that and make it into something of an outdoor little shrine for me to pray at while I garden.

I am picking up the non-fiction manuscript that I was working on in April. My goal is to finish it by the end of the summer. I think I can accomplish it within that time frame. Right now, I'm approximately a quarter of the way done. When I am finished writing the prose for the manuscript, I will be breaking out my art supplies to draw some illustrations for it. Because I don't want to go through the expense of color printing, I think they're going to be just basic black pen and ink.

When I'm not working on the non-fiction manuscript, I will be doing some background work on book three of the Umbrel Chronicles of Evandar. I wanted to have this book have more 'light' in it but true to the themes of the story-lines, the story just gets progressively darker. I felt badly about this at first but then I realized that it really was necessary within the larger story arc of the series. The first trilogy of the series talks about how the heroine of the series is orphaned and a failed attempt to restore her to her rightful place. The second trilogy talks about life under the rule of the usurper and how the heroine grows into womanhood as a Robin Hood-esque outlaw. While aware of her birthright, the heroine is more focused on the needs of the people around her and struggles with her identity, trying to determine as all young people do, just who she is.

The third trilogy is the first to really focus on the heroine's actions as an adult. This trio of books talks about how she embarks on a war to reclaim her throne, the sacrifices that are made to do so, and the actions of the gods in the characters' lives. After this comes the fourth trilogy that describes the remainder of this war, as well as the beginnings of a larger war between the gods. It ends with the heroine winning her victory and a suggestion that perhaps all shall be well, though dark things are brooding in the periphery that speaks of the next part of the series.

I haven't decided what I'm going to call that collection of books, because they will not take place within the kingdom of Evandar. I want to keep the suggestion of shadows, darkness, and nightfall in place. The greater story arc of the series, including the prequel trilogy that is named the Penumbral Chronicle of Evandar, speaks of a war between the gods. The god of evil, suffering, and sorrow seeks to reclaim the goddess of life as his own. In a previous time, the first great war happened and the demigods, who are children of the god of evil and the god of honor, storms, and good by the goddess of life, fought this war and dragged humanity into it. The forces of good triumphed over those of evil and the demigods of evil were banished in to the 'outer darkness' or 'the void' as some would call it. The god of evil was bound but his followers eventually found a way to remove those bindings.

With the removal of the bindings, the god of evil plotted how to bring down the god of good and reclaim the goddess of life. Thus, the events of the Penumbral Chronicle and the Umbrel Chronicles of Evandar have their foundation in the machinations of the god of evil. There is, however, hope that is embodied within the heroine of the Umbrel Chronicles, who is the last begotten child of the god of good, though even she doesn't fully comprehend what this means until the latter portion of the series unfolds. The second great war arises from the ashes of the heroine's war to reclaim her birthright.

Actions of those who supported the usurper, who is a follower of the god of evil, work to unleash the demigods who are the children of the god of evil. Then, the heroine must hold her kingdom together as her husband embarks in a divinely appointed quest to summon the reclusive demigods of good back into the world. That quest takes a heavy toll on the heros of that story but in the end, the succeed in bringing the good demigods back. Then the story of the war between the gods unfurls. It ends with the forces of good triumphing at a steep price, an almost Pyrrhic victory of sorts.

I have all of the books outlined in a notebook. There's 21 books in the series. And I have ideas for other stories to write within that world. At times, I get intimidated by the daunting task of writing these stories down. But then I realize that if I don't write them, nothing will come of them and I will still be left with the need to write them. Writing these books is less of a matter of trying to reach fame, though it'd be nice, and more of getting the story out of my head so that I can move on to other things.

As I am working on my non-fiction writing, I keep feeling the pull to write the fiction. I try to scratch that itch by writing in different genres. It make work for a temporary fix but I keep coming back to this truly epic story. I have been attempting to write this series for 20 years. I have a massive pile of notebooks of background material. I have sketchbooks with maps and similar details drawn out. For each thing I write down, three more reveal themselves as needing to be written. All of this stuff started out as a little story that I lived in my head as a child. So, in some manifestations, I have been working on this series for thirty years.

I honestly don't know if I'm going to manage to write it all down. It is, something, however, that I'm going to attempt to do over the years. Writing two books a year is a good start. Who knows, maybe somewhere I'll stumble onto an professional editor who will help me polish these things up and I'll get a publication contract or something.