In bed, warm and happy, before the Sun has risen and it’s my day off. Gabe’s asleep next to me. There’s a cat walking around and occasionally kneading bread on my stomach or legs. The dog is in his crate, quietly gnawing his bone from time to time. The fan is going and it’s nice and cool in the room; i need little more than underwear and a t-shirt on to be comfortable. I can just barely see silhouettes of trees backed by the slowly- rising Sun through the blinds. My stomach growls, but it’s alright because there’s food and coffee right outside my door in the kitchen. Soon I will get up and do my morning pages, drink my apple cider vinegar, exercise, take meds and get on with what is sure to be…no, what I will craft into a good day, but for now: a bit more rest.
This is just gonna be a little journal post because good gods the adventures I’ve had today…
I needed to get my tag renewed like…two days ago, ok? So that’s already a stressor. I drove the 40 minutes to the tax office yesterday, SURPRISE FOOL it’s a holiday and I forgot.
Bringing us to today.
I’m sick but I still have to work, so I’m a little cloudy in the head from the cold medicine (this post not sponsored by Day-Quil), and work rather floated by. I get my ass to the tax office again, today, and I fuckin GET THERE and it’s SCARY because UNFAMILIAR LOCATION and it’s my turn and I can’t get a tag because I don’t have my emissions done.
I forgot that was a thing.
So I drove over to the emissions place, but it was cash only, and by then I needed to pee really bad so I said “heck it” and went home. I go to get my emissions at a nearby car wash (a place I’ve never been before, thus I was unfamiliar with their business customs because NEW PLACE), and had to be instructed by the (very patient) attendant on how to get my car going through the wash. Tips such as: “you need to put your window up” were delivered unto me by this very kind and good car wash attendant so away I went through the wash!
Car washes are a little scary.
And out I come on the other side…and no emissions test has happened. There is no sign instructing me to “Drive here to get that inspection test, son!” Nothing. I confusedly pull into a parking spot and avail myself of the free vacuum, hardcore thinking about just dejectedly driving away. However, I decided against eating the $15 I had just paid, and walked over to some car wash employees, asking about my sought-after emissions test.
The test got done, and for the first time in my FUCKING life, I have to get shit fixed on my car before I can pass my emissions test. For fuck’s sucking sake.
I am taking the rest of the night off, these flippin’ adult problems can wait ’till tomorrow. I need a break.
There once was a site I was quite involved in, called GaiaOnline (originally called GoGaia). It was a forum-based role-play/dress-up site basically, with cute anime-styled avatars and, as the years went on, an absolutely OVERWHELMING selection of clothing items, skins, accessories, backgrounds, wigs, eyes, companions…SO many things you could slap on your avatar to customize it. There were discussions in the forums about every topic imaginable, word games to play with other users, mini-games elsewhere on the site, shops for the aforementioned items, and as mentioned before, the role-playing.
I fell out of the active userbase around when I started reading the webcomic Homestuck (and boy, the degree to which Homestuck affected my life is a story for another time), but there is one particular forum thread I miss, and I think about it now and again with some real nostalgia: a little thread called simply, The Battledome.
The Battledome was a thread tucked away in the Chatterbox forum I believe. Chatterbox was reserved for simple word games and casual role-play, or for people to just heck around with forum formatting. I feel like back in those days, in Chatterbox, were my first experiences with what now gets called “shitposting” on tumblr. I digress…
In the Battledome thread, your avatar was your character. There was a dice-rolling widget, and you posted after someone else, rolled the dice, and the result guided you in writing a combat scenario between your character and the one above you. Although this was indeed more “casual” role-playing than other threads found elsewhere on the site, I had so much fun with this. It was nothing but creativity on the fly, and the fights ranged from funny, to brutal, to creepy or heart-wrenching. Most of the characters were pretty well-developed, too. Plus you could have fun changing your avatar around to come up with different characters and thus get to write different scenarios whenever you liked. In fact, the protagonist of my novel Gutter Wine, Vincio Scavola, was born in the Battledome, purely from the item shops on the site having these mafia hitman-esque items that struck my fancy.
I’ve always found ridiculous fight scenes to be a lot of fun, and I had such a good time on this thread, playing Vincio as well as the handful of other characters I came up with (a naga swordsman, a murderous animate marble statue, a character inspired by the Danger Days album named Johnny Killjoy, god the list goes on…). I would love having that experience again, but my life is too full of other things to allow for the kind of immersion I had in GaiaOnline. Plus, apparently inflation has been an ongoing issue with regards to the site’s in-world currency, so the effort to get my avatar all fixed up nice would be MASSIVE.
I spent actual, real-world money on some of my items, and as I no longer have access to the account, it’s just not worth as much to me. But I will be forever thankful to that little thread for providing me with so much inspiration, so much writing practice, and so much fun. But I hope that The Battledome is still a thing, and that maybe some of the characters Vincio got to know are still beating the shit out of each other in there.
I’m wrapping up week one of my Artist’s Way journey and I’m having a really rewarding time so far. Yes, it’s hard to get up and do these GOSH DANG “Morning Pages”, and I have fallen behind on them a few times, yes, but I remain undeterred. I’m committed to the course, to the curriculum, to the process, and I retain determination that I can see this through to the end.
I don’t think y’all know this (eh, my close friends might), but earlier this year I got out of a toxic relationship (that had turned scarily abusive), and I’ve been in the process of recovering from that. Some of what went with me on my way out of that awful situation was “There’s no point in pursuing what nourishes me creatively; I won’t be able to make a living with it so why bother? I’m just not going to make it etc. etc. so on and so forth”. Thankfully, upon my exit from that stage of my life, I was met with enough love and support that I was able to begin the long process of rebuilding myself. On an outing to the beautiful Phoenix and Dragon bookstore with my fiancee and one of our friends, I came across “The Artist’s Way”, a book I’d heard mentioned by one of the YouTubers I follow (I heard it on Game Grumps, to be specific), and I had made a mental note to check it out; now was the time. I briefly flipped through it in the shop and it left clutched securely in my claws. I know I can live a creatively fulfilled life, and I also know this book is going to help me get there.
As I said, I’m only here at the end of Week One, but this process has already began to work on me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to fully support myself by way of my creativity, but what I DO know is this: I am an artist, I am here to create, and that is what I am going to do.
I’ve been wondering when I should start “actually blogging” here and not just posting poetry. Also as the weeks have gone by, I’ve been keeping myself from starting as no topic I’ve thought of has been “good enough”. As the creation of this blog represents a beginning of sorts for me, it makes sense to start the personal posts with another personal beginning: On the Saturday of Dragon*Con, 2016, my boyfriend of one year asked me to marry him. We were outside in our Gravity Falls cosplay (he was Bill, I was Dipper), watching the Dragon*Con parade go by with our friend Cody (they were a casual Tracer from Overwatch), when he gently took me aside and I KNEW it was coming I KNEW this was it.
And it was. He presented me with a beautiful ring (a silver tree branch with an opal, perfection) and asked me to marry him and I said yes. I’m actually really glad he didn’t go down on one knee, as this would have prompted the people around us to simultaneously lose their flippin’ minds, and I didn’t want that. I wanted his proposal to just be our moment, and it was. No need getting massive amounts of people involved; I may be poly but it’s him I want to marry.
I asked him, “Okay, knowing everything you know about me…are you super sure?” and he said he was. Also Cody knew ahead of time and was filming the moment as it happened. I’m so glad it was recorded.
I love him so much and I can’t wait to be his spouse.