Birthday Presents

I’m really bad at birthday presents. I always have been. I remember an old school friend of mine used to give all of us $20 and a card for our birthdays. A few other friends used to tease him, but I was jealous. If only I could be that impervious to criticism, that willing to pick a standard present and never have to think about it again!

I’ve tried, over the years, to come up with cool, super appropriate presents that my dear friends will always treasure, but every time, I’ve felt like a failure. Perhaps my standards for success are too high, but there’s another problem and it goes much deeper.

I don’t like consumerism. I resent the whole system of birthday presents. I hate the obligation to come up with just the right ‘thing’ to add to the clutter of other random things that they feel obliged to keep, but don’t really want and hardly ever use.

I know. I’ve got exactly those kinds of things lying around my house.

So I’ve decided that from this day forward, I am going to join the ranks of radical non-present givers. I won’t buy you a present, I won’t donate money to random countries in your honor or give you a twenty dollar bill.

In celebration of the anniversary of your birth, I promise to:
Think of you with love
Give you my time
Attempt to bake / cook yummy food in your honor
Potentially draw you a picture (or write you a poem, or anything else fun and creative that fits in this box)

And when it rolls around to the anniversary of my birth (June 24th, in case you were wondering), please respect my wishes. Don’t add clutter to my home. Don’t spend money on ‘things’ I don’t need. Give me a hug. Tell me you love me, and maybe, make me something nice to eat.

That is all.

B

Meaning of life

Those of you who know me fairly well will be aware my Grandfather died recently. To me, he was calm, wiry humor, tight hugs and unquestioning support. Although I didn’t get to know him as well as I might have liked, I always admired him and wanted to make him proud.

I’ve always been a very driven person and losing someone close to me made me so much more aware, as I’m sure it does for most people, that you never know how much time you have. I get scared sometimes, thinking what if I die tomorrow? What if I’m just suddenly gone and I haven’t achieved anything worth remembering…

Lol. What if everyone hates me for never finishing my book series?

It’s taken me a while to process everything, but I realized that wanting to be remembered is silly. I mean, practically speaking, perhaps my friends and children might remember me, even my grandchildren, but given enough time and enough generations, everyone is forgotten… or turned into legends that bear no resemblance to the real people anyway (I doubt I’m legend material).

My grandfather’s life meant different things to the different people who’s lives he touched, but for my part, I’m proud to say he was my grandfather. He lived with integrity and courage. He loved my grandmother and all his children and grandchildren, and we loved him in return. I have no question that his life was full and complete and you know what? I think that’s enough.

So whether I live to twenty five or ninety five, if I’ve lived with integrity and love, the rest is just a bonus.

Thank you for being awesome Grandpa ❤

My first assignment

Dear Papa,

I’m not sure if you’re out there or if this message will ever reach you, but you said once that all I had to do was whisper to the stars and wherever you were, you’d hear me. It seems a bit fanciful for a Narian my age to believe children’s stories like that, but the truth is, I miss you. I can’t talk to Mikael about it. He still blames you for everything that happened.

We’re Junior Field Researchers on our first assignment now. The planet is called V107-G. It was claimed as an experimental world a few years after you… left. Mother set up the program here, her last job as a Field Lead before setting off to the uncharted territories with the exploratory research team.

The experimental conditions are fairly standard. We’re looking at social development in a human society with a gender-power imbalance. The techs provided us with a genetically altered sample which will block male humans ability to manipulate the ‘magic’ bubble around this planet. Within a couple of generations, there will be genetic mutations allowing males to use magic of course, but it will be interesting to track their progress.

I hacked the deity set-up protocol after mother left and changed the standard names to Mikael and mine. I know it’s silly, but I like hearing them pray to me and talk about me as if I’m watching. I swear it makes me more productive. I’d get so bored otherwise.

Did you ever study magic Papa? Even though it’s an official part of our experiment, I don’t really understand it. Why does physics break down in these bubbles, but nowhere else? When I heard we were going to work on this assignment, I tried to study up on magic, but the database is pretty sketchy on the subject. Don’t you think that’s strange? Why, after tens of thousands of cycles, has the Narian Collective not made a more complete study of the most mysterious phenomena in the Universe?

Ah well, I have a hundred cycles (at least) to ponder the matter. Wherever you are, I hope you’re well.

If you do get this message, please send something back. Even if it’s just small, it would mean so much to know you’re out there listening.

Love always,

Maat

*Maat’s journals are not official canon and are subject to change without notice (as I work out the finer details of my timeline). They will also turn up out of order. At some point, I hope to put them together in a collection as an eBook / physical book.

Hope you enjoy!

My first 100%

The progress bars seem to be helping! I got my first 100% today after going through all my major characters and working out what their story lines were all about. Each character was described in a single word (e.g. Tasya – Courage) and then a single sentence (A handmaid, suddenly crowned queen, finds the courage to lead her people). Then I wrote down where that character is at the beginning of the book, what the major turning points in their story are, what their ultimate challenge (or climax) is and how their story is resolved.

I’m hoping this road map will help me look at the overall plot of books two (and three) and have a much clearer idea of where I’m going.

Wish me luck!

– B

Renewed enthusiasm

Thanks to Woolfa’s awesome suggestion, I’ve put a progress bar up in the left corner of my side bar. It doesn’t tell you when I’ll be finished (as per my previous post) – but if you’re the sort to wonder what I’m up to (and if I’m actually doing anything on the book), you can see the goal I’m currently working toward and how far through I am.

This first one is to type up all my handwritten chapters (after my nearly month of productive hand writing). I’m improving them as I go, so this also an edit.

I’m having lots of fun and falling for my characters all over again, especially this new love interest for Tasya… 😉

Letting go of the pressure

I love how passionate many people are when they read my book. More often than not, I hear “Can’t wait for the next one,” which is such a huge compliment and makes me smile. I’m so grateful for everyone’s kindness and support.

Other times, people ask me, “When is the next one out?” which is essentially the same thing, but requires some sort of answer. I smile and say ‘some time next year’ while inside I cringe, just knowing I’m going to disappoint them. I go home and think about working on my book, but the arbitrary deadline I just made up looms over me like a black cloud. I get scared to start writing a scene, because it might be wrong and then I’ll have to scrap it and I will have wasted all that time. I don’t feel comfortable playing around with random unrelated characters or writing short stories, because they don’t directly add to the second book and might be judged as ‘distractions’ by this crowd in my head that’s campaigning for the next book to be finished… tomorrow.

Today I did a whole heap of tapping (EFT) with mum on that big black cloud and the crippling sense of pressure and once it was gone, I felt so free. I realized that I’m the only one making me feel this way. So now if anyone asks when the next book will be done, my answer is this – “When it’s ready.”

I hereby give myself permission to continue to love this world, be passionate about its characters (no matter how incidental) and write what I want to write. Half the point of being self published is the freedom to do things in your own way and in your own time. I choose to take full possession of that freedom and have fun!

Thank you all so much for your ongoing support. If the wait is feeling too long, make sure to check out all the action on my Chronicles of Tyria blog!

Love you lots,

B