Suffocation

In the wake of Chris Cornell’s apparent suicide, mostly everyone in my various writer-ly (totally a word) has been talking about their experiences with depression. Though there are a lot of commonalities, most of us tend to have experienced it differently. Yes, there’s the whole “lack of energy/motivation” and the whole “my brain won’t stop yelling at me” thing. However, the black dog is something I have fought off and on for years and my experience is only faintly similar to what I’ve read from Kate Paulk among others (whose links I cannot find).

She talks about how she externalizes her depression to make it seem as if the ideas that it shouts come from elsewhere. For me, though, it’s different. I know they come from my own brain. I just happen to realize they’re from the incredibly stupid and selfish part of my brain and I have gotten rather good at ignoring them. So, no worries that I’m going to do anything stupid. I’ve witnessed first-hand what that does to the people who outlive the deceased and there is no way in hell I’d do that to anyone.

No, for me, the worst bits are the physical parts. There are days where it takes all the energy I can muster just to sit up. Moving hurts. Nothing is interesting. Nothing can capture my attention or my imagination. Every step, every thought feels as if I am struggling to swim through syrup. All I want to do on days like that is stay curled up in my bed and daydream or sleep.

But, I generally force myself to get up and get moving. Yes, it’s going to hurt like a wicked bitch. However, eventually I grow somewhat detached from the pain and can mask it or ignore it well enough to do whatever I need to do that day. Days like that generally find me tearing through fanfics, spending hours at Khan Academy, editing my older works, or binge-watching Marvel movies until I feel the pressure fading enough that I can breathe easily. I can honestly say that The Avengers, Dr. Strange, and Loki have helped me keep it together long enough to wrest control of my body back from that damned dog. A few times I’ve considered sending everyone involved in those films a fruit basket or something but I’m sure they all have better things to do than deal with that so I have managed to refrain from it. Being broke also helps a bit, there. 😉

I suppose it also helps that I’ve made peace with my demons and the skeletons in my closet. I’ve also gained considerable control over my emotions to the point where neutrality is my default state. I may experience mild moments of amusement, exasperation, irritation, or joy over the course of any given day but, for the most part, my neutrality protects me. It’s a nice, thick shield that keeps that damned dog from laying down on my chest and suffocating me. Without my control, I don’t think I would have made it this far. I just wish I had learned it sooner. It’s helped me pinpoint when I’m about to enter a flat spin and spiral downwards until I crash and enabled me to stave it off by distracting myself from whatever emotion is about to blindside me. That’s partly why I have gained some little mastery over higher mathematics, why I’m working on understanding dimensional mathematics, why I know so damned much about physics, astronomy, cosmology, criminology, abnormal psychology, anthropology, the behavior of crowds, nuclear physics, history, literature, and why I can speak so many languages. I do these things to distract myself from overwhelming emotions, to give them no chance to knock me off my feet and drag me under their currents.

It’s how I survive and it beats the hell out of my adolescent survival trick of simply dissociating and running on auto-pilot.

Yes, I struggle with depression still. However, I have managed to reach a stage of reasonable contentment and tranquility. I know that the happiness that most others experience will probably never be something I can share. I know the sacrifices I have had to make to stay (relatively) sane and functional. I know that my circadian rhythm is screwed up beyond any real hope of repair. I accept these things. This is simply how life is for me. There’s a certain loveliness in the shades of grey that too frequently surround me and they make those brief splashes of color all the more beautiful and precious.

It is a bit odd that so many of writers are broken and bent like this. I don’t know if it’s something that our brains require of us so we can write or if we can write because our brains are this screwed up. That will be something to ponder, I suppose, the next time I need a good distraction. 🙂

— G.K.

PS — If you are undergoing acute depression or have unmanaged chronic depression or ever feel suicidal, please, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) or the Samaritans at (212) 673-3000. Whoever you are, where ever you are, you have something left to do and you need to figure out what it is.

Inosculation Updated!

Inosculation Updated!

Holy crap on a cracker — three posts in one week? I know, right?

So, I’ve dusted off my old serials and started working on my Voyager fanfic Inosculation. I posted two new chapters this week and will be adding one every Friday from now on. My current original work — Book One of Cycle of the Eternals — is progressing well and I occassionally need a break from it so I either work on something completely silly that I may eventually post or I work on Inosculation.

Anyway, enjoy! Two chapters for you!

May Cthulhu bless you with his noodle-ly tentacleness from his house in R’lyeh where he lays dreaming!

— G.K.

Oh Really?

Oh Really?

Before we start: not all people living along the Coasts are jerks. Quite a few of you are awesome. You may not always agree with people out in Flyover but at least you’ve shown that you can shut up and listen. You don’t spend months lecturing us like we’re children and then turn around and try to act like you’re our patron saints. None of this is directed at those of you who get it. It’s directed at morons who can’t and won’t get it and who, in a few days, will be right back down to calling my lesbian sister a Literal Hitler because she voted for Trump.

Sorry, sometimes people post stuff on Facebook and I know that they mean well but it makes me want to hold AT&T to their old promise with a twist — instead of reaching out to touch someone, GK wants to reach out and smack a bitch.

Recently a few writers have been pointing out that poor whites in Appalachia and other places in Flyover Country have been getting a raw deal and no one cares. This is not news to any of us who have lived here. This is simply the normal state of affairs. Urbanites on the Coasts think we’re terrible, awful, horrible, evil, ignorant people and they feel oh-so-sorry for us because they’re so enlightened and if we’d just let them run our lives for us, they could create a Utopia tomorrow.

We generally roll our eyes, ignore them, and go on with our lives.

We’re pretty used to getting taken advantage of out here and skin color has fuck-all to do with it. Out of town companies come in, start stripping out natural resources, hire a few locals at low wages because the cost of living is low and the choice is “work for crap” or “be unemployed.” Naturally, the more ambitious of us opt to work for crap. We’re also all pretty decent at mathematics so we know that the trope of taking the CEO’s pay and dividing it amongst all the workers would result in, on average, maybe $50 a year more. Take the entire company’s profit and divvy it up and we get maybe an additional $200 a year. Of course, do either of those things and the company goes tits up but we also are smart enough to reason our way to that.

Want to know what keeps us down? Bullshit. That’s the answer. Elitist Bullshit. It’s gotten a lot harder to start your own business and run it out of your home until you make enough money to get an office. Why? Because you have to get a license, a permit, and insurance for everything because the elites on the Coasts have decided that we must be protected from everything and we get to pay for the privilege of that protection. Want to be a hair stylist? You have to go to school and get a license to do that. Want to open a car repair shop? Permit needed! Want to mow lawns or do landscaping? Permit required. Want to start a driving service for elderly folks? Yep, you gotta get a permit for that and hope like hell that you can avoid competing against the taxi services. Hell, if you want to do computer repairs, build websites, or do online marketing it’s getting to where you may need to be licensed to do them.

There’s also the fact that there are virtually no resources for helping people out here start small businesses. And, if you do start one, you lose any benefits you’ve been getting for being unemployed. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t making enough money the first few months to pay your bills — you’re working so no help for you! Oh, sure, you can get a loan but you have to have collateral and you have to be able to pay it back (with interest). If you fail, you’re pretty much screwed for life unless you come from a rich family.

Other things that keep us down are the crap over our flags and our history. Look, for Mississippi, changing the state flag is going to cost tens of millions of dollars. We would much rather that the tax dollars that would be used for that be put towards something like our school systems, helping the poor, and rebuilding parts of the state that got destroyed that year. Yes, we have a corrupt government and that sucks out a lot of money but the only folks who aren’t corrupt are the ones who aren’t interested in running for office. That’s pretty much par for the course where ever you go, though. However, if we’re getting boycotted or having investment opportunities denied to us because we prioritize improving our lives over making a bunch of idiots who want to white-wash history and have us forget what a horrible thing the Civil War was, then yeah, we’re really going to listen to you. *eyeroll*

Lastly, it’s funny how easy it is for so many of you to talk down to us, tell us how to vote, tell us how to think, tell us what we should be doing but it’s really damned difficult for any of you to actually do something other than run your mouths. Right now my home city has suffered through a water mains burst that has close to 30k people without water. The only people I see doing anything about it are those of us who live here. Those of us who live out in the county and are unaffected by the outage are opening our homes to friends, family, and acquaintances who are impacted. The entire area is going out and getting all the bottled water they can and setting up distribution centers to get it out for free. Churches and fire departments and the working water system (Culkin) are organizing themselves to help others. Why? Because that’s what we do, dipshits. When life goes sideways, we actually do more than fart words. We get out and help each other because we know that all we’ll get from the Coasts is a bunch of tut-tutting, “how awful,” and maybe $5. When some of our cities on the Gulf Coast get obliterated, we get reamed for living there — never mind that there is not a single. fucking. place. on. the. continent. that doesn’t have freaky weather events.

We still have a community out here in Flyover Land. We still pitch in and help each other. We stick together. Urbanites don’t do that. Urbanites think that the government is supposed to take care of everything from cradle to grave. Out here, we know that government will only screw things up so we set up something that will work. We volunteer. We don’t sit on our hands and cry “poor, pitiful me!” We roll up our sleeves, hit the store, buy whatever we can, and give it to those who need it. We donate to our churches who go out every day and help the poor. We volunteer to teach adult education classes.

Frankly, it gets annoying to see people on the Coasts who have spent the past several months referring to everyone in Flyover as Literal Hitlers, Neo-Nazis, or whatever because they voted for Trump in droves suddenly start acting like they’re ready to be BFFs. If you want to help us, quit talking down to us and start businesses here. Come in and help us build better school systems instead of shackling us with crap like Common Core. Shut your pie-holes and listen because we live here. We grew up here. We’re part of this place and it’s part of us. You only experience it from 35k feet in the air. We know our people. We know our communities. We know how your utopian bullshit will just set up perverse incentives for the worst among us and will magnify problems instead of fixing them.

We don’t need your patronizing attitudes. We need you to quit looking down on us because we don’t want to be jam-packed into cities that have to import water and are too filled with morons to build desalinization plants — not to mention are built on a fucking FAULT LINE. We prefer to have our space, to live closer to nature, and to distribute our culture a bit more sparsely so that one major disaster won’t shatter all the eggs.

So, the next time one of you wants to show how “compassionate” you are by sharing articles about people, places, and cultures you routinely insult, denigrate, and couldn’t begin to understand just stop. Just fucking stop already. We’re tired of it.

— G.K.

PS — Once again, not all people living along the Coasts are jerks. Quite a few of you are awesome. You may not always agree with people out in Flyover but at least you’ve shown that you can shut up and listen. You don’t spend months lecturing us like we’re children and then turn around and try to act like you’re our patron saints. None of this is directed at those of you who get it. It’s directed at morons who can’t and won’t get it and who, in a few days, will be right back down to calling my lesbian sister a Literal Hitler because she voted for Trump.

Acquired Tastes

Acquired Tastes

First of all, yes, I realize I’m a crappy blogger. However, in my defense, I’ve been juggling writing, working, school, working, writing, and studying things that almost literally make my brain hurt. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to force a brain and set of senses that evolved in a three-spatial dimension universe where the fourth dimension is a connected tunnel that can be traversed only in one direction (without technology) into thinking the way that a being from a universe with four spatial dimensions and two temporal dimensions which, when gravity is in play, can be traversed either linearly or in a punctiliar manner?

It makes me dizzy. I have actually tipped over and fallen out of my chair a few times doing this. I have a note reminding me to revert back to native mode before standing because, if I don’t, I will fall on my ass.

At any rate, did you miss me?

In my time on this planet, I’ve learned that I, like most of my acquaintances and friends, am something of an acquired taste. Then I started realizing that the handful of people I consider close friends all have things in common with me that causes the world to eye the lot of us in askance. We get hit with a lot of labels — weird, strange, odd, eccentric, sociopath, psychopath — but the truth is none of those things can tell the whole tale.

We are an acquired taste unless you are one of us.

For example, on my Facebook wall, there have been multiple discussions ranging from topics including Sherlock’s likelihood of hooking up with various characters from the show. No arguments, mind, but simple discussions drawing evidence, examples, and data. It’s extremely calm compared to the fandom “discussions” that take place over at Tumblr where, if you so much as point out a single in-universe inconsistency with someone’s OTP, you will get flamed.

That’s why I don’t hang out on Tumblr much.

Other discussions have included which NuWho companion is the most awesome (Donna and then Clara). There’s also been discussion over how to protect flags on the Moon so that they won’t lose their color so quickly, methods for getting off the planet and establishing a lunar base, a general shared disdain for authoritarians of all stripes, general smart-assery, and making fun of idiots. I really only have a core of about ten people who regularly pay much mind to what I post because most of it just isn’t of interest to the vast majority of my Facebook “friend” roll.

All of this got me thinking about why there are so few people like me and these others. I mean, we’re all probably well above average in intelligence (which gives us an evolutionary leg up). Most of us are healthy and can do useful things (shooting, repairs, computer programming). We’re also pretty good at communicating and do know how to make friends. We’re just turned off by the vast majority of humanity because they don’t interest us. However, unless our traits are all recessive (which they very well could be; I’m not up on the biology and hereditary nature of intelligence and cognitive processing), there should be a lot more of us. Maybe there are and we simply haven’t found them because we’re limited by our language (my friends all speak English or French though I can generally muddle my way through German, Italian, and Spanish when it’s written down). Maybe it’s because there are so few of us that the likelihood, in the pre-Internet era, of us stumbling across each other was rather small so we didn’t and generally wound up either never marrying or marrying “normal” people who could tolerate our quirks and whatever it is in our genetics (if anything) didn’t make it to the next generation to the degree that it is present in us.

Yeah, I think about weird stuff. Get over it.

This also leads me to wonder just how large a game-changer the Internet is going to wind up being with regards to human evolution. Now that those of us who are a bit on the quirky but brainy side can find each other, the likelihood of two of our kind meeting and having children together increases. That may increase the chance that our kind’s offspring inherits whatever (if anything genetic) it is that makes us “tick.” Play this out through a few generations and, by the middle of the next century, we may be living in a very different world simply because the skills, traits, and tendencies that under-gird social interactions now may no longer be as relevant in the future. I’m not certain if this is good or bad but I am certain that it’s going to be very fucking interesting.

— G.K.

Ah, my old friend…

Ah, my old friend...

So, recently I decided I was a bit sick of being overweight and out of shape. So I decided to 1) go on a ketogenic diet (it’s working), 2) start hitting the gym (thank God I can download Sherlock to my Kindle and have something to watch while I’m killing myself on the elliptical), 3) stopped taking OTC sleep aids since they screw up metabolism.

Number Three has resulted in the return of my old friend insomnia.

Now, a lot of people think “oh, I have trouble sleeping from time to time so I have insomnia” or “I didn’t sleep last night (but I normally sleep every night). Must be insomnia.” When I hear that kind of talk, it takes a lot of will power not to start a murder spree.

Insomnia is not having trouble sleeping once in a while. For me, it’s the normal state of affairs wherein, even when completely exhausted, I cannot fall asleep or remain asleep for longer than an hour. Currently, this acute bout has been on-going for almost a week and I’m beginning to reach the stage where punch-drunk becomes a permanent thing. Yes, I have cut out caffeine after noon. Yes, I have filters on my monitors, phone, and Kindle to make them more amber and less serotonin-inducing blue. Yes, I have tried every home remedy, every relaxation technique, and even considered sacrificing a goat to Cthulhu just to be sure I’ve covered the ‘praying’ base adequately.

And yes, cat naps are about the best I can do.

Long-term, I’ve been like this since college at least. This is why, when I do manage to get some “real” sleep, it’s usually around 5 am and I will stay crashed until around 11 am (or later!) Bear in mind, I will have been in bed since 11 pm (though, to be fair, I do get up at 1 or 2 am out of sheer frustration and go smoke and let my dog use my hand as a chew-toy).

Why haven’t I gone to a doctor and gotten back on Restoril or tried Ambien? Oh…you really don’t want to ask me that but since you made that mistake…

I have insurance. I have it through the state exchange since I am, to be precise, skint. However, the insurance offered through the exchange is not accepted by any doctors in my state because said insurance won’t pay out anything. Therefore, I’m paying around $200 a month for a card that will, at best, allow me into a hospital in the event of a catastrophe. It won’t pay for anything — that’ll all come out of my pocket, natch — but it will let a bunch of morons clustering together in easily-targeted regions feel better about themselves.

So, yeah, I can’t exactly go to a doctor and get on something that will let me sleep.

God, you have no clue just how much I want to sleep, either. Probably the only person on this planet who knows what I’m like when this happens is my ex who had to deal with me working long hours on little sleep back in the era when Talent Calculators had to be translated by hand (apparently I once slept-tanked a Naxx 10 raid after pulling back-to-back sixteen hour days for four days straight — I vaguely recall pulling Anub’Rekhan. After that, nothing. The next day I woke up thinking I had missed the raid which amused my husband who told me I’d gone, done well, and we had cleared three wings before he realized I was playing with my eyes closed and told my guild that I was asleep and had been for several bosses).

At any rate, at least I’ve had a lot of extra time for writing.

Yeah, so, toodles!

— G.K.

Dear Fellow Fanfic Writers…

Dear Fellow Fanfic Writers...

First of all, I want to compliment you all on actually writing something. Some of you have actually written works that are better than the stories told in canon. I salute you and hope that you continue your endeavors. Reading your works has been entertaining and enlightening, not to mention gratifying as it reminds me that there are people out there who can speak and write English properly. Yes, you may have the odd spelling mistake, typo, or minor grammar error here and there but that’s only because proofreading your own work is nigh on impossible.

However, there are very few of you in the category above. The rest of this missive is directed at the vast majority of you hanging out on AO3, FF.net, and Tumblr who have kindled my ire to such a degree that I have spent hours watching YouTube videos on how to operate a backhoe so that I can dig a deep enough hole to find fissionable materials in hopes of either 1) escaping the planet we are currently forced to share or 2) blowing up said planet as an act of penance to any superior lifeforms out there who might have stumbled upon your crap.

Let us discuss a few things frankly, escritor a escritor, shall we?

1) Spelling matters. I don’t care what you think. Spelling matters. Word choice matters. I have put down stories because the first paragraph had five or more spelling mistakes that rendered it nearly incomprehensible. Oddly enough, those of you with the worst spelling are the first ones to wonder why you don’t get reviews and to get offended when someone tells you that it’s because you need to use spellcheck.


You don’t want to be this guy, do you?

There is no such thing as “alot.” There is such a thing as “allot” which means “to give or apportion something.” “Of” is a preposition, not a form of “have.” “Accept” means “to welcome, great, or take something in willingly” as in “I accept your apology.” “Except” means “excluding this” or “other than this” as in “You are talented in everything except the ability to use a spellchecker.” Effect is the impact an action or ingredient has upon another thing. Affect is to have an effect. Water has an effect on fire. Fire is affected by water. The difference is subtle but important. You offer apologies in order to apologize to a person; you don’t apologies to them. You lose the love of your life; you let loose the dogs of war. You wait with bated breath. If your breath is baited, then you’ve been eating worms.

A few more before I finish: “it’s” means “it is.” “Its” is possessive. “There” means a place like over there. “Their” means a possession belonging to them such as “their house.” “They’re” means “they are.” “Your” is possessive. “Yours” is also possessive. “Your’s” doesn’t bloody exist. “You’re” means “you are.” “Your welcome to this house of yours shows me that you’re sincere in your desire to make peace.”

If I can get them right, then so can you.

2) Typography and formatting matter. If your idea of formatting is a great big block of text, I’m not reading it. Break it up into paragraphs. A paragraph generally covers one central idea. Also, you may notice that your words appear on a screen and not a sheet of paper and that word-wrapping happens automatically without you needing to hit “Return” at the end of a line. That’s because you are typing on a computer, not a typewriter! That also means that you put only one space after terminating punctuation (and if you don’t know what terminating punctuation is, you are either too young to be reading this blog or you need to go and apologize to every teacher you have ever had).

In electronic publication (meaning “online posting”), there are no indents at the start of a paragraph. Instead, you add an extra linebreak between paragraphs. If you have a change in point-of-view, perspective, or locale within a chapter, you indicate the break in scene with a centered scenebreak. Some writers use “###” but I prefer “~*~*~*~” or “* * *” because the first one is also used at the end of a manuscript to indicate that it is the end.

If you don’t know how to center text, it’s Ctrl + E in just about any word processor I know of. For HTML, if there isn’t a WYSIWYG bar for formatting, it’s <p align=”center”>text to be centered</p>

3) If you write a sex scene, I will be able to tell if you’re experienced or at least consulted with someone experienced. If you aren’t experienced, for the love of Cthulhu, ask someone who is.

I’m fairly certain that this one needs no further explanation. If it does, don’t write sex scenes.


Seriously, if you ask me to explain this one, Godzilla will facepalm and I will headdesk

4) Pick a POV style and, for the love of Galileo, stick with it. The same goes for verb tense, by the way.

If you start off telling the story in first person, stay in first person. The narrator is telling the story from their personal point of view and the reader is only privy to such things as the narrator would know, think, or notice. The narrator is not omniscient and cannot tell what another character is thinking directly. They can, at best, intuit it through facial expressions, body language, or tone of voice. Unless you are writing a psychic or telepathic character, the narrator cannot read minds.

Don’t write stories in second person. Just. Don’t.

If you are writing in third person, decide if you are doing third person limited (deep included), third omniscient, or third limited changing POV. Limited means that the point of view narrator or narrators are limited to one or a few characters. In deep third, you’ll do away with immersion-breaking dialogue indicators and generally will stick to one character as the narrator per book or per chapter. The reader will know only what that character knows but will be privy to information the character does not directly observe or to the intention behind other character’s words, actions, or expressions. In third omniscient, the author shows the motivations and internal monologues of all or most characters. In third limited changing, the narrator is always a character but the point of view character can change from scene to scene.

I myself usually write in third limited changing.

With regards to verb tense — past tense, please. Do not write stories in present or future tense. All action in narrative should be past tense. The characters might speak of something they are doing or they will do. They might have an internal monologue in present or future tense. But the actual action of the story should be in the past tense. If you’re not certain of how that works, here’s a sample:

Frank watched as Mitchell prepared the slide. They both wanted to know what had killed their neighbor.

“What do you see, Mitch?” Frank asked after Mitchell had studied the sample for several long, silent moments.

“I see trouble,” Mitchell sighed. “His blood was clean. No poison, no toxins.”

“But there wasn’t a mark on his body. No signs of asphyxiation or strangulation. Healthy men do not just keel over dead!” Frank protested.

“Well, it will take an autopsy to tell you more, Frank. There is not a damned thing on this slide that says he met any kind of foul play.”

Putting that in present tense would be very immersion-breaking. Putting it in future tense would have the reader wondering if you had lost your damned mind.

5) Don’t build in tension needlessly. This one I sometimes have trouble with myself. I’ll want my readers on edge for something but, if you build up tension, there needs to be a release. If you keep people stewing for too long, they will put your work down. If you never have a pay off, they’ll be rather upset. That doesn’t mean you need to rush things; it means you need to check the pacing. It also means you don’t throw in a bunch of tangential tragedies or misunderstandings just to keep people on tenterhooks. And yes, it is “tenterhooks” and not “tenderhooks.”

Pacing matters. If you’re writing a slow burn love story, you don’t have the characters get together in the second chapter. You also don’t have them get together in the very last chapter (at least not for the first time). If you’re writing an adventure, your heroes do not beat the Super Villain at the end of chapter one. They also don’t beat him in the penultimate or ultimate chapter. If the last damned line of your story is “the good guys won over the bad guys,” I will personally hunt you down and beat you within an inch of your life.

6) Beta readers are not all editors and editors are not beta readers. Yes, good betas will generally point out typos, misspellings, and grammar errors. However, their job is primarily to give you feedback on how well the chapter progresses the story, how plausible the actions and inner monologues are, how in-character things are, and to help you with internal consistency. Editors, on the other hand, are going to focus on grammar, spelling, word choice, and the way that paragraphs flow and transition. They may not notice internal inconsistencies or your characters doing things completely out of character for them. I can and have done both but they are different processes so I have to focus on one during one read-through and the other during the second.

7) Content labels are fine. Trigger warnings are stupid. It is fine to label your story with content warnings such as “swearing,” “non con,” “M/M,” “F/F,” “F/M,” or the like. Certain people may not want to read a story with a lot of swearing or a lot of sex or certain kinds of pairings. That’s fine. But trigger warnings are stupid and show that you are ignorant about what PTSD actually is and how it works.

If someone is “triggered” by words on a page, then they probably should be institutionalized. Most people with PTSD will never be triggered by mere words on a page. It will be sounds (such as explosions or gunfire), smells, or conditions that are physically occurring around them that trigger them to have a flashback episode. This is why concert venues, movie theaters, and other live performances will sometimes give warnings that the event taking place will involve gunfire, explosions, pyrotechnics, or sudden loud noises. Treatment for PTSD involves gradually re-exposing the person to the things that trigger them so that they will become desensitized to them and will no longer be triggered to have a flashback whenever a car backfires.

So, unless you are embedding video in your story, it doesn’t need a trigger warning. A content label will do fine for those who wish to avoid certain types of stories. Putting a trigger warning in it only diminishes and makes light of actual PTSD.

How do I know this? One, I have read up on PTSD and treatment for it. Two, I have friends who have gone through it. Three, I have dealt with a mild case of it myself in the months after I was carjacked and kidnapped at gunpoint. That’s how I know.

8) Again, for the love of Cthulhu, learn what certain idiomatic expressions actually are as opposed to what you’ve misheard them as. The phrase is “for all intents and purposes” not “for all intensive purposes.” “Irregardless” isn’t a word — you’re looking for “regardless.” “Literally” means that something could actually happen the way described. “Could care less” means that you do care to some degree.

This list is, of course, not comprehensive or all-inclusive. However, it covers the most common mistakes I’ve seen. Please try to do better in the future because I am very frightened that some of you might represent fan-writers to the general public.

Hugs and kisses!

— G.K.

I Know, I Know… But I Have A Really Good Excuse This Time

I Know, I Know... But I Have A Really Good Excuse This Time

And no, I haven’t been wasting all my free (non-work, non-school, non-writing) time watching Sherlock, Doctor Who, or playing Diablo III (don’t even mention Mass Effect Andromeda — we split up and it was not amicable. I’m planning to sue to try to get those hours of my life back). Nope, I have been studying calculus and numeric theory. Oh, and string theory physics, standard model, and quantum mechanics.


It took me two solid weeks of studying but I actually get this joke and think it’s hilarious.

By the way, have I mentioned I have been hired to teach high school English next year?


That’s right. I will be teaching English. Not science. Not math. Not any of the things I spend my free time studying. English. I have a degree in history and I’m teaching English.

My Scrivener research section looks like an odd mix of math and physics notes that even I can barely make sense of. When I started trying to parse chemistry and biochemistry I realized that regardless of what my IQ is, I can’t handle atoms and molecules. Leptons, bosons, fermions, strings, vibrations, and my pet theory that gravity isn’t a proper force — it’s the result of another force spanning multiple dimensions: that’s all relatively simple for me to sort out. Start mixing those together in atoms more complex than hydrogen and my head does this really interesting number that makes a migraine feel like a love-tap.

So, why am I doing this? No, not just because I’m a very special kind of insane. Not just because it interests me, either. And not just to make my lovely ex-husband send me a War and Peace length list of corrections. Nope, this is actually for a series. It’s probably the weirdest thing I’ll ever write but it’s one that just won’t leave me alone until I finish the thing (other writers will understand what I mean).


Seriously, it’s like this story — which started out as relatively simple — decided to throw a lot of challenges at me and, for some reason known but to Cthulhu, I am too much of a masochist to stop accepting them.

And that, my dears, is why I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’m good with history, languages, tactics, logistics, encryption, and computers but math and chemistry will wipe the floor with me every day of the week. Lately, I have just been either too busy trying to wrap my head around concepts that ought to make sense but just won’t or recovering from the headache that this effort invariably brings on.

That said, I will try to get better.

— G.K.

So, Hugos?

So, Hugos?

This year things have been pretty quiet on the Hugo front because, frankly, no one cares anymore. DragonCon started up an actual fan award that’s been about ten thousand times better than the Hugos and it’s only in its second year. WorldCon, on the other hand, seems to have managed an almost 50% loss of paying membership in the past year or so since they pulled out the Asterisks and booed every non-SJW pick.

Hopefully, in about a decade, WorldCon will be bankrupt and there won’t be anymore Hugos. Yeah, sure, it’ll be just a little bit sad that such a long-running award died out but, frankly, it needs to die. It’s been nothing more than an industry-insider thing for the past thirty years. In the past ten, seeing that something has won the Hugo is a guarantee that it’s crap. It’s become the Palm d’Or of the writing world and not in a good way — in a “we’ll give it to Michael Moore who couldn’t film a documentary about pouring piss out of a boot with instructions on the heel because he’s got goodthink” kind of way.

I just thought it was funny because of Declan Finn’s post on the subject. It’s true that Toni W. only got nominated because of the Puppies. All of the non-Puppies swore blind that she would have won if it hadn’t been for being a Puppy Choice. Well, this year they got their chance to show that they weren’t full of shit and guess what? Toni W. didn’t even get nominated.

For the rest of the categories, there are maybe two picks that most people will have heard of. The other three in that category are all obscure authors or works that, if you’re lucky, Amazon might have. I’ve scanned through most of them and, aside from one or two picks, they’re all pretty much the exact same story. Evil Man With White or Pale Skin Oppresses Everyone Until Black/Latino/Latina/Latinx/Lesbian/Gay/Trans/Muslim (which isn’t a race, btw)/Otherkin Person or Womyn Stops Him and Brings About Utopia. Nothing you haven’t read at least a hundred times. I’ve read porn with better writing.

At any rate, sorry for posting being bad last week. I got hit with a series of migraines.

— G.K.

Hoisted By Their Own Petard

Hoisted By Their Own Petard

If you’re even somewhat libertarian in bent (and I suspect that most of my readers probably are), then you’ve probably at least heard of Reason Magazine. Well, last week, I came across an article they had written that shed some light on a phenomenon I thought was recent in nature but actually turns out to have been a long time in development.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem with gays, lesbians, Christians, atheists, non-militant Muslims or really, with anyone. About the only group I harbor a strong antipathy towards are idiots and idiocy is a condition brought on by willful ignorance and has nothing to do with race, religion, skin tone, sex, gender, orientation, or even political bent. However, everyone who knows me knows that I prize freedom of expression and freedom of association above almost everything. I wouldn’t want to be forced, by law, to deal with idiots and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be forced to deal with people they dislike or disagree with — no matter how irrational the grounds. The furthest I will go on curtailing these deals strictly with government. I believe that government should be forced to remain neutral and that a person who holds a governmental office must be forced to remain neutral in discharging that office no matter what their personal opinions are.

So yeah, that means that I think it’s stupid that pizza parlors, florists, photographers, and caterers get sued because they don’t want to provide services for gay couples getting married. I don’t think that a halal Muslim butcher shop should have to sell me pork chops, either. I would hate to see a black church forced to officiate and celebrate the wedding of a Klansman and I would be seriously annoyed if a synagogue had to solemnize the marriage of anti-Semites.

But, it turns out that it was the Christians who brought this on themselves back during one of their anti-Mormon moments. Reason does a fairly comprehensive background on the different laws, court cases, and judicial reasoning that have brought us full-circle with this mess. I had originally thought that the whole “you can believe whatever but you can’t act on it if it offends someone” thing was something born out of the tendency of the left towards authoritarianism and their preference for Balkanization.

Seriously, go read that article and realize that these kinds of tools always get turned against those who wield them. Eventually, it will swing back again and it will be the left’s allies or dupes who find themselves forced to provide services for people they loathe. When that happens, I’m going to be sitting back and laughing fit to bust.

I have no worries about this being used against me — nor do most libertarians — because when someone tries to force us to do something we don’t want to do, we just walk away with our middle fingers aloft because, frankly, we don’t need society and we’d be perfectly happy living alone and never seeing another person for the rest of our lives.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it. 😉

— G.K.