Therapy / ADHD / meditation update

So, you may remember that sometime in spring I started seeing a psychologist. The proximate cause of going was to see whether an ADHD diagnosis might be appropriate.

We did a couple therapy sessions and then she said that she’d be willing to recommend a full testing assessment for me, which I have only now gotten around to scheduling. It’s going to be three 3-hr sessions of testing, which should be covered by my HMO insurance, which means probably a $20 co-pay / hr, so $180 total. Something like that? Will report back with the verdict after the testing; am quite curious.

I saw her weekly for about a month, talking through some of the cancer / work anxiety / family stuff / etc., then switched to biweekly, because I was running out of things to talk about. I’m basically pretty happy these days. At today’s session, we agreed that I’d check back in at the start of August, see if I wanted to continue sessions or not. It was good, talking to a competent stranger about all that, getting a check on my take on things from someone unbiased.

She was most useful, I think, in the interpersonal dynamics aspect, helping me see how other people might be thinking about things, and where I was putting a little too much of my own view of the world on them, if that makes sense. My view of the world is maybe a little more idiosyncratic than most, but I suspect that in general, that’s something we’re all subject to. Interesting to think about.

Another thing I started doing this year was meditation. I signed up for the Headspace app, and did daily meditation for a month. That was really useful, I think, in that it got me to a point, after a month, where I could very quickly feel when I was getting into a stressed-out, unproductive headspace.

Sometimes I actually meditate to pull out of it, often I just switch tasks, take a walk, etc. But it helped me ‘tune in’ to what was going on in my subconscious, which is actually a pretty cool result for 10 minutes / day for a month. I wish we had this as a default part of the elementary school curriculum, because I think we could all use it. Maybe if I run for school board. Although it’s probably simpler just to suggest it to the D97 board or staff…and I bet there’s some stuff like this built into the Second Step curriculum they’re already doing.

Today I scheduled Anand to start therapy, after we get back from California (visiting the in-laws for the second half of July). I’m hoping it’ll help with his new habit of perseverating — when something bad happens, out comes a litany of everything bad that’s happened to him in the last month, and he remembers it all in excruciating detail, poor munchkin. The card game that went awry when someone didn’t play fair, the camp counsellor who wouldn’t let him out of the baby end of the pool, etc. and so on. Hoping they can give him some tools to be able to switch out of that mindset. Also I think it’ll just be good for him to have another adult to listen and validate his emotions, someone who isn’t his parent.

I suspect that if I do keep seeing my therapist, we’ll mostly be talking about parenting strategies. Sometimes it’s bewildering, when Anand is behaving in a way that is so unlike anything I would ever do, and I really am not sure how best to support and help him. Again, wish this sort of help was available to everyone.

Universal healthcare now, please. Raise my taxes if you have to (though if you can tax the billionaires first, that’d be good). And if we include massage therapy as part of it, that would be very nice.

What would a truly healthy, happy society look like?

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Poppy Mallow

After finishing the novella yesterday morning, I planted a bunch of perennials and then basically collapsed for the rest of the day. Writing through the weekend tired me more than I’d realized.

I really do need to get back to Wild Cards today (esp. since the holiday tomorrow is probably going to mean no writing — marching in the parade as an elected official and then hosting a BBQ in classic American tradition). But I may need to work up to the writing.

Reading galleys for Survivor now and sending authors proofing questions (Brooke and Erik, check your e-mails, please), also need to do a solid pass or two on my own e-mail, which I’ve gotten woefully behind on the last few weeks. Again. And then @ 1, hopefully talking to Kay about the SLF fund drive, which reminds me that among my tasks is talking to the Kickstarter Drip people about some issues we’re having with their system.

Okay, yesterday was fun (I watched much Project Runway), but today, head down, back to work. If I make good progress, maybe I’ll reward myself with an hour of playing with soap-making this afternoon. Oh, and I’m going to teach Kat how to play Magic, see if she likes it.

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Novella done

Novella draft, finished. Clicked in at 40,638 words, which is a little long, but I’m sure there will be some cutting and adding still, so I’m not going to worry about getting it under the 40K mark yet. (This is mostly only an issue for Hugo voting, since there’s a firm cut-off between categories there.)

It’s done, it’s done. Feels v. good. Going to go eat lunch and then plant some perennials to celebrate.

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Plan for today — garden and write, prep for the next SLF fund drive, which was supposed to be this week, but I just couldn’t get it prepped it time — hopefully next week. That’s mostly it.

The kids are switching camps, going to Steve and Kate’s, which is a little more expensive but much more free form, which I think suits Anand better. I’m hoping they’ll both be happy there, so I can let them stay for several hours each weekday for the next two weeks and I can really sink into the work.

Plan for this morning — finish draft of novella; I’m so close to done. Just need to revise prior version of epilogue so it makes sense with this new draft. Then it’s going out to first readers — I’m really happy with the first 35K words, but the last 5K are all new, and I think may need some more work.

Well, and assuming the ending stays as it is, I probably will need to go back into the earlier material and layer some more stuff in, so that it builds as effectively as possible to that ending. But it’s really close. And oh, damn, I need a new title, because the old one really makes no sense now.

After that, the rest of the week is dedicated to Wild Cards, finishing up my story for Joker Moon, hopefully, and starting to draft my story for Three Kings. I’m not at all sure how much time that’ll take, and it’ll be intermittent over the rest of the summer, since it’s a mosaic novel with other writers, and we have to be responsive to each other as we go.

And after *that* — I’m a little waffly, honestly. Part of me wants to dive right back into the big SF novel, that I got 30K words into by last December, and haven’t really touched since. I think I could get a draft by end of summer. Part of me also wants to take a break from fiction, clear my brain a little, and do some memoir work. Lay down a first draft of the domestic resistance book, which should go fast, since the bones of it are all in FB posts. Hmmm…

This post brought to you by clematis, gooseneck loosestrife, columbine, and lamium. Need to get some mulch down over that mess on the ground, and sometime this week, I hope to find time to go to a stoneyard and hopefully find a nice big threshold stone, but it’s going to look v. pretty soon.

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Woke up at 6-ish, made coffee and breakfast and came to the shed. Alternated writing and weeding until it’s gotten too hot for both; my brain is feeling fried, so I’m going into the nice air-conditioning again now. But I’m up to about 35K words, and I think either this evening or tomorrow (probably tomorrow), I’m going to finish the draft of the novella. And honestly, I think it’s a pretty damn good draft.
I’m not positive of the ending (that is not yet written), but the vast majority of the 35K words so far, I really like. (Avoiding sidetrack into various words I’m particularly fond of, like scintillate, that aren’t actually in this story.)
Time to start researching novella markets soon., probably. I don’t think Subterranean is open to over-the-transom subs. Not sure who else is publishing novellas; something to research more.
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Survivor Galleys

Survivor galleys are finally here — a SF/F anthology full of stories of survival, which seems almost shockingly apropos for this moment.
Two summers ago, I spent a solid summer month reading submissions for this anthology, and I admit, there was a day when all of my family was at the beach and I was reading subs on my laptop, a day when I was not at all sure why I’d signed up for this gig. It sounded like fun when JJ Pionke and I first came up with the idea. It sounded like it might be worthwhile, might matter to people.
Open calls are challenging, because you just get so many stories to look through, and I tend to actually read them all, though I admit, my reading gets closer to skimming if I’m not in love with the story by halfway through. Open calls are a big time commitment.
But it felt important to do an open call for this book, and in the end, I love the stories that made their way in. Tomorrow, I will take the galley with me when I take the children to the beach, and then I will send my comments to Lethe Press, and very very soon, it will be ready for you to read.
Also, I adore this cover. 
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Okay, have made it to 28K on the novel-turning-into-novella, and I think they’re solid so far, have sent out to beta readers. About 3/4 of the way through, hopefully?

A lot of this process is cutting away deadwood verbiage and focusing in on sharp scenes, though there’s also been some general recasting of character and plot, as I refocus from a save-the-planet novel to an intimate family story.

I have some hopes that by the end of this story, I’ll have evolved the characters in such a way that they might actually fit into a save-the-planet novel at some point, some day? Maybe.

But that’s a problem for another day (and likely another year). For now, let’s just focus on getting a decent novella.

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Sunday afternoon

Home from Garden Walk — I’ll be posting photos from the walk over the next few days. Have hidden in my shed because I can’t bear the world right now. Only gardens. Kevin has taken the kids to the pool because he is a prince.

Will probably try to write a little bit, enjoy the breeze and the new fan (which I love, it’s perfect, on a hot day I want to marry it). This evening, record a podcast, maybe. I’m tentatively trying to do them on Sunday evenings. The mic lives out here now because thankfully the acoustics of the shed are decent.

Or I may just stare at greenery, try to figure out which perennials to plant (once there’s a bit more room in the budget, which may not be ’til next year) to camouflage the daffodil and tulip leaves around the seating area.

I think I’d like white, silver, blue and purple in that space for summer, to echo the furniture there. Roughly knee-high, shrubby / mounding perennials. Calaminta, artemisia, blue-eyed grass, nepeta? Something like that.

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