It’s Almost Here! Book 3 of Guts and Glory!

Posted in book signings, Books, Family, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by Jessica Rising

You’ve been waiting patiently.

You’ve been wondering when it would be OUT already.

You’ve looked for SOME sign on this website  that it is actually coming.

Well, here it is!

August, 2014…

At Spocon, Glamirita, and Here on this Website…

The Official Release 0f…

“RISE OF THE NEFARIOUS NUMBOTS”

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The third and FINAL volume of “Guts and Glory, Freedom Fighters of Nil” is almost here!

Check back here soon for exact dates, and spread the word!

The Weird Kid

Posted in Books, Family, kidlit with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Jessica Rising

The Weird Kid

A Short Story of Nil

by Jessica Rising

Books peeked around the corner at the weird Kid Gadget had brought home. He made a face behind his way-too-big goggles.

For three years, the brothers had lived together all alone in the big, broken down mall, Books learning everything he could from Gadget. Mostly, Books’ big brother had only let him hold things and read instructions out loud, saying a Stick wasn’t big enough to learn anything important. But two days ago, Books had finally earned his name. Gadget had promised that now he was old enough to learn the interesting stuff, and even said he could actually help with Gadget’s newest invention, the Rock Walker! Books had been so excited.

Then, this little… thing… happened.

She was tiny, way littler than Books who was pretty littler than Gadget anyway, with dark eyes and skin and frizzy black hair. Like all the tiny Sticks that always showed up around Nil, she wore a dirty white, shapeless dress. That was it. She didn’t have any shoes or gloves, or even tire armor! Every time before when they’d found  one of these tiny Sticks, Gadget had left it there, saying another group of Kids would find it and raise it right. He said he was too busy inventing important things to worry about another Stick. But he’d chosen Books to raise because he’d shown he was smart from the moment he’d found him.

“Ya was standin’ inna port, wailin’ up a storm, like all the other Sticks,” Gadget had told him many times, “an’ I was gonna just leave ya there. But when I turned ta leave, ya said, ‘hey, where ya goin?’ No little Stick ever talked ta me bafore, an’ I was kinda lonely, so I thought I’d just show ya the ropes, ya know? Now stop askin’. I toldya tonsa times already!”

But now there was this new little Stick that Gadget’d actually brought home. Books didn’t really know how to feel about that.

“Well?” Gadget asked from behind. “Whaddaya think?”

Books glanced back at his big brother. Gadget was tall and skinny, with green eyes and dirty blond hair mashed up in thick braids he called dreadlocks. He wore big gloves and big goggles, just like Books, but unlike his little brother he also wore a long, stained white coat over his Nil rags and tire armor. When Books had asked about it, he’d said scientists wore coats like that. Books had never found one in the scrap that fit him, but he kept looking.

“I dunno,” Books said honestly. Gadget always said to be honest whenever possible. “She’s kinda scrawny.”

“Sure,” Gadget said. “But I think she’ll be okay.”

“Why’d ya get her?” Books asked. He felt himself get all hot and stuffed-up inside. He sniffed hard to make sure he didn’t cry. Scientists never cried. “Ain’t I good ’nuff?”

Gadget grinned, and Books braced for a joke about his crying. But Gadget surprised him by being serious. “I just figgerd we needed a new Stick ’round the place ta do the work ya used ta do, cuz ya ain’t no Stick no more… Books.”

Every time Gadget used his new name it made Books all happy inside, like when the orange Nil sky broke open for a second and showed the bright yellow light on the other side.

“Ya mean I can stop sweepin’ an’ holdin’ scrap an’ makin’ food?” he asked, excited.

“Not yet,” Gadget said. “Ya gotta show her how first. But then she’ll do the Stick work till she earns her name. That’s when we’ll find ‘nother Stick.”

Books felt his excitement peeter out like the broken balloon in a book he’d read once. “She’s gonna be a scientist, too?”

Gadget nodded. “She’s smart, Books. Just as smart’s you when I found ya.” He punched Books in the shoulder. “Only smart Kids’re ‘lowed ta live here.”

Books looked back at the weird Kid. For once she was quiet, just looking around with her big brown eyes like she’d never seen a mall before.

“She don’t look too smart.”

Gadget pushed Books gently in the back. “Go say hey ta your new sis.”

Books growled under his breath, but walked out into the room anyway. The Stick looked at him curiously.

“Heya, Stick,” he said.

“Stick?” she asked in a tiny voice.

“Yeah,” Books said. “You are a Stick ’til ya earn your name. I earned mine, so I’m bigger ‘an you ,so ya gotta listen ta me, got it?”

The Stick looked a little confused, but she nodded anyway. “Yup!”

“Good,” Books said. “Cuz ya gotta be real smart an’ know yer place ta live here. It’s the best place in Nil, though.”

“What’s name?” the Stick asked.

Books squatted down so he could look at her closer. “Books.”

She grinned. “Books!” Then, without warning, she jumped at him, wrapping her scrawny arms around his neck and squeezing tight.

Books looked back at Gadget, who leaned against the wall watching them with a smile. Gadget didn’t smile much, but Books really liked it when he did.

He squeezed his scrawny new sister back. “Sure Stick,” he said, “ya gonna be a good parta our family, I think.”

He sniffed again. But this time is was maybe a good sniff.

Maybe.

A Day in the Life of an ADHD Mom

Posted in ADHD, Family, Family Life, Mothers with tags , , on February 23, 2014 by Jessica Rising

My name is Jessica Rising, and I have Adult Attention Defect Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

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There tends to be an overall attitude towards ADHD that it doesn’t exist, and/or that people use it as an excuse to be flighty and lazy. Because I am also a published author, mother of five, and a Master’s level college professor on top of my ADHD, I think maybe I am in a unique situation to shed a little light on the fallacy of these beliefs.

To start, however, I want to acknowledge the reasons behind this social attitude about ADHD.

I grew up in the 1980′s. This was a time when ADHD was a buzzword among medical professionals, schools, and the news. It seemed that every child with a sugar high was being diagnosed with ADD, Hyperactivity, or both (ADHD).  These children are now grown, and have taken that experience with them into the “real world”. With it has come an assumption that nobody actually has ADHD because so many diagnosed at the time didn’t.

Yet I am one who did… and still does.

Another reason for the societal attitude against ADHD is its symptoms. According to WebMD, some symptoms of adult ADHD are:

  • Difficulty Getting Organized
  • Extreme Distractibility
  • Poor Listening Skills
  • Restlessness, Difficulty Relaxing
  • Difficulty Starting a Task
  • Chronic Lateness
  • Angry Outbursts
  • Prioritizing Issues

If you have ADHD or ADD, you may be nodding your head in agreement with these. Yet if you don’t, your initial reaction could be something like, “That’s just people. Everyone has those issues!” and/or “Well, there’s an excuse to be flighty and lazy!” It’s true, many mental issues are far easier to see than ADHD. I have a friend who suffers from a physical disease that can’t be seen on the outside. She looks perfectly healthy, so people tend to think that her need to stay home because she hurts is an excuse to be a snob, unsociable, or rude. ADHD is like that, only mental instead of physical.

So I want to show you what those symptoms translate into on a day-to-day basis for someone like me so that maybe some can see why this is a very real disease, with very real consequences for those who suffer from it. I am going to split it up into three separate subjects to keep things as organized as possible, and perhaps make this a more interesting read overall:

Family Life

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As I stated above, I am a married mother of five. I love my family more than anything on this planet, but there are some things I am very bad at doing for them:

  1. Helping with Homework:
    I’m a teacher. I should be able to help my kids with their homework. Should be. When my kids get home from school, oftentimes I’m still busy with something I was doing while they were at school. Many parents can put down what they’re doing and turn to the kids to say hi, give them a snack, ask if they have homework, etc. An ADHD parent has a far harder time with this normally simple thing, because of what I like to call “the zone”. It takes someone with ADHD at least an hour of deep concentration on one subject to get into “the zone” and actually be productive with whatever they’re doing, be it housework, work work, or even a fun project. Because of this when we are IN “the zone”, the very last thing we want to do is get out of it, even for a second. It’s akin to working on a project for hours, then losing it all when your computer dies. Getting BACK into “the zone” after a distraction is even harder, and sometimes impossible until at least the next day. So I’m usually too distracted by what I’m needing to finish to even ask my kids if they have homework at all, let alone help them with it. Once I am out of “the zone”, (usually by being finished with the project I’m on) I will kiss them and welcome them home and all that, but oftentimes I forget to ask if they have homework still, because my mind is then on how I have to get dinner finished before bedtime… for once.
  2. Enforcing Rules:
    Like most parents, my husband and I have rules for our children. Most are pretty simple: don’t run in the house, don’t eat snacks before dinner, don’t use the Kureg if your age doesn’t end in “teen”, etc. Sometimes I remember to enforce these rules, but often I’m so busy trying to focus on one subject while my brain scatters into a million directions of everything I need to do, that if one of the kids asks me something I’d normally say no to, (like using the Kureg) or does something right in front of me that I should be telling them to stop, (like thumping all over the house in dirty boots) I just let it go because  can’t use any more energy on focusing attention on them at that exact moment. It takes massive amounts of energy to focus on anything for more than a second at a time if an ADHD person is not in “the zone”. This means that in order to regularly enforce the rules I’d have to continually be focused on JUST that, which anyone can see is an impossibility. My husband doesn’t have ADHD, and can get understandably frustrated with this at times, (though he’s very patient with me) because then he’s the bad guy for enforcing rules we agreed on together but I usually don’t enforce. It’s also difficult on the kids, because they get mixed signals.
  3. Keeping a schedule:
    My kids have a regular schedule… because of school. I am able to wake them up in the morning and get them off to school but that’s about it. Of course, their teachers have great schedules for them at school, but when they get home there’s no telling what will be going on. I could be asleep because of a long night concentrating on something while it’s nice and quiet and distraction-free, I could be making dinner and cleaning because it was a good energy day, or I could be sitting on the couch zoned out and depressed because I couldn’t focus enough to get anything done. I could remember to ask them to do their chores and homework, or I could be so stressed out or tired that I let them do whatever, as long as they don’t bother me. The same goes for their bedtimes. Sometimes I’m totally on it, and get them to bed at 8 or 9. Other times I’m in “the zone” or unreasonably tired, so that I forget to tuck them in until 10 or later. Keeping a regular schedule is SO important for kids, and it would be wonderful for me to do so, but after seventeen years of trying under my own willpower and failing miserably, I know for a fact that ADHD is not just an excuse.
  4. Organization:
    Organization is for people with organized brains. Someone with ADHD does not have an organized brain. There have been many times I’ve come up with some wonderful ideas to organize my home and family, like labeling coat pegs or putting clipboards on the wall to check homework or designating a playroom so the kids’ toys don’t mess up their bedrooms. Every one of these ideas has failed, not because I didn’t set them up well — every one of those ideas I spent hours implementing perfectly, (while in “the zone”) — but because I couldn’t maintain them. The coat pegs got entirely messed up because the kids kept putting coats and sweaters and backpacks and toys and hats and hoodies and… all over the place, and I didn’t pay any attention to it because I was on to my next “zone”. The clipboards are only being used now by my youngest, because the others were taken down by the older kids to draw with, and I was happy to let them so I could concentrate on whatever I was in “the zone” about at the time. The toys are all over the playroom AND the bedrooms because I’d remember to tell them to put them back in the playroom, but NOT to tell them they weren’t allowed in their bedrooms in the first place.  These are examples. There are… plenty more.
  5. Marital Bliss:
    My husband is very patient with me. I forget to enforce rules, as I said, but that’s not the whole of it when it comes to how I can frustrate him. I stay up all hours of the night, going to bed with him on time maybe once a week. I began this staying up when I was in my twenties and my teenagers were little, because I couldn’t concentrate on watching them and cleaning the house at the same time. I got overwhelmed and the messes started piling up. When I stayed up all night and the kids were asleep, I could get into “the zone” with housekeeping without worrying about them, and get the house perfectly clean. Unfortunately, I would also sleep in, and they’d make a big mess before I woke up. It was a viscous cycle that I still haven’t gotten out of, though the kids are older now and make less of a mess. Over the years, I’ve acclimated myself to a night schedule, so that I don’t go to bed with my husband most the time, even if I’m tired, because I’ve convinced myself I have something I need to do during the quiet hours when I can finally get in “the zone” and be productive. My husband is sweet and says he’ll just fall asleep anyway, but I know he’d rather I was sleeping next to him most nights.
  6. Cooking:
    I burn food. All the time. Like most things, when you cook food, you have to pay some attention to it. The term “set it and forget it” is all too real for ADHD people. Unless a meal takes less than five minutes to prepare, such as cooking eggs or making a sandwich, or all day such as a crock pot roast, it will be forgotten until the smoke reminds me to check on it… in which case, it’s already too late.

Career / School

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As a college professor, tutor and writer, most people think I have my career pretty much in the bag. The fact is, I struggle with it every day:

  1. Memory Issues:
    My students are very important to me. However, sometimes I’m sure they don’t feel that way. I have a very difficult time remembering their names unless they talk to me on a regular basis every day. I also forget due dates unless they’re on my phone to remind me the day before AND ten minutes before, special homework circumstances that I arrange with students who have full time jobs and other responsibilities, where I put assignments unless I’m VERY careful about when they are given to me, and the days and times of every tutoring session unless my phone reminds me twice. I am very good at grading, knowing the grammar and research rules because I have personally written a LOT for over two decades. I can give a GREAT lecture, as long as I’m entirely prepared with every bullet point ready, and everything I’m going to say organized. But I have to do this with every lesson, every day, even those I’ve done before, because I have forgotten where the previous outline is, and/or the previous outline doesn’t work with my current state of mind. Because of this, my workload is usually double what most people have to do, just to keep up with everything I can’t remember and/or keep organized.
  2. The “Zone” and Work:
    For someone with ADHD, we exist in one of two states: manic chaos or singular focus. It may seem that ADHD people are great at multitasking, but this is only a surface image based on our manic chaos state. In reality we’re trying to do ten things at once, and end up actually doing absolutely nothing because we can’t focus on anything to actually finish it. On the other hand when we’re focused, we can do one thing AMAZINGLY well. For someone with ADHD, when we’re in that focused “zone”, we work very hard on one thing until we’re finished, and for us, “finished” usually translates into “until it’s as absolutely perfect as we can possibly make it”. Our own expectations for ourselves are exceptionally higher than most people expect of us (which is why we tend to have pretty large self-esteem issues no matter how much everyone else thinks we do), but we’re not always in the “zone”, so we work very hard when we can get into it, and absolutely hate being forced out before we’re finished. One reason for this is the fact that we see and think of everything at once — every possible angle to a subject or problem — and always feel the need to include all of it in whatever we’re doing. This can, understandably, be frustrating. For this reason, a multitasking job isn’t the best for an ADHD person, but give us any one project that we can focus entirely on for hours, and we’ll do it better than anyone else on the planet. This is why writing is a great career for me — I can focus on a novel for ages. :)

Social Life

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I have found that one of the hardest aspects of ADHD in adults is convincing non-ADHD friends  that you really do care about them, even if it doesn’t often seem that way…

  1. Conversational Issues:
    In case it’s not obvious by now, ADHD people tend to be somewhat bi-polar. This includes the strength of our interests. We are either extremely interested in something, or entirely disinterested. Our likes sway between utter obsession and utter indifference. This is important to note, because it includes things that interest our friends. In any given conversation between people there is a topic being discussed. Sometimes this topic is interesting to both parties, sometimes only to one, but most of the time both parties know how to pretend they’re interested at the very least. When you have ADHD, this is far more difficult to do. During a conversation that doesn’t keep our interest, an ADHD person will do one of two things . The first is the typical “SQUIRREL!” reaction, where we are constantly looking at something else around us, easily distracted from the conversation. The second is a way of coping with the first, if not the best way. It’s true that many people listen to reply instead of to listen, but ADHD people do it almost exclusively. This is usually because we need to focus on ONE part of the conversation in order to pay attention at all. So, we find a part that we can relate to, and after that we repeat it over in our heads — with our reply — until it’s our turn to speak so we don’t forget it. This, of course, means we miss the rest of what our friends are saying, which often has a very negative impact. Not only that, but our reply almost always consists of our own experience in-relation to the topic, so that it can seem we’re always pulling the conversation back to ourselves when really we’re just trying to relate. When I asked a good friend how I could make this better in myself, she said just to “take the topic as it is”. This concept is very difficult for an ADHD person to grasp, as when the topic disinterests us, we literally have nothing to say about it if we can’t find a relatable personal experience to grab hold of like a safety raft. I am still working on ways to combat this in myself, as I adore my friends and never want them to feel that they mean less than the world to me.
  2. The Inability to say “No”:
    As we have established, an ADHD person often feels like they should be able to take on a lot more than most people. This attitude doesn’t usually extend to others, however; we don’t think everyone should be superhuman. Rather, we often feel like we’re going slower than everyone around us, and can never seem to keep up when everyone else seems to have it  together. For us, if we’re not able to do ten things for every one thing everyone else can do, we’re too slow, because that one thing others are doing looks like fifteen to us. It’s a bit more abstract that that, but this is the best way I can think of to explain it. Because of this, if we’re asked to do something by those we love, we want very badly to do it, to show them we can handle it like a “normal” person should, even if we have a million other “irons in the fire”. Inevitably, this leads to failure, and we end up building up a reputation as flighty and unreliable when we can’t follow through on all our promises. This becomes a viscous circle, fueling our need to prove over and over that we can do what we THINK is normal, but what is, in reality, far too much for one person to handle.
  3. Exhaustion:
    When someone with ADHD is young we have extra energy, hence the “hyperactive” part of our nature. Because of this, we grow up being used to that extra energy. When  it doesn’t translate through puberty, which is the norm for most ADHD adults, we suddenly feel a regular and crippling exhaustion, even though our energy levels have actually become more “normal”. As teenagers and adults, we go through stages of manic energy and complete lethargy, often with the latter being far more prevalent. During these lethargic states, we have problems cleaning, taking care of our responsibilities, and spending quality time with family and friends. This is only worsened by the fact that doing anything that takes our concentration, which is almost everything in life including socializing, also uses extreme amounts of that already low supply of energy. Those family and friends who believe we have ADHD sometimes assume we’re hyperactive all the time, and can therefore think we’re blowing them off by saying we’re tired when they feel that’s not possible for us. Those who don’t believe it, can assume we’re just being lazy or making excuses not to be social. It can feel to those with ADHD that we can’t win no matter what.
  4. EgoCentric Assumptions:
    Because ADHD people like me are SO focused on our interests, we often have a very difficult time not obsessing over them at all times, even when it’s not exactly appropriate. A perfect example of this is my own grammar obsession. I’m not focused on all grammar rules, (like the overuse of commas in case you didn’t notice; working on that) but there are a few that really get my hackles up, no matter what. These include using apostrophes for plurals, and “there, their, they’re” confusion. It is extremely difficult for me to just ignore these when they come up on Facebook, to the point that sometimes I correct them without thinking about it, which automatically slaps me back in the face when the person who posted inevitably thinks I’m judging their intelligence.  I also obsess over literature and mythology, and find myself correcting people when they say Dorothy’s slippers were ruby, or faeries are tiny winged weaklings that sparkle. Again, correcting people this way gives the impression that I am egotistical, when it’s more like an automatic reaction to my overactive obsession with these subjects, and frustration that others don’t share it. I’m working on this.

In conclusion, this post took me three days to write, as I was distracted often. This is a normal part of life for someone with ADHD, as are all those things I mentioned above. Like most around me, I spent most of my life denying my ADHD, but I have decided recently that I can’t allow it to control my life any longer. The first step is acceptance — I have accepted my ADHD as a real burden on my life. Now it’s time to take the steps to eliminate its hold on me. It’s now Saturday; my next doctor’s appointment is Wednesday. That said, my family and friends are worried that treatment may have a negative impact on my personalty overall. I, myself, am concerned about that as well, especially any possible impact against my creativity and ability to write. Therefore I will be trying as many different options as possible before medication.

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I hope this was enlightening for those of you who aren’t ADHD, and empowering for those who are. I plan to update as my treatments progress. If you have anything to ask or add, please feel free to comment. I hope this may open a dialogue about ADHD free of the traditional stigmas associated with this confusing, but very real, condition.

Tipani Walker and the Nightmare Club

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Writing with tags , , , , on February 14, 2014 by Jessica Rising

HawkHill flying tall and proud,
HummStreet unseen among the crowd,
BriarRaven lost within her shroud.
Pull the veil, tear the seam,
and walk where wakers only dream.

Introducting Tipani Alice, MaerWalker!

Posted in Books, kidlit with tags , , , on January 26, 2014 by Jessica Rising

I have begun a new series. I could go on and on with what it’s all about, but I think we’d both rather just get on with the story. So, here’s an introduction. Let me know what you think! ~JR

Tipani Alice Walker had a huge head.

You wouldn’t be able to tell this by just looking at her, of course. On the outside, hers was just about the same as all the other ten-year-old skulls around her, bobbing and weaving, nodding and yapping around. On the inside, though, it was colossal. Tipani’s head was so big, in fact, that it held all manner of things, from the zeppelin-soar of a crisp autumn leaf on September wind, to candy corn universes painted in sticky fudge and sugar-spun stars. Tipani didn’t live in the world of school, and chores, and other humdrum muck adults thought was important.

Tipani lived in the vast, wild kid-ness of her mind.

This wasn’t always a good thing to those around her. Her mother would often have to say her name many times to get her attention, and her older sister Amanda couldn’t make heads or tails of anything she said.

“Tipani, did you take all the peanut butter?” Amanda would ask when she found the jar empty for the third time that month.

To which Tipani would answer, “no, it was the Gluffdruff from the tree outside. He likes peanut butter.”

In fact, the Gluffdruff always wanted peanut butter, and Tipani was always happy to provide it. After all, what was the point of having a guffdruff in one’s tree if you didn’t feed it regularly?

The very worst one for understanding Tipani, though, was Bob. Bob wasn’t Tipani’s dad, but he wanted her to call him that anyway. He was married to her mom, which he figured made him her dad. But Bob was the grumpiest of grumpy adults, and Tipani felt there was no way he would really be her dad for that reason. He didn’t understand the Gluffdruff any more than Amanda did. Nor did he understand the poopy twins in the toilet, the boy in the mirror, or the ghost girl in the attic, even though he heard her all the time. Tipani knew this, because he always complained about the thumping and bumping around she did.

He blamed it on rats.

Tipani thought Bob had lost his thoughts somewhere and that’s what made him so grumpy. Mom and Amanda never saw what Tipani saw, but sometimes they would hear what she heard, when they were very quiet and listened very hard. But Bob never even tried. All he cared about was money and bills and beer. If Tipani tried to talk to him at all, he would call her names, and tell her she belonged in a crazy loony bin, with a straight jacket in a padded room.

Tipani thought that might be fun, but not for forever.

So she mostly avoided Bob, and he mostly avoided her, and that was good.

Along with seeing things nobody else saw, Tipani also noticed things nobody else noticed. Like how she could always tell what was inside her Valentine’s Day chocolates. Amanda had to poke and jab the gooey brown lumps to see if they held something she wanted to put in her mouth, while somehow, Tipani always just knew whether they were smooth caramel or nasty fake-coconut-sludge.

She always gave the coconut ones to the mean girls in her class.

Not that Tipani herself had much issue with the kids at school. Even the meanest of them pretty much left her alone. This wasn’t because she was particularly strong or mean. In fact, Tipani was one of the nicest kids in her 4th grade class. But she never paid any attention to their bulling words, even when they called her “leatherface” and “tipsy-tard”. There were, after all, so many more interesting things to notice at school.

Like the angel ghost-statue in the yard next to the playground who spoke to her of life in the 1880’s.

But Tipani did notice when the mean kids were cruel to others. Every faerie in her ear, every wind-wraith in her hair, every shoulder-dragon she stroked noticed these things, so it was only natural that she did, too.

That’s why the mean girls always got coconut sludge.

But the enormous world inside Tipani’s head was never so vivid, vibrant, and dangerous as it was at night, when her body was fast asleep.

Parenting while Living in the Shadow of the Greats

Posted in Books, Mothers, Parenting, Writing with tags , , , , on January 21, 2014 by Jessica Rising

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There is very little I know about this life. One thing I can reasonably state as fact, however, is my direct connection with the greats of literature. This isn’t because I sit around reading their work, brooding over the depth of their prose. I’m not even proud that I’m part of this “elite” group. It actually… kind of sucks.

See, I actually live the life they did… only in my own century.

I am what most people call “a night person”. This isn’t particularly a romantic title, but I don’t really care. (Does that make me totally emo awesome? Still don’t care.) Seriously, with a bluntness that only comes from being entirely, raw-honest, I can say that more than half the time I wish I could be… normal. Just normal. Able to go to bed at what “decent folk” call a “decent hour”. Able to get up in time to get my kids ready for school with a smile on my face and scrambled eggs in their bellies.

The reality, however, is far darker.

My kids love me, and I love them. I get up with them long enough to get them out the door. I go to EVERY parent-teacher conference, and I schedule mommy-daughter and mommy-son dates. Their birthday parties are AMAZING. We eat dinner around the table more nights than not, and discuss the craziest subjects, like religion, philosophy, and politics.

Yes, even with the 6-year-0ld.

But on a day-to-day scale, I drop the ball. A lot.

My kids know how to make their own breakfast. Even my youngest. My kids’ bedding goes weeks without being laundered. Sometimes their underwear does, too. They read a lot… but they also play a lot of video games. There are days when they don’t see me at all, because my nocturnally natural and professional schedule just doesn’t work with the one I am trying to let them have.

Usually, that’s on the weekends… usually.

If Edgar Allen Poe had kids… if Emily Bronte’ followed the traditions of her gender in her time… if Mark Twain was a single father… they’d be me.

I’m torn between being proud of my natural predilection towards nocturnal-literati-weirdness, and my fear that my children are being neglected because of it. But there’s one thing I do know, and that’s the fact that I was born to be a crazy writer.

Sometimes I just wonder if maybe I should have been a cat person instead of a mommy…

The Demonization of Feel

Posted in Books, Shiny Happy Musings, Writing with tags , , , on November 14, 2013 by Jessica Rising

I just realized a great big flaw in my writing. It’s not subconscious — in fact, I have forced myself to do it on many occasions as it goes against my natural instincts — but I didn’t realize how detrimental it was to my work until recently. I have forced it upon my writing because this flaw has long been seen as a strength, not just by me, but by many people in our current society (at least, in America where I am). What is it?

The demonization of feel.

So often lately I hear people say things like, “don’t be so emo”, “what a whiner!” and “nobody wants to hear your bitching”. The idea seems to be that with maturity comes ice-cold logic and the ability to bury any and all feelings, especially the negative ones. Nobody wants to be an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on anymore.

And especially nobody wants to admit that they sometimes need that, too.

Like many, I have seen my emotions as something to be ashamed of, because I have been told this over and over again by the society around me. In my characters, too, I have pulled far back from their emotional development because, “readers don’t want to hear a bunch of complaining”. My characters had to be strong, tough, and above all, emotionally self-sustaining.

In other words, they had to be inhuman.

In The Counterfeit Zombies of Noc, I delved further into emotions than I ever have before, showing Tab as extremely vulnerable. I worried the entire time that maybe she was being too whiny, crying too much. But then I thought, in her situation I would certainly be crying too. In fact, most kids her age would be crying at the VERY least. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t making Tabitha a whiner, I was making her human.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There can always be too much of anything, and I have certainly found myself rolling my own eyes at certain people who can’t seem to ever say a happy, thankful, hopeful word to save their apparently horrendous, soul-sucking lives. But there’s a difference between being an emotional vampire and never admitting — even to yourself — that you have emotions in the first place. A happy medium is needed here, as it seems to be needed more and more these days… everywhere.

People have feelings, and contrary to popular opinion there’s nothing wrong with that. But if we can’t support each-other, even in the hard times — especially in the hard times — then sooner or later we’ll all find ourselves just as cold, alone, and two-dimensional as the unemotional fictional characters can can’t seem to care about.

Lou Treleaven, writer

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