Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Happenings in the Facets of My Life

I'm sitting here in a mild panic waiting to embark on the final leg of my graduate school career. So much has happened in the past month and so much is going to happen in the following month that I feel the best way to tackle this info-dump is through a list. And to make it even more palatable, I've divided it into Spiritual Life, Fictional Life, and Real Life. There may be some overlap as my fictional life typically overruns my real one.

Spiritual Life:
  • Went to the annual camp out for the IEPG (Inland Empire Pagan Guild). This years theme was Hammered with the Heathens and we did get a bit hammered here and there. But when we weren't drinking, we had a great time interacting with friends in the community and trying new things, Such as: I led my very first ritual! It was my first time writing and leading. We performed a Nightmare Banishment Ritual with a My Little Pony twist to it. I actually had a wonderful time leading it and the feedback that I've received has all been positive. Already I'm excited to lead some more rituals in the future.
  • Saw two Handfastings at the camp out! Both rituals were renewals of handfasting vows and intentions but they were both lovely and gave Hannah and me some ideas about our own future handfasting.
  • Woke with the sun one morning and greeted the day. Saw a sea hawk nest complete with babies!
  • Hannah and I have been asked if we are interested in joining the Pagan Ministry Council and both of us have said yes! We are going to submit our pleas for consideration to the full IEPG group sometime this week. If it doesn't work out that I am able to take part in the council, that's fine. I'm still gearing up for future rituals and classes. This is a great community and I will be part of it in any way I can be.
Fictional Life:
  • In Dungeons and Dragons with the neighbors my character has finally gotten his memory back and, I was correct, he is indeed a prince! All sorts of crazy questing is happening right now and Hannah's character is starting to catch feelings for the irreverent 'live for the moment' barbarian. We'll see how that plays out. He has never had a real relationship before, not even a real friendship. Or at least not in the past thirty years. So for him this is all very new.
  • Been thinking about Death Man a lot recently. I've decided that this November during the National Novel Writer's Month, I'm going to try and finish up some more of the draft as well as begin serious plotting for the overall structure which, I reckon, will be quite a bit different than it is right now.
  • Working on finishing homework for the final leg of the residency. I want to really spruce up the stories that I submitted for workshop and maybe submit one of them for a magazine at some point. But the other piece is the first chapter to a novel. So that might be my future project for next year. We'll see how Death Man goes. So many novels, so little time. I must manufacture some time. 
  • Been doing a little role-playing again in the past couple of weeks. Very little. Just a post here and there or maybe a couple a day when we're on a roll. But it's like a little treat to reward me for being good and abstaining from it for so long whilst finishing school. I am not going to let the RP take over my life, but I am going to enjoy the hell out of it as long as it doesn't interfere with other responsibilities including the November goal with my novel. Basically right now, the RP is a total excuse for vampire and werewolf conflict, lots of blood, and the fun in creating new rules for old supernatural entities. And I'm sure at some point there'll be sex. (If they all don't die first!)
Real Life:
  • Had a lovely graduation party at my aunt's club house. Lots of my friends were there as well as a decent grouping of family. I made a little over $200 dollars from cards and well-wishers and that is basically going to feed me on my trip. The party was great because it was a pool party and that is the first time I've ever thrown one of those. It was certainly hot enough to merit it!
  • SCOTUS! Finally a move in the right direction for this country. This year, for the first time in a long time, I'm proud to be an American. Hooray for marriage equality and boo on all the haters who truly believe that equal civil rights for all will somehow destroy the fabric of existence. In the words of Taylor Swift: the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, but I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. Shake it off!
  •  Got a surprise graduation mini-party at work. On Monday, when I arrived for the early morning meeting, I was greeted with a cake, a card full of monies, and a sign that said "Congrats Amanda." It was such a sweet gesture! 
  • I'm on the hunt for a new job. Which is very bittersweet because despite the occasional drama at the bra shop, I really do love this job and the gals who work there. But it's time for me to get something that can provide for me and my mate while we continue to work on our fictional and spiritual lives. Today I'm finishing a cover letter and application for the Newspaper in Spokane. Wish me luck with it!
  • Getting ready for the Residency. Homework, finalizing my class that I get to teach, and pretty much stressing about it on all levels. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dungeons and Dragons and Foursomes, oh my!

So Hannah and I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with the neighbors. And we all have wonderfully abandoned and traumatized characters going on a quest for an elemental stone. We have a great time while playing and I love that we do it outside. It feel more primal that way. And outside is just awesome in general.

A likeness for Hannah's Elven Wizard: Sarathiel

A likeness for the Neighbor's Half-Elf Figher: Anastrasie
 Something fun to note from our game playing adventures: my character had a gay foursome with servants in a Holy City. This is the first time a D&D character of mine has ever had sex in game! It was really strange to have to freedom to do so and it thus solidified my character as the slut in the group.

Here's the figurine for my character, holding a DIRE TORCH!
Prettiful Dice!
My character is a half-elf Barbarian bodyguard and apparently he is more than happy to guard the whole body. He is also bisexual which makes it fun when the other two characters (both female) see a cute guy and get all starry eyed and he joins in. He also thinks his traveling companions are hot. And at first he wanted to get to know them much better but now he thinks of them as sisters. Which is good. Because they all come from fucked up backgrounds and need some stable and semi normal emotional attachments at this point. Never before has D&D been such a therapy session. I love it. 

This is a likeness for my Half-Elf Barbarian: Belafax
Recently, my character died. So did Hannah's character. But my neighbor's character (bless her little salt-mine heart) brought us to an Elven city and resurrected us. I am now permanently deathly pale and Hannah's character now has turrets. Which is going to be wonderful when she tries to charm someone or use her charisma and ends up calling them a pig-fucker. 

Our DM has backstories for each character that will eventually play into the main story-line. Right now I'm full of theories! My character woke up at 15 with a headache and no memory of his life before. He found his name on the items he had with him. He was raised on the streets of Coll and grew up to take pleasure when it presents itself because the alternative is usually pain. He's never really had any friends of family to speak of until he signed up for this elemental stone quest. Now he has two sisters (or he thinks of them that way) but he just found out that he has brothers out there and apparently they are looking for him. (He may or may not have a few little love children out there as well but we'll leave them out of it for now,) So I theorize he's actually a prince or something. But we shall see. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Creative Thesis is Done!

Tonight I sent in 130 pages in PDF format to be bound as my Creative Thesis. I cannot believe that I'm here. I truly cannot believe that I am graduating. This last semester was truly awful for me. I'm the reason it was awful. I let depression and insecurity following my illness in January, really destroy my drive and ambition. By the time I should have been editing a full manuscript I was still trying to compose and figure out the rest of the first part. So I figured I would NOT be graduating. I figured that I had wasted everyone's time. I'd wasted my mentor's time. Her energy and her effort. I'd wasted it all. But she didn't let me throw in the towel. In fact she got down right mean about it! Which is what I needed. Back when she first became my mentor I handed her over a metaphorical whip and said, go for it. Hit me with this whip until I feel it in the marrow of my bones. And in the end that's exactly what it took. I descended into the Great Below and was reborn. That might seem a pretty intense metaphor for graduating an MFA program, but that's exactly how it has felt. 

Tonight I'm turning in my end of semester evaluation. And then all I have left is to figure out the logistics and prepare for the residency classes. I'm frustrated because there's a new law in Massachusetts saying that all students have to have health insurance. Which wouldn't be such a big deal except that they want to charge me over $200 for the ten days I'm there in July. So I'm trying to figure out what to do about that, but aside from this little snafu I am just about ready. I have work tomorrow but then have a three day stretch. I'm going to get as much done for the residency as possible. I want to be able to relax in June when I go on the IEPG camping trip. After I get back from the residency I'm going to be applying for a new job. Also I'm going to bust my hump getting into a writing routine. Sandra has faith in me that I really can get published. And I'm starting to maybe have some faith in myself as well. Right now I feel like I have a world of possibilities opened up before me. So we'll just see what happens. In the mean time, I know for a fact that I am going to graduate and I'm letting this knowledge warm me up in a way I haven't felt in a long time.