Insecure Writers Support Group: Where I'm At

 

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

I forgot that yesterday was IWSG day. But hardly anybody ever reads my posts anyway, so, whatever.

I have had a very difficult week.

I should be getting my car back today.

I have removed all of the Carnal Invasion books from Kindle except for the collection of four short stories. They need to be reworked if they are to be re-released. In all honesty, this is not likely to happen.

My downward spiral actually started when I went on Goodreads to find the URL for one of my books and saw that my overall author rating on Goodreads was only 2.5 stars. Goodreads does not have all of my books. This low rating is because someone lambasted Coming to Earth, the first book in the Carnal Invasion series, giving it one star. 

I swear I am going to punch this Grammarly smiley emoji. What about this discourse comes off as happy?

Anyway...

Of course, not everyone is going to like every story, but I am not sure why people had it in for that story. It's not the best story I've ever written, but it's harmless. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for it.

Anyway, it's gone now and I'll not be bringing it back.

I'm normally a fairly prolific writer. I've never measured up to the "write at least 2500 words a day or you're a worthless piece of shit" measure that some writers insist is the benchmark for writerly worth, but I average about 1000 words per day.

This week, I've struggled to get 1000 words written at all and I strongly considered just deleting everything I've ever written and disengaging myself entirely. 

I did mull over the possibility of suicide. Nobody would miss me. However, from a utilitarian standpoint, it would throw my son's life into chaos and I felt it a bit unfair to do that a week before his birthday. Happy birthday, Son, here's a huge mess for you to deal with. Nah, that would be a shite thing to do.

I have found it very difficult to do the book reviews for the Online Book Club recently and I haven't been able to do the book promos for Readers Roost at all. 

I know that most people don't like me. I've resigned myself to that. 

I suppose I need to resign myself to the fact that what I write is interesting only to me. It's stupid of me to believe that I will ever have any kind of an audience. I don't know what I was thinking.

Seriously, Grammarly, "optimistic?" Is there even a single word in this piece that sounds optimistic to anybody? Fuck's sake.

All right, let me try to answer the question.

May 5 question - Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

Yeah, I have, and it was very reminiscent of the way people treated me when I was in school. One person picked apart a piece that I had written for the WEP Challenge. It was a vampire bit. She started her critique off with "I don't usually read vampire stories..."

I inquired why she was reading this one then since such stories weren't her bag.

"Because that's what you're supposed to do for the challenge."

Anyway, she was a twit, so I volleyed a bit of subtle snark in her direction and moved on, expecting that most of the other comments would be pretty neutral.

Instead, I got piled on.

It felt very much like being back in school. 

I hadn't even written anything terribly controversial. Maybe the fact that the vampire couple in my story were gay men bothered some people, I don't know. I probably will never know.

Although the people at WEP handled things well, this incident will probably always bother me. It's very much representative of the way I've been treated my entire life for being socially awkward and different.

People love to say "it gets better," but it really doesn't. Sometimes one just finds avenues to remove themselves from a situation.

It hasn't gotten much better for me, and I don't imagine that it ever will.

Cie, for what it's worth
(and it ain't worth much)


Update 2 May 2021: Everything Sucks

 It's newsletter time, but I'm not going to create a newsletter when I only have two subscribers. I was stupid to think that anyone would want to read what I had to say.

An incident that happened on Friday made me realize just how vulnerable I really am and how precarious my position in the world is.

My car overheated and died at the junction of County Road 77 and Highway 14. If you don't know where that is, suffice it to say that it's in the middle of nowhere.

AAA sent a tow truck and I rode with the driver to the shop but I had nobody I could call to come and pick me up because I don't know anyone where I live.

I realized that I'm hearing my mother saying "I told you so" in my mind. She didn't want my son and me to move out here. She wanted us to move in with her, refusing to acknowledge how miserable every single one of us would have been if we had agreed. She even demanded that we sell the house and move in with her after the fact. I calmly stated what a bad idea that would be, but I obviously felt guilty.

It's scary realizing how precarious everything is. Some people naturally excel at making connections. I'm not one of those people. I find it very difficult to make connections. But a person really can't live without some kind of support system. There is virtually no support system for people living in rural areas.

I've found it difficult to write since this incident. The same thing happened when I was caught in a flood in 2013. A huge wave rolling out of a field where there normally was no water slammed into the side of my car. I had PTSD and survivor's guilt. What right did I have to be doing something as frivolous as writing when others lost their property and their lives? What right did I have to be alive? Why was someone as worthless as I am spared when much better people died?

I don't believe in (or at least don't worship) the Church God that I was brought up with. However, I also don't believe that everything that happens is just a random coincidence. I think that circumstances are a blend of fate or karma and coincidence. Perhaps I'm simply choosing to believe this way as otherwise the Universe is either mean or it's arbitrary and either way, it gives me the creeps.

(That last sentence is courtesy of Calvin and Hobbes.)

I've tried to resign myself to the fact that my writing is just unpaid therapy. Nobody besides me likes what I write. I'm never going to sell anything. 

I've tried to stop writing, but every time I try, everything else goes to shit. I become severely depressed and unmotivated. I know everyone would be happier if I'd just stopped writing and participating in various writing events and blog hops. 

I'm not someone that people want around. I'm that person that people allow in if I show up at a gathering because they feel the need to be polite. Nobody actually wants me there. Nobody is interested in what I have to say, they just feel sorry for me. It's horrible to go through life knowing this.

I emailed this letter to the local church (which I feel guilty about, considering my agnostic state) and to the mayor. I don't know if it will amount to anything but I've put it out there.

After finding myself stranded on the corner of CR-77 and Highway 14 when my car overheated yesterday, I had the thought that it would be a good idea if there was a network of people that could be contacted if something like this happens. The only neighbor I knew at all moved away so now I'm left without anyone I can contact for help. I'm the only one in my household who can drive or has a (usually) working car.

I don't quite know how to start building such a network. I'm very shy and have a hard time talking to people that I don't know. If anyone likes my idea and would be interested in helping me implement it, I would be grateful for the help. I put up notices at the general store and post office.

I'm happy to volunteer myself to be available to pick people up in emergencies with the caveat that I can't drive after dark. I have night blindness due to cataracts. Also, I won't drive on major highways such as I-25 or I-80. Other than that, I am open to helping.

I then included my phone number and also my address. In a town of 137 people, I'm fine with people knocking on the door to talk to me. 

So, the conclusion I've come to is that I have to keep writing because otherwise, everything else falls apart, i.e. I can't even make myself do anything but lie around watching videos and hating myself. Meals won't be made and dishes won't get washed. 

I could just keep my shitty literary efforts to myself and spare others the misery of reading the crap that falls out of my head, but there's a part of me that needs to pretend that someone out there will like what they read and that maybe it will make a difference to them the way the writings of the likes of Poe, Lovecraft, Bierce, and King have made a difference to me.

When I was young, I believed that one day I'd be a FAMUS RITER like Stephen King. When I hit my middle years I became aware that at best I'd achieve posthumous fame as Lovecraft did. (In fairness, Lovecraft's work did have an audience during his lifetime even if he never made much money from his efforts). 

Now I realize that when I'm gone, everything I've worked on over the years will be lost and it won't matter. I hate this thought. I try to ignore it because otherwise, I don't have any motivation at all.

And that is my shitty, worthless weekend update on my shitty, worthless life.

I guess I'll find something to stuff in my gob.

I really wish I could just stop eating altogether. It's such an inconvenience and when I'm depressed, nothing tastes good anyway.

Cie the Loser

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Naughty Netherworld News 25 April 2021: Too Much Phucquery

 Greetings to my same two subscribers. I love you, but this is one of the reasons I stopped doing a newsletter last time. It's kind of discouraging when you have virtually no audience. But the small audience I have is the best audience, so I'll roll with that.

I spent a lot of time on the road to medical appointments last week. Not for me, even though I'm a dumpster fire of chronic health problems. Two of the appointments were for my cat Tara, who has mast cell disease. It hasn't spread to her organs, which is a positive, but she has a mass between her eyes that needs to be removed and the disease has spread to her lymph nodes. After they do surgery to remove the mass and two of the lymph nodes, they want to do a round of chemo, which, hopefully, will keep things in check. Tara doesn't act any different than she ever did, so that's a good thing.

The people at CSU Veterinary Hospital are amazing, and if you ever have a pet with a serious health issue, I recommend looking for a teaching hospital at a university near you. I can't guarantee that they'll all be as good as CSU, but I wish I'd known about them years ago.

My son is having a non-life-threatening but debilitating medical problem that I hope will be resolved relatively soon. He's experiencing a fair bit of discomfort. He's on antibiotics and is taking prescription levels of ibuprofen. He had a cup of low-dose THC tea (Stillwater brand) tonight that seems to have helped with the pain. I'm a big proponent of legalizing marijuana. I've seen it work miracles for a patient I worked with who had frequent seizures. As for the recreational side, people are going to smoke it anyway. Treat it the same as alcohol. People shouldn't be driving while under the influence. I'd much rather have people getting their pot from a regulated dispensary than from a dealer.

None of this has much of anything to do with writing except that this entire month has thrown me off-kilter. Thanks to the phucquery with Amazon, I wasn't able to promote Cloned Heat IV properly, and now I need to start working on Cloned Heat V. I'm trying to finish my overdue poetry volume. I haven't even started editing The Wizard's Key yet. I have a novelette that I need to format. Plus, I'm still working on fresh material. I still have no audience and it's not even worth bothering looking at my sales, because they're nothing. It's hard not to be discouraged.

I'll keep pushing because I'm a stubborn jackass and I don't know how to do anything else.

Anyway, that's about it. Perhaps I'll have a more cohesive newsletter with less crying in my omnipresent bottle of herbal tea next week.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~



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Jana

 

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Jana

Content warning: suicide 

Although Jana Evans was shy and plain, she managed to stand out. When her schoolmates ridiculed her unusual voice or her colorful clothes or called her weird and ugly and crazy, the outcast high school freshman flew off in her mind to the Crystal Cave where the Fae King and Queen and Princess lay sleeping in transparent pods.

“This world isn’t real,” Jana reminded herself. “I’m asleep in my cocoon, and one day I’ll awaken on my Freedom Morning in my enchanted world where I am uniquely exquisite and dearly loved.”

“Jana the Space Cadet, zoom off in your rocket!” Sabina Dobos, the most adored girl in school jeered to a symphony of cheers and applause as Jana walked away wordlessly.

Jana had few friends. Her favorite was a boy named Johnny Haven. Johnny always encouraged Jana to share her artwork and stories with him. Jana felt safe confiding her thoughts to Johnny. Knowing that she would be seeing her special friend made her look forward to going to school despite being aware that she would be ridiculed by Sabina and her followers.

When Jana spotted Johnny at school on Monday morning, she called out to him and waved. Johnny glanced at her momentarily before turning away. Jana reassured herself that Johnny must not have seen her. She hurried to her friend, eager to show him the drawing that she’d worked on over the weekend.

“Johnny!” Jana panted, out of breath from running to catch up.

“What do you want?” Johnny demanded, his lip curling in disgust as he sized Jana up.

“Did I do something wrong?” Jana inquired, her brow furrowing.

“Yeah, you existed, you freak. Everyone’s been telling me that you’re in love with me and you want me to ask you to the homecoming dance. Well, get this through your crazy head. I wouldn’t ask you to the dance if you were the last chick in the world. Everybody thinks you’re a loser. Just stay away from me, okay?”

“If that’s what you want,” Jana replied, tears filling her eyes. “But for your information, everybody’s lying to you, Johnny. I never told anybody that I was in love with you. I thought you were my friend, but I guess I was wrong about that. Don’t worry, I’ll leave you alone—forever.”

Jana hurried off, waiting until she was several blocks away from the school before bursting into tears. She was filled with disgust at everything: at the school and its plentiful cliques, at ringleaders like Sabina and their mindless followers, at Johnny, whom she’d believed was her friend since the beginning of junior high, and most especially at herself.

“I’m done with all of it,” Jana declared. “I’m done with school, with this town, with everything. When I thought that Johnny was my friend, those other idiots didn’t matter. But he’s just another jackass in the pasture. I’m sick of fighting. I guess they win, and I lose.”

The house was empty when Jana arrived. She took a razor blade from the bathroom and set it on her nightstand. She filled a pitcher with ice water and took a bottle of bourbon from the liquor cabinet. She took several bottles of pills from the medicine chest. She lay towels down on the bed, wanting to leave as little mess as possible for her family to deal with.

Jana put a cassette in her boom box and cued up The Alan Parson Project’s “I Robot” album. She sipped the whiskey and water, swallowing the pills slowly as the intro song played.

Jana let her rage out as she screamed the lyrics to “I Wouldn’t Wanna Be Like You.”

If I had a mind to

I wouldn’t wanna be like you.

And if I had time to

I wouldn’t wanna talk to you.

I don’t care

What you do

I wouldn’t wanna be like you.

“Fuck you, Johnny!” Jana screamed, tears flowing down her face. “Fuck you forever! I didn’t care about the rest of them, but why did you have to turn out to be another destroyer?”

As the gentle strains of “Some Other Time” kicked in, Jana swallowed a handful of pills. She wanted to go to her cocoon now. She picked up the razor blade and slashed her forearm. The blood flowed thick and black as she held her hand aloft.

“Not even human,” Jana murmured, swallowing another handful of pills. “I’m not even human.”

As “Breakdown” began to play, Jana felt at peace. She wasn’t human, she was a fairy princess. Those losers at school didn’t matter.

Where are all the friends who used to talk to me?

All they ever told me was good news

People that I've never seen are kind to me

Is it any wonder I'm confused?

When I breakdown when I breakdown

When Jana’s parents entered her room, they were surrounded by brilliant white light. They weren’t angry with her for what she’d done. Jana’s mother explained that they’d been exiled to the Earth realm by the False King, but their loyal subjects had finally won the war and they could go home now.

Freedom, freedom, we will not obey.

Freedom, freedom, take the wall away.

(Take the wall away)

That wasn’t even the real Johnny that Jana had seen at school. The real Johnny was waiting for her in her real home.

Freedom, freedom, we will not obey.

Freedom, freedom, take them all away.

Where are all my friends?

“Your real friends are waiting for you in the Realm of Crystal, Janalea Evenstar,” Mom reassured her. “Come, Darling, let’s go home now.”

(I'm so confused)

(Take the wall away, take the wall away)

(Won't somebody help me)

Jana Evans emerged from her chrysalis into a world without pain. Her freedom morning had come at last.

964 Words


Free use image by Alexas Fotos on Pixabay
There is no valid reason for bullying.
Not because someone is fat.
Not because someone is poor.
Not because someone is disabled.
Not because someone is "ugly."
Not because someone is "weird."
Not because someone "dresses funny."
Adults need to take bullying seriously, which they often don't.
The problem needs to be addressed before it has a chance to get out of control.

Acknowledgments

I Robot is a 1977 album by The Alan Parsons Project. All songs cited in this work are from that album.

Reedsy Prompts

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/

This story was written using the Write a fairy tale about an outsider trying to fit in prompt. It was submitted on 7 April 2021.

WEP Challenge

Freedom Morning

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/04/wep-2021-continues-artistic-inspiration.html

Notes

This is a retelling of a story that I wrote in the autumn of 1980 when I was 15 years old. This version is starker, darker, and contains far less purple prose.

I was severely bullied all the way through school. When I was in my sophomore year of high school, a lot of messed-up shit happened, and I ended up on the psych ward at St. Anthony’s hospital in Denver after taking a bunch of pills and cutting my wrists. The pills only served to make me sick to my stomach and the cuts were superficial.

There were some nice people working there, but there were a lot of shitty ones too. One angel of mercy informed me that I was a freak and would always be a freak because someone like me could never be normal. My response was “better a freak like me than a bitch like you.” I was also a sassy fucker to the psychologist, whom I rightfully named Dr. Fraud, and I’m proud of my 16-year-old self for it.

When I got out of that fucked-up situation, I made a promise to myself that I would die before ever going back to a psych unit, and I have kept that promise. Seriously, fuck those people. Bunch of power-tripping Nurse Ratchet wannabes. Also, fuck most of my schoolmates. What the hell was wrong with you people?

My slashed forearms were the symptom of a life that had gone very wrong, and, looking back on it, most of it was in no way my fault. I had been sexually assaulted, which I wrote about in this piece. https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/28/submissions/8426/

It took me 40 years to acknowledge that yes, I was sexually assaulted, and I’m sure the guy who did it to me went on to do it to other girls. The sexism in 1980 (which is still alive and well today) prevented me from acknowledging that I had been sexually assaulted and prompted me to place the blame on myself.

I was blamed for the bullying that I endured. Then I was blamed for acting out in response to what I know now was unresolved trauma (the sexual assault) and complex PTSD due to the abuse that I was subjected to daily by my fellow students. I was told to “stop being so dramatic” and “stop looking for attention.” I couldn’t trust my counselor, because when I confessed to her that I’d been cutting, the bitch called my mother and I got chewed out.

I had nobody that I could turn to, so I turned to alcohol and drugs. I did have a few friends. Some of them I still think of fondly and wonder what happened to them. Some ended up lost to time and tide. Others can stay in the past because they turned out not to be such good friends in the end.

These prompts reminded me of the little story that I wrote during an extremely difficult time in my life. I think that it deserves to be brought into the light.

I spent a lot of years despising my younger self. My retelling of this story is my way of apologizing for being so harsh with her. I’m sorry, Young Cie. You deserved better.

Cie

The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese If You Please (Or Don't Please)


Creative Commons License

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This work is the intellectual property of Naughty Netherworld Press/Poetry of the Netherworld.

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it. Odysee’s reblog function is called repost, which makes things confusing since reposting is considered a no-no on most platforms. It’s fine to share the post using the repost function on Odysee. It is not okay to copy-paste the material into a new post.

Sharing a link to the post is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

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A Leap of Folly #8Sunday #MFRWHooks #SnipSun

 

Image by Marta Cuesta from Pixabay

Note: I had a really odious week and was not up to sharing fiction or even poetry this go-round. This is an excerpt from a piece that I wrote for the Reedsy weekly prompts competition. 

While I tend to be straightforward about who and what I am, I'm not exactly an open book. This piece sheds a little light on the mystery of Cie. It is both real and raw. I am sharing an excerpt here. 

Excerpt

I always loved writing, and, for the most part, got high marks for the little stories that I wrote in school. Teachers encouraged me to become a writer, and my paternal grandmother, who had once worked with such artists as Eydie Gormé and Steve Lawrence thought that I should concentrate on my piano playing, but I wanted to be an actress.

I was ugly and unpopular. Actresses, I reasoned, were beautiful, and if I were an actress, people would love me. Then I could thumb my nose at all the people who treated me poorly.

So, I took a leap of faith, believing that if I worked hard in every school play, it would pave the road to my becoming a beautiful Hollywood star beloved by all.

I got a bit part as a secretary in the seventh-grade play. I was madly in love with the male lead, a cool guy named Jay. Jay skateboarded to school. He thought of me as a little sister when he thought of me at all. 

***************************

The document in its entirety is available free on Odysee. I ain't too proud to take a tip, though. One LBC is worth about tree fiddy. (About three cents.)

I'm not as enamored of Odysee as I was of LBRY, which allowed me to publish adult material. It's still a decent platform and you still have the opportunity to stick it to YouTube by watching videos or selling your own material there. If you would like an Odysee account, go to http://bit.ly/OdyseeWithMe

You do not need an Odysee account to be able to read the document.

Sign up for my all-new, better newsletter here.

I'm using TinyLetter now. It's perfect for a Newsletter Nonce like me. It features a simple WYSIWYG editor and no confusing templates.

The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese If You Please (Or Don't Please)


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is the intellectual property of Naughty Netherworld Press/Poetry of the Netherworld.

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it. Odysee’s reblog function is called repost, which makes things confusing since reposting is considered a no-no on most platforms. It’s fine to share the post using the repost function on Odysee. It is not okay to copy-paste the material into a new post.

Sharing a link to the post is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.




FOAD Thursday: Amazon Can FOAD

 


FOAD Thursday badge made by me using Pixlr and a free-use image from Pixabay.

Content warning: this post is frustrated, pissed off, and sweary. If you are sensitive to profanity, don't fucking read it.

Amazon can fuck off the edge of the Earth and keep fucking off into the nearest black hole and when they reach the other side they can continue fucking off for eternity.

Cloned Heat IV has not been released yet because the Twat Brigade at Amazon decided that suddenly free-use images from Pixabay with attribution and a link to Pixabay's image use policy are not enough. One needs a signed release statement from the image creator who put their images on Pixabay to be used. 

I just fucking cannot with this shit.

So, I ended up using one of Amazon's stock images for the cover and we'll see if the bastards will be so generous as to publish it now.

As a secondary FOAD, LBRY/Odysee can FOAD as well. 

It was nice being able to use LBRY as an alternative to Amazon. But then they decided to kill LBRY in favor of Odysee and enact the Hayes Code so publishers of adult material can just get stuffed, even if we abide by an ethical code including flagging our material as being for mature audiences.

At this point, I really encourage readers who find my naughty little stories entertaining to support me on Patreon. Each new story becomes available in PDF form as it's published. Subscriptions start at as little as $1 per month. All but a small percentage of the money goes to me and, most importantly, does not go to Amazon.

Cloned Heat IV is already available from my Patreon.

http://bit.ly/NNPPatreon

Just in case I wasn't clear before:

Fuck Amazon.

Fuck them so fucking hard.

With a cactus.

And now it's time for the FOAD Thursday Theme Song.


Insecure Writers Support Group: Where I'm At

  Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay I forgot that yesterday was IWSG day. But hardly anybody ever reads my posts anyway, so, whatever. I ...