What a wild and crazy semester.
As someone steeped in academia (hey, it’s where I pull the largest paycheck) I think of the year in terms of semesters. The brief weeks in between Fall and Spring, the short breath between Spring and Summer, and the not-really-a-break-holy-cats-firstyears-are-coming weeks between Summer and Fall are the times when I sit back, blink, and wonder just where the last few months went.
In recent years, I’ve learned that those are the weeks when I need to completely detach from the campus for a few days, use those vacation days that I hoard, and commit myself to glorious creative ventures. For all of the juggling that I do and all of the self-care that I preach to my students, those breaks have become a necessity.
In August of last year, I went to the ER for panic attacks, and I let a lot of fear about my dayjob consume me. In a wave of people being fired and forced to resign as well as an overwhelming pressure to not talk about it among coworkers, fear and anxiety consumed much of what I did. In an effort to perform well in my graduate-level classes and demonstrate dedication so that I wouldn’t get sacked, I pushed away much of what I thought was fun. I stopped playing video games, put a bunch of writing on hold, and locked myself into a schedule of exercise, work, home, study, bed. There was some recording here and there, but not much writing and very little gaming/escapism. The 10-year anniversary trip to Jamaica with my husband made me think a lot about what I was doing, what I really wanted out of my different careers, and where I wanted to be in another five years. And by the time I returned home, I had a better handle on what I needed to do.
I started to unwind. I made time for things I’d passed off as frivolous, like sitting on the couch with my husband and kids to watch TV shows we enjoy. I started to crochet again, something to occupy my hands while we sat so I wouldn’t feel “unproductive” and anxious. During the Winter break, I cozied up with Arkham Asylum and played the heck out of that game, and loved every second of it. Since the end of Spring break, I’ve made time at least once a week to go biking with my kids… even if the only one to accompany me is three, rides in the carriage, and demands bubble gum before we pull out of the driveway. And now that the semester is over, I’ve reinstated my game account and started to reexamine stories and characters that I have sorely missed.
Oh, and the podcasting? Well… one of my dearest friends, Willie Freeman, told me in December that 2012 would be “my year.” Willie’s a force of nature in his own right (how many other people do YOU know who, in the space of two years, started their own comics publishing company and have 11 issues out already!?!) but I always told him, this is just, well, me. I’m just trying to do what I enjoy while I continue through the dayjob and work toward the doctorate. And then, he goes and asks what I’ve done SINCE August and the subsequent October-Jamaica epiphany.
- Completed the first draft of Hollow, an urban noire fantasy novel (the five-issue comic script was completed earlier that year)
- Completed recording the fifth season of Secret World Chronicle (with another Parsec nod)
- Completed recording projects at ACX in horror (with upcoming short stories in gothic romance)
- Completed recording projects as part of a Kickstarter team for The Dark Wife(which is one of the most beautiful and voice-appropriate stories I’ve ever read, and a connection that I owe completely to Balticon)
- Saw my name on the cover of Book Two: World Divided of the Secret World Chronicle
- Finished a few stories for the third book in the Secret World Chronicle series
- Put out a short story, “Fear of Thought” (with the fullcast to follow this year)
- Landed an amazing role with the team at HG World for The Diary of Jill Woodbine (which is so much FUN to read!)
- Landed more reading opportunities for the Drabblecast (Thank you, Norm Sherman and Balticon…)
- Landed more reading opportunities with a variety of delightful authors whose work I adore (Abigail Hilton, PC Haring, Scott Roche, Nobilis Reed, Justin Macumber, Mur Lafferty, Bryan Lincoln, and others I can’t remember because I’ve not had enough coffee!)
- Landed more reading opportunities with StarShipSofa (STILL can’t believe it, holy cats!)
- Landed reading opportunities with SuperVillain Corner (babycakes!)
- Saw my name and story in the first IncubatorPress comic anthology “Food Chain”
- Finished Fall and Spring semesters with all As.
… there are probably more, but that’s all I’ve got off the top of my head. Coffee, remember?
In the next month, I’ll be doing more recording for some more amazing people… more HG World, more Secret World Chronicle. I still can’t believe that I’m going to be on panels at this year’s Balticon, especially with such AMAZING folks in the podcasting world. I’ve submitted an idea for the Roundtable Podcast, a show I’ve recently found and I adore because it brings authors to such a -real- and relatable level. I’m always looking for more things to read, be they paid or just an opportunity to help out a fellow creative.
If I can help you with my voice, please just ASK. Hit me up via Twitter (@vforvoice), ping me at Google+, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Heck, catch me at Balticon!
My boss and the fraternity he advises (Delta Tau Delta, a bunch of wonderful young men) have convinced me to train and run with them in the Tough Mudder competition in Tampa this December. If I can get through THAT, then anything else (writing, recording, academia) will be a piece of cake.