ideatrash

Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Want to win a copy of NOT OUR KIND? Ends 1 Feb 2015!

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Goodreads Book Giveaway


Not Our Kind by Nayad Monroe

Not Our Kind

by Nayad Monroe


Giveaway ends February 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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a few random pictures of me, and a thought

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So last Saturday (or really, early Sunday morning) I managed to trip on concrete and scrape the hell out of my face.



I know, I'm a bloody sexy beast.

It's already starting to heal up nicely, as evidenced by this photo from yesterday:
Again, I am such a sexy beast.  Whoooo hooo.

There's no good story with it.  I tripped.  While drunk texting.  No ice.  No real reason for it.  It's a bloody cliche wrapped in a cliche and then marinated in a nice cliche sauce.

But there's a reason cliches are ... well, cliches.  They're common experiences.  Drunk words are sober thoughts, after all.

I'm not nearly as well as I sometimes let on, now.  I'm working on it, mind you, but in many ways I'm still fighting the same demons of self-doubt and hopelessness that I was a month ago.

The difference is, in this case, that I have a glimmer of hope.

It's probably delusional... at least to some degree.  But it's there.

Maybe it's too much Doctor Who, or Captain America, or any of the cultural myths we tell ourselves.  When I have hope, I have motivation.   I can do things.

And that's something precious.

I don't know what you hope in.  Maybe it's a person.  Maybe it's a situation.  Maybe it's some kind of final reward.

It doesn't matter.

My hope?  It's probably delusional.  There's a lot of evidence that says that it is - and a tiny amount that says that it isn't.   But I'm choosing to focus on the part that says that I am not being delusional - that the hope exists.

Because that gives me the motivation that I need in order to get better, and doesn't actively harm anyone else.

I don't think that's a bad thing.

Because my motivation is being used to make me a better person.  Maybe it won't lead to the goal I hope for.  But even if I am delusional about my hope, that motivation will make me better able to deal with that, as well.

We all lie to ourselves.  A lot.  It's usually unconscious - some kind of subliminal justification of what we want instead of what we need.

And in this case, it's a conscious decision.  It's a deliberate choice.

And at the end of the day, when I've done the hard things demanded and motivated by this (possible) act of lying to myself, I won't need to anymore.

Which makes it good for me.

What do you think?  Do you ever lie to yourself - and know that you're doing it for a specific purpose?

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there is a cardinal rule of relationships

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I think there is one cardinal rule of relationships.

Everyone involved has to want to make the relationship as good as it possibly can be.

Sure, sometimes there's no easy answer for that.  Sometimes it absolutely cannot work at all.

But the rest of the time?

This horrifies me.  This whole post
is a response to that horror.


The rest of the time you can have that faith.  That assurance that the other person (or people) in the relationship are truly trying to make things better.

Then, you can give permission for honest mistakes.  Then you can consider that it really was a stupid mistake, or that it was an expression of love.  Then you can take that terrifying leap of faith.

Because you know everyone in the relationship wants it to be the best relationship it can be... even if they're human and screw up.  Even if they screw up a lot.

But if you know - really know - that everyone involved is committed to making the relationship better, if they're really doing their damnest to make things work the best they can...

...then things will eventually be okay.

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A New Backer Reward for Helping A Navy Vet After A Fire!

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Author and pal Justin Swapp has offered eBook copies of his novel The Magic Shop as an additional backer reward for anyone who has contributed $5 or more to a Tilt campaign to help a Navy veteran and his kids after they lost everything in a fire.

http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids
The full list of backer rewards is below.  To get these rewards - including the exclusive Life After Ashes anthology - go to http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids before 2 Feb!

http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids

http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids

http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids

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the emotional range of a dog.

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I have the emotional range of a dog.

This isn't a bad thing, really. 

Oh, sure, it can be annoying - the wanting attention, the eating of stuff off the counter, the yipping when left alone and cut off.

But I believe the best of people.

Including you.

My dog was abused before I got her.

She even has a scar on the top of her head from where someone beat her.

But she still loves.

But she still loves.

I aspire to be as good as my dog.

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we are all broken

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By the time you're an adult (and sometimes much sooner), just about everyone is broken.  Everyone has experienced pain.

The difference is whether you use your own brokenness to empathize, or if it's an excuse to wall others away.

Whether you use your pain to help others, or to hurt.



And if you haven't already, see if you can contribute anything to help a Navy Vet and his family who recently lost everything in a fire:
http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids 

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Two quotes

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These two images (and quotes) seemed relevant to things I've been talking about lately.



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Failing the relationship test

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As I've been talking with friends over the last month, several people have told me about a particular thing that people1 do:  They ask their partner for something expecting the partner to give a particular answer (usually "no") as a test.

A few stereotypical examples:

"Honey, do you think that person over there is attractive?"
"Would you ever like to date other people?"
"Do you ever think about your exes?"

I'm just putting this out there:

If you create "tests" for someone you're in a relationship with, you are the one who has failed, not them.

Proceed accordingly.

And if you haven't already, see if you can contribute anything to help a Navy Vet and his family who recently lost everything in a fire:
http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids 


1 I don't think this is what happened to me, for what it's worth.  Artistic license is in full effect here.

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feeling is a type of knowing

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Saw this tweeted recently:


That's crap.

Because it's ignoring that what you feel is also what you know.

Have we learned nothing from Star Trek?


This plays back into what I was talking into about there being more than just "rounding up" a partner.

When I recently visited two female friends, it was great to see how they'd both managed to work past being broken like the rest of us.  Sure, they used logic in their choices, but there was still a strong emotional connection.  They both decided on someone, then did the hard work to make that relationship happen.

And it was pretty awesome to see things working well for them.  Because I suspect they both recognize that what they know includes what they feel.

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Your chance to play advice columnist: How do you tell people you're feeling suicidal?

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Over the rest of the week, I'm going to talk about both my own state and the fallout of me talking candidly about my suicidal feelings.


Owning my shit

In case the last week or two of posts didn't make it clear, my suicidal depression was primarily situation-based. While I've had some anxiety issues lately (which my doctor and I have been and continue to work on), the suicidal feelings were rooted in my reaction to a sudden, unexpected, and unwelcome change in my life.

It's important that I phrase it that way - my reaction to a situation. Because it's true - nobody else is responsible for your feelings. It might seem like a tiny distinction between a person creating a situation that you're reacting to and creating the reaction - but it is a big distinction.

It's the difference between blaming someone and simply recognizing that a thing is. Perhaps the difference is "merely" motivation, but for your lived experience, it can be a big difference.

This was actually one of the first steps I took as a coping mechanism. I don't think (nor have I ever said) that someone "made me suicidal". I originally had enough presence to say that the situation did... but even that was wrong.

My reaction to the situation made me suicidal.

Really grokking that difference is hard, especially when you're depressed. And communicating that difference is even harder - especially when you try to talk about it to anyone who might be involved in the situation itself.

I actually called in to the Savage Lovecast with (essentially) that question: How do you talk to your lover (or ex-lover, or nearly-ex-lover) about feeling suicidal without making them feel like you're threatening or guilting them?  I've posted the edited question below, since it looks like it won't make it on the Lovecast... but I think it's something that might seriously help other people.

As someone who has been in a relationship with someone who used threats of suicide as leverage in arguments, that's the last thing I want to inflict on someone else. But at the same time, should you hide those feelings from the person you love and share your life with?

So here's the question I asked (slightly edited):

My name is Steve. I'm a forty-one year old straight male living in the midwest. I recently went through a situation that caught me completely unprepared.  I reacted badly, going into a suicidal spiral. Two people caught me trying to give away things and realized WHY I was doing it - my now-ex and another friend. The friend was sympathetic and talked me off the edge.

I was - and continue - to feel those same suicidal thoughts. I've seen my doctor, and have plans in place. I actually made a suicide attempt back in the 90's, and that experience helped, after that first crisis, to recognize when I was starting to spiral. It's a controlled thing right now - I make sure I'm not alone too much, I make sure I have lots of things to do, plans and obligations because I don't want to leave things undone.

After the emotional train wreck of my last marriage, I had to do a lot of work to be able to trust that I could be honest about my feelings with her. And I did. I thought we both trusted each other enough to really be honest about our feelings.

So when my ex asked, I was honest. I made sure to emphasize that it wasn't a threat. I made sure to emphasize that I wasn't telling her to make her react a certain way. I emphasized that I was reporting how I was managing and coping with this intense depression and suicidal thoughts.

But she still took it as emotionally blackmailing her with threats of suicide.

I guess it's too late for my relationship. But I know how hard it was for me to reach out for help, and if it hadn't been for one friend and my prior experience, I don't think I would have made it through the holidays.

But what should I have done differently? I can't be the only person who is faced with this situation. Should someone in that situation lie to their partner (or not-quite-ex partner)? I thought that was kind of the point of having a partner - that you had someone that you could feel safe enough to be honest with... but in my case, doing so seems to have contributed making a "break" into a "breakup".
What do you think?  What would your answer be?

And if you haven't already, see if you can contribute anything to help a Navy Vet and his family who recently lost everything in a fire:
http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids

Thanks!

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Help a Vet's family, get an exclusive eBook with over 50 authors

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BOOK CREATED TO HELP FAMILY OF A NAVY VET AFTER A FIRE


(16 January 2015 – DAYTON, OHIO – ) An award-winning lineup of over fifty authors are collecting stories to help raise money to help the family of a Navy veteran and fellow author recover after a home-destroying fire. The anthology, entitled Life After Ashes will only be available as a reward to those donating money through a crowdfunding campaign to aid the family before 2 February 2015.

Earlier this month the home of writer, Navy veteran, and single father Greg Campbell burned down. Campbell and his two children, Isaac and Scarlett, lost everything, including childhood mementos, keepsakes and photos of his recently deceased wife, and family pets. To help the family recover, Tia Fix Rumbaugh, Isaac’s stepmother, started a crowdfunding campaign to help the family get back on their feet.

“I started the crowdfunder in a panic,” Rumbaugh said. “My stepson’s house had burned. They were homeless, with only the clothes on their back, and this after my stepson had lost his mother de facto when his Aunt Pam died unexpectedly.”

The anthology started to take shape when author and publisher Steven Saus first offered digital copies of his own books as rewards for backers. “I’d just met Isaac, one of the children who lost their home. Not only is his father an author, but Isaac is an aspiring writer himself and an avid reader. It just seemed natural. Then when other authors asked if they could contribute stories as backer rewards, I knew we had the start of something special.”

Rumbaugh says that this has a great impact for the family. “This anthology isn’t just about raising funds to help the Campbell’s and give people an amazing read from award-winning authors - it’s a cause, it’s a quest, it’s an idea turned into physical hope; hope for Greg, hope for Isaac, hope for Scarlett. Life isn’t all about loss. Life can raise up from the ashes.”

Life After Ashes will have over fifty authors, including Nisi Shawl, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Tobias Buckell, Laura Resnick, and many more. It will be available in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats to anyone who contributes $25 or more to the crowdfunding campaign raising money for the family.

You can find the crowdfunding campaign on Tilt.com at http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids.

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Some of my coping mechanisms for dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts

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Over the rest of the week, I'm going to talk about both my own state and the fallout of me talking candidly about my suicidal feelings.

Coping mechanisms

First, let me say that there's one big "positive": my weight has plummeted.  The graph very clearly starts dropping with the initial stimulus of my depression, and the two peaks are when I thought (wrongly) that things were going better.

It's a "positive" in that I'm still simply nauseated by the whole thought of things most of the time.  I force myself to eat - and since I now only manage that once a day, it means I eat high-calorie-density items (because I'm not entirely stupid).  But hey, unlike most people, I lost weight over the holidays.  

Yeah, not worth it. 

By and large, the way that I have dealt with (and continue to deal with) my suicidal thoughts and feelings have been to approach it the way that you successfully approach any other chronic medical condition. You recognize its impact on your life, try to minimize high-risk situations, and make sure you have backup plans if something falls through.

For example, I've been making sure that I'm getting out every day, and definitely on weekends. I took a weekend trip to visit old friends I hadn't seen in a decade or more. I make sure that I have plenty of things to do at home so that I stay busy.

And when I know that there's something that is going to be high-risk, I make sure I'm in a safe place. The last story I sold has, as its emotional core, the situation I am currently going through. I know that I'm going to have to eventually read it aloud, so I did so - but after making sure I was with a good friend who understood that I might not make it through, and would be there for support if needed.

But the biggest help has really been making sure that I have obligations and things to do. For example, I'm investing a lot of energy into helping with a family whose house burnt down. I've helped a co-worker with her resume, and actually helped other people with their own relationship advice.

Helping people is something that actively gives me a reason to go on. And so I keep doing it in ways that work for me.

The key, when you find yourself in this kind of situation, is to change your focus to the short term, and focus on what works for you. I first focused on things that I would feel guilty if I left them undone. And that, along with knowing how devastating it would be for my son if I killed myself just before (or while) he was here (much like this Moth story) got me from day to day.

When you've found yourself with an imaginary number of spoons, what have you found to be good coping mechanisms?

And if you haven't already, see if you can contribute anything to help a Navy Vet and his family who recently lost everything in a fire: 
http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids

Thanks!

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Blowback from talking publicly about suicidal feelings

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Over the rest of the week, I'm going to talk about both my own state and the fallout of me talking candidly about my suicidal feelings.


Blowback

The explicit reason I wrote the original essay was because it was hard for me to reach out for help at all. (I actually didn't originally; a friend caught me giving away stuff and talked me down.)1 And I've been through enough stuff and have had to develop enough skills that I suspect I might have a bit of a bonus to my save versus despair.

And with all those advantages I almost couldn't ask for help. I didn't want to bother people, or I was afraid that they'd think I was trying to guilt them, or worse.

I recap all that because my feared response wasn't the reality. In reality, my friends, acquaintances, co-workers - even people I don't normally get along with - reached out in some way. Perhaps it was just typing ::hug:: in a Facebook comment, or texting me, or checking up on me weeks later, or more. But for the most part, people were nothing like I feared they would be.

And that was - and continues to be - a great help to me.

There were three exceptions.

One was my ex who thought I was threatening them. They were wrong, but I understand why they thought that.

One was the poet, whom I talked about in a prior post.

And the third problem was my son's reaction to what my ex-wife said after he got home from his visit with me.

I just got off the phone with my ex-wife, and I think that things are straightened out now.  Now clarified, my ex-wife (and rightly so) thought that if I was feeling unstable that he shouldn't stay the night at my house.  And I agree completely with that.2

And worse, my son felt like it was his responsibility to make sure I wasn't suicidal, and is carrying some guilt from that.  Which sucks - I didn't figure he'd see the original post at all, and if therapy helps him realize that other people's feelings aren't his responsibility, then all the better.

But my son's other takeaway seemed to be that if he ever felt suicidal, that he would be treated as an outcast as well. 

As I told my son via text, that he shouldn't think that admitting suicidal or depressive thoughts is something BAD, rather than something that people should share.

The only way you can get the emotional support you need is to be able to be honest about your feelings.  And her reaction is exactly the sort of thing that people who are depressed and suicidal fear, and why they don't seek help.

Which, if you've stood on the edge of that pit as well (and statistically, you probably have), you know that's already how you feel.

Hopefully I was able to convince him that his interpretation of my ex-wife's reaction was the exception. Hopefully, my example of talking about how I was feeling - no matter how difficult it was - will serve as a good example for him when he faces the times in his life when he feels alone.

Thankfully, after talking to my ex-wife on the phone this afternoon, it seems like we're on the same page about that.   She's going to make sure he understands that from her as well.

Statistically, most people will experience suicidal thoughts at least once in their life, and it's vitally important that our kids (one of the most at-risk groups) know that it's okay to reach out for help when they feel depressed and suicidal.

Which kind of highlights the problem in my original post.  It's hard to talk about feeling suicidal.  Not only do you face the possibility of being judged, but when you're feeling worthless, you don't want other people feeling like they're responsible for your mental well-being.

I'm really glad that my ex-wife called me back this afternoon and we got that straightened out.  I know we've had our differences, but I am glad that we both want our son to be able to reach out to either of us if he finds himself standing at the edge of that emotional pit.

But it's still hard to talk about these kinds of extreme feelings - and I'll touch on that again soon.

And if you haven't already, see if you can contribute anything to help a Navy Vet and his family who recently lost everything in a fire: 
http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids

Thanks!

1 This is something that's been overlooked; I didn't start writing publicly about this until the absolute worst had passed. And while I admitted to suicidal thoughts when pressed, I didn't tell anyone at the time.
2 As I will point out in a later post, my suicidal depression was based on an event, rather than ongoing major depression or anything like that.

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Not really a review, but some thoughts on Unbound and Jim C. Hines

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http://www.jimchines.com/project/magic-ex-libris/
I just finished reading Unbound by Jim C. Hines. It's the third book in the Magic ex Libris series.

This isn't really a review of the traditional sort. I'm sure you can find plenty of those elsewhere.  (Here's a good one of those.)

But I have to express how much I loved this book - and how much Jim's work has meant to me over the years.

I've known Jim for years. I first heard two goblin stories "Goblin Lullaby" on Podcastle and then heard "Goblin Hunter" on ClonePod. When I later met him at the Writer's Symposium at GenCon, I suddenly realized that he was the goblin guy, and bought the series from him right then. Later, when we shared a hotel room at Millennicon, his advice and input was part of what eventually led to Alliteration Ink being created. We don't see each other very often, but when we do, he is always funny, kind, and caring. He's just an awesome guy, and has been a great friend, and even a kind of long-distance mentor.

When I first encountered Jim's writing, he was already good... and he's only gotten better. The fun Goblin books led to the more traditionally (sort of) fantasy Princess stories, and now, to the Magic ex Libris series.

And it's been great reading his books through a large chunk of his career.

There's always been a bit of a curse about reading his books for me. Too often, I end up picking up Jim's newest book when I'm in a bad place in my life. It's not intentional - things just sort of work out that way.

But there's something in Jim's writing - not just the humor, though there's plenty of that, even in his most serious works, but a hope - that shines through.

It helps.  And I value it immensely.

Unbound - like all of Jim's work - comes highly recommended by me. Just do yourself a favor and read the series - as this review points out, this book is excellent, but is absolutely the wrong place to start the series.  Luckily, the other two books in the series are just as good.

If you are not already familiar with Jim's work, he has links to quite a few free stories that you can check out on his webpage, including the podcast links that I include above.

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I do not understand why so many people hate their exes.

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TL;DR:  No matter what my exes think of me, I think they're pretty good people.  I think we should strive to be friends with exes, not enemies.


For those of you who have been following the blog for a while, there's been two big breakups since I started writing here. One was my divorce, and one was the very abrupt and (to me) unexpected end of what I thought was going to be the long-term relationship that would last the rest of my life.

Yes, that sounds cliched. But I did. I believed it with all my heart, and worked for that goal.

But as with my post about suicide (which I'm going to touch on again later this week), I'm not telling you this in order to gain sympathy. And I am very explicitly not telling you this in order to make these women look bad.  Quite the opposite.  The two breakups I've talked about on this blog have involved women who are pretty good people.  If for no other reason than they put up with me.

Because let me tell you, I screw up. Quite a bit. I can be really hard to deal with sometimes.

But one thing that I have done pretty well - and the thing I hope you try to do in your relationships when they fail - is that I'm not angry toward my exes. 

I've talked about my relationships - and sometimes what I've learned from (here, here) or what I hoped for from them (here, here, and here).  I've talked about my own feelings, and when all other avenues of communication were cut off, tried to talk directly to the person I cared about (here, here).

But I don't wish any of my exes ill, not for whatever pain or toxicity or emotional damage they did to me.

I tried to reconcile with my first ex-wife after getting letters from her friends in BASIC about how she was having drug-fueled orgies while I was gone.  I supported my second ex-wife for three years while we were separated so she could finish her degree.  And despite the deep pain that I feel over the sudden devaluation and discarding with the person I call the love of my life, my well-wishes to her, her friends, and family are completely sincere.

Here's the thing - I cared for all these people.  For the most part (despite a flash of schadenfreude here and there), I hope they do well and find happiness.  My second ex-wife and I simply couldn't co-exist;  she's not a bad person.  I don't know what drove the love of my life away so suddenly, but I can only imagine it's something she truly needs.  I even said as much the last time I spoke to her.

And if however they treat me now helps them be better people, then I'm all for it.

Maybe there's something deeply flawed in them - but I am broken, too.  I can't sit in judgement over them when I know that I'm just as broken in different ways.

I visited two remarkable women last weekend who I hadn't seen for twenty and sixteen years.  Back then, I had had some degree of romantic involvement with each of them.

They, just like I, have gone through some serious crap in their lives.  And when I visited them and their husbands and families, they were happy.  And visiting them was visiting old friends, not like visiting enemies.  (And their husbands were pretty damn cool people too, let me tell ya.)

I firmly believe that is the relationship you should strive for with your exes.  Whether it's simply an ex-lover or a prior spouse, you cared for that person.

And while it may hurt, and may take a while for your relationship to transition to something new, you don't have to make it into hate.  They can be some of your best friends afterward as well.


It's a choice.  Maybe not the easy choice, but it's a choice.

And that's what I hope you get from this post, or some of my ramblings from the last week or so.

1 comment :

Help A Navy Vet and His Kids After A Fire

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TL;DR:  A Navy vet & his kids lost everything in a fire this weekend.  They need help.  Please contribute anything you can (and if you're in the area, physical donations of clothes and such are also appreciated.)  You can find the campaign at http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids

Please also spread the word.

Thank you.



I'm not going to talk to you about publishing today.

I'm going to ask for your help.

Greg Campbell is a Navy veteran, published writer ("Cold Hands, Warm Heart") and a single father after the unexpected death of his wife, Pam, just over a year ago.

Last night, a fire destroyed their home. The children are resilient, but they've lost everything - their childhood mementos, the photos and keepsakes of Pam's, and family pets.  They literally have only the clothes on their back.

I met one of the kids the night before his house burned down.  He's a good kid, and trying to deal with the reality that his whole life is once again completely changed.

As someone who has been a single dad more than once in my life, it's a hard thing to do.  And I can't imagine how much harder it would have been after unexpectedly losing a spouse...and then to lose your house with all your memories...

Yeah.

So I'm asking you to help for more than just the obvious reason.  I'm asking you to help because you will make a huge emotional difference in this family's life.

Recently, a post I made ended up with me getting a lot of messages of support from people I didn't really expect to.  And it made a HUGE difference.

You have a chance to make that kind of difference here today.

Let me assure you:  Any contribution you can make, even if it's just a dollar, will make a huge difference to this family.

Because when any tragedy strikes, it's easy to feel alone and helpless.

You will let them know that people care. 

Give what you can right now and spread the word.

http://bit.ly/helpVetandKids


PS:  Aside from my own contribution, I'm also offering eBooks (PDF/Kindle/ePub) of my own writing to anybody who contributes anything over a dollar.

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consider one thing.

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If you are reading this, just like or share.  Don't comment, please.  Thank you.



What if you were wrong?

Consider, just for a moment, that you were wrong about just one thing.

Just one little tiny thing.

Consider that it wasn't manipulation.

Consider that every expression of love, every bit of constant improvement, every petal on every flower, every thank you to every person because they were good to you, every time I encouraged your budding oft-delayed romance... consider for a just a moment if you were wrong.

Consider, just for a moment, that all those good things were just simply true.

Because they were.

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The Last Mix

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This is probably the last mix I will make for you, my love. And so it is only appropriate that this is that mix.

I love you. I have since the day I met you, and that has never changed, no matter how badly I've shown it, or how little you've believed it.

Be happy, my love.

Be happy.


When routine bites hard and ambitions are low
And the resentment rides high but emotions won't grow
And we're changing our ways, taking different roads

Then love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Why is the bedroom so cold turned away on your side?
Is my timing that flawed, our respect run so dry?
Yet there's still this appeal that we've kept through our lives

And love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Do you cry out in your sleep, all my failings exposed?
Get a taste in my mouth as desperation takes hold
Is it something so good just can't function no more?
When love, love will tear us apart again

Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

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one last kiss good night

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So let the sadness come again
On that you can depend on me, yeah

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but everyone knows

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I should've seen it glow
But everybody knows
That a broken heart is blind
That a broken heart is blind
That a broken heart is blind
That a broken heart is blind

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could have been easier on you

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Everything gone white, everything's grey
Now you're here, now you're away

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blood and tears they were here first

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Mmm whatcha say?
Mmm that you only meant well? Well, of course you did
Mmm whatcha say?
Mmm that it's all for the best? Of course it is
Mmm whatcha say?
Mmm that it's just what we need? You decided this

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i am posting songs through the rest of this week. (Yeah, you gotta click through.)

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The titles (and sometimes the text) are lyrics from the songs.

Because right now I'm not able to write anything that doesn't sound like it came from the Goth-O-Matic poetry generator.

But keeping it entirely inside is even more toxic.

So. Music.

There's a point to the songs. But hopefully they're enjoyable (or at least interesting) on their own for everyone else.


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and now i have finally seen the end

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Anyone who's ever had a dream

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Mickey: The whole world's comin' to an end, Mal.
Mallory: I see angels, Mickey. They're comin' down for us from heaven. And I see you ridin' a big red horse, and you're driving them horses, whippin' 'em, and the're spitting and frothing all 'long the mouth, and the're coming right at us. And I see the future, and there's no death, 'cause you and I, we're angels...
Mickey: I love you, Mal.
Mallory: I know you do baby, and I've loved you since the day we met.

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even if the russians came and named it something new.

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There's the cemetery where I broke your heart in two
And there's the pair of stones that we had laughed was me and you
I stared at them a long time, and I asked if it was true
If I still really loved you
And they answered...

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for her.

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An update on my status

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A brief update, somewhat clinical, somewhat snarky at the end.

The upside and downside of telling people that you're feeling suicidal is the same:  Everyone reaches out to you. 

The upside is tremendous.  I really had no idea so many people - people I didn't expect to give a damn - reached out to me via text, e-mail, Facebook, and more.  It sounds like some kind of bullshit humblebrag, but it's not.

The downside is that I kind of have to be a bit more public about how I'm feeling in the days after saying something like that.  And honestly, I don't want to.

I should, mind you.  I know that.  But I don't want to.

I write about my experiences and my feelings, yes.  But not because it's about me.  The point post about feeling suicidal wasn't so much about me, as about how hard it is to talk about - with an exhortation to pay attention to others who may not be as able to speak about it as I was.  Even my holiday wish - which was a hope for a specific person - I tried to write in a way that it was useful for lots of people.  (And thank you for the feedback that it was.)

But now people want to know about me.  I'm doing my best here to make it only about me, so if there's stuff that seems left out or only alluded to... yeah, you're right.

So.

I wake up in the morning, and for once in my life I haven't been having horrible dreams.  I normally have surreal, often horrifying dreams.

Not now.

They've been great dreams.  Everything is okay again.  It's like it was just a month ago again.  I'm happy in those dreams.

And I wake up.  For a little while, I can manage to pretend. 

Then something happens.

I see something that reminds me, and the facade crashes down and I have to take a few minutes by myself.  I still stand on the edge of the pit on a fairly regular basis.  I still don't know - for sure - how I'm going to make it.  (No drama, just reporting.)

But so far, I have.  I continue to.  I find a thing to do.  A thing I have to be guilty about if I leave undone.  Sometimes I scroll back through the messages you all sent me, even if I was only able to answer nothing more than "thank you" at the time.

And eventually I can go on a little bit longer. 

Rinse, and repeat.


I've made plans to be around friends this weekend so I'm not by myself.  I'm going back to work on Monday, because being alone with my thoughts would be far far worse.

I distract myself with imgur and funny cat pics.  I try to forget the story I just sold is all about the dreams I just lost.

I remember the friends I knew I had - and the ones who have come forward whom I really didn't expect to care at all.

Thank you.

PS:  There's one person I'd just met as this all went down.  They seemed cool enough.  It was a casual brief acquaintance - just long enough to exchange blog addresses - so when they said they'd rather not deal with someone in my situation right now, I said I understood.  I even commented to another person that they seemed nice, and maybe later on they and I could be friendly.

And then they wrote a shitty poem where they exhorted me to just kill myself already.


I haven't put a name or gender or blog link.  Because I wouldn't want anyone to feel like that.  Not even someone who knew where I was emotionally and then did that.

That and I've already deleted it all, and I'm not going to look it up again.  I may not wish that kind of pain on them, but I'm certainly not going to associate with someone who would wish that on another.

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You Can't Talk About It If You're Feeling Suicidal

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Since the 18th of December, I've been suicidal.

Some people know why.  This isn't about the why.

Suffice it to say that I had a core belief in my life.  One I'd built over five years.  The belief that pulled me from an emotionally abusive marriage and make life worth living.

It was seriously disrupted one week after my birthday, one week before Christmas.

And today it was destroyed.

I'm not writing this post to garner sympathy, or grandstand - though the fact that some people might see it that way is part of why I am writing this.


One of my friends caught me trying to give stuff away and called me out on the behavior.  She took the time to listen, and sympathize, to make sure I was okay.


I saw my doctor at one point during this time period, and he expressed concern about my safety.  And I told him what I was doing:

* Not worrying about whether or not I smoked
* Focusing on concrete tasks that needed to be finished
* Trying to focus on my son coming to visit.

He nodded understandingly, and made sure I thought my plans were working, and to contact his office immediately if I needed more help.

And another person - the person I most trusted - saw the same behavior and saw it as a manipulative threat.

I did have to make other plans than the ones I told my doctor at times.  The grief and depression come in waves.  One night, it was bad enough that I asked a friend to be on "standby" if I needed to have someone stand on suicide watch for me.  I'm making plans to not be alone after my son leaves on Saturday.



Again, I'm not telling you all this for sympathy.  I'm telling you this because I've been on this merry-go-round before.  And unlike the last time I tried to kill myself, I've been able to (inbetween spiraling depression) been able to make plans and strategies to keep myself alive.

But you can't just talk about your suicidal feelings.  Not in the present tense, at least. 

Oh sure, you can talk about the past.  Many people have had a suicidal gesture or ideation in their past.

But if you talk about the present... then too often it gets seen as attention-seeking behavior.  Or as manipulation.  Or as threats.

Sometimes, though, it's really what it is.  An actual recognition of how bad the pain is.  A recognition of exactly how gutted and hopeless you feel.

It's like my holiday wish.  Sometimes it's just exactly what they say it is, nothing more.

Maybe I'm some kind of abberation - that I can recognize the suicidal feelings now and try to do something about them during the brief lulls.  That I can talk to people openly and honestly about exactly how bad I am without any desire for  sympathy or attention seeking.  That I am not threatening, or cajoling, or expecting anyone else to change.

I'm just telling people where I am.

But too often, that's not how it is heard.

My deep thanks to the friends - Sarah, Laura, Lucy, Monica - who have taken me at my word and helped me so far.  You deserve far more credit than I could possibly give you.

Everyone talks about suicide during the holidays, but the rates actually go up afterward.  If someone you care about starts exhibiting the signs of suicide, take them seriously

You aren't responsible for their actions.  Not if you're the person suddenly breaking up with a longtime significant other, not if they say you're the reason.  You're not responsible.

But at the same time, suicidal thoughts fester and spread with isolation.  And simply shutting that person out will only make things worse.

I don't know if I will make it.  I really don't. 

The pain I have been - and am - feeling right now makes it difficult for me to function at all.  The thing I believed in - the central focus of my life - has just been shattered, especially after I thought I was getting it back.  And it was sudden, unexpected, and right as I thought things were going wonderfully.

But the suicide prevention hotline is 1 (800) 273-8255.

I have the number in my phone.

And I have friends who will listen, and care.  And they trust me enough that they won't think I'm trying to manipulate them.  They know that if I'm talking about emotions like this, I'm simply being honest.  And if I ask them for help, I really need it.

Do the same for your friends.

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Who knew someone like you.

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Imaginary Spoons: The Shirt

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For a few weeks now, I've had negative spoons.  Imaginary spoons, even.



I decided to finally go ahead and make the shirt for it.

You can get men's t-shirts with this design here: http://bit.ly/1xjX0Qx

You can get women's t-shirts with this design here: http://bit.ly/1zDfcBW

(If you don't know spoon theory, see this post.  If you don't know math, ask your parents.)

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Tryptich Of Quotations

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