Here is my latest review for Tor.com!
My alternative title for this one was #NotAllVampiresSuck. 😉
Here is my latest review for Tor.com!
My alternative title for this one was #NotAllVampiresSuck. 😉
I’m not going to go into it much here, but suffice it to say – I have issues. More than issues, I have entire magazine subscriptions. Conde Nast would look at me and say, “Damn!” In short, I have problems- as we all do.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been working on my “problems,” whether they were in quotes or otherwise. It took me many years to realize my “problems” I thought were mine were actually someone else’s. Once I ascertained what my actual problems were, I set out to fix myself with the kind of enthusiasm reserved for patching up the holes on a sinking ship or wrestling a mud-covered pig, so it doesn’t run into the house or fix a hole in a stocking right before a big interview.
I was determined to get to the root of what was wrong with me, to cut it out from the stem, bury it, and salt the Earth. I was determined to be a good person, a worthwhile person, and that couldn’t happen until I was whole, healed, and perfectly imperfect. To that end, I meditated, read books, listened to books, watched YouTube videos, signed up for courses, and did anything I could do to be the person I wanted to be. To be the person who can be loved, cherished, and successful. It wasn’t until recently, very recently, as in the last week that I realized I’ve been going about things the wrong way.
What do holes in the bottom of boats, muddy pigs in houses, and tears in stockings all have in common? They are bad things. I equated myself with things that were wrong. I wanted to fix myself, but you only fix things that are broken. The word “fix” and “heal” were interchangeable in my mind, but they’re not in reality. I saw a kintsugi bowl and saw myself as broken and using gold to fix the cracks, rather than seeing kintsugi for what it is – cracking something on purpose to creating golden cracks. One is fixing that is broken, and one is creating something new. One thing is a byproduct of an accident, and the other has purpose and agency. With me, the “fixing what is broken” narrative invoked the intimately familiar feeling of not being good enough. The other has the more alien yet comforting feeling of good.
My issues stem from long-standing trauma experienced both as a child, as a teen, and well into my adulthood. My life has been a never-ending tilt-a-whirl of stress where the ride might slowdown, but it never stops. And I need to heal myself from that, not fix myself. Healing suggests that I’m fine as I am – that is the case. It’s seeing what’s good about me, not what’s wrong with me. And I need to build on that good and treat myself with care and respect. If I see myself as good, then I just need to heal. I only need to uncover the layer of bullshit I’ve been under, rather than making something good out of the bullshit that I am. The new way of thinking invokes self-compassion. Self-compassion gives grace and patience.
I no longer need to ask myself what’s wrong with me, why can’t I “get over it,” why can’t I do what (insert name here) does? Because the answers are nothing is wrong with me, I need to adjust my approach to healing, and (insert name here) may not have the same baggage as me and/or that person goes about it differently. And maybe, because of my scars, I need to go about things a different way to accomplish the things I want to do.
I wouldn’t think badly of myself if I had a broken leg. I wouldn’t think anything was wrong with me. I wouldn’t be fundamentally flawed just because I tripped, and now my leg is in a cast. I wouldn’t snap at myself if I had to use crutches to get from Point A to Point B, and I wouldn’t think my walking sucked in comparison to a person whose leg is uninjured. And now, I realize those same principles apply to my mental health.
Okay, now that I’ve finished The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part III, I have some thoughts.
(WARNING: MILD SPOILERS)
A word often used in television reviews that I never really liked is the word “uneven.” There were a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t share the opinion. If I liked something, overall, I liked it, and it was fine. If I didn’t like something, overall, then it wasn’t fine. Like with any television series, there are hits and misses, ups and downs, but I do get an overarching feeling about something which then makes it good or bad. Two, it just seemed wishy-washy. When it comes to politics, the human condition, psychology, communication, and critique, I am all about nuance. However, that all seems to jump out the window when it comes to television shows. I don’t know. I’ll have to analyze myself about that (among other things). I could pinpoint hits and misses but I always went with my overall impression. What does “uneven” mean? Well, all of that is in the past tense. I now understand completely because CAOS Part III is the epitome of “uneven.”
This season was all over the place. The world of the show expanded in a big way. There were deep dives into some interpersonal relationships, and an aspect of Sabrina’s character got a spotlight in a big way. All of these things are good. I enjoyed the conflict between the Satanic and Pagan witches and how it expanded the story-world and storytelling possibilities exponentially. I am enjoying the character development of Ambrose. He came into his own this season. Theo continues to be a badass. I like how his brave core is the engine of his development, and I like his relationship with Robin. I’m also intrigued by the development of (the real) Mary Wardwell. How she is dealing with coming back to her life in the middle of it. These things, among others, really made my heart pound with anticipation as I watched.
However, these great things were weighted down by others. I mentioned the singing in my previous post. There is no need for me to get into it again except to ask, WHY???? (Again) Prudence’s character development seemed to have taken a back seat, as did Hilda’s. A friend of mine mentioned he found Zelda to be a bit one-note. I didn’t agree, but I see his point this season. I honestly think this season is a turning point. It’s a set-up for bigger storylines coming down the pike. This season was also shorter than the previous two seasons. A shorter season plus multiple unnecessary musical numbers equal “uneven” to me.
Some quick hot-takes:
I know I have a lot of complaints about this season. However, I still enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to Part IV.
I love the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!
I was impressed by the first season, and the second deepened my affection for the show. I just hope this third season doesn’t kill it.
I will have a longer post with my review of this entire season, but for now, I need to address a disturbing trend I am seeing.
For some reason, they’ve incorporated musical numbers into the episodes. Now, I do like a good musical number once in a while on a television show. I loved the (THE, as in ONE) musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I loved the (THE, as in ONE) musical episode of Lucifer. I heard rumors that Lucifer might have another musical number next season, but one per season isn’t bad. I even enjoyed the musical number during the last episode of CAOS during Season 2. However, for Season 3, CAOS has had them for two episodes in a row, sometimes multiple numbers, and they don’t fit into the storyline like Season 2’s number. Sure, one of the teaser trailers for this season was a music video, but I thought it was all in fun. I didn’t think it was the direction the show was going in. Why mess with perfection? According to some of the comments from the video, it appears the showrunners did the same on Riverdale. I have to take their word for it as I haven’t seen that show. Those same commenters also stated that’s when the show ended for them, but I don’t want the same to happen with me and CAOS.
Please don’t do this. Please stop the music.
I’m not above begging!
Manifest Season 2 started a few weeks ago. I am enjoying the season so far. The writers have expanded the story world and increased the stakes for a number of our significant characters. There are a few things that are kind of awkward (i.e., the Jared/Michaela/Zeke situation), but even those things set up a bigger (potential) pay off later. I will write a more in-depth review of all of my thoughts and feelings later on. But there is one thing that happened during this past week’s episode that I must absolutely address now. There are major spoilers ahead. I will place the-thing-that-must-not-be-named below the line.
Last year I decided this year would be the one where I make moves. I say to myself all the time, “If I want my life to be different, I have to do different things.” I totally acknowledge I may have picked it up somewhere, or maybe I made it up myself. Repeating it to myself has become a sort of impetus to change. That, and reciting the “Five Truths About Fear,” as outlined in Feel The Fear… And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers to myself. I might write more about those later.
For 2020, I didn’t make a resolution so much as I set an intention. What is the difference one may I ask? I am not sure, other than I haven’t had much luck with resolutions. But intentions seem to be working well (knock on wood, throw some salt, fingers crossed or whatever folk magic is needed to keep this statement real).
To keep my intention, I decided to get more involved in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy writing community here in the Bay Area. I’ve gone to events and have left leave the house to go to places where I am invited (gasp). As a result, I am learning more about my beloved genre and industry and feel less alone on my path of weirdness.
I also decided to get more involved in an online writing community I’m a part of called 10 Minute Novelists, specifically the 365 Day Challenge. Not only am I an administrator of that group, but I am also in charge of one of the Dark Fantasy accountability groups. There, I get to support other writers and, thus, help myself. I get to focus more on my craft and to immerse myself in writing and creativity rather than focus on the current garbage nightmare of our current political landscape.
And the final piece of doing new things is to go after writing opportunities. I’ve been submitting more and getting more rejections. Rather than feeling down by the rejections, I savor them. They’re proof I’m actually doing something rather than stewing on the sidelines wishing I was doing something. And they haven’t been all rejections. I am now a new book reviewer for Tor.com, and my first review went up just last week.
All of this is to say that, so far, my third week of 2020 is going well. There are still a lot of changes afoot, I think I’m coming to a point where I feel I can handle them.
Okay, so now I am going to write the post I had planned for January 1st – sort of. I mentioned earlier that 2020 is completely different for me. I put into the Universe that I wanted change, and the Universe was like “Great! Here you go!” And that sums up what these first eleven days have been. In this last week alone, I’ve had personal and professional change. The two have been intertwined, one feeding into the other. I feel my soul rearranging itself in my body. It’s nerve-wracking, but not surprising. The set-up for this time had been happening in the last few months of 2019. I thought the last few months of 2018 was the breakdown and 2019 would be about building the new. Well, that turned out not to be true. Live long enough, and Life will prove you wrong.
And I am lucky in that way. I get to live, a lot of people don’t. Last month a former long-time friend passed away. Most of my feelings around that are muddy and complicated, but one thing is clear: a renewed sense of ownership over my life. That sense began forming itself before I learned of her death, recent events just cemented it. Events that are within my immediate sphere and without it, signaling change is in the air.
And, frankly, it scares me. It makes me uncomfortable. These feelings aren’t new. I’ve ended up in situations where these feelings we foisted upon me. I had no control. Now I am taking control. I am doing things, on purpose, that scare me and make me uncomfortable. Things that make me grow, and there is a blessing in that.
I want to be badass and carefree. I want to say, “2020 will be the year, and everything will be perfect!” I want to be totally self-assured about taking control of my life and steering it into new directions, but I simply can’t. Not at this particular time. Maybe it will happen tomorrow, next month, or this summer. I may not have (metaphorical) brass balls, but I do have a quiet yet persistent confidence. I am confident in my path and who I am as a person, which is already an improvement over previous years. Instead of fear stopping me, I’m letting it inform me. It’s a sign that I am growing out of my comfort zone. Ironically, feeling my fear is my comfort. And it gives me permission to be steady and careful as I blaze a new path
This is not the post I intended for this day. I had a different post planned (though “planned” is a bit of a strong word) summarizing 2019 and moving forward with 2020 with a renewed passion for writing. But then I saw this as I sat down to write it:
I post this picture because….
It blows my mind.
It’s fucking insane.
I don’t know how to describe it. Yesterday, it was 2019. I’ve known for over a year that 2020 was coming. I knew it 2018 that 2020 was coming. I’ve known since I understood the concept of time that this date was coming. It’s a logical progression.
So why the illogical response?
Maybe it’s because I was born in the last quarter of the previous century and we’re already twenty years into a new one?
Maybe because I always thought of 2020 as a television show with Barbara Walters, not a real period of time.
Maybe it’s because the year 2020 was always “the future” for me, like in the books and television shows I watched growing up. But 2020 isn’t the future –
(And there are still no flying cars, teleportation, nor a hint of the Federation coming into being – but that’s a different post.)
For some reason, seeing 2-0-2-0 makes it truly a new decade for me as opposed to 2-0-1-0. I don’t know. The 2010’s always just seemed like an extension of the 2000s to me. (See first “Maybe”).
Or, maybe my brain is catching up with time. When I was in school, I learned about the ’20s and now- it’s the 20’s again. This year is also five years before the year I turned FIFTY. That’s real. Like, 50 is a real thing in my brain now (just as I was getting the hang of this 40’s thing). I guess if there was ever a point where my mind should grasp reality – it should be now.
Seeing those one’s, two’s, and zero’s in that particular order just screams RESET or NEW CHAPTER to me. Those numbers make this New Year seem different than all the others because it is genuinely new to me. I feel it in my blood, in my bones, that it is different. It is not only a new decade but a marker that we’re 20% into this century. And this realization gives me new breath, fresh energy, and new ideas I can’t wait to share with the world.
So you’ll get the original post I had “planned” next week.
In the last few hours of 2018 I want to thank all my readers. I’m grateful to you all. I went from vowing to post every week to doing considerably less than that. But the nice messages I received help me to keep going and I appreciate them.
I am also grateful to this year, in general. It’s been a bitch, healthwise and personal-wise, but I know these things had to happen. Gentle taps on the shoulder from the Universe wasn’t getting the message across, so a slap in the face was needed. I’m smart enough to leave it there and get things moving in the right direction. And even the bad hasn’t been all that bad. They were things that needed to be done and now I feel like I’m on the threshold of a whole new world and I didn’t even have to leave Oakland. Who knew? (Besides the Universe – obviously).
2019 will be a good year, definitely a more creative one. One of the realizations I had was that I put so much energy into other people that I fail to invest energy in myself. I’ve spent years, tears, and thousands of dollars gaining skills, insights, and abilities that have never gone to my benefit. 2018 was about ending that. No more hiding behind others. 2019 is about letting my light shine and knowing it makes a difference.
So, I wish you all the very best New Year!
Can we talk about Elseworlds for a minute?
Oh, my god! That was some of the most fun I had watching an hour of television in a while. It was campy, silly, and FUN (Did I mention that already?). All the things that I am about right now and I am here for it!
Elseworlds is the annual Arrowverse cross-over event on the CW. In the first crossover, Supergirl was introduced to the Arrowverse. Supergirl, which launched on CBS, takes place in a separate world from Barry, Oliver, and the Legends gang. That crossover was definitely good, but the focus was on introductions and the fallout from Flashpoint (a crisis on the Flash which had repercussions throughout the Arrowverse).
The second crossover was a bit lighter. The gang from two Earths and a time machine all came together to attend Barry and Iris’ wedding. (Side note: On the show, traveling to go to ANOTHER EARTH to attend a wedding seemed easier and cheaper than attending a destination wedding on THIS Earth. Seriously…wtf?) The personal drama was a little less angsty, however, angst is part of the deal on CW shows. I’m pretty sure it’s in the contract. But, rightfully, all the teams were more focused on stopping Nazis from taking over the planet. (If only our electorate was so proactive…)
But this third crossover was a hoot and a holler. Of course, they had a little angst (again… contract!), but they embraced the camp and even had a Smallville throwback which made me scream with laughter and clap my hands. The energy of this episode was positively off the charts and you can tell the cast was just having a good time. Even granite-faced Stephen Amell (And this is not an insult. The entire man is granite, that’s a huge part of his appeal) couldn’t hide the sparkle in his eye as his played Olivier-as-Barry. The actors were just having a good time and that manifested in a dynamic episode full of action and joy.
Now some of this might diminish some as the group heads to Gotham City in tonight’s episode (which I’ll watch tomorrow). If you’re familiar with the DC Universe you know Gotham is not a place for joy or fun. In fact, the place can make the Arrow of Season six seem like Disneyland. But it’s still exciting as this is when Ruby Rose as Kathy Kane makes her debut and we get to see what her show is all about. I’ve been hearing good buzz, so I hope it works out. I’ll definitely find out tomorrow night.