Friday, February 25, 2022

Quick Sips 02/25/2022

I do kind of apologize that in some ways these weekly updates are place holders. By that I mean that I do like to keep readers up to date on what’s going on with me, but I also feel bad that I haven’t quite figured out what to do in this space yet. For over seven years Quick Sip Reviews has been a large part of my day, of my life. Not just because it took a great deal of time and effort, but because I also needed it, needed the money I earned from it through Patreon and the other paid work I could get writing nonfiction, doing online classes, etc. It was regular, mostly consistent money in a time when more than anything that’s what I needed. And now…I’m not sure what to do.

It’s a good problem to have, really. Certainly it beats the alternative. Graduating in 2008 with an English degree, jobs weren’t exactly easy to come by. Trying to support my partner through some incredibly difficult times didn’t make matters much easier. It almost feels weird that I have the same job I got when I was still a senior in college, over a decade ago now. Starting at $9/hr and slowly getting more, though it would take some union arbitration on my behalf to actually get me on the right pay scale. Add the stress and stalking that Matt and I have been through, the difficulties with him finding work, going back to school, seeing to his own neglected and necessary healthcare, and…well, for a long time now it’s been just about all we could do to pay the mortgage and make sure we ate.

And now…things are a bit different. Not easy, especially because Matt has a very taxing and difficult job made a lot worse by the pandemic (it’s medical work). But also not…impossible. For the first time it feels like we can afford to replace broken appliances. Can afford if a car needs to be fixed. Can afford maybe seeing to our own medical needs. For the first time, it feels like everything isn’t a constant hustle while the squeeze of life gets tighter and tighter. It feels like we can give more back, that we can be the help that we got from so many wonderful people. It’s strange and difficult to trust, because I guess struggling so long leaves a person a bit frayed, low on trust, and looking for the next shoe to drop.

So when I say I feel bad that I haven’t been doing more in this space, what I mean is I feel an acute anxiety that I’m not doing more. That I’m somehow squandering something, or missing something I should be doing, and the result will be something like total ruin. I am a dramatic bitch.

I am trying, though, not to simply replace one unsustainable practice with another. I am trying to hold myself back from overcommitting. I can recognize that I am burned out and have been for years, kept going largely because I had to, because the alternative was to roll over and die. And while ideation is something I am familiar with, part of the (also probably not healthy) way I’ve faced that is by feeling that others rely on me. That I’m doing something for people, and reviewing has been a part of that. Ah, coping mechanisms. It has, however, all become this rather delicate and intricate web that I’m in the process of trying to untangle. Getting some therapy is also on my agenda, but until then I will simply continue to overshare with strangers (and friends) online. As one does.

I will figure out what to do here in time. Until then, I do thank you all for your patience and your support. It means a lot to me, and has fairly literally kept me alive through some very difficult times. I will work on not feeling “bad” that I don’t have everything figured out right now. I will work on taking care of myself. And I’ll keep on posting little updates every week.

So. In me news, I’ve turned in my third column to Locus, which will hopefully be appearing in the April issue. I actually review two different publications where the same story of mine is reprinted (Flash Fiction Online #101 and Xenocultivars, both of which contain “A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting,” making it my most reprinted story to date now). This third column will hopefully make more official my position at Locus (the end of my probationary period), and I’m very happy to be a part of the team. It’s a big change for me, but also I hope a good fit, and I’m not going to lie getting paid is very nice.

It also gave me the need to make a new email that is more associated with my name, so if you want to reach me for things, you can always try me at Unexpectedly, creating the new email account had the unintended result of producing some interesting gender feels, but as I’ve used this space as therapy enough for today I’ll leave that there. For those that don’t know, C.Y. are my initials, my middle name being Yates. Maybe the new email will also help me feel like getting more into submitting stories and poetry again, and I think part of my reluctance to do so has been the feeling of being stuck in a couple of ways, and just the act of setting up a new account has felt rather freeing. Weird.

As far as other media goes, Matt and I have been watching/rewatching the Father Brown mysteries. Which are…not always the worst, though religious mysteries can be a bit ehhhh. I peeked at the latest season of Grantchester, after all, saw that it probably involves the gay character getting put on trial for being gay, and promptly lost interest in watching it. Father Brown is less gritty and less diverse, but also a bit more campy, which is something. And it scratches the cozy mystery itch at least. And this way we can watch to the end and be done with it while we wait for more Vera. MOAR VERA!!!

In games, we’ve been playing a lot of Pokemon Snap! to relax. It is a very chill game, because as eager as you might be to capture a specific shot, the whole structure is such that you can do the same track over and over again. There’s no limit, no penalty for going through the same motions hoping for one specific thing, and while that might seem like it would get boring or frustrating, it’s a pretty game and ADORABLE POKEMON! We normally play after our brains have stopped working for the night and we are just winding down a little, and for that it’s perfect. The biggest issue is always wanting one more go before getting ready for bed. It has put a pause on my Blue Lions play through, but so it goes.

Reading-wise, my Marvel adventures continue as I’m reading through the four core X-books of the early 90s (X-Force, X-Factor, X-Men, and Uncanny X-Men) between X-Cutioner’s Song and Fatal Attractions. I just have Uncanny X-Men to catch up on, which is actually probably the one I should have done first, because it has the most to do with the storyline of Fatal Attractions (a crossover that feels very tacked on most of the books but does feature some big moments). I actually have a lot of thoughts about Professor X around this time in his arc. He’s a fascinating character and for all that there are some very cringe moments when it comes to him and his backstory, he’s always been a rather messy person. His “dark side” has tried to kill the X-Men before and he’s effectively died and come back multiple times, has been cruel to his students repeatedly, and hasn’t always been great about gaining and losing the use of his legs. For all that certain things about the Deadly Genesis and Danger Room storylines of the late 00s, the seeds for them have been planted throughout, and the more I read of the X-books the less they feel like large leaps. Hmm.

I did begin the process of making a spreadsheet of every X-title published by Marvel. Which, I mean, I’m probably missing some but it’s not *that* difficult. It did lead me to finding some miniseries that I had completely overlooked, like the very strange Beauty and the Beast (Dazzler/Beast romance team up) from 1984. There actually weren’t that many miniseries until the late 90s, but the ones that did happen were often really weird. And it’s been a lot of fun to catch up on them. Many will likely make an appearance in Drun-X Reading Comi-X as that column grows.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. Still here, still hanging in there. I hope the same applies to you. Cheers!


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