Monthly Archives: October 2013

Weekly Update #10

I know, I know, I’ve fallen off the wagon of scheduled posting yet again.  At this point, I feel like you all know, my lovely readers, that a post will happen when it happens.

This last week has been just as uneventful as any other week.  Few bites on applications and resumes, but nothing that I could reel in, it seems.

Yesterday, however, I had to report to the county court house for jury duty.  Ugh.  The last time I got called for jury duty, I got in a car accident and missed the 8:00 AM time limit.  The lady I spoke to about it was really rude and it was just a bad experience.  THEN, I had to go back to the damn court house a few months later because two of the four people involved in the car accident protested the tickets they had and I was called to testify as a witness of the state.  One lady plead guilty before the trial, and I testified for all of 2 minutes.  Clearly worth the 12-hour round trip since I still lived in Minneapolis at the time.

And this time around at the court house, it took me 15 minutes to find parking, making me late to check in.  I got a rude lady, yet again, haughtily telling me that I was late and to try not to disrupt the instructional video.  Uh, yeah, thanks, maybe have enough parking for the 400 freaking people you pull in each time you call people in for jury duty.

So, I had to sit and watch this instructional video, then sit and wait for my number to be called and then sit and wait for me to be told where to go and then sit and wait for the selection process to begin all for naught because then I was finally told that my group was to be sent home as the defendant of the trial we were to sit on plead guilty and we wouldn’t be needed to fill in on any other trials.

Yesterday equated to me waking up at ass-crack of dawn, driving around a parking lot, being treated rudely, having to sit and wait to be told I wasn’t actually needed.  Felt like a waste of time to me.  But on the plus side, it totally counted as my jury duty and I can’t be called again for two years.

This week now is going to consist of me getting over my anxiety about calling people and making a doctor’s appointment.  I’ve had this ever-lasting cold that’s now starting to affect my ears.  My sinuses feel clogged and it feels like the pressure is all backing up into my ears.  Which is similar to the issues I had in 2012 where I had painful ringing in my ears for months and went to several different doctors and it still wasn’t fully resolved.  I also need to get my yearly check-up taken care of.  Oh, and let’s not forget I still need to change my medication somehow since it’s just not working like it used to or like it needs to. And hopefully somewhere this week I get an interview or some other positive job feedback.

I’m also still slowly trying to unpack my life.  So far since I’ve moved home, I’ve been unpacking as I need things.  A lot of my stuff is still in boxes and it’s cluttering up the dining and living rooms.  I not only need to get myself more settled in, but I need to get my mess out of my parents’ space.

That’s about it for my weekly update.  Thanks for reading, lovely readers!

-Kate

Advertisements

An Exercise In Writing

Today isn’t a In A Hundred Words post.  But I will be sharing some writing.  It doesn’t directly relate to NaNoWriMo either.  It’s longer than I usually write, but still flash fiction.  It’s 300 words long and has actually inspired a plot line in my mind.  You’ll be able to read more if and when anything develops from that.

This wasn’t where he wanted to be. This place, surrounded by all these people, was foreign to him. He wandered from person to person, speaking in a language he didn’t know that he knew. Hands were extended and shaken, smiles moved from mouth to mouth like an epidemic.

He found himself in the bathroom without knowing quite how he managed to get there. He locked the door and sunk to the floor, loosening his tie. ‘Deep breaths’ he told himself, gasping in air as a terror built steadily in the back of his mind and the pit of his stomach.

He lurched towards the toilet, flung the lid up and emptied his stomach. Then, he double-checked that his stomach was really and truly empty. ‘Deep breaths’ he repeated.

A knock on the bathroom door. Shaking, he flushed his dinner and called “I’ll be right out!” At least, that’s what he hoped the strange words coming out of his mouth translated to. A voice replied, but he was no longer listening.

He splashed cold water on his face. He’d read somewhere that it was supposed to calm you down something to that effect. It had no effect. He repeated his mantra instead.

The door clicked open and he stepped out on trembling legs. He took one of his deep breaths and continued walking, one unsteady step after the next, back towards the crowd of people he wasn’t sure he knew, but he had to find his way out.

All he wanted was to get out. He didn’t belong here, amongst all these cufflinks and jewel encrusted rings. He didn’t feel at ease with the deep v-necks that didn’t actually end at the neck and the bow ties tied too tight like studded dog collars. This wasn’t where he wanted to be.

This is still Lovecraft-inspired, but it’s more inspired by Shane Koyczan and his spoken word poetry.  I was listening to a lot of his work while I was writing this little story.  If you don’t know him, please please please check him out.  I’ll be writing more about him on Sunday, so stay tuned for that, too!

-Kate

Weekly Update #9

This week has been much the same as the last few weeks.  Applying for jobs online, dicking around online or playing computer games, cleaning the house a bit, and this week I even cooked dinner a couple of nights.

But the big thing this week happened today.  I went running.  Well, more of a brisk walk/slow jog.  But it’s a start.  I’m using the Runkeeper app and doing one of the free couch to 5K programs the app offers.  By December, I should be able to run about 5K relatively easily.  Will I be able to run the quickest time?  No, probably not.  But that’s not my goal.  My goal is to get into shape and lose some weight.

Today’s 2 mile jaunt taught me that I need a few things to continue running comfortably.  First and foremost, I desperately need a sports bra that will hold the girls in place.  Second, I need shoes actually built for running.  Other than that, I’ll eventually be getting some clothes for running since I’m just making due with what I have on that front.

That was my big accomplishment of the week.  I got a reply from a job via email, but they did not include any contact information within that email.  So I’ll be following up with that early next week.  I’m also looking in to other ways to exercise such as yoga or joining a gym or maybe even joining something like swing dancing.  One of the people I met in Seattle does swing dancing and he could not say a single bad word about it.  He suggested that I try it, and I’m thinking that might not be such a bad idea.  I mean, I don’t know anyone around the QCA like I did when I lived here in high school.  So I don’t have any friends to go out with at all.  I need to start meeting people.  It’d be nice to be able to hang out locally instead of needing to drive to MPLS to see my friends.

Well, I think that’s it for this update.  Look out for the next post on Wednesday!

Even if you go slow, enjoy the journey!

-Kate

Plot Whole?

So as I’m fairly certain I mentioned in previous posts, I’m gearing up to do NaNoWriMo (which is short for National Novel Writing Month) next month.  But I haven’t written anything longer than 1,000 words since sophomore year of University of Iowa.  I like writing short stories – the shorter the better is what I’ve been feeling lately.

But I’ve wanted to write a novel since high school.  Even now, I want to be able to write a novel.  But as November creeps closer and closer, I have no idea what I should want about.  I have no plot, no character, no ideas whatsoever.  I have lots of ideas that will work as shorter stories, but nothing that I think I could make into 50,000 words.  I don’t want to get to November 1st and have nothing and put off NaNo for another year.  But I’m really struggling.  My mind is still all over the place and I have a lot going on outside of writing.

I’m really hoping inspiration hits me over the weekend and I can get some plot outlined or figure out a character or two.  I’m still really heavily influenced by HP Lovecraft and Welcome To Night Vale, but I’m also reading the epic fantasy series by George RR Martin.  And watching a ton of trashy TV.  Lots and lots of trashy, drama-filled TV.  It’s my guilty pleasure.  Except I’m not really guilty about it.

And there ya go.  See how quickly I got off topic there?  I can’t seem to focus long enough to work through an idea in its entirety.  Maybe I need a change of scenery.  I’m living in my parent’s basement and since I don’t yet have a job and I hardly go out because I know zero people in the QC.  Maybe I need to go to a park or coffee shop and sit for a few hours or something to get the creative juices flowing again.  I start running on Sunday, so maybe that’ll help, too.

I don’t even have a little 100 word story to share today.  My creativity decided to take a vacation, it seems.  So I guess I’ll just leave it here for this post.  If any of you, my readers, are writers, please share your experiences with writers block or NaNoWriMo in the comments!

Enjoy the journey, even if you don’t know the plot!

-Kate

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami (name written in English-style, first name and then last name) is a Japanese author and translator.  He’s penned a number of novels and short stories, working in both fiction and non-fiction.

Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture from a young age.  He read works by Kurt Vonnegut and Jack Kerouac, among others.  Having these Western authors as an influence helped Murakami distinguish himself from other Japanese authors later in life.

He hadn’t always wanted to be an author.  In fact, Murakami studied drama at Waseda University.  Shortly before graduation, he and his wife opened a coffee house/jazz bar called Peter Cat, which was in operation from 1974 to 1981.

Fun fact: Murakami started running at age 33 and is now a marathon runner and a triathlete.  He wrote a memoir on the subject titled What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Murakami often recounts how he began writing his first novel – Hear the Wind Song – after being inspire at a baseball game.  When a player from the US, Dave Hilton, stepped up to bat and hit a double, Murakami suddenly realized he could write a novel.  He started that same night.

The initial success of his first novel encouraged him to continue writing and he followed Hear the Wind Song up with Pinball, 1973.  A Wild Sheep Chase completed what’s called the Trilogy of the Rat.  His first two novels aren’t available in English outside of Japan.  They were released in English as a study aide for Japanese students learning English.  A Wild Sheep Chase was the “first book where I could feel a kind of sensation, the joy of telling a story.” According to Murakami, he felt his first two novels were weak in comparison.  “When you read a good story, you just keep reading.  When I write a good story, I just keep writing.”  From there, he gained popularity in Japan and abroad.  Though, like any great author, he had his critics.

Aside from his own fiction and non-fiction writing, he has translated many English authors into Japanese.  Most notable are works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, J.D. Salinger, and Shel Silverstein.

Now, why am I writing about this author?  First off, he’s my favorite author.  I first came across his books while I was a student at University of Iowa.  A Wild Sheep Chase was required reading for one of my classes.  His reoccurring themes of loneliness and isolation resonated with me and my battle with depression and still do.  The surrealism often found in his books is also something I connect with.  The idea of things not always being as they seem has always been fascinating to me.

More importantly than that is that I see Murakami as an inspiration.  He didn’t write his first novel until he was 29 years old.  At 25, I see Murakami and his career track as something comforting.  I feel pressure to have it all figured out right now and decide the path I’ll take from here on out.  Murakami proves to me that I can do anything at any point in my life.   It’s because of him and the planning that went into this post that I’ve actually decided to take up running to get into shape.

Whoever inspires you, enjoy the journey.

-Kate

Weekly Update #8

Holy crap.  I’ve been writing this blog for 8 weeks.  How on earth did I not give up immediately and go play video games, like, the second week in?  Maybe it’s cathartic to write my story in a place where strangers can read it, maybe relate to it.  Maybe it’s that it’s nice having some sort of goal to work towards while I’m jobless.  Maybe that’s all bullshit and I just like to pretend people are reading about my boring life.  Internet attention is still attention, right?  Someone (who’s not a spambot) likes my post or follows my blog and it’s like making a new friend that I’ve never spoken to and will probably never speak to.  My favorite type of friend!

Enough of that.  My head’s in a weird place.  I was turned down for the ECC job I was planning my immediate future around.  Now I’m stuck in my parent’s basement at 25 years old with no job like a fucking loser.  I know that my situation is not exactly like that, but now I feel like I don’t even have anything to work towards.  My one goal that I had been banking on crumbled in six cold words.  “We cannot offer you a position.”  We cannot offer you a position.  No reason why.  It’s policy at ECC Japan to not share with ECC Toronto what the reasons were.  We cannot offer you a position.  You’re fucked because we cannot offer you a position.

My meds aren’t working as well as they used to.  And that’s part of the problem.  I’m all of a sudden in this negative spiral of failure that I didn’t expect to be.  The “YOU’RE A FUCKING FAILURE”s my brain keeps screaming at me blindsided me.  Before I was on my meds, it was a build up to that sort of forceful self-bullying.  I could brace myself.  And I am trying to fight back.  I keep telling everyone I’m fine because I just don’t want to talk about it.  And I don’t want to fucking talk about it.  I want to sit and mope for a while and work this out myself.

I need to accomplish one thing and then I feel like I can pull myself out of this hole opening beneath me.  Just one thing.  Just one simple thing.  A goal I set for myself.  A task of my own.  I tried tonight.  I tried to sit down and make a new friendship bracelet pattern.  I couldn’t finish the first pattern I picked.  It was too hard.  75 steps just to get one chunk of the pattern.  Nope, too hard.  The second pattern I picked, I fucked up right away.  Scraped it and wasted all that embroidery floss.  How is something as simple as making a fucking friendship bracelet an impossible thing for me to accomplish?

If I can manage to accomplish one small thing, then I can shout back at my brain, “I’M NOT A FUCKING FAILURE SHUT THE FUCK UP” and shove my own face into the stupid little thing I accomplished.  I can breathe and believe that I can make it across this chasm that opened up and swallowed the future I wanted.  I can believe that I’ll make a better future from the pieces of the old one.

I said my head was in a weird place.  I know this isn’t the usual format for weekly updates, but it’s just all stuff I wanted to write.  And since it’s my blog, I wrote it.  And if you’re a fan of Night Vale, you’ll understand this next reference.

And now, the weather.

In A Hundred Words

Totally forgot to post this yesterday.  Live happens, yeah?  Yeah.  Enjoy!

I couldn’t see any other way out of this mess. There was blood everywhere, chunks of flesh strewn around the room. I took a step back to get a better handle on the situation and nearly slipped on an eyeball.

Steadying myself, I let out a sigh, seeing flashes of blue and red lights from the blood stained window. The shriek of sirens rose from a distance and crescendoed like a wave crashing over me.

I stood in front of the door, clothed in guts and gore. I weaved the handle of the blade through my fingers and waited, grinning.

However gorey, enjoy the journey!

-Kate

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day.  It’s the middle of Mental Illness Awareness Week.  And I’m going to tell you about my struggle with depression.

This is going to be difficult for me.

I suppose my depression really started in high school.  Mild, very mild then.  But depression nonetheless.  I was a straight-A’s, straight-laced student and kids like me didn’t have depression.  Kids like me were happy working on their homework more often than hanging out with friends.  Kids like me.

My depression got worse when I started college and fell in with a bad influence.  She had problems of her own that, in effect, brought all of mine to the surface.  It’s because of her that I started self-harming.  She self-harmed, and that both put the idea in my head and made it okay for me to follow suit.  Like I said, bad influence.  It all culminated in a suicide attempt you can read about in this post.  Because of that attempt, I finally sought help after spiraling down for what seemed like forever.  And I was diagnosed with clinical depression, now more commonly known as major depressive disorder.

I went to two counseling sessions at University of Iowa Student Health.  The first session was productive.  I talked about my suicidal thoughts and my self-harming issues and got some good feedback.  The next session was far less productive.  I came in with nothing new to talk about regarding self-harm and instead wanted to talk about other issues like my self-esteem and issues with my relationships.  When I said “See you next week!” to the therapist, she said something along the lines of “You don’t have to make an appointment if you don’t have anything to talk about.” Woah, right?  Okay, devastating blow to me.  That one sentence prompted me to decide therapists were a load of crap and I could and would just deal with myself by myself.

I stopped majorly self-harming in 2009.  I still kept doing things like punching walls, but that’s over now, too.  Moving to Minneapolis has helped me immensely in dealing with my depression.  If I hadn’t moved and met the people I did, I wouldn’t have reached out to a therapist again.  I wouldn’t have asked about antidepressants.  I wouldn’t be on antidepressants.  And while the dosage and/or specific medication needs tweaking, it helps me immensely.  I still have bad days (see yesterday’s post), especially when I neglect to take my meds, but overall I’m starting on a more even emotional level instead of down in the depths of self-loathing.

Depression is a hard thing to describe to people who haven’t experienced it.  I still have a difficult time describing it.  I haven’t found a better collection of descriptions of depression than this list on Buzzfeed.  I know, I know, Buzzfeed.  But it’s a perfect list.

Anyway, I’ve had another bad day so I’m going to cut it short.  Tune in tomorrow for a creative post.  And thanks for reading this special, emotional, important post.

Whatever your problems – mental or physical – enjoy the journey.

-Kate

Bad Days

Today I was going to write about my battle with depression, seeing as it’s National Mental Illness Awareness Week, but I’m going to put that off until tomorrow.  Tomorrow, October 10th, will be a special post commemorating World Mental Health Day.  The main reason I don’t want to write about my depression is because today was just a bad day and I don’t want to make it worse by critically thinking about writing out a post about depression.

I couldn’t tell you why today was a bad day.  I just woke up in a sour mood.  I think I had bad dreams or something last night, even though I don’t really remember them.  I just sort of have this vague feeling that whatever was happening in my sleeping brain was not a happy happening.  It only got worse from there.  My cats were being especially, annoyingly chipper in the morning.  They kept getting in my face or into places they shouldn’t be, knocking things over and the like.  And after getting frustrated with not being able to find my keys, I decided I was gonna go get doughnuts and eat some sweet, glazed goodness to ease my bad mood.

That didn’t go as planned, either.  I ended up picking up ice cream and some other snack food, too.  The cashier was a newbie to the job, and I absolutely do not fault her for her mistakes, but those mistakes did not have a positive effect on my already negative mood.  I got home only to realize that the bag with my ice cream in it did not make it into my car from the grocery store.  So I had to drive all the way back after tripping over my cats and my brother’s dog on the way out the door.  The one thing that made my day even slightly better was when I got back to the store, the cashier recognized me and apologized with a hug.  She told me to go get a new container of ice cream from the freezer, as the one I’d paid for was getting kind of melty.  When I got home for the second time, I ate my doughnuts, watched some movies on Netflix, and took a nap.

When I woke up, I felt a little better, but I’m still in a rough mood.  My cat Juri keeps trying to cuddle as I type this up and I’m getting frustrated with her walking all over my keyboard and climbing on my shoulders.  I love her, and if I weren’t trying to do something, I would welcome the cuddles.  She’s not the cuddle type usually.  But she HAS to cuddle RIGHT NOW and cannot wait even one minute.  There, she just shifted to get more comfortable, making me more uncomfortable and making it harder to type as she’s laying across half the keyboard and my hand.  Oh, and trying to chew on the cord running from my keyboard (yeah, I’m old-school and have a wired keyboard).  Just typing about what she’s doing is making me more and more frustrated because I keep having to stop and readjust myself or her or move her away from any wires.

As soon as I’ve got this posted, I’m going to change into my pajamas, break out my ice cream, and watch some more Netflix.  That’s usually my go-to way of calming myself down.  That, or turning on the music really loud and reading.  But my parents are home and will probably be going to bed in a few hours, so the loud music is out for now.

What’s your favorite way of turning a bad day around?  Let me know in the comments!

However your day goes, enjoy the journey!

-Kate

Weekly Update #7

Alright.  So here’s the deal, readers.  Weekly updates will still be on Sundays (with the exception of today).  Wednesdays will be topic posts, generally consisting of a specific thing I’m dealing with (money, jobs, moving, etc), with the 2nd Wednesday dealing specifically with Japanese language or culture and the 4th Wednesday dealing with a specific academic-type topic.  For example, I think I’ll be starting with cats.  The science of cats.  Yeah, that sounds good.  Fridays will be a creative day.  For the most part, it’ll be writing.  I’m going to try a mini-NaNoWriMo this November, so this month will be gearing up for that.

With that news out of the way, let’s get into the update.  I’m all moved home to IA.  Have been for about a week.  I’m not unpacked or settled in by any means, but I’m here and I’m slowly making myself comfortable.  Right after I got here, my cold caught up with me and basically KO’d me for quite a while.  I’m still sniffling and coughing and I would prefer to spend a good chunk of my day curled up under my fluffy, warm comforter in bed, but I can function now.  The day after I got here, I was down and out.  Body aches, backed-up sinuses, persistent coughing all the unhappy things that come with being sick.  So this week has been relatively uneventful in terms of things to write about.

But tomorrow, I should hopefully find out whether or not I got the job at ECC.  The direction my life will take in the next few months will be hinged on this one thing.  So, positive vibes, please!

That’s really about it.  I don’t lead a super exciting life at the moment.  It’s mostly waiting.  Waiting to hear back from a job, specifically.  And not just ECC.  I’ve been applying for jobs locally because I do need money to save up for my move to Japan.

Anyway, check back on Wednesday for the topic post!

Even if it’s slow going, enjoy the journey!

-Kate