Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Oasis Games

Some MTG Today

All I did today was play some MTG with a friend who’s still learning. Went to Oasis to do this, and now I’m pooped, so I’m hitting the sack.

Hair and D&D and Writing, Oh My!

Shan the Wizard

Greg’s Character, Shan

Tuesday was a good day. I slept well Monday night and actually awoke naturally around 07:00. I spent the next hour or so just lazing in bed thinking about stuff as I like to do when I wake up on my own after a good night’s sleep. When I finally pulled myself out of bed, I’d dozed off a few times and it was going on nine.

First thing I did after my morning routine was go out to Orlando’s Salon to have my hair done. A little more expensive than I usually like to go, but I was tired of the place I’d been going to, where the hairdressers went off some old, old haircut I got years ago and didn’t seem willing to listen to me when I tried to get them to change the style. I’ve kept my hair quite short for years, and I want to change it a little—let the top get a bit longer than it’s been for the past few years—and I didn’t think the hairdressers at my old place, a Supercuts within walking distance, would listen to me about it. One of my friends recommended the hairdresser I went to today, and, really, the price quoted to me when my friend went in (I was with her) wasn’t all that much more than what I’d been paying.

I like the haircut. Though I think she left the sides and back longer than I wanted (I asked for as short as she could get it), I am very pleased with how she cut the top. I had her take about half an inch off, to keep the bulk of the length but get rid of the ends (which I thought might be starting to split, considering how my hair was behaving after washing). At the end, she asked how I felt about putting product in, and I told her it depended largely on what I was going for with my hair, and that currently I primarily want wash-and-wear. Since I’d told her over the course of the haircut that I tended to wash my hair only once a week to prevent it turning into a haystack, she introduced me to a leave-in conditioner to spray in after I towel-dry my hair.

After that, I came home and prepared for my afternoon. One of the calls I made yesterday was to arrange an “appointment” with another friend. He wanted to join in the D&D gaming with my longtime gaming friends—that D&D campaign I’m writing up. So at 15:00, I packed up everything and headed down to Oasis Games.

On the way, approaching the entrance, I noticed someone standing on the sidewalk toward the street. He was facing the street, standing behind, from my perspective, one of the trees that line the sidewalk. I halted, removed my headphones from one ear, and asked, “Greg?” thinking he might be my friend. He was! We entered the shop and sat to draw up his character. This took a couple of hours, because I made sure he read everything he needed to be familiar with.

When we finished with his character creation, I invited him to my home to go to HeroForge to create an image of his character. This took maybe another thirty to forty-five minutes.

After all that, I needed some time for my mind to cool down so to speak, so I idled until I decided what to work on. Decided to start another rewrite of a stalled project. Stalled because I realized it had derailed from what I originally intended, and rewriting instead of cutting-and-fixing from an earlier point because the writing is not up to my current standards.

So that was my Tuesday!

Day 4 on This

Hendrix the Cat

Not another picture!

The title of this thing is something of a celebration of my (minor) achievement with this daily posting thing. I honestly didn’t know what to expect of myself and seriously thought I might not make it to 4 nights in a row. But it’s Hump Day and here’s the post! Yay!

I wish I could say I’ve been fantastically productive, but I can’t. Though, I did manage to do a number of things I needed to.

Before going to bed this morning (at around 04:30 or so, iirc), I finally managed to get the most recent adventures my character Xylorian’s had in the D&D campaign DMed by my pride friend Kit. I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned this group before, but I can’t remember all what I’ve said. Suffice it to say that I met all the players in this group, and the DM, through the Utah Pride Center. I’m the only one with a substantial amount of previous experience playing D&D among us players, and Kit’s a “new” DM; we’re his first actual gaming group. Still, we’re doing fairly well, I think. Kit’s very involved and keeps up with us and on the ball with what we need to know.

So, I did that, then idled for a time, fiddling with nitpicky things on one of my world’s worldbuilding before going to bed. And I stayed in bed until 13:00. My sleep wasn’t the best, though, and it rarely is when I go to bed so late, so I spent a bit of time napping after I got up. At one point, a one of my pride friends reminded me about our usual weekly Magic: The Gathering session and I arranged to pull another friend who sometimes joins us in.

Thus, at 17:00, I was at Oasis Games with Cayden and JJ. We played one long round of MTG with a young man who sometimes joins us. D— is still quite young, so I’m not providing his name here. Suffice it to say that he’s got pretty powerful decks and regularly trounces us all. I had a headache and begged off a second round, so we broke for the day and Cayden and JJ headed out to Trax to begin their trips home together.

Back home, I was greeted by my cat, who was very happy I was home. I laid down for a little while to see if the headache would go away, and it did fade. D— is also very enthusiastic and loves MTG, so he tends to stress me out a bit. As a result I thought just getting home where things were calm and relatively quiet (I had music playing, as I almost always do) would help me feel better.

Once I felt better, I got Chapter 21 of DH02 posted on Wattpad, though I didn’t edit the next chapter of DH03 as I’d originally planned. Mostly ’cause I needed to email a friend to coordinate a grocery trip this weekend. I also wanted to call my Mom, which I did, and we were on for about half an hour. She received Primary Election voter information and seemed confused on its purpose. I’m not sure I cleared things up for her as well as I thought I had, but we moved on to other topics and hung up after a nice chat anyway.

Depression and Writer’s Block

In a way, I don’t know where the past few weeks have gone, though I can tell you what I was doing for most of them since my last post here. The essential thing is that I’ve been in a depressive funk and struggling to do pretty much everything from rising every day to writing on anything to indulging in hobby activities like crocheting. I’m not out of the pit yet either.

What I’ve been doing is getting out of the house a lot. Between Christmas and the beginning of last week (the 7th). Most of the time, I’ve either been going to the offices where the Utah Pride Center moved their therapy services, or, even more often, to Oasis Games, which bought the pride center’s old building and fixed up the first floor. I’ve been going there mainly to read Dungeons and Dragons books; I finished reading the Player’s Handbook and have been making slow progress on reading the Dungeon Masters Guide since about the first week of January.

I’ve also been continuing crocheting. My primary project is now complete, and I’ll be giving it to my friend who I decided to give it to soon if I get an opportunity. To be honest, I’ve done most of the work on it at the pride center’s therapy offices.

But even with those things, I’ve been in a depressive funk. The main reason is because I received a decision from the VA on my Compensation claim. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last year, but I started the claim in order to try and connect my bipolar disorder to my Naval service. Well, they didn’t even bother opening a case; they simply denied it without investigating. I’m fairly certain that is what threw me into this depressive funk.

It’s still with me. And, unfortunately, it’s not a state of mind I’ve been able to simply write through. I’ve tried. The first 4 days of this month, I wrote at least 500 words a day. Managed to complete, I think, 2 scenes on Unwritten Letters. But I didn’t feel like writing. Even with plot cards, I had trouble grasping the ideas. I felt no joy in getting the words down. Even though the quality was up to my standards, I hated what I’d written because I’d written the words when I felt bad. Gah, talking about it is dragging me down again. Enough.

Anyway, I haven’t touched my writing to do more than read stuff since then. Most days, I haven’t even been able to read my writing. I will not go into detail about how that makes me feel—it’s even more depressing than my description of writing, and I really don’t want to get as bad as I was last weekend over it all.

So, I foolishly thought writer’s block was a myth. That people who had it were undisciplined and lacked initiative in their writing. Well, since September or October, I’ve seen what it’s like to be undisciplined and lack initiative. And now I’ve been treated to my own grand case of writer’s block thanks to this depression.

Let me go over this again, to make it clear. Reading my writing depresses me, primarily because I see all its potential and am not actively capitalizing on it. Writing on anything depresses me any more because it’s not THERE—the ideas are vague, no matter how well-prepared I am for writing, and I hate the act of writing, and having done so makes me feel horrible because I didn’t enjoy doing so and I think I should. So it’s easier to just not write. I’ve gotten to the point where I dread writing, and I figure when it’s that bad, there’s no point in torturing myself.

Oh, I won’t be this way forever. I have faith in that. Maybe I’ll tuck myself into the inpatient mental ward at the VA, maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ll get by and this depression will pass. It’s already started to lift—a little—the past few days. I have a good long-distance friend I can chat about this with, and if that doesn’t help, I can always call the Veterans Crisis Line, and I’ve already notified my mental health care team about where I stand emotionally. All I need to do is stick it out long enough for the clouds to pass, and I’ve done that before and know I can do it again. In the meantime, I’m getting out, cuddling with my cat, and doing what I can to distract myself from my depression so I don’t do something stupid.

Remiss

I have been horribly remiss in keeping up with posts, and I apologize. There will be no promises that I will do so from now on; I’m not going to promise something that may not happen. Suffice it to say that the rough period that I’m dealing with right now isn’t over.

This rough period began back in October. I’ll be honest here and admit I struggled through November. Even though I did participate in Nano, and I did find the writing somewhat easier than I expected, it was a chore to write each day, and I experienced several days throughout the month when I didn’t write at all. About a week or so toward the end of the month, I threw in the towel. In part because I’m near the end of the wip I was working on for November, which always is a struggle to write, because I don’t want the story to end, even if there’s a sequel. The rest was just emotional exhaustion. To be vulgar, I simply had no fucks to give by that point. Since it had been such a struggle to write on fiction, it was even more difficult to keep up with blog posts, which takes more out of me, even if my post is relatively short.

December has been no different. I’ve written a little, but nowhere near as much as I wanted. I was hoping my creative mind would “switch on” sometime around the 15th, but that didn’t happen. And, to be honest, I don’t really care. I still don’t have any fucks to give about writing. To be honest, this blog post is the most I’ve cared about any writing all month.

Instead of writing, I’ve been doing other things. I spent most of the month making my mom’s Christmas gift—a bunch of wash cloths—in crochet sessions with a new friend whom I helped teach how to crochet. The Pride Center is officially closed, aside from a therapy office in another building they’re renting the space from while their new building is being renovated, and the games store that bought the old building has opened up in the ground floor. Katie went in to check things out and as a result, I joined her and her husband for a D&D demo game DMed by one of the store’s employees. Oasis Games sells board games and a variety of role games and things like miniatures that go to the role games. They’ve installed a cafe and also sell other items related to games and gaming, including Funko Pop figures, dice, and Magic: The Gathering cards.

That visit to Oasis Games with Katie has inspired a new interest in D&D. I purchased a Player’s Handbook with part of the money from a gift card my sister sent me for my birthday. That demo game kicked ideas into my head—ideas I need to be a Dungeon Master in order to execute, so I’ve brought up a suggestion to my Vampires gaming friends that I DM D&D for them, and they’re tentatively enthusiastic about the offer. I just need to get the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual. In the meantime, I’ve been reading the Player’s Handbook from cover to cover, usually in reading sessions with the bottomless cup of tea Oasis Games offers. I’ve got some notes, a number of prize items, and I need to draw up a map for the first quest my gaming friends are going to take their characters through. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about DMing, but most of them are positive, and I’m feeling excited to do it. Even just a year ago, this is something I wouldn’t have considered doing.

Another thing I’m trying to do is schedule my days. Thinking it would be quite easy to switch my sleeping habits around, I originally scheduled myself a rising time of six in the morning. Mornings like this are flukes for the most part—though I did put myself to bed last night, I didn’t actually sleep all that much; overactive mind. So, in paying attention to my natural sleep habits, I decided to rework my schedule for a ten AM rise. Much as I like being up early in the morning, it just doesn’t happen with any regularity, and the fact is, I tend to get to sleep more quickly if I go to bed later, so even on nights when I got to bed around ten PM, I was still getting up at around ten the next morning because I simply didn’t fall asleep until one or two AM. I don’t understand it either; this is just the way my mind works with regards to sleep, and I’ve decided I’ve got to learn to live with it because trying to twist it around into something it wasn’t and couldn’t be was only stressing me out.

I’m glad about a few things, though. The D&D thing, for one. And I’m crocheting more. It’s been nice to wield a hook again, and I’ve even made a bit of progress on my monster bedspread afghan. Currently, my “portable” project is an afghan that’s been languishing to be finished that I’m going to give to a friend in return to all the kindness and patience they’ve bestowed upon me. I’m looking forward to giving it to them and am sure they’ll appreciate it.

So I’m dealing with my lack of interest in writing in constructive ways that are taking me out of the house more frequently, which is another reason why I’m not upset about not caring about writing. And I think all these things are signs of an improvement in my mental health state, which I’m sure everyone will agree is a good thing. The rough period may not be over, but at least I’m dealing with it in healthy ways—another improvement in my mental health state. And, to be honest, I’d rather have that improvement than a regular writing habit, mainly because I can teach myself to have the latter, but the good mental health status comes only with time, the correct medication regimen, and a lot of effort in therapy.

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