Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Month: January 2020

Life in Upheaval

I forgot completely about posting last weekend, and I’ll tell you why: I got a job. No, my writing isn’t now paying me, it’s a real-world job. Well, not-quite-job. It’s actually a vocational rehabilitation program for Vets that I’m in up at the VA. They pay me a little above minimum wage, which is non-taxable, and I work 4 days a week in the mail room there. It’s great to be working again.

This has understandably had an effect on my writing. My focus is shot all to hell right now, because I’m usually tired and can’t decide what to work on even though I’d kinda-sorta chosen something before starting the job. These days, if I don’t have the Scrivener files for at least two projects open at once, there’s something wrong. Usually, I have three or more. I’ll either be working on some aspect of the writing—worldbuilding, plotting, or maybe getting actual words—or reading through some incomplete project that I just had to look at again.

Right now, my life is in flux as I settle into the job and establish new routines. These days, I get home from work around 16:00 and am usually in bed by 20:00, with stuff like housework in between. I’m also usually mentally blasted from work. Not sure why, just that I come home and zone while my fiancee rubs my feet and we chat. I’ll get into chat on Forward Motion too. However, I always have my projects open, ready for me to work on them.

I’m honestly not sure how long it’ll take me to settle into my job, but things have been getting better. Now I actually am able to do a little writing every couple of days, when I’ve rested up a bit. It’s just taking time. Wish it didn’t have to, but I accepted that when I leapt at the opportunity I have to get some work experience under my belt before putting applications in at real jobs again.

Lots of Things to Update

As the title says, I have lots of things to catch up on. Besides my continuing Fool’s Errand to bring my writing into a near-daily habit again, I’ve had a lot of other things going on the past year. This post is to help me clear out my head about everything and give y’all an idea of what I’ve been doing the past year (as if y’all really care, right? LOL).

First things first—I’ve pretty much given up on my disability claim with the VA. Mostly because there has been little to no movement on that since earlier this year. I’ve done pretty much everything I can on that, and it’s still up in the air. Actually, I suspect the VA has forgotten about my claim. I should probably poke my advocate, but I’m feeling rather discouraged by the process. Maybe in the new year I’ll try to get that moving again.

I’ve made substantial progress on my transition. Back last November when I came out to my mom as transgender, I didn’t think I’d get this far. Lots of things about this are currently up in the air, but one thing’s for certain: I need to have top surgery before I can start Hormone Replacement Therapy because of my cancer history. There are concerns that the testosterone will be converted to the hormone my cancer was receptive to and throw me back into treatments for that if my breasts aren’t removed. I have an appointment in January to discuss the possibility of a breast reduction at the VA. That’s another thing that’s in the air with this—I don’t know if they’ll give me a reduction based on medical need, or a full removal in the name of cancer treatment. Depending on which it is, I may be saving up in the coming year for top surgery at the University, where I had my radiation treatments. Regardless, for the past few months, I’ve been wearing more masculine attire, which has made me very happy. I’m finally becoming the person I was always meant to be!

And that brings me to the next Big Thing in my life. I’m looking for work. That’s part of what’s kept me so busy the past few months. I’ve been looking on Indeed and applying for jobs. My ultimate goal is to get into a position at the VA, but that’s taking some work beyond mere resume-and-cover-letter with the application, but I’ve got help with that. Otherwise, I’m looking at pretty much anything that has a decent pay.

Last (but not least), I’m engaged! A friend I met early in 2018 has become my fiancee. Back when we met, my fiancee said she didn’t want to get married again because her first marriage was hell and she didn’t want to go through that again. Over the past year and more, our friendship has grown into a dating relationship and now into the proposal she gave me back in October. We plan on doing the civil ceremony once I have a job and we’ve cleared out some of our debt, and a big ceremony later on in the year.

I’ll be posting updates to my real life here again, but I’m not sure on the schedule. Maybe it’ll be a regular occurrence, or maybe I’ll update only as necessary. I need to see how things go first, so don’t expect too much more in the way of personal news over the next month or so.

Changes for Fool’s Errand Updates

Since I haven’t been keeping up with my Fool’s Errand updates on a weekly basis, I’ve decided that I’ll move it to every other week. I’m also going to move them to Sundays, and the reports will include the preceding two weeks from the Sunday of the previous post to the Saturday before the current post. With my life changing (hopefully soon) for the better, I don’t expect to have as much time as I used to for writing. Look for posts every other Sunday from today onward.

I’m also not going to post any writing goals for the year. Things right now are too much up in the air. Right now, the best I can say I can do is work a little on my writing 5 days a week, even if it’s only editing something already written or working on a rewrite of a short story or something.

And now for the official update!

I’ll tell you the real reason why I’m floundering with my writing right now. Back during the last couple weeks of December, I had an epiphany. One of my online writer friends mentioned combining some of her SF universes, and that got me thinking about my Fantasy worlds. I suddenly realized quite a number of them had similar magical systems to each other. That got me to start taking notes about what worlds I could combine, and I’ve managed to consolidate my 30 worlds down into about 15, I think. I may be able to combine others, but I’m not sure.

What this means is that I need to go through each of these new Scrivener files for these new consolidations and rework the magical systems so the slightly-differing systems mesh better. That’s going to take a lot of work. At present, I’m still going through the old list of Scrivener files for my old worlds over and over and trying to mash more together, and I’m letting my brain percolate on the changes to the magical systems in the worlds already combined.

My main focus at present is my Steampunk world. This includes notes and stories from the worlds of Ulvaya, Wevae, and a couple of other worlds, including one originally called just “Steampunk”, which the new world takes its name from. I’ve managed to puzzle together a new, deeper history of the world with this combination, but I’m having difficulty trying to fit a particular part into the whole. It works well in its original world, but won’t work well on its own, and I’m just not sure what purpose this magical ability has in my new Steampunk world. My Creative Mind is bubbling away on it, though, so I’m sure things will work out well.

And—Epiphany!—I know how this final piece fits! It hit me right after I finished writing this post. Yay!

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