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I have reluctantly taken on a few more hours of tutoring this semester. I can really use the extra cash, for several reasons, not least of which because it's looking like I'll need to have some expensive dental surgery in the near future. Despite being told as recently as a couple years ago that they were fine, apparently my wisdom teeth are going to have to come out after all. I'm really unhappy about that, first because I do not relish the time spent out of commission due to how long it takes me to shake anesthetic. I might even need somebody to babysit me as I come out of it, as my history suggests it hits me very hard. The last time I had it when I was nineteen and had to be put under for a minor eye surgery, I was ridiculous and combative when I first woke up, then slept for like twelve solid hours, and then for the next day I was foggy, stupid, and not of totally sound judgment. Ugh. So at least for the beginning it's probably not the safest thing for me to be alone, but I hate to waste somebody's time with that.

And then there's the cost. It's looking to be extremely expensive, and my stupid insurance doesn't take much of a dent out of it. Overall, even before the extra hours I'm supposed to be making more this semester than last, but because of the schedule I'm getting paid on I haven't seen it yet, so this is a way of dealing with things more immediately. I'm not delighted to make my already full schedule even fuller, but I'm grateful that my work is flexible enough that I can do this at a time I need to. A lot of that is down to Bill, my awesome boss, so I'm particularly grateful for him.

Brain fog

Mar. 22nd, 2017 11:20 am
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Having a very hard time coming up with a coherent entry, yesterday and today. I tell myself to update my blog with SOMETHING even if I don't have anything brilliant to say, but this week I'm struggling to come up with ANYTHING at all.

It's been busy. Basically I dove back into everything the minute I got home from helping Bernie move into his new apartment in Virginia, which entailed preparing the first week's module of the online class I'm teaching, and Hawking rehearsals beginning again. Both things are going well, but it's been basically running from one responsibility to the next from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night, and I find that exhausting. I've also not been taking the best care of myself, eating too much junk and not getting enough sleep.

I have been writing, though. Because I've been out all day and unable to get home until late, I've been finding places to hide myself between schedule blocks, usually on the Lesley campus, and get a few moments of writing in here and there. So I suppose I haven't been completely consumed by work, but I've had to set very, very low productivity goals just to keep myself generating a little bit every day.

I can rest this weekend, fortunately. And I'm gonna.

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So among my many pet peeves, I have one that is quite small and absolutely meaningless but still gets on my nerves. Because it gets on my nerves, I end up arguing against it on the occasions that it has come up in my presence (which has happened to me likely more often than it does to most people.) But because of the nature of the issue, I end up looking SUPER WEIRD for standing up for it. Which is NOT REALLY WORTH IT, as it DOESN’T REALLY MATTER, but it annoys me so I always foolishly stan for it even though it makes me look like a freak. Why? Why do I do this? WHAT IS MY LIFE?



Now that I’ve said that, I have to describe it, don’t I?

Okay, fine. It gets on my nerves when people characterize relationships between human characters and nonhuman but still anthropomorphic and sentient characters as “bestiality.” Because it’s not— as long as the nonhuman character’s a person, with thoughts, feelings, and consciousness analogous to a human’s, they’re NOT an animal. So it doesn’t count. To me this seems like an obvious fact.

But apparently, just because it’s clearly an obvious fact to me, for some reason I feel compelled to point that out anytime somebody makes reference to the opposite.

...

Really, Phoeb? This is what you need to rules lawyer? This is what you need to "well, actually" about?

Why? It doesn’t matter! There are no real people or relationships being harmed by the misconception! It harms NO ONE if somebody doesn’t understand this. So why do I put myself in the position of being the champion of characters’ right to fall in love with whatever sentient alien, mythological creature, or anthropomorphic animal they choose? Why do I need to make myself look like a freak over THAT?

Your life has taken a very wrong turn if you’re ever insisting something is “not technically bestiality.” And I’ve done it SEVERAL TIMES. *Sigh*
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Sorry to complain so much lately. I should probably just shut up. But I feel so uncomfortable lately. Nothing extreme, I guess, just a constant low-level of physical and emotional discomfort that's been dragging at me. It makes concentration, particularly when I'm struggling to feel interested in anything, even tougher than usual.

The thing about it that's throwing me most, though, is that this state of discomfort has made me uncontrollably comfort-seeking. That is normally not me AT ALL. Usually I'm pretty damn self-disciplined in the service of the things I want and am working toward. But not right now! Now I'm eating compulsively, and where once I was successfully avoiding carbs and sugar six days a week, now I've started back in on Coke and junk and can't seem to stop. My body is achy and sore, my energy level is low, so all I want to do is lay in a heap. I'm also spending too much money, because it makes things easier, even though it's a terrible idea for me right now. But again, my self-control is almost nil.

So, with so much screwing around, the biggest problem is I'm struggling with how to spend my time. Soon I'm going to be so full up with school and show stuff that I won't have spare moment. I really, really don't want to waste this much time. But everything that occurs to me to work on just seems stupid and pointless, which kills any resolve I can build up to work on it.

Probably I just have to choose something and do it. Or else I'll do nothing. But I do hate when I waste effort on something that would be better spent on something else. How do you build up focus and interest in things? Is there anything you can do, or are you at the mercy of the natural reactions of your brain? I've never successfully found a way to make myself care about something I don't naturally care about, but lately I don't even care about that stuff.

Just gray

Sep. 14th, 2016 09:16 pm
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Ten thousand things I could be doing. Projects to work on, arts to experiment with, things to make, things to watch, stories to read. But I have no interest in any of them.

I have a hard time getting mentally into anything I don't already have some spontaneously developed interest in. That's tough for me to find at the best of times. Right now? Nothing. Practically nothing.

Bah.
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After creeping in slowly the last week or so, I think I'm now solidly in the grasp of yet another depressive wave. It's probably purely the vagaries of my screwed-up brain, but it makes me focus on all the things about my life that I'm angry and unhappy about. It puts me in such a negative mindset, and it makes everything I'm doing, or should be doing, seem totally pointless, which saps my energy and motivation to do it.

I've been incredibly unproductive with even the decent amount of spare time I've had lately, and I'm pissed about that since it's likely to be the last spare time I have for a very long while. Way to waste it, idiot. And this low-energy state is definitely not the place I want to be in with my new semester starting. I'm going to be drowning in work with three classes and two plays to put on, so it is NOT a good time to want to spend it lying in a heap.

Bah. There's nothing to be done. No amount of self-care or anything ever really has any power to shake me out of these things. I just have to wait it out. But in the meantime, I need to not let everything go off the rails while I'm hating everything and being pissed at the world.
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I got offered an interview this morning for teaching a writing class at Bentley University. That's awesome! Except... I don't know if I could accept it if offered. UGH.

When I was concerned that my third class at Lesley might get cancelled due to low enrollment, I started applying to other universities to see if I could get another class elsewhere as a backup. It turned out that the class isn't going to be cancelled after all, so my schedule was safe. However, I'd sent out a handful of applications by that point, and today I heard back from Bentley asking if I could come in for an interview.

This is of course a good thing! I'm glad my resume and cover letter were strong enough to get invited in. Bentley is a four-year college that's literally like ten minutes from my house, so getting a relationship there would be awesome. But when I was planning my schedule for the fall, it was taking into account how I'll be directing Vivat Regina and the inaugural production of Base Instruments for Arisia this year. Directing two plays, even if one of them is a reprise, is a lot of work. I was pretty burnt out last year by just that plus two classes and tutoring. I wouldn't have to tutor with a fourth class-- tutoring is easier, but a class is more money --but the real kicker is the grading.

Lesson planning and actual in-class time are certainly work, but for me at least, the most seriously labor-intensive is the grading. Literally the worst part of being an English teacher is reading and responding to all those papers in an actually constructive manner. Taking on an additional class would likely mean an extra fifteen to twenty students' worth of grading for the semester. Maybe I could manage to do it, but I imagine it would be a pretty miserable workload. Do I really want that level of stress?

I consulted the archives of Ask a Manager, a great advice website from a woman who is a consultant in management, professional practices, and job searching. She's a great source on the best practices of modern professional life. She is of the opinion that one should not accept an interview one knows one will turn down. Her reasoning is that you risk the hiring manager feeling that you've wasted their time, which could alienate them from ever calling you back in should you ever apply there again, and stealing an interview slot from someone who actually does really want the job. The former I definitely don't want to do, as I could see myself in a situation in the future where it would be great to be teaching there, and the latter I know how painful it can be when folks don't call you back.

So I guess my only two options are either politely decline the interview for scheduling reasons, or accept the interview with the intention of taking the job if offered. I'll have to think which one is going to be right for me.

Useless

Jun. 7th, 2016 02:51 pm
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Been pretty much completely useless for the last several weeks. I know I didn't rest the way I wanted to, but my profound inability to focus on ANYTHING productive is ridiculous. I can't let this keep going. I'm getting really behind both in stuff I need and want to do, and it makes me so angry at myself.

Had a couple bad spells of depression pop up too. It comes and it goes, as it probably will for the rest of my life. But it makes everything I do feel particularly pointless. And when I'm already struggling to be productive, that makes me even more useless than before. Right now I'm having a hard time even figuring out what to focus my energy on, what would be the best use of my creative energy and effort, but that uncertainty is making me do NOTHING out of fear of wasting time doing the WRONG THING. Useless.

Resolving here to get my ass in gear. On SOMETHING, even if it's not the best use of my time or energy. I've got the Bare Bones staged reading of Base Instruments this Friday evening, which is great. I'm glad to get that play out there, and it's something to get myself going. It's a good play, the best Mrs. Hawking play so far, and maybe it'll energize me to do more work.
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I had a really lovely Easter yesterday, full of delicious food and wonderful friends. I enjoyed it enormously and am really grateful I had the chance to spend the time, but now I am back at work, and am slammed back in the reality of my overwhelming life.

I feel like a broken record going on about that. God knows over the years I've complained enough on this blog about feeling burned out, but lately... lately it's like I literally do not have enough minutes in the day to get everything done. I've been scrambling to get all my externally owed commitments taken care of, such that anything that isn't strictly due for somebody else has been falling away.

I really do think I'm at the point where I need to make a change. It's just too much. I'm starting to stumble because of it, and I'm afraid if I keep pushing like this, I'm going to break down. I don't know what the right move is-- what can I afford to cut out that won't have OTHER negative consequences on my life? --but I know I can't keep doing this.

I know taking care of myself is essential in times like this... but what does that even mean? I already eat properly, sleep enough, and get regular exercise. And honestly doing all that is taking up even more of my time and requiring more effort to make sure it happens. That personal stuff is always the first to get blown off when I owe other people stuff, but that just throws me off in a different way. What can I do that doesn't add to the burden?

Something's got to give.

Shot

Feb. 17th, 2016 07:42 pm
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I don't know what wrong with me recently. I have had minimal motivation or energy for anything. I was sick for a while and was blaming it on that, but now that I've recovered I don't know what's up. I've been having a hell of a time getting my head into anything, whether work, projects, or play, which keeps leaving me scrambling at the last minute to get things done. I hate when that happens, especially given that I chose to give up procrastination for Lent. Looks like I'm already doing a terrible job of it.

I want to sleep a lot. I've been sleeping longer than usual lately. In recent years I've struggled a lot with focus, but it's been ridiculous in the last few weeks. It usually manifests in me having a hard time getting into everything without some spark of interest, and that spark has been dead for pretty much everything. I don't know what wrong with me. My ability to buckle down is even more shot than usual.

I really hope I perk up when I'm at Intercon. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year, but right now I just feel meh. I really hope I'm able to enjoy it. Of course, that means I've got to get all this grading done around it. I don't want to worry about it over the weekend.
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I don't feel very good today, for a variety of small and totally explainable reasons. But even though I feel this way, everything is okay. I say this as a reminder to myself, because when a lot of little things pile up to make me feel generally lousy, it tends to make my depression-brain assume that just because I FEEL BAD, everything MUST BE BAD.

I am on the second week after finishing Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina, and I was hoping I'd be back to my normal routine by now. I am keeping up with responsibilities, and I've ever done some highly productive project work, but the routines are still not in place. I feel really scattered, like I'm not getting anything done even though I know that's not true. Maybe I needed more rest than I thought. Coming down with this stupid bug is not helping. It's not that bad, but I feel incredibly low-energy and foggy. I've only been exercising every other day, and my skin is a nightmare. It's made me insecure about my appearance, as I can't shake the feeling that I look soft and yucky.

I need to figure out how to get myself together. My routines make me feel not only healthy but also productive, which is essential to my mental wellbeing. Perhaps I do need more rest, to get over this illness, if nothing else. Maybe giving myself a little more time will enable me to actually get myself together by next week.
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My iPad battery has been weird lately. The device has been discharging really fast, and then taking forever to charge back up. Sometimes the percentage gauge has jumped up and down, usually when first plugged in, but sometimes during the charging process too. The software is up to date, and the iPad is only a couple years old, but something is clearly wrong. I REALLY don't want to have to take it in for repairs. Besides the general inconvenience, it's my primary computing device. Other than my phone, I have an ancient Mac laptop that Bernie lent me so I'd have something to print on, but currently I can't make it connect to the Internet, so except for watching stored video, it's practically useless. I really don't want to not have access to it for whatever time it takes to fix it. I can do email from my phone, I guess, but for writing it would be massively inconvenient to not have access to my files.

Charging issues abound for me, really. My car (a 2015 Prius) has an input for a lightning cable, but recently it keeps flashing the "Device draws too much power" message and shutting off, before randomly turning back on, over and over again. It makes it very difficult to have anything running on my phone, such as directions, because every time the cable re-engages, my headphones go silent. And when it's plugged in, it won't play through its own speakers, and the car speakers won't acknowledge all programs. It might just be a sign that the cable's starting to break (they all eventually do, the bastards) but I'm running low on cables recently. Might have to bite the bullet and buy some more.

I guess this could have happened at a worse time, but it's pretty inconvenient regardless.
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I woke up with a cold today, the first I've had in like five years. It's not all that bad, but I dislike anything that reminds me that I'm not actually invincible. If I'm not invincible, it means there are some things I can't do, which I don't like to think about. Moreover, it's sapping my energy, and I've got more on my plate than I hoped I would right now.

I finished my writing project I needed for a submission opportunity, thanks to some awesome friends giving me feedback. Thank you, brilliant people! But now I need to finish editing my article for Game Wrap, and it's pretty demanding with jumping into new classes now. Not a good time to feel even less focused than usual.

I am close to having a break, though, or at least as much as I can with my normal work schedule. Next week I won't have the pressure of any due dates on me. I will use it to take a breather, but also to figure out what my next direction is. Which writing project to do next, what I want to have on my schedule, get into good life habits again. I want my exercise routine to go back to near-perfect, and my skin is a volcanic wasteland. I'm usually relentlessly healthy because of my routines, so if I'm compromised enough to finally get a cold, I probably need to take care of myself.
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Every now and then, a reference to my ex will pop up on Facebook. Obviously I dislike when this happens-- I feel best when I am never reminded of his existence in any way, because the thought of him still makes me angry. But what also bothers me is that people who ostensibly like me are still socializing with with him. And I'm not sure if that's fair or not.

Content warning: partner abuse. )
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Well, it seems that one of the classes I'm going to be teaching this semester was cancelled due to low enrollment. There was always a risk of this happening, as I'd heard enrollment at North Shore was down overall, but I just got confirmation of one being full and one being cancelled.

I've got mixed feelings. On one hand, I don't think it's good for me to have fewer classes when I'm trying to establish a resume as a college professor. It won't look as good when I apply places in the fall with fewer under my belt. Also, I'll be making a fair bit less money without it. I will have more hours to tutor, but it's won't work out to as much. But on the other hand... I feel so tired after everything of the last few months, that I'm having a hard time working up much disappointment. Each class is a lot of work, and the idea of having not quite so much of it feels something like a relief, even though it's not good for me in the longer term. I would have had to write both syllabi this week, which is Mrs. Hawking tech week, and the idea of having to do two of those at once while finishing up the shows is exhausting. One is tough enough, but more manageable than two.

Aw, well. My resume and bank account won't be as good for it. But maybe I need a little bit of a break.
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The classes I taught this semester are now officially over. I have to run the final exam for Lesley and do a mountain of grading, but other than that, I don't have to prepare any more lessons or show up at any more appointed times. That's a real relief, as I could use a freer schedule for a while. I still have plenty to do, but any break in the pressure will be very much appreciated.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I'm going to be teaching at Lesley next semester like I'd hoped. I did a good job with my class this time around, but they don't have freshman composition in the spring semester. I'm pretty disappointed that I won't be able to take on more classes there like I'd hoped-- at least, not until next fall. I have been invited to get back into contact with them in April, so I will most likely be able to return to teaching there eventually, but that means this next semester isn't going to be the career step forward that I'd hoped.

Things at North Shore look more promising. My bosses are amenable to the idea of me teaching there this spring, but even that isn't a sure thing. Enrollment for that semester is apparently down, and they rehire based on seniority. Since I'm brand new, I will be the last they allow to return if they don't have enough classes.

That makes me sad. I was hoping to transition into adjuncting as my primary day job. It was also nice to be making the extra money. I guess I'm still on the right track to that, but it might be put on hold for this next semester. I've applied some other places, but it's probably too late to be considered at this point, and I was way too busy this past semester to think of it before now. Ah, well. At least I won't be slammed all the time. It could be worse, but I'm kind of disappointed.
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Got my Adonis screenplay requested for reading by another company!

Recently I delivered my Adonis pitch in another screenplay pitching session, and they asked for it! Very pleased with that, because the response from the executive was so positive. Out of three verbal pitch sessions, I have gotten three requests to read, which is a damn good track record and confirmation of the fact that I have a good story, a good pitch for it, and I am doing a good job of pitching.

This one I know won't go anywhere. The executive said she thought it sounded great but it wasn't the sort of thing her company was looking for right then. Still, she wanted to read it. That's still good for me, because the more people in the business get eyes on it, the better. I have a feeling that if I make it, it won't be because this script sells-- it will be because it impresses people, and they'll want something else from me which I'll have an easier time getting made. And then, when I have a little cache, then I can possibly push a big gun like Adonis.

But this executive, like others before her, asked me a question that's been kind of on my nerves in recent years-- "Have you considered making this a book?" I've gotten that on not only on this project, but also Mrs. Hawking. Lots of people think I should turn both or either of these properties into a novel rather than the dramatic form I've originally conceived of them in.

I've some idea of the reasons people tend to think this. Some don't or "can't" read scripts and would rather read books (never mind the fact that I don't understand why it would be harder to read something that's a third as dense). Some people think it would be easier to get it out their in published form than in trying to get it produced. Other have apparently artistic aspirations on my behalf, and think the level of detail and world building I would be able to do in a novel form would really make the most of the stories.

The idea makes me feel grouchy. First of all, if I wanted them to be books, that's what I would have written. I want them to be films/television. But moreover, I don't even know if I could write a good book. I am trained in dramatic writing-- I am thirty thousand dollars in debt for a degree in it, in a program that separated instruction in fiction and in drama --and not trained in novel writing. I do not really write prose anymore. The last time I tried, incidentally, was that two-page banging out of the very early, very initial idea for Adonis. The process was incredibly difficult for me, and the results were pretty banal beyond the germ of the idea-- so banal and free of significance or meaning that the scene I depicted in that piece ended up getting cut out of the screenplay version. Mrs. Hawking and Adonis are my two most important properties right now. I don't want to wreck them by writing shitty novels because I don't have the skill to do it.

I'm a good enough writer that I could probably learn. But it would take time, and in that time, I wouldn't be producing anything good. I'm not sure I want to take a year or whatever off to just write crap to get over that hump. I want to be moving forward. I guess if somebody promised me, yeah, if you write these books they will take off, it would be worth the time, but there are no guarantees like that.

I don't know. I'm considering it. Maybe I should. I will give it more thought. I want a career in this badly enough that I'm not ruling it out.

Run down

Dec. 9th, 2015 09:42 am
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I am so ready for the holiday break. I have been holding it together, but I'm so severely overloaded right now that I worry about balls being dropped. I'm prioritizing work right now, finishing my teaching obligations strong until the end of the semester, and so far I've met all deadlines and requirements, but I'm drowning in grading. I would very much like to be hired back at the same institutions next semester, so I'm pouring effort into doing a good job, but the combined weight of everything is dragging at me. Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina are going well-- rehearsals are ahead of schedule, actually --but I'm afraid my burnout will affect my ability to keep things moving. I really don't want to fall behind.

The stuff I don't owe to anybody but myself has been a complete mess. My acne protocol, my chores, all that have gone to hell. Thanksgiving threw off my diet for four days, and though I've been back on it since then, my exercise schedule got beat up. I feel softer and squishier, and I hate it. My body has been a little bit sore-- my right wrist and hip both feel slightly injured, and I'm not sure if it's because I haven't been exercising as much, or if I hurt them while trying to exercise and shouldn't stress them. I really need to get myself back in a routine, but the energy and focus it requires is in short supply right now.

Time will open up relatively soon, though. The semester will end, and rehearsal will break for the holidays. Then maybe I can catch up on all the stuff I'd let fall by the wayside in the meantime.
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I just realized just how much grading I have to do over the next week. I have, between my two classes, a wave of revisions, a third essay, an outline, an abstract, and a one-page writeup. Not everybody handed everything in, but that totals around sixty distinct assignments that I have to evaluate. Gah.

I can get away with only focusing on what the students need for their coming work for the next Tuesday deadline. That means grading the Lesley essays #3 and the outlines for North Shore. But I should probably make sure I respond to the abstracts ASAP, as they need those to plan their research papers. The revisions are for the grade book, but the students aren't pressed for them, and I can probably get away with not grading all the pieces of the North Shore final immediately. Those require revision, but not until the end.

I don't want my whole break with my family to be taken up with grading, but I've got to get it done on time. This is the worst part of being a teacher. 😝
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I am really starting to drag. My schedule has been rough enough-- I feel like I'm constantly working --and having to fly away last weekend and have less time to get things done makes me feel like I'm pushing even harder to catch up. I was hoping to have adapted to my new schedule now that I'm basically one month in, but I don't know if it's the unexpected curve of traveling or what, but I feel burnt out. I don't know if I'm just not there yet, or if it's going to be cumulative and get even worse.

What concerns me is that I'm hoping to go into rehearsal soon, which won't make things any easier. But at the moment I feel like I'm becoming one of those people who doesn't do anything except work. I've barely done any writing since my class started, and only a little bit of work on any other project. Again, I'm praying it's just because I haven't gotten used to it yet. I really hope this isn't my new normal.

Because at the moment, it's made me so boring that I don't have anything to say except bitching about how busy I am.

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