Woooooooo!!! I have my tentative Dragoncon schedule! AND I’m remembering to share it! Come find me!
Friday, September 1
Title: Populating Your World Description: Great characters (fun, interesting, snarky, whatever) can drive a story to the NYT bestseller list–or to the bottom of the barrel. Developing memorable characters is a talent–and you can learn how during this workshop. Panelists: Venessa Guinta(M), Andrew Aydin, Trisha J. Wooldridge, James J. Butcher, Michael G. Manning, L.H. Nicole Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Anthology: A Buncha Great Writers Got Together… Description: Wondering about anthologies? How to get invited into one? We’re going to lead you down the pathway to writing for anthologies. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Esther Friesner, Jeff Burns, Nancy Knight, Jean Marie Ward, D.B. Jackson Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Saturday, September 2
Title: Editor here, Editor There much Red Ink That it looks like Blood! Description: All the different kinds of Editors but which is right? Editors are a necessary evil, sometimes authors love them, sometimes they kill them in novels. But how do we know which is the right kind of editor? (Yes, there are many kinds of the demon.) Copy, Developmental, and who knows what else. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Steve Saffel, James Minz, James A. Hunter, Lezli Robyn, Jacob Weisman Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Embassy CD Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Hey! Listen to Me Description: Great dialogue is an important part of your story. Don’t just dash off a few lines every now and then. Every “spoken” word in your book or story must work! Panelists: Edward McKeown, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Jeanne C Stein, Ellie Raine, Harmon Cooper, J. P. Valentine Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Sunday, September 3
Title: From Shadows to Screams: Urban Legends’ Influence on Horror Description: This panel delves into the chilling urban legends that haunt our dreams. Our panelists will explore their impact on the horror genre: inspiration, fears, and societal reflection. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Valerie Dawn Hampton, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Erika Lance, Mark Muncy, Bill Bridges Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Peachtree 1-2 Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: That Has Such People in It: the Unwritten Rules of SF Description: What are the unwritten rules of modern science fiction? Are there any? Is it required to follow them, if so? Panelists: James Nettles, Jacob Weisman, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Gray Rinehart, Steve Saffel, Lezli Robyn Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Embassy AB Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Where do we go from here? The Future of Fantasy Literature Description: Fantasy is expanding it can seem like the world of Fantasy Lit is expanding at an exponential rate, but is it? Here we will discuss current and new trends in Literature. Can they accurately predict what will become the next big Lit thing? Only time will tell. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Milton J. Davis, K.D. Edwards, Travis Baldree, Ryan DeBruyn, K.T. Hanna Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: Embassy CD Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: RetroFuturism: The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be Description: Over the years we have had certain ideas of how the future was going to be. A look at what we thought it would be and what it actually was/is. Panelists: Edward McKeown, Les Johnson, Patrick Dugan, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Kathleen O’Shea David, David Boop Time: Sun 10:00 pm Location: Embassy AB Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Monday, September 4
Title: Fear Into Fiction: Crafting Heart-Stopping Tales Description: Explore the art of turning fear into captivating stories! This panel delves into the secrets of crafting spine-chilling tales that will leave readers breathless. Unleash your creativity and delve into the world of terrifying narratives at this riveting panel. Panelists: David Boop, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Darrell Z. Grizzle, DL Wainright, Jessica Ann York Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: Peachtree 1-2 Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: How to Be a Professional Writer in One Easy Lesson Description: What’s the difference between a professional writer and a hack? Let’s draw some boundaries… Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Anthony Francis, Mel Todd, Ryan DeBruyn, Richard Lee Byers, Jeffrey L Kohanek Time: Mon 01:00 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Just under two years ago, I wrote a blog post about getting a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy because doctors not taking my period and other health complaints seriously for decades led me to becoming too obese for a hysterectomy. I was hopeful, based on the research I did (much linked in that blog post), that the VSG would be enough of a body reset to fix all the things doctors said it might. Hopeful, but not convinced. I even said that hysterectomy wasn’t off the table if the VSG didn’t fix the hormone issues.
Sometimes it really fucking sucks to be right. It’s time to evict the bitch, yeet that uterus!
For those of you who’ve managed to see me in the safe windows of a pandemic, you’ve seen that I have, in fact, lost a lot of weight. About 100 pounds, give or take.
Give or take being the key phrase.
You see, there’s this thing called “body homeostasis.” In short, the body has natural systems that work to keep it in a standard functioning state even when the world around changes and endangers the body. However, if your body ends up functioning in an unhealthy manner for years and years and years, it can potentially reprogram itself to believe that is the state it is supposed to be its best functionality, even if it’s not. This is one of the many reasons weight loss is so damned difficult: Fat cells hold onto certain hormones, like estrogen, so being fat actually changes how your body releases and uptakes hormones. And the longer you’re fat—and on a constant schedule of weight loss and gain, because what fat person isn’t always under pressure to lose weight?—the more the body starts to normalize its functionality for being fat.
And if you’ve had a hormone imbalance for most of your life too? Or—and, in my case it’s an and—you also have a neurodiverse brain with its own special biochemical cocktail needs?
Your body is pretty fucking certain that your survival depends on a fucked up biochemistry.
That’s why, the older I got, the less helpful any chemical birth control was in period regulation.
We were at the point that any birth control we tried would work fantastic for 6-8 months, and then slowly stop working. Periods would stretch back to eight days, ten days, two weeks, three weeks… And I was back to buying wholesale club-sized pads, pain meds, and whatever herbs and other drugs seemed to cooperate with Adderall for the brain fog, emotional roller coaster, hot-and-cold flashes, anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, fatigue, and so-bad-I’m-in-bed pain.
About a month or so after my VSG, I literally had THE WORST EVER of ALL of the abovementioned symptoms. Yes. ALL. OF. THEM. Oh, and with the tiny tummy, I also got my first-time-ever hypoglycemic episode because, apparently, I’m one of those people whose body doesn’t function in full ketosis. And post-bariatric surgery involves basically a keto diet.
And that’s not even getting into discovering a sensitivity to sugar substitutes and getting seriously sick from that.
It was fucking hell. I was on the phone, in screaming tears with my whole damned medical team. They couldn’t do anything… I had just had serious surgery. All we could do was wait it out. Then, by about the 3-4 month mark, everything started getting better! Periods went away; I was getting more energetic; I WAS NOT IN PAIN!!
There’s a thing about chronic pain people don’t realize unless they’ve had it and then managed to actually get rid of it for a while: You absolutely forget what it’s like to function while not in pain. It’s almost scary. You don’t believe it’s real. You are stunned: “This is what life is like for other people? Other people live like this?! No wonder everyone else gets so much done!”
I mean, we’re still talking about it being 2020, so I was feeling physically awesome while living in Dumpster Fire World, so there’s that.
In any case, there was an absolutely glorious six months where I felt like what I guess a normal, healthy, fucking human being feels like. And despite the world only mildly abating from Massive Dumpster Fire status, it was, in fact, glorious.
And then the bleeding started again.
At first it was spotting for 3-4 days. I told myself, “Well, this is normal-person period stuff. I can totally live with this.” I also told myself, Every other time your birth control started to fail, it started like this. But, like all the other times, I wanted this to be the exception. I wanted this to finally be the thing that worked. I went through heavy-duty surgery, FFS! I supposedly reset my whole gut biome!
Just under a month later, it was just over 5 days of spotting. Not heavy, at least, but enough to be annoying.
Less than three weeks later, it was 7 days, not all spotting.
And so it went.
And then I was bleeding again for 2+ weeks. And worse, my weight was creeping up again.
I had my food and activity journal. I had my Fitbit activity / calorie-burning data all saved and on hand because the logical, OCD part of me had had a feeling this would happen.
I was vindicated; I was furiously crestfallen.
You can’t really gloat about being right all along when the physical pain and misery you’d thought you escaped comes back; you’re too busy remembering all your coping mechanisms to living while in pain and with lower functionality. You still have deadlines and people depending on you; you still have to live.
At this time I met with no argument against the hysterectomy. I even got surgery on my preferred date based on conventions and Scott’s work schedule, so I have the time to recover and Scott is available to take care of me.
After chatting with my doctor, we decided we’d keep one ovary in there as a buffer in case my body decides to seriously flip out after years of functioning on overproduced levels of estrogen.
This all happens in a week!
Intersection of My Health and Women’s Health…
I was all set to post this about two weeks ago. I had contacted most of my clients and / or planned projects with my surgery in mind.
I would have been hit with this emotional storm regardless, but less than a month away from a surgery I have fought years to get—even living in one of the most freaking liberal of states when it comes to women’s reproductive rights—that…that was… A. Lot.
To say the least.
In fact, I do have a lot to say…but I also have A. Lot. to do before my surgery. I also need to look at the emotional energy it takes to talk about this, the potential arguments and having to monitor comments…those are all important considerations when I have limited time and limited energy. I state this, too, because I have friends who feel I should say more.
My short response for this blog:
I respect a woman’s bodily autonomy; there should not be legislation that prevents her from making the best decision for her health and her whole family’s well-being. A woman should not have to fight for access to the best health choices for herself and her situation. Limiting women’s access to health care affects all women’s access to health care. There is SO MUCH INFORMATION showing how the more restrictions we put on women’s healthcare the worse women’s health is. There is a massive, massive, massive correlation to states with stricter laws for women’s reproductive health and higher death rates for women and lower overall health. The fewer restrictions, the better women’s and children’s health is.
Beyond that, I need to respect my own health and body. So please don’t make me moderate comments on this. Be kind to each other. When I’m in a better health situation, perhaps I can put in the emotional and mental work of the post I want to make, along with all the research I’ve collected.
So, with that… I am counting down for my hysterectomy with joy and more hope. I fought hard for this, and I shouldn’t have had to. But the time is finally here!
For those of you with other uterus-owning persons in your life, particularly if they are young, listen to them when they talk about their periods and issues. And help and support them so they don’t have to suffer what I went through.
It’s Easter for those who practice many of the varying types of Christianity. So, I figured I’d use one of the gravestone pictures I have. This was at the Glasgow Necropolis in Scotland, and I was saddened to see all the trash thrown into this tomb. As for the poem, I really don’t like this at all, so it may end up completely thrown away (take or leave the rim shot) or mostly rewritten. But we’ll see. Calling the both “Trash Tomb.”
Another Scotland picture. This one was at Traquair House, where there were lots of random peafowl just wandering around. I really wanted to play with this photo because of the colors—even with the peacock not displaying. The poem…well, should be self-explanatory if you can read it around the corner of the page. Both are called “Not on Display.”
The poem, like all of what I’m posting, is in its rough draft form, though the picture has been tweaked. My aim for the month is composition; I’ll edit later. Please do not copy or share the photos or poems I’m posting. I am not finished, and sharing them can hurt my future plans for these pieces. Thank you!
Sometimes you want to help people you can’t help; sometimes you want to fix situations you can’t fix. That’s what inspired this poem… “Heroes and Monsters.” I had a hard time working a picture to fit it, but I finally settled on one of my Scotland photos, which I called “Lost Lamb.” While Scott and I were hiking to some really cool castle ruins, we saw this lamb bleating from a cliff and it’s mom (we figured) bleating back; both looked stuck. They were well out of our abilities to help, but we took a picture of them. By the time we got back from the castle, we saw both (we think) back on the grass with the rest, so that story had a happier ending than the poem… but not every story has a happy ending; not everyone can be–or wants to be–saved or helped.
The poem, like all of what I’m posting, is in its rough draft form, though the picture has been tweaked some. My aim for the month is composition; I’ll edit later. Please do not copy or share the photos or poems I’m posting. I am not finished, and sharing them can hurt my future plans for these pieces. Thank you!
So y’all get a Three-for Thursday. 🙂 I still wrote a poem for each day; I just didn’t get to post about them.
Actual deadline day, so we went for a kinda haiku. Definitely needs work, but the photo is from Kamakura, Japan. I was able to catch one of the golden eagles that hang around there diving for a fish.
This is from Meiji Temple in Tokyo, Japan. There was a raven on the tori, which looked really cool. It was a super foggy, rainy day, so it took some cleaning and cropping to get the photo to a place where I was okay with it…
I’m also watching American Gods, so Odin’s Ravens decided to poke their beaks in and make this cross-cultural. And about warrior sacrifice and corpses.
I call the pair “Munin at Meiji.”
This pair is more whimsical and based on American soil…and from Arisia, where I got to go to an Absinthe Tasting room party. There’s a long history of absinthe and artists, so that’s where I went.
Poems and photos are rough and raw; I’ll edit and fix them up later. My April challenge is about the creation, not the finessing. Please do not copy or share the photos or poems I’m posting. I am not finished, and sharing them can hurt my future plans for these pieces. Thank you!