She’s Alive! What the hell happened to 2017?

So it’s been nearly a whole year since my last blog post. Where the hell have I been? Obviously the goal of actually blogging regularly was a complete bust.

2017 was rather crazy. It started with intense writing deadlines looming, trying to do all the things, and then slowly winding down the ALL the things to more reasonable levels. I took on a bigger role within TEGG early on in the year, and then after a few months realized it required more time and energy I could give on top of a full time job and still make my own writing a priority, so I stepped down from that (look ma, I’m learning my limits!). My novels evolved, as novels are wont to do, in directions that no longer were a great fit for the shared world settings, so I pulled them to instead redevelop them into my own IP (intellectual property).

A couple months ago I retired from my editorial assistant (slush reading) position with Beneath Ceaseless Skies. After three and a half years I still absolutely love the magazine, but it was a good time to let some new eager hopefuls have the chance to learn from that gig as I have, and to give myself the chance to submit to BCS again and maybe get my own story published there someday.

Work has also been pretty crazy and intense. I know, the day job! You never hear about that. The first few months were the preparation and lead up to some massive changes, which had been in the worlds for a while. I also took on an acting position above my old admin level, while going through a multi-step interview and testing process. April was the sort of official launch of All. The. New. Things at work: I started my new job as an associate officer (yay! promotion! – super exciting paired with new challenges and more responsibility), we changed all our programs and our organizational structure to match (new work, new teams, new position, which was soon joined with new tools. (I said it was All. The. New. Things.)

The translation of Soil of Truth was published in May. My contributor copies finally made their long and stories journey from China in the fall. They even illustrated a bit of the opening scene in the Decomposition Chamber. So cool!

 

The other major event for 2017 was not so fantastic. I gave myself a concussion on Father’s Day. Pro tip: concussions suck, don’t do it. It was utterly stupid. I didn’t duck enough getting into the car after brunch (raised sidewalk ledge), and apparently tried to head-dive through the car frame. It took a couple days for the symptoms – killer headaches – to really settle in. Then another couple days for me to clue in to the possibility of a concussion. Unfortunately when I finally saw a doctor 5 days after the hit, he was mainly concerned with physical activity and not mental strain like stress and staring at a screen all day. I took a couple days of rest, but not break from screens etc, and then worked overtime the following week (6 days of work from Sunday through Friday) to do all the reading and preparation I needed for my first set of meetings I was running myself in my new position. The doctor’s lack of concern about screens, etc, had me thinking it was a really mild concussion and nothing to be worried about, that the worst was over already. (Do you sense the foreshadowing here?)

Fortunately week three after the concussion I was on vacation and in another province for my friend’s most chill wedding of all time. Again, I didn’t know to be avoiding screens, but it was a nice relaxing week and the only moment of stress or work – really mild and only slightly stressful because I am me – was decorating cookies for the wedding favours/dessert.

wedding cookies 1

(Yes, I am the type of person who stresses about wanting her cookie decorating to be her best.)

The week off was much needed and helpful for my head, but then work picked up again and the headaches resumed, and intensified. It was 5 weeks in when I saw a doctor again. She put me off work for a week, followed by a week of half work days. That helped immensely, along with reducing mental demands outside of work and avoiding overtime for the day job.

Then along came Can-Con. Unfortunately work plus Can-Con prep was on the stressful and strenuous side. I survived! Actually I had been genuinely concerned about my ability to handle being at Can-Con at all and mildly contemplated skipping it. I was so stressed and tired with the trio of concussion, work and Can-Con prep that I was lacking my usual excitement for it; normally it’s kind of crazy and a little stressful at moments (mostly hectic) but I’m excited and looking forward to it at the same time. This time I was only looking forward to the work being over. I did end up enjoying it though. My stress and head actually improved as the weekend wore on, in spite of the insufficient sleep (the more of the convention that happened the less there was to go wrong). It was a great convention, we’ve been growing steadily and the hard work all paid off.

Then four days after Can-Con I hit my head for the second time, while I still felt like I was fluctuating at around 80%. Pro tip #2: If you do get a concussion, avoid hitting your head a second time. And your spatial awareness can be affected, even when you’re not getting any of the dizziness or loss of balance symptoms, so it takes extra work to avoid. At least that’s been the case for me. This was yet another stupid accident. I was picking something up from the floor while getting ready for work and slammed my head into a ledge that sticks out not even 4 inches. 6 years in this apartment and once or twice I’ve grazed or lightly touched that ledge, but this was a full speed slamming the top of my head straight up into it. The only good thing was that at least this time I knew better than to work through it. I went to the emergency, was given a couple days off and so had a few days of minimal screens and light, worked a couple days then back to the doctor and was put off work for another 2 weeks and an incremental return after.

So that was mid-October. Recovery slowed after the second hit and I went from mainly just getting headaches (induced by screens and stress) to also have a strong sensitivity to light and some noise as well. Let me tell you, my office is obscenely bright. I have the lights over my desk out now and still have to don a hat and sunglasses when I have to go to any meeting rooms. And the marathon of Christmas parties was not my head’s best friend. Most were manageable, but the mass of conversations in a small space tends to be headache inducing.

So that’s been my past 6 months (and year). Super long post to get you all caught up. As for 2018? I’m not worrying about any resolutions for this year. My first and top priority right now is just letting my poor addled brain recover. I’ve been writing a lot less of late of course, but trying to ease back in slowly.

I hope most people’s 2017 was better than mine, or at least with fewer concussions, and that 2018 brings improvements for all of us.

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