My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Facebook Compilation Nov/Dec 2021

For years, I didn't count all the bite-sized chunks of writing I was doing on Facebook as "writing." But it's a post here and a post there, and sometimes I spend an hour or more a day working on that writing, so it's high time I acknowledge the fact that it "counts."  

I'm way behind on posting these, but fortunately I wasn't writing much, so I can do two months at a time. By November, I knew I was sick, and the acceleration of the tests would lead to a cancer diagnosis by the end of the month. In December I had surgery (and a zillion tests and procedures leading up to it). I was really out of it both before and after the operation. So there were only a few gems, even across BOTH months.

Here is a collection of the BEST statuses (and a few of the most popular memes) from my public Facebook page over the period of Nov 1st-Dec 31st. (You're welcome to follow me there to see the not-quite-the-best ones, but read up in the Facebook FAQ [last question] if you want to send me a friend request.) 

Look, I love me some Holy Grail and spam skit as much as the next nerd, but now that fully half the cast of Monty Python has come out in support of TERFs, can we stop pretending they were boldly reimagining gender roles and admit that the entirety of many of their jokes amounted to: "A dude in a dress."

And once again, I'm going to NOT DIE because of the A.C.A. makes having insurance possible for me. If you're a leftist outside of a communist meet up, you might want to think hard about the optics of the message you're sending me (and millions like me) about the value of our lives by characterizing my reluctant but unswerving support of the Democratic Party as being "just as much a part of the problem."

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life WERE fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."

-Marcus Cole, Babylon 5

I have cancer.

Looking up the first use of the expression of "a penny for your thoughts," an inflation calculator from 1535 (when it was first known to have been written), and a currency converter from pounds to USD, Rhapsody and I have determined that you now have to pay about $2.55 for someone's thoughts.

CN Weight loss…but not as a good thing.

Them: Oh my god, Chris. How much weight have you lost?

Me: About forty pounds.

T: Wow, you look great. 

M: I'm not.

T: What's your secret?

M: I have cancer.


Best not to assume, folks.

I cannot post every picture of this photo shoot we did for the little one I was expecting, but I will give you the link. It's a public post, so you should be able to see it even if you're not on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/chris.brecheen/posts/10160462668096015

Today seems like a good day to kick cancer’s ass.

Let’s do that.


Hospital staff: Get as much rest as you can. Sleep is super important to your recovery.

Also hospital staff: ~wakes you up every 20 minutes ~

Anyone else get offended when the gmail predictive text accurately predicts what you were going to say and switch it out just to avoid being cliché?  

No? Just me then? Just a writer thing?

Carry on.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Updating the Update Schedule (2022—Apr-June at least)

While most of you just click the link I put on social media when you see that something I have written interests you, there actually IS an update schedule here, and as we enter a new phase of Covid, we are implementing perhaps the biggest, most significant update schedule change in the history of this blog. 

Note: In addition to everything below, which will set up the schedule I am trying to achieve, I am going through a number of transitions from a reorganization of childcare time to recovering fully from cancer and surgery. I'm doing the best I can, and sometimes that's coming up a little short.

I made a major change at the end of 2021. For my ongoing mental health and for my other long-term writing projects (fiction and some compilation e-books of our best articles). I am putting the days of seven posts a week and 70-hour weeks in the rear-view for good, and moving into a more quality > quantity phase of the blog. 

Yippee ki yay!

Writing About Writing consists primarily of one guy who takes care of a couple of kids, tries to keep up with some domestic stuff, is writing a novel, posts on another blog, posts a LOT on his Facebook wall, and sometimes does really wacky shit like try to play a D&D game with friends or get laid or something.

He's also a working writer, though, so he better stop making a bunch of excuses and make with the clackity clack. 

This is the schedule we will generally make an effort to keep. I say "make an effort," but I have to be honest about three things. #1- I have written posts from my bed with 102°-fever or from coffee shops out of state while on vacation or during hospital visits to people with cancer, so it is very likely that no matter what happens, you will still get more than a couple of posts a week, and I really really really do mean MAKE AN EFFORT.  #2 I am absolutely balls at keeping on top of WHAT gets updated on WHICH days, and I am likely to start Tetris-ing the posts for the week if I SNEEZE too hard. #3 I am still working through the full effects of the global pandemic, including the massive, unrelenting, fully permeated burnout that comes from 18 months of 70-hour weeks and ended spectacularly with me on an operating table having a softball sized tumor removed along with part of my colon. 

Thanks to my patrons, I have been able to quit part-time teaching, pet sitting*, and cut back on the amount of nannying I do as a side gig to focus more and more on writing. If you would like to help us write more and better updates, even a dollar a month helps me budget.

*I still have a couple of close, super-easy clients, so you might see me post about this stuff, but I don't run all over the Bay Area anymore.

Facebook Writing and Social Justice Bard

Most of my major writing ends up on this blog, but some of my more throwaway thoughts don't. If you particularly enjoyed our Social Justice Bard posts, I still have many bees in my bonnet.

I invite you to follow my Public Facebook Page (you can friend it if you send me a message, but it might be better if you follow it for a while first––unfiltered me is not everyone's cup of tea). I post somewhat more "political and partisan thoughts" there (rather than just social ISSUES) and also often post "proto-versions" of what later become full blog posts (if you're interested in seeing how those things develop). [There's also personal updates and nerdery there.]

I also have another blog called NOT Writing About Writing that I periodically update (once or more a week pre-covid, but now it's a couple of times a month in wild fits and starts), write personal updates, and post political thoughts that don't really tie into writing but that also aren't really short enough for Facebook.

Everything I ever write for any medium (and reruns of my best stuff) gets cross-posted to that Public Facebook Page, so join me there if you want to see everything I write.

Facebook Page Maintenance

Running my Facebook Page of over a 1.1 million followers as well as maintaining all the OTHER various social media (which is essential to the fact that I get to be a working writer) is basically a part-time job in and of itself. It just happens to be spread out so that the work happens in five-minute increments throughout the day, pretty much hourly, almost any time I'm not asleep. 

Mostly I've just done this AND my writing and not really acknowledged the ways in which the aggregate of all these five minutes here and there impact a weekly writing schedule. 

Prepare for More of the W.A.W Meta Plot

Just a quick note: if you've been around for a while (or have dug through a lot of the first-year articles), you may have noticed that we have sort of a running plot and bizarre cast of characters here at Writing About Writing. We're going to be getting back into these kinds of posts.

There is a shame spiral that I get into when I feel like I'm not updating enough, or significantly enough, and I feel like the meta plot posts are "too fluffy" and too fun. So I am more likely to try to push myself to post something significant. (Which is ironic because I'm then more likely to not make it and have to push back the post altogether.)

However my readers have CONSISTENTLY and UNSWERVINGLY said that they like these types of posts and that they make the experience of me writing an ongoing blog more cohesive instead of just being the occasional article they want to see. So I'm really really really going to try to shut off that part of my brain that is insisting that my meta plot posts are phoning it in, and post them more often.



BEHIND THE SCENES (and an accountability post)

While I would love to get a blog up on every day that I'm clacking away in front of a computer, I also have a significant "behind the scenes" obligation to the folks who keep the lights on around here that takes time and energy. Ironically, if I give these kinds of rewards some dedicated time, I'm not only going to be better about doing them, but also about the blogging itself—they both have a way of distracting me from the other as I get overwhelmed and sit in front of my computer, unable to move in either direction because I feel like I'm letting down the other.

However, I consistently have parts of this job that don't involve dropping a forward-facing blog.
  • Once a month I cannibalize a day of blogging to write my Patrons a newsletter, and now that the pandemic is over, four times a year, I'm going to need to write TWO newsletters. (During the pandemic, I would forgo the monthly newsletter to do the quarterly one, but my goal was always to have both on those months.)
  • I absolutely need to spend a day or two every month just doing admin stuff for Writing About Writing (like catching up on emails, cleaning up menus, and the like), or it gets SO far behind, SO quickly. As it is, I sort of imagine we're going to take a year to "dig out" of the stuff I just put up.
  • My Patreon tiers are perpetually in need of their rewards. Whether it's an early-access post or just a selfie from one of my hikes, I need to attend more consistently to the folks who are devoting their financial resources to my ability to be a working writer.
  • Also, I have a couple of other writing projects that require my time and attention.
  • From time to time when we are having a VERY busy week and need a second day to clear out the admin issues so that they don't back up, you might see the easier of the two admin posts go up on a Tuesday, but mostly I'll be working hard in the background.

You WILL see an accountability post on most Mondays. I'm going to restart posting progress on other projects, and I will let everyone know what I'm working on behind the scenes. But it will be more of a bullet point memo than a post.



While technically no "off" day is truly off (even the weekends) as I take my own advice and write every day, having Tuesdays off from the responsibility of posting an official blog represents all the hours I work on other jobs. I have spent far too long beating myself up because they don't "count." Not only will taking time off to acknowledge these things be better for my mental health and "overworked" meter, but they will allow me to attend to both them and my writing without feeling like I'm neglecting the other and getting overwhelmed because I'm not spinning all the plates perfectly.

So after much garment rending and self-reflection, and some deep thoughts about how much I will take on if I let myself, I have decided to take a three days off free and clear. (Although, as I mentioned, I'm always writing—this is more about the obligation of getting a post up than whether or not I actually "write every day" like the advice I give.) 

  • Of course, I would give any human being on earth the same advice and would tell them they were being too hard on themselves if they didn't take it, so this is absolutely a case of thinking basic self care doesn't count for me. However I have two work factors that impact my writing schedule:
  • Childcare side gig (10-12 hours a week)
  • Facebook Maintenance (10-12 hours a week)
  • I mean that should probably be two or three days off by the number of hours, but obviously, I'm not going to take THAT much time each week. I'll stick to one day (Tuesdays) and try not to feel too guilty about it.
  • And of course, when I say I'm "off" on Tuesdays, I mean about seven hours of childcare—which also makes getting a blog written kind of difficult.

We need (at least) one dedicated day a week to kind of take care of what I call "jazz hands," although it might be better described as "admin-ish stuff that HAS to get done at some point." It's not necessarily Total Fluff™, but it usually isn't exactly a new article either.

Often we have some kind of announcement or meta news about what's going on or coming up. You might also see a single entry for the long-forgotten character lists or an update to one of the menus (along the top of the page).

We have a number of "types" of posts that are just a little lighter fare. Everything from SHORT Mailbox questions to our aforementioned meta plot posts to personal updates. Not necessarily admin or "jazz hands" but probably a little less "chewy/crunchy" than Friday posts.


Fridays, for the most part, will be The Big Post™ of the week. If you're here for the hard-hitting writing advice (with the occasional examination of how language and narrative play into broader social issues), Friday is the day to tune in. Longer Mailboxes, full craft, process, and sometimes even style articles.


I used to write posts for NOT Writing About Writing and either drop them on my usual days off or post on both WAW and NWAW on the same day. I'm no longer going to be doing this. If I drop something on NWAW, I'll put a notice up on WAW that that is the writing for the day.

The Two-Post Commitment

Some weeks aren't going to go down like clockwork, and they might be front- or back-loaded with side gigs or other commitments. My writing career is also starting to open up occasional opportunities of interest like conventionsspeaking engagementsinterviews, or podcasts. On the advice of my doctor, I'm trying to be better about the (literally) health-shattering 60–70-hour weeks I was working, and I'm working to whittle that number down a lot closer to 40. That's a needle to thread when you are your own boss and you know that people will lower your income if they don't feel like they're getting enough of the content they want. I can't promise every week will go down as smoothly as three posts like end-of-the-week clockwork, but I will try really hard to get three posts up each week, and I can just about promise that I will at least do two. They might just be posted off schedule––landing on a Saturday or Sunday, for example—but barring illness, injury, or fabulously unforeseen circumstances, I will try hard to hit three and at least do two.

The Return of the Monthly Dedicated Novel Writing Time Increase

You may have noticed that any effort to take blogging time to give to my novel was COMPLETELY on pause during the pandemic (and then went on pause again as I recovered from cancer/surgery). But now it is back. The hardest thing I've tried doing as a blogger is keeping my fiction at a high level of priority. It's SO easy to just write a blog and call it a day. And that's what I'm getting paid for, so it's even easier.

But...as much as I've surprised even myself by discovering how much I fucking love blogging, I do want to write fiction too. Finding time as much time for both is impossible, so I have to borrow from Peter to pay Cliché. While I am getting traction out of writing an hour or so of fiction first (so that then I still have to do the blogging in order to do "a day's work"), there may still be times where the needs of fiction completely take priority over blogging.

I'm firmly in the "Write Every Day" camp. But how much I write, what I write, and what I'm impassioned to write can sometimes still be a creative ebb and flow of being at my Muse's whim.

I'm also going to try something new and interesting. Each month I'm going to take an ADDITIONAL, cumulative day off to sequester myself and work on my book (as well as possibly other fiction). This isn't the only time I'll be working on my book, but I'll be diverting my blogging time towards it as well. I'll start with one day in April, and then two in May, and three in June and four in July. I'll reevaluate how things feel to my patrons at four extra days off each month—at that point I would either be updating only twice a week (if I spread the days out) or taking a full week off every month (if I took them all at once). It might depend on how close I am to finishing or a draft or something.

Hopefully, I'll have something to show for these days off by the time Patrons might begin complaining that I'm not updating enough, but I hope that the transparency and gradualness both help in that regard.


You know that two weeks that starts a few days before Christmas and kind of goes until the third or the fourth of January? Yeah, I don't work that. It's busy enough. I can barely figure out what day it is most of the time. I'm rubbish. Don't ask me to get posts up. 

Election Week

I'm adding something that I basically realized today (I first wrote this on 3/5/2020). I'm going to take a break in our "regularly scheduled program" during election weeks. Midterms, primaries, obviously the presidential ones. I just need to acknowledge that the writing that happens will be on other blogs (like NWAW) and in other places (like my Facebook page) and that unless I am backing someone polling at 90 points, it's very, very, VERY likely I'm going to have at LEAST one day where I need to go back to bed into a pillow fort with ice cream.

We're probably done with elections for a while, but I'm leaving this here for future updates.

More posts?

There MIGHT occasionally be a fourth or even fifth (?) post in a week. Usually this will happen when I need to cover some ground on "blog business." (Like when I revise an old article so much that it deserves a fresh post, update a menu, write a new answer for our F.A.Q., or otherwise do something that needs to get done, but doesn't fit into our usual posting schedule). In this case, you might see an extra post pop up from time to time on the weekend or two in one day. Fiction will also usually go up independently of our regular schedule. It's less likely during the pandemic, but it used to happen a lot.

  • I'm writing this blog in real time, so there will be problems with updates in real time. I still watch kids for twelve to sixteen hours a week. Plus my host body occasionally succumbs to these pesky Earth illnesses and requires dental and medical maintenance to serve me well. And every once in a couple of blue moons I even just take a damn day off. So those three posts might not always happen like clockwork or may involve going off the rails of my usual updates. Until my Patreon pays ALL the bills, my reality is that I sometimes have to prioritize paid gigs.
  • I maintain a Facebook page for this blog that has over a million followers. From time to time a post I put up may intersect with a social issue, or just tick some people off, and then all the dillholes come out to play, and I have to spend a day basically babysitting the comments. I don't love it, but it has to be done or the bigots will chase off the people who I actually WANT to be there.
  • This flexible update schedule should also cut down on the thing where I'm apologizing to absolutely fucking nobody that it's Thursday and I've yet to put so much as a taco video up. (MMMMM tacos.) I know that some people are annoyed by how often I apologize, and the rest don't really care. But this also settles my own inner overachiever. As long as I get in all the entries that week, my readers (who have literally never said anything in six years about my update schedule) and myself can give me a break.
  • I invoke the Anything Can Happen™ real world excuse. In ordinary times, I usually have a couple of "emergency blogs" tucked away, but during the pandemic, I chew through them as fast as I tuck them away. So any bump in the road hits the blog update schedule in real time. Health complications might crop up suddenly and have me needing to do a sudden, unexpected several-hour shift or even an overnight...or maybe even more. Trust me, I'm going to feel ten times worse about missing a post than all of my readers combined. 
  • Admin Long-weekends at least once a month will still be a thing, but instead of "we might have one this month," I'm going to assume they're on and maybe we might have a POST instead. Since I'm not working Mondays and this would normally fall under the purview of a Tuesday "Behind the Scenes" post, I will take the first Wednesday of each month as an extra day if needed. 

Also......folks, if you like what I do, support your "local" artist. (In this case "local" means more independent, amateur, and two-bit than literally down the street.) The pandemic is not yet over, there's still a long phase of transition to work through, and I'm not in a financial position to completely give up my childcare side gig or pay someone to take over the admin of my Facebook page (both major time sinks that pull from my writing hours, but cannot be avoided without losing income that I don't yet have to spare). 

If you want to help me focus on writing (without all the side gigs), yeet a few dollars into that "tip jar" at the top left, or even better yet sign up to be a monthly patron through Patreon. (You'll also get in on the back-channel discussions about posting schedules, big changes, and upcoming projects.) I have bills to pay like any other starving artist, and though my schedule is a lot better than it was three years ago, even a dollar a month (just $12 a year) will go a long way.

Note: Hi there, Mr. Elephant. I guess we should address you.

So....yeah. I ABSOLUTELY KNOW that there is a pretty loud contingent of "Who Cares!" from the other side of the Internet, and I'll give you all a nod if this isn't your cup of tea. It's cool. You do you. Posts such as this one are not my least popular kinds of posts (that honor is reserved for meta posts about why there's no regular post…for some reason), but on the other hand, not every post can't be the barnburners of me replying to social justice hate mail.  

However, I'm not going to stop posting them.

Let me say that again: I'm NOT going to stop posting them.

One of our mission statements is to keep "The Process" transparent and give you updates in real time, so there will always be an occasional hat tip to the meta. I want people to understand that writers struggle with their own productivity, schedules, and discipline. We are constantly dissatisfied with how much we're writing (or not) and trying to redefine ourselves. I want folks to see that someone who is making a paycheck doesn't have all the answers. I want them to see how their work/life balance matters, and how easy it is to fall into working TOO much or not enough, and either one causes problems. I want them to see that a successful blog doesn't require nine updates a week (and, in fact, that's too many). And I want them to see how artists are constantly struggling to fiddle with the knobs and get it just right because we are at once human with our ambition and drive, but also human with our INCESSANT need to eat and have shelter. We don't just eat rainbows and shit brilliant prose. Even if a follower or fan never uses my own update schedule or productivity demands on myself as a formula for their own success, let it be a comfort realizing how flawed and human working writers can be.

I want you to see how messy and non-magical it all is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Tuesday Report 3-22-22

Note: We're going to focus almost exclusively on our Behind the Scenes work this week. A little over 95% of my patrons (bless them forever) stuck with me through cancer, surgery, and recovery even though I wasn't really posting very much and sometimes not at all, so I am going to work hard on getting some newsletters, selfies, and early access posts up for my various reward tiers. 

[And I won't do a full appeals post before I've gotten back into the swing of regular posting because that always feels a little acquisitive to pass the hat when I'm not rocking it, but the medical bills I'm still looking at (even after insurance) are already in the mid four figures, so if you want to help out, I could sure use new patrons or some one-time donations. I also have Venmo (chris.brecheen@gmail.com) and can accept other forms of payment if prefered.] 

Quick Personal/Health Update- 

I've basically survived cancer. They're going to monitor something called my CAH levels which can indicate if I've got a tumor and because of Lynch syndrome, I'm going to have annual colonoscopies. But the tumor is out and didn't spread. Lynch is a lot like having a chronic illness. If I stay on top of it and take some steps to safeguard myself, I can probably have a mostly okay life. If I let it slide, I'll probably get more cancer. And I already have a semicolon, so I can't really afford to have them slice out any more.

They found some liver scarring when they did my CT and my liver functions are wonky. That and my spleen are enlarged, and it's affecting my platelets. So that's next. I don't drink (really ever) and I've never had hepatitis, so I need to do more tests and maybe get a biopsy. 

I was physically better in almost no time. I'm even eight weeks into a 20 week training regimen to run a marathon in under five hours. Mentally, I am just now reaching the place I thought I'd be two months ago at the MOST. 

Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

My schedule is settling and my ability to focus is returning, but like I said above, this week I'm basically going to ignore the "on stage" blog and do all my work behind the scenes for the patrons. I am pretty behind on my monthly compilation posts, so maybe I'll do one of those.

Novel Progress-

I want to finish the behind the scenes stuff before I commit to ANYthing else, but I'd like to start working on fiction this week if there's time for it. It's been too long. There might—MIGHT—be a report here next week.

Behind the Scenes-

Hoping to have a huge hit of behind the scenes stuff. Look for newsletters, selfies, and if I'm on fire, even an early access article to drop as the week goes on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Writing About Writing Vows and Ceremonies? I guess?

We're a little off the path of our usual type of post here at WAW, but I figured that if nothing else, this would be a sweet personal update to balance out all the cancer posts lately. On Saturday I got handfasted. Legally it was not a marriage. We are going to have an extended engagement and our handfasting was part of a commitment ceremony to each other. 

I thought that today I would share the text of that ceremony.

Officiant: Thank you for coming. Rhapsody and Chris have combined their favorite parts of several different Celtic and hand fasting ceremonies along with making a few edits to honor the more egalitarian pagan practice of a commitment for a year and a day, to be renewed (or not) each year and a day, rather than for an entire life, and to reflect their own practice of ethical non-monogamy.

Rhapsody and Chris, will you honor and respect one another?

Rhapsody and Chris: We will.

Officiant: Will you support and assist each other in times of pain and sorrow?

Rhapsody and Chris: We will

Officiant: Will you be present in the difficult and challenging times so that you may grow strong in this union? 

Rhapsody and Chris: We will

Officiant: Will you share each other's laughter and joy and look for the brightness and fun in life and the positive in each other? 

Rhapsody and Chris: We will.

Officiant: Is it your intention to bring peace and harmony into your everyday ways of communicating? 

Rhapsody and Chris: It is.

Officiant: Will you get one thing of fries and share them because you don’t need one each?

Rhapsody and Chris: We…might.

Officiant: And when you falter, will you have the courage and commitment to remember these promises and take a step back towards one another with an open heart?

Rhapsody and Chris: We will.

Officiant: Are you willing to make this commitment to each other for at least one year and one day?

Rhapsody and Chris: We are.

[We then read our personal statements to each other.]


Chris, you are a person who… is near me. And there is nothing in my protocol that specifically bars this from happening.

I have so much fun with you. There is so much laughter, even through the tears. I have been intoxicated by you from the moment I first read your profile. I have never met someone that “gets me” the way that you do.

When it comes to the fries… I can’t promise that I’ll try, but I promise that I’ll try to try.

We have been through so much in such a short amount of time. Each major life event could have easily ripped us apart, but instead has deepened and strengthened our relationship. I know vulnerability isn’t always easy, but it’s the glue keeping together what’s become a very sturdy foundation.

I appreciate you, your vulnerability, your emotional honesty, and your “hell yeah” attitude… especially when it comes to doing the dishes.

And we will be together in the dot of the “i”. For all time, always… or a year and a day… whichever comes first.



I do this…thing. I kind of measure the quality of my life in months. We all have bad days and good days, but for me, a real yardstick of how it's going is the month. Good month. Bad month. Challenging but rewarding month.

In the last year, I've had several of the worst months of my entire life. Not hyperbole. The stress of an unplanned pregnancy. A miscarriage. An unknown illness after 47 years of nearly pristine health. Oh dear…turns out it's cancer. Invasive surgery. Lynch syndrome. And a recovery that has only been swift physically. All against the backdrop of a global pandemic that has taken a child from my arms who was mine in every way but genetic material, as well as generally been a nightmare of isolation and stress.

And yet, if I pan out, this has been the happiest year I've ever experienced. Also not hyperbole. It's been so full of laughter and love and support. We walked through hell hold each other's hands, cracking jokes, sharming memes making fun of the local devils and demons, and soothing each other when the flames actually got too hot. 

And for me, it's like all those nightmare months are simply absorbed into a sense of warmth and light that is the last year.

You've been my rock of anchor in raging tides.
You've been my illumination in the darkest places.
You've been my best friend.

I know we make these vows for a year and a day so that we don't get complacent and never take a moment beyond for granted.

But I gotta tell ya, Rhapsody, I like your chances. You are easy to love. And easy to commit to. 

[Officiant holds up the cord]

Officiant: This cord is a symbol of the connection between your two lives. It is strong enough to hold you together during times of struggle yet flexible enough to allow for individuality and personal growth. 

Please join hands.

[Rhapsody and Chris join hands. Officiant loosely loops the cord over our hands during this part]

These are some of the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you.

These are amongst the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

These are the hands—perhaps joining other hands—that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief racks your mind.

These are two of the many hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.

These are some of the hands that will kill you if you don’t put the seat down.

These are some of the hands that will help pop your pimples, will check your butt to “see if that lesion looks any better today,” and will send you the dankest memes imaginable.

These are hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams—hands that work with, create with, and build a life together.

The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows, the promises you make in your hearts and uphold each day through your actions. Remember, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

Keep this cord as a visible reminder of your promise to one another. And we will return here in a year and a day's time, and renew or dissolve these commitments.

[Then we tie the knot.]

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Tuesday Report 3/15/22

Quick Personal Update/Cancer Update- 

My cancer update is going to become a broader health update from now on and start focusing a lot more on the "personal" part. I'm not entirely better, and the mental and emotional aspects of my recovery are going to take longer than the physical. However, I am starting to move past some of the emotional roadblocks. It might have been easier to just put this blog on hiatus for three months, but I wanted people to see the messy parts in real time.

This last week, I got handfasted to Rhapsody. And most of the week, I was dealing with company being in town for that. 

Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

Tomorrow I have a post about the handfasting ceremony and vows (even though they weren't really VOWS per se). It's a little off our usual fare here, but I feel like I need something on the personal front to balance out all the cancer posts. On Thursday I'm going to cover one of the last of my "Updated for 2022" posts, and Friday, I actually have an actual mailbox post like from the before time! And it might be ambitious, but I'm hoping for a Not Writing About Writing post this weekend.

Clearly I'm still struggling to get back to my regular schedule. I made a choice back in December to take just a couple of weeks off and try to do SOME writing rather than take a multi-month break. I know it has made me seem a little flakey to have only a couple of posts a week, and most of them fluffy, but I actually got a lot more done that way. 

Novel Progress-

I'm closer and closer to being able to start back in on my fiction. If I didn't have a NWAW post AND patrons who need some newsletters and stuff, I'd probably be starting that this week. So it'll probably be April before I am actually sitting down and writing words, but I'm so close, I can taste the cliché.

Behind the Scenes-

I've got a few pictures from my Disneyland trip and some pictures from the handfasting that I'm going to put up on my selfies Patreon tier, and definitely now that things are slowing down, it's time to write those Patron newsletters. 

And lastly, just a note of thanks. I'm still working on getting back to my old self and my old posting schedule, but I feel like I've turned a lot of big corners lately, and it's really been breathtaking to have so many people support me through this lull. Y'all are fucking amazing.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Writing About Songwriting

[CN: Audio link with smutty lyrics—not explicitly NSFW content, but if your boss or kids is listening close, there's enough innuendo that they might clutch their pearls.]

So while I've been recovering from cancer, it's been hard to kind of focus my writing energy and attention on deadlines and blog posts about dialogue, dramatic pacing, or grammar, but I've not been without my creative outlets. There's been plenty of writing in more free flow forms, including helping Rhapsody write some of her smutty and funny songs.  Like this gem we collaborated about a certain generously-mustached plumber:


I know it's not the usual fare I serve here at Writing About Writing, but I thought I would share because I like to make ALL my writing accessible from one place (here), as well as show folks following my career in real time that even though "finish your shit" is some spectacular advice, sometimes its rejuvenating (and fun—remember FUN?) to take a break and work on another project for a little while. 


I’m down with the free mushrooms 
The flower power’s kinda hot
Your fisting skills are legendary 
I’ve been giving this some thought

She’s always in another 
castle’s dungeon and therefore…
Your overalls would look better
In a pile on my floor 

Bro face facts, it’s more open than you think
It’s been forty years she’s got a kidnapping kink.
I wanna take that mustache for a ride
Have you check my plumbing deep inside

Oh Mario
Power down into meeee

You could wear just cappy 
or that furry raccoon suit
Invite your friends, I’m into it
—Toadette is kinda cute

I want to hear that power up noise
As you lay pipe into me
Let’s empty out those fire balls
Give in to ecstasy 

I wanna one up with you all day
And if you wanna two up, ask Luigi to play
You can smash my box for your prize
Just say “it’s a-me” when you come inside

Oh Mario
Power down into meeee

Rail me while on your hot star power
Douse me in your golden coin shower
There’s a hidden level inside this hole
As I slide down every inch of your flag pole

Oh Mario
Power down into meeee
Oh Mario
Power down into meeee
Oh Mario-o oh! OH!!!
Power down into meeee

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Tuesday Report

Quick Personal Update/Cancer Report- 

You know what? Let's forget the cancer report this week. I'm doing okay for now. But did you know I'm getting handfasted to Rhapsody this Saturday? 

We got engaged in Las Vegas in November (stopping just short of being total clichés). Because of some legal logistics and a pinch of restraint, we decided to do an extended engagement celebrated with a handfasting commitment ceremony set for a year after we first started messaging through my OKCupid. In a year and a day we will decide whether we want to remain on course for a legal wedding. (Likely!)

If you're following close, you know went to Disneyland last week. Overall, it was pretty awesome. Once or twice there was a moment where a ride breaking down or a line too long for a five year old to endure caused some stress. And I have a few choice words about the democratized fast passes being turned into pay-to-play "lightning lines" that bump everyone further back in the already egregious lines (and increase the estimate on line times by as much as 50%) because Disney figured out a way to hoover money out of people's wallets even FASTER. But fun was had by all, and by the end of the day, we were pretty content. As a crowdfunded content creator, I worry about every single day off I take (nevermind like three in a row), but I really needed a break from writing that was about something other than cancer and doctors appointments and surgery and "hey what's going on with your liver over here…?" 

The logistics may have been cranky-making at times, but overall it was wonderful.

Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

The handfasting ceremony we're doing isn't a wedding, and our guest list is small enough that you wouldn't need to take off a second sock to count it, but there's still quite a bit to get done. Guests are coming in from out of town. Cleaning. Organizing. Last minute shopping. So I'm combining this chaos with the fact that it is now MARCH, and I still have a handful of menus that need updating for 2022. I'll be knocking those out in the upcoming days. (They're important, but they take me a little less time than some of the posts I write from scratch.)

Novel Progress-

Not yet. I don't think I'm going to get any fiction done until after the handfasting at LEAST, but I'm starting to find the time in the weeks that once this moment has passed, will be open for writing.

Behind the Scenes-

I know I've been threatening the newsletter for weeks now, but this time it's really going to happen. I'm going to start the Inside Scoop newsletter too. I'm not sure I'll finish that one, but my goal is to have it done before the end of March.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

A Short Vacation

I know the posts have been a little thin lately (for all the reasons I enumerated yesterday), but the five year old got his second vaccine recently, and we're all going on a trip to Disneyland to celebrate. We drive down today, hit each of the two parks respectively over Thursday and Friday, and drive home on Saturday. 

I've done this a couple of times during the life of Writing About Writing, fully intending to get something posted from the hotel or do a little bit of writing late at night. 

This has NEVER worked out.

I fall into bed at the end of a long day, and wake up ready to rock. It is GO GO GO until I'm home and then I usually need some time to decompress. I'll be able to do a little bit of morning writing just to satisfy my "Write Every Day" requirement, but I won't have the time to compose, edit, or post an entire blog post.

So this time I'm not going to promise the moon and then feel bad when I fall flat. I'm not even going to pack my writing laptop. I'm just going to say that we'll be back on Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Writing (And Not Writing) In Strife

Not CLOUD Strife! What the hell?
Fire the image-finding intern immediately….again. 
[CN: Miscarriage, Cancer]

It's looking better now, but when this post started, my room was a disaster.

I don't mean "I need to do some cleaning." I mean it looks like it could be the setting for a post-apocalyptic thriller about how vampires took over the shattered remnants of humanity after a nuclear war. It was in that stage of reorganization where, before things can be put away properly, everything is just kind of in a huge pile in the middle of the floor. Now the furniture is reconfigured, and MOST of the worst of the piles is cleared out, but there's still a lot of reorganizing needed.

When I moved in with Rhapsody, I set up the room I took over with a number of Band-Aid fixes that I knew were going to be temporary. There was a crappy bed in the corner. My desk didn't fit, so I bought a tiny, cheap, temporary desk. I had to put things in the closet just because it was the only place with space. And though I managed to get the trundle twin bed replaced with something I can fuck in once in a while (also stretch out on when I'm sleeping, I suppose), it is a testament to how many trials and tribulations the last few months have held that I am only now getting around to that project of rearranging things up in a way that could be more permanent. I've told you all the story of the cancer and the surgery, and of falling in love and moving, but there's actually been a lot more going on.

Let me explain. No…there is no time. Let me sum up.

  • Of course, anything happening now in any of our lives must be taken into context of a global pandemic, rising fascism, and the existential threat of global climate change (and right now feeling like we're on the edge of World War III). The "background radiation" of our lives is incredibly stressful. Nothing can be fully understood unless it is in the context that you can't just go out with your friends to grab some hugs. 
  • It started almost a year ago. A message on OK Cupid. A few more. Rhapsody and I hit it off. A FaceTime call. A hiking date. A park picnic. (Still hitting it off.) A passionate rendezvous on the exact date of vaccine efficacy. And within just a couple of weeks I knew it was going to be Real™. And then I fell…HARD. Love is joyous and blissful, but it's also chaotic and spinning, and makes you feel sick when they're not around and makes it hard to think straight. (Oh who am I kidding—I don't do anything straight.) It has been lovely falling deeper and deeper into such an intense romance, but that intensity sword is not without its double edge.
  • It was only a few months before Rhapsody and I were ready to move in together. I'm not really an impulsive person in matters of commitment and entanglement, but when it sparks, it really sparks. Moving is…a whole thing. It really takes a month from start to finish. But moving IN with someone is even harder. You have to pack, unpack, combine two houses, find a way to make you fit into a space where in all likelihood every square inch is already spoken for. That means sometimes before unpacking, you have to pack up the space you're going INTO. Suddenly you have six cutting boards, way way way too many towels, one more bed than you have a bedroom, a corner shelf piece that is really nice but "where the fuck does it even fit," more dental floss than you can use in a decade, and you have to decide who has the better food processor because that's the one you're going to keep. And that's just STUFF. When it comes to living with new people (who are more than roommates you might see in the hall or when you're cooking dinner), it's an adjustment. The little habits and routines of living alone are completely thrown into chaos as you learn to work around new needs and wants. I can't just walk naked into the kitchen to have two servings of potato salad right out of the container at four in the morning. Not…uh…that I ever used to do that.
  • Moving had a consequence in the age of Covid. Now that I was in a pod with kids who were going back to school, I had to take a break from the kids I took care of. Understand that this isn't just a job for me. Unconventional lifestyles (polyamory, in my case) sometimes mean strange relationship logistics. And I've got some of the weirdest ones even I'VE ever heard of. I lived with my ex-partner for nearly a decade including when she and her husband had their first child. I was the stay-at-home housespouse of our V triad, so I ended up with a lot of the childcare. For three years, I spent more waking time with that little guy than either of his parents, and after she and I broke up, I deliberately (to see him) made myself available as their nanny and continued to see him usually four or five times a week. ["So yeah, I go over to my ex's house five days a week, love them like family, take care of her kids, and no we're not still involved in any way…why are you looking at me like that?"] This is a child I've promised—PROMISED—that I'm not going to leave the way both my dads left me. Not getting to see him was supposed to be a long, AGONIZING month estranged. I screwed my courage to the sticking place. We both cried when I broke the news. One month, I thought. I can do one month. Then Delta happened. Then I got cancer. Then I had surgery. Then Omicron. SIX. GODDAMN. MONTHS. LATER. and I've only seen him a couple of times. I can't even begin to describe how much my heart aches about this. I miss the whole family, but him…I can't even talk about it or THINK about it for too long. I've crammed it into a box in the storage room of my heart, and even my therapist knows not to bring it up.
  • Adjusting to living with Rhapsody's kids, Treble and Clef, was not without its own growing pains worthy of mention. Moving in with kids is extra on top of extra. They might like you just fine when you stop by a few times a week and tell them their breakdancing and karate videos are really coming along, but they don't have the emotional sophistication to deal with the feelings that someone is disrupting their world in a fundamental way. Suddenly ALL mommy time is not unfettered and there's an insecurity about getting enough. Suddenly they're sharing space with someone who they might feel is betraying their sense of family if they feel affection towards. Suddenly a new adult is there having the audacity to tell them they've got way too much Nutella on their spoon. There's a lot of stress. We're STILL working things out. The five-year-old especially is still not quite sure how I fit in.
  • The day after I gave my notice that I was moving—the DAY AFTER—Rhapsody and I found out that we were pregnant. We weren't trying to get pregnant. There had been some talk about postponing my vasectomy because "maaaaaaaaaaybeeeee," but all of that was "at least a year and some relationship settling down" away. But there we were. And even though everything would have been okaaaaaaaaay, there was a lot of stress about this huge thing we weren't really prepared for and were wanting to wait on. Money was going to be a huge issue (I make enough to pay MY bills, but I'm still a poor artist), space was going to be an issue (the house BARELY fits four as it is), and how our lives were going to change was stressing us out. 
  • Perhaps the worst part of it all happened shortly after. When you get used to that idea, it starts to settle in and get comfortable and put its feet up in your mind. There's morning sickness and doctor's appointments, and it's suddenly all real, but also, you realize there are worse things. Having a kid might not be so bad. You do some budgets and talk about where bassinets might fit and get scheme some plans for how to bring it all together, and you know that things might be weird, but you realize that you're going to be okay. And you know—after years and years of kids in your life who aren't yours, you just KNOW—you're just going to be a great dad. And the shock fades and it all gets so REAL. And that idea grows, and even though it's probably desperately late in life to start having kids, this concept that you might be a parent (of one of your own) after all takes root…. And it makes the miscarriage that much more difficult. And it rips the heart out of you even though you told yourself not to get excited in the first trimester. And you cry, desperate sobbing tears, even though it was just an idea, and a stressful idea you weren't ready for at that. 
  • And before I could even catch my breath from that grief, I realized that this health thing was bigger than "No Big Deal." It was a big BIG deal and doctors were calling ME to schedule appointments right away. 
  • In fact, it's cancer. Colon cancer. 
  • There's something about having cancer that's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't. We all know we're going to die, but there's something about being face to face with an existential threat that just changes the entire world. That face-to-face with death thing can't be denied. Nothing is ever quite the same. The world shatters in a way that death is a visible, breathing, living thing sidling up and never letting you forget it's there. Cancer in particular has the ability to change one's perception around it. Now I'm a walking spreadsheet of probability and statistics, and unless I get hit by a bus, one day there will probably be a recurrence or a new cancer.
  • And then you have surgery to have it removed. And the surgery (and the days around it) is incredibly difficult.
  • And it's Lynch syndrome. Which means no chemo—a blessing—but it also means that you have this thing that predisposes you to all these kinds of cancers and a lifetime of prophylactic screenings and high risk and wondering if every ache and pain is caused by a new tumor starting to grow.
  • And then the bills start rolling in. A co-pay here. A lab test there. So many procedures that even with insurance, you have to pay a percentage of. The hospital stay and surgery haven't even landed yet, and you're cruising up into the five grand range. Every day is a new dance of calling the billing department and setting up a payment plan, or ignoring a bill until the next paycheck.
  • Rhapsody also went through a major breakup in early January. It added stress to everything that came before it. Like most major breakups, it affected everything in her life and is taking time to get past. 

Obviously, I did not navigate these obstacles without difficulty, and my writing suffered. Some I onboarded knowing exactly what I was getting into. Some I thought I knew what I was getting into but it turned out to be even more. Some came completely out of left cliché. Taking a glance back through the posting schedule the last few months is a real-time witness to my inability to shrug ANYTHING off and keep writing. (And I want this blog to always remind people both that writing is work but also that writers are human, so I'm not "sorry" or anything, but it is pretty stark.) Any one of these things, and I probably wouldn't have slowed down. Maybe even a couple, and I could have kept chugging with just a missed post here or there. But the hits just kept coming and I was not even done processing the last thing before the next one showed up and demanded my urgent attention. 

Now I'm processing a backlog of seven months of just some of the worst shit a person can go through. 

I don't have a lot of good tidy answers. I can sometimes fit my life into a neat little didactic message about how to apply my lessons to writing. But that's when I take things one at a time and tie them up in a little bow—this time I'm just flopping the whole ugly mess on the table. I'm physically healed from surgery, and even getting into running (a lot), but still processing the mental and emotional trauma. I don't have some TV/movie-moment where I'm now getting up off the mat with a clenched fist and a jaw set in determination. (I hope I am, and March turns the page, but I'm not naive enough to think that there isn't more processing and more than a few rough days to come.) I don't have the perfect package to feed the messiness of all this unfettered BULLSHIT into an inspirational, writerly message. 

It sucks, and I've been trying to slog through.

All I can tell you is that the habits you establish when times aren't so stress-bombed are still there when life is power-round-house kicking you in the gonads. Instead of a hiatus, I'm having a tough time. Instead of a multi-year break, I'm having a couple-month lull. Instead of getting back in a year, it's going to be more like a few months. Posts are still getting up even though they're sporadic. Instead of having nothing, I'm able to gut out a couple of posts a week.  Perhaps best of all, I'm getting back into writing almost the MINUTE the anxiety fades. Literally as my stress goes down, my urge to sit down and write conversely goes up.

It's not that an epic hard period of your life won't affect your writing (it would affect anything you did—a relationship, a regular job, or your social life). And in fact, you may find you need to be kinder to yourself than you imagine you need to be in order to get through this caliber of tough time. But if you've worked hard to establish those habits during the times when things were a little smoother, you will weather that hit better and faster than you might expect.