Northern Frights, from the Horror Writers of Maine
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The wrapper of Dove's Promises individually wrapped dark chocolate pieces feature random little sayings inside of them. At some point, I will devote an entry to the worst of these. Because wow. But last night I ran into one that really touched a nerve, so that one comes first:
"Read the last page first."
I grew up reading a lot - mostly sci-fi and fantasy, plus some occasional horror. I spent lots of the summer on a blanket under a tree with books. This contributed a whole lot to the illustrative direction of my earlier art, as well as becoming a storyteller in both comic book and prose form. But as a young reader, when something particularly suspenseful put a character or characters in terrible terrible danger, I would sometimes flip to the end and take a peek to make sure things turned out ok.
For the most part, I didn't spoil things too too badly. I just wanted to see that particular character's name doing something near the end. Then I could go back and go on. I'm sure with great thought and insight, I could elaborate on certain circumstances and theorize why I was the sort of kid who needed to do this, but that's besides the point and a whole other not-here kind of story.
I broke this flip-ahead habit pretty much permanently when my brother bought for me the Chronicles of Narnia set… and somewhere in the second book, I took a look at the last pages of the last book.
Um. If you haven't read them, and have no idea what I'm talking about… I have no idea how to convey just what a terrible terrible terrible thing that was. If you have read them, your jaw probably hit the floor at the thought.
Yeah. Chocolate wrappers are really stupid.
I don't do that anymore, and haven't for years and years. Having the wrapper remind me of that terrible mistake has made think about the stories I get into these days, as well as the ones I write. I consume most books these days on audiobook, while I paint or design or do stuff around the house. It's way harder to skip to the end casually with an audiobook! As a writer with lots of writer friends, I have more appreciation these days of the journey an author builds and how that's critical to the story experience. So I try to imagine, what would an author think if I told them I had to peek at the end to make sure so-an-so survived that battle? I dunno, every author's different. But I will say one of my beta-readers said they did so, and I took it as a compliment. Regardless, it's not a habit I'll ever pick up again.
I'm not inclined to make life decisions or really any decisions with the input of chocolate wrappers in mind, anyway. But I consider this the worst advice I ever heard.
Luckily the chocolate inside is pretty consistent, regardless of what the wrapper has to say.
… but no words to say them. So I'm gonna put my head down and keep doing what I do, as much of it as I can get done today. Here's a few paintings.
… I would get back to playing guitar. I used to play around a bit, and still have the lovely thing hanging around. I could never devote the time I needed to get decent at it, and I only had the goal of not embarrassing myself in front of friends at a party maybe.
But when I was trying hard, giving it more time, and taking lessons from a friend, this was one of the songs I worked on:
The Clash – White Man in Hammersmith Palais
The last thing I expected while sorting things out for my taxes was sharp reminders of the car accident. Sorting through receipts for the art& framing I was doing that week, going through the mileage for professional events before & after, just recognizing the dates struck me with dread and renewed grief and anger. I lost a lot of professional momentum that day. Slightly more than 6 months later, I'm still working on recovering my professional capacities and productivity. And myself, which as a creative type is kinda tangled up in those professional & productive things.
And it pisses me off. Yeah, I've learned to live with it, but it pisses me off that I've had to learn to live with it. And I know it could have been much much worse. I'm really grateful it wasn't, yet I'm still pissed off.
It manifests as a sort of "I miss my car!" expression, but that's not really what I want back (tho' I did like it and it did suit my style). I'm happy with my current car, and grateful a friend had it to sell to me for a song & a dance. But "I miss my car!" is my mask, easier to express than "I miss how I was before all this." I miss being whole.
Or at least as close as I was before it happened! :p
And I've made lots of progress, though with several speedbumps, as well as reassurances that it all just needs time. I know it could have been worse. But it could have been better and not happened at all.
(below: not my car. Mine was not nearly so dramatic. No glass broke, unless you count brake light plastic as glass-like enough. I do have pictures, but I'm actually just not up for posting the reality tonight)
And you end up learning something so it's cool.
So I have an unusual relationship with the stuff known as coffee, and its frequent companion, caffeine. I'm 99% caffeine free, but love coffee, and very occasionally feel like I could use a little zing.
I drink reduced-acid caffeine free coffee at home. Usually black, but sometimes as a faux mocha with hot cocoa in it. I occasionally indulge in a decaf mocha (or decaf pumpkin spice) while out & about. I do eat chocolate, probably more than I should, but not enough that the caffeine becomes an issue. I drink lots and lots of herbal tea.
I have been at that level of decaf for a number of years now.
The problem is, every once in a while, I have the sort of day where I really wish I could have a little more zing. Not like 50/50 caffeine zing. Just like 5 servings of acid-reduced decaf zing (total shot-in-the-dark estimate), but all in one serving.
And yesterday I had that problem, and griped about it on the internet.
And in response, I got a flurry of friendly helpful answers that I'd already considered and/or tried and/or that presented other problems that kept them from being that answer which I really wasn't looking for because really I believe it just requires a fairy godsperson to show up and just grant me that wish. But spoiler alert: in the end I did learn something that I will look into trying.
To begin with the problem & the problems with the solutions:
Decaf isn't enough on these rare days.
5 servings (say, 16-20 oz each) of decaf might be, but takes more of a toll on my stomach than I'm prepared to risk, even with my reduced acid brand.
Any and all kinds of tea (black, green, white) will have the same issues:
Regular will have too much caffeine.
Decaf won't have enough.
Tea (except herbals which have no caffeine) will have the acid issue and I've never seen a reduced acid version to try.
Cold brew - requires planning & is a solution for frequent use. When I need this, I need it now-ish, not hours or more later. And if I make it & leave it in the fridge? It's a fuzzy science experiment waiting to happen. I don't need this very often. I also prefer my coffee hot, and microwaving it never seems to be the same.
Chocolate will bring too many calories if I attempt to eat enough to give me the zing I need.
If I encounter this feeling while I'm driving, I buy some cherry or vanilla coke, swig about 2 shots' worth, and I'm good. But sitting at home & working, I want a beverage I can enjoy. Ideally, I want a full-cup-of reduced-acid hot coffee drink with that level of caffeine sort of answer.
My ideal solution is:
I basically want what I have - Puroast reduced acid house blend - in a 90/10 decaf/caffeinated mix. At least I think that's what I want, but I don't expect to find that without the intervention of a fairy godsperson.
BUT… because of the internet and the determination of some (salutes you who know who you are), I *have* learned about cascara! With some poking around to verify estimated caffeine levels, this just might work. Also, I never considered loose leaf tea. I could blend a very small amount of loose leaf green, maybe, with an appropriate loose leaf herbals. I've done loose leaf tea. I have the stuff. The problem is I get a little nutty in wanting ALL teh FLAVURrrrs. :) But this I think I can do.
So, I have 2 things to try that I would not have known about had I not griped on the internet. Thank you, wonderful friends & wonderful internet!
author / artist rambles on about painting, writing, cats, punk rock, vampires, ska-core, mTBI, comics, and life in general.