I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers

October is the best month. It’s not a debate. FACTS ARE FACTS. I love the fall, I love the Taylor Swift RED aesthetic, and I love being a spooky bog witch. Halloween is my favorite time and I never met a costume I didn’t want to wear.

This October has been lovely so far. Currently I am on a two week vacation that has only just started. Yesterday, I completed the first round of edits on my book and turned it in, which is like an enormous weight off. On Saturday, we had a backyard party for a coworker who is moving out of state and I got to see some of my lovely, fully vaccinated friends that I haven’t seen in person in like two years. We strung lights in the backyard and everyone brought food to share and there were drinks and it was just fully wonderful.

I also got a tattoo to celebrate my love of all things autumnal!

It was done by Kristina Bennett at Sugar City Tattoo Company and she was so nice to work with. I gave her some vague reference photos and said “autumnal floral with a pumpkin” and she knew the vibe exactly.

In a few days, we’re going up to South Lake Tahoe, which I’m excited to say did NOT burn down, so it will be so good to get out of town and decompress. I’m halfway through writing my second book, something I started while waiting for edits on the first one, so hopefully I can make some progress on that.

Anyway, I’m just popping in to say I love, love, love October and I hope you’re having a good fall so far.

Good news, I lived!

That’s part of the chronically ill life. Sometimes my body just needs a break and if I won’t give it one, it’ll find a way to take it anyway.

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Spoons

I have a lot of jobs right now. I don’t know how it happened! I work 40 hours a week as a librarian. That’s the job that pays me. I also am the current president of our union chapter, and believe me, that’s another full time job and it doesn’t pay me. I do it because it’s necessary and believe deeply in the benefits of unionized labor.

Now I’m a writer! I always was, of course, I’ve always written a lot and continuously, but when you have things like contracts and deadlines, it becomes a thing you have to budget into your week instead of a hobby you can pick up whenever the mood strikes.

But my other, other, other job is chronic and one I can’t quit. It’s pain. It’s fatigue. It’s blinding migraines and swollen, tender joints. It’s subluxing ribs and burning hip bursitis and all of the other things that go with a lifelong chronic illness.

If you have ever known anyone with a chronic illness, they’ve talked about their spoons. The Spoon Theory has become widely used slang among us chronically ill folk, but I think of myself more as a phone that will only charge to 50%, say. (50% on a good day.) The phone can do anything that a fully charged phone can do, but not for as long. So then you have to start making choices. What is crucial, what’s important, what can hold when you run out of battery and have to crawl to bed.

I wish that I could write when depleted. I wish that having my laptop in bed didn’t cost energy, but it’s hard to think when you’re exhausted and in pain and you can’t write without thinking, unfortunately. I’ve tried. I write best in the morning when I’m awake and charged and fresh. I end up writing on my days off, early. I end up writing in pockets of time during the day. But by the time the sun sets, I just can’t write anymore. I can’t do chores. I can’t take long walks. I can’t process complex conversations or watch anything complicated or new.

However, I’ve been doing this for a long time and while you never get the hang of it, exactly, you learn how to plan for it. You know that some things are costly and will need recovery days buffered in. For instance, I never have a day of travel and then plan to go to work the next day. I always factor in a day of recovery in between. Since the pandemic, a lot of meetings have gone virtual, and that’s been a life saver for union things. May I never have another in person meeting again!

So, here are my brief spoonie survival tips:

  1. Buffer in rest days
  2. Find the products that work for you: ice packs, heating pads, soft clothes, etc.
  3. Having a buddy or two to keep you company always helps!

The First Draft

It’s about time to turn in the first draft of my first published novel.

It’s a weird thing to write!!! I’ve been thinking about publishing a book since I was, eh, thirteen? But then, you know, things get in the way. Finishing high school, getting into college. I chose English Literature as my major, over Creative Writing because I thought I wanted to be a teacher and wanted a more general degree.

And then, when it was time to go to grad school, I was paying for it myself so I knew I better come out of it with a viable career. I graduated from college at the same time the economy collapsed, so instead of becoming a teacher at a time when teachers everywhere were getting laid off, I went to library school. I just didn’t think a degree in Creative Writing, a field that is notoriously hard to find success in, was a sound financial decision.

It’s not that I ever stopped writing. I’ve been writing consistently since I was a teenager. I started with fanfiction, I wrote original stuff in school, but fanfiction has been my hobby for 20 years. With every story I hit publish on, with every new fandom I dipped my toe into, there was always that thought in the back of my mind that I still had time to writing something original. A novel.

Lately, though, I’d started to put that dream to bed. I work at the library, I know intimately that a lot of books aren’t even very good and yet, getting published is HARD. A lot of it is just knowing the right people, networking, being in the right place at the right time. The rest of it is hustle. Write the damn thing, send it out, get rejected over and over again. It all sounded so difficult while trying to balance a full time job, a marriage, a chronic illness, whatever else life was throwing at me at the time. So I started to shift my thinking away from that. Fanfiction makes me happy. I like to write it and I find the community I’ve built around it to be very fulfilling and I worried that turning my hobby into a hustle might make me like it less, anyway. I was at peace with not being a ~writer~ and I figured that unless something fell directly into my lap, it would just never happen.

Guess what fell directly into my lap?

In a way, it was about networking, about being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people. Fandom is a powerful network. I’ve made so many fandom friends who have become powerful, badass adults. Now I’m on this journey, I guess. I feels like the right step for me now. Maybe I’ll publish a few books and decide it really isn’t for me. Maybe I’ll publish a few books and decide that I love it and I’ll keep going. I can’t wait to find out.

But first, I just have to send in this first draft, real quick.

Welcome to Emily’s blog

Blogs are tricky, especially introductory ones. I’m a writer, but a fiction writer, so I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to write myself. I’ve always figured, if you’ve read one of my stories, you probably know more about me already than reading a bio paragraph.

Blogs can be good, though, I suppose to talk about any number of things going on that may not fit anywhere else. And if you’ve stumbled here, I guess maybe you want to know more about me the person outside of me the writer. I can do that. My pen name is Emily Waters, my real name is SOMETHING ELSE. You, however, likely know me as missparker. I’ve been a fanfiction writer for much longer than a published (or shortly to be published) author, so it’s definitely going to take some time to think about myself as a writer outside of that fandom space. If that’s how you know me or how you’ve found me, welcome and thank you so much for taking this next step with me.

If you’ve found me some other way, say through my social media, or through my publisher, Ylva Publishing, I’m so thrilled to have you here.

I live in Northern California with my husband and my two dogs. I do have a husband, he’s wonderful. It’s no secret to him or to anyone, I think, that I’m bisexual and he’s wildly supportive of my writing or of anything I do. He’s great. A keeper. I’m a children’s librarian, I read a lot of kids books. I’ve learned a lot about publishing by being a librarian who purchases for my library system’s collection, so I’m excited to be able to see publishing from the other side. Besides working and writing, petting my little dogs and puttering around my backyard, I’m afraid I’m not wildly exciting. I’m an introvert and I like to stay home.

If you’ve made it this far, I do encourage you to reach out to me via my twitter or my instagram or even my tumblr. I’m from the internet, so making online friends is my favorite. I’ll update this blog on the progress of editing my book, publishing it, and maybe writing some new ones. See you then.