Category Archives: musings

Hidden Scars

I have focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH). This is a very long way of saying I have benign tumors in my liver. They aren’t cancerous, or pre-cancerous, but they can be a literal pain.

My diagnosis came in 2002 and quite by accident. I’d gone in for a CAT scan for another issue and the FNH was simultaneously revealed. My doctor at the time immediately took me off birth control because she suspected the hormones were causing the problem. After some monitoring (read: MRIs every few months), it was determined that the nodules weren’t growing, so all was well. (If the tumors get too big, or block anything important, they have to be removed.)

There was some concern when I got pregnant that the FNH might become more serious. Oddly enough, I had no problems when pregnant with either of my boys, but the pain returned when I was carrying my daughter. Different hormones, I guess?

And now, just recently, the pain reared its ugly head again. I’ve since moved across the country and whatnot, so it took some explaining to my current doctor. When I went in today, she of course took a look and at first didn’t believe me when I told her that, no, I haven’t had a gallbladder since 2010. Because she couldn’t find the scars.

Gallbladder issues run in my family, but it’s also very common for women who’ve given birth to have gallstones. One of those things they don’t tell you before you decide to have kids. A year after my third and final child, it was discovered I was, as the ultrasound diagnostician put it, “full of stones.” So a very dour but incredibly skilled surgeon from South Africa removed my gallbladder. There are four tiny, nigh invisible, scars. (More visible in summer when my skin goes toasty.)

Anyway, there’s something wonderful about witnessing one medical professional admiring another’s work. Once my doctor did finally spot the gallbladder scars, she was highly impressed. If only I could take the credit, but I can only say I’ve been fortunate in my choices of health care providers—fortunate, that is, in whom I’ve been able to choose because this system is the pits.

As for the FNH, I’m due for an ultrasound next week. We’ll see if those nodules, lesions, tumors–whatever they decide to call them–are misbehaving. As I age and the chemicals in my body change, well… I can’t say I’m a fan. BUT. I’m still here, right? All these changes, no matter the inconvenience, are better than the alternative.

No Hope for the Self-Pubbed

Yesterday I was told that, since I have already self-published my work, I will never be picked up by an agent or have a traditional publishing deal. Not just for the books that I’ve self-published, but ever. Because the only self-published authors that get agents are ones who sell a zillion copies of their stuff, thus proving it’s market worthy. In other words, only the self-published authors who don’t need agents ever get them.

My books are of solid quality. I know this thanks to (a) good reviews from professional sources, and (b) feedback from agents. The “problem” with my books is that I write stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre* and/or stuff in unpopular genres. Basically, what I’ve been told by agents is that, while my work is good, it’s not marketable.

Which is why, I suppose, I don’t sell a zillion copies.

And therefore I will never get an agent or a big publishing deal for anything I write, no matter how good it is or how marketable it may actually be.

This is what I’ve been told. By traditionally published authors, mind. Maybe I should ask an actual agent? Pretty much every one that I’ve submitted to has told me to try them again with other works. I used to think they were just being polite, but I later heard at a conference panel that, no, that’s a line they only add to their rejection letters when they mean it. Which should mean, just maybe, that even if I self-published that book, they might still be interested in something new by me?

Publishing seems to be contracting and expanding in strange ways. There are more authors than ever, more books out there than ever, and yet fewer and fewer authors seem to be able to get agents and traditional publishing deals. Or maybe it just seems that way when one stacks traditional authors next to all the indies. But it does feel like agents and publishers are actually narrowing their focuses rather than widening. They seem to be less comfortable taking a chance on someone new. (Just like movie studios these days, leaning heavily on known IP rather than being willing to try anything original.)

It seems like certain genres do well in the indie market (romance, thrillers). Well, that’s also like indie films, isn’t it? Indie drama is pretty common, but how many indie action movies are there? Not many (if any) because indie filmmakers can’t usually afford to make a big budget film. At least with books the cost is more or less the same regardless of genre. It’s the ability to reach the various markets that causes some indie genres to stall, I think. Romance and thriller readers are typically voracious and will pick up a wide variety of titles in their preferred genres. More literary reader, though… are harder to reach via indie outlets. Underserved markets are more willing to go indie, assuming they can find your books in the piles of content out there. (Hey, if you like historical fantasy gay romance, try Faebourne! Yeah, again, my oddly specific books keep agents from picking them or me up…)

I guess the question eventually becomes: Do I want an agent and traditional publishing deal? And the answer is: I’d like the option. Maybe it’s that old need for validation, but… Yeah. I’d like an offer someday. At the same time, I won’t waste too much time chasing agents. Because I might like to have an agent, but I’ve learned I don’t have to have one to be happy or satisfied with my work.

Random

Today I got frustrated and angry because someone bought my ebook and then returned it. Look, I understand that if you click “buy” on accident, or if you get a few pages in and decide it’s not for you (read the sample first!), but this person had the book for at least a week because s/he bought it at full price, and it’s now on sale. That means they could very likely have bought it, read it, and returned it. Which is a crap thing to do to an author. Especially an indie author. Publishing houses have lots of money to back them; a return or two won’t hurt. But us little guys (and gals)… Someone told me they thought Amazon had a policy that didn’t allow returns on ebooks if the reader goes past a certain percentage? Is that true? Last time I looked (and it’s been a while), it wasn’t, but maybe Amazon got smart? Then again, Amazon seems never to have been on the side of the authors.

Anyway, to distance myself from my woes and irritation, I decided to distract myself by cataloguing my various tarot and oracle decks. Final tallies:

  • 39 tarot decks
  • 7 Lenormand decks
  • 15 oracle decks
  • 9 “other”

I posted a new tarot video to YouTube, too, so please go take a look, Like, and Subscribe! Maybe I’ll do this instead of writing. (I do private readings for those who are interested. You can’t return them for a refund, though!)

The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

Okay, so I’ve had some time to sort of mull this whole thing over, and while my feelings are still complicated, I do at least have some overall thoughts about those last three Star Wars movies. Keep in mind that this is all purely subjective. In fact, this post is as much for myself as anyone, as writing helps me suss my thoughts.

I really enjoyed The Force Awakens. Yes, I knew as I watched it that it was pretty much, beat for beat, a retread of Episode IV. But I didn’t care. At the time, I was so excited to have a new Star Wars movie—one that was so much better than those prequels (which I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch again since seeing them in the cinema)—that I was probably primed to like it no matter what. But I loved the new characters, the dynamics that were being built. We took our kids to it, and at the final scene my daughter (who was seven) asked, “Who is that?” And with tears in my eyes, I said, “That’s Luke Skywalker, baby.” So, yeah, I was all in. I saw the film three times in the cinema and have rewatched it several times at home.

Sure, later on I had to wonder at Rey’s sudden ability to beat Kylo. I pretty much had the idea she had to be Luke’s daughter, ferried away to keep her safe or something, and I know I’m not the only one to lean that way. But whatever. I was open to whatever was to come next.

I had more complicated feelings about The Last Jedi. There was a lot I liked about it (mostly Kylo/Rey stuff) and just as much that I didn’t (the moments of humor felt misplaced to me). I was a bit confused by Luke’s final stand or whatever, not sure why he had to die except that mentor characters always have to die, I guess. I had no problem with the introduction of Rose and still don’t entirely understand the ire people have toward her, or toward the movie as a whole, except for misogyny and racism in general? I’ll admit that after the first viewing, I didn’t think I liked this movie, either, though I couldn’t immediately say why. However, I also saw this one three times in the cinema, and came to like it more and more. It is, for me, about on par with TFA, or I may even like it slightly more simply because it definitely feels more original.

Ah, but then The Rise of Skywalker happened. And I just… can’t. I can’t with this movie. I think what I can’t get over is the return of Palpatine. The groundwork wasn’t laid for it, so it feels just so improbable. And the sending out of a message? And the idea that Snoke “worked for” Palpatine or some such? None of it makes sense. The killing and immediate resurrection of main characters cheapens everything. It doesn’t feel like there are any stakes because Rey has already managed to defeat Kylo many times, and characters don’t stay dead, so… ??? Do I like that Kylo is redeemed? The fangirl in me adores the character of Kylo Ren. He’s easily the most interesting, most developed character in these films because he’s the only one given deep-seated conflict. Yes, he behaves like an angry emo child. But that’s at least interesting. And I’m a Reylo fangirl, so…

And yet. Here’s where we get into the world of fandom vs. canon. Let me just say I studied fandom psychology as an undergrad. But that was in a pre-social media world (yes, I’m that old). Fans didn’t really have a hope to influence creators because they didn’t have that kind of access to filmmakers. So wish fulfillment for fans came in the form of fan fiction. And that was fine. We all understood that we could make up our own stories and enjoy the characters in our own ways and the creators could do what they were going to do, which we may or may not love, but we didn’t really get too upset about because we had our own outlets for rewriting things the way we wanted. But now fans feel entitled, it seems, to certain outcomes. And they do get angry when things don’t go they way they want. Fans want to write the scripts. And that’s just ridiculous.

But it does seem to me that creators do sometimes give in to that pressure. So I feel like Kylo’s (Ben’s, if you prefer) redemption and that Reylo kiss was definitely a bow to fans. I swooned, of course, but was it the best direction for the story? I do have some doubts about that. (I think it would have been more coherent to follow Ben Solo/Kylo Ren as the main character of these films, probably because I do still find him to have the most interesting arc, but that’s just me, and didn’t we just talk about fans trying to steer the ship?)

For me TROS ruined things. I was all in until this film. I can forgive a lot, but this one just had too many problems for me. The sudden excising of Rose’s character, the insertion of random other females as if to be sure the Finn/Poe fans didn’t get their way—it just felt too disjointed from what came before. It felt, as I’ve said previously, like Abrams and Johnson were in a tug-of-war instead of building on each other’s works to create a cohesive whole. If you tell two architects to build a building that consists of three wings—Architect 1 gets wings 1 and 3 and Architect 2 does the middle bit—but don’t give them more guidance than that, the final structure might not end up looking quite right. Particularly if Architect 1 had stuff he expected wing 2 to have but Architect 2 does his own thing? They need to work together for the design to mesh.

I only saw TROS once in the cinema. I know I probably need to see it at least one more time to resolve some of my feelings about it. I mean, I think I could at least sit through it again, which is more than I can say about the prequels. But at the end of the day, the sequel trilogy was, for me, a game of diminishing returns. I enjoyed the first, most of the second, and almost none of the third.

So much of today’s biggest series start strong and founder because no one has a big picture vision, or if they do, they allow outside influences to alter it and therefore undermine what’s being built. We need showrunners/creators that don’t just have a great idea but also have the ability to follow through (or the willingness to delegate rather than control issues). And while fans have a right to their opinions, I don’t think they should demand that things go a certain way to satisfy their particular desires. Yes, even though you think you could do it better or your idea is the best. That’s what fan fiction is for. Leave the creators alone.

20 Years?!

I was looking over my writing résumé (because I wanted to add the re-release of Peter) and I was astounded to realize I’ve been writing and publishing for 20 years now. And that doesn’t even include the times my fan fiction was published in zines, which happened well before my original work saw the light of day.

You can find a comprehensive list of my work on this site, if in parts, by clicking on “Extended Bibliography” in the menu. But for more immediate purposes, I’ll also post it here as shown on my résumé:

  • The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller (re-release, January 2020)
  • “Origami of the Heart” (East of the Web, December 2019)
  • “The Zodiac Clock” (December 2018)
  • Faebourne (October 2018)
  • Brynnde (audiobook, June 2018)
  • “A Good Washing and One Nice Dress” in Fairy Tales and Folktales Re-imagined (Between the Lines Publishing, November 2017)
  • “Professor Moriarty and the Demented Detective” (November 2017)
  • The New Sherlock Holmes Adventures (audiobook, May 2017)
  • Brynnde (February 2017)
  • Changers: Manifesting Destiny (Evernight Teen, August 2016)
  • “Aptera” in Aurora Wolf (June 2016)
  • The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller (Tirgearr Publishing, January 2016)
  • “Sherlock Holmes and the Monumental Horror” (July 2015)
  • The K-Pro (March 2013)
  • The World Ends at Five and Other Stories, 2nd Edition (November 2012)
  • “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of Ichabod Reed” (September 2012)
  • “Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Last Line” (July 2012)
  • St. Peter in Chains (June 2012)
  • The World Ends at Five and Other Stories (2008)
  • “A.B.C.” in Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine (Fall 2004)
  • “There Was an Old Woman…” in Rosebud Magazine (April 2004)
  • “Haiku 101” in The Aurorean (March 2004)
  • “A Day in the Life of a Moderately Successful Writer” and “The Snake” in Dingbat #4 (Emerson College, 2000)

Of course, not all these can be found or are still available. But it’s 20 solid years of work nonetheless, though there are gaps. I often think of 2012 as the true start of my “writing career” (such as it is), but I had several things before then. Including poetry! Yeesh.

20 years in 2020. Wow. Thanks to all of you who have bought, read, reviewed, and overall supported me and my work all these years. It’s been a blessing to have the opportunity to write and publish.

It’s Early But…

I don’t anticipate much happening between now and the end of the year. Which means 2019 was a singularly unproductive year for me in terms of writing. I wrote one story that I have yet to place anywhere. (Lots of places still considering it… Here’s hoping it finds a home.) That means I didn’t publish anything this year. And I’m really no closer to finishing or publishing anything any time soon, either.

What I did accomplish this year: a house move + renovations. That ate up a lot of time and energy. Plus a new routine with the kids as now they are going to three different schools which means juggling a lot of drop-offs and pick-ups. We had a big family vacation, too. And we adopted two rats (one of which passed away) and a python. For the record, that leaves our menagerie at two cats, a rat, and a snake.

In short, my life is largely focused on the domestic these days. On the up side, I read a ton of books this year. My goal was 18, and I’m at something like 76. Of course, a lot of those were manga, but I regret nothing.

I was looking at my personal year for next year. For those who don’t know what that means, in numerology one can calculate a Life Path number using one’s birthdate and then a yearly number using the month and day of your birth plus the year. My Life Path number is 6 and my personal year number for 2020 is also 6, so that should be interesting. A 6 year focuses on (again, some more) domestic concerns. Which means I may not do much writing next year either… If you’re curious about your personal year or Life Path numbers, there are many different calculators online to help you. Just Google “personal year calculator” or “life path number calculator.” It’s entertaining if nothing else.

Yeah, in terms of my “career” 2019 feels like a waste. But I moved myself and my family into a better overall situation, so I think that’s totally worth it. Next year I have a couple vacations to look forward to, and any house stuff will be relatively small by comparison. And while the first half of the year will be more of the crazy juggling of kids’ schedules, the next school year should be much more manageable. The kids will still be at three different schools, but at least one of those schools will be much closer to home, meaning all three schools will be within a 10-minute drive. (Right now, one school is 20 minutes away, meaning I’m in the car at least 80 minutes a day, not counting any other driving.)

The only thing I’m really hoping for as far as my writing goes is to find a place for this story. If all else fails, I suppose I can self-publish it… Maybe combine it with a couple other stories for a mini anthology. Sometimes stories seem more doable than bigger works, though I’ve always found short pieces harder to write in general. Maybe this will be a good exercise for me and help me hone my skill. Who knows? In any case, I don’t plan to push things. Forced writing is usually not very good. Here’s hoping my muse finds my new address soon so we can get back together and get to work.

Getting Genders “Wrong” in Writing

I saw a pair of Twitter polls today about “What do you think male writers get wrong when writing female characters?” and vice versa. The responses were multitudinous as might be expected. But the question is flawed, I think. It’s generalized, both in its assumption of writers being bad at writing opposite genders and in the assumption that each gender has a “correct” way of being written.

For example, many of the responses about men writing women were about the writers’ focus on breasts. I’ll admit I’ve seen my share of really bad writing when it comes to female character description. But it occurred to me, when reading these answers, that writers come from two different places when forming characters. When dealing with one’s own gender, we come from a place of experience… and sometimes a bit of wish fulfillment, which is why so many women write kick-ass heroines. But when writing the opposite gender, authors are usually coming from a place of desire: an idealization of what we want that opposite gender to be. It’s not quite the same as wish fulfillment, since it’s not about what we, the author, want to be. Though in romances, uniting that couple is often a wish fulfillment of finding and landing the ideal partner.

This is assuming these authors are heterosexual, mind.

The truth is, however, that both male and female authors can write bad characters—of either gender. Whether it’s because the character is just eye candy and has a cardboard personality, whether it’s because the character is abusive yet held up as desirable, whether it’s bad dialogue or unrealistic behavior… And at the same time, we have to remember that men don’t only behave one way, nor do women. So to say, “Men write women who are too much like men”… Well, yes. I’ve seen that too. But there are women in the world who are masculine in demeanor. Now, if every woman in a book is that way, I’d say there’s a problem. But one or two? ::shrug::

I also read a complaint that the male:female ratio is often imbalanced. Well, I think that has a lot to do with perceived audience for a book. Books marketed to men will usually have more male characters, and books aimed at women will have more female characters. That said, I’m certainly guilty of writing more men than women. I’ve often asked myself why I do that, but I’ve yet to find a reason.

I’ve read novels by women who make all their sex-positive female characters into villains. Do they know they’re doing that? Men write them as sluts, women write them as evil sluts?

I guess my point is that, while I can understand the notion that one gender can struggle to write the other well, I think each gender can equally struggle to write itself well, too. Characterization can be difficult regardless of writers’ or characters’ genders. Add to that the fact that there is no “correct” way to characterize a gender because we’re all individuals… Yes, I understand the outrage when men write women as only sex objects, but those men are usually bad writers all around. And I’ve read books by women who write men as mere sex objects as well, so… Again, so long as not every character of a certain gender is written this way… Though, if they are, it says a lot about that writer and his or her lack of skill. But it only speaks for that writer, not for an entire gender of writers. Just because a few men write women badly, or vice versa, doesn’t mean “men” make mistakes when writing women. Or vice versa.

Just Saying No to Submission Fees

I don’t write many short stories, but as I recently wrote one on commission… only to have that publisher close… I am now searching for a new publisher for this particular story. And I’ve noticed many journals that publish short stories have submission fees. They give varying reasons for this. Some say it’s to “make sure the author is willing to invest in your work.” That is to say, these journals believe that authors are just writing and tossing off half-baked stories, which the journals see as a waste of their own valuable time. Well, I’d argue that 1. the author still spent more time writing it than you will reading it. Particularly if, after a page or so, you already know it’s no good and don’t read all of it. And 2. a lot of these journals are also non-paying. So I’m supposed to pay them for the chance to be published by them… Even though, if I am published by them, I likely won’t see a more than a contributor’s copy? That doesn’t seem right. You’re basically asking me, the author, to pay the cost of your doing business. I don’t see that I get much out of it, unless I like to gamble. (Which I don’t.)

Paying a journal just to submit is a gamble. It’s buying a lottery ticket, more or less. Again, the journals will say that this is how they ensure people send their best work. And while I understand that there are a lot of bad stories out there, I think most authors at least believe they’re doing the best they can. No writer I’ve ever known has said, “Well, it needs more work, but I’m going to send it anyway.” Because we know that if we want to be published, the work needs to be as good as we can possibly make it. Admittedly, not everyone has the ability to make it stellar, but charging a fee isn’t going to change that.

What charging a fee does achieve is cutting down on submissions. And maybe this is the real goal: to not be swamped. Fewer submissions means the journal needs fewer staff members to wade through it all. Meanwhile, the staff can be paid, at least partially, with all those submission fees. It’s a win-win for the journals, maybe, but as an impoverished author, I’ll pass. Not because I don’t believe in my work, not because I didn’t polish it enough to “invest” in it, but because money should trickle down to the author. And because submission fees add up. A few dollars here, a few more there… It can come to quite a lot. And it’s going to the journals who charge fees rather than to the authors who’ve spent all that time and energy writing. No thanks.

Self-Censorship

Recently, my home office was painted, and now I’m slowly putting it back together, organizing stuff that has been in boxes for months now (since we moved house in April). One thing I stumbled across was a map of Civil War battles. It’s not mine; I think it belongs to one of my kids. But I stopped to look at it and thought, fleetingly, of writing a book set in the Old South. And then I thought:

But I’m not allowed to do that.

At least, not in a way that romanticizes that time and lifestyle.

You have to understand that 1. I grew up in the American South, and 2. I love Gone with the Wind. Which I’m also pretty sure I’m not allowed to love anymore, but while I can definitely see that it’s problematic, I can’t hate it. I used to watch that movie every time I was home sick from school. We read the book in high school, too, and I enjoyed it as well. Then I fell in love with the North and South miniseries (though I never did make it through the books). These things are just my jam.

And maybe it’s because I grew up with a fascination for history, and my area history in particular, which included a number of plantations. But the fact that I feel the need to make excuses for things I enjoy—that’s where I start to get uncomfortable. Because again, though I see and acknowledge the problems of our past, and of putting a romantic veneer over it, I still love a good Southern Belle love story. As they say, the heart wants what it wants.

But I’m not supposed to want to read books like that. Or write them. Books set in the pre-Civil War era are now meant to be serious, and to highlight the gravity of how terrible slavery was. IT WAS. I don’t even think we can comprehend it. I’m still blown away by how recent civil rights are, that my dad went to a segregated school for a big chunk of his life. Like, what??? I can’t wrap my brain around it.

And maybe that’s another part of my problem. I can understand and appreciate a love story, regardless of setting. But I can’t do that for something as enormous as our slave-weighted past. I freely admit my failings here, and I am in no way suggesting slavery was anything but a blight on our history.

Still, being told what I can and can’t like to read, or watch, or what I can or can’t write… It’s a kind of censorship. That I’m supposed to self-inflict in order to be politically correct. Sort of like not eating all the fudge because, you know, that’s bad for me and also not nice to anyone else who wanted some fudge. Writing a Southern Belle romance would be considered both bad for me and not nice to anyone who finds that setting problematic (except when being explored as a terrible thing).

I don’t write sexy books because I don’t like them. But I don’t shame writers or readers of that kind of thing. And it’s considered progressive to be “sex positive.” Yet I’m pretty sure if I wrote a historical romance set in the Old South, I’d have people jumping all over me for it. Because that’s the opposite of progressive, I guess.

I don’t really even know what I’m trying to say here. I’m thinking (typing) out loud in a more stream-of-consciousness way. It’s a fine line to walk. Big picture is the way that the PC mindset is in some ways actually restricting rather than freeing.

The Perfectionist Writer’s Struggle

There’s no misery quite like being a perfectionist writer. We want—expect, even—our story to spring like Athena fully formed from our skulls onto the page. In our heads, the story is perfect. Alas, when we try to make that perfection concrete by writing or typing it, everything crumbles.

I think this is partly to do with perfectionism and also partly to do with… How can I phrase it?… People for which most things come easily, people who aren’t used to having to redo their work… They have a particularly difficult time with the idea that their first draft will not and should not be their last. I am one of these people. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to show that having things come easily is not a wonderful trait. It makes me lazy. It makes me more whiney when I do encounter obstacles because I’m so used to sailing over them. It makes me want to to declare my first draft to be my final draft because of course I did it perfectly the first time.

And of course that isn’t true.

People who have spent their school days working hard in order to succeed have a much better chance of greater success in the long run. They’ve developed a work ethic and a willingness to continue hacking away at something until they get it right.

So maybe “perfectionist” isn’t exactly the correct word here. Though perfectionist writers have their own set of problems. They keep wanting to tinker with a manuscript indefinitely because they want it to be perfect. In that way, they’re rather the opposite of the ones who are so sure they are one-and-done. These perfectionists don’t want to let go. They’re often convinced there is some set of rules or a mathematical equation that, if they check everything off the list or get the right answer, then their book will be perfect. And only when it’s perfect will it be ready to query or publish.

What each of these types of authors has in common, however, is that in both cases the authors need to be comfortable with the idea of imperfection. The Type 1 author needs to be willing to admit a lack of perfection, and the Type 2 author needs to be willing to live with a lack of perfection.

NOTHING AND NO ONE IS EVER PERFECT

You’re going to find a typo in the final, published version. Or you’re going to re-read it and wish you’d written a sentence differently.

And no, you didn’t write it perfectly the first time.

I have never, ever been sorry that I went back and edited and revised. In every single case the book has been better for it, no matter how much I bitched and moaned that it was fine—perfect—the way it was.

It won’t be perfect. Ever. Your job is to get it as close to perfect as you can, up until the time that continuing to fiddle with it has little to no ROI. It becomes a waste of time rather than a benefit to the work… or the author. In fact, eventually the work and the author begin to suffer for it. Part of being a writer is learning to find the sweet spot of having rewritten/edited it as best you can and not going any further.

Part of being a writer—a big part—is learning to live with imperfect. Both at the start and the end of your project. And in yourself as well.