|I gots bees on my knees!
Travelogue: A movie, book or Illustrated lecture about the places visited and experiences encountered by a traveler.I take a walk, it’s hot and it was a bad decision and moments after leaving the house I already feel like crap. “I wonder if I should post abo- no.” I feed the fish, walk the fence line, down to the old pond. “Okay maybe there’s something in my drafts- no.” I pass the wild rose, sprawling in her summer glory and half the size of a house. “Okay, maybe I can post ab- no.” I almost go through the woods, but I’d rather not end up covered in ticks. Instead, it’s back up past the chicken yard to say hello to the ladies. “Okay just stream of consciousness just friggin po- Yeah, sure, but I haven’t really don’t that in a few years have I?” With a shirt full of eggs, feeling like death, soaked with sweat I round back into the house. “I haven’t really written anything in years because I feel like shit every time I post. Huh… maybe I should post about that.”
The radio silence isn’t about a lack of ideas, or topics, but a feeling like there’s simply no ‘room’ for me to exist. It’s not just one thing - it’s a lot of things - but I feel like this is the easiest to get through first.
I don’t think I’ve ever been clear enough (and possibly cannot be clear enough) about how my blog is not, and never really will be, a “how to” blog. I’m not interested in bullet lists, blanket statements, virtue signaling or hot takes. I am not a therapist, a guru, a repository for ennui, a cudgel with which to threaten others, or obligated to reveal private details. I feel like it’s fundamental to get this across: This is a diary, a journal and a travelogue centered on being the voice that I wish I had heard as a youngster. It humbles and honors me that other people have found value in that as well.
When I capped a certain follower count running either blog became unpleasant. I can’t tell you how many times I sat with my finger over the “delete”/”make private” button. Whether it was people being out and out malicious, or those simply being too familiar and pushing against personal boundaries, it was not a pleasant thing. On the other hand were people who took the time to tell me how my blog had helped them in ways large and small. I didn’t delete because I did not want to let them down, but I didn’t feel like I could post, either.
That stretched on for far longer than it should, so consider this the line in the sand. This should be the last anyone has to hear about people being ... strange, but it’ll also be the last time I’m polite about it if it has to be said again.
That Other, Bigger, Thing: PTSD Suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.
Seven years ago a tornado outbreak almost killed me and my family, devastated my property and nearly destroyed my house (that I was in the process of remodeling... so basically destroyed my house), and gave me PTSD. The PTSD messed up my entire life. It’s still messing up my life, and will probably be messing up my life for a while yet.
It compounded older, earlier, traumas, and generally made me into a shadow of myself. It exacerbated health problems, caused deterioration in my interpersonal relationships in a way that, honestly, is still not okay and caused workplace issues that held me back from opportunities for advancement. I couldn’t get a job outside of the house because if I heard thunder, or things that sounded like thunder, or was informed by a newsperson that there were a risk of storms … I would basically be nonfunctional and y'know... work places aren't understanding about that.
I couldn’t work on repairs and cleanup because the sight of the storm damage would exacerbate the issue, making me physically ill and mentally wonky for days at a time. Then, I lost my salaried job working from home and had to become a freelancer and simply couldn’t financially afford to do more than work myself to the bone. And boy… did I ever.
I’ve lost almost a decade of my life to mental illness and the stigmas against it. Trying to exist my way around this has been a daily challenge that I have had to manage, essentially, alone.
Digging Ever Upward
I began to give up on trying to find my way out of the labyrinthine cave and just began digging straight up. Sure, I ended up choking on a lot of dirt along the way - but I finally started to see light. I rented the land out to a relative who not only paid me a bit for staying there, but helped immensely with cleaning up and repairing damage - I cannot stress how much that both broke my heart AND helped my brain. Eventually I could face looking at my damaged mobile home again. I got some supplies and made a dent in some general repairs, bought some shelving to start storing materials, and was (and am) making headway. Using it for a workshop will be a lot of work, but worth it. Maybe one day it’ll even be livable. I feel like moving through and past the physical aftermath finally helped me to look at the damage in the less physical stuff - the life stuff - with more clarity.
Due to Etsy being capricious and changing rules around I decided (after a lot of whining and complaining) to allow my shop to be deactivated, and bought some hosting with a shopping cart. I’m currently working my way through remaking listing images and dealing with paperwork to get that running. In the meantime there is a landing page, an about page, and links to my social media. In the future the shop will be added, and theoretically a couple of other pages. You can take a look at rootand.rocks
A few people asked about how they could show their support for what I do/make even if they didn’t want to buy something and, well… I'm not going to turn this into an infomerical so you can read more at patreon.com/rootandrock. The immediacy of financial return means that I can afford to do things like posting bits of work on books, or plant profiles, without feeling financially pressured. It feels like a good way forward - it's totally optional and helps out a lot.
I’ve been quietly working writing and art again. First, on a series of small book/lets, each covering a single topic. They’re heavily illustrated, and geared toward the market who likes really artsy, limited-edition, occult content. The first, a short work on using snail shells to create charms, talismans and vessels is nearly done - down to the last layout phase and dealing with printing/binding. Another about harvesting and processing clay - viewed through an alchemical lense - is getting started, and a third of poetry about woods-spirits is halfway done. The long-suffering toad book has also been pecked and poked at as well. I know. I can almost hear the surprised gasps from here.
It’s fine, or it will be. Really. It’s getting ... more like living and less like digging upward every day. Should I have said more along the way? Maybe? I don’t know. Sometimes bearing your soul to the internet is a bad idea while you’re vulnerable. Sometimes it’s not a kind place. But to those who were and are kind, thank you. You kept me digging.
(This entry was first published July 26 on my Patreon - and moved here a month later. Dates may, therefore, be slightly askew)