A Year and a Day

Today is the last day of March, 2015.  That’s a pretty easy one:  you can look at any calendar, phone, or computer and see that right away.  It’s a good thing, too, because these days it’s also nearly impossible to know from one day to the next what day it should be.  I’m good with that, but not perfect.

Today is also the International Transgender Day of Visibility, the day that is meant to celebrate those of us who have chosen to live our lives as we needed them to be lived, and not pretend we are someone else–something I did most of my life.  Believe me, getting to the point where I could stop pretending wasn’t the easiest thing in my life . . .

My own public coming out wasn’t something I spent a long time thinking about.  I had already begun attending a few transgender support meetings through the winter of 2013/14, but by March of 2014, I was feeling the need to do more.  By that time I’d been in and out of therapy for almost two years, but I felt that I wasn’t making any real progress toward being me.

That started changing on 29 March, 2014.  On that day I drove home from Indiana to Harrisburg in some of the strangest weather I’d ever encountered.  It started out cloudy, then started drizzling in eastern Indiana.  I began seeing snow flurries in western Ohio, snow in central, and by the time I reach not-rocking Cleveland, it was snowing hard enough that only one lane of the three lane Ohio Turnpike was open.  It stayed that way until I reached the Cuyahoga River valley, at which point everything turned to rain–

And stayed that way all through the gathering night as I drove through the mountains of Pennsylvania on the way to Harrisburg.

It was about eleven PM when I reached home, and I didn’t make it into bed until about half-past midnight.  I was up because I was chatting with someone about writing, but as I went to bed my mind was on something else.  Me.

When I woke up the next morning, Sunday, 30 March, I decided that I was lacking as far as my transition was concerned, and if I was going to go through with it, I’d either need to do so, or crawl back into the closet where I’d been for fifty years.  And so, that morning, I threw on my wig, put on a little makeup (really, just a little:  I had no idea what I was doing), got dressed, and headed for my normal weekend morning hangout, the Panera in Camp Hill.  I was nervous, I was scared, I was worried I was going to get chased out of the joint, and while I did get a few stares–lots of few stares, actually–I was waited on and served.

That was the start.  And I even got a picture to commemorate the moment, because if you don’t see it, it didn’t happen, right?

April of 2014 was really my transition month, and the biggest turning point for me was, believe it or not, the fact that I was getting tired of transferring my ID from my woman’s wallet to my male wallet, and I reached the next milestone where I decided I was either going to be a woman or man, and chose woman because, yeah, I was.

Yesterday was my anniversary of my real coming out, where I’d decided to forgo all possible humiliation and walk out of my apartment and show the world who I was.  Yesterday I met with my tax prepare at H&R Block in Valparaiso, IN–you may have heard a little about Indiana lately, as the government here is trying to squeeze the entire state into a TARDIS and take us back to 1915–so I could file my federal and state taxes, naturally.  Last year I’d done so in male mode, but not so much this year.  This year I went as myself, my true self, and my tax lady didn’t bat an eye.  She remarked that I looked good, and asked a few questions about my transition, but mostly what she wanted to know was if I was getting ready to publish anything else, since I had a 1099 from Amazon for book royalties.  (All of fifteen dollars, if you must know.)  As for the whole, “Oh, you’re a woman now?” thing–she could care less.

As I tell people, I still suffer from depression, I still cry, I still believe at times that the end is near, but right now the least of my worries is transition.  The news was good enough yesterday that I was able to determine that I’ll be able to undergo electrolysis this summer, and later today or tomorrow I’ll start the process on getting my name and gender markers changed.

It’s been a strange and wonderful journey.  And as I say, I have pictures.

Then:

Camp Hill, 30 March, 2014.

Camp Hill, PA, 30 March, 2014.

And Now:

Valparaiso, IN, 30 March, 2015.

Valparaiso, IN, 30 March, 2015.

What a different a year makes.

Along the Old Paths Newly Beaten

First, let’s get this out of the way:  Kolor Ijo is finished as far as the edit of the first draft is concerned.  It’s a done deal.  See?

Done deals are done.

Done deals are done.

So now it’s onto finding a cover and doing another edit pass–which should go quickly–and getting it published.  Sometime this summer, for sure, but it’s gonna get done.  I promise that.

Now that I have this story out of the way, I can say I enjoyed revisiting these two characters, and the supernatural world of Indonesia, and . . . I do want to do it again.  Maybe the next story in this series could be next year’s April NaNo Camp novel.  We’ll see, but I want to go here again.

However, there’s something standing in the way, and that’s only about a month away from fruition . . .

Yesterday afternoon I got back into working on my time line for the Big Euro Tour my kids go on that won’t be talked about for a few more novels.  Yes, I plan years in advance, but that’s how I am–crazy, right?  Right.

The last time I showed the time line I was in Lyon, so where in the world are my kids now?

Technically they exist only in my mind, but we'll assume they're in Eastern Europe.

Technically they exist only in my mind, but we’ll assume they’re in Eastern Europe.

As you can see they made it to Paris, then moved eastward to Bruges, Amsterdam, Burg–which is south of Munich–and then Prague.  If you’ve never heard of Bruges, it’s in Belgium–as the time line points out–and it’s a wonderful old town that at one time was a seaport–even though it’s now eighteen miles from the English Channel–and has a four hundred year old brewery, which makes it one of the oldest in Europe.  It’s about an hour from Brussels by train, so if you happen to be in that neck of the woods, give it a visit.  Also, the movie, In Bruges, was filmed there, so if you want a quick look at the city between scenes of people being killed, give it a gander.

There’s also a mark there which says they’re Seeing the Seer, and that’s a little side trip out of Lyon to fly south so Annie and Kerry can visit Deanna.  Where is she?

Unlike Waldo, she's easy to find.

Unlike Waldo, she’s easy to find.

The entirety of the journey follows the Rhine River to Montélimar, which is a little over one hundred and forty kilometers south of Lyon.  I put in her a secluded chateau, which I hope the people now living there won’t mind, but it’s the sort of place where I can see Deanna living.  And just so you know, they’ll visit a couple of other instructors as well during their trip.

It’s funny, but all the places Annie and Kerry are staying from Barcelona to Bruges are the same places I stayed when I traveled the same route in 2006.  Only I went the whole way by train, and didn’t make any side trips on high tech brooms.  It only makes sense that I would fall back on something I know, however, and looking at those same locations on Google Maps brought back some interesting memories–including one that involved a dream someone had of the same hotel room I stayed in while in Paris, only they were staying with, um, me.  Yeah, it was freaky.

When they get to Amsterdam they stay in a pretty swanky place and spend a few days laying about and decompressing before heading to the south of Germany for a few days.  They check into the Hotel de L’Europe and get a suite that most of us can only dream about getting, which means it’s probably good to be a witch living in The Foundation’s graces, because I don’t know many fourteen year olds–as they’ll be by that time–who can just walk in off the streets and say, “Hey, we’re here to check in,” and no one bats an eye.  It’s something that will come up in a later conversation when Annie and Kerry at chatting with one of their instructors.

On the way out of Amsterdam and heading for the forests of Bavaria they buzz the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem–

Otherwise known a "A Bridge Too Far," and one I have personally stood upon--

Otherwise known as “A Bridge Too Far,” and one I have personally stood upon.

–and continue onto Burg, which isn’t far from the German Alps.  The reason they stay there?  Not saying.  You’ll find out later.

While going over the trip I realized that there was a serious exclusion:  there weren’t any stop-offs in Bulgaria.  Now, Annie knows Bulgaria, and if there’s one place she has visited more than a few times it’s Sofia, so . . . why isn’t she taking Kerry there for a little look-see?  In my mind I can see them talking this over, probably in Amsterdam, and deciding that rather than fly from Budapest to Bucharest, they’d fly to Sofia instead and Annie could spend a few days showing Kerry around.  This would involve them flying down a significant part of the Danube River (Kerry will likely dig out the soundtrack from 2001 to play the waltz as they set off) on their way to the capital of Bulgaria.  After that last stop they’ll head back to Pamporovo and Annie’s home, bringing their trip to an end on 31 July as they promised her parents.

Which means the new map looks like this:

Hey, routes are easy to change, don't you know?

Hey, routes are easy to change, don’t you know?

As it is in the time line they only have fifteen more days of sightseeing, and four of those days are spent flying, though since Sofia is on the other side of the mountains from Annie’s home, they can leave the capital after lunch and be back at her place in time for dinner.

There you have it:  all the work I’m doing for something that I may not write about for years to come, if I ever do get around to writing about it.  I hope this happens, though, because it would be the start of the D Level novel, and so much stuff happens during their D Levels–

Things, too.

You knew I’d say that.

Towards the Future Unseen

Guess where I am?

Tell me you've never seen this place before.

Tell me you’ve never seen this place before.

Maybe you need another clue?

How's it looking now?

How’s it looking now?

It’s the Mahoning Valley Service Plaza on the eastern most portion of the Ohio Turnpike as you’re heading west–and that means one thing:  I’m driving back to Indiana.  Biggest different this time is that I arrived here about four-fifteen in the morning, which is why there’s no one here.

Which is probably why I look the way I do in this picture.

Which is probably why I look the way I do in this picture.

It’s also a safe bet that if it’s four in the morning, or there about, and it usually takes me four hours to drive from The Burg to this point in my journey westward, then I’ve not gotten much sleep.  And you’d be right:  I went to bed about nine-thirty PM, couldn’t fall asleep, said the hell with it, and took off.  So here I am, running with the shadows of the night, but no one is holding my hand, so I don’t feel all right.  But I will make it home, trust me.  I will.

It’s strange to be out on the road like this, but then I love traveling at night.  All ready I’ve been through light rain, fog, and even a little snow, before everything turned dry and cold here this side of the mountains.  I expect it to stay around freezing all the way back to Gay Hating State Indiana (with the new state motto, “Religious Bigotry R Us”), and if my calculations are correct, I should arrive back home between ten and eleven AM local time.  That will allow me to take a nap and maybe even crawl off to bed early tonight, but I’ll make no promises.

The one thing I’m pretty sure I won’t do is write.  I didn’t last night, and I’m usually burned out after the six hundred mile drive to want to do much of anything but rest, though I have been know to carry on conversations with people who want to talk writing, as I did last year on this same trip last year.  Though that happened on the way back to The Burg, so we’ll see if that happens again this year.

By the way I am wearing my Mary Janes with the three inch heels as I drive home, because that’s the way I roll, baby.

See?  Totally wearing heels.

See? Totally wearing heels.

There’s one other bit of news I should lay on people.  Because I have nothing better to do as a writer than, um, write, I’ve decided to set a date for when I will begin working on my next new novel–which, if you haven’t figured out by now, is the continuation of my last novel about the Witchy School at Salem, otherwise known as The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.  This next book is B For Bewitching, and if you check my blog page you’d see this:

Countdown, baby!

Countdown, baby!

Yes, I’m starting on 3 May because of reasons, that’s why.  But I will start, and I will see about having the first novel edited and the separate acts published, and all will be cool and beautiful.  Or so I hope.  At least I’m sure this new novel won’t be anywhere near as big as the first novel.

Almost sure . . .

Travelogues and Time Lines

I know I said I was going to edit last night, but . . . I got off on a side track.  I know:  me?  Off on a side track?  Heavens forbid!

But that’s what happened.  I started thinking about one thing, then I flipped off to another, and before you know it I started working on this blasted future time line for my kids which started taking up nearly all my evening time.  As I’ve been told already, “You can’t leave those kids alone, can’t you?”

I would appear I can’t.

I found myself drawn back into working out this time line, because it’s something I need to finish now that I’ve started.  I get like that at times when I find myself unable to concentrate on what I should be doing, and end up doing something I want to do.  And this thing, this map and plan, are something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  So, in order to get my mind off things, I’m in it.  The editing won’t suffer, but I can’t do that every right, right?

Where am I now?  Well, how about here?

That's a lot of moving around for two 14 year olds.

That’s a lot of moving around for two 14 year old kids.

So far the stops are Rome, Florence, Milan, darling, Nice, Barcelona, and lastly Lyon.  That’s where I ended, with them arriving in Lyon, where they’ll take a short jaunt to the west to visit Deanna before heading on to Paris.  It’s all flying until they get to the stretch between Barcelona and Lyon, where I put them on a train running from Barcelona to Montpelier, France, where they pick up the TGV that takes them into Lyon.  Why go that way?  Because Kerry wants to ride the TGV, and Annie’s curious about what it’s like as well.  The fortunate part there is I’ve done that same route:  stayed in Barcelona for a few days, then traveled by train to Lyon and Paris.  So here I speak from a point of some experience.

Using the map as a guide, I’ve managed to work out my time line in better detail . . .

With cute names, too!

With cute names, too!

The bar at the bottom of the screen tells me I’m about a third of the way through the trip, but I know from experience that Paris is going to be a long stay, because the kids love Paris.  In their history they stayed there before heading off to their C Levels, and a fun time was had by all.  It was also the first time Annie and Kerry actually got to hang with a few of their covenmates outside the school, which made parts of the experience even better.  So it’s a fair bet I’ll have them there for a week to enjoy the city, and . . . well, something else happens, too.  Something important.

One last thing I got into yesterday was putting down, on the above time line, what hotels they’re using.  And just to let you know, these kids aren’t roughing it–Annie has money, remember?  Now, while they aren’t going five star all the way, they’re for sure not staying in any hostels.  Can you see these two staying in a dorm?  I can’t either.  It’s fortunate that the places they’re staying have a Foundation connection, otherwise someone might think it a bit strange that two kids dressed in leather pants and bomber jackets come in with nothing but backpacks and confirm their already paid reservation–

And yes:  they do get a discount when they show their Student IDs.

Charting New Paths Through Old Environments

One of the things I find I enjoy is being drawn to something I’ve done in the past, and discovering new ways to bring it out and bring it to life.  It’s not something I do because I’m just a nitpicker for detail, but more because I find that the detail helps me see how something should be laid out creatively.

For example, going through Kolor Ijo, I see in great detail how much my style has changed over the year.  I know if I went and started reading over Suggestive Amusements, it would probably look even more different.  Though I can remember some of the things I’ve written after that–just a couple of things–and I’m not sure if the style has changed that much, but I do realized that after writing through much of 2012, by the time 2013 rolled in I’d started developing a bit more as a writer, and for 2014–well, it goes without saying my style changed a great deal, because I spent all that year working on one piece, and I’d decided before I started writing I’d change up one thing–no “he said/she saids” to anchor dialogue–and I went through that whole project doing just that.

Now I’m onto something else.  I’ll get back to Kolor Ijo, but first . . . I’m going to let you in on some secrets . . .

I’ve posted this information once before, a while back, but in one of the future novels Annie and Kerry take off–I mean, literally, they take off and go around Europe on their own.  I mapped out the route a long time ago, and it looks a little like . . .

I think it looks like this.

I think it looks like this.

It looks like they are visiting a lot of places, and they actually are, but a lot of that trip is flying.  Now, back in late 2011, I figured out the time they spent flying, but frankly, I don’t want to go over that document again, and I’m guessing some of it is, shall we say, suspect?

However, if you have a map, and you know how to figure out time, well . . . why not time line this?

That’s what I started doing last night.  I thought I can not only track how long it takes to hit certain points, but I can track time on the ground as well, and even figure out how long they are in certain locals.  For example, lets look at the first leg of the trip.

Pretty simple, huh?

Pretty simple, huh?

This is how I lay things out.  First, I know how long they are on tour, which is the first line in sorta red.  It’s basically six weeks on the road and in the air, with points in between.  The purple lines are the checkpoints, the amount of time spent in the air between landings.  And the green are Annie and Kerry doing something, whether it’s chillin’, thinkin’, or having a holiday in Roma.  I can take the points above and affix them on the map–

Like this map.

Like this map.

And you can see, they first stop in Lushnje for an hour, then fly a short distance to the edge of the Adriatic Sea, then zoom across to Italy.  Once over dry land, they head for Naples, take a right at Vesuvius, and turn northwest towards Rome, where I have them sightseeing for two days, but I may change that up once I have the line more plotted out.

And there’s detail on these remarks as well:

Because I can't keep all this in my head.

Because I can’t keep all this in my head.

You can now see that they left Annie’s house at seven-thirty, and arrived in Rome a few minutes before five PM, or seventeen hours.  They covered 1079 kilometers, or 670.5 miles.  They were taking their time, because in other detail I have them flying about 140 kph, save for the leg where they flew over the ocean, and then they kicked it up a bit.  That’s the nice thing:  they can get a lot of speed out of their equipment, so if they’re in a real hurry, it’s like taking a jet to wherever they want to be next.

Yes, it’s a lot of detail, and it’s a bit of work, but once this is done I’ll have it close to me, and I can make adjustments to the line whenever I am in the mood.  Nothing is really written in stone, and if I want them looking around somewhere for a while, they can.  And I can even map out a few side trips they’ll take, such as when they’re in Milan and Barcelona, and add them to this mix.

There you are:  my little side project while I finish this–

I figured I'd forgotten about this novel.  You were wrong.

I figured I’d forgotten about this novel. You were wrong.

Four chapters to go, and I can probably get through two of them tonight, and leave the big one for tomorrow.  Not bad for just working on my own.

Flights of Imagination

After the long, somewhat sad post yesterday, I was ready for a change.  I went out and had my nails done–something I’d planed a few weeks back–because nothing makes me feel better than having my brows waxed and my nails painted, ’cause it makes me feel pretty.

I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .

I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .

And for those who might wonder, the polish is OPI Cajun Shrimp gel.  It’s a lovely color, and I may ask for a touch up when I go back in two weeks, ’cause it’s pretty hot.

At the moment I’m playing the Go-Go’s Vacation on something of a loop, because the song puts me in the right frame of mind and gets me going.  Also, it’s going to put in an appearance in a future Foundation novel–the D Level novel, if you must know.  Seriously, Vacation will be blasting out at some point in the lives of Annie and Kerry.  I’ll leave to you wonder where and why.

While Now, Voyager was playing in the background, I worked on B For Bewitching, and put Part Nine behind me.  Only two chapters, but it’s meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy, if I may steal from The Who.  It’s about flying:  Annie doing her final solo flight, and Kerry doing the last race of the season.  What?  You just now figured out those were real things?  Ha!  No, this is all happening, and from the layout of the story, it’s pretty much the focus of at least seven chapters.  Though I’m approaching Chapter Thirty, which leaves plenty of room for other shenanigans–a word Erywin will lay on the kids in an upcoming chapter.  I wonder what she’s talking about, as she doesn’t seem like the sort of person who’d use that word . . .

Here’s what I have for Part Nine:

It's so pretty, oh so pretty . . .

It’s so pretty, oh so pretty . . .

And Chapter Twenty-Seven has one of the longest title of any thing I’ve written, right up there with the title for Part Eight–and for the title of this novel, and the last, and the one to come.  Never mind.  The thing I like is that I’ve laid out this part, I know how it’ll flow, and I know the outcomes of both chapters.  I’ve also realized that Part Ten will be the last part of the novel, and there will probably be three or four, more than likely four, chapters in that part, which will bring the novel to a close.  And just as A For Advanced started and ended with Annie, B For Bewitching will start and end with Kerry, and the C Level novel will start and end with Annie.  Yes, I said C Level novel, ’cause I know you want to know.

Two things I figured out last night.  One, there are scenes that I need to add.  I should show something with the kids teaching each other what they’re learning in their special classes:  Kerry transformation magic, and Annie advanced sorcery.  I’m certain there will be other moments that need to pop up here and there as well, but I have the majority of the novel laid out, and it’s really all about the kids and their relationship, and how it’s building and growing.

And two . . . I’ve added up the scenes I have plotted into the novel, and at the moment there are one hundred and fifteen.  I’m figuring that it’s not going to be hard to do fifteen or twenty more, which will likely put me somewhere between one hundred and thirty-five to one hundred forty scenes.  Now, if I figure an average of fifteen hundred words per scene–and I have no reason to believe that average is out of the question based upon my last novel–then it’s just simple math to see if I go one hundred and thirty-five scenes, the estimated word count for the novel is around . . . two hundred thousand words.  I’m guessing it’s gonna be closer to a quarter million words, because I know some of these scenes are gonna run bigger that fifteen hundred words–

Didn’t I say at the start of this project I was worried this was going to be a short novel?  So much for that concern.

I think I’ll finish up the plotting in the next couple of days, but I don’t expect to start writing on this beast anytime soon.  By that I mean I’m not going to start on something new when I have so many other things to do.

Besides, I have to think on this story a bit more before decide what it’s going to say.

Out of Geekdom

Nothing about writing today, because I didn’t work on anything writing related last night.  It was a time to relax and recharge, and I’ll get into things a little tonight after I return from getting my nails done and grabbing something to eat.  No, I needed a nap and the need to sit and watch some TV last night, all the while thinking about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

It has to do with geekdom.  If you’ve followed the blog for a while you’ve seen some of my posts about my various steps into things geeky.  I’ve been into a lot of different things over the years, and I suppose I could say that I’ve tempered that love with a sense of reality, turning my love of various fandoms into a thing that I nurtured and cherished.

However . . . this year I’ve stepped into a “geeky gift exchange” that was limited to a small number of people, and since joining I’ve been going nuts.  No, really:  I’ve been really beating myself up the last couple of weeks over being in this group.  I should point out that I get like this with any gift exchange, because I’m fairly particular about giving gifts.  It’s not the value that I want someone to remember, but rather, I want them to have something that comes from my heart and speaks to them.

And then I begin reading what people in the group already own, what they’ve collected–and I began feeling bad.  Not for them, but rather, for me.

To paraphrase Karen Blixen, I had a collection in geeky things in my library in my home.  It wasn’t big, but it was growing, and it covered a lot of different things.

My first love had always been book–science fiction to be exact.  I was a space travel junkie, but there were a few other stories that I loved just as well, and in the 1960s and 70s I spent hours reading and trying to find stories relating to my favorite authors.  I collected Omni and Twilight Zone magazines, both sadly gone these days, and both of which offered fantastic stories and information while they were out.  I had nearly every issues of the first and all the issues produced during the Twilight Zone‘s short, two year run.  Twilight Zone was famous for first-run printings of Harlan Ellison’s Grail and Paladin of the Last Hour, among his best writing and my favorite stories, as well as Steven King’s The Jaunt and his now-famous review of The Evil Dead where Steven pretty much lost his shit and gushed out his love for the picture.

Then it was Doctor Who, which I started watching in PBS in Chicago about 1980.  Yes, twenty-five years before all the fans who today talk about how they’ve seen ALL THE EPISODES of the show, starting with Rose in 2005.  Uh, huh, sure you have.  I was fortunate to be able to watch the show on one of only two networks in North America that ran it at that time.  (The other network was a station in Toronto, Canada.)  After a while I began taping the show so I could go back and watch episodes when the mood struck, and when our local station finally managed to get access to the then full catalog of existing episodes (just under a hundred are missing, having been destroyed during various BBC vault purges), I was kept busy buying VHS tapes in bulk.

Then I asked for a scarf.

The Forth Doctor was my first Doctor, and he was known for, among other things, his long scarves.  My first wife, pregnant with our son, felt like she needed something to do, so she found a pattern for the multi-colored, eighteen foot scarf, and made it for me.  It was big and heavy, but it was also glorious.  I would actually wear it out and to work, and I didn’t mind the stares shot my way by people who wondered what in the hell I had wrapped around my body.

I few years later I wore that scarf to a huge convention where I met several of the actors, watched the first North American viewing of the Doctor Who episodes The War Games and The Caves of Androzani, and eventually had my picture taken standing alongside a full-sized Dalek that two guys had made in their auto body shop in high school.

This is not that Dalek:  back in my day Daleks didn't sport v-neck armor.

This is not that Dalek: back in my day Daleks didn’t sport v-neck armor.

I went to several DW cons over the next few years, cosplayed a few more times (we just called it “dressing up in costume” because we didn’t know what I was going to get labeled in the future), and met more actors.  At one con I managed to spend nearly forty minutes chatting with Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, and we just talked about things–not always about the show, but stuff about what it was like to act, what it was like to be in other shows, what it was like to live in England and have to hop a flight to Chicago where he’d find himself talking to people like me.  We did get to talking about his not being allowed to have a Regeneration Episode, and he had a . . . few . . . choice . . . words on that matter.  Still and all, Colin was an extremely nice guy and a lot of fun.

Again, not Colin, but I am digging the blond, Helena-like blond hair that I'd like for my own.

Again, not Colin, but I am digging the blond, Helena-like blond hair that I’d like for my own.

There were several other things I got into over the year.  Role Playing Games, of which I have dozens, and some of the games I ran during the 1990s were, in a way, legendary.  I collected Battletech miniatures, some of which are impossible to find.  I’d have people paint them and put them on display around the home.  During the period I was between my first and second marriages I began collecting anime:  some movies, some OVAs, a few wall scrolls, more than a couple of figurines that could only be bought in Japan–which, thanks to the Internet, was doable.  I also began collecting animation cells from various productions.  Of these I don’t have many:  maybe a dozen.  The majority are from the original Sailor Moon and Urusei Yatsura, with a couple coming from Song of Escaflowne and Silent Mobius.

All old school stuff, but as they are the original, hand-painted cells, they were and are worth a big of cash.  I know a couple ran about $200 in late 1990s money, and I believe the head shot I have of Lum set me back about $300.  The one I really wanted, the one I got into a bidding war with two other collectors, was for a full-body portrait of Sailor Saturn and her Silence Glaive, which was about as rare a cell as they came.  I stopped when my $850 bid was passed, and I later learned from the seller that the winning bid was $1,100.  Yeah, the things we did twenty years ago when we had money.

A figurine of what the cell would have sort of looked like.  Yeah, I just loved some World Destroying Firefly . . .

A figurine of what the cell would have sort of looked like. Yeah, I just loved some World Destroying Firefly . . .

So what happened to all this stuff?  Well . . .

You see, while I was happy in my geekdom, and wanted to continue adding to the collection, others close to me–otherwise known as First and Second Wives–had other ideas.  My first wife grew bored with my geekness–as she did with just about everything else pertaining to me–and began getting pissy with my collections and my interest.  When I got to where everything I did turned into a big argument, I stopped the pursuit of all things geek, though I didn’t actually curtail my gaming on the weekends.  It was during the time just after I moved out that I lost my Omni and Twilight Zone magazine collections:  my ex told me she sold them at a garage sale, but I’m more of a mind that she tossed them in the bin.  I later lost my Doctor Who VHS collection to my stepson, who my second wife allowed to make off with my boxes of tapes.  I was also “convinced” by my second wife to give him my scarf, because there wasn’t any need to keep it, right?

Some of the other things that happened during my current marriage has been the boxing of my figurines and the removal of my wall posters.  Some of them went to my daughter, but most of them have gone into garage storage.  I was told having them around the house looked–well, not good, right?  My Battletech miniatures are boxed up as well, since I was informed that it wouldn’t be a good thing to put them on display.  I never managed to frame my animation cells, either, and right now they’re sitting in my closet back in Indiana, still in their shipping sleeves.  I’m heading Back to Indiana in a week, and I promise to get a few photos of these and put them up for you to see.  One day my daughter will get them if she really wants them; if not, I’ll probably give them away to someone who’d love a pissed-off looking Sailor Mars about to fireball someone’s ass.

I really have no one to blame for my current geeky apathy other than myself.  Yes, I received little to no support in my pursuits, and in so many instances I felt as if I was working in a vacuum with my fandom, because the only one who felt an interest in these things was me.  Just like with my gaming–which I eventually stopped because I was told by someone that they didn’t understand why I gamed, and kept wanting me to scale back my weekend endeavors in that area–I agreed to curtail these activities, and ultimately I lost interest in the act of surrounding myself with things that reminded me of those interests I loved.

These days I keep my geekness to the area of intellectual endeavor, because I can always look something up and memorize facts and use that knowledge to kinda keep me warm a cozy.  It’s not always comforting, however:  it’s like the difference between having a sweater that keeps the chill away, and curling up under a comforter with someone you love who’s going to whisper in your ear, “I’d blow up a star to be able to speak to you one last time.”  No, not nearly the same.

Which is why I see what others I know have and love, and brings on the tears because it reminds me of what I once had–

And what, over the decades, I’ve lost because I didn’t want to upset people who didn’t support me.

Hey, it’s never too late to turn that around, is it?