Why am I still alive.

Posted in complaining, Overthinking stuff on September 6, 2012 by cuttydarke

That’s the question I find myself asking.  How is it that I am still moving around when all my reasons for living are being taken from me?  There’s no help and no way to make anything better and everything is my fault.

Every morning I wake up and my first thought is something like “This again.”  For a moment I lie there, in pain but not wanting to get up yet, and I know that today, like every other day, everything I do will be wrong.

You, my imaginary reader, probably think I’m exaggerating.  Surely not everything you do is wrong.  Just random chance would suggest that you must do some things right.  I’m not exaggerating.  I don’t do everything wrong  but some things a re more wrong than others.

For example.  I almost never follow advice from my Mother because my instinct is that it wont help but every so often I think “well I’m wrong about everything else maybe I’m wrong about this and she’s right”  and then I follow some of her advice.  It never goes well.  Following her advice is always measurably worse than following my own instincts but my own instincts are still wrong.

I keep thinking that eventually things will get so bad that I’ll snap and slit my throat or step out into traffic and then I wont be asking this question any more but things keep getting worse and I’m still here.  And I think I’ve missed my chance.  My life has got so bad that i can’t even improve things by dying.  My death would just make things worse.

Now I sit and daydream and try to work out when I should have killed myself for the best outcome.  Currently I’m thinking about 4 years ago.

 

Why am I still here?  My continued existence is utterly pointless.

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Something here sucks.

Posted in complaining, Overthinking stuff, writing with tags , , , on August 15, 2012 by cuttydarke

So I’ve written 17,649 words of fiction and published them as a serial novel online. It’s about half way through.  Some people like it and I think it’s pretty good but not enough people are reading it.

Which is leaving me with kind of a problem. I’ve written stuff online before but I never used to care much about who read it. In fact I often take measures to reduce the numbers of people reading it because most of what I’ve written up to now has been either for my pleasure or just to get the stuff out of my head.

So I’ve finally got round to writing in the hope that other people will read it and I don’t know what to do about that. I post something new every weekday. I try to keep the length in that sweet spot that’s long enough to satisfy without being too long to read on a screen but to be honest I have no idea what that is. I try to finish with a cliffhanger but I don’t really know how well they’re working.

So part of the problem is that I’m getting no feedback. Which is largely because no-one is reading the fucking thing. And I don’t know why that is. The few people who read it regularly, I know of 4, seem to like it quite a lot. Some of them donated money to keep me writing it when my laptop got damaged. Therefore some people like it quite a lot which is great. But if only 4 people in the entire world like my writing then I have no future as a writer.

My big question is this: Is the problem that my writing sucks or is the problem that I suck?

Is the reason that more people don’t read it that most of the people who read it once don’t come back? Or is it that most people never follow the link to the blog because no matter how many times I wave it in front of their faces they don’t care and they have no faith in any link I post?

Either way it’s not a comforting thought. Either my writing sucks or I do.

I don’t know what to do. Stopping would be really easy but at the moment it’s the only thing that gives my days any shape. I could just give up on posting the links and then I can pretend that no-one reads it because I’m not publicising it but then what’s the point at all.

Am I still a writer if no-one ever reads it?

I have no idea what this is.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2012 by cuttydarke

Sent from my iPad

Bitter Sweet

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2012 by cuttydarke

I love to keep up with my Friends on facebook.  I love to see what they’ve been up to and catch up on news I wouldn’t otherwise hear and feel involved in the epic nights out that I miss.  It’s great to be connected no matter how isolated I might feel.

And yet…

And yet it is so painful sometimes.  It’s hard to describe exactly.  Perhaps that’s because I want to put a better spin on it.  Some of what I’m feeling has got to be envy.  It’s not nice to realise at my age that I still haven’t grown out of envy.  I try not to give it head space.  I know it’s a toxic emotion and it will do me no good.  But it’s still there.

Part of it is regret.  I see things posted by people who are no longer my friends and I regret the lost relationship.  It’s really tough when I don’t know why we’re not friends any more.  I have to assume that it’s my fault but it’s not nice to know that you fucked up badly enough to loose a friend and you somehow managed to miss it at the time.

And then there’s the bitterness.  Sometimes I see the life I could have lived if things had turned out differently.  If I wasn’t so weak.  If I was smarter or better or had made different choices.

And there’s the guilt.  I look at people doing stuff that I really ought to be doing.  If only I had the strength or the energy or the brains.

And then there’s the thing that I don’t even have a name for.  It’s a paranoid fear of not being wanted.  The terror that your presence makes other people uncomfortable but they are too polite to say.

And so I start to wonder if I should just withdraw from Facebook all together.  Not from any sort of moral stance or as a protest over Timelines or privacy but just because it makes me sad and that sadness makes me worry that I’m making other people sad.

And then I worry that it’s just the depression talking and that deleting my Facebook is just me throwing my toys out of my pram.

And yet…

And yet I know that all the research says that depressed people have a better grip on reality than so called normal people.  My depression filter is the oposite of beer goggles.  If that’s true then I really am not wanted.  My words are an irritation to others.  My attempts to reach out and get involved are not welcomed.  

And then I get a little angry.  Because withdrawing is really just another word for running away.  It’s giving up.  And I don’t do giving up.  You don’t get to the age of 40 with depression as severe as mine if you make a habit of giving up.  Because you die.

I’m only posting about this because I read something that said sharing is good for you.  It’s supposed to make you feel better.  This has not really been my experience.  In the words of my Uncle John, “Don’t tell people your troubles because half of them don’t care and the other half are glad.”

Still the benefit of being a failed writer is that I can post this here without worrying that anyone’s going to read it.  It’s virtual sharing.  If I was successful and blogged about this I’d have to slog though the comments with a machete to get rid of the trolls.

Confession time.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2012 by cuttydarke
Ok, I admit it.  I'm shallow.  And mercenary.  

I write because something inside compels me to write.  But I can't stop expecting other people to read it.  And worse yet hoping that someday I'll be paid to write.  It's a terrible habit.  Not because there's anything wrong with being paid to write but because I am clearly deluded in that hope.

I've had one of those moments of clarity.  Oh how I hate them.  I thought back to all the interactions I have on Facebook and G+ and Twitter and I realised how few of them are conversations.  I'm not talking with people or to people.  I'm talking at them.  And that's pathetic. 

 So if anyone is reading this because you clicked a link by accident or out of politeness then I'm sorry.  Feel free to fuck off.  I'm really not expecting anyone to read this.  This is the equivalent of shouting obscenities in an empty theatre – pointless but strangely liberating.

There was going to be a bunch of self pitying bullshit here but I deleted it.  I can't work out if I'm learning to self edit or just chickening out.  As with so many things it feels like there's two of me arguing about it.  One of me wants me to man up, or woman up or whatever and do the right thing and meet my responsibilities and try harder and next time get it right.  That one thinks that if I keep trying eventually I'll get better at stuff.  The other one is just looking for an escape.  That one just wants the most graceful, least damaging way out of existence with the minimum of collateral damage.

I have one voice whispering that I need to eat right and clean things and work out and read more books on child rearing and stand up for myself and my children and finish things and get published.  The other voice thinks that slitting my throat would be a better plan.  Or maybe I should just stop eating all together.  Or if I stop taking all my medication how long would it take me to die?  Or maybe death is too good for me.  Maybe I should just run away and live on the streets or otherwise remove myself from everyone I care about before I do any more damage.

Ooh look.  The self pitying bullshit is back.  And that's me.  I can't even enjoy being miserable.

The Seven Cities of the Dune Sea

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2012 by cuttydarke
(Actually there are eight, more if you count ruins)
Bjornwen
City of the Norn.   Once little more than a collection of fishermen’s cottages it is now a bustling port and harbour.   More than half the population are Nornish.   Many of the human population have the high cheekbones and fair hair.   The cult of Mona is still strong among the fisher folk of all races and her Temple still stands by the harbour.   The cult of Silvia is also still fairly strong but now largely underground.


The Council of Bjorn are suspicious of the Bishop. They are old Norn and they know that Humans just don’t live that long and they don’t like it. The Council is too smart to say anything in public but the Skalds can read the signs in the sky and the signs are not good.


Major imports – flax for net making, rice, paper and wool
Major exports – fish and shellfish.

Marshfleet
City on the Marsh.   The populations are mostly Human and Norn with a significant minority of Dwerg.   The city is surrounded by marshland.   There is some agriculture but the soil is mostly too poor to grow rice.   Instead they grow flax which is used to make fishing nets and cloth and papyrus which they use to make paper.   They also hunt fish and wading birds.   Where the ground is dry enough they grow wheat for bread and Beer.   The Temple of Seth is huge and dominates the centre of town however the worship of Silvia and Maris is still common amongst the farmers in the surrounding area.

Marshfleet is not a good place to be poor. The tithe always seems to fall heaviest on those with least and the taxes means that the coin that’s left doesn’t go very far. The Upper classes mostly support the Bishop. To them he represents stability. There are many devout Sethites amongst the poor. The promise of a better life to come has always gone down well with those who have little in this life. However the Bishop has less support in Marshfleet than he thinks.


Principal imports – rice, vegetables
Principal exports – flax, cloth, paper

Scarcrag
City of Dwerg.   Home of the Underking and the only true city of the Dwergish people.   Dwerg mines and workshops are spread all over the Eastern mountains but they all owe allegiance to the Underking.   Most of the population are Dwerg but artisans and mages of all races are welcome.   Bez is worshiped, not just as a the misshapen smith God of the rest of the cities but as the Dwergish creator God.   In the Dwerg version of the myth the creation of Rune was the birth of a proto-Dwerg and Tekli was the personification of Chaos.   The Worship of Seth is growing in popularity particularly with the officials of the Underking’s court and among the merchants who trade with other cities.

Or that’s how it seems to the emissaries of the Bishop. Actually the Dwerg are angry. The sidelining of their God, the changes in the Cult of Seth, the new taxes and tithes – none of these things have gone unnoticed in the court of the Underking. But the Dwerg are the most patient of the peoples of the Dune Sea and so they do not show their feelings where the Bishop’s men might see. They seem as calm and quiet as always but underneath the surface the Dwerg are seething. The Underking is a devout Bezite, whatever he might say in the Temple of Seth. His bodyguard are handpicked because of their unwavering faith. Many of his court have achieved office because of connections to the Pirates of Sweetwater or to the Creeping City.

The Dwerg shipyards are busy. Everyone knows that war is looming. What only the Underking and his most trusted aids know is that the Dwerg are building ships for everyone and the ships built for the Cult of Seth are taking longer and costing more than they should. In fact the Cult of Seth is subsidising Dwerg and Norn and Pygmy navies it doesn’t know exist with the blessing of the Underking.


Principal imports – raw ore, coal and metal.
Principal exports – weapons, armour, devices jewellery and magic items.

Skyfell
The City in the clouds.   Skyfell is almost impossible to reach without a skyship.   High in the mountains the climate is wet enough to grow rice.   The terraced paddy fields are a sight to behold and spread out for miles around the city.   The population are mostly Dwerg and Gurpa with a few Pygmy families and some transplanted city folk.   The Dwarves build and maintain the paddy fields and the Gurpa farm them.   They also keep alpaca and llamas for meat and wool.

The Cult of Mara is strong in the mountains where nature can turn nasty at any time.   Mona is often appeased in winter and the farmers worship Silvia and Maris.   However this is all in secret.   The mountain folk keep themselves to themselves and are quite happy to file into the temple of Seth whenever there is a sacrifice but they wont give up their idols.

Principal imports – vegetables, fish, fowl, paper
Principal exports – rice, wool

Bysilva
The river city.   Built at the confluence of two rivers Bysilva is at the centre of much of the arable farming of the alliance.   The rivers boil out of the mountains and have cut deep gorges.   Much of the city is built into the sides of the gorges leaving the flat land to the farmers.   There is a system of magically powered water lifts to get the water up to the growing land.   Mostly human with large minorities of Pygmies and Dwerg.

Silvia is the patron Goddess of the city and is still worshiped fairly openly on her high days and feast days but most of the upper and middle classes have already migrated to the Temple of Seth.   The farmers on the plain worship Silvia and Maris in small shrines but they don’t talk about it and most of them make an effort to visit the temple of Seth at least once a month.

Principal imports – cloth, paper, artificers to fix the water lifts.
Principal exports – vegetables, wine, grapes

Hathorth
The Delta city.   The breadbasket of the Dune Sea.   The river floods once a year as the winter snows melt in the mountains and it washes fertile soil down to the slow moving water of the delta.   There are fields of wheat and watermelons and there is a port where the fishermen who live in the delta can offload their fish and seal meat.   The population is a mix of Humans, Norn and Pygmies.   There are a few Sarouin and Sand Walkers seeking respite from the incessant winds of the Dune Sea.

In some ways Hathorth is the most relaxed of the Dune Sea cities. Baking in the hot sun but with plenty of water and food the Order that the Bishop seeks to bring seems less important. The pace of life is slower here than in the other cities and it is easier to get by.


Principal imports – wool, flax, rice
Principal exports – wheat, beer, watermelons, dried fish.

The Creeping City.
Not so much a city as a collection of tents.   The city creeps around the heart of the Dune Sea at a snail’s pace always moving away from the prevailing winds.     The Creeping City is mostly inhabited by Sand Walkers and Sarouin.   It is a city of mystics, druids, sorcerers, outcasts and the finest weavers in the world.   The city creeps along as those whose tens are pitched on the windward side get tired of the incessant wind and move to the leeward side.   It is a surprisingly colourful city with every tent painted or woven with distinctive symbols to help the inhabitants find their friends.   The path of the city takes it close to several oases and the inhabitants gather figs and hunt the indigenous animals.

There are no permanent temples and each tent is its own shrine.   Most of the Sand Walkers worship Zane, most of the human Bedouin worship Zora but all the Gods are represented.

The weavers of the Creeping City are without compare and the export of their cloth is the City’s main source of income. What the Bishop doesn’t know is that they are also masters of cartography and cryptography. Every map of the secret route to Sweetwater, the Pirate City, is made in the Creeping city. The details are woven into the surface of the cloth in a fine relief that’s read with the fingertips and is all but invisible to the eye. The Creeping City is the city of secrets. Who knows what hidden knowledge my lurk there yet.


Principal imports – people, flax, silk, wool, cotton and paper
Principal exports – people, fine cloth, information and figs.

Sweetwater
The Hidden City.   The city of Pirates.   The city is built round a sunken lake.   The lake was once part of a system of water filled underground caves until part of the roof collapsed.   In the great days of the Sky Pirates Sweetwater was one place that Pirates could go to relax in safety. When the Pirates were suppressed it was their last redoubt.   Now the Pirates and the Smugglers are back and Sweetwater is bustling once more.


Principal imports – Pirates! Treasure and food
Principal exports – Pirates! And water. 

The Gods of the Dune Sea.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2012 by cuttydarke
Some more from the Dune Sea. This is a very early draft and there's much more for each of the Gods but some of that is for the GM only section. I'd really appreciate some feedback on this because it feels a little weak as it is. What would you guys really like to know more about? Next I'd like to post about the Cities of the Dune Sea. Then I'm not sure where to go. Perhaps then start posting a bit more in depth about things?

Gods
The Gods of the Dune Sea are real and intelligent entities of great power but they cannot manifest directly in the world. They must work through their followers and the link between God and hominid is a two way street.

The Gods serve as a faith distribution network. The faith of their worshippers is channelled to the God and then tapped by clerics. The God makes rules, or Strictures, which the clerics must follow in order to tap this power and the faith and skill of the cleric affects how much of this power they may access at any one time.

This means that the rise of Seth may be as bad for Seth as it is for everyone else. The power comes not from bums on seats in the temples but from actual faith.

Chaos
From the Divine Chaos before time sprang four children.   Twin boys and twin girls.   They grew into the mightiest of Gods.

Per
The Sky-father.   The Sun God.   King of the Gods.   Married to Maris and her twin sister Mara.   Worshiped by males of any species, rulers and anyone in need of fair weather.   His temples are often visited by men in hopes of potency and fertility and most Fathers will visit the temple when their wives are pregnant and give thanks.   Some will pray for sons.   His cult still exists but his temples are in poor repair.

Domains: Fire, Air, Sun, Knowledge, Law, Light
Favoured Weapons:   Straight Swords

Maris
The Earth-mother and healer.   With her husband Per she forms the centre around which the Pantheon rotates.   When she married Per she also married his twin Seth.   Worshiped by females of any species, particularly married women also farmers and anyone in need of healing.   As goddess of fertility and healing she is popular with pregnant Mothers and young brides.   Many women choose to give birth in the birth-rooms associated with her temple hospitals.   Her Cult is largely unaffected by the rise of Seth but her temples are now bare of all decorations which have been sold off to pay for the hospitals.   As the wife of Seth her cult is tolerated but not encouraged.

Domains:   Earth, Healing, Animal, Plant

Favoured weapons:   Any bludgeoning weapon
Mara
The destroyer and protector.   Twin sister of Maris and also married to Per.   Not married to Seth but this hasn’t stopped them from producing at least one godling together.   Worshipped by warriors and anyone in need of protection.   She is particularly popular with young Mothers who beg her to protect their children.   In spite of her fierce aspect and bad temper she is known to be very fond of children.   She never had temples in her name but her cult is still strong in secret.

Domains: Destruction, Protection, Animal, War

Favoured weapons:   Anything which can be concealed

Seth
Lord of the Underworld.   Judge of the Dead.   Twin brother of Per and also married to Maris.   Worshipped by anyone who fears the consequences of their actions.   A person’s actions in this life affect their station in the next and Seth is the judge of those actions.   The priests of Seth traditionally help people to make amends for their misdeeds and do penance in this life so that they won’t have to in the next.   Now the dominant God in the Cities of the Alliance.   His priests have taken over many of the duties once carried out by priests of other deities.

Domains: Death, Law, Healing, Darkness

Favoured Weapons:   Flail

Tekli
The Trickster.   The God of Mischief and Magic.   The monkey God.   Something of a mystery – as a baby he just turned up in a basket and at various times has claimed that both Maris and Mara are his mother and that both Per and Seth are his father.   Nobody knows the truth except possibly Tekli.   Some say that he is another child of Chaos and others that he is his own father.   He is worshipped by Mages, Thieves, Smugglers, Pirates and anyone who hopes to get one over on someone else.   He is worshipped by an order of Monks because, as master of misdirection, he is a perfect example of the Tao.

Domains: Luck, Chaos, Magic, Trickery, Knowledge, Other

Favoured weapons:   Unarmed/ Improvised

Viola
The daughter of Per and Maris.   Goddess of Beauty and Love.   Worshiped by anyone in love or hoping to be in love and prostitutes of both sexes.   Her temples are also visited by married couples hoping to rekindle the fires of their relationships.   Once upon a time newlyweds would go to the temples of Viola to be deflowered and trained in the arts of love by the temple prostitutes.   Since the dominance of Seth this practice has apparently disappeared.

Domains:   Good, Healing, Protection

Favoured weapons:   Whip

Rodney
The son of Per and Maris. God of alcohol and carousing.   Beloved at every level of society and still worshiped in secret by anyone planning a party and anyone in need of cheering up.   There are rumours of orgiastic cults that worship Rodney but there is no actual evidence in spite of much hopeful investigation.

Domains:   Luck, Good, Travel

Favoured Weapons:     Club

Silvia
The daughter of Mara and Per.   The River Goddess.   Worshiped by anyone in need of water.   Appeased when the river floods.   Her Cult is still strong everywhere around the Dune Seas.   Her priests and priestess are always welcome because they can find water.

Domains:   Water, Travel, Animal (but only appropriate animals)

Favoured Weapon:   Trident, Net, Staff

Mona
The daughter of Mara and Seth.   Goddess of Storms and the Sea.   Worshipped by the Norn and the human fishermen and appeased by everyone who lives close to the coast.   Her wrath is feared even far inland.

Domains:   Water, Air, Destruction.

Favoured Weapon:   Spear, Javelin, or Great spear.

Bez
The misshapen son of Maris and Seth.   The God of Craftsmen, Blacksmiths and Dwerg.   Worshiped by most Dwerg and anyone who works with their hands.   Although his cult is now underground it is just as strong as it ever was.   Crippled and undersized from birth Bez was spurned by the younger members of the Pantheon and by Per.   However Maris and Seth loved their son and Mara doted on her nephew.   Bez also had an ally in Tekli.

Domains:   Fire, Earth, Knowledge

Favoured Weapon:   Any hammer

Rune
The son of Bez.   Messenger of the Gods, God of communication and messengers.   Built rather than born Rune was created by Bez because none of the Goddess would have anything to do with him and he wanted a child.   Legend tells of how Bez laboured long over his son but could not bring him to life till Tekli stole a divine soul from Chaos.

Domains:   Travel, knowledge, Air

Favoured Weapons:   Scimitar/Rapier

Zora and Zane
Twin children of Mona and Tekli.   The Gods of the wind and the sandstorm.   Zora, the girl is worshipped by the human Sarouin.   Zane, the boy, is worshipped by the Sand Walkers.   Both are worshipped by Sky Pirates in search of a favourable wind.   Their cults are completely unaffected by the rise of Seth.   Neither the Sarouin, the Sand Walker nor the Pirates care much for the Bishop or his laws.

Domains:   Air, Earth, Sun

Favoured Weapons:   Paired Scimitars (clerics swap their free shield for the second Scimitar)

And the Rest
Of course there are many others.   Even Bez now has a son by a human woman and all the others have many more children by each other and with human parents.   The cults of these other Gods and Demi-Gods may survive somewhere but not widely.

There is much more to say about the Gods but that is for GM’s eyes only.