the_gneech: (Default)
2019-04-17 01:34 pm

What Is Your Essence?

Who is the Real You when all the distractions, fears, and “shoulda/coulda/woulda” factors of life are stripped away?


Do you know?


Would you like to find out?


The “essence conversation” is one of my favorite coaching tools. It’s a roughly hour-and-a-half conversation that distills your true core, your essence, to five guiding concepts. Sometimes I find that people are afraid of what they might find out… but in practice I have never once had a client discover that they were anything but amazing.


By the end of the process, we come up with five words that describe your real self. (Why five? No magic secret, just that people are generally too complex for fewer than that, and more than that creates mental clutter.) Everyone’s words are different. My essence words, as distilled by my own coach using this same tool, are:



  • exuberance

  • play

  • trust

  • connection

  • heart


When I’m stuck trying to make a decision, or working on a difficult problem, or even just feel like something is “off,” I return to my essence to help me choose what to do. I also find, when things are not working, that I’ve probably been choosing from ego or survival mechanism instead of essence — but that’s a topic for another post.


I’ve done dozens of essence conversations, and it’s always amazing. It’s where I like to start the coaching process, to create a powerful foundation for success. I also don’t charge for essence conversations, so if you’d like a taste of coaching and learn the power it can bring to your life, it’s a great way to get your feet wet. E-mail me today to schedule a call!

the_gneech: (Default)
2019-04-15 01:30 pm

The New! Improved! Bringing the Awesome Website

Welcome to the new digs! I recently completed working with Braid Creative to bring together twenty years of writing, comics, and coaching under one banner, and I am very pleased with the results.


Which makes all the more ridiculous the drama I had to push myself through to get to it. >.>


Because Braid is a professional agency, they charge Professional Agency Prices — prices that set off my survival mechanism big time when they were first quoted to me. I had seen their work and I knew that they were who I wanted but… y’know… money scary. First I put off contacting them at all. Then I contacted them and backed out in a panic two weeks later when I had a slow clients month.


And then I noticed: backing out of getting the branding overhaul that I knew I wanted, made getting clients harder instead of easier. I had effectively told myself and the Universe that I wasn’t worth the investment, and if I didn’t believe I was, why should a potential client? From there, it was just a nudge away from going into a tailspin of suck, resignation, and beating myself up.


I am pleased to report, dear reader, that I didn’t go into that tailspin… but it was a near thing. Basically it took the support of my own coach, my other coachy friends, and a certain amount of mule-headed stubbornness to decide that no, I wanted to invest in myself, and especially that I was worth investing in. So after what felt like a year but was more like three or four days and angst about it, I found the money, put it in my business account so I wouldn’t use it for anything else, and called the agency to say “Let’s do this thing.”


Now the good news? I’m actually glad the delay happened, because in the intervening time I also had some major breakthroughs around figuring out what I actually wanted from my brand. Where I had originally just planned to create a look and feel for BringingTheAwesome.com, I realized that this was a great opportunity to create an integrated new me — which is in fact Braid’s specialty. If I hadn’t had my little freakout, I would have been wasting their integration expertise by just telling part of the story.


So be grateful for your breakdowns! They may just be leading you to better things in the end!

the_gneech: (Default)
2019-03-25 03:04 pm

Fish in Trees: Giving Good Critique

Critiques can be scary. >.>
Critiques can be scary. >.>

Picture if you will, the valar and maiar gathered around discussing creation.


Reviewee: I have invented a new kind of animal! It lives in the water, has gills to breathe, and flippers that enable it to move. I call it a “fish.”


Critiquer: Yeah, that’s good, but… what if this “fish” lived in trees and had wings to fly with?


Reviewee: Well, the point was to make a thing that lived in the water…


Other Critiquer: Man, I really like this “lives in trees and has wings” idea! You should give your fish brightly-colored feathers and have them sing.


In the FurTheMore writing track, writing groups and critiques — and specifically, how to give good critiques — were a major focus. Having only recently gotten into the world of actually being in a writing group, this discussion was fresh in my mind as I watched and winced at a person in a recent group meeting having their perfectly good kid’s book being twisted into all kinds of weird pretzel shapes. Instead of critiquing the story that she had brought, the discussion kept turning to all sorts of different things the story could have been (or to some of the critiquers’ way of thinking, should have been).


The thing reached a head when one of the critiquers suggested that the entire story could be told in pictures, with none of the reviewee’s words at all, to which the reviewee replied, “So what’s the point of my even doing it?”


Please don’t do this to people.


Giving useful feedback can be difficult, and the thing about writers particularly is that we’re a creative lot. When we see an idea that sparks thoughts and possibilities, we want to spin new stories out of them. It’s as natural as breathing! But in the context of writing critique, it’s as useful as putting a fish in a tree and telling it to fly.


Unless the reviewee is specifically looking to brainstorm new ideas (which can also be a great exercise), your job as a critiquer is to address the text at hand: what works, what doesn’t, and specifically if the writer succeeds at making the text do what it’s supposed to do. “Maybe your fish should have its eyes on the side of its head to more easily spot predators” is useful feedback. “Your fish should be a bird” is not, and worse, it can be actively harmful. I don’t think anyone at the meeting intended to tell the reviewee that she had wasted her time and effort creating a useless story, but that was clearly the message she was receiving.


Giving Good Critique in Three Easy Steps


So, what should you do? Try this…


“Get” the Story. Look for what the writer was trying to accomplish, as well as fairly universal things like “Do the sentences make sense?” and “Are the characters engaging?”


Talk About What Worked, What Didn’t Work, and What Was Great. Using the famous “shit sandwich” model (the bad stuff surrounded by good things on either side), give feedback that’s as specific as possible. Remember that the point is to discuss the story that’s actually on the page, not the amazing story you came up with in your own head.


Suggest Changes. Here’s where you can toss in your own ideas, but keep in mind that the changes should be to address what didn’t work first and foremost. If the reviewee’s fish has given you a great idea for a bird, go ahead and mention it as a possibility for expansion or a new direction if you like. Or maybe go create your own bird. You’re a writer, after all! And the best part is that by doing that, you empower the reviewee to make an even better story, instead of tearing them down and making them wonder what the point of having written it was.

the_gneech: (Default)
2019-02-21 01:41 pm

A New! Improved! Website Coming Soon!

Gneech.com and its sister site, BringingTheAwesome, are both getting a major overhaul! I’m working with Braid Creative to create a new “brand identity” to finally integrate my writing, coaching, editorial, and creative efforts under one unified whole (and a whole new website).





This is something that’s been a long time coming. I’ve been on the web since before it was “the web,” and so I have 25+ years of identities in silos all over the place. It’s time to just be the one “Me!” Writer, life coach, creative artist, giant nerd. They’re all in there. 😉





Stay tuned for progress reports as warranted!

the_gneech: (Default)
2019-02-06 02:30 pm

Shady and the Wizard

A story fragment that popped into my head last night, starring my tabaxi rogue. Enjoy!





Shade-of-the-Candle slid the final stretch of the ramp in a
low crouch, dropping forward onto one hand from her momentum when she hit the
bottom. The torch she’d been carrying clattered across the floor, extinguished,
but to her surprise, she didn’t need it.





She’d been deposited into a large, round chamber with
concentric pillars that were covered with writhing hieroglyphs. The middle of
the ceiling was dominated by a cluster of dimly-luminous indigo crystals; sitting
cross-legged on a dais under the crystals, was the robed figure of a man.





Or… not? There were too many arms, for starters, and the skin
visible on the man’s forearms and hands was a dusky blue-gray, but that may
have been a trick of the light. The fact that each of the four hands had two
thumbs, one on either side, also did not inspire confidence. The man’s face, if
indeed he had one, was completely obscured by his cowl, but Shady had no doubt
that he was aware of her.





Shady blinked at him. He didn’t move. The tomb was supposed
to have been lost. It was definitely trapped. She’d had a tough scrabble to get
this far, only to find this oddity sitting in what she had expected to be the
treasure chamber. Either way, she wasn’t about to go home empty-handed now. Her
tail flicked back and forth involuntarily, as she rose to a standing position
and slowly drew her cutlasses.





The hood dipped slightly. A deep bass rumble assaulted Shady’s
ears and crushed her skull, nearly knocking her back off her feet, but then it
passed as quickly as it had come. Across from her, the figure gave a quiet and dismissive
snort.





Shady blinked at it. “What kind of hellspawn are you?” she
asked.





“I am no kind of hellspawn, you superstitious creature,” the
figure replied. The voice was male, more of a deep buzzing than anything else, and
spoke in the clipped tones of a noble.





“Then what are–“





“There’s no point in telling you what I am,” he said. “It
wouldn’t mean anything to you. And even if I could explain it, it would just
blast your already dangerously-limited mind into even smaller fragments.”





The corner of Shady’s mouth rose in a smirk. “So you’re a
wizard,” she said, moving slowly into the ring of pillars.





“Fine. Yes. I’m a wizard. It’s less wrong than anything else
you might come up with.”





“You’re pretty rude,” said Shady.





“I am intensely rude,” said the wizard. “And I intend to
remain that way. What will you do,
now that you’ve come to that brilliant conclusion?”





Shady stepped forward again, pointing at his cowl with the
tip of one of her swords. “I’ve heard it said, that the best thing to do when
you come upon a wizard, is to kill it.”





The creature didn’t move. “So why don’t you, then?”





She gave him a long, appraising look. “Because…” she finally
said, “you don’t seem particularly afraid that I might.”





Two of the wizard’s four arms retreated under robes. He used
the other two to shift into a more attentive position. “The creature has some
sense after all!” he said. “This may turn out to be interesting.”





“What are you doing, squatting in an ancient tomb?”





“What are you
doing, crawling around in it?”





“I’m a thief,” said Shady.





“Of course you are.”





“But you didn’t answer my question. The tomb was sealed. What
are you doing here?”





“I am playing a game of strategy,” said the wizard. “A game that
spans eons, made up of the most infinitesimally small moves imaginable.”





“A game?” said Shady. “There’s no board. There are no
pieces.”





“I’m looking at one right now,” said the wizard.





Shady rolled her eyes. “Okay, this conversation is
pointless,” she said. “Where’s the Red King’s treasure chamber? Where’s the Red
King’s treasure?”





“Oh, it’s here,” said the wizard. “Right where he buried it.
Every few hundred years another would-be robber comes blundering in, and not
one has managed to take it way yet. One or two did manage to get away richer
than they came, of course. You may be one of the lucky ones.”





“Any objections if I try my luck?” said Shady, gesturing
with her sword again.





“None whatsoever,” said the wizard. “I have no interest in
baubles. There’s another passage, behind me. You may find what you’re looking
for that way.”





“Fine,” said Shady, sheathing her swords. “Go back to your
game then, wizard, and stay out of my way.” She collected the torch from where
she’d dropped it and reignited it.





“Another pawn moves into play,” said the wizard. Shady glared
at the back of his cowl, and plunged down the passage.

the_gneech: (Default)
2019-01-30 08:06 am
Entry tags:

Weekly Weigh-In: Stomach Virus Plan Edition

Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 268.5 (35 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.0 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 43.25" (17 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.2"
BP: 132/84

I don't recommend the Stomach Virus Weight Loss Method, but there's no discounting its effectiveness. I'm below 270, bay-bee! 250, I'm comin' for ya!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
2019-01-16 09:16 pm

Shade-of-the-Candle and Her Swords (Personal Art)





Shady considers combat something of a failure state– making wisecracks at somebody who’s dead isn’t half as much fun– but if she has to fight, she’ll straight up murder you. >.>





She employs an acrobatic, free-wheeling dual-cutlass combat style that emphasizes wild leaps and flashy, unpredictable moves… you’re never quite sure if she’s attacking, she’s running away, or you’ve just bled to death from a million tiny cuts.





(Can’t believe I forgot to post this here! My online presence needs a cleanup, I think…)

the_gneech: (Default)
2019-01-16 06:54 am
Entry tags:

Weekly Weigh-In: How Could You Be So Low Edition

Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 272 (33 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.0 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 43.25" (15 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.2"
BP: 145/92

Progreeeeesssssss!

I can't believe I was once near 330. Like, my brain just can't even process it. O.o

So I'm now exactly 50 pounds out from my target weight and moving inexorably towards it.

This is a winnable game. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
2019-01-09 03:37 pm

Shady's Character Sheet

Shade-Of-the-Candle
The gray cloudy bleah is hitting me hard, so to cheer myself up I am obsessing on my little problem child. I don’t want to have to seek a side gaming group, but I might have to at this rate.
Screenshot of Shady's Sheet

Roleplaying

Traits

“Between my flicking ears and thrashing tail, my thoughts and feelings are an open book. Weird how that can still lie.”

“If you want me to do something, then tell me I can’t do it.”

Ideal
“Dancing on the edge of the blade lets you know you’re alive.”

Bond
“Thrillseeker. Give me the most dangerous, harrowing adventure. If there’s a dragon around, I’ll poke it just to be chased.”

Flaw
“Reckless. I risk my life, and sometimes those around me, in pursuit of my thrill-seeking whims.”
the_gneech: (Default)
2019-01-09 09:20 am
Entry tags:

Weekly Weigh-In

Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 274 (32 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.0 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 44" (14 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.1"
BP: 141/95

Not a lot of progress; I just haven't had the mental bandwidth to focus on this. I'm glad to not be backsliding, but I do need to recommit and start moving forward again.

The way my BP keeps being all over the map is something I'm not thrilled with either. It seems to be related to hydration and salt intake– the dryer I am, the higher the BP– and I have been dehydrated a LOT lately, seemingly regardless of how much water I drink.

So, gonna work on it.

Last week's waistline was almost 45", and today it's 44"... I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that's margin of error both ways. Until I see a trend in any direction, I'm assuming that hasn't really changed either.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
2019-01-02 07:52 am
Entry tags:

Weekly Weigh-In, New Year New Low Edition

Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 274 (31 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.0 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 44.75" (13 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.1"
BP: 127/82

Holiday damage has not only been mitigated, but weight is at a new low (273.9, woot). Waistline nudged up a hair but it's within the margin of error for measuring tape and posture. >.>

Now that the revels are over, I should start making real progress again. :)

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)
2019-01-01 01:30 am
Entry tags:
the_gneech: (Default)
2018-12-31 02:38 pm

On Connection

Groovy, baby.


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

–Carl W. Buehner


Ever since writing my 2018 report the other day and putting thought into 2019, I’ve become increasingly aware of a theme woven into the music of my life and now coming to the forefront: I must develop my ability to create connection, both on a personal and professional basis, and within my writing.



Because when I look at what isn’t working in my life right now, I see two sides of the same coin: needing to learn how to network in order to build my coaching practice on the one side, and being told repeatedly, “Your writing is crisp, clean, and professional, but the book just didn’t grab me…” on the other. Both of these things are about creating an emotional connection with people, whether directly or indirectly.



I’ve always been vaguely aware of this in terms of watching the audience for Suburban Jungle (and my place within the furry fandom generally)– it’s just like my friendships have been over the course of my life. SJ has a smallish knot of devoted fans, some of whom are intensely devoted to it. (NeverNever was like this too, only moreso.) As long as I can remember, I’ve had a few very close friends, and often been very challenged around getting outside of that group.



Those tight friendships (and very devoted fans) mean the world to me and I don’t want to downplay them. But it is increasingly clear to me as time goes on that I need to widen my circle. A small number of tight friends can make a handful of referrals in my client hunt, but their potential is quickly tapped out on that front. A very devoted fan might buy all of my books and support the highest tiers of my Patreon, but they are only one fan and cannot subsidize my life (nor would I want them to).



And besides the straightforward inability of the math to get me what I need, these small circles also don’t give me what I want. I want to help people with my coaching. I want people’s days to be better because I was in them. I want to have crowds at my table, and people writing fanfics or doing in-depth analysis of my work on Tumblr. As nice as it might be to be recognized as a genius posthumously? I want my work to be loved now.



When my Aunt Iris died, half of Fairfax and Loudoun counties came to her funeral, and everyone– everyone– had something to say about the way she’d connected to them. By comparison, when my father died a year later, his funeral was attended by maybe twenty people, including his three children, their spouses and children, and some of my friends.



That stuck with me.



I loved my dad. Everyone there did. But there is no denying that his life was, in its way, small and limited. I don’t want mine to be.



So what am I going to do about it? I think I was starting to come to awareness of this gap when I came up with my writing goals for 2019, because I listed my goal as “Create self-satisfaction, expression, and meaningful impact in others’ lives by means of becoming a successful and widely-read author/artist.” I added as one of my goals to change my relationship to, say, my Patreon, by focusing not on the dollar amount it brings in, but by the number of subscribers who sign up and the amount of comments that are left.



Similarly, I tweeted last night, “I’ve got ~1500 followers on Twitter and ~450 on Tumblr, and I would like to double those numbers by the end of January. But I’m looking for, y’know, real people who will like my work, not bots. Any suggestions on what I should do, real people?” And that’s an important distinction! I don’t want fluffed up “metrics” that don’t mean anything, I’m not some dot-com-era middle manager looking for clicks.



How will I do this? By finding ways to make my writing grab people. By making more genuine connections with the people I meet. By being with people, instead of either up on a stage or hiding at the back of the room.



If this past year was finally learning how to be friends with myself? This coming year is going to be learning how to be friends with the world.

the_gneech: (Default)
2018-12-27 03:38 pm

Gneech's 2018 Report

My best self.

As I write this, I’m sitting at the drawing table pictured, wearing the headphones and necklace pictured. The rest is a bit harder to pull off. >.>





So! How was 2018? On the grand social scale, of course, it was a dumpster fire. This is hardly news. All the worst people, frantically trying to destroy not just the USA but the whole world, before it all comes crashing down and they end up shooting themselves in the bunker. It’s as inevitable as it is sad. But those of us who are working to build something better will keep working.





On my own personal front, by comparison, it’s been what you might call a challenging year– not in a drama and angsty way, but in the form of taking on difficult obstacles and working to overcome them. This came mostly through the coach training, which was a deep dive into 49 years of mud and gunk that needed cleaning out, but was also singularly more effective than decades of counseling had been on that front. (Which is not to bag on my counselors over the years, but they just didn’t have the intensive focus of the coach training.)





So, looking back on my plans for the year, how did I do?





  1. Gneech, Life Coach. This is up and running! I have passed my exams with Accomplishment Coaching and I’m about 2/3 of the way to my first ICF certification. Right now I’m working on fluffing up my client base a bit more, and I expect to go on to become a Mentor Coach for next year’s program. I’ve got a coaching blog up and running, and I’m looking forward to big things on this front in 2019.

  2. Help Laurie Get Her Business Running. Well, I did help! She’s still working on it. >.> The business exists, we’re getting our insurance through it, so that’s good! The rest of it is up to her. 🙂

  3. Stable and Reliable Income. This piece is still under construction. As the coaching business grows, it will naturally come to pass.

  4. Figure Out What’s Up With My Writing. Honestly, I just didn’t have time to work on this with the coach training going on. I have a project in place to take this on again in 2019.

  5. Sell. A. Book. Didn’t happen, ‘cos above.

  6. Issues Seven, Eight, and Nine. Seven done. Eight 1/2 way done. Nine will have to come next year.

  7. Continue Fixing the Country. I’ve marched, I’ve voted, I’ve campaigned, I’ve called my reps a million times. It’s an ongoing process.

  8. Take a Vacation. Alas, did not happen.




It essentially boils down to “the coach training was huge and intense and took most of my mental energy.” So a lot of other things didn’t get done while that was happening. I have no regrets, though– this was something I badly needed.





What did happen was that for the first time since I can remember, I really and truly became friends with myself– like, all of myself, even the parts I had not been willing to talk to since I was four. There was a specific moment that I had never forgiven myself or let go of the pain and shame from, which I confronted and processed… finally. Only forty-five years later! But better late than never.





Confronting this moment led to the birth of Nii-chan, about whom I’ve written at length elsewhere. In a lot of ways, she is the best version of me, and whenever I find myself wondering what I want to do about something, or who I should be in a moment, I ask myself “What would Nii-chan do?” She’s like the integrated version of the Three Lions and an Otter, but even her version of Business Guy is a lot happier. (Nii-chan is also practice for my next incarnation, so I can hit the planet running when that comes to pass. I don’t want to waste forty years of my next life trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.)





So, yeah. It’s been a big year on that score. But where do I want to go in 2019?





  1. Bring Rough Housing to Its Conclusion. 2019 will be the 20th anniversary of Suburban Jungle, and it seems a fitting place to bring that chapter to a close. My current plan is to finish the story at the end of issue ten. As my hand tremors get worse, it is becoming harder to keep up with what was already an ambitious production schedule, and honestly, I think that story-wise, RH will be done at that point. So I’d rather finish something and feel good about it, than to drag it out to stay within the familiar.

  2. Writing Goals. My goalposts on this front are two short stories sold, an agent secured for Sky Pirates of Calypsitania, a furry novel written for NaNoWriMo, and an anthology project created with FurPlanet.

  3. She-Ra Writing Gig. Seeing Seanan McGuire geek out about landing the writing job on Spider-Gwen made me realize that I wanted that experience in my life. Spider-Gwen is a character that Seanan was pretty much born to write, and honestly, I feel the same about Catra and myself. I have no idea how I’m going to convince the She-Ra writing team to let me on board, but I’ll find a way.

  4. Full Coaching Client Roster. My goal is 14+ clients by this time next year, including five Creativity Klatch clients and three Mentor Coaching clients.

  5. California Trip. I miss Big Sur like whoa.

  6. 222 Pounds. Something that wasn’t on my 2018 list was losing weight– so naturally I made big strides on that! XD Specifically I lost 30 pounds since May, bringing me to my lowest adult weight yet. I have another 50 pounds to go to be at my goal weight of 222, but I am confident that I will hit it this year.

  7. Continue Continuing to Fix the Country. Keep going ’til it doesn’t suck.




So, yeah. That’s where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. I think 2019 is gonna be a great year. 🙂

the_gneech: (Default)
2018-12-26 12:33 pm

Shade-Of-the-Candle

A very Shady lady.




Christmas presents are on Shady this year.





…Also, the kobold king called, he wants Santa to put her on the “Naughty” list.





So yeah, this is Shade-Of-the-Candle, or “Shady” to her friends. I had already been noodling around with this idea for my next D&D character, and Catra from the new She-Ra series inspired me to go ahead and flesh her out some. She’s a chaotic neutral swashbuckler, an adrenalin junkie with no fucks to give, whose motivation basically boils down to doing all the things people keep telling her not to. (Of course, I am not a jerk player, so her CN alignment etc. are not excuses to wreck the game, merely descriptors.)





I love my little problem child. <3

the_gneech: (Default)
2018-12-26 06:43 am
Entry tags:

Weekly Weigh-In, Ho Ho Ho Edition

Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 276 (30 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.0 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 44.5" (12 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.13"
BP: 142/91

I regained a pound due to holidays indulgence (and being at the in-laws', where everything is pretty much a paste of salt, wheat, and sugar that's been fried in butter). I'm actually more concerned about the blood pressure, which is probably a side-effect of the salt. But I'll be back to my normal diet on the regular starting today, so this should all just be a blip.

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)
2018-12-20 03:11 pm

A Cinnamon Roll Who Wants to Kill You

Catra practices her 'Take Down Shadow-Weaver' touch.




Last night, Multiclass Geek finished watching She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and, on completing it, asked, “So why do you like Catra so much? You said she was a cinnamon roll! But she’s the villain!”





Well, yes, she is. And by the end of the series, Catra does some very cruel stuff. But like Adora herself, I still love Catra and hold out hope for a redemption arc, and I think it’s worth talking about why. I’ve mentioned before the parallels between Catra and my own Leona Lioness, and honestly it wasn’t until I watched She-Ra that I understood why Leona resonated so strongly for so many of my readers.





Catra is all about the way pain twists you and leads you to make dumb mistakes– and then committing to them even when you realize what a dumb mistake it is.





Having lived her life in a never-ending series of no-win situations, Catra is a survivor of a very specific kind of gaslighting abuse. Shadow Weaver explicitly states that Catra’s only purpose growing up was to be “Adora’s pet,” and this is underscored later by the way Shadow Weaver treats Catra’s successes as Force Captain as being irrelevant. What Catra thinks is “I have to jump twice as high to get half the recognition” (which is already an injustice to begin with), is actually “You will never get recognition because you are not the favorite.”





Catra finally realizes this when she says to Shadow Weaver “After all I’ve done for you, it’s still Adora that you want?” This line is the beginning of her deciding to take her own power; it’s also the moment when she shifts from feeling mostly sad and betrayed at Adora’s defection, to being straight-up wrathful.





Catra is every minority dealing with the reality of privilege. Catra is every red-headed stepchild. Catra is every younger sibling who has to get out from the shadow of their superstar older sister/brother. Catra is every kid who got beat up by a bully, and then was sent to detention for fighting.





So to answer why I refer to Catra as a cinnamon roll, I can only point to the amount of time Catra spends crying. She is deeply unhappy throughout the entire series, and even when she does smile it’s a mean “How does it feel, bitch?” kind of smirk. Her only experience of power and agency have come through being the victim of cruelty and injustice. Even Adora’s attempts at kindness had to be filtered through that. Catra’s been indoctrinated that there is no good or bad, only strong or weak, and you can tell on some level she doesn’t really believe it (hence the little moment of heartbreak when Scorpia describes her as being a great friend).





This poison in her mind makes her see Adora’s love and support as patronizing. Catra believes herself to be weak, and assumes Adora believes that as well, and so it makes perfect (if misguided) sense to resent that. Catra is the darkest version of Entrapta’s kitchen staff believing that they can’t do anything because they’re not princesses.





The entire society of Eternia is built on this “Princess/Not-a-Princess” hierarchy, which is presumably why Shadow Weaver (having been raised in Eternia’s biases herself) is so fixated on Adora. She-Ra is at the absolute top of that hierarchical heap, being the one that even the other princesses answer to. The only way to be “as good as” Adora, for Catra, is to become her opposite.





As I say, this puts her in a no-win situation. And she knows it, and she hates it, and she doesn’t see a way out of it.





So, this is why I love Catra, because I’ve lived in that no-win situation. I know how it feels, and I know how it hurts, and I want her to escape, because on my dark days I have to escape it again myself over and over again.

the_gneech: (Default)
2018-12-19 08:00 am

Why Am I Awake? Oh Well, Have Some News

One of these is a sweet and loving feline, forced by circumstances to seem mean. The other is GrumpyCat.




First item of news! I passed my coach training finals! 😀 This means I will graduate from the Accomplishment Coaching training program, and I’m about 2/3 of the way to an Associate Certified Coach certification with the International Coach Federation.





Now… just to earn a living with it. >.>





Second item of news! Yesterday I was so inspired by Seanan McGuire geeking out over her Spider-Gwen gig that I decided– with no plan how or even idea of the feasibility– that I wanted to get involved in working on She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, on the grounds that as Seanan was basically born to write Spider-Gwen, I was basically born to write Catra. >.>





So I have spent all day canvassing anyone and everyone I know even marginally related to the animation industry looking for referrals or leads, as well as just flat-out e-mailing Noelle Stevenson via the address on her web page and saying “I want in! What do I do?”





In all of my years of creating comics, I never wanted to connect directly to a larger franchise before. As much fun as I’ve had banging around in the My Little Pony fandom, it never occurred to me to try to actually get involved in the show. Heck, LevelHead once offered to finance the creation of a NeverNever pilot to shop around back in the day, and I just didn’t think I was ready for it.





Why She-Ra, and why now?





Well, like I say, Catra is a big reason. She’s basically the Leona/Langley/Tanya/Brigid archetype I’ve been writing for 20 years. Another reason is something I described on Twitter a few days back, of having spent 20 years thinking I was being Tiffany Tiger in my career, when I was actually being Leona instead. For various reasons I’ve been going through my life with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake, sabotaging myself without realizing it and feeling defined by the wins other people were achieving that I felt like “should be” mine.





The transformative process I’ve been going through in my coaching career has really opened my eyes to this, and it’s time for me to change it. Part of that includes putting down the ego-driven “Must create it all from scratch!” mindset and connecting to other creators (and other projects) outside my own little corner of the universe.





Wish me luck! This is a scary, ambitious undertaking for me. Not the actual work of the writing, that part is easy! But changing who I am, moving into a much larger world… that’s hard. O.o





 

the_gneech: (Default)
2018-12-18 01:43 pm
Entry tags:

The Blogosphere Is Falling Down, Falling Down, Falling Down...

So, Tumblr has famously splinched itself. Patreon is trying desperately to serve its most dedicated users against the will of every bank in the universe. Facebook is and always was a dumpster fire. LiveJournal was Russianized ages ago. Twitter has a Nazi problem in its upper offices. And now WordPress is “updating” itself into unusability.





I don’t mind telling you, I am frustrated.





For a shining window of time (say, 2000-2005ish? I’m terrible with dates), blogging was AMAZEBALLS. There was so much cool stuff to read! People just expounding on any nerdy thing that interested them! People would actually have discussions about stuff! Flamewars did happen sometimes, but they were considered a breakdown of the system, not an inescapable fact of life.





There’s no point in saying “What happened, man?” ‘cos we know what happened. Bots happened. Apparatchiks looking for targets happened. A bunch of broken sadboys happened. Corporate pettiness, short-term thinking, and mendacity happened. The religious right happened. A ton of bullshit happened.





Well I also don’t mind telling you, I’m not giving up. The human capacity for creativity, beauty, and deep thought is limitless, and humanity’s desire to connect, share, and grow is limitless as well. Once there were storytellers, then there were poets, then there were philosophers and playwrights, then there were writers, then there were bloggers. The mode evolves, but the drive remains.





I don’t think that the heat death of the blogoverse is inevitable, and I fully intend to rage against the dying of the light on that front. But I also know that even if the form completely chokes, that drive will manifest again in another form. And I will be watching, ready to pounce on it.