On Novel Writing, Sobriety, and Virtual Events

I’m not sure I wrote about this before, but I was selected for the Writers.com 2022 Novel Writing Intensive Program. It started this month! A few days ago we had a meet-and-greet with the students and instructors, and today we had a workshop on publishing and marketing strategy. Bottom line: no one is going to do it for you. The good news is, I already know quite a bit about self-publishing from my projects between 2011-2016. I’m working on building my platform. I want to use the name Dean, but for now, Elliott DeLine is the name I have established, so I will be using that.

Yesterday I went to a thing called “Palm of the Hand Memoir Workshop” with poet Michael Czarneki. I found it very valuable, as it validated for me that my current writing style for my novel in progress is a good one. The idea behind Palm of the Hand writing is basically flash fiction, but for memoir. I don’t know too much about flash fiction, but I would say I am writing it. Flash scenes, at least. And my fiction writing, as in the past, has a lot of memoir elements as well. So I found this style helpful to learn about.

Besides the novel writing intensive, I have some other things going on. I’m taking two workshops this winter with poet Susan Vespoli, also through Writers.com. I love Susan’s writing circles and have signed up for them consecutively since I discovered them. The first one is “Writing Poems for Gratitude and Hope” and the other I forget the name of, but we study 8 poets styles and incorporate it into our own work. I’m planning on including some poetry in my novel, and I’d like to publish it otherwise. A publication I’m especially interested in is Anti-Heroin Chic, because of my poetry about addiction.

Addiction recovery goes well. I’ve been sober from all substances for a little over 2 weeks. I’m happy to say I’m finally giving 12-Steps a real try. And it’s actually right for me this time. I have a sponsor, I’m going to an LGBTQ meeting everyday at noon, and I’m doing the work. As I said today at a meeting, the sky is starting to look beautiful to me again.

Other projects of mine:

The Pandemic Poetry Open Mic Featuring Susan Vespoli, January 16th. I’m very excited about this. It will be perfect timing for the release of her book Blame in on the Serpent. I really enjoy Susan’s work, especially her poem “Chicken” and her poetry about addiction in her family. It looks like over 100 people are interested on Facebook, so there should be a good turnout! I’m going to read as well, and I’m looking forward to hearing what other people bring. I plan to doit every month. In February we will feature Ithaca poet Nora Snyder. Stay tuned!

Queer Writers Meetup on Discord, meeting pretty much daily at this point. This has been a HUGE help to me, as I’ve made a few friends I write with regularly. We set a time for 30 minutes, write, then share if we want and give feedback. Then we do it a second time.. I was a little skeptical that this would be a good idea– don’t want to edit too much as you go — but it’s been such a motivation to write everyday. We also have free writes with prompts on Sundays.

I’ve written quite a beefy entry, so I think I’ll end here for now. I haven’t even gotten into life on our land, which is starting to come together again. This summer/fall was….a mess. But we’ve got this! Next spring we are going to get back to work on planting, building, and more. We have a couple, Rima and Kris, who will be moving to the land soon, and collaborating with us. All very exciting. I will write about that soon. In the meantime, here is their blog, Half Hectare Homestead.

I also started a Discord server for my partner Joey’s company GenderCat.com. That has been rewarding, interacting with the trans community.

If you’re interested in following my progress on my novel, please continue to follow me here, or add me on Facebook, or Instagram.

Oh and lastly, I will soon have an interview coming out on the blog Bitchin’ Chickens, about my poetry and our chicken saga. Stay tuned!

A life worth living, pt. 3

For the first time this evening, it occurred to me that I am a “recovering addict.” I guess that’s kind of a loaded, stereotyped term. I have been aware for a while that I struggled with addiction. But I went to my first groups related to the issue this week. My addictions were marijuana and alcohol. Alcohol was more problem in the past, but I would switch between the two. I am not against marijuana usage, and I haven’t ruled out that I will never use it again. It had many benefits and many fond memories attached. But at the level I was smoking, for me, it was causing psychosis. And yet I still couldn’t back off even a little. A lot of people don’t think marijuana is a serious drug, but in this case, it was at risk of really fucking up my life. I wrote more about that in a previous post.

Anyway, today I had a meeting with my partner and my drug counselor and I realized I’m really really hard on myself. I’ve realized this before. But it is to the point where I don’t believe I’m deserving of love. This was a breakthrough for me. I’ve had people suggest it to me, but it never really sank in until today. I don’t trust that I deserve a loving relationship. And that’s why I’m always scared of losing it. That was a lot of the paranoia related to marijuana, and it was a self-fulfilling prophecy as I became a more and more difficult person not to love, but with whom to be in a relationship.

I’m looking back on many things differently now. There was a guy I very much wanted to be with, before I met Joey. I took his rejection very hard, because I took it as more evidence that I was not lovable- even though he was saying he did have love for me, he just didn’t want to be in a relationship with me because my life was honestly a wreck. I think about that differently now. I’m glad things happened the way they did, and I feel really lucky that I found someone who was able to be with me, through my struggles. And we’re still together.

Anyway, this is the part where I would usually berate myself for being touchy feeley or something but I don’t want to do that anymore. I feel blessed tonight and I wanted to share in writing.