The Mutant Gene

That’s what we’re calling it, in my house. Because that’s what it is, and calling it ‘the mutant gene’ makes it seem somewhat less horrific. There’s no way to make it harmless.

Last week, my mother went to the doctor for some to get the results of some of her tests. One of those tests discovered the above: a mutant gene. It’s hereditary, because of course it is, but unfortunately it’s not one of those genes that will permit my children to fly or control the weather or spew fire. It’s one of those genes that will permit my children to die horrifically at basically any point in time, all the time. Yay for the un-fun genes.

Oh? More info? Well. Apparently there’s a mutant gene that causes your body to, for no specific reason what so ever, to just randomly create blood clots. Anywhere in the body, for any reason, at any time. Great, huh? Of all the un-fun genes..

My mother has the activated gene. It’s possible one of my grandparents had or has it activated too, or it’s possible they’re just carriers. My maternal grandfather’s dead, so there is simply no testing on that side, and my maternal grandmother has a lot of things wrong but I don’t think random blood clots is one of them. There’s a fifty fifty shot of myself and my siblings carrying the gene, too, active or otherwise. There’s a test that can be run to check for it, and now that we know it’s a thing, we do need to get tested.

Not that there’s anything we can do to prevent it from happening, of course. Randomly spawning blood clots. What can you do for preventative medicine against that?

But at least we can know. Knowing is something. My mother had been trying for years and years to get someone to even want to help her figure out why her blood work was so wonky. She’d have blood clots, and her blood would be too thick for her to feasibly be alive, and her blood would be too thin for her to be alive, and no one could figure out what the cause was. Nobody really wanted to know, I guess. Nobody was interested except for us.

Now we know. Mom has a mutant gene.

On the level of things that frustrate me, this is a pretty chill one. At least we know. What’s eating me now is there’s nothing we can do about it. At any point in time we could randomly spawn a clot in our brain, or our heart. It’s just one more thing we have to live with, but that doesn’t make it easy. I don’t like having things like this out of my influence, but that’s what it is. Unfortunately gene therapy isn’t a big thing yet, and even if it were, it would probably be only for the coming generation instead of us adults.

…not sure I’d subject my child to gene therapy, either. There’s a certain measure of heebie jeebies that come with the concept. But maybe when my children are old enough to make informed choices, if I do have the gene to pass on, there will be options for them. That’s all anyone can hope for, I suppose.

Mutant genes. Why couldn’t it have been the cool one? I would have taken can make plants grow any day of the week.

–Natasha

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NaNo Camp July, Friday 7th (2017)

NaNoWriMo

One of the most important things to do in Camp NaNoWriMo is set a reasonable goal for yourself.

I, uh, may not have done that this July.

In my defense, I told someone I’d do Camp July back in the beginning of June, and I decided way back then that I’d do a 30k count, completely ignoring how tight the month in question was going to be, between three jobs and trying to balance the rest of real life. One of those jobs, the full-time non-negotiable one which shall not be named, is having a bit of a do and thus requires me to work extra time than I normally would this month.

I do kind of need the money… but it means less time writing, and more time tired. It’s also the middle of summer, and I do want to enjoy the summer. Plus I have the summer harvest (raspberries and blackberries are both a thing right now) and a whole mess of kittens. Some of them need more TLC than I’ve been able to give them while being away at work, so my free days are often spent doing that.

That’s a bit working against me. Both my other paid jobs are more flexible, since I’m a subcontractor and I take the work I want to, but I really can’t neglect them even though they only truly make me pocket change. I could put them down for a bit if I wanted to, but then I have a bad habit of not picking them up again for a while.

I swear I did consider dropping my count to a measly 15k throughout the month of June. I just couldn’t get myself talked into it, though. Go figure. So here I am, in July, crawling my way to 30k. I don’t know if I’ll try to stretch beyond it. That’s a thing to cross when I get to that bridge.

Set yourself a reasonable goal. Be stubborn about it. When you break through it, set yourself another.

I believe in you.

–Natasha

NaNo Goals: 7,109/30,000

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News Update: 5/18/17

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything that wasn’t a review, I think. I’m sorry about that. Real life is… uh. Real life. Blurgh.

I swear I’m going to start writing again soon. I’m managing small little pieces, which isn’t much but still proves to be better than nothing. Mostly I’ve just been working (three jobs, and one of them outweighs the other in terms of physical stress) and relaxing, reading things and playing videogames. Watching movies. *motion* It does wonders for bringing in strange tidbits and thoughts. I have so many ideas for things to write, some of which actually belong to things I’ve already got started, but finding time is…

Well. I’m trying, is the thing.

On the outside of real life, I’m getting a tooth yanked next Tuesday, and I am prepared to suffer for the next month for it. Which means watching what I eat, being careful what I do, and trying to keep my core temperature down for the foreseeable future. It also means I’ll be sleeping a lot and trying not to accidentally OD on the painkillers. (Reference: Once was enough, it gave me amazing concepts for hallucinations and strange dreams, but also, once was enough.)

But all that means I’m going to have a little bit more sit down time to relax, at least in the early days, even if I’ll spend most of that sleeping. At least the trip up means that I’ll be able to scratch out a little bit of writing. Worldbuilding, at least. I’m trying to break down several fics and get them moving, and I’ve made progress but progress is slow. *eyes them*

At least it’s progress. And it’s more than I did in the first four months, so I’m okay with a little momentum to start. Momentum, after all, builds up.

Up and up and up.

Sidenote, did you know there is an I Love You Wall in Paris? I didn’t. It was a lovely thing to trip over doing research for something entirely different.

–Natasha

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News – 3/15/17

I haven’t done a news update in a while, have I? A little over a month now, right, and the last thing you guys heard was a desperate bid for help.

I’ve told almost everyone, everywhere, the end result of that. We pulled it off, and I am beyond over the moon about it. Not in the least because of all the stress that is gone, but because I can finally return my attention to other avenues of life beyond that stress. My studies, my writing, my crafts.

That being said, I don’t have a lot to update news-wise right now. I have my job, which I… may not speak of, for it is like He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in many respects, and I do have a fondness for not going to bed hungry. My writing gigs do not buy food or pay bills, though with the lack of stress I can turn my attention to them too. I might try a little tonight.

Old Man Winter is trying super hard to get his last few licks in before Mother Nature kicks him out for nine months, as evidenced by the magnificent blizzard in the North-East right now and the great deal of cold in my area. We’re only getting the very edge of the storm that’s sitting on the rest of you, and I’m honestly not sorry for that. The cold makes my joints ache and I need those for above-mentioned work.

Two of my kittens were adopted. Puff, born last October, and his older sister Cinder went to my cousin’s farm, where by all accounts they are fitting in very well with the clowder of kittens she already possessed. Puff’s siblings finally have names: Fuji, Vesuvius, and Kilauea. I ran out of dragon-themed base words and went for mountains (re: volcanos) instead. Kilauea likes the house dogs and plays well with animals Much Bigger Than He. Meanwhile Fuji and Versuvius are generally quiet but spend a lot of time trying to play Hunter on each other. They also have great fun murdering, and losing, toy bells.

I feel like that’s going to be vaguely upsetting when I finish getting my room rearranged and they keep me up all night, but I’ll get used to it.

I did manage to find something amazing though. I found out my top favorite author on the planet has a WordPress, and I can stalk them dutifully and gobble up everything they have to offer. Also, ALSO– they do original fiction? Yes! I want a book. I want a signed book. I will die happy. (I could write an entire article about why this author makes me happy and how much they’ve taught me just by posting their fanfiction online, but that’s obviously a different article.)

I’m going to try super hard to return to a regular posting schedule, folks. Cross my fingers I can pull it off. If nothing else, I might be able to return properly to posting little one thousand word piece-work for you to enjoy. I had a lot of fun with that.

I have missed writing.

–Natasha

News Update 2/4/17

GoFundMe – YouCaring

I’ve updated the fundraiser description(s) to help clarify some things, but since I’ve been quiet on the update front for a while, I’ve decided to come and tell people what’s up.

I got a job. I managed to get back in to my place of employment after some time off, and I’m making money again, but it’s not going to be enough to pay it off in time if they decide we have to pay it off by March. I just don’t make that much money, and even with the rest of us pulling it in, it’s not enough. I wish it were.

So I still need your help. Please, if you can donate, please do so. Even five dollars is a huge help, and could keep us from losing our home.

–Natasha

Just In Time: Christmas News

Christmas is less than a week away. Next week is the last week of the year– 2016 will be over. If I make it that far, all the way to December 31st, I will have made it to my goal: I will have done one thousand words every day for one year.

I don’t think I’ll put the same new year’s resolution for 2017, which doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do a resolution. But one thousand words was difficult, especially with the way this year went. I do have a new resolution in mind for 2017; I’m going to comb over my book and get it stamped with approval. My grandmother is interested in reading it– and I’m ready to move on to the next book. Which means I have to finish this climax first.

I’m going to try to do it before Christmas day (haha, good luck, self) since I know I’m going to end up incredibly distracted for the remaining week. New Year’s Cleaning, anybody?

Our New Years tradition is soda and coffee, and usually we buy some to just shove in the oven because that takes less time. This year, I think the current plan is to make it ourselves. I don’t know of any holidays that occur in January, aside from the Yearly Power Clean The House and lots of What Is That White Stuff On The Ground.

In February, we run from my mother’s birthday right into Lupercalia, and by chance halfway through Lupercalia occurs that Valentine’s Holiday people are so up in arms over. As a rule of thumb, I don’t participate in that one. A month from then is White Day, Valentine’s Day’s roommate’s celebration. I cannot remember what else is supposed to happen in March. Something important…

It doesn’t matter right now, and it wont until after New Years. But another important thing to cover in February is the Chinese New Year.

No one I know celebrates it. New years and different variations thereof are things that interest me, and I collect information about them much like I collect decks of cards and stray things. So much of other cultural holidays can give you insight into their worlds, and ever little bit can count, if you know how to pay attention.

I celebrate the Lunar New Year. Probably not the way the Chinese do, or other cultures if they also celebrate the Lunar New Years. I don’t do it by anything major, exactly. I try be outside to see the full moon of February, and barring that I try to watch it from my window, because let’s face it: the coldest month of the year is February, and it’s not like I’m watching shooting stars here. I really just like… to look at the moon.

So another New Years resolution is to see every new and full moon for 2017. I’ll start in January, I think, partly to help me track it and partly because it’s technically 2017, and I’ll go until I see the cycle over in February 2018. The calculated odds of me managing to pull this resolution off is slim to none, but I’ll try it. Can’t hurt to try?

Pick yourself a few resolutions. See if you can make it. Make a couple resolutions– a couple big, a couple small, so you don’t feel too bad if you have to give one or two of them up. But try. You’ll be pleasantly content when you pull one off.

–Natasha

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NaNoWriMo, Friday 11th (2016)

NaNoWriMo

Some people say kill your darlings, and some people say don’t. Now, I’m not going to say one way or the other about it. The reason for this is because, one way or the other, I’m going to be a hypocrite.

I kill a lot of my characters. I save a lot of others from the neck of death.

But one thing I’ve noticed is that, when I hit a road-block in my path, an excellent way to jar the story and myself is to kill someone. Or, at the very least, trip over a dead body. Corpses are excellent motivators for characters to find themselves. Even if you decide to rewrite the scene without a death– not erase! Remember, there’s no erasing during NaNoWriMo– it works wonders for getting you moving and ramping up your word count.

Now, you may be asking why. I think I’ve covered that, but if you need another reason, well, consider it a personal challenge inside NaNo.

How could you kill them? Well, I understand that the Traveling Shovel of Death (TM) is a staple of the NaNoWriMo faculty, and many writers I know. Barring that, a good ol’ fashioned murder is always on the card table– and bonus points if it’s on or over a card table. Lots of deaths occur in games of chance.

When? Why not right now? Go ahead, you can do it. If your character is outside, they trip over a body– or witness a murder. If your character is inside, hey, why not? If there’s on one around, maybe they hear about it on the radio, or read about it in the news. Maybe it’s a shock and maybe it’s not. Who knows? Who can say?

Where? Not in real life, please. Do not go out and kill people with a shovel.

*

But inside the covers of your book, on the pages you and only you know how to craft, by all means. Kill as many people with shovels as you’d like. Make a sentient murder-shovel, watering the ground of graveyards with the blood of its victims. Make a serial axe-murderer, but instead of an axe, give him a shovel. The possibilities are endless.

No shovels in your world? That’s okay. Everybody knows a pointy rock will do in a pinch; after all, we’ve been killing people that way since prehistory.

–Natasha

*Image sourced on Google.

NaNoGoals: 24,132/50,000

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