Blog Posts

No, Really, Need to Work

I can’t believe I forgot to do my review on Friday. I fully intended to. I’d read an amazing book, and had written part of my review out (in my head, at least) already. Then it came to Friday, and… I don’t even think I was that busy, so much as it just didn’t really end up happening. Although, I do think that I did have a few things on.

Realistically though, the main reason I didn’t write it up and post it is the same reason it’s taken me until almost 7pm today to start my blog, despite trying to prod myself most of the day to do it. I am not doing so well right now.

I mentioned last week how I really want a job. It’s not even just want. I need a job. Not just for the money. Though the money would be great. I don’t know how many of you have ever had to live off of Centrelink, but for your sake, I hope it was long enough ago that the allowance was at least livable. It’s funny how the government’s always happy to increase costs and prices and taxes, but they’re not happy to raise things like wages and pensions. Let’s be realistic, we’re not asking for that much. All we’re really asking for is enough to be able to live off of. Centrelink isn’t the reason for this blog, however.

I am… Not doing so great at the moment. And there are quite a lot of things that are contributing to this, of course, but let’s break it down, shall we?

– I’ve been ignoring my 8am alarm, to instead sleep through and wake up randomly throughout the day. This could be 9am, 10am, 11am… The other day it was a little after midday. If I don’t have anything to do on a day, there’s no reason for me to get up. So, instead of getting up, I lie in bed, and try to go back to sleep. Getting to sleep, and getting back to sleep, are quite hard tasks for me. For the most part, this is just me being awake, and not acknowledging it until I give up.

Having a job would give me something to do on a day. It would give me a reason to wake up of a morning. Even those mornings where I didn’t have to work, I’d feel inspired to get out of bed to spend time with my friends, to relax, to do the fun things that I’m not really finding fun right now because it’s all I can do.

– I barely leave the house. To be fair, having a job will (for the most part) only increase the time I’m out of the house to the time I’m working. That being said, having more money will likely also increase the amount of things I can do with friends, and further increase the time I don’t spend at home.

– My room is a mess. Okay, so this isn’t exactly something that having a job would fix. At least, not directly. The main reason my room is a mess is because I’m a mess. If I start getting better, I’ll be more inspired to keep my room tidy(ish) and organised. Then there’s the other thing which I’ll get to in a moment which would also be beneficial in this regard about getting a job.

– My Grandad (whom I live with) drives me crazy. I love him. I don’t know what I’d do without him in my life. But spending every day with him, he can get on my nerves. It won’t be immediate, but when I get a job I’ll be able to afford to move out. (At the moment I’m missing the whole bond, and first month’s rent thing that most places ask for, so it’s more or less impossible.)

Now, if I got my own place, or at least found a place with a friend/some friends or some new housemates, there are quite a few things that would change. I wouldn’t feel like I can barely leave my room. Another big thing would be that my room would be bigger. Calling the room I spend 99% of my time in at the moment a shoe box would be an insult to larger shoe boxes.

I’d also be able to interact with more people. Anyone I happen to move in with, and of course anyone I’d be working with. If you’ve ever spent too much time with one person, you’ll know how exciting it can be to spend time with someone different.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that having a job is a lot of work. I know that in my current mental state, it’s going to take a lot to get through things. That being said, having a reason to get out of bed will be a big improvement. Getting out of the house will be an improvement. Other things, I’ll be able to work on. I just need someone to give me a start, so I can start my recovery.

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My Mind Won’t Change

“You’ll change your mind.”

I am sick and tired of hearing that phrase. Thankfully, there’s only one person in my life who says it to me with any regularity. Unfortunately that regularity is “every time I see them.” I know that I am not the only one dealing with such people, and that I am honestly lucky to only have the one person openly saying that I don’t know what I want to my face. Plenty of other people have to face the same or worse.

For one thing, I’m not trans. There are so many horror stories out there of trans men and women who aren’t accepted by their family. They’re being told that they’re “just going through a phase”. Some are lucky enough to have supportive people in their life, but not everyone is that lucky.

No, what my Stepdad thinks I’ll change my mind about is that I don’t want to have kids. In his mind, every woman must want to reproduce. To settle down with a husband, and have kids. That’s what life is about. Then again, he also can’t understand how lesbians get by because “everyone needs a good dicking” (and no, he fails to see the irony when I point out how he thinks gay guys are unnatural).

I don’t want children. The idea of being pregnant and putting my body through all of that horrifies me. I don’t just mean the childbirth part, either. That would be nine months of my hormones being more messed up than they already are. I’m barely keeping together as it is, I don’t want to even think about what that would do to me mentally.

Then there’s the fact that I’m currently unemployed, and very much single. I’m hoping to fix the first part. Ideally, I’d like to be employed quite soon. Being on Centrelink doesn’t exactly do much for my mental health either. That being said, it’s a lot easier said than done. As for the second part, I really don’t know.

I’ve tried to be in relationships before. I don’t know that it’s for me. Yet another thing my Stepdad would never accept as a life choice. Just as clearly I’ll change my mind and want kids, I just haven’t met the right guy yet. Yeah, right.

A lot of people my age don’t want kids. There are plenty of examples out there for the curious mind to explain why. The truth of the matter? When you get right down to it, we just simply don’t want kids. An absolutely mind blowing thought, I know.

It’s one that’s so hard for a lot of people to accept. The problem is, it’s hard for a lot of people to understand that not everyone has the same desires as them. Some people want to do the best they can in their jobs, and have high goals set for themselves to achieve. Other people honestly just want to get by, and live peacefully. Similarly, some people want to have kids, and other people just… don’t.

Just as there are many people in the world who don’t want kids, there are still plenty out there who do. If everyone wanted to have kids, and did so, the world would be a very bleak place with a vast population problem. Honestly, it’s bad enough as it is.

I am 26 years old. I’m not a teenager, or a child. People accept (by now. At least partially) that I want to be a writer and editor. Something I have been talking about since I was in high school. Why is it still so hard for some people to accept that I don’t want kids? I think I know my own mind a bit better than they do.

Blog Posts

New Year, Same Me

It’s that time of year where everyone reflects on how things have been, and make plans for the year to come, so I suppose it’s time for me to join in with all of that.

2018 was a bit of a wild ride. Like many years, it had its ups and downs. There were quite a few good movies released, which is always nice. Many I can’t yet comment on, not having had the opportunity to watch them. The Incredibles came back, and in my opinion managed to live up to expectations. Venom had little hope, but managed to drive fans crazy in ways I don’t think the creators were really expecting. Seeing Mortal Engines about to be made into a movie prompted me to read the book, and the movie was… entertaining enough. Bohemian Rhapsody absolutely blew me away. A Wrinkle In Time and The House with a Clock in its Walls made me read some old children’s fiction which was a lovely experience. The Darkest Minds captivated me, and made me need to read the series.

I read quite a lot of books. I didn’t end up managing my goal of 100. I think at the end, I had read around 80. I have the unfortunate habit of giving up sometimes when I know that something is not going to be achievable. That being said, I read quite a large number of books all the same, which were all quite wonderful. I had ten lovely months of books being delivered to my door via OwlCrate before I had to give it up due to not having money.

My games library became even more full, and I’ve even been playing some of the newer games I’ve purchased. That being said, I still have quite a few hours in Overwatch, thanks mostly to some amazing friends I have who I can play with. In playing Overwatch, I’ve been getting somewhat better, and even enjoying playing competitive, as long as I can play with my friends. Being able to work together with people, and co-ordinate team compositions and pushes is a lot more fun than the stress of dealing with people jumping into the middle of the enemy team, instantly dying, and screaming because I wasn’t healing them.

I’m close to finishing Kingdom Hearts. After first starting it when I was in my early teens. It didn’t help that the person who owned the Play Station moved out before I had the chance to finish it. Now that I’ve finally got a Play Station 3 of my own, it’s simply a matter of making time when the TV is available for use. Not always feasible, unfortunately.

Dungeons and Dragons has been drawing me deep into its claws once more. There were a few campaigns I started at uni, none of which I was able to see through to the end for various reasons, mostly due to scheduling conflicts. A campaign one of my friends Dungeon Masters is going strong, however, and I’m very much enjoying playing my sweet, naive Necromancer. I have also been struck with the inspiration to start my own campaign, and am looking forward to seeing how that will go next year. In similar news, I am slowly making my way through the wonderful words of the McElroy’s, as I listen to The Adventure Zone. I am still quite far behind, only entering the fourth arc now, though hopefully I will find more opportunity to listen, and catch up in this new year.

I struggled through university, and finally managed to come out the other side with a degree. After so many years of stressing over assignments and exams, it will be nice to hopefully put it to good use. That is, should I manage to get a job in the creative writing sector.

Hopefully this coming year will see me employed. Perhaps I will be able to move down to Melbourne. Maybe I’ll even finish one of the many books I’m working on, and work on getting something published. Okay, for realistic purposes, I’ll settle with the employment as a goal. The others would definitely be nice to achieve though.

Once again, I will try to challenge myself to read 100 books this coming year. I will also endeavour to once again bring about my Friday Books Books blog, where I discuss the latest books or series I’ve read. After some issues, I think I am beginning to be on the up and up once more.

I am not the sort of person to lie and say that I have great expectations of 2019. Nor will I say that I will lose 10 kilos, or publish a book. Yes, I have goals, and dreams, to do such things, but I know that there are chances I might not achieve them. Instead, I will try to work towards these things, and will be ecstatic should I manage them, yet I refuse to let myself be upset if I fail. Failure is a part of life, and as hard as it can be to accept it sometimes, it is better to accept the failure, and move on past it, than to stay stuck on it.

This is the mentality that I will try to bring into 2019. Job searching is hard, and I know that I will certainly receive many rejections. Indeed, I’ll feel ecstatic should I merely get an interview. If I were to allow each rejection to get me down, I wouldn’t be able to move on. I would want to curl up in bed, and give up on everything, because living can be hard. Instead, I will take a deep breath, and learn from any mistakes. I will continue to move forward. This can apply to so many things in my life, not only job searching. I can turn this attitude to my gaming, and climb higher in competitive Overwatch. I can play more of the games I own, and finish ones I want to finish. I can read as many books as I can in a year, and be happy by how many I read, as opposed to upset that I didn’t achieve my goal. I can be happy with however many words I might write instead of focusing on finishing something by a deadline.

I sincerely hope that all my readers can take a similar attitude into 2019 with them. Don’t let your failures get you down, instead be proud of anything you achieve. Of course, you should never let that stop you from setting your own goals. Simply don’t let yourself get too down if you don’t quite reach them.

Blog Posts

Christmas (Part 2)

It’s that time of year again. Officially, this time, given this post is going up on the 25th of December my time. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who read this.

I mentioned in my last blog how Christmas is more for young people, and why a lot of older people don’t really tend to have the holiday spirit as much as they once did. I also mentioned that one of the reasons for this is probability. This is what I will discuss today.

The more Christmas’s you experience, the higher the probability is that you’ll have a bad one. And I don’t mean that you don’t get the present you want, or you end up feeling sick from eating too much food. At the end of the day, that’s not what you’re going to remember. I don’t remember ever being upset at what I got for Christmas. The only gifts I remember vividly are the ones which stunned me. I remember going to New Zealand for Christmas one year. I remember my Nana and Grandad buying me the Charmed Book of Spells Box Set. Countless Angus and Robertson or Dymocks gift cards. I remember lovely clothes that I wore to death, or the Game of Thrones Monopoly set Mum bought for me one year.

A bad gift, or lack of an exciting one isn’t what ruins the holidays for people. What ruins it for a lot of people are car accidents. There are many statistics online that show that Christmas and New Years are when a large percentage of car accidents happen. People are in a rush to get places, or to buy last minute gifts, and they let down their guard when driving.

Another thing that can be problematic is family. As you grow older, you sometimes find that you don’t necessarily fit into the neat puzzle your family makes any more. This is particularly a problem for LGBT+ people who might not be accepted by all of their family. It’s also annoying for those unemployed, or single people, who constantly get asked questions they don’t know how to answer, or don’t want to. It can be hard to feel people picking you apart, insecurity by insecurity.

Suicide rates are high around this time of year, and no wonder. People stress about buying their friends and family the perfect presents. Some people can’t deal with their family when more and more alcohol is introduced to the mix. Some people don’t have anyone to spend the day with, and find themselves alone while everyone around them seems to be busy and happy.

Last year, 2017, a couple of weeks before Christmas, my stepdad took all of his medications he could find around the house. He tried to kill himself. My Mum called the ambulance, and followed him as he went walking around the streets, staggering around. The ambulance arrived not long after he collapsed, in the middle of the street, when she was about to try CPR while all her neighbours just watched.

He was in a mental health ward for a week, before being released. He hasn’t tried to kill himself again, although his depression is still high, and he doesn’t do anything about it. Mum now has to monitor his pills, and keep most of them hidden, so he can’t take them all again.

In November 2012 I fell off of a bus. Anyone who knows me likely already knows this story. I was on my way to the library in the morning, and just stepped off the bus. After falling, I looked down, to try to right myself, and noticed that my right foot looked to be at a rather odd angle. I said “I think I’ve broken my ankle.” As it turns out, I had. I had broken three bones in my right ankle, as well as dislocated it. When I got my cast, I got it in red and green for Christmas, and spent that Christmas hobbling around. It wasn’t until looking back on it later, and how hard walking was at that time, that I realised I must have broken my left ankle at the same time.

In 2009 I had an absolutely lovely Christmas. I had just finished high school, and was planning to go to TAFE, since I was just shy of getting into the university course I really wanted to do. All our family came to our place, and we spent time in the pool, or just spent time together. I remember Nana asking me the day before if Mum and I were going to get dressed up, or if it was going to be something casual. I told her we were going to get dressed up, although in the end Mum went for casual so she could be more easily in and out of the pool. I tried to be dressed up for solidarity with Nana for a while, before I changed to swimmers so I could escape the heat.

She looked beautiful that day.

The day after boxing day, Grandad started driving up to Cairns to visit some friends. One of my Aunts went to Melbourne to visit her husband’s family. My other Aunt went somewhere else. Meanwhile Mum and I were sitting at home, having a very quiet day, after receiving some sad news. My other Nana, Nana Mary, had passed away that morning. We knew it would be coming sometime soon. Nana Mary had been sick for a while, after dealing with a second bout of breast cancer. She had chosen to not continue chemotherapy after a while, since it was making her feel unwell, and she wanted to enjoy the rest of her time.

That evening, Mum got another phone call. Grandad wanted her to go check up on Nana. He’d tried everyone else he could think of, but it being Christmas time, no one else was around. Mum drove off to check on her. A little while later she called my stepdad, and he took off. For a while, I was home alone with my anxiety, wondering what could have happened. Then Mum’s friend, who had been over earlier in the day, came back and sat with me for a while, which only really served to ramp my anxiety levels up.

When Mum came home, it was with the news that my Nana had passed away this morning. Grandad was already on his way back, and I was left feeling shell shocked.

It had been hard knowing that I’d lost Nana Mary earlier that morning. I hadn’t known her all that well, and felt as though I had lost a lot of potential, that I would never be able to be as close to her as I was with my Nana over here. Then to hear that Nana had passed away as well?

I was very close with my Nana. I used to stop by her place after school on Friday afternoons, and we would go shopping together, then spend the afternoon together. We would talk about books, TV shows, and movies that we liked. We shared quite a similar taste. I still have moments when enjoying something and I think “Nana would have loved this”.

Christmas has never really felt the same for me since that day. I was 17, and the oldest child in my family, though the youngest was only two years younger. It wouldn’t be until a few years later when I would spend time with younger children who still enjoyed Christmas. Though personally I’m at the stage where I’d prefer not to celebrate it, and to instead just have a quiet day at home.

These are my personal experiences with Christmas. Everyone has their own. The older you get, the chances of a less than happy Christmas increase. It’s a simple mathematical fact that not every Christmas can be as magical as the ones we experience when we’re younger.

I would like to end this blog by asking everyone to try to share that magic with others today. It might be hard, but if you find someone who loves the holiday, who has stars in their eyes as they tell you what Santa gave them for Christmas, smile at them. If you’re having a quiet holiday by yourself, then share that magic with yourself. I might not be able to advise buying yourself something you might enjoy, but at least do something fun for yourself. Play a game. Go for a walk. Read a book. Watch a movie. Just be sure to spend some time doing something that could bring a smile to your face. Even if it feels as though smiling is the last thing you could possibly do, please try.

Blog Posts

Stress and NaNo

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo for short, is an absolutely wonderful experience. I can hardly recommend it enough. When I first heard about it, I was quite sceptical how can something that someone writes in a month be any good? But that’s not the point the point is encouraging people to write every day, and to get into that habit.
It’s a great habit to be in as a writer. Sadly it’s not one I’m in at the moment. I’ve mentioned previously how I’m currently feeling quite overwhelmed with stress. I had initially been looking forward to NaNo, as I have for the past few years. The NaNo community in Brisbane, which I am lucky enough to be a part of, is truly wonderful. We have some fantastic Municipal Liaisons (MLs) who provide us with sugar, and cheap coffee, as well as organise memorable events. From the Kick Off party, to the Thank God It’s Over party, November is usually a fun month where I churn out the words. For the past few years I’ve managed to go above and beyond the 50,000 that designates “winning” NaNo. Last year I even managed to double that word count.
This year, however, I have been struggling hard. I usually enjoy writing, though now it’s a struggle to come up with words and ideas. I have a story in mind, with an idea of where it’s going to go. This has never failed me before. However I feel so overcome with stress at the thought of writing, that I can barely bring myself to do it.
I’m not going to win NaNo this year. Which is fine. I have accepted this, and in doing so felt at least one cause of stress leave me. It’s sad that something I truly do enjoy can be a cause of such stress, but that’s sadly something I have to live with.
I was first diagnosed with depression when I was 18. Of course, being more aware now, I know that I was suffering for a few years before that. The anxiety diagnosis came later, and was more or less lumped into my depression. Again, it’s something I was struggling with long before the diagnosis. Knowing can make a huge difference though.
Of course, knowing why I am struggling to put words together doesn’t help me put them together. Even though I have given up trying to “win” NaNo this year, writing is still coming hard for me. I want to write. I have a novel I’m working on which I’m actually excited about. I have an idea for a visual novel, which I’ve started working on, and again am extremely excited about. However I look at tge words I’ve written, and I simply cannot find a way to continue.
Thankfully, the Brisbane NaNo community is truly wonderful. Even though I doubt that I will be able to write anything, I know that I will still feel so welcomed and supported at write ins. Sadly I haven’t been able to make the last few, though there’s one tomorrow I intend to go to.
I’d like to spend a quick moment now expressing my adoration for any of you with similar issues. It might not be writing. It might be spending time with your friends. It might be playing a game you like, or going to work. Often times we experience those moments we want to give up, or points we just can’t pass. Today, I managed to write this blog, despite how hard words have been to put together for me lately. Tomorrow, while I doubt it, I may just end up writing something at the write in.
Never be afraid to admit when you’re overwhelmed. Sometimes we all need to take a step back. We need to breathe, and take things one step at a time. I know I won’t win NaNo, and even writing this blog feels like a big step for me write now. That being said, here it is in black and white.
Just breathe and relax. Sometimes, a smaller goal might be necessary. Even when you’ve managed tougher ones before.

Blog Posts, Books Books

Myself as a Reader/Books Books

I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. I grew up with Harry Potter, with the first book coming out when I was in my first year of primary school, through to the seventh book coming out when I was in my second-to-last year of high school. Even in my final year, I had Rowling’s wizarding fairy tale book, Tales of Beadle the Bard to entertain me and keep me going through the school year.

I can vividly remember starting a new school in year five, clutching my copy of the fourth book to my chest. I regret to say that as a child, I wasn’t necessarily good at looking after books, and with my intense love for this series, my copies were so well-read that the hard covers ended up off the books, and the books themselves rather water-logged due to an unfortunate habit of reading in a bath. I have since perfected this habit, along with one of reading in a pool, to the point where any book is perfectly safe within my hands while I soak in the water that I love. Though, that can be a tale for another day.

For father’s day when I was five years old I read my first ever book aloud to my grandfather, at Pancake Manor. He was appropriately delighted as I regaled him with the story of Sam I am, while reading Green Eggs and Ham. My love for books has only grown as I have. I can now appreciate the Harry Potter series as more than just an entertaining children’s story. Just as I can now appreciate the amazing story behind Green Eggs and Ham, as Dr Seuss. An entire story, written with only 50 words.

While my love for books has eventually evolved to wanting to write, to leave my own mark on the world, and to edit, to help others achieve their goals, my love of reading rarely waivers. I have my slumps, of course. Most people do. Even in the middle of my deepest slumps, however, I can always be found with at least one book in my bag. (Though most often it’s two or more. In case I finish one.) In the past I have tried having ereaders, for the convenience of a library in my bag, along with cheaper books. However, at the end of the day, for me in particular—although I am certain there are others who share my preference—nothing will ever beat the feeling of a real book in my hands.

In January, I set myself three book-related goals to achieve by the end of the year. At the moment, it isn’t looking like I will achieve two of them, although that’s not to say it’s impossible. My first goal was to read at least 100 books by the end of the year. This is after I achieved last years goal of reading 52 books, of which I achieved a little over 70. It is currently the tenth month, and I am sitting on 76 books read. Not where I would ideally be sitting, this late in the year, although that does not mean it’s not still achievable.

My second goal has already been achieved, although half by accident. Recently, I made a promise to myself to stop buying so many books. My hope is to save my money, so that I might move down to Victoria after I have finished my study. I broke that just this Wednesday, however, after I finished A Promise of Fire, the first book in The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet. I had to immediately go out and purchase the next two books in the series. I may also have bought The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs while I was there, after having watched the recent film adaptation. These three books apparently helped me move up from my gold QBD card, to a platinum one, which was my second book-related goal.

Finally, my third goal for the year, which I am a mere thirteen books away from completing, is to read the entirety of Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Discworld series. Through the year, I have been working through the books.

My third goal is one two things which has been helping me toward my first goal, with the second thing being a subscription to the wonderful YA book-to-your-door service of Owl Crate. I have been subscribed since early last year, and never once regretted it. Once a month I have a package delivered to me, with a new book, along with a number of wonderful things related to the book. I have two beautiful and unique Harry Potter mugs. (One day I’ll have to find which crate I missed had the first one, so I can collect what I am certain will eventually be a beautiful set.)

Last month’s book was Mirage by Somaiya Daud. When I receive my Owl Crate, I refrain from looking anything up about the author or the book, until I have finished it. So with every one of the books I have read from them, I have gone in unaware as to what I might expect. This is how I read Mirage. Naturally, just with every other book I have received so far from this service, I absolutely loved it.

So, this is where I plan to start something that I have been wanting to do for a while. For a few years now, I have been thinking about starting a YouTube channel, where I discuss books that I have read, and my thoughts regarding them. However, without a good webcam or microphone, this isn’t something that I am likely to begin any time soon. Instead, I will begin slowly by simply posting my reviews online. Conveniently I now have a blog for it!

I hope to commit to posting a review every Friday. Please, wish me luck in this endeavour for the future. Along with the entire endeavour to put myself out there as a freelance Creative Writer, and Editor.

Book’s Books

In Daud’s note to readers that accompanied her book in its Owl Crate packaging, she mentioned that she has written other novels, though Mirage is her debut. What an absolutely stunning debut it is. It wasn’t hard for me to find myself on Andala and its moons among a conquered populace. I felt for Amani’s plight as she struggled to become someone so different to the kind and loving person she is at heart.

Amani was a lovely protagonist, a poet with a heart big enough to love even those who pulled her from her family. Through the course of the novel she grows from a simple farmer’s daughter, to someone who can hold her own amid a court of vipers.

The tale was a beautiful rendition of The Prince and the Pauper with its own wonderful twists and turns. While look-alikes Marim and Amani hardly trade places for fun, Amani still has a chance to enjoy the splendours of life as a Princess for a change, while Marim finds herself with a confidante.

I am most desperately looking forward to a sequel already. While I was nearing the end I found myself convinced that Amani’s tale could not yet be over. As I came to the last few pages I grew more certain, until I closed the book with a delicious sense of unsatisfaction. The first story has been told, certainly, but there is more to come which I shall no doubt relish reading.

Perhaps one day I will devise some sort of rating system for the novels I review, although for now I think I’ll simply leave things in a different manner. For me, a true test of a book is whether or not I wish to reread it. While some books lead me on with promises of sequels, I may not necessarily go back and reread them. Mirage however, is certainly something that I can envision myself reading at least once more in the future.

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Welcome to October

It’s coming into October, my favourite month of the year. Ever since I was a child, I have always loved Halloween. Imagine my disappointment to have been born in Australia, one of the few big Western nations that doesn’t particularly celebrate Halloween. Naturally, all the Australia’s love for all things American when it comes to TV just made everything worse. After all, is an American TV show without a Halloween special actually an American TV show? I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, Halloween not being overly celebrated in Australia never stopped me from trick-or-treating. My Mum and Nana would help me with a costume, and then my god-sisters and myself would walk around my Nana and Grandad’s neighbourhood. I have no idea how Americans always seem to have pillowcases filled with candy by the time they walk around a neighbourhood. I mean, sure, perhaps the neighbourhood I would walk around wasn’t quite as big as the American neighbourhoods, but that wasn’t the real problem. The problem was that no one was prepared for trick-or-treaters to come around. Not when I was growing up. Well, no one is an overstatement. A few people had some candy or chocolate bars. The vast majority, however, would just shrug and say “Oh, it’s Halloween? Sorry, I don’t have anything for you.” A couple of people were really nice, and they would give us two dollar coins instead.

The world is changing, and I like the way it’s changing. Now it’s becoming common for children in Australia to trick-or-treat. We still have a long way to go before it’s as normal as it is in other countries, such as America, but we have come quite far from when I used to be the only child in the neighbourhood to go trick-or-treating. There’s even a set of rules that are being generally acknowledged by parents, children, and just people living in houses. If you wish to participate and have trick-or-treaters come to your house to give away candy, you just leave your outside light on. So parents will take their children around neighbourhoods, going to houses with their lights on. One day it may even be as common here as it is in the United States.

I don’t go trick-or-treating any more. I’m a bit too old for that now, sadly, and don’t have any children to escort around. Maybe one day I might steal a child from a friend. That’s not to say that Halloween is any less boring as an adult. Now, I can just buy all the candy I want to eat and binge-watch Halloween movies.

Which is, of course, my plan for this Halloween. I have a bunch of friends who I plan to voice call while watching the wonderful world of Halloween movies. The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Hocus Pocus are naturally two of the first movies on our list. Of course we’re also going to be watching some Beeltejuice as well. There are just so many other good Halloween movies out there as well that I don’t know what else to add to our list. Especially since I’m trying to educate a couple of my friends, who haven’t seen some of these movies before. (I know, believe me, I’m just as shocked as you are. Don’t worry though, they have agreed to being educated.) Any particularly important must-see Halloween movie suggestions would be more than welcome.

There are three other things that I’m particularly looking forward to this wonderful spooky month. Firstly, there are Halloween events. I don’t necessarily mean at bars, or places like that. Although if I can find any events like that, I may very well do just that. However, what I am talking about is the wonderful world of gaming events. Okay, so, the one game in particular, although I can hope that other games might also have events. For example, I’m hopeful that the Harry Potter mobile game, Mystery at Hogwarts, might have a Halloween event. Given that it’s still a growing game and mostly in development, I would not be surprised if such an event didn’t happen this year, however they are doing some events for unique skins fairly regularly, so I think my hope may just pay out.

The game I’m particularly looking forward to, however, is Overwatch. Now, I haven’t been playing this game since it came out. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not good at it. I’d like to be, but I’m only a lowly bronze player. (In comp as well as border). Maybe upgrading to a better mouse and keyboard might help with that for me. Or maybe I’ll just find out that no, I’m still horrible at it. Though, my skill level isn’t the point I want to talk about right now. Instead, I want to talk about the Halloween event. I had so much fun last year when playing Junkenstein’s revenge. It was the first special event arcade mode that I played, since I joined at the end of the Anniversary event last year.

Overwatch is great, I’ve been enjoying playing it a lot lately. Although it’s one of those things that’s definitely better with friends. Even better when it has those Player vs Environment events, as opposed to constantly Player vs Player. I’m just going to ignore the whole trend towards Battle Royale that games seem to be going to at the moment due to the popularity of some certain free to play ones, because let’s face it, those modes are undoubtedly my least favourite. The PvE modes, however, Junkenstein’s Revenge, Uprising, and Retribution are some of my favourites. Let’s face it, Overwatch players can get quite salty sometimes, whether you’re playing with them or against them. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing competitive, quick play, or arcade, unless you’re playing with a six stack, you’ll almost inevitably find a teammate who doesn’t co-operate. That’s not to say that you don’t find that in those PvE modes. In fact, sometimes you get players who either disconnect or purposefully leave, which results in a very unbalanced group, since unlike other game modes, there isn’t any back-fill for these PvE games, which are designed for four players to work together.

The game mode isn’t the only thing that’s got me excited. I’m a pretty big fan of some of the skins that already exist in the game, but Halloween skins will always be among my favourite on any game that has such a mechanic. Some of the ones that I got last year during the event are still up there among my most-used skins. The Dragon Symmetra skin, and the Cultist Zenyatta skin in particular are absolutely wonderful. As someone who currently “mains” Moira, I’m naturally hoping and praying for a Goblin Queen Labyrinth-style skin. If not this event, perhaps I’ll be lucky next year.

The second exciting thing about this month is that it’s going to be my last month at university. Now, I’m not going to say forever, at this point. I know myself too well to say that. Maybe one day I’ll go on to do a Masters. For the moment, however, with what I’m currently studying, I am nearly done. This is both exciting and absolutely terrifying for me. Having to go out into the real world as an adult with a degree? What on Earth will I do? It doesn’t help that it’s a Fine Arts degree. I’m just going to be so employable!

The third thing that’s happening this month is connected to the second, and is essentially the main reason I’m writing this whole thing right now in the first place. I’ve just spent the past three years working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing. Naturally I want to go on to do something with this. Which is why I’m starting this blog. The blog is just a small part, of course. I’ve also taken steps to become a sole trader, so that I can begin getting paid for writing and editing. It feels like a big step for me, quite possibly because it is. I’m going to be putting myself out there, which hasn’t always ended well for me in the past. Not that such things have always ended horribly for me, but when you have anxiety, you always begin to expect the worst.

So here goes, the first blog for my site, talking about my favourite month, and letting everyone know that Marlee McDougall, writer and editor, is officially open for business.