Another day, another…day.

I have been having a pretty rough time of it lately. Put simply, I’m a wreck.

This is annoying, because I am generally as stable and buoyant as a noble gas, and so I have few coping mechanisms in place for the alternative. My general flash-flood method of tension dispersal–cry hysterically for five minutes, wash face, exhale, get on with life–worked a lot better when there was somebody around to make comforting noises, and I am much too proud to do this to my friends. (This is a failing on my part, not theirs, I hasten to add–they’ve generally been super-supportive. I just can’t shake the feeling that such things are the emotional equivalent of a mugging.)

It would be nice if knowing why one feels things allowed one to then opt out of feeling them. (Actually, that would be seriously awesome.) Unfortunately, you still tend to be stuck with it, you just get impatient with yourself. “Oh, god, are we still on THAT? Can’t we get a new neurosis for a change?”

Me, I’m terrified. It’s almost all fear. The move has been on the horizon for too long, I’ve had too long to mull it over, and while I suspect I’ll be fine once I’m actually underway–“Yarr! Adventure! Look out, world!”–at the moment I am pacing the floors, running through the same terrors in my head, over and over again. What if I fail? What if I flounder? What if I have no friends? What if I make an idiot of myself? What if no one will ever love me again? What if I get rejected? What if I can never trust my instincts again? What if my career crashes and burns for no apparent reason? What if I can’t get into a gallery/sell another book? What if I can’t get health insurance? What if the cat explodes? What if, what if, what if?

Needless to say, this is not constructive. Or restful. I’m still losing weight, but now it’s because the thought of food makes me queasy, which is a sure sign of misery. I’m down to a low size twelve and heading south. Nice, sure, but I generally would rather get there in less self-destructive fashion, and goddamnit, I just bought that pair of jeans…

My friends are long-suffering, some of them because I’ve built up pretty good credit, most of them probably because they realize this is an ultimately self-limiting masochism and will end in about ten days (or at least, I won’t have internet for a few weeks, and thus cannot ambush them in the wee hours of the night.)


This, too, shall pass. Even if I make an idiot of myself and the cat explodes, I’ve still got another forty-odd years to make peace with it, and if my career crashes and burns tomorrow, I can always join the Peace Corps and go plant penguins in Africa or something. Or go stay with my parents for a bit and get a real job. Or…whatever.

I got through my divorce really quite well, if I do say so myself–there’s plenty of emotional landmines lurking, I’m sure, but I was not destroyed by it, I did not unmake myself, and I reconstructed my life quite effectively on the other side. Thanks to some lovely friends–one in particular–I feel quite good about myself in general. And I know that this sort of feeling passes off soon enough. (In about ten days, actually.) It’s almost silly to panic so brutally on the eve of the move, when it’s the one thing that I am sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is absolutely the correct thing to be doing.

This, too, shall pass.

If it doesn’t, I can always bloody well move back–I know I’ve got friends here, and if I’m miserable in California after six months (I’ll give it six months minimum) I can always slink back here and slither back into the remnants of my old life. (Actually, I’ll be back here at some point ANYWAY, since I have stuff here.) I doubt I’ll have to. I’m sure before long, California will be a wild adventure and I’ll wonder what the hell I was ever scared of.

Obviously it’s the unknown. Lovecraft knew what he was talking about.

My grandmother would have handled this fine. She walked through life in the assurance that everyone loved her, and perhaps as a result, everyone did. She plowed ahead through love and terror and more marriages than a Vegas chapel and she was down and out any number of times, and she just kept on going. She was never afraid to throw herself into anything–moves, love, road trips, whatever. I have to be like that. (Okay, possibly without the marriages bit, although I admire her enthusiasm there.) I wish that I could do that, but I have not yet found the trigger for that particular latent DNA. (Or for that insane charisma, either. THAT I’d like to be able to get at. Sheesh.)

Oh, well. In a few months, I will look back and go “What was I ever scared of?” I know this. I know that you cannot fly without first jumping off a cliff, and this is merely–to mix my metaphors badly–my neurotic attempts to tie and retie the knots on the bungie cord before I jump.

This, too, shall pass.


I had dinner tonight with two phone sex operators and an infant.

At one point, we toasted “To the bitch boys! Who made this dinner possible…”

I have very strange friends. Thank god.

Moments of Painful Geekiness

Okay, former Shadowrun players, hands where I can see them…

Do you ever find yourself wandering down the highways and byways of life, and see someone, and find yourself thinking involuntarily “Oh, lord, when the Awakening hits, you are SO going to be a dwarf.” (Or elf, or orc, or troll or whatever…I always seem to meet future dwarves.)

I was at the grocery store today, looked over at the clerk, and thought “Oh, dear lord, get that man a dwarven manifesto.*”

I would be ashamed of my desperate geekiness, but I bet I’m not the only one…

*A relic of my long-running and increasingly lunatic Shadowrun campaign, whereby it was determined that in modern dwarvish society, dwarves exchange manifestos the way some people exchange business cards. Don’t ask. Don’t ask about the chest wigs either.

Okay, here’s a weird question.

Can anybody in the local Raleigh area suggest any good bars?

I can’t stand to be stuck in my apartment in the evenings these days–it feels like the walls are unmaking my brain, and I’m getting majorly twitchy–and all the local coffee shops close well before I’m ready to call it a night. Unfortunately, not being much of a bar hopper, I know few that aren’t slammed all the time. I would prefer something reasonably quiet rather than crushed to the gills. I’m not a huge drinker–I have one and switch to coke, usually–but given sketchbooks, I can amuse myself for quite awhile.

And no karaoke.

Anybody got any suggestions?

Random Poetry Moment!

Peace in our time was never one of God’s promises ; but back
and forth, live and die, burn and be damned,
The great heart beating, pumping into our arteries His
terrible life.

He is beautiful beyond belief.
And we, God’s apes — or tragic children — share in the beauty.
We see it above our torment, that’s what life’s for.
He is no God of love, no justice of a little city like Dante’s
Florence, no anthropoid God
Making commandments, : this is the God who does not care
and will never cease.

Robinson Jeffers, from “The Great Explosion.”

(A chunk of a poem from a poet that I had encountered in–of all places, I think a chapter quote from Watership Down or something–and finally found via Metafilter. This bit struck me for some reason.)

All those handy soaps are not quite available to order, but the charming Ellen Million would like to gauge some interest so she knows how much to order! So if you’re interested in any of the ElderSoap, Naked Mole Rat Soap, or Savage Orange, boogie on over to Ellen’s poll and let her know!

Blarrgh. I woke up this morning at seven AM with that familiar tooth-falling-out nightmare.

That one hasn’t bothered me in a long time–once I actually had a crown fall out, and had to cement it back in until I could get to a dentist, it became a familiar terror, and my subconscious was forced to retire it and stick to the other perennial favorites, which in my case are “attacking thing that won’t die,” and “animals dying in cages because I forgot about them,” with occasional terribly rare cameos by “my tattoo is broken/vanishing.” (I had thing-that-won’t-die a few weeks back, but fortunately have been spared the cages so far, and the tattoo one almost HAS to be tied up in identity issues, which generally aren’t a problem for me these days.)

I also frequently have moving nightmares, but when you’re actually moving, the brain hates to be so predictable. (And I’ve had dreadful Con anxiety dreams before, the most memorable of which involved being attacked by zombies, and as I went down, my last dying thought was “I think we’re out of Bad Egg t-shirts…” But I only get those the week before cons.)

However, apparently the statute of limitations on tooth dreams passed or something, so there it was again. It was fairly mild–one broken eyetooth–and I knew where a dentist was, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, but I still woke up with that sick “urrrrgghhh…” sensation.

It’s a common dream, and while I put very little stock in dream interpretation beyond the glaringly obvious, the glaringly obvious in this case links it to a sensation of situations out of control. Which, since I’m still panicky about all the stuff that needs to get done before I move, is pretty understandable.

I think I’ll go risk the bad ozone day and scurry around the lake while it’s still early, just to excise the demons. Then I’ll come back and start trying to knock down some of these things-to-do, in hopes of forestalling any more such nightmares.

And I see the dentist next week anyway.

Digger Guest Strips!

Okay, gang!

Once again, real life defeats me. (Last time, I swear. I knew the move would probably do it, mind you…)

So Digger’ll have a brief hiatus while I’m on the road/moving, probably lasting about three weeks. During that time, I’ll run sketches and whatnot!

However, if anybody has any guest art they wanna send me–guest strips, splash art, anything Digger-related–I would be delirious with joy!

You can send ’em to ursulav (at) and thanks!

The Suitcase!

Oh my god! The suitcase is GONE!

…that may require some explanation.

Shortly after I moved into my current apartment, some seven months ago, a suitcase appeared on the landing outside my door. I assumed that it belonged to an inhabitant of the apartment across the landing. It was large and red and leathery and leaned up against the railing.

And there it sat.

And sat.

And sat.

Friends coming over to the apartment began to ask things like “How long has that been here?” and “Whoa, it’s still here?”

It continued to sit. Dust gathered, and pollen. The suitcase endured.

I began to construct elaborate theories as to the contents. A dead body? Nah…would’ve smelled it by now. Drugs? Weird place to store them. An ex-boyfriend’s stuff was far and away the most likely explanation–arguably I may have been projecting, but still, struck me as the most plausible, except that he presumably hadn’t come back to pick them up. (Now, some of us would have realized this after a week or so and either dragged the suitcase back in, or thrown it away, but apparently the inhabitants of said apartment were either not particular observant or were REALLY trying to prove a point.)

The suitcase continued to lurk.

After about four months, I stopped even noticing it. If it was an alien lifeform trying to lull me into complacency, waiting to flop open a gaping  fabric maw, close the flaps over my legs and devour me with a wicked buzz of zippers, it had succeeded in putting me off my guard. I was ripe for  suitcase predation. Didn’t happen.

And today, it has vanished.

Good luck, ancient suitcase, wherever you are! You were a landmark in an inconstant world. Farewell.

Well, I feel better today. Whiskey and a friend who really needs to keep a Roman collar in his wardrobe for what is obviously a well-practiced role as Father Confessor improved things immensely. I am still frazzled, but at least it’s a comprehensible frazzlement. Thank you for all your good wishes and offers of e-booze.

Phew. And back to work we go, too much to do, too little time…