New short story! A holiday classic! Holy text of the Archussip religion! What?

A brand-new short story has gone up for the holiday season! In chapter 7 of Wandering Fortunes, the religion of Archussip was mentioned and talked about. This is the holy text of that religion. It is a moral-addled story of why you should obey the invisible pony sky god, Gourd, and why They are so great and why science is so bad? And also, Hollywood?

I wouldn’t call it a mess, per se… I’d call it a religious text. Archussipism is a religion rivaling that of, say, Scientology, or Mormonism, or… Catholicism.

feel free to tell me what you think!!

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New Wandering Fortunes chapter a day early!

It’s the spooky day of Halloween, so let’s have a new Wandering Fortunes chapter a day early with the frightening prospect of singing oh no! Oh, there’s also horrible monstrous abominations, too. Chapter 11: Traveling Down Terrible Lane. Will they get out of this one? Will they find a job? Will Top pick up a new instrument?

By the way, having a chapter of scary monsters on Halloween was not planned. This was a coincidence. A scary coincidence!

Speaking of scary, I really hope to have news on the final release of Darmenzi in November. I’m hoping to have that news before the month is half over, at that. Regardless, those who give to my Patreon at $3/month will get to read the final book a month early, so that’s cool! A free copy a month early, at that. Anyone giving at any level gets a free copy when it releases. Also, patrons can learn more about the Schalindras later today when I post a profile on them. Plus you’ll get to read chapter 12 half a month early, in mid-November! So what are you waiting for? Begging? Because that seems like jumping the shark. What? You now want me to beg while jumping a shark? … i’ll think about it

Snapped at Work: Don’t Work a Job You Hate

Let me get real with you for a moment.

I snapped at my dayjob on Sunday.

So I worked selling health insurance at a call center. People called in, I would talk to them, figure out what the best plan would be (spoilers the best plan for everyone is single payer/Medicare for all but that’s besides the point, not really), and then enroll them into it. I did not like a single part of this.

I don’t like talking on the phone. I don’t even really like verbally talking. I can go a week without talking to anyone and be fine; at this job I could have to talk to 250 people in one week. I’m no good at small talk. I’m not great at multitasking. I’m not a salesman. And I don’t like health insurance. I HATE health insurance. It’s a garbage system that results in overpriced garbage. People pay money to get mediocre insurance and that money then goes towards trying to convince other people to get mediocre insurance that will fund more advertising for… I mean, Aetna (the company that the program I was on was contracted with) gave people $10 Visa reward cards for calling and going to meetings. This is the most capitalistic garbage nonsense and I got sick from so many people calling in literally because $10 is this giant boon to them because our garbage society makes people live off garbage to survive so that a select few can own the figgin solar system. I’m getting off-topic.

So what was I doing there? I mean at the end I wasn’t even sure anymore, but how did I get into this job? I was fresh outta college and needed a job because I rashly decided college would be a good idea without considering the fact it’s only a good idea if you can either do it free or do it specifically to become massively rich at the expense of everything else, possibly including the college you went to. I went to a temp agency and got a job at this health insurance place. No real job interview, I just started. Even though I was bad at basically everything the job needed.

Anyway this has been boiling for two years starting when there was mandatory overtime because we were way too busy because the system is stupid for only letting people enroll in a small 2-month window and they don’t have enough people working because presumably no one in their right mind wants to work there?? Between the actual work and my hate for health insurance things, as I said, just kind of boiled until I finally exploded on Sunday. It wasn’t this one thing–it never is, is it?–this was just the, as they say, last straw that broke the camel’s backlog. The pot had been so close to boiling over for so long, this one thing finally overflowed it like fireworks.

Unexpectedly, this final straw was a rude caller. And honestly I can’t blame them for it, they said they’d spent an hour and a half on the phone, the worst communication system humans have ever created. Usually I could deal with rude callers, but between the stress of the Aetna program, hating health insurance more, and just generally feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing anymore, I finally snapped. I later realized it wasn’t even because she was rude, it was because I couldn’t help her well. My being there was a detriment not just to myself but to everyone I talked to. It turns out capitalism can lead to terrible results when someone gets stuck at a job they don’t like and can’t do well! If I liked the job, that would be different, but since I didn’t that could only lead to worse outcomes. If I can’t get a job I at least like, I should get one where I make, if not a net positive outcome, at least not a net negative one.

When I snapped I at least still had the awareness to mute myself but then I just went at it, screaming and throwing some stuff, I’m pretty sure I threw my headset and I know I threw my water bottle. I seriously don’t even know what I said. I might’ve said “I’m done,” “I quit,” I probably said, “I hate health insurance,” I think I might’ve swore once?? I definitely screamed. I think I threw my water bottle down, it bounced up, and then landed in a trash can–almost, but when I thought it did, I was still flippant enough to stop for a moment and remark on having made a basket. (All I know how to do is make jokes, Someone Please Hire Me To Write Jokes, Oh Gourd I Need To Get Out Of Indiana, The Land Without Jokes.)

One of my supervisors came over to calm me down, asked me if I needed to take a walk. I did. It was sprinkling outside. So was I. I swear I haven’t cried in a long, long time, but I did. I sobbed a little, even. (In retrospect I wish I’d sobbed and cried harder, even when alone I tried not to but honestly it would have been a lot more cathartic I think if I’d just bawled like crazy. I’m thinking of heading out to the lake one of these days and just screaming across it, seeing if I still have some emotions pent-up in there, because whenever I think about it I’m like “okay i would actually rather like to cry like that again please”.)

I walked to the end of the parking lot. I seem to remember thinking I laughed a little because of how long I’d held it all in, but if I’m being honest with myself there was no laughter there. When I finally went back inside my supervisor had organized my stuff for me. Let me tell you, the only thing I regret from this is that I had hoped to leave the job with some dignity intact, because the only thing I liked about the job was almost all my coworkers were nice and wonderful people. If any of you somehow read this, you’re all probably great and I’m still sorry I didn’t leave before I exploded. I really shouldn’t have come back after this year’s furlough, but I just didn’t realize how close to my breaking point I’d been at. And, you know, capitalism. I “need” a “job.” Well, I need money is what I need, but a universal basic guaranteed income is still a long ways away, it seems.

I’ve been looking for a job just about all year. In the last several months I’ve started just applying to everywhere I might be able to reasonably be hired at and do. That means no more customer rep or sales though. The fewer customers I have to talk to, the better. I do have enough money saved for a time though, and plus I have the figgin most wonderful parents ever, so things will probably be fine. Maybe this can be a turning point, my second novel should release soon (even sooner now that I’m not spending half my figgin time awake doing something I hate), maybe I can become a super success right quick. (Hahaha if only life was a book. Well sometimes it is.)

So why am I writing all this? Originally I just had the idea of a brief explanation just to sort of outline why I might suddenly have more of an online presence again and also why I might not post about single player/Medicare for all every single night (working in health insurance kind of keeps it really far in the forefront of my mind). However, there’s now another reason, and it’s why I’m also going to post this on Medium, and it’s basically this:

If you’re in a job you hate or can’t stand, and you can, leave. Like I said, my only regret is not being able to leave with some dignity. Leave before you explode out of there. If you can’t just leave (insert another rant about capitalism forcing people to work themselves into mental illness and exhaustion), keep looking for another job–don’t stop just because now you have a way to not die, thanks capitalism. Of course, I’m different, I can hardly function in normal society, I can only function on the internet society. But hey, I’m on the internet right now. And what I’ve come to realize is we’re all a lot more similar than we are different.

Anyway, it’s been three days. I should probably call the old dayjob place to confirm with them I’m not coming back.

New Wandering Fortunes chapter is up! Chapter 8: Employment Inefficiency

Chapter 8 of Wandering Fortunes is now up! Our protagonists are off to try and find jobs. It doesn’t go so well. It seems New Zhopolis doesn’t have any job offerings for a beach ball, a wrallot, and a bookworm. Or does it??

Chapters are released early on my Patreon, where pledging just $3 a month will not only get you chapters half a month before everyone else but also new profiles. I’m gonna be putting up the next one today. You also get previews of other stuff–a weekly update where I post a quick excerpt of whatever I worked on in the past week. It’s good content!

Now up, Wandering Fortunes chapter 7: The Obsidian City

Chapter 7 of Wandering Fortunes is now up. The Obsidian City, New Zhopolis, finally appears! Big city! Tall buildings! Dim lights!  Innumerable residents! Numerable but still a pretty high number of species! Subways, districts, roads, vehicles, orators, scam artists, grumps, racism, and jerks, jerks, jerks!

Wait, somewhere along the line that took a turn for the worse. Will the big city turn out to be all that it promises to be? Or will it turn out to be more than that and it turned out we just didn’t hear its promises right the first time?

As always, I post these chapters early for $3+ patrons on Patreon, so this chapter has been available for a couple weeks now and patrons will be able to see more of Alden and his friends’ adventures in The Big City in just a couple weeks. Even if you give just one dollar though you still get to see things early, as I post weekly updates that include a snippet of work much further ahead. You can take a look at a bit of chapter ten already!

150 Encyclopedia Entries; Also, What’s Going on with Me

I’ve talked quite a bit on Obscure Authors Alliance about writing an encyclopedia for a novel’s universe.

My encyclopedia has now reached 150 entries for species, characters, organiztaions, and locations. From the uniquely-shelled arkents to the pragmatic wrallots; from the unfortunately-named Aĉçöís̈ɲđị0 to the giant, yet not massive, Zykardo; 150 entries is a lot. There’s almost 232 words per average here: 34,782 total. And I tend to just work on this during my free time.

Anyway, aside from that, I’ve been working on the personal summary for my 3rd novel (I know, hardly anything said on my 2nd and I’m mentioning my 3rd! But it really is 2 or 3 months before I should have started on it–I just got excited by a friend releasing his novel, so now every few days I work a bit on the summary). I’m also considering starting on some revision for a short story I finished writing a month or two ago.

I know, I know. “What about the 2nd novel??” you ask. Well, frankly, I don’t know who this “you” is. Or are. I’m not sure, I went from using you as a pronoun to a regular noun so it went from 2nd person to 3rd person. Regardless, I’m on the verge of starting the big revision project for that, and yet I pause–I really want to actually get a paying job so I have some money before I get back to heavy writing work. Mostly because I don’t want to break apart writing work with the stress from actually looking for a job.

I currently have about $50 to my name and in about a month I have twice that due in student loans. I don’t think noveling will pay that off just yet. Remind me why taking out a grillion dollars of student loan money was worth a college degree?? Look, all I’m saying is, maybe I should have waited for Obama’s America to reach the colleges and make all colleging free forever.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with me. My plan is to start revising the next novel next month–I want at least 3 months to work on that before NaNoWriMo comes up.

Also, I may or may not start trying to have a new blog post every few days on whatever the hex I can come up with to say, and once a day on Twitter. Will I make this goal? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But I can try!