Hello! It’s been a few months, and the world’s a completely different place now, except the same in all the strangest ways. Like many of us, I lost my job due to the pandemic. Problematic because my bills don’t stop, but a possible boon for folks because it means, when I’m not working on the freelance I manage to draw in, I’m working on translations. There’s one ongoing project I can’t really talk much about (though you likely know about it if you’re involved in any way in the world of modern destreza). There’s also the dribs and drabs of free stuff that I will always post here. I want to make that clear: I will not stop working on things that I send out into the world for free. That said, though, I do need to supplement my income in any way possible. And that’s why I’ve started a Patreon. … Read on!
Before I begin, I just need to say I hate the new WordPress text editor and need to figure out how to revert. This is infuriating. Anyway. Back when I was in New York, practicing iaido, every new year of practice we’d rededicate ourselves to our studies by performing a thousand cuts. I can’t entirely remember if we only did one kind of cut, but these days, I have to vary it up. That said, the cuts aren’t the meat of the matter of this post. A significant part of my Destreza practice is reading and translation. There’s painfully little original LVD material available in English, and I’m one of the handful of people well placed to solve it. So here’s a variation on the thousand cuts, and symbolic rededication to my practice. I’ve been working on the off-hand section of Figueiredo’s Oplosophia for a few years now, very intermittently. … Read on!
Yeah, it’s been like, forever. But I’m still alive, and around, and still writing and editing and swording and translating. I hope all of you are well and feeling reasonably successful in your endeavors. I’m still plugging away, feeling like it’s three steps forward and two steps back, but at least I’m making some small headway. While I’m here — I have yet to receive my copy due to logistical kerfuffles, but I’m eagerly awaiting Tim Rivera’s translation of Godinho’s Art of Fencing! Not only has he translated the text, but he’s also included a lot of additional material, extracting and collecting key points in easily findable ways. In other news, I presented a taster course workshop on Godinho at Swordplay 2017 which was well-received, and learned a ton from other presenters (including Skye Hilton and Steaphen Fick), and had a lot of (never enough) bouts with fantastic friends old … Read on!
People reinvent themselves all the time, sometimes willingly, and sometimes not. I try to improve, you know, refine myself as best I can. Some of it’s for selfish reasons — I want more attention, adulation, admiration, but other reasons are more sensible. I want to lessen cognitive load. I want to be more efficient about the things I do and how I do them. I’m coming to the end of my fortieth year on this earth, and it hasn’t been so much of a reckoning as it’s been a deliberate slowing down. It’s not perfect by any means. I still commit when maybe I shouldn’t, but I’m no longer drowning. I still get angry with myself, but I find more spaces for kindness and forgiveness than I once did, however hard that may be. I want to come to see this blog as a thing I look forward to. Right … Read on!
I have alway been terrible at organizing. I used to think it was a deep character flaw, some horrible persistent weakness of will and manifestation of laziness until my ADHD diagnosis. Now I know it’s neurological. That does not stop me from wanting to be organized, though. So here’s the thing: what strategies and tools are out there for folks like me who go into brain static lock at the idea of putting things all in a row? Truth be told, there’s not much, at least not that I’ve found. A lot of suggestions involve post-its or catastrophic decluttering or getting an org-buddy or fancy containers. If you’re like me, though, none of this works — it’s just inert stuff or unrealistic divestiture of goods or more clutter. But there are some things that have drawn my attention; their concepts are appealing, or there’s a subsonic hum of logic that … Read on!
I participated in my first HEMA event (held at History Alive at Fort Lytton) as a competitor on Saturday, which was loads of fun, despite the cold that was sinking into my sinuses just the night before. I only competed in rapier, and lost far, far more than I won. It was easy to ignore the mild sting of defeat, though, because all the people I fought were smart and friendly and lovely and it was all a very good time. And it was easy to ignore the mild sting of defeat because I learned A LOT. Like, way a lot, like the kind of a lot that makes me regret not having a notebook to hand at the event because I’m worried I might have forgotten some insights between then and now. As for that cold: I paid for it today. I feel like I’ve taken a sledgehammer to … Read on!
I mean, sure, it happens to all of us. For me, though, I feel like it happens in flurries. Long stretches of nothing really worrying and then a series of days where things just sort of keep going wrong. Am I having a whinge? Yeah, sure. But humor me. When I was a kid, sick days were about not doing anything, mainly because I didn’t want to do something. Or anything. When I became a grown-up, that sort of still held true for jobs that made me utterly miserable (and we have all had them at one time or another). On those days that I really was unwell, I was kind of happy to take on feverish, barfy hours of unpleasantness to have the privilege of not being in the office. Except now I work in a place where I like what I do and I like the people who … Read on!
Below is an episode of Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project, where Adam talks about overcoming self doubt — he describes a week in which he questioned whether he should be doing builds at all, after a particularly rough build, and talks about how he got himself out of that funk. The relevant bit starts at 4:30 and goes on for about 15 minutes. It’s important to know that someone with as much experience as Adam Savage gets impostor syndrome about the thing that he does best. It’s a thing. We all get it. And it hammered him for a whole week. It happens in different phases of creation, too. His initial trigger was feeling like he just couldn’t get a series of precise machinings right, that he kept screwing up in the workshop. That’s impostor syndrome that strikes during the creative process. You hit a hard part, you come up … Read on!
I’ve talked a bunch about time management, but these days I know it’s as much a neurological issue as it is a quirk. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, which is a really nice change of pace, but that the things I want to say are important enough to me to want to spend a reasonable amount of time to get them written with full attention and now you can see this temporal ouroboros starting to turn, can’t you? I found the parenting article that I wanted to edge into self-care; I hit my 40th birthday and received so much love an esteem from friends and family all over the world I trip over myself to say thank you in a way that I feel is commensurate to the wonder that came my way; I ran out of my prescription and went a few days without it … Read on!
I was thinking, yesterday, of preparation. It’s not something I have a really good grasp of outside of very formal or important situations, mainly because I seem to think that people, on the whole, don’t have to do much preparation to get smaller things done in their lives. Like get dressed in the morning. I know I stress less if I don’t have to make choices when my mind’s not up to speed, which is the majority of a morning. I can if the scope is limited (find error in text, fix error in text) but not if the scope is open (I literally have twelve different top combinations I can put on for work this morning OH GOD NO). I’ve done that sort of thing before — prepping wardrobe at an hour where my brain’s warmed up and okay with picking things out — though I often fall out … Read on!