Homemade Pumpkin Pie + Seeds Recipe (Part 1 of 2, the Puree and the Seeds)

Link HERE for my post on the Never Fail Pie Crust Recipe that, surprise surprise, never fails.

(And so we [my family] use it always :D)

But you’re here for the actual PIE, right? RIGHT! Well that’s not happening until Part 2 (because I need the pie for the weekend, and this is still Monday!) but there will be a link to the recipe in half a moment, so chill.

I’m going to say right now that this isn’t my recipe any more than the pie crust recipe is mine–it just so happens that this is my favourite recipe, and it’s fun sharing good things. This is pretty easy considering it’s a from-scratch recipe (which translates to using an actual pumpkin, stand by for directions on THAT), which is why I’m sharing 🙂

Link HERE for the Suzannes Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Recipe. Follow that link for the less story-filled recipe, and/or read on here for what I find to be useful, along with pictures and MY recipe for pumpkin seeds–

Yeah, I lay claim on the easiest part of this recipe. But they will be THE BEST PUMPKIN SEEDS YOU WILL EVER EAT.

YEAH. And now that you’ve been sufficiently pumped up, enjoy the recipe!

I’ll re-list the ingredients once I get to the pie portion of the post, but for now make sure you have 2 sugar pumpkins (/pie pumpkins… they’re the smaller pumpkins, pretty much. Ask your local grocer to direct you if you’re unsure), and preheat your oven to 350F.

Wash the outside of your pumpkin–weird, yes, but this will mean that if there’s anything gross on the outside (dirt, leaves, slugs, etc…) you won’t accidentally contaminate the insides of your pumpkin with that grossness when you cut it open.

Carefully cut your pumpkins in half horizontally (You should have one piece that has the top notch-thing and the bottom, or just look at my pics) and once you’ve scooped the insides from them place them face-down on a tin-foil ( or other) covered baking tray. Don’t add oil or anything, the juices from the pumpkin will do just fine.

Here we see the pumpkins cut and on the baking sheet. Two bowls at the top have pumpkin guts (right) and pumpkin seeds (left).

Here we see the pumpkins cut and on the baking sheet. Two bowls at the top have pumpkin guts (right) and pumpkin seeds (left).

Place pumpkin in 350F oven for 60-90 minutes. (It only took mine an hour to cook–you should be able to poke a fork into it easily.)

While you wait for your pumpkin to cook, go back to those pumpkin seeds from before.

While they’re in that bowl, you’ll notice they’re kind of gross and pumpkin-gutsy, so fill the bowl with lukewarm water. Not to the top, mind, but enough to cover the seeds.

If you were planning on keeping your hands clean, I suggest finding a different technique, but I find putting my hand in the bowl and squeezing and mixing the pumpkin seeds around/together works well to dislodge and pumpkin guts, and it’s pretty easy to pull the larger bits from the bowl.

Strain to remove the water and, because those seeds are probably still a little yuck, pull out a clean towel and pour out seeds onto it. (I know it sounds weird, but bear with me here) If you have a large batch of seeds feel free to do it in sections.

seeds towel

Pumpkin WILL come out of towel.

Fold towel over onto seeds, and rub seeds between, watching the edges to make sure they don’t slip out. This will dry off your seeds and the towel will pull off any stray bits of pumpkin that stuck to your seeds.

Thing is, they should be clean. The Towel thing is just a good way to make sure you don't have little bits of pumpkin guts baked onto your seeds.

Thing is, they should be clean. The Towel thing is just a good way to make sure you don’t have little bits of pumpkin guts baked onto your seeds.

Put them back into the bowl, and pull out canola oil and worcester sauce.

You can do this with oil and salt, or butter and salt, or really any sort of spice/dried herb (cumin, oregano, etc…), but if you have worcester sauce, I strongly suggest you use it. It’s easier to evenly coat the seeds, and you won’t have any seeds that are saltier than the others.

Again, depending on how many seeds you have, you should need about a teaspoon each of the oil and the worcester sauce–you can eyeball it like I usually do, but it doesn’t need all that much. Mix well to coat all the seeds, and set aside.

(I don’t suggest you spread them out on a pan yet, as they can dry out and you should still have some time before you can use the oven.)

DING!

baked pumpkin

The skin will look a little plastic-y after it’s cooked–delicious.

Once the pumpkin is done, remove it from the oven and change the heat from 350F to 300F, and pull out another tray. Cover it with tinfoil (or whatever else you’d like to use to keep it from sticking) and spread out your pumpkin seeds over the surface.

Place in oven once it reaches 300F, and bake for 30-45 minutes, giving a quick stir every 15 minutes. When they are done, they should be a golden colour. If you’re unsure, you can pop one in your mouth to check, and decide for yourself if you need the extra few minutes after the 30min mark. Pumpkin seeds are flexible like that 🙂

You can get them darker than this, I just like them this way. Cook to your tastes.

You can get them darker than this, I just like them this way. Cook to your tastes.

Back to pumpkin

You can either leave it out for longer to cool, or do like I did and handle the pumpkin delicately. Don’t burn yourself.

Scooping out the insides is pretty easy, and pretty self-explanatory. I used a food processor to turn the insides into a puree, doing one pumpkin-half at a time to make sure everything got mixed. Because I’m not going to be cooking the pie until closer to the weekend (Hello from Monday!) I’m putting all of the pumpkin puree into a large freezer bag to ziploc for later.

Cut into strips, the leftover pumpkin skin is a nice treat for your dog if you have one!

11

The Result

The Result

It’s fairly quick and very easy, and you can just put the bag of pumpkin in the fridge until you need it–if it’s not going to be for a long while, measure out the amount you’ll need for your recipe (linked above if you’re using the one I like) and freeze it separately.

Once again, the recipe I’ll be posting (reposting? Is this reblogging? I don’t know, but it’s not my recipe) is HERE, so follow that or wait until I post Part 2 of 2.

I’ll also link it HERE once I’ve posed it.

Have a great day!

BONUS ADVICE:

Don’t leave your bowl of pumpkin guts near the edge of a counter, or anywhere near where you’re working.

You might have a little accident.

You might have a little accident.

But hey, at least you have a towel that’s already pumpkin-y!

Never Fail Pie Crust Recipe

From my Grandma's old recipe book--so you know it's good.

From my Grandma’s old recipe book–so you know it’s good. Also not really a family recipe, but Mrs. Betty knows where it’s at!

Yep, I made the claim, I stand by it.

This pie crust works for everything, and so long as you follow the instructions, it will NEVER FAIL.

EVER.

Good for dessert type pies (Apple, pumpkin, berry, EVERYTHING, etc…) and dinner type pies (Shepherds, Quiche, EVERYTHING, etc…) and for anything else you might need a crust for, this is the recipe my family uses…

I’m sharing secrets, here. Appreciate it.

I’ll type up the recipe for you now, with notes on what’s VERY IMPORTANT to not fail at making this…

And to be clear: It’s very difficult to mess this up.

1 lb of shortening

4.5 cups flour (white)

1 Egg

1 Tbsp. Vinegar

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Baking powder

Water

Measure out the pound of shortening (I know, a whole pound) into the bowl you’ll be doing all the mixing into–so make sure it’ll fit the shortening and 4.5 cups of flour, okay? Set this aside for the moment.

In a separate bowl, measure out the Flour, the Salt, the Baking Powder, and make sure this is thoroughly mixed. Feel free to sift, but a fork works too. Set this aside for the moment.

In a 1 cup measuring device (Like THIS) crack your Egg and add the Vinegar, and mix it up. That fork you used earlier will do the trick, as this is a tiny space for you to try using a whisk.

Now you’ll notice that there is no measurement for how much water you need–that is intentional. You know how eggs come in a variety of sizes? My family usually uses large eggs (Not XL, Just L) in general, but really you can use whatever you have in the house. I don’t suggest you go far from general chicken-egg size (sorry if you were hoping to use quail or ostrich). But to get back on track, the reason for the lack of water measurement is that in that 1 cup measure, you top the egg-vinegar mixture with cold water until it hits the 3/4 cup measuring line. That is how much moisture this needs, no more, no less. Set this aside.

Take your flour mixture and add it to the shorteningdo not use your hands. In my house we use a pastry cutter (Like THIS) to cut the dough, but if you have some other tool, have at it. Just do not use your hands. The point of cutting the dough is to not melt the shortening with the heat from your hands–in bread dough, the heat from your hands starts to activate the yeast in the dough and that’s why it’s good to have really warm hands when you’re a bread maker.

THIS IS NOT THE CASE FOR THIS DOUGH. 

This dough is nice and fluffy and light and delicious, so seriously don’t ruin it. Keep your body heat to yourself.

Cut the dough until it’s thoroughly mixed (when the dough gets stuck to the pastry cutter use a knife or other to dislodge it–no fingers!!) and looks like a cross between wet sand and mashed potatoes. That’s from me, that’s what it looks like to me. Make your own judgement, but the point is to not have loose flour mixture in the bowl and no clumps of floury shortening, and that happens once it reaches wet-sand-mashed-potato stage.

Get that 3/4 filled cup measure of Water, Egg, and Vinegar, and add it to the bowl. Get yourself a large spoon (leave whatever you were using to cut the dough behind) and start mixing. It will still look gloopy when it’s entirely mixed, and that’s ok. That’s good.

Get a large ziploc bag (or other sealing-type-thing) and put all the dough inside, using a spatula on the sides if needed. Get as much air from the bag as you can (Not a big deal if there’s still some air so don’t go crazy manhandling it), seal it, and put it in the fridge.

If you’re planning on using it immediately, it’ll take about an hour for it to firm up, and all you have to do is pull the amount you need from the main dough ball and roll it out on a floured surface as you would normally.

What you don’t use, you can saran wrap up separate portions and put into your freezer for 4-5 months.

It takes me less than half an hour to make a batch, and it’s pretty dish-friendly in that you’ll have very few dishes to deal with afterwards.

The two things to remember for this recipe is

1. Don’t use your hands! and

2. Top up cup measure to 3/4 with cold water AFTER you’ve already got the egg and vinegar in the cup.

Enjoy your pie everyone 🙂

I’ll put up a link later to my apple pie recipe–and that’s one that I got from meshing up several recipes together! It’s delicious.

EDIT: Part 1 of 2 of my Pumpkin Pie Recipe, Part 2 of 2 (To come), Apple Pie Recipe (To come)

New Project for November– ALWAYS CLOUDY

So National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up soon, and I have been trying to figure out what I want to write about this year. 

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of it, NaNoWriMo ( Nah-No-Re-Mo shortened to Nano) is a month-long writing challenge, where you write 1667 words every day. 

Why does that sound so very simple and yet weirdly specific?

Because the actual goal is to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, and to do that your goal is to write at least 1667 words every day during the month of November. 

That’s right, from the bum-end of Halloween to the beginning of socially-acceptable Christmas Music, the challenge is to write a novel. You’ve been planning, in general, to write a novel for some time, and this is a chance to kick into gear, with events in your area with fellow writers if you’re interested, and it’s entirely free. People who reach the 50k goal even get a free printed copy of their very own novel, and discounts for otherwise pricey writing software. 

It’s neat. 

My sister Lexy (link to her blog) has participated with me, and this year we’ve convinced our dear Mother to join the fun.

I’ve participated for roughly 5 years now, and recently succeeded in reaching 50k this summer, in Camp Nano, and have succeeded in 3 of those 5 years… but it’s always a question of what I want to work on. 

Sometimes I’ll work on fanfiction, because I like writing fanfiction, and it’s good to stay in practice. Because fanfiction is writing practice, pretty much. What I post is pretty darn popular, too, so as I post I get a lot of feedback. And that’s nice. Link to my stuff.

But I also do work on my own original stuff… I’ve got a couple of stories ongoing, but I work on them pretty consistently during the year, so when I decide not to write fanfiction in November, I like to start on a whole new story. 

Stretch my literary wings, crease my spine and flap my pages free from previously thought up rules and universes. 

And then I thought up Always Cloudy

I’m going to write a blog-story, from the pov of my main character Sunny. He can control clouds–well, only the one, and it only sort of does what he wants, but it’s not like he can tell anyone about it, so… blogging. Nice and anonymous. 

If you’re interested either click the link above for Sunny’s About Me page, or go to>    cumulonimblog.wordpress.com    <for updates starting November.

Thanks be to Lexy for that gem of a blog name 🙂

Wet Wash Cloths and Comforters– Sleepwalking ‘Pro’ Tip

So I’m an infrequent sleep-walker.

I’m a less infrequent sleep-TALKER, which Lexy updates me on the apparent hilarity my sleeping mind voices, but as I don’t have a “‘pro’ tip”  for that, I’m going to have to leave that topic alone for now.

As you may have guessed, I sleep walked–slept walked?– last night, and I almost made it past my door when a wet wash cloth stopped me.

It may sound a bit odd, but it’s actually pretty impressive. I’ve been rearranging and going through EVERYTHING in my room for roughly the past month (it hasn’t taken that long, the cleaning sessions have simply been spread out), and I’m nearly done but that means that stuff I’m planning on banishing entirely from my room are temporarily taking up floor space so the rest of my family don’t have to deal with it–

So the fact that I MADE it to my door is pretty darn impressive. Dreaming me didn’t even give me any bruises, so yay for that, but WOW. Boxes, laundry baskets, and some stacked other things between bed and door, and dreamer me made it!

Only to be stopped by a wash cloth.

A cold one.

See, being near the end of my cleaning rampage, and having already rearranged my room into something with hopefully less nooks for me to shove things into, I decided sheets were a thing that needed to be dealt with. Unlike Lexy, who has flannel sheets for winter and (I think) cotton ones for summer, I just have the same, super soft cotton ones year-round. I also have this HUGE down comforter that’s just amazing in the winter months–but obviously not so great in the summer.

I dunno if it’s just me, but the transition from Comforter-on-bed to no-comforter-on-bed is a weird one– For half the year you get used to the weight of many blankets, and then everything is too light to sleep once you take that away.

But I also find that when I finally DO remove my comforter, after shoving it aside to a still-giving-off-heat lump of fluff next to me in bed when it’s crazy hot at night, it inevitably turns into a cold snap the night of.

So last night was freezing.

Boxer-shorts and t-shirts are amazing pj wear when it’s hot, but otherwise it’s a no-no.

I think dreaming-me was trying to go in search of blankets.

But was stopped by a wet wash cloth.

If you are curious as to why there’s a wet wash cloth in my room, I will remind you that I’ve been cleaning up my room, moving things around–that means dusting, which translates to using a wet washcloth to wipe everything down. Why was it STILL in my room after I was done with it? Well I was a bit bored of cleaning and didn’t feel like bringing the cloth to the basement for it to be washed, so I just hung it to dry on the door handle to my room.

Yes I’m that lazy when I get bored with something, and hey, it stopped me sleep-walking outside of my room, so.

Sleep-walking me made it across the tripping-hazard that is my room’s floor, and made it to the door, tried to OPEN the door, and was startled by the feel of a cold-wet-something in hand to wake me up.

So.

Do YOU have a sleep-walking problem? Close the door to your room before you go to bed.

Can you open doors when sleep-walking? Well how about a damp wash cloth? Cheaper and safer than a lock on your door!

There’s my sleep-walking tip for you.

*jazzy hands*

Ta da!

Also when changing from winter-appropriate sheets to summer-appropriate sheets, have an extra blanket on hand.

Or make sure your window is closed.

I Am the One Who Knocks (And No One is Home)

oh god ali

So, I’m only now getting into Breaking Bad (I know, shut up, I am the one who knocks last apparently), and found this picture, and turned to show it to my much-farther-into-the-show-than-I-am sister.

She smiled, but looked a bit confused, so I said “It’s blue rock candy,” because that’s probably the only confusing part of the picture.

She gave me a look, and, still smiling, said,

“But why does the baby have a goatee?”

She thought the baby was supposed to be a leprechaun.

A leprechaun guys, a Leprechaun.

She says she worries that she’s living inside of a blonde joke sometimes.

To those in the know of my other blog posts, you can find my sister, Lexy, at the link in her name.

Tired

It’s very easy to wallow in the feeling of sadness and the lack of any urge to do something. 

Very. Very easy.

Especially if you’re experiencing a sudden change in your day-to-day life. You lose some part of the ritual of your 24hr day.

Your pet dies, you lose your job, you move someplace new, you’re removed from someplace you’re comfortable in, you finish a long-term goal… something you’ve been working on is no longer an option, and it’s a weird, sad sort of feeling. 

It makes me tired. 

It seems like suddenly everything on depression has been popping up in videos, has been coming up in articles, in every social media and blog-ish type thing, so in my infinite wisdom, and knowledge of the subject, after noticing this tiredness soon after… a big change in my life, that took away a portion of what I did every day, I’m not quite up to talking/writing about it now, I was like, Ah, Yes, Depression. Hmm

I think the start of depression is enforced stagnation. Except that doesn’t quite get the right idea across, I think. Stagnation in general sounds bad, and, ike flat soda or water that’s been left out too long, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Enforced stagnation sounds a lot like you have no choice but to stagnate. 

Not what I was trying to get across. 

Enforced stagnation is when you’re stuck in a rut, stuck in a divot in your life that so far, no matter how many times you try to pull yourself away from it, you end up rolling back to where you were before. I think some people don’t even notice that it’s happening, which must be even more upsetting as you can look around your divot, see nothing wrong, but still feel unhappy. 

And, seque of all segue’s, I think this is why tiredness goes hand in hand with depression. Because it is very, very easy to get tired of failing. 

Also failing is stressful, and wouldn’t you rather have a nap than deal with stress? I would. 

Because, as Lexy has so eloquently put it, my spirit animal is an ostrich. Avoidance is key. 

But I have a plan to get out of any kind of funk I may soon experience– because this change-in-life-and-daily-ritual of doom actually only happened earlier today, so kudos to myself for jumping on this writing opportunity while it’s still grumbly– but am feeling tired already. 

Like, I wanted to just go to sleep at 7pm. 

I’m 21, got up at about 9am, and was feeling exhausted enough to want to end the day at 7pm.

Fuck if I’m going to let that be my week. 

So, my game plan is to get the ball rolling again. Hard to do, as I think that just before The Change Of Doom the ball had been slowing down exponentially, but still doable. 

So I look at The Big Goal. 

What does it take to get there? Ah, yes, part A must first be completed. 

Want a certain job? What will it take to get there? Schooling? Need money first? Is there another job you can do to get money, or perhaps can you take a course or look for an apprenticeship program so that you can get yourself moving in the direction you want. 

The thing about having a Big Goal is that it’s a bit like a Gorgon. It’s the Medusa of your life. It’s much safer, less likely to freeze you to a standstill–less likely to turn you to stone–if you come at it sideways. Use a mirror and come at it from different angles. 

Or, if Greek Mythology isn’t your thing, how about mountain analogies? Everyone loves those. 

Big Goal is at the top. How do you get there? 

Well, you could climb straight up, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll have the right equipment for it. Much more dangerous, and what if you turn out to be afraid of heights? I’m not saying you shouldn’t face fears, or try something daring, but you should also be aware of your own limits. Push them, but don’t push yourself off the side of a cliff. Because you might just find  better path up the side of the mountain.

It may zig-zag, and hey–there might be parts where you can climb straight up to get to the next part of the path!–but you’ll find waypoints on the path up, you’ll build yourself up along the way, and should you slip…

well. Less of a drop straight down, and much less likely to cripple you. 

Wow I’m cheerful right now.

But now it’s 12 and I’ve challenged myself enough and NOW I can go to sleep.  

 

Waking Up

So I am not an easy person to wake up.

Or rather, I am, but I’m not an easy person to keep up.

I can make myself get up when I feel enough need for it, such as going to work or getting up to bring Gwynn on a walk (when Lexy has crossfit in the morning), but otherwise it’s very easy for me to sleep the day away.

I’m getting much better at getting a regular up-by-X-time sleep schedule, but still I have issues.

I like my sleep.

To give you an idea of what I do to myself to get up, and also what I can go back to sleep after, I illustrated this mornings’ waking.

Lexy has a system where she turns on my light a little while before she actually wants me to get up, which I’m thankful for, but today I had a little early wake-up call…

from my brain.

drawn by me, my brain is a paranoid SOB

drawn by me, my brain is a paranoid SOB

Anxiety over being late is usually what gets me up when I have things like work I absolutely have to go to during the day. If you know what I mean, you can laugh, and if you don’t know what I mean, do you at least know about those dreams you wake up gasping from? You shoot upright, chest tight, anxious… maybe from a dream where you’re falling?

Yeah, well, my brain does that to me with anxiety over being late.

Lexy then turned on my light, I hid from it for a while, and then she told me to get up… I did… and I am ashamed to admit it, but I basically got up, put on chapstick, and went back to my still warm bed.

I feel like I should tell you now that all of my clocks are set at slightly different times, mostly earlier than it actually is, like now where my watch says 11:18am, my phone says 11:15am, and I think my alarm clock upstairs is somewhere in the middle. I know that my watch, at least, is a few minutes ahead of the clock at my work so even when my watch says I’m a few minutes late I can reassure myself that I’m actually going to be exactly on time.

Maybe early.

Maybe within the 5 minute grace time given for when you can clock in.

But I digress.

Shameful but comfortable me of this morning knew I had to get up sooner rather than later, but I could languish a little bit longer.

Then, wake-up-attack #3 (though I think of it as #2, really, as Lexy’s approach is less of an attack and more like a peaceful take-over) starts up.

My phone is bubbly. Also named Dam. Because when I first got it it autocorrected "Damn Phone" Into "Dan Phone" And that's as close to an introduction as I think we'll ever get.

My phone is bubbly. Also named Dam. Because when I first got it it autocorrected “Damn Phone” Into “Dan Phone” And that’s as close to an introduction as I think we’ll ever get.

I have multiple alarms set on my phone, and most of them with different songs so I can’t get used to one sound and tune it out, and this usually works.

Not today.

The fumbling of trying to figure out how to snooze my new phone are done with, and now I know just where to swipe to snooze it, just how to flail to always reach it, and that alarm is silenced.

But there is still yet one more attack.

I’m going to pause here to say that I don’t think my alarm likes getting up any more than I do. The buttons are old and don’t really work that great–the snooze works fine, thank the gods, but if I want to change the hour I’m supposed to get up, instead of hitting it once, twice, 23x’s for earlier wake-ups, I have to keep on clicking at it until I find the right angle and the right pressure, otherwise it doesn’t change.

MY alarm is old, has room for a cassette tape, has stubborn buttons, and doesn’t like getting up any more than I do.

It must collect the souls in the dark of night, which is why it hates getting up so early

It must collect the souls in the dark of night, which is why it hates getting up so early

And also lets out a sound like the screams of the damned mixed with a fog horn.

Where my brain fails to scare me out of bed, my alarm always wins.

And that’s how I get up in the morning.

P.S. Lexy the walk went fine this morning, both dogs are passed out and slightly damp, but…

I went down to MC park and it was a slush field.

Still a good walk.

Calvin seems happy too 🙂

Gwynn: Orange Fluff Aussie Doodle Calvin: Sausage-y fluff Corgi

Gwynn: Orange Fluff Aussie Doodle
Calvin: Sausage-y fluff Corgi

Stress Direction and the Time I Have To Do Things

So I haven’t posted anything here very recently–hell, last thing I posted was a picture of a goat (which I swear is more impressive than it sounds) I drew for one of my sister’s stories.

I don’t think I have quite the steady readership here, but I do write elsewhere (fanfiction, mostly, on Archive Of Our Own, and Fanfiction.net), and I do actually have regular visitors to many of my stories.

Hell, in a world of usernames mostly made or kept from your tweens or drunken haha-this-is-obviously-the-best-idea‘s, I recognize a rather astonishing amount of usernames and profile pictures that aren’t actually of people. (Hahaha, yes, so sayeth Doodled93 with a Halloween costumed selfie to the one side and a picture of my dog on the other. But my username is an adaption of a childhood nickname and the creative use of my birth year, so.)

But the thing is, I have a pretty steady readership in my fanfiction plunges, people I’m surprised to see reviewing/commenting on one story or another because they’re usually commenting on other fandoms I’ve written in, and usually it’s pretty nice. The thing I like about Ao3 (archive of our own, for those not in the know) is how friendly everyone is, and while part of that, I think, is because you have to join a usually quick waiting list to even get an account (whereas there are many dud ffn.net accounts), but also because people looking into fanfiction are generally pretty nice.

Actually care about what you post, the quality you crank out, and people will respond.

I think the most negative comments I get nowadays is from people reviewing for the first time a story I wrote nearly, gosh, 8 years ago now(02/14), and it’s mostly about the overuse of some punctuation.

But the negative comments I get aren’t the annoying ones, not really, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but berating and shouting at me for not having updated one story in a while gets me stressed and annoyed and a bit spiteful. 

It’s the stressed part of that mix that I’m going to be focusing on today, but you should really pay attention to the fact that when I get annoyed I get spiteful.

If you’ve read anything of mine before this, of the non-fiction side of things, you’ll know that I’ve had a lot to say about stress. I’ve written about stressful situations, I’ve written about what stress is really like for me, I’ve even just tagged posts as ‘stress’ or ‘stressful’ simply because writing about it gets my anxiety up.

I don’t deal with stress well.

I think I’ve gotten better, in that instead of bottling it up I let it out in bursts to Lexy and internet and real life friends in short bursts, but I still have the avoid-it instinct…

Do you see why it is doubly unwise to yell at me and snark about when I’ll likely update?

Because I’m NOT a writer that can work within a certain deadline, I am simply one that can work within parameters. Hmm, should this story be 10k/chapter, or maybe 5k, or should this be every 7 pages, or… hmm. When should I be updating this, because otherwise the chapter will either go on forever or else never get worked on due to its open-ended-ness.

When I was in a bad way after Ottawa-related failings, I was stressed and unhappy and trying my best to avoid real life and all that comes with that, and so I got quite a bit of writing done.

Because when you’re avoiding real life, fiction is where it’s at.

Or just the internet in general.

I read and wrote a hell of a lot, and was unemployed so I had all the time I could possibly want and/or need, and basically turned all my attention towards plot, character development, 10k long chapters, and taking breaks in-between to finish whole seasons of TV shows. As uncomfortable as it may seem to you, I wallowed in unemployment and a feeling of failure but was 80% oblivious to it because 80% of my day was turned towards fictional drama, and a large part of the remaining 20% was eating and sleeping in.

Now, however, I’m in a bit of a better place, and I have a job.

Full-time even, and for a while I had TWO jobs, at least until current job was like “What would it take for you to quit working other job and come here full-time?”

Kudos to past put-on-the-spot me, because I responded with ‘benefits’, because that seemed more likely than ‘more than minimum wage’.

And now while I have stressy bits of work (working in the produce section of an organic foods store means there’s ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE DONE, and also manager issues but whatever), I am working full-time.

I can no longer utilize my best writing time (between 10pm and 2am) because I either have work to get to at 7am, or I’ve returned from an exhausting shift that ended at 9:30pm.

So no, my writing is not happening at quite the same pace as it was last year, or even over the summer, but you know what?

Stress is usually the thing that gets me writing, because it is an escape.

Sometimes more than reading, because I am quite literally feeling like I’m in my characters head.

When I haven’t written in a long while, or am blanking on what–or how–to write in a particular story I have yet to update for a while, I experience a bit of anxiety, because I do want to write. I enjoy it. But I stress myself out in a minimal way when I haven’t updated something in a while, because I’m disappointing myself. Not in a ‘you could do better’ kind of way, but more like making plans, looking forward to it, and then finding out that either you or the person(s) you were going to hang out with and do that thing with can’t make it.

Oh, ok. Next time then. 

But when I get passive aggressive remarks and pressure from people who, while it’s flattering that they’re enjoying what I’ve written that much, don’t give a f*** what else I’m doing or how much pressure they and their unknowing compadre’s are putting on me, who would very likely feel a bit of camaraderie with the others if they knew (Hah, the author will have to update sooner than expected if we’re ALL shouting at the same time), well.

Stressed.

Annoyed.

Spiteful.

Let’s work our way up, shall we?

Spite, a desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone.

Leads up to Annoy, irritate (someone); make (someone) a little angry.

And though it’s not in there, anger is part of this too.

I don’t like being angry, I don’t like the way it makes me feel, I don’t like experiencing that boiling in my gut, and I especially don’t like how hard it is to keep it focused on the intended recipient/aggressor. It’s like the difference between being a little peeved and being actually angry is like using two different types of weapons. Being peeved is like your emotions are turned into a laser, easy to point it at the thing that’s causing it.

Being angry is like having that laser pointer turned into some kind of gun that lets out a poisonous miasma. It’s scary, there’s kickback that can injure you, and as soon as it’s out, it’s up in the air. It could affect anyone. Could hurt anyone.

And you know what? If you let me get to know you for 48 hours, within that 48 hours I will have figured out what sort of thing I would have to say to you to actually hurt your feelings, the way that shouldn’t hurt because it’s a relative stranger saying it to you, but hits deep anyways. But I don’t say it. Ever. Because if hearing that it’s that easy to figure out how to hurt a stranger verbally puts you off from ever wanting to interact or even meet me, then maybe it’ll change your mind to hear that I don’t say any of it because I find it very easy to empathize, and I’m selfish enough to not want the emotional backlash of hurting your feelings.

But being actually angry makes that wall in my head of ‘no, you do not say this ever’ seem more like a line, and hey, isn’t it closer than I thought it was, and I bet I could walk right over it, easy as pie.

And that is stressful.

Stress, a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances, makes me want to escape. I don’t like being angry because I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t like actually feeling stressed out because I don’t like feeling like I need to escape.

And I really don’t like feeling like I need to escape from my escape.

There are a few situations that I get into that translate into me not being able to write coherently/well.

Alcohol. I will never be that writer who sits down to write with a bottle of wine (i don’t drink wine but that’s besides the point), or with a beer, and a masterpiece will never have its rough draft written in a drunken haze.

Exhaustion. I can write best when it’s late into the night, but I’m pretty antisocial, and interacting with people is exhausting. This is why I don’t really write well after work, because 1) I’m tired, and 2) writing how character a interacts with characters b-z around them is working socialization muscles that do not have the capabilities for this sort of work. I get steadily more anxiety ridden when I have to talk for a prolonged amount of time, and that makes me stressed, and makes me want to escape, and it’s hard to interact socially and also escape at the same time.

And I kind of just mentioned it within ‘exhaustion’, but Stress.

Because if you missed it,

It is hard to interact with anything when all you want to do is escape.

So yeah, this is 1700 words of unhappiness at how some strangers on the internet are making something I enjoy, something I like escaping to, into something I feel like I need to escape from.