Everybody say "Hi, Abbot!"
What I wasn't prepared for was how short the staple length on this stuff was.
"Staple" refers to how long the individual hairs are. This effects your draft--aka, the motion of pulling out fiber before you allow it to twist. (Interesting side note: The relationship between textiles and publishing is another thing on the spinning-related subjects to study list. I like how you draft a book the same as you draft the fiber. Poor drafting=poor finished product.)
Anyway, this is a staple comparison:
On the left we have the merino, then a piece of paper, and then the shetland wool I'm still working through. And then the kitty. Because we may do nothing without kitty. You can also KIND of see how much finer the merino is, in that you can only see this white blur, whereas with the Shetland you can see individual fibers. So it's about half as long as the shetland, and twice as fine. It'll be interesting getting used to, but as I already know, it spins up like a dream. It'll be worth the effort.
And the next part might trigger people so it's behind a cut.
In other news, I have realized that the whole trying-to-be-a-published-author thing was probably not that great of an idea. Not because my writing sucks (my family has informed me that I am not allowed to think this) but because rejection has had an unanticipated effect on me. It was gradual last year because it took me so long to work myself up to actually sending things out, and I think the effect of rejection letters was cumulative, in that the reaction wasn't quite so severe, but, well ... you know how, if you're allergic to peanuts? And the first time you find out it's a tingly feeling in the back of your throat and itchy eyes? But the next time might kill you because now you're exposed and your immune system will be all like OMFG THIS IS A PEANUT? Yeah. It took one week with no rejection letters at all for me to be right back where I was last November. Which I did not talk about because I was too busy trying to keep my head from flying apart, but let me just say that It Was Bad.
I think that reality ought to come with warning labels. THIS IS A TRIGGER. DO NOT VENTURE WITHOUT A PSYCHIATRIST AND A HELMET. If I had known that rejection was going to be as big of a trigger for me as certain other things ... well, I probably would have gone ahead and done it anyway, but I would have figured out a better way to manage the being-triggered part than what I'm doing right now.
The thing about having problems with SI is that there are two kinds of triggers (at least, there are with me). One is the kind you can stuff inside and kind of ignore, like dissapointment, rejection, loss, other forms of negative emotion, and then there's the sudden flip-you-out kind. The sudden, cutting (snort) insult from somebody you otherwise trusted. Acute, fuck-we-have-no-doughnuts stress at work. The biggest one for me is feeling as if I have failed someone I care about and/or feel loyalty to. I can just barely handle this feeling under normal circumstances.
There's stuff I can do to manage the type ones, because that stuff you can predict. Big trip coming up? I plan EVERY. FREAKING. DETAIL up to the point where I have no control over it failing. Airport counter when I get my boarding pass, I can't control what actually happens there, so as long as I take care of everything else it won't be my fault if it breaks down, and I won't have to react to it.
The second type, I can't do anything about. It comes without warning. All I can do is make sure I am fed, rested, and that I have a good emotional buffer between me and the point-of-no-return at all times.
Rejection letters eat into that reserve, and I don't think it's even the rejection that does it. It's the emotional tension of hoping and then getting let down and then hoping and then getting let down and all the while not knowing if there's even a prayer it will work. Being utterly powerless. Having no control, and no way to tell if things are going well or going poorly. I'm paying really close attention to my emotional state right now because I did not expect it to get this bad this fast. And it's not that I hate this process. I like this process. It's made me step my game up and learn stuff a lot faster than I would have without going through it. If I could go through it without the constant fuck-my-whole-future-is-resting-in-the-contents-of-this-one-e-mail pressure, I would probably go for it. But it's also throwing me for a loop, and because 90% of this stuff is completely irrational, there's not much I can do about it. Yes. I can tell myself that this is just business. I can tell myself that it means nothing. I can tell myself not to take it so personally. I'm not listening to me.
And for the record, positive feedback? It doesn't stick. Especially not when it comes from somebody I know cares about me. I automatically assume they're trying to be nice because they like to see me happy, and you know what? People lie. A lot.
What has me worried is the tendency for bad things to stack up. It is not beyond the realm of possibility for, say, a string of rejection letters to show up on the day we run out of doughnuts ... only we didn't really run out of doughnuts, they were just on the bottom of the pallet in another deparment's freezer, and I was just being lazy for not digging through six pallets stacked eight-feet-high spread across three different freezers to find them (or so the overly critical wanna-be-a-supervisor says after she finds them while looking for the butterflake roll box). An acute trigger on top of a series of low dull burns=a Problem. We have already had one Problem so far this year, and this was not related to rejections. I did not relapse, but I do not like coming that close.
I've given myself a six month deadline. Either things work out by the end of July, or we re-evaluate. And if things continue to go the way they have been, both career- wise and emotionally, and mostly emotionally, this may involve giving up the idea of being published. I know. You're not supposed to talk about this publicly because Giving Up Is Bad and we should all Live Our Dreams (cue inspirational music). But ... well, this is me. And I can be pretty fantastic but I'm not perfect, and if in six months it turns out that I am not capable of handling the submission/rejection cycle without hurting myself, my health and my safety will have to come first. It might be that I just need to take a couple years off, write a better book (or learn how to write, whichever is more necessary) build a better foundation and safety net, and then try again. Then again, it might turn out to be something that I can't handle even with a safety net. I don't know.
What I do know is that when I swing from gung-ho and energized to sleeping ten hours a day inside of a week, something is going wrong. The only thing I changed was I started querying again. I had two months of stability (and no queries) prior to. You do the math, kids.