Recommendations: September 2022

Fiction

Clockwork Bayani by EK Gonzales (Strange Horizons)

The CRISPR Cookbook: A Guide to Biohacking Your Own Abortion in a Post-Roe World by MKRNYILGLD (Lightspeed Magazine)

The Crow Husband by Sarah McGill (Strange Horizons)

The Queen of the Earless Seals of Lake Baikal by Kristina Ten (Lightspeed Magazine)

We Are All of Us by Deborah L. Davitt (PodCastle)

Nonfiction

Breaking Out of Capitalist Realism by Juliet Kemp (Uncanny Magazine)

Home-buying

This has been in my list of blog posts to write for the past few months. Well, here it is: a rough summary of my home-buying experience.

At the end of January, I got the notice for my apartment lease renewal, which would happen in mid-April. The lowest was $1330 for 13 months and the highest was $1667 for 1 month.┬áThe rent I was paying at the time was $999/month, so to say that I didn’t like a $300/month increase at minimum would be a serious understatement.

Since I had quite a bit of money saved up, I decided that the best thing to do would be to seriously look for a place to buy. I first went to my credit union to get preapproved for a mortgage (they have a sister company that handles mortgages) and got preapproved for the amount I wanted at the time (a $150k mortgage)…and the broker said I could easily get preapproved for twice that.

Except there is absolutely no way I’d be able to afford a $300k mortgage on my income. My entire take-home income would literally be going to the mortgage and nothing else. I wouldn’t even be able to buy groceries!

This is apparently a thing brokers say, because my parents said they heard the same exact thing when they were buying their house. And their reaction was essentially the same as mine: wtf, no, I definitely can’t afford that.

Anyway, the brokers placed me with a realtor from one of the companies they partner with. I went out and looked at places – condos/townhouses – from mid-February to the end of March. I found a place I really liked and placed a bid on that exact day – a Sunday – and got notice that the bid was accepted the very next day when I was at work. I then spent the whole next month actually buying the house, which included getting an inspection & appraisal. I absolutely didn’t want to waive those since the condo was built in the early 1980s.

I had a clause in my bid saying that I’d automatically pay $10k above the appraisal price as long as it didn’t go over the bid price. Thankfully, it appraised low – my bid was $257k and it appraised for $237k. That $10k got taken from the down payment, which dropped me slightly below the 20% down I had planned on paying. All that really means is I have to pay PMI for a couple of years, which isn’t nearly as much as I thought it would be.

I didn’t get the keys for another week because the owner was still in the process of moving out. Then I spent the entire next month moving in. This was partially to allow for utilities to get switched over & set up, partially because I didn’t want to pay for movers, and mostly because my apartment complex required a 30-day notice in order to vacate.

So I moved the vast majority of my stuff by myself on the weekends. My parents & sister did help me with moving during the last 2 weekends. By that time, all that was really left was the heavy furniture I couldn’t move by myself. May 22 was the day I finally, actually moved in.

Also, this place sold for $115k in 2019, to give you an impression of how much house prices have inflated since then.

Buying during a ridiculous market was an incredibly stressful ordeal, especially since I was working mandatory overtime for the first three months of the year. It was a nice chunk of cash that went right into the down payment and closing costs. This isn’t something I really want to do again. If I ever decide to buy a different place to move into, it definitely won’t be during a ridiculous housing market if I can help it.

Yet another writing crisis

I finished reading The Left Hand of Darkness three weeks ago and was distraught for days – partially because of what happened in the book, but also because I had the realization that I may be writing the wrong stuff entirely.

Yeah, I’m having another writing crisis.

Samael is very different from what I’m typically interested in writing, and also from what I’ve posted on this website. For the past few weeks, I’ve had the horrible feeling that I’m wasting my time writing stuff that I don’t actually want or even like to write. It would explain why I’ve had such little success actually finalizing stories ever since I started writing in my early teens.

Maybe what I’ve spent the majority of the last 14 years doing is…forcing myself to write stuff I have no actual interest in writing.

The Land of Two Moons was really easy to write. Not only was it easy, it was fun to write. The Book of Immortality was less easy, but I would still consider my time spent writing and editing it to be enjoyable. It didn’t feel like a slog, which is what working on Samael currently feels like.

I’d hate to set Samael aside. I finished the outline and if I try very hard, I can have most of the story written by the end of the year. I really, really want to get this story done so I can have something to serialize on this website again.

I think I’ve bought into the sunk cost fallacy a little too much. I’m not enjoying this. I’m not being paid. The only thing I’ve invested into Samael is time, and I highly doubt putting more time into it is going to make me like it more.

I think I’m going to spend the rest of the month working on something that actually I actually enjoy thinking about.

Writing Update: August 2022

Honestly, I had a pretty bad month. I revised issue 1 of Samael in the first week, and was planning to revise 1 issue for each of the following weeks. That did not happen. At the moment, I am just barely halfway through revising issue 2.

There is an actual medical reason for this: for the past two weeks, quite a bit of my free time has been consumed with taking care of an infected abscess that has required two different antibiotics (which I’m still taking) and made it difficult to sit (or stand, or walk around, or drive, or really do anything other than lie on my side). Going to work and sitting down at a desk all day was painful enough that I didn’t want to continue doing the same at home.

I’ve only been able to sit comfortably again this past weekend, and I can basically walk around without problem. I’m not nearly as tired as I was in the beginning. I will probably finish revising issue 2 before the month ends.

As for my currently unnamed story, I’ve continued plotting it out in my head. I’m still working things out, and it’ll be a while before there’s any writing.