In a year that was terrible for a lot of people, I’ve seen improvements and actually have some plans for next year. It’s an odd place to be, but I’m making the most of my improved health, because I don’t know how long it’ll last or what else will happen. Food still has random shortages and the government is threatening more right wing laws, so it’s not like it’s going well locally. But right now, I’m relatively safe.
At the beginning of the year, things were stable, both the good and bad. I’d improved a lot, but still had some additional executive dysfunction issues. I’d attributed these to needing to relearn to do stuff and having an overwhelming list of things to do, but now I’m not so sure. Basically because I started taking Astragalus membranaceus and the issues pretty quickly resolved. One person can be a coincidence and all that, but it was a rather sharp and well-timed coincidence if that was the case.
I caught nothing at all. Since starting to use regular nasal spray (Viraleze) in addition to a mask, that’s stopped being a thing. This has meant there were no relapses and I could get out more with reasonable safety. I visited the local museum and saw a play.
During this time, I also got a walker (it’s purple!), so I could get out for more walks. The extra support helps me to walk better and it means I can sit down anywhere. Though I prefer the stick if I’m going inside or will need to use steps.
Towards the end of the year, the inflammation/arthritis in my joints faded completely and I was able to stop taking antihistamines (this caused some itching and sneezing, as I’ve been on them for years, but it wasn’t that bad). The knee with issues straightening has something else going on, though that’s also seen some improvements.
At this point, things are likely to be where they stay, other than possible improvements in the one knee. It’s pretty clear that my joints will remain fragile. I get headaches and motion sickness if I overdo things. But it’s all very manageable. I can get outside to fill the bird feeders and go for short walks. I can make plans and work on projects.
I’d initially planned to publish single short stories with notes. This didn’t happen, but for the best reason. The first I was working on was “Rewilding Nova”, which had been accepted for the Rosalind’s Siblings anthology before that fell through. As I was working on the notes, that anthology found a new home with Atthis Arts. So I was paid, the story went into the world, and I included a few highlights from the notes on the release announcement. I still think the single stories idea would be neat, but the money meant I didn’t have to rush it.
Image Caption: A paperbook book on a purple cloth. The book is Rosalind’s Siblings and shows a person with short hair looking into a microscope in shades of purple. A small paintbrush and a bowl with two jammy biscuits are next to the book. These items relate to my story.
I also ended up writing a whole bunch of flash fiction. As long as nothing terrible happens, this will be out next year. It’ll be a novella-length collection of stories on the theme of really alien aliens.
I have no idea what I’ll end up working on after that, but I am writing again more regularly.
My tale of multiple art shops starts with Zazzle. Sales were down, but it didn’t appear to be due to any of Zazzle’s recent changes. Product views were fine. People just weren’t buying as much. But they were buying enough to keep my website going, so this carried on being solid. All is not well in the POD world though, so the story doesn’t end there.
Society6 has been my backup art shop for many years. I didn’t sell much and the uploader for products was the worst I’ve ever used, but customers liked the quality of the products. Until this year, when they decided to introduce subscription fees for artists. I reduced my designs down to the ten allowed for the free plan, but this shop will most likely be removed in the future unless sales really pick up.
Threadless was one I’d looked at, but hadn’t tried until now. It has some things in its favour, including being able to donate some profits to charity and a commitment to wanting to promote marginalised creators. Unfortunately, they have a curated marketplace and only really seem to like a certain busy style that I don’t have. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone starting out, because if you’re not in the main search and don’t have fans, you’re unlikely to sell stuff. It’s a pity they don’t allow customers to search the extended marketplace if they want.
Inprnt needs an invite from a current artist or submission of three pictures for current artists to vote on. I submitted my rainbow cat, rainbow squid and fungi meadow. I was voted in on my first attempt, so that was great. This is mainly a site for art prints, and the shipping costs mean mainly for people in the US, but the quality looks nice. I’ll aim to add more stuff over the coming year.
Ko-fi is not really a shop. It’s a tip jar. Though it does allow some selling, they don’t handle the VAT, which is too much of a nightmare for a small creator. So this will remain as tips only.
I reviewed a game, wrote a post about book covers and reopened my review requests. I set up Ko-fi so that people could tip me if they liked the content. My brain is back in the game.
My old posts on subjects tended to get death threats, but more people would read them over a longer period of time compared to reviews. The threats weren’t the only issue though, as the trouble with posting early thoughts on something is that things change, and the posts aged badly. So my focus this time is more on roundups of things that happened with a focus on my experiences.
Another possible is discussions of themes or tropes that could do with a roundup. I’ve often ended up describing these in reviews, but that could be turned into a more general article that I could then reference.
This means reviews won’t be as common as the height of my reviewing. I’m trying to find more of a balance of content. Whether people will read any of it, who knows. Blogging and long reviews went heavily out of fashion. But I hate email newsletters, so I’m still blogging for now.
The positive side of social media is I found a new microblogging site that works for me. Bluesky is now my main microblogging site, where you can hear how sink spider is doing, how my knee is doing today, and whether I saw a cat when I went out.
Bluesky needs invite codes to join, which are handed out to current members. I got as many out as I could before Twitter stopped being useable. I donated a few to code handout schemes. I used Reddit and Second Life to send out more. There are still holes in the community, but the creative side is getting established over there. What it could do with are more readers and fans, who aren’t necessarily writers and artists.
It’ll be a long time before my social media recovers. I built up followers over many years and I won’t get them back quickly. I’m not famous enough for that. It’s also harder to get people to repost silly little things now, which is basically how I grew my early Twitter audience.
My health is stable and I’m working on things again. I had a story out in the Rosalind’s Siblings anthology. I have new art shops on Threadless and Inprnt. You can tip me on Ko-fi and follow me on Bluesky. As long as my health holds, I hope to be blogging more and also publishing a flash fiction collection about aliens.