Apr. 22nd, 2009

juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Title: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Collection
Editors: Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
Published: New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2002
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 672
Total Page Count: 73,465
Text Number: 214
Read For: personal enjoyment and to expand my to-be-read list, checked out from the library
Short Review: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteen Annual Collection collects the best (as determined by the editors) short fiction of both genres in 2001, using wide definitions of the genres in order to build a diverse, quality collection. Introductions survey related novels, anthologies, and media; some of these recommendations are useless, but others are a rich resource. The stories and poems themselves vary in quality, but the standard is high and some stories are a distinct success. It's no surprise that such a large anthology has its ups and downs, but Datlow and Windling achieve many of their lofty goals. This is a varied and successful collection of short fiction and a promising resource for discovering new authors. I recommend it.

Long review. )

Review posted here on Amazon.com.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I've had some thoughts on my mind lately which somehow managed to work themselves out as a general update on major aspects of my life.

Back Pain
It's coming up on a year since I last talked about my back, mentioning that it was worse than usual. For a while I was really miserable, but it got a little better some time after that. Nonetheless, it's definitely reached a new level of pain. Now that it's been at that plateau for months now, I've adapted and I'm coping much better. It doesn't restrict my activities overmuch—the only real change is that it takes less time to get to the point where the pain makes me stop what I'm doing. Backrubs, medication, and hotpads don't treat it as well as they used to, either. I get a lot of neck tightness and rare tingling in my legs, and the ever-present headaches, but no more dizziness or vision problems. In short, my back is now as it used to be, constant thudding pain with a chance of sharp spasms, but worse. It's been getting worse and worse, bit by bit, since these problems began; it will continue to get worse for the rest of my life. But knowing that makes it easier to predict and accept. I do what I can to treat it, and meanwhile my pain tolerance climbs. I'd still love me a new spine, but I am peace with this problem.

Mental Health
Depression is a bit like back pain: you anticipate it, and so it's easier to cope with; you treat what you can, and develop a tolerance for the rest. That said, it can get better or worse—and lately, my depression is much improved. I have diagnoses for two types: major depressive disorder (prolonged episodes of a very low mood) and dysthymia (chronic low-grade depression), and that is how my depression functions. I have a lower emotional baseline than most people, which is sometimes exacerbated by episodes of significant depression. Throughout college, my major depression cycled in approximately six month intervals: six months fine, six months miserable, six months fine, repeating. As the years went on, my major depressive cycles became so severe that I was nonfunctional, which is why I ended up (more or less) withdrawing from life.

Dysthymia, my lower baseline mood, has probably always been with me and may continue lifelong. But I haven't gone through a major depressive cycle in some time—longer than six months, certainly, but I think I'm coming up on two years. I still have spurts of anxiety NOS—somewhere between generalized and social, it's pretty much random, fairly intense, but for the most part short-lived. My agoraphobia is less often triggered now, but it more or less defines my life and so I'd say that it's now the most influential of my mental disorders.

Believe it or not, that's a relief. Major depression is the very definition of misery—it casts such a heavy shadow that it becomes nearly impossible to take part in life, or at least it did for me. I'm content with a lower baseline (which had mood swings of its own, but nothing like a major depressive cycle), some crazies, and a bit of loneliness, because these days I can actually find the joy in my life on a fairly regular basis, rather than going through months were such a thing is impossible. I'm happy, these days—not always, but more than sometimes; on a fairly regular basis, perhaps. And I'm more willing to admit and enjoy it, now that I'm living with the boy—who I know won't see every sign of improvement as a sign that I should be pushing myself harder, which tends to begin a brief journey back to stress and misery.

The Boy
No long paragraphs here because there's not a lot to say other than "yay, happy, all is well." I'm still living with the boy and his folks, and while that is not ideal it is the best feasible option, and so I am quite content. Things have their ups and downs, but lately we've been on an upswing—the sort of upswing that had me thinking about happiness vs. depression, as it were, and thus spawning this post. Some of the folks I know are currently having rotten luck in their relationships, and so I've been all the more consciously thankful for the security and the joy of mine own. Things are good, folks. Going on at length would be excessive and sappy, but things are good.

So that's about that.

In lighter news, wanna challenge my brute?


juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

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