I will count all of our goodbyes
string them together on a cord
like little bruises to wear on my skin
around my wrists and neck

At night they shall warm me
alone in a bed for two
and the people will gaze upon them each day
like medals worn on the wrong part of me

I will count all our goodbyes
on their endless string
leave me without numbers
keeping myself company with my own voice
creating answers from thin air

I will count the goodbyes because
no matter what else is true
you will always leave me again
and nothing can make you stay

Except for the next goodbye

Manuscript Post-Production

So, what does a pantser like me do once they finished their first draft?

Well, after typing “The End” I bundle it up an yeet it at agents, naturally.
Joking. I only yeet it at agents I have beef with.
OK, still joking.

How does post-production look like?

Well, my first draft usually is the first version of the finished book. Sava had 70k in her first draft and got beefed to 96k in post because descriptions are just not a thing I do.

Horny WIP finished at 77k. It’s contemporary, so I hope I don’t have to add that much description.

Anyway, step one: letting the manuscript sleep. (I am SO bad at this and may skip it even.) At least 4 weeks of not touching it. I hope to forget a few things that I just know during that time and realise I forgot to put them on paper when I re-read.

The next step is soft edits. I already wrote the best version of the book I know how to. So at this point I just tweak small things. Put in some foreshadowing or weaving in things and characters that I came up with later.

I try to make notes about what needs to be done later while I write instead of going back and doing it right then. That way, I will remember later and it’s not disturbing my flow.

For Salma, this will be pointing out her autistic traits. I’m not going to make a big issue of it, but she’ll get her stimming and stuff. Not to mention that her LI gets her at first sight and helps her cope however he can.

Salma also needs some nice trauma. Not sure where to go with that except maybe undiagnosed autism in the real world. But CPs are part of post production and they do amazing work. (ILYSM 😭) This is where my manuscript goes after I edited out all mistakes I could find and put in all things I have to retroactively.

Then I sit on my hands and chew on my nails until the feedback rolls in.

Honestly, CPs are the best thing that can happen to a writer. I love mine with the ferocity of a million suns. They are willing to put in some work for quid in return and I am just so happy and grateful to know them. 🥺

Then I read the feedback, throw a few hissy fits and take some time to cool down again. I need time to digest feedback and hammer home the point that it is meant to help me and not an insult. (Note to self: feedback is really, really I helpful and in no way an insult.)

At this point a skill authors are not always told about becomes relevant: parsing the feedback. It is on ME to know who my target audience is and what my vision for the story is. On those grounds I have to decide whether feedback I get is helpful or not.

Ngl, it’s difficult in the beginning. What do I want?!? It’s also difficult when it comes form people you perceive to be further along/better with authoring than you are. Soul-searching commences and the horrible question of who I want to be as an author.

The realisation that who I want to be may not be (at all) what is sellable, doesn’t help. I cried so many times thinking about how my ideas and style and pace and voice are not, in combination, a thing that is likely to sell. 😭

Back to post-production. After realising what the vision of the manuscript is, I apply the feedback. I will always apply “descriptions needed here” feedback, because I know I don’t do descriptions. The rest I will compare with my vision for the character arc, the setting, the emotional oomph I want and apply accordingly.

Note: I take into account hints that things don’t work more than offered solutions. Things not working is usually on me. But then, so are the solution because it is my vision. If the suggestions align with my vision? All the better.

When all that is done, it is time for another editing pass. This is where I read my manuscript aloud to myself, even if I did that already for the soft edits. Reading out loud was The Horror™. I don’t like my voice. I really do not. But reading out loud makes me catch all the spelling mistakes and the bits where the prose doesn’t flow. Mind you, this is from my little nd perspective. My flow might be way off your flow. I LOVE my filler words because of the ensuing cadence. Priorities may differ.

After this I write my synopsis. Yes, this late. Maybe the synopsis-writing-demons possessed me before this, but usually they do not. So this is when I sit down and write the synopsis. I start by telling the plot as if I was telling it to another person. Then I condense and clarify. I aim for a synopsis of 2 pages double-spaced. That is also 1 page single-spaced. I just pray I don’t wanna sub to a place with 1 page double-spaced again. 🤷‍♀️

I also write my query. It is pain. It is crying on the floor. It is bad when it is finished. But at least I have a thing to throw at my writing community. And this, I cannot stress it enough, is where you you will find all the help and support you need. (Note: you also have to give back whenever you can however much you can.)

When all this is done, I try to give the manuscript another sleep (difficult because I am IMPATIENT bint) and polish everything once more. Maybe ask for help once more. (ngl 100% the hardest part of writing for me is asking for help.)

And that’s it. Now I yeet at agents for real.


The inevitable tweaks that accumulate during querying because you have the nagging feeling there is something fundamentally wrong with your manuscript. 🤷‍♂️

My Mind

slick surface of my mind
mercury mine field
exclusively penned words of elusive red
coaxing the thunderstorm down
evoking, provoking, evolving, revolving around
breath on skin

bright white light like hair
means nothing except inside my head

No More A-Roving

And the sky is burning, the sky is burning
trying to make up for my eyes
and the world is turning, the world is turning
spinning dizzying like my days
Oh give me that potion you spoke of
to take all my pain away
The draught to kill all my feelings
be they whatever they may
Don’t worry about my happiness
there is none where I live
Don’t worry about my love and hope
I have neither to give.
And the sky is ablaze, the sky is ablaze
in lieu of the heart in my chest
and darkness will fall, yes darkness must fall
and maybe I shall find rest.

The Cat Game

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. But I can’t program so it’s just like a thought experiment. A little something to make the nd experience, or at least my flavour of it, experienceable for everybody.

It’s just a little interaction game, where you explore and interact. The interface would look something like this:

At the bottom are the buttons for actions: play, angry, cuddle, hungry. At the top you have the exact same buttons again framed by a circle and a square button. There are no instructions. Except what the buttons mean though the icons are very on point (for me).

The game starts with a line of text:

First level is intro and easy. You walk around and can interact with things, play, eat, stuff. Just so you figure out the buttons. There’s a big teddy for cuddles.

From level two on things get more complicated. There are not only items, but also other dogs and humans. To finish the level, you have to do some tasks, like play with a human, get somebody to feed you, nap. Nothing difficult. But now the top row of buttons comes into play. Because few people you meet react to the buttons the way you want.

Like, most fellow dogs reply to Angry with Play. Humans, too. And when somebody signals leave me alone and you do, they get angry.

The solutions are the square – translate your signal – and the circle – translate the signals from outside. You can use them to translate an action you want to do to the outside, or let it run over a signal you get.

Surprise, surprise – most bottom row buttons need translation to the outside most of the time and vice versa. Though, once in a while, you will get lucky not having to do that.

The game gets more complicated as you have to translate both ways almost always. There are no keyboard short-cuts. You have to use the mouse. It is time consuming and the time allotted for the level runs out faster and faster.

When you failed a level three times, another line of text appears on the screen:

You get to choose and if you choose ‘yes’ all the lower row buttons suddenly mean exactly what they say to everybody you meet. No more clicking wildly to translate anything. It is easy to finish the level way below time-out.

Next level, you are a dog again. And each time you fail, you are asked again: Do you want to play as a cat? And the levels don’t get easier. You just can’t finish on time as a dog. You play as a cat. After a while, the game stops. There is one last line:

Black on brown text reading: Why do you keep playing as a cat?!? You are a do!The last line is bigger.

I don’t know if people would get it. But that’s what it feels like so often. The whole world is geared towards something I am not but everybody insist I must be. Because, what is the alternative? There is none, right?

Why don’t I want to play, aka live my life, as a dog? Everything is geared towards dog. Dog is easy.

But if you take into consideration the consistent translations I am doing all day everyday – I have learnt to emulate the world around me and I can “pass” for a dog well enough. So well, that people assume this is my normal and that it doesn’t cost me. But it’s not and it does.

I am tired.

I just want to be cat.

New York City Blogging – The Last Day

  • fookin 34°? so glad I’m leaving
    • NYC: lemme slap you back home with a humidity heat high
  • waffling about dressing because NYC is hot and in the airport/plane it will be cold
  • just put things to change into at the top in suitcase
  • check-out at 11am, flight leaves at 8pm
  • first stop, air-conditioned Starbucks with wifi
  • catching up with all the journaling
  • it’s nice to walk out into the humid heat after getting deep-frozen at Starbucks
  • it’s nice for, like 26,5 mins
  • need to get back into the freezer now, pls 😭
  • sitting in Sara D Roosevelt Park munching on the last dumplings and reading The Stardust Thief
  • my station being closed for the whole weekend and having to drag my suitcase to the next station
  • when everything is brainrot and your train goes through Chauncey Station
  • blessed cold in the metro
  • arriving at the airport real early but that’s okay because I still gotta figure out how to convince the peeps here my German vaccination passport is actually valid for my return to Germany…
  • Oh nein! Ein deutscher Impfausweis! Das wird Deutschland NIEMALS als Nachweis akzeptieren!!! 😱
  • airport train should be free, just sayin
  • not changing and only getting out an extra layer before getting in line to drop off luggage
  • line isn’t that long here, nice
  • airport person: when was your last vaccination?
  • Me: 28th April
  • APP: fine, move along
  • me: ??? le fuq? They didn’t even check if that was true?!?
  • longest line ever though security, managed to read half of The Stardust Thief (can recommend, excellent book)
  • meandering through the airport to kill time and maybe spend my last dollars
  • airports are cursed, like 30 bucks is nothing here and soda is 5 bucks 500ml
  • find a place to charge my phone, munching down super expensive food
  • ngl, intended to have a glass of wine, but I physically cannot spend 16 bucks on one
  • make way to gate and hear flight is overbooked 😬
  • go to lady at the counter and get swept away with relief because I do have a seat
  • start waiting
  • listen to the offer for changing flight climbing
  • board and have a window seat?!? ok, over the wing, but still
  • catering truck breaks down behind plane
  • 1,5 hrs later: we are catered and ready to go but have now crew to push us out to the tarmac
  • 2 hrs later – finally!
  • On the down side: got a transport to my car lined up at planned arrival time plus brekkers date
  • can’t inform anybody because it’s the middle of the night back home
  • was able to sleep, actually
  • waive breakfast sandwich
  • long trek along the whole length of Frankfurt airport to bus shuttle
    • airport train is free here, just sayin
  • get on board though I may or may have lost my return ticket *oop*
  • long trek across the parking space to my car, it’s frying hot inside after standing in the sun for a week
  • brekkers date still standing *yay*
  • meet with Kezia at street fest and have a great time
  • it is nice war, not a lick of humid, NYC take notes
  • drive home two hours and keel over 😴

New York City Blogging – Mood

  • wasting time before leaving the hotel
  • saving another pdf map so I won’t get lost
  • stepping out at Times Square and being lost immediately anyways
  • smaller than I thought though
  • oop, looks like Fashion Week Park doesn’t belong to Brian after all
  • hey, das ist eine völlig legitime Annahme, wenn man es nur gesprochen hört
  • lots of tents, will need to come back later and investigate
  • walk around like a lost tourist
  • enough metro stations around to keep my wifi alive
  • using goolge maps – still lost
  • found the correct street at least PARTY
  • so many fabric shops *hyperventilates*
  • even more trim shps CRY
  • somebody rich give me their credit card RN 🥺
  • going into a trim shop
    • overload
    • brain.exe stopped working
    • no thoughts only sparkle
  • ogle clasps for Stede cosplay
  • wtf is mood?!?
  • spandex house?!?
  • so much sparkly fabric everywhere. I should learn how to sew blazers and make them all annoyingly sparkly
  • walked right past mood, yay
  • stern words with google maps
  • walk back on correct side of the street
  • found mood, ah no. that is the home fabrics part
  • found mood! (thx to Jaclyn for telling me about the elevator thing, might have walked right past again otherwise)
  • enter mood
  • Mel.exe stopped working, silk overload (if you buy all the silk, Mel.exe will work again?)
  • 235923876§% love how they sort fabric by type and let me know what it is
  • so that is charmeuse? Yikes
  • so much silk, so little money 😔
  • so now the men’s section is too drab and ark for me?!? 😱
  • groping all the fabrics
  • GROPING them fabrics because feels, but also so I can gauge what I can make with it
  • wool
  • WOOL
  • *soft gasp* SUMMER LINENS!!!
  • falling in love with the most beautiful yellow linen blend 😭
    • not sure what to make from it
    • brainrot: SUMMERLINENS
    • me: summer linen shirt it is
  • leather – smells SO nice, must not chew on it 😔
  • cotton wovens my love
  • why is all colourful prints flowery?!?
  • anyway, I take these 3 (orange, teal and magenta flowery)
  • head back for linen
  • get 2 buckles for Stede cosplay
  • wtf is the thread half the price from home?!? → buying thread for my fabrics
  • pay So Much Money (worth it, even if, actually, I do not have it)
  • do I want a bag?
  • Do I want a bag?!?
  • clutches bag, VICTORY!
  • Steps out and is immediately lost again
  • take more time than warranted to find Starbucks (a/c AND wifi)
  • it has no seating?!? so much for a/c but at least I still got their wifi outside
  • selfcare with matcha frappucino and chocolate cake pops
  • tweet victory
  • return to Bryant park to ogle tents
  • it’s a crafts market
  • ogle all jewellery stands for rings for Stede cosplay
  • find one good ring but it is too small 😔
  • return home for nap
  • leave for dumplings
  • der Unterschied zwischen Dumpling und Knödel ist erstaunlich groß
  • start snarfing down dumplings
  • realise the place is closing down
  • apologise hastily, pack up dumplings and retreat to hotel
  • inhale remaining dumplings
  • start packing
  • try uploading vaccination proof for 6th time
  • tf you keep saying it is not an accepted vaccination in Germany? It is LITERALLY my German vaccination passport *le sigh*

The spoils of mood…

In Your Eyes

In a world of burning water
I arrive as my father’s daughter
The beats in my bones reminds me of home
but I will make this place my very own

I am looking for hope, make it only a ray.
As you wink and then leave, are there stars in your eyes?
Is it just a trick of the light?
It might.

We have travelled so far with the shards of our past
Take a sip of Mount Milgrom, make nostalgia last,
Just because we left behind everything we had,
it doesn’t mean it was all bad.
Does it mean that we are mad?

Put your smile to my lips, put your hand in my hand
We were no-one when we found this uncharted land
And look at us now. Are we who we wanted to be?
Will you be you? Can I still be me?

I can be me –
reflected in you, Reyes

New York City Blogging – Aquarium

  • as usual awake early, on my way late
  • dared to go into the bakery and managed to to buy EVERYTHING
  • Mango cake! Lemon cake! Sausage inabun!
  • Got a chicken bun and two sesame balls to share with Em. I hope there’s red bean paste inside
  • looks like wifi on the subway is a Manhattan thing?
  • Waiting 10 mins at the penultimate stop because we’re early
  • nobody gets off, so I guess walking the last station would take longer than 10 mins
  • getting slightly wet on the way to the Aquarium, but I found it at first try PARTY
  • OCEAN!
  • Who cares about getting wet, when you’re at the ocean?
  • Note to self: maybe become a pirate because why would I be doing this, when I could be on a ship?!? 🏴‍☠️
  • not enough time allotted to put feet into the water 😔
  • apologies, lady of the Wind and the Sea
  • waited amidst 5 screaming classes/groups
  • why are children always screaming?
  • I understand the urge, tho
  • wtf dinosaur?
  • Getting antsy 3 mins after meeting time because I’m German but also there is no wifi and I cannot contact anybody
  • nein, es ist wirklich völlig normal 5-10 Minuten zu früh zu kommen
  • all groups vanish and blessed silence drizzles down with the rain
  • panic, as usual
  • arrival of Em, phew
  • forgot Miranda also joins us
  • yay for getting only 2 sesame balls *hangs head in embarrassment and shame*
  • we enter the aquarium accompanied by the screams of more children
  • FISH!
  • More fish, I am unhappy with the changing screens telling which fish are there
    • later found out you can swipe back and forth yourself for info
  • fish didn’t leave a lasting impression, I’m not much of a fish person
  • seals! Unable to pet 😔
  • also sea lions and what the difference is – we’re learning things today
  • shark place was cool, could have been serene but for the screaming
  • underwater tunnel was nice, can’t say why I liked the on in Malta better
  • also, there was no screaming in Malta, so that’s hard to compete with
  • tunnel to crawl “through” the tank
  • caused quite the hubbub because children saw us crawl through
  • maybe next time check if tunnel shenanigans are visible from outside
  • dallied to pout space between us and the children
  • kinda worked, the last tank (HUGE) was rather calm
  • unless the sea turtle made an appearance, all the screaming for sea turtle super star
  • taking pics

Me with my special friend the Mantis Shrimp 😊
  • lunch, surprisingly big servings for aquarium fare
  • ordered “Western” burger because I had no idea what that meant
    • turns out they stick onion rings into it
    • woah, I’m impressed – not
    • am full so it’s fine
  • next stop: JELLYFISHES!!!
  • ok ‘spineless’ section has more animals, but I’m here for jellyfish
  • so many jellyfish? PLEAD
  • So. Many. Jellyfish! CRY
  • I love jellyfish and EM and Miranda can look at the red octopus for forever if they want because I will just be over here with the jellyfish RELIEVED
  • likely cause of death: diving into the water to untangle the nettle jelly’s nettles. Gotta smooth them fronds
  • Horror Crab. 😱 (old man crab) (old man spider crab) *cries in horrified*
  • if this is where carcinisation goes? Count me out.
  • Just looking at those give me the heebie-jeebies
Old Man Spider Crab (scientific name, obviously)
  • back to jellyfish
  • world hard and cold, jellyfish soft and squishy
Jellyfish are perfect 🥰
  • the sea lions were out in full force on our way back
  • TWO gift shops? 👀
  • too late for number two, we already shopped
  • the temptation to get ‘kraken’ themed merch *le sigh*
  • Em and Miranda scooting off for some pics with very specific benches
  • 4D Cinema like: put away anything you don’t want to get wet, argh, ma’am where do I go?
  • It was nice and I didn’t get wet
  • time for crab

My foot next to a horse crab I have been told is big
  • sun’s out, so beach time it is
  • yay for walking barefoot in the sand
  • more yay for walking barefoot in the ocean
  • note to self: no really, I need to be living by the ocean AT LEAST
    • now accepting applications for my pirate crew…
  • so nice to just sit in the sun
  • Em IDing birds, naturally
  • what do you mean I’m already at the height of Stillwater Ave?
  • Bouncing about my quarter a bit after arriving and ending up in a different place to savour dumplings
  • miss that the orders are called on by receipt numbers
  • figuring out before they throw my food away
  • nice dumplings 😊

New York City Blogging – Statue of Liberty

  • up too early still moving too late for sit-down brekkers
  • promoter making me flee into the bicycle lane at Bowling Green Station
  • took the long way around and had a crepe because hungry
  • you can just arrive early anywhere here, huh?
  • Caught in another class on my way to the boat
  • nice boat ride, too short, LOVE boat rides
  • how can 1 class be so loud?
    • Cue banshee screeching
  • Possibly okay selfies with Statue of Liberty from the boat
  • it’s nice though there are too many people
  • journaling in the sun looking at the ocean → nice
  • no wifi on the island, how is that being free?
  • Construction work blocking the circuit
    • makes the end nice and quite, few people, good view of the ocean, LOVE ocean
  • written most of my postcards while air-frying in the sun HAPPY
  • this is actually really nice?
  • I mean better views for half the price of Empire State Building
  • on to the pedestal (dafür zahle ich gerne extra)
  • 192 steps? oof
  • but only two people are allowed per elevator ride which take 4 mins and an employee just cut in front of the three rides waiting before me
  • so stairs it is
  • huff puff
  • it passes a lot faster than expected
  • there’s nobody up here?!?
  • SO NICE (if only the choppers could maybe chill for a minute)
  • das Deutsche Wort is Heli und sehr viel niedlicher
  • prolly getting a sunburn
Hero Shot with my “polite and sophisticated mice” shirt
  • crown is closed because COVID, only thing it’s good for, I would have HATED those stairs lolsob
  • love it
  • unfortunately, locked away everything but the phone so can’t journal on the pedestal SAD
  • free wifi at the museum? EYES
  • hoo boy, how do you expect me to get the e-mail with my password without wifi access?
  • Gonna have a look at food and souvenir prices
  • restrooms are nice enough
  • food didn’t look appetising so I didn’t even look at the prices
  • souvenirs were priced ok but ugly, very unfortunately, especially for the pocket watch I was ogling, you could have been mine…
  • just missed the boat back and now it’s another 25 mins sizzling in the sun
  • more sun on the top deck where I snatched the best seat on the ship
  • my skin is taking on the shade of a nice and crisp rotisserie chicken
  • OCEAN! I really should be on/at/in the ocean more
  • stop at Spicy Village for dumpling lunch and accidentally just went to bed *oop*