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Here's what you'll find on this site:

Information about me: I am a fantasy writer living in MA and currently seeking representation for my book CHAINBREAKER.

Writing: Here you can find out more about CHAINBREAKER and read FERAL, a short story featuring the same characters.

Contact info: Of course you want to contact me. I'm irresistibly magnetic. It wreaks havoc with my credit cards. Don't even ask about hardware stores.

And of course this blog right here:

  • One Size Fits One, or Never Take Advice, Not Even Mine

    Posted . Older posts

    The only piece of advice that is always true is this:

    No advice is true for everyone.

    This is actually a post about ergonomics. I'm going to tell you about my hands and my ongoing difficulties with repetitive stress pain. You'll see the reason for the title soon.

    My body is very sensitive to repetitive stress. I get pain in joints very quickly, inflammation being my body's favorite way of making life difficult - I mean, responding to stimuli. I don't type that much, considering I'm a programmer AND a writer, I don't even work full time and I take plenty of breaks, and yet every day is an ongoing campaign to avoid pain because once it starts, it lingers for months.

    They say - you know, "Them" - that the key to avoiding pain is to keep an ergonomically neutral position. To have a desk at the right height, to have a good chair, to hold your elbows and wrists etc in the right angles, get everything perfect, and then you'll be okay.

    What bullshit.

    No matter what position I used, pain would come in about an hour. The only solution was to stop. The length of time I needed to rest before I could return to that position was so long, I couldn't afford it. So pain gradually built up over the course of years.

    I got a fancy Kinesis keyboard, the ones that look like something out of Star Trek, and that helped, but mainly by replacing one big pain with lots of very manageable ones. I messed with my ergonomics some more. Every time I changed something, I felt better... for a while.

    Do you see where I'm going with this?

    The solution for me was NOT to find a perfect setup. The solution was to deliberately choose multiple IMPERFECT setups and cycle through them quickly.

    While at home, I work off my laptop, and I have four main places where I work: a ghetto standing-up desk that is just some end tables stacked up, the kitchen table, an armchair, and the couch. I sit (or stand) with different posture at all of these places, hold my arms and hands differently, switch back and forth from typing with 10 fingers to using just 3. In every case, I stop before it starts to hurt and switch to a new method.

    While in the office, I have another of those ghetto standing-up desks, this one made of coffee crates. I don't have the same mobility in the office, since I have to stay plugged into the network. So, I take off my shoes and dance. Yes, dance. Bellydance is ideally suited to this because it involves isolating parts of the body, ie. moving my hips/legs/shoulders/spine while keeping my head and hands steady enough to continue typing code on my fancypants Kinesis. Admittedly, I have to keep a lid on this while other people are around, since it's kind of distracting, but my area is in a less-used part of the office so it's not a big deal.

    With regards to the dancing, I have no idea why but this helps my hands, even though my hands aren't the part I'm moving. I can only assume it's because of the increased blood flow and mobility of the spine.

    SO: This blog post is the tale of me ignoring ALL THE ADVICE and settling on a solution that works for ME. You will never see an ergonomics professional don their monocle and say "Oh yes, by all means, curl up on the floor for an hour, then switch to the chaise lounge, then sit in a hard chair at the kitchen table, that sounds biologically appropriate indeed!"

    My point to you is, listen to the pro's advice, but use it only as a hearing trumpet through which to better listen to YOURSELF.

  • Visual Snow and other sensory static

    Visual snow, tinnitus, and extreme sensitivity are a cluster of oft-overlooked and misunderstood sensory experiences. This post describes the conditions and my own experience with them.