Septemus 14


Dear Sept,

This is a big day, and not just because this is your first day of school.

I’d decided to spend the day writing. I had the house to myself. I had my editor on my case. Our savings are scraping the bottom of the barrel, and bills are coming due, and I have a growing list of things I want to buy for you: an art kit, a chess set, maybe a chemistry set, and definitely a violin, if we can ever afford it. So my plan was to knock out five chapters today.

Before I got started, while my mind was warming up to the rhythm of words, I thought I’d do another search. Just in case anybody was posting anything that might be of interest to us.

For the heck of it, I decided to do a search using words you’d taught me. Squeegee, of course, brought up cleaning supplies.

The next word I tried was bizoopagoto.


And there it was: top search item. Staring me in the face.

Forum for Participants in H9110 (Extended Jury Duty)

Hot damn!


Sure enough. A complete forum. For us.


I read the Forum Rules and Guidelines carefully.


And the rush of feelings just about broke me.


Support. A safe place for us. Searching for answers. Everyone can talk freely and feel supported. Possibilities, issues, and challenges.

Hot damn, yes.

This was what we’d been searching for.


Needless to say, I didn’t get any chapters written today.

I spent the whole time reading posts on the forum.


There weren’t many. It seems that the forum had just been created a few days before. There were only a handful of members.

But each one was posted by someone like me, with a kid like you, looking for someone that might just understand them and help them feel not so alone.


When I read a post from a parent asking for help communicating, I felt impelled to reply.

I created an account for myself.


I replied to that post. I made a few posts of my own. I shared what you’d taught me about your language. I offered a few ideas about how to be open to the type of visual-imagery you use to enhance your communication.

Just as I was getting ready to sign out and get to work on my book, a message popped up in my forum inbox.


Be sure to tell your son.

Oh, God. It hit me right then. I can tell you. All these years when we’ve been looking for your siblings–and here they are, living with other mothers and fathers who are caring for them, trying their best, and feeling very alone.

Sept, we are not alone anymore. None of us. We’ve found your bizoopagotogo.


I can’t wait for you to come home from school so I can tell you.

With love and gratitude for the benevolence of this friendly universe,

Your dad

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Author’s Notes: Yes! We really do have a forum! I think I mentioned that this was part of a collab (and we’d love to have you join us, by the way!) Well, the brilliant and endlessly creative Charliimai really did create a forum for us:

Many thanks to Charliimai and to the others whose posts I’ve used here: Rainydayz (SynceFrk42) and allysimbuilds (CodyMcTesterson8)

Aimless: Take a Breath!


One year ago, I was put in charge of a big project at work that would take this entire year to complete. On the one hand, I felt inspired: It was a project we’d been wanting to do for over fifteen years, and we finally were able to! On the other hand, I felt some dread: This project would demand most of my organizational and creative energy.

My mixed feelings stemmed from realizing that to give the project what it needed to succeed, I’d have to scale back my creative activities with SimLit. It wasn’t a matter of time so much as energy. Before embarking on this project, my work days were filled with detail-oriented work that asked for a tiny portion of my brain power–so while I coded and posted and proofread and resized and optimized, most of my mind was free to wander, and that wandering is how I create my SimLit stories.

In addition to the excitement of the project, I felt a bit of grief: How much of my writing would I have to let go of?

I reached out to my friends on the EA Forums who frequent the Kindness Bench.

The advice and suggestions I received from them filled me with hope, enthusiasm, and faith that I’d be able to make it through this, keep up with my writing as much as I could, and return when the project allowed.

I probably read more SimLit this past year than previously because reading was something that kept me going and fueled me before I headed into the office for the busy, stressful afternoon.


And I made it through it! Often during this past year, when I was feeling frustrated by the stories inside me that wanted expression–but which I didn’t have the right energy to express–and even by those seed that were waiting to be watered, I remembered my friends and their advice.

If a busy high school student can balance her academic, creative, personal, and interscholastic activities with her writing, I could, too. If some of my friends gained energy and enthusiasm when they had to take forced breaks, maybe I would, too! If one friend is able to take advantage of the little moments that appear for writing each day, maybe that would work for me. If another friend assures me that readers will still be here if I need to take a break, I’ll trust her.  If yet another friend can manage to balance grad school with her creative SimLit activities, then surely I can handle this! And if my virtual sister is there to offer support and step in to help with our forum activities, then I knew I could get through it.

It was a tough year–especially the last few months.

But we made it. I kept writing. I found projects that worked with the quality and quantity of energy I had and that didn’t demand the energy I lacked.

And now, here I am on the other side!

For a year, I’ve been looking forward to this particular weekend! And here I am!

The project is a success overall–still tons more to do with it, and a million-and-one details to attend to, but it will work out, and I will likely not be fired, and the support from a handful of coworkers comes close to making up for the lack of support from the administration. And it makes a lot of people’s lives a lot nicer and it helps families and our organization, too. So, a success overall.

And that leaves me… here. I don’t yet know what I’ll focus on with my writing. My plan is to continue with Forgotten Art (which is part of the Pen Pal Project) and Vampire Code, while circling back and finishing a few projects that are close to completion, like Drifter. I’ve also begun a Murkland Starter Challenge, Through a Glass Murkly, which is hosted on its own blog.

I can feel that my creative well has been pretty well drained, but I can also feel vernal springs bubbling to fill it up again.

What a time for thanks! For gratitude for friends, and creativity, and life, and opportunities.

What a time to pause and breathe!

Vadish!  I look forward to whatever is next, and I hope you’re here to read with me!