Monthly Forecast #15 – June, 2023

June 1st, 2023


Oh, May, where do I even start with you? 

This is going to be a long and deeply personal blog. The reading of it might not be quite as light as the usual affair. I say this candidly and from the start in case talking about my real life is of no interest to you. If that’s the case, feel free to skip the first two thousand words of this. 

I would be lying if I said it was the month I had been hoping for. I would be lying if I said it was a month I was particularly happy with. May was a month of difficulties, of stress, of sorrow, of frustration, and of getting less done than I had been hoping for. Yet May still somehow managed to be a month I’m proud of, just in a very different sort of way. 

I guess we will begin with the car accident. Sorry, car accidents — plural. The first one actually happened on the morning of May 1st, just as I was attempting to start the Monthly Forecast. That was the emergency I referenced at the start of that blog. I was not actually in that car accident, but Athena — who I am still staying with — was. Thankfully, it was just down the street from her apartment. Cue me rushing to the scene of said accident mid-blog, then hastily trying to finish it when I returned from said scene. Later that week, we then had to make the five or so hour trek to where Athena’s parents live — both to get a new car and so we could be there to support Athena’s mother during an infusion to treat her sarcoidosis. 

This first car accident also led to the totalling of the car Athena had been using. We arrived at her parents’ house on Friday evening and planned on leaving after Mother’s Day. The week before we left was, somehow, the most productive stretch of May for me. It was then that I finished most of what remained unwritten for Part I of The Road to Hell, whilst simultaneously doing my best to support Athena and her family. The first week at Athena’s parents was a lot between the medical tension and the stress of dealing with insurance to find Athena a new car.

And then the second car accident happened — less than forty-eight hours prior to our planned departure for Athena’s college town. I was actually in the car this time, and let me tell you, what the other driver did that night was one of the top five stupidest things I have ever seen another person do. 

That should not be taken lightly. I grew up playing high-level sports and spent several years as a professional athlete. No one knows stupidity quite like elite athletes, many of whom all but drip overconfidence. 

The driver in question had borrowed his friend’s Camaro and was parked four feet off the curb, directly following a blind corner and on a tight two-lane residential street. This in and of itself is idiocy. Taking up most of the lane directly around a blind corner is asking for trouble, but it gets worse. The car we were in was quite literally passing beside this Camaro when the driver decided it would be a wonderful idea to throw his door wide open without looking. He threw his door open right into the front of the car that we were driving, denting our wheel well and scraping the side. I tell this story not because it provides necessary context. I tell it so that I have an excuse to tell that idiot, once again, to go fuck himself.

The good news is that the moron was immediately deemed at fault, so Athena’s mother — yup, we were in her mother’s car — would not suffer financial consequences. The bad news? The car this idiot damaged by throwing his door open was all but brand new. It was literally a 2022 Toyota Corolla, and now Athena’s family was down two of their three cars. (I would like to note here that neither my mother nor I liked to drive the remaining car because it had poor visibility. — Athena)

That caused a lot of stress. Not only was there the search for a new car and the battling with insurance, but there were necessary trips to other family members (holidays, medical-related visits, and other social obligations) that I went along for in the hopes of providing some emotional support to Athena and her mother. There was a lot of pent-up frustration on multiple sides that sometimes leaked out, and we were also now officially stranded at Athena’s parents’ house. 

The good news is that no injuries were suffered during either accident and that Athena has since acquired a new car. Her parents are also in the midst of getting a car for her mother sorted out. The bad news is that Athena is now justifiably wary of the road and her college is a five-hour drive away. There is also still a lot going on with her family, both car-related and not, that she wants to stay and support them through. So for the time being, we’re somewhat stranded here. We both feel a little bit trapped — her, in particular — and that is not exactly conducive to productivity. It should also be mentioned that this has been extremely disruptive regarding her college program, and as I write this blog, she is wildly trying to catch up on all of that. 

I’ll get back to that later because it factors into my work this past month, but incredibly, this story is not yet over. 

One would think two car accidents would be enough for one month. One would think being stranded at your friend’s parents’ would be plenty disruptive on its own. One might even begin to consider the possibility that good karma had been accumulated.

One would — apparently — be wrong.

Two days after the second accident, I found out that my great-aunt had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer in her lungs, bones, and brain. She had been hiding her symptoms for months but could no longer take the discomfort and had gone into the hospital earlier in the week. 

This came as a nasty shock to me. Last I knew, she was in very good shape given her age and how much she smoked, and frankly, she was not among the list of family members whose lives I feared for. 

My great-aunt has been a constant fixture in my life for longer than I can remember. My family always gathers for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinners. Since the death of my great-grandmother years ago, all these gatherings have been held at my great-aunt’s home. That house also played host to three parties every summer. Some of my fondest memories come from that house’s basement — built into the small hill the main floor rests atop, from the backyard, from the circular, above-ground pool, and the deck built around it. 

Whether it was squeezing through the narrow gap between her high wooden fence and the thick row of trees sheltering her yard to see just how fast I could dart through the maze of tiny openings before coming out on the far side of the yard, diving into neat piles of leaves out in front of her shabby shed, building fires long before I should have been allowed to so I could roast marshmallows, chasing my cousin head-first into a tree whilst firing water guns back and forth, kicking footballs up and attempting to bounce them back down off her protruding roof, or heading over to meet my great-aunt and my grandmother for a brief swim during the heat of summer, I have always loved that house and the wonderful woman who has owned it.

My great-aunt is a difficult woman to describe. She is the product of her generation. Highly opinionated and no-nonsense, never one to waste words and a woman of simple pleasures. She enjoys brief dips in her pool, playing dice with my grandmother and a group of other women every Wednesday during their ‘ladies’ nights’, gossiping endlessly but without malice, and most of all, doting on her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She is stubborn and rarely leaves her house if she doesn’t need to, but she has always had time for everyone in the family. 

She never spoke to the children like they were children. We could always share our thoughts and problems without the worry they would be demeaned or devalued. I never heard her condescend or dismiss anything, not even when it was the most childish of worries or the most ridiculous concern. She has an ability to put herself in the shoes of whoever she is speaking with that I envy but have no hope of ever matching. She always made everyone feel like her equal, no matter their age, their mistakes, or their shortcomings. I love her for every one of these reasons and for a hundred more I will not share. 

Being across the continent during the past few weeks has sapped the life from me at times. Not being there to support her has been tearing me apart, but I know how upset she would be if I cut my plans short on her behalf. I know that she kept quiet for so long in the hopes of protecting everyone around her and that if I went back for her, it would undermine everything she has strived for. I know that it would break her heart and that it would be the last thing she ever wanted. 

That should tell you everything you need to know about her. I guess I could have just told you that and been done with it, but I could just as easily wax poetic for another thousand words and still not have brushed the tip of the iceberg. 

Not returning home for her sake has been one of the hardest things that I have ever done, but if she could be so selfless for so many years, then I can do it, just this once.

I have a good model to pattern off of sitting just in the other room. Athena has been remarkable, all month long. I will never know how someone can struggle through so much and still pour everything into those around them. She has practically dragged her mother through the trials and tribulations that May has thrown into her path. She has helped me through my struggles in each and every way she could, and she has been the single patch of sunlight glowing at the heart of a storm that just keeps howling. She worries often that she has disrupted my flow of work, that everything she has going on has distracted me, or that the outings she has arranged to buy us both some much-needed relaxation have taken me away from work too often. She often apologizes and beats herself up because she has not yet done her part in the Road to Hell revision process, which I need to be able to move on. 

All of these things are true; there is no way of denying that, but they tell only a small part of a larger story. 

She has gone out of her way, time and time again, to ensure that I can work. She rearranged a room here so that I had somewhere I could write. She has handled everything administrative, despite all her obligations, so that I can take advantage of the limited free time I have had. She has sacrificed her own sanity and the best hope she had for a good mood time and time again so that I could squeeze a few hours in, here and there. 

All of those things are a much larger portion of the picture and their place is much more prominent than the turbulent shitstorm stirring in the background. I hope that she knows all of that and that however bad this month has been, it could have been much worse had she been any less supportive.

Wow. I know that I often ramble on for much too long, but this has to be a record. Nearly two thousand words written and no forecasting at all. I guess I’ll talk about the things you guys are here for now. 

The biggest news comes from Conjoining of Paragons. That story’s epilogue has now been posted over on Patreon. It’s a bit of a landmark for me. It is the first platform that any fic of mine has been posted on in its entirety and I cannot help but be proud of that. 

Do I think CoP is my best work? Largely, no — I think that the second half is pretty solid and that in the end, I accomplished what I set out to do pretty well, but CoP was largely experimental for me and that shows in the writing. 

The first thirty or so chapters aren’t written well. I could always string together a good sentence, but the ones that would otherwise shine are buried under heaps of superfluous nonsense and the pacing is too slow. The dynamic between Harry and Emily stumbles its way through several different voices and approaches for about twenty-five chapters, and there are even things in the second half that don’t fit together quite as neatly as they should. 

But it is a complete, cohesive narrative that does a relatively good job of getting across what it wants to and it has a strong sense of tone throughout — this story is the one I credit with teaching me how to carry a tone throughout the narrative. Most of all, I have completed something that thousands of people have enjoyed and I cannot help but smile at the thought of that. 

Not that the ending was unanimously loved. I will spoil nothing, but it was divisive and the reactions were mixed. Mostly positive, for sure, but there was definitely a minority who made their voices heard. To those people, I thank you; your opinions are every bit as valued as the glowing, congratulatory praise that was sung alongside them. 

If you guys want to read that ending now and decide for yourself whether I made a mess of it, feel free to sign up on my Patreon page for a month and let me know what you think. I am also currently accepting questions from my patrons for a Q&A. CoP questions will take priority, but they are free to ask me anything. 

You guys can get involved in that at any tier — but if you sign up for that reason, I would submit your questions via the comments on Patreon and not the channel on Discord, at least until you’ve read the ending. There are a lot of spoilers in that channel. 

I did also finish the final seven chapters of The Road to Hell Part I, so I guess I did get some done this month. I am really happy with this forty-six-chapter arc. It blows any other fanfiction I have ever written so far out of the water that it has not yet splashed back down. This is the proudest I have ever been of a piece of writing and I cannot wait for you all to read it.

Less pleasing is the revision process. Or, more specifically, the lack of one. 

I am going to begin revising these chapters once Athena has read them over and provided me with feedback. This is obviously taking much longer than we expected given that her life all but unravelled during the month of May. 

It is frustrating. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it isn’t. I really want this to begin posting and am more impatient than all of you combined, but I would be much more concerned for my friend than currently I am for my story if Athena had somehow squeezed in the reading and analyzing of those forty-six chapters. 

I don’t know when this will be out. I don’t know when I will be able to revise it. I think that once I can begin, things will move pretty fast. We will see. All we can do is wait and hope that life stops raining on our parade. 

I didn’t write any Perversion of Purity in May. I intended to, but I intended to do a lot of things that got roughly shoved aside. 

I am currently working on my novel and will be for a while — more on that soon — but I will have to write at least two chapters of this over the next fifteen days. I will probably do that next week and there is a pretty good chance I will write more than the two chapters I strictly need to. The only reason I might not do so is that I had originally intended the second half of May, and all of June, to be dedicated to my novel. That has not exactly happened, but I still want as much time to work on that as I can get.

Which provides me with the perfect opportunity to talk about it.

The last time I updated all of you, I mentioned that I was going to begin working on a trilogy for a variety of reasons. 

This has actually gone pretty well even though there hasn’t been a ton of tangible progress yet. 

I began ‘officially’ working on this about a week ago. Last week was spent entirely on worldbuilding, so no actual writing was done. Not unless you count note documents; there was a fair bit of writing done in those. 

I am very happy with the world. It is the most well-realized one I have crafted and the elements lend themselves really well to the story that I plan on telling. I have an incredibly good feeling about this trilogy and am excited to start plugging away at it in the coming weeks.

A few chapters should be written by the time this blog goes out. There is currently only one drafted, but I am writing this on Monday, May 29th, and I will be wrapping up the second chapter tomorrow. Hopefully, the one after that will follow suit on Wednesday. I tend to make pretty good progress on something when I set aside my other projects and give it the entirety of my attention. That is something I have learned in the past six months and it has been a valuable lesson.

I plan on writing all three books before I attempt to get the series published, so it will be a while still. I have quiet hopes of finishing book 1 — whose title I actually do know — this year, but that still leaves two more books to write and the first is the simplest of the three. My hope of finishing that book this year might also be delusional. We’ll see what else life throws at me and how much time I can spare to work on the novel between all my fanfiction projects. 

I should probably mention a couple of server-related things.

The biggest news is that there will soon be an ACI100 Minecraft server! I actually have nothing to do with this and am really just lending my penname to it, but I think it’s super neat. I am incredibly proud of how the server brings together so many people and I think it’s awesome that there will soon be another avenue for that sort of interaction. It is also a little bit flattering when people want to create things for the benefit of the community. 

Things are lagging a little bit behind schedule because this is quite an undertaking, but I am told it should be up and running by this weekend — the first in June of 2023, for anyone reading this at a later date. 

I probably won’t be on the server myself because I really don’t have the time and have only ever played Minecraft on console years and years ago, and even then mostly just so I could build cool things on ‘creative’, but I encourage everyone to join. All the Discord rules will apply on that server, plus a handful of others that will be made clear at its launch. Further information, like how to join, will soon be forthcoming in the #server-news channel over on the Discord server.

Said Discord server has recently added a feature called ‘onboarding’ and a couple of channels have been rearranged. The onboarding will mostly affect new members, but those of you who have been around can now more easily hide channels that you don’t want to see. No longer must you mute every single one of these — thank you, Thanos and Athena.

The other thing is regarding passwords. A lot of new members lately — specifically patrons — have been encountering trouble because they are attempting to use the old passwords that are in #story-news. 

Some of you might remember that, a couple of months back, I was forced to change all the old passwords due to many of them having been leaked. I might go through all the old posts in #story-news and update those passwords so that the confusion from new members ceases, but until that happens, I would appreciate it if you guys could inform new members who are confused that the ones posted in the various passwords lists are the ones that they are after and that many of the ones in #story-news are outdated. I will post an announcement if/when I fix the ones in #story-news, but it probably won’t be for at least a couple of weeks.  

Oh, and I guess I’ll leave you guys with this.

Remember when I said that The Road to Hell would be the last new fic I published, sans perhaps a one-shot here and there? 

I might have lied. 

No promises yet, but I needed something pressure free to write during the worst of this month’s horrors. I was not in the mindset to work on something with any deadlines or expectations, but I did poke around at a couple of ideas that I have wanted to explore for a long time. I wound up combining the two most persistent of them and I think something interesting is slowly sprouting up out of their union. I wrote about thirteen thousand words of that. 

It’s a bit rough at the minute and there is a very large chance this project does not work out the way I hope it will and it never sees the light of day — it would not be the first time this has happened — but you guys might get another fic at some point. We’ll see. It won’t be any time this year if it happens because I would want to write the entirety of this fic before I posted it. Even though it will be a lot shorter than something like The Road to Hell if it’s finished, that still takes time.

I hope you guys had a better May than I did. I know a lot of you are now out of school so I congratulate you all on another year of education in the books. Best of luck to anyone who graduated and is now seeking work, and for the rest of you, I hope that you enjoy the fading weeks of spring.



As I was such a prevalent part of this blog, I felt it only appropriate that I get my own section to speak in.

For y’all’s benefit, I put some photos of both car accidents where appropriate in Ace’s portion of this. I ask you don’t use them to figure out where I live, this month has sucked enough.

As Ace said, everyone was okay in both accidents. The other driver left the scene in the first accident and tried to place blame on me. I think she sped around a corner and wasn’t paying attention, but we will never know. Ace, mercifully, walked away without a scratch from the second accident. If the other driver had his car door open just a little further, or a quarter second later, it could have hit Ace’s legs. The only person injured there was my poor mom’s vocal chords from screaming “fuck” so loudly when she saw the car. (That was a joke, she was okay, but it was a very impressive … battle cry?)

Ace talks a lot about how much I supported him throughout this month, but he didn’t mention how much he has helped my family and I this month.

After the first car accident, Ace was the only person who reached out to my mom and asked if she was okay or if there was anything he could do to help her. This year has been a lot, and my mom was incredibly grateful for his actions that day. She told me later that his presence with me was the only thing that kept her from falling apart since she wasn’t able to come to me herself.

Speaking of my mom, Ace mentioned that we were here for her sarcoidosis infusions. To avoid people asking me later, here is the most basic explanation of what’s going on with her there. Sarcoidosis is kind of like cancer in that the body produces a mass, but it is not cancer. Sarcoid is also highly influenced by how active your immune system is. If you get sick from something like the flu, the more likely you are to have your sarcoidosis triggered and produce granulomas (masses). Unfortunately, despite not being cancer, the treatment my mom is currently going through for her sarcoidosis is a monthly infusion of a chemotherapy drug. This is incredibly hard for her and on her body, and I’m the only person who can afford to come take care of her and support her after those treatments.

On top of that, my uncle has stage four cancer. Between that and my mom’s sarcoidosis, my family is working overtime to support everyone. My mom could barely juggle everything she had on her plate before I destroyed two Toyota Corollas in two weeks.

Ace has been the main person supporting me through all of this. He’s held me while I’ve cried. He’s helped me figure out what to do. He’s held my hand while I’ve dealt with insurance companies and other administrative idiots. He has encouraged me to do work. He’s prompted me to seek out things that were fun. He’s been my rock, my safe place. I couldn’t have done May without him.

If I’ve been the “ single patch of sunlight glowing at the heart of a storm that just keeps howling,” then Ace has been the calm at the center of the storm that I have taken great solace in. I hope he knows all of that and that — no matter how stressed or snappy or overwhelmed I’ve been — I could not have done this month and been there for anyone without him being here for me.

To all of you, I’m sorry I’ve taken him away from writing with my car wreck of a life (lol). I am hoping to get to the Road to Hell this weekend so Ace can pick that ball up again. One of the reasons I haven’t been as active on server is because I have been pursuing my education to become an editor, and some of that may bleed through in these revisions. I am really looking forward to it.

Stay safe, avoid other cars when driving, and look before you open up your door.


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