[raindrop blue]

hey, this is a tiny and probably infrequently-updated journal. you can find others like it at the Neon Kiosk. the rest of my stuff is at natrix.space.

2023-02-08 // horror

I've been on kind of a horror-lit kick lately. It's usually fairly rare for me to find anything that genuinely scares me (which is weird, because I am not exactly a big mean tough badass - I guess I'm just picky about my horror tropes), but I'm either getting more sensitive lately or I've just had a run of good luck, because I ran across two books in the same week that really, genuinely unsettled me - Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin and Carpenter's Farm by Josh Malerman.

Fever Dream is... well, its title gives a good clue about the general feel of it. It's told as a conversation between a young boy and a dying woman, and the conversation is... extremely strange, involving "worms" that have caused this woman's death and the need to identify "the exact moment when it happens" by going over her memories of the last few days. As she recounts her memories she mentions another story (I love nested stories-within-stories, absolutely excellent plot device every time), one she was told by the boy's mother, about how the boy was poisoned when he was very young and had to be cured in an... unconventional way, one which left her feeling as if he was no longer really her son. Child peril is a constant theme through the book - the dying woman repeatedly asks about where her daughter Nina is, and the concept of "rescue distance" - how close to your child you need to be to ensure that you can save them if something bad happens - is repeated over and over. (And, of course, though the book never directly comes out and says it, sometimes there's no rescue distance close enough. Sometimes something terrible can happen to your child when they're right next to you, and you'll never even see it happen.) I don't think this book would have hit half as hard if I wasn't a parent myself - and a pretty fucking anxious one, let's be honest - but I think it would always have creeped me out. It gave me the same "you'll be scared, but you won't know why" feeling that I'm Thinking Of Ending Things did (though after reading the ending of ITOET, I don't think I'll ever find that book scary again, just sad).

I'm trying not to spoil it too much here, because there's no real way to do a read-more or spoiler tags on this blog (I mean, I could put the text in the same colour as the background, but that wouldn't work for the Neon Kiosk feed, or screen readers), but it's weird and haunting and confusing and sad and is probably going to live rent free in my head for a while.

I'm going to just post this, and come back another day to talk about Carpenter's Farm, I guess.

2023-01-26 // ivy plant redux

Although it occurred to me that maybe it would be nice to add a tiny update to an earlier post here: the little ivy plant is thriving, and now I have fairy lights over my bed, too. They look super pretty.

2023-01-26 // shrug

I don't know what the fuck to say here, honestly. I started writing it because I love reading other people's blogs and about the details of their lives, but I forgot to account for the fact that my life is really fucking boring to people who aren't me. (And occasionally to people who are me.)

Or, I don't know, is it, I guess? On paper "disabled queer trans family trying to survive and not lose their shit in 2023" could be at least a little interesting, right? In practice it's mostly just a lot of "can we afford to put the heating on today" and "please don't show me any more transphobic news articles, I can't deal with it right now". Maybe it's just not knowing how to write about it. Ugh. Well, the point of this blog is that it's nonsocial media and probably nobody reads it, so I guess I'll just try to get back into writing whatever I've been doing with the kid or whatever. I mean, I had breakfast in a cafe this morning! It was nice! Except that I forgot I'd just had a wisdom tooth removed, so actually eating the toast I'd ordered was almost impossible. I cut it up into tiny pieces and awkwardly chewed it only on the right side of my mouth.

Which, yeah: I got a fucking wisdom tooth removed! I have never had a tooth extracted before in my 43.5 years of life, and I really wish I hadn't had to start with a dramatically broken wisdom tooth. (Most people in the UK do not get their wisdom teeth removed as standard - and we don't get knocked out for it, just a local anaesthetic. I *wish* I had been knocked out for it, but no.) I won't go into detail because seriously who wants to read that, right, but, ugh. I feel like I've been run over by a truck, but only in one very specific area of my face.

2022-12-22 // he's been!

Christmas was okay. Well, the kid had a great time; I had RSV and spent most of the day coughing, or explaining in a whisper that I'm really sorry, bean, but I can't actually read your new Sonic the Hedgehog book to you because my voice has stopped working. Also I fucked up my side shave and had to try to avoid family pictures all day, because my head now looks like a hedgehog with a bad case of mange and will continue to do so until I can get the clippers to start working again. But I managed to get my shit together enough to stay awake for the day, play with the new toys, eat Christmas dinner and get him into bed before collapsing on the couch with bad Christmas tv and a glass of wine, so I'll call it a win.

But I was really glad he had a good day. Until this year he's actually been scared of Santa (on the grounds that "his voice is too deep" and "I don't want him to come down the chimney") and has insisted that only the reindeer are allowed to come to his house - but then Santa showed up at the Christmas party at his school, and turned out to be friendly and gave him a present, so this year we got to do the things like writing a letter and putting a mince pie out for Santa, and I felt like oh shit I'm actually doing the stuff I remember from being a kid! Feels weird-but-good to repeat those traditions and see it all from the other side.

2022-12-11 // zines

I haven't made a zine in ages (well, a month or two). I kind of went through a really bad mental health patch in the summer/autumn and I started making little handwritten mini-zines as a creative thing to focus on, a way to cope, a distraction, whatever. It helped. Usually they weren't actually really about mental health stuff, or only tangentially about it. Mostly they were about things I liked, ideas that came into my head, special interests, or just little art zines full of messy ink drawings. Honestly, I think some of them were pretty good, even. I got a bunch of downloads and a few nice comments on itch.io (and seriously, every time I get a positive comment on a zine or game or drawing, I appreciate it so goddamn much, like it will absolutely make my week).

But I started to feel a bit better and I also started to run out of ideas, so I stopped doing them every week and started just doing them once in a while.

but now I realise I miss it and that it was a good way to express things that were somehow hard to express in a normal way, in conversation or social media or blog posts (though now I have this weird little not-social-media-at-all blog I think expressing things here might be a little easier?). Also, it's the absolute darkest depths of winter, I feel like I haven't seen sunlight in months, and my mental health is gently descending into the underworld again, so it might be worth dragging my bag of Zine-Making Crap out of the cupboard and making a new one.

2022-12-05 // "mommy blogger"

It's a little bit funny to me that this probably maybe comes off like a middle-aged ~mommy blog~. I mean, in a very literal sense it is one, I guess, because I'm middle-aged and a mother and I write a fair bit about my kid, but I really do not feel like I fit into the usual demographic associated with that kind of blog, because I mean... I'm queer and butch and disabled and also I am fucking broke, and not like "check out these fun holidays-on-a-budget hacks" broke but "can't afford to put the heating on if I want to buy food this month" broke.

... Although that being said I just googled "mommy bloggers" to check I was using the right term and the results were pretty much wall-to-wall vitriol about how awful it is when women write about their lives, so I mean, I don't really feel like adding to that? I mean, I know that most of the ~blogosphere~ in general now is just advertising with extra steps, and with specifically mommy bloggers I know some of them are shitty and shaming of non-perfect families (as if any family is ever "perfect", really) and some of them push anti-vax nonsense or whatever, but still, there's this very specific rage the internet always seems to summon about Women Doing A Thing and it sucks, so, you know, if you're a non-shitty non-shamey mother who just enjoys writing about your family life, hey, good for you, I wish you a very pleasant evening and a comments section free of assholes.

2022-11-23 // ivy plant

I bought this little ivy plant. I don't have a lot of plants even though I love them, because I also have cats, and the cats will eat them, which will result in poisoned cats at worst and dead plants at best. So I basically have a couple of spiky cacti, which are struggling and doing that thing where they grow all tall and spindly because they don't get enough sunlight, and a basil plant, which the cats don't seem to like, but it is also dying because at this point I've used 90% of it for cooking.

But I saw this little ivy plant at the florist as I was on my way home from the shops, and it was just so small and pretty and I had the £3 to buy it, so I did. I know it's on the "bad for cats" list, but I do actually have a high shelf in my room where the cats can't reach, so I put it up there.

And the thing is, my room is a fucking mess. It's just depressing. It has to be cat-and-child-proof so I can't have things like candles or flowers in vases or basically anything breakable, and the printer lives here because there's no other space for it, and I'm tired all the fucking time so the laundry basket is overflowing and I haven't vacuumed in forever, and we just rearranged the kid's room and got him a big-kid bed, which means his old toddler-sized mattress is propped up against the wall in here, and his rocking horse is hanging out in here too because there's no longer space for it in his room, and it just... I hate it, you know? I hate not having a space that feels peaceful and chill to retreat to.

But now there is a thing in here that I got just because it's pretty and I like it. And it's a start. And every couple of nights before I go to sleep I give it a little of the water from my water bottle like I'm sharing a drink with a friend. And I will get rid of the fucking mattress and I will maybe buy a nice blanket or something next time I get paid and I will, somehow, find a space for the rocking horse, and I will make a room that looks like I live in it and not like it's a combination spare room/laundry pile/junkheap. (And then inevitably it will get messed up again because that's just how it fucking goes, but you know. One must imagine Sisyphus happy and all that.)


I haven't been out for an actual *walk* for ages, like a "going for a little nature walk to reconnect with the outside world and maybe see some cool mushrooms" walk, and I miss it. Plus I've probably missed the best season for seeing cool mushrooms now? Although there might be some fly agarics around if I'm lucky.
But I did at least get to leave the house and go into town yesterday, and that was nice. I went at a kind of awkward weird time, though, just when the shops were mostly closing and the bars and restaurants were still thinking about getting ready to open, so I guess I didn't plan that super well - but being in town in the evening made me realise how long it's been since I did anything like going out to a bar or the cinema. It feels like literally lifetimes ago, pre-baby, pre-pandemic. Honestly, I was kind of tempted to just wander into the cinema and find out what was showing and just go buy some popcorn and watch some random thing. I didn't, though. Maybe next time.

2022-11-06 // fireworks

I went to a "low bang" fireworks display with the kid for Bonfire Night, and he really really loved it. He hasn't really been able to see and enjoy fireworks before, because he was too little/quarantine was happening/they were too loud and the bangs scared him, but tonight was great. They had a fire-eater which he was absolutely fascinated by, and a lot of sparkly crackly but quiet fireworks, and afterwards we got to feed some baby goats since the display was at a petting farm. And, I don't know, I just hope that it'll be something he remembers as magical, the way I have hazy memories of things like that that have stayed in my head for my whole life. I know you can't plan for these things, there's no way to determine what's going to stick in a kid's memory and what's going to be forgotten in six months, but I guess at least you can try to give them happy experiences and hope that some of them stick.


We got a few adorable little trick or treaters tonight. Tomorrow I'm taking my kid (and maybe a couple of his friends?) out trick-or-treating. He wanted to be a pirate dinosaur, which is also what he was last year (because he couldn't decide between dinosaur and pirate). I was surprised he remembered it from so long ago; it's not like we've talked about it extensively since. I just asked what he wanted his costume to be and he just went "oh, I've got a good idea! A pirate dinosaur!" Maybe it'll catch on.


Straight up just hand-coding this instead of typing into a textarea space feels a little weird, but in a good way. Like it's taking me back to ~2000 when I tried to make a "weblog" because I'd heard about them and thought the idea was cool.

Now here I am two decades later trying to make one to escape from the modern internet and its algorithms. But at least now I know how to format it.

Also, it turns out that cold-turkeying twitter was way easier than I was expecting. For like two days I felt restless, like.... what am I going to look at when I have a spare moment and I'm bored? And then by the third day it was like, actually it's fine, I'll read a book on my phone or play a game or whatever if I really need something to do, and I felt less stressed because I wasn't constantly shoving an endless stream of the world's worst takes into my eyeballs. (And then on the fourth day it turned out that That Guy is buying twitter after all, so I guess maybe I'll have some company in the not-doing-twitter-anymore experience.)


"but natrix, why not just write a paper journal then?"
I don't know. I mean, I actually do also write a paper journal, though it tends to be just brief notes about my day and how I'm feeling. I guess I am looking for something in between the "I actively don't want this to be read by anyone" paper journal experience and the "I actively want people to read and engage with this" social media experience. Like, the idea that someone out there might read my journal and find it interesting is nice, but also if they don't, that's okay, the idea is enough. I think that's more or less it.


I think I would like to try keeping a journal in a... non-interactive way? Microblogging is fun but it's still more of a... social thing, than a journalling thing. Also I bought this domain because I love it, and I need something to put on it, so...