Sentinel Academy

Sentinel Academy is officially finished today, 11-22-2023, at 28818 words.
I like the numbers, so I’m noting them.

It might be about all I enjoy about this story for quite a while, so I might as well luxuriate in what I can.

Elyuana’s story is, was, will be difficult.

But it’s fine.

They say every ten is a cycle and they may very well be right, because this 10th story marks a step forward into something I’d been fearing.

I used to tell myself I was simply a story-teller.

Now, I’m going to be honest with myself and my expectations: every single story is my story.

True memoir is not for me.

For various reasons, some to do with trauma, some to do with internalized doubt and self-loathing, some to do with the fallacy that memoir must be truthful.

It takes courage to look back.
Courage and a clarity I do not (yet?) possess.

So I tell stories.
Supposed fiction, to blur the wounds.
A mosaic censoring, if you would.

There is fear here.
Having been told so often that the enemy of good storytelling is self-insertion, it feels like utterly giving up on the pretense of authorship.
(odd how women get told this, but there are so many stories of English professors and their nubile young teaching assistants…)

But there is also freedom.
This is me.
This is my story.

And just as I do not expect to be universally loved…
It is somehow easier to detach praise and criticism when knowing it’s my story rather than the elusive concept of “art”.

(we’ll talk about the trauma and problems within that at some point, perhaps)

So here it is.
Off we go.

I remind myself: it is enough to have saved myself.
It is enough to have seen the wound and acknowledged the healing needed.

May we all find succor somewhere.
May we all live in blue.

2 Comments Sentinel Academy

  1. Derek Sandberg

    Just finished Sentinel Academy and really enjoyed it.

    Bailed from the evil X in the summer and am waiting to see where the writer community finally settles. Doing less social media overall and that is probably good.

    Wishing you a joyful holiday season and new year.


    1. Katja

      Derek! So good to see you. Thrilled you enjoyed the story.
      …I’m honestly not sure where people will end up “settling”. I’m on BlueSky (let me know if you’re on there or need an invite) but who knows how long that will last. From all accounts, they’re expanding, but people aren’t sure if they’re ready, and they’re going to need money at some point, so…
      Also on Mastodon, which frankly I think has a better case for longevity than BlueSky, but it does take a bit of adjustment, and I think most people have fallen on the side of “do not want to bother”.


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