writing, creating, and new job

I don’t remember if I mentioned I got a new job. I’m back at Store that I left a year and a half ago (honestly, I kinda missed the place), but I’m in a different department. The only time I’ll be back in my old department is on Thanksgiving and I’m fine with this (the department will need it and I want to be near where I’m sure someone will get punched for ridiculous reasons because all those Black Friday Shoppers are fucking crazy)

I’m enjoying my new position. I like most of my immediate coworkers, I get to bother some managers, I’ve made a handful of old regulars really sad that I’m in that department instead of my old one, and there are a small handful of immediate coworkers that I really just want to slap upside the head. Instead of physical contact, I’m going to have a nice long chat with my manager about things that have happened while he’s been on vacation. Like yesterday, I was supposed to clock out at 9. The “closer” for that department decided they were going to call out, so we wound up starting the shut-down process at 3 instead of 5 in hopes of giving me the opportunity to actually leave on time. The one coworker who was there until 7 was trying so hard to help me out, despite having a pulled muscle in her back, and then found that a very vital part of the night-time closing duties wasn’t done. This caused an extra 1.5-2 hours of work that screwed me from doing a lot of stuff, even with the extra pair of hands we were given (who was mainly thrown to clean up the problem)

Eventually, it ended up being the Extra Pair of Hands (a good kid), myself, and Jamie (cuz Jamie and I work together now! huzzah) trying to clean and get everything done. Thanks to my idiot coworker, I wound up clocking out an hour and a half past my time, Jamie clocked out an hour past his time, and Extra Hands got extra hours cuz he’d been asked to come in and help a different department  altogether before getting sent over to me.

I didn’t get everything as clean as I’d prefer it, but I did also find where things have been ignored (and we’re getting High Up the Corporate Ladder Person in early next week and we’re doomed, plain and simple). The manager that had to deal with me and the whole fiasco said that it was good enough, he didn’t expect us to do as much as we did, told me to not do a handful of closing duties anyway, and that it could be dealt with in the morning.

At one point, I had cut on NoSleep (season 5, episode 4) to listen to while I clean, so every so often I’d hear a snippet or two. The Long Pig story, the one after Mummer Man, was playing and the manager and Extra Hands had heard a snippet of it. Manager was like “what the fuck” and I went “Oh, I’m listening to NoSleep. Right now it’s the story where James Cleveland is narrating about murdering a guy so he can carve out his tasty ribs.”

Manager went “Well, ok then.” while Extra Hands just gave me this horrified look. I told the kid that it’s a horror podcast and it’s great. I kind of wish that they’d heard part of Mummer Man instead, because that story is awesome.

Last night also proved that I am no longer used to working 10+ hour shifts (something I had done before I left Store the first time)


So, creative things

Jamie asked me when I was going to submit to NoSleep (because they have a submission thing open right now!) and I told him: when I finish something that’s the minimum wordcount requested. He told me that I should give myself a deadline, “Like, December,” before continuing that he’d bug me until I submit things. He also pointed out that I should just start submitting things until something sticks. I told a friend about it and she agreed with him.

Yesterday, Jamie asked me if I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo and I told him no. I like Ursula Vernon’s idea more (NaNoFiMo, national novel finishing month) and reiterated that I hadn’t written in days.

Seriously, I haven’t written in days. I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t feeling well, then got the job, and then we’d been working long hours (plus commute) and instead of jotting down ideas or notes, I’d just been sitting around reading or scrolling through stuff online.

I told Jamie how I wanted one story to go, in large, broad strokes, and he seemed to enjoy that. But I don’t know how I’m going to write it. I jotted down some notes about a fucked up dream I had that was narrated by Peter Lewis–I told Jamie about it and he went “Y’know, if it’s narrated by Peter Lewis, you gotta write that shit down and make it a reality.” So, I have almost a page of notes of what I remember. If I can work it, it’ll be a fun story to do.

But, I don’t know where I’m going with anything.

“Weird Grandpa” (working title) has been stagnating since that first initial burst of writing. Attempted Novelette has been in limbo since I realized a) I need a list of all the named characters I put in already and 2) I completely forgot where I was going with this. Downtown Novelette still doesn’t have an ending and I changed the characters names from the stand-ins (friends names) to their names (what they’re going to be called from now on). “Retail Weird” is like 3 pages of growing unease with no real plot or idea of where I’m going besides “I’m basing this on all you fucking weirdos.”

There’s other stories that I have no idea what I’m doing with. They’re all fleeting ideas and…the fuck I know what I’m doing.


subconscious planning

I had a dream where I was trying to pitch a novel to a very suspicious editor.

I was describing the story as “It’s ______ meets The Man From U.N.D.E.A.D.” (I can not for the life of me remember what the other novel was). I remember continuing with describing one of the characters as: “A grumpass old wizard, who’s kind of like a mix between the animated Merlin from Sword in the Stone and Ponder Stibbons” before going on a tangent about how that was the best wizard to compare him to in the Discworld as his luck isn’t as bizarre as Rincewind’s, he doesn’t go total librarian-poo when people mess with his books, he’s not as looney as the Bursar, and not as outdoor-lifestyle-obsessive as the Archchancellor. I seem to remember pointing out that this wasn’t The Dreseden Files because I can’t remember if I ever got past the first page of the first book.

I ended up texting a friend of mine, who’s finding it hard to finish up her smut story (it’s well over 100k words right now), and telling her about it. She thought it was hilarious and started telling me about a vampire story she was thinking about working on. She was very adamant that it wasn’t Twilight and described something that seemed close to a scene from the Interview with a Vampire film, which she fervently denied, pointing out it was more modern-day high school like.

She continued to describe some of her idea and I asked her if she’d ever read Blood and Chocolate since part of her idea sounded like what I remember from the beginning of the book. Apparently vampires and werewolves are involved and she’s stuck on plot. I suggested she just work on a scene that sounds interesting and go from there.

I find the whole thing hilarious because I’m not intending for this idea to become a novel. I’m just pecking away at a scene (currently 538 words) in a universe I started in a short story I finished before and found that it would be fun to flesh out the characters a bit more.

I have no plot. I have no villain.

I have a character with a Franken-dog having a conversation on the phone that is turning into a “please don’t be weird and scare the new people” lecture.


On…some day last month, an editor posted a thread on Twitter about rejection from their magazine. They pointed out that there is a 4 in 400(+/-) chance of receiving a letter of acceptance for your fiction short story and pointed out why: An author (not named) had apparently complained about how they’ve been rejected by that particular magazine 3 times and that’s it, they’re never submitting anything again.

I found the whine/pouting kind of ridiculous, thinking of all the times various authors I’ve listened to (panels, interviews, etc) or read (interviews, blog posts, etc) mention how many times they were rejected before something, anything, was accepted. I re-tweeted the first of the thread and pointed out that one day I’ll be brave enough to submit to this magazine. I got a reply that pretty much told me to go for it.

So hell, why not. The worst they can do is send me a “Thanks, but your story doesn’t work for us” email. It took a few hours to look for a story I finished but hadn’t posted to the blog (I’m pretty sure I shared “Just Delicious,” but I can’t remember and there’s not a link on the “stories by me”  sub-header), double check their submission requirements, format the story as per submission requirements, double check on how to write a cover letter which turned into something short, sweet, and to the point (because, really, I have no information besides: Here is the story, Here is the word count, Here is where I think it goes in the range of fiction genres, Thank you for your time)

Submissions for that magazine was open (yay! Last time I had looked they were closed), I submitted my story. Probably gave it a crap name (because on the computer it still has the WIP name I gave it), and waited. I got the email saying the submission doohickey was in the queue and here is a link. Ooooooo

I think the best part about the whole thing was checking the link to see where I was in the queue of submissions. I started out at number 590, and yesterday I was number 50.

This morning I received the email I was expecting: Thanks, but your story is not for us.

That’s cool. It’s more of a weird speculative fiction piece taking an idea and running with it. It’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And, I’m pretty sure that there were a couple pieces that really grabbed the editor’s attention, so more power to them.

I figure 2 things:

  1. On to the next story!
  2. I can always submit it elsewhere and see what happens.


small victory

Bear Hat finished! Woohoo

A post shared by Amanda Lovecraft (@alovecraft) on

As you can see, I finished Jamie’s Bear Hat. I like how it came out and I know he’ll wear it when it starts to get colder than it is now (because cold rain at upper-50s is still “too hot”)

So yay, at least one thing done.

I’m 36 rows into the latest shawl (which means I’ve got 264 more rows to go. boo), so I’m hoping I can get a bit more of it done today. I don’t expect to get a whole lot of rows in, but one or two would be nice.

The 2017 Inktober Prompt List showed up in my tumblr feed last night, so I wrote down the prompts so I can start working on some ideas. So far, I’ve jotted down ideas for 19 of the 31 prompts. The downside is, they’re not in order. They’re just the ideas that have come around while I look at the words. I’m still hoping to use them as part of the comic stuff, but as a “hey, here’s a not-so-clean ink sketch of an idea I had” because I’m not taking this thing seriously.

I’ve added a handful of words to the story I’m working on and…ugh. I just want it to be over so I can work on something else for a little while. I’m near the end, so stopping and working on a different idea just makes me think that I’ll leave it and never come back to it.

Groovin’ along

I’ve gotten 590 words in today so far. Woo, go me.

omg I want to be done with this story. I am at 6983 words. I am ready for my last-minute throw-in character to be eradicated and another character pulled away at the last minute, but dude. I’m stuck 10.5 ft away from salvation. A page and a half is what I’ve gotten done through and my narrator has made one large step to freedom. Now they’re approximately 8 ft from the doorway and I’m at the point where I can’t tell if I’m just being a wordy bastard or what.

I’m hoping that soon I’ll be done with the first draft. I asked Jamie if he’d skim through it to see if at least it flows well enough before I go and work on edits for it because I like the idea for this story (but omg why is this part taking so long).

An old idea I had years ago is poking my brain with “what happens next” so hopefully I’ll finish this one and go piddle around with that one.

I talked with Jamie about doing Inktober this year and he thought it was a cool idea. I thought it’d be a fun idea since I’m finally working through the comic and posting it on tumblr. I figured I could do a sketch, take a pic with my phone, and post it to the tumblr blog and probably even instagram and see what happens. Never know.

I found some con panels that talk about how to pitch to an agent and how to send query letters. I’m using them as background noise while I write and not really paying all that much attention to what they’re talking about. A few things pop up every once in a while and it’s pretty funny.

On the other side of the creative spectrum, I have made it through a grand total of 4 rows on this damned shawl.

It’s hard to work on the loom with a very determined cat who wants your lap and does not want to move for anything.

I ended up looking at some of my stash earlier this morning and realized I’ve got 3 skeins of this weird rainbowy yarn, that I re-rolled because the skeins were being a pain and I’m kind of a nut anyway, and thought that it’d look fun as a shawl. wtf, manders.

Story Time: A New Kind of Moleskine

Like always, first draft (blah blah blah). This is the story that’s been poking at me for a couple of weeks and keeps getting narrated by Peter Lewis in my head. 833 words, so it’s a short one.


A New Kind of Moleskine

 I am a bookbinder; I make books. Various sizes and thickness. You may have seen my work on etsy.

Bookbinding has always been a fascination of mine. The calming of searching for the perfect paper, basing each piece around the texture and colour; choosing between clear, sharp edging and jagged, uneven ripples that would be the the first thing noticed after opening a brand-new book. Finding the perfect thread for sewing the folded sections to one another and deciding whether or not to use that same colour of thread when pulling all the sections together. Coming to the realization that calm, muted colours were the best to bring people a subtle happiness. This helped me decide early on to ignore the stark-white thread that I would keep coming across when searching for supplies.

You’d think that the paper that I would meticulously search for would be the determining factor of the size of the book I would make, especially since I had also decided that working with clean, blank pages would be the best. I know people do prefer pre-lined pages to write on, but there’s something so…calming about a completely blank page.

However, I had found that working with leather was going to be my determining factor for size and shape. I had grown up with a family member who sold leather pieces on the side. Large swaths of leather, scraps of leather, strings of leather you could use as bootstraps of braid for belt-making. He had many different sizes in thickness and colour and was a well of information every time I had a question.

Getting in touch with a small group of leather workers helped with any other questions that I couldn’t find answers to. The best ways to shave down the thickness, the best materials to help stretch the leather, the best glues to work with, the best place to find shears and how to keep them sharp enough to cut the leather.

At one point, I found myself in the middle of the woods, standing in front of a strung-up deer with a knife in my hand and a buddy of mine laughing himself sick. Sometimes the best way to learn a thing is to start exactly at the beginning. For me, it was going through the motions of skinning and tanning a hide. It was a great experience, but I decided to stick with my contacts.

I found that sticking with these guys helped with staying away from having to actually skin anything. I’d receive various sizes of leather. Pieces where I’d be able to make at least two average size books, with very little scraps; pieces where I could make small picture-book-sized sketch or memo pads. Thin scraps that I had left over would be set aside and put together later on to make a modern Prometheus styled notebook, which became very popular when Halloween rolled around.

I found ways to dye the leather, creating beautiful blues and greens. I thought the darker the colours, the better. Some of my clients preferred the more bleach-white that I could work with on occasion, using some old Native American recipes to get the leather as close to white as possible. Every once in a while, I’d receive an email stating that I was a murderer for working with mutilated animals. I’d reiterate what I have on my etsy store page: All leather is ethically sourced. If you are uncomfortable with this, then I urge you to find your gifts elsewhere.

Murderer? Hardly.

I’d usually shake my head and go back to my workroom, turn on some light music, and get to work on the latest piece. Measure twice, cut once. Measure once, cut once, and work around the mishap. Each book as unique as a finger print.

Thinking on unique—I received my latest batch of leather earlier. Always hand-delivered since my clients like to have their items fast thanks to this modern age of gimmegimmegimme nownownow.

The box is about the size of a milk crate and stuffed with pieces of leather. Different colours, varying sizes, but the same shapes over and over again. Long, fat cresent shapes and wide, curvy triangles. I’ll have to separate them later as I spot a few pieces with hints of freckles. Freckled leather always goes in the dyed pile. It’s simpler to hide the freckles than have to make excuses that it’s a genetic thing that happens in certain strains of rabbits.

I could call the collection of books that come out of this new delivery my “Face Book” collection. They could be diary-thick to give an air of sharing. I chuckled to myself, mulling over the idea.

Like I said, my leather is ethically sourced. Sourced from bodies donated to science and executed by whatever method their state determined. Sourced from others who are hired to go after murderers and rapists, even animal abusers. This collection comes from the latter while one of my contacts moves to another county.

Story Time! A Migraine Story

The working title is “A Migraine Story,” as I have no idea what to call it just yet. Idea comes from a post on the NoSleep Facebook Fanpage where someone asked why isn’t there any stories about migraines? So far, the word count is 2268, which is awesome because it beats my word-count goal for this story, so yay.

A Migraine Story

I didn’t start getting the migraines until I had gone down to the Bahamas with my family. My sister, Michaela, had convinced me to get my hair braided by one of the women hawking the service. It took a while, but eventually I caved and let one of them do a “headband” style of cornrows since my hair was just past my ears.

The woman was quiet as I sat on a rickety chair, holding a large Tupperware box of colourful plastic beads. She slathered some sort of goo on my head before starting to pull as hard as she could. Stabbing into my scalp with the comb and angrily braiding before shoving a bead into place and snapping a small rubber band behind it. It felt like every bead and every rubber band was an inconvenience as it smashed into my scalp.

I remember, at one point, she gave me shit for complaining about the pain. She demanded to know if I had ever had my “hair did before, y’know, by a professional.” After I had told her no, I’d never done anything like this before, she scoffed and pulled harder, telling me I “don’t know what pain is.” When she was done, she had added on an extra $30 to the original request of $25. Michaela and I couldn’t do anything except pay the woman and leave Michaela laughed the whole way from the little rickety, faded red chair to the beach where the rest of our family had situated themselves about half a mile away. Michaela apologized with buying a Rum Punch from the little bar on the edge of the beach.

The rest of the trip went through without any problems that I was aware of. Being on a cruise ship that had 8 bars in various areas that were practically open 24/7 tends to help keep most problems at bay. But that was a few months ago and now having a migraine is a constant problem. It’s not so much a “hey, I have a bit of a headache” once in a while, it’s more like “when is this going to happen and how bad will it be this time.”

Normally it feels as though someone has punched me right behind my left ear. I can put my fist behind my ear and cover the area with my fingers and knuckles.

I ended up going to a doctor, who basically told me that there was nothing wrong with me. I was informed to “drink more liquids” and “get some rest.” I went to a different doctor for a second opinion. That doctor hemmed and hawed, nodding a little bit, and didn’t really seem to care what I said. The old man wrote a note on an RX pad, his thick glasses reflecting the harsh light, and handed me a prescription for Tylenol 3. I had had this before, years ago. It was an extra-strength Tylenol with something else added to it. I sighed and asked for a referral for a neurologist or something. He shook his head and told me to give the script a chance. He seemed convinced the Tylenol would work just fine.

I ended up turning to the internet to look for ways to ease up the issue. I began making a list of what might help and whittle it down until I had a nice small list of things to do that I could mentally tally up when the migraines started. Chocolate, caffeine, food, water. Simple things. Sometimes it helped, most times it didn’t.

I went back to the second doctor, who seemed to be disappointed that I had come back, complaining of something so trivial. I got a new prescription and a referral to a neurologist. The doctor acted as though it wasn’t worth even referring me to someone else. But, I got it and all I had to do was wait 2 weeks. Just two, long weeks.

I had the worst migraine of my life. I was hunched over the toilet, waiting to vomit, in the pitch black of my bathroom. I couldn’t deal with sound, smell, or, well, much of anything. I wanted to die. I wanted to pop my eyeballs out. I wanted to crawl to my small toolbox and bash my skull apart with hammer.

I had to slowly text my boss to let her know I couldn’t come in while lying on the cold tile. I couldn’t call—god no. I couldn’t hand the thought of listening to the ringing, let alone the sound of someone else’s voice.

My phone buzzed, sending spikes of pain through my head and face.

Michaela: What’s up yo
Me: I feel like I’m dying.

I somehow managed to respond, squinting at the darkened screen.

Michaela: What’s wrong?
Me: Migraine from hell
Michaela: I’m coming over.

Michaela was stubborn. I couldn’t stop her no matter how much I would ask her not to do something. I stayed on the floor.

Floor is nice. I thought about staying on the cold tile forever. I didn’t know if I could make my way to my bed, even with all the black-out curtains I’d recently purchased and had closed. The bed was maybe 20 or 25 feet away, but I just…couldn’t. The pain behind my ear was unbearable. It was pounding and felt like it was growing.

The front door opened and sounded like a steel door being slammed as hard as possible, even though I’m pretty sure it was shut as quiet as could be. Michaela and I had keys to each other’s apartments, which was a godsend right now. I heard her shuffle towards me, trying so hard to not make noise. I couldn’t tell her that the shuffling of her feet on the carpet sounded like glass marbles being shaken vigorously inside a tin can.

She bent down, “are you alright?”

Her voice was swelled with concern. I grunted and covered my head with the towel I’d managed to pull off the rack.

“Lizzie, you need to answer me.”

She was as quiet as she could be despite the screaming bouncing around my head that it sounded like to me. She put her hand on my shoulder.

“Lizzie, I’m serious.”

I grumbled and rolled over so she’d be able to hear me. “I feel like I’m dying. Nothing helps.”

“Has it ever been this bad before?” I couldn’t see her face, but I could imagine the look of concern she was giving me.

“I want a hammer.”


“If I smash the hammer against my head, maybe it’ll go away.”

She sighed and patted my arm. “I’ll be right back.”

She stood and left the area. Tile flooring without any padding did not help my head at all, so I moved an arm under my head. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better than being curled up in a ball on my side. I felt Michaela come back and begin doing something to my foot.


“Stuff it, Liz. I’m getting your shoes on. We’re going to the hospital.”

“No.” it was a weak protest.

“No? Really, Liz, I’m tired of you bitching about your headaches and you not getting anything done with it.”

“Got appointment,” I mumbled as she helped me sit up and lean against the wall.

Michaela had gotten a tea towel damp and put it in my hand. She pulled the towel off my head, took the tea towel, and pressed it against my eyes. The shock of cold pulled me out of the enormous pain long enough to stand up and take the zip-up jacket she stuffed in my free hand. She started walking me towards the door before plopping me down on the couch. She disappeared for some time, I’m not sure how long it took, and eventually came back to haul my ass up.
“Lean on me,” Michaela grabbed my arm and threw it over a shoulder. “We are going on an adventure.”

All I remember is beeping. Christ, the beeping. Each beep stabbing itself into my head. I groaned and moved my head slowly back and forth.

“Turn it off,” I whined. My own voice ricocheting against my skull. God, I’d kill to make this stop.

“Can’t turn it off,” a cheerful voice boomed somewhere near me. “Got to keep you hooked up, sweetie.”

I wanted to scream, I wanted to jump up and punch this person in the face, but all I could do was grunt and weakly flip the room off.

“Lizzie, be nice,” my sister piped up. “You’re lucky we got you here in time.”

In time. That’s an odd phrase. In Time. Sounds like something from a time when horses were a main source of transportation. In Time sounded like something a doctor would say before locking a loved one up in a padded room.

“You’re going to feel something cold and then you’ll feel like you’re peeing yourself, but don’t worry. You won’t be peeing and the pain will start to go down.”

“Bullshit,” I didn’t believe it. The only way this pain would go away is if someone could release the pressure in my head.

Wasn’t that a lobotomy? I could get behind that. Maybe not the whole ice pick beside the eyeball thing, but the whole small hole drilled out of your skull thing. I wonder if I could get them to do a lobotomy on me.

I felt a weird and cold sensation go through my right arm before the sudden warm sensation of peeing myself. “Ew.”

The cheerful voice laughed, “You’re fine. Someone will check on you in about 10 or 20 minutes and see how you’re doing. If you have any feeling like you can’t breathe, the emergency button is right beside you.”

I’d still rather someone cracked open my skull to get rid of the never-ending pain. It was all I could think about until I realized I had been lulled into a strange middle ground. The huge spike of pain was still there, but as a background throb. It was as though I’d fallen into a nice dark haze of half-asleep apathy.

“How’s the patient doing?” a soft, new voice asked.

“I’ve died and gone to hell,” I answered without moving.

“Looks like you’re livelier now that we’ve gotten some morphine into you.” The voice sounded amused. “Are you able to answer some questions?”

“I guess.”

“I can help if need be,” I heard my sister answer.

“That will be great. Now, Elizabeth, how long have you been having these headaches…”

The questions seemed to go on forever. When did you first notice them? How long do they normally last? Do they generate in any specific area? What did you use to treat them? Do you do drugs? Have you been seen for any psychiatric illnesses? Do you remember who you saw for the headaches?


That’s what the doctor called them. He kept refusing to use the term “migraine” and seemed to be more likely determined to prove that I was either coming down from something or simply had the worst hangover ever. I heard him mutter something about an extra saline bag.

Headaches don’t feel like this. A headache is a dull throb that shows up every once in a while and the headache pills knock it out within an hour or so. Migraines are a deep, painful, screwdriver lodged in your skull. Sometimes pills help, sometimes sleep helps. And sometimes you find yourself sprawled on your bathroom floor wishing for a swift death.

The doctor added something else to my IV, talking about “just waiting for the bloodwork to come back.” I sank back into the fuzzy dark world between asleep and awake while Michaela made a remark about some drama on Facebook.

I woke up to the face of the doctor. The small cloth Michaela had put over my eyes to block as much light out as possible was gone. The doctor had a concerned look on his face.

“I’m glad you’re awake. I need you as coherent as possible. We’re going to wheel you over to the MRI and see what’s going on.”

The machine was boring. I kept my eyes closed as the technician spoke calmly. It felt like no time at all and, before I knew it, I was being wheeled back to the ER room I’d first woken up in. the short doctor was staring at the images of my brain looking confused.

“You said you went on vacation to the Bahamas, right?”

Michaela nodded, “Yeah. We went on a cruise.”

“Did anything strange happen?” he’d turned to her as I put the cloth back over my eyes. I could easily answer the questions without seeing things.

“No. We had fun. We drank a bit, went on excursions, hung out on the beach.”

“Did you hit your head on anything?”

“No,” I grumbled.

“Did you have anything done to your head?”

“She got her hair braided,” Michaela replied. “Y’know, it’s like those island braids that a lot of girls get when they go on cruises and stuff.”

I could hear the pause before the doctor made up his mind to speak.

“We need to prep you for surgery.”

I heard the chair scrape as Michaela jumped up. “What! Why?”

He tapped the glass where the scans of my brain were and I pulled the cloth off my eyes. “Your sister, and you have to understand that this is rare.”

He looked towards me, “We believe that you may have a worm lodged in your brain.”