It’s a new year and I’m still hangin’ around.
Do you ever wonder when I’m going to give up the ghost and let it all go? If you haven’t wondered, I’ll be honest and say that I have. I have wondered a lot and have been close many times. And yet…
I’m either a glutton for punishment or… I… I’m just a sucker for pain (Thank you Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khalifa, X Ambassadors, Logic, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Wayne). Maybe I’m just tenacious and don’t know when to quit, even if it seems that I’ve done exactly that.
I’ve let everyone down from readers to editors to publishers to friends, but let’s be honest here… The one I’ve let down the most, the one who has suffered the most is me. It’s not the fault of anyone, but me. No matter how much I’d rather it be on someone else, it’s not. It can’t be. I’m the only one in charge of this train wreck.
And I still have stories to tell. I still have books to write. I still have things I want to say. So, for the time being, whether it’s a year or two or more, I’ll be here writing, publishing, reinventing myself, growing, changing.
Just thought I’d let you know…
It’s been a few minutes, right? How ’bout a quick update…
Even though I haven’t written a post to you since I got home from Florida, I have written words on a couple of different stories.
But quite frankly, I’m pretty far behind on a lot of things. Writing goals, housework, health goals, etc… However, as always, I’m working to catch up and I’m working to get things moving forward and getting ahead a little and looking forward to 2022.
I haven’t felt well since I got back. Physically or mentally. I’ve been extremely tired and some sort of exhausted I can’t even name. My mood has been up and down. I’ve lacked for energy of any sort. It’s not that I want to sleep, it’s more that I don’t want to do anything at all.
My diet was way off while I was away and before I left, I had been making good progress with it, making the changes to my eating and drinking habits that made me feel so much better than before. It’s taken me a few weeks to find the motivation to really get back to it, but I’be started making significant progress this week. Exercising has been pretty much in that same boat. I fell way off and have lacked any kind of desire to get back into the swing of doing it. I have started up again, albeit, at a much more pulled back state until I build some energy and stamina back up. It’s the starting that counts at first, and the consistency that counts as you move along.
Thanksgiving was nice. We spent the day up in Charlotte with our daughter and her new cat and kittens. The leftovers were gone by Sunday.
There’s a Christmas tree lighting in the park of the small town we live in later this week and Hallmark Christmas movies have set the bar pretty high, so if this event doesn’t live up to that, I’m gonna be pretty damn disappointed.
The regular college football season is over and thank heavens for that because my Seminoles were not much better this year than they were last year. On the plus side, however, are my Cincinnati Bearcats who went 12-0 this season. I’m nervous about their conference championship against Houston this weekend and cautiously excited. I believe some Cincinnati Chili will be on the menu as an extra boost of support.
My new favorite holiday drink is a Gingerbread Tea Latte (with oatmilk). I had one at Starbuck’s inside the Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago when I went to write in the cafe and oh my goodness, it was delicious. I ordered some Harney & Sons Gingerbread Festival tea as soon as I got home that evening and have been making this tea latte every day since.
And before I close out this note, I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for you, whoever you are, reading these posts, these snippets that I write. You’re awesome.
Since October 12th, I’ve been down in Florida and during this time, I’ve managed to scratch out a couple thousand words. That’s much less than a week’s worth when I’m at home, but for these 3 weeks, I’ve been helping out family and having the mental energy necessary to write has been a challenge.
I’m mentally, physically, even emotionally exhausted. Being a caregiver, short-term or long-term is not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely not for the selfish or the ‘me’ mentality. It requires patience, kindness, and the ability to scream internally when you can’t scream externally.
Normally, I would have said, ‘I just can’t. I’ll just wait until I get back home and get my head back on straight, catch up on sleep, on de-stressing, on XYZ… And then, I’ll start writing again.’ I haven’t done that. I’ve eked out words here and there, most of which don’t make much sense and most of which will be edited out. I also not upset about it, about the lack of progress on a novella I’d hoped to have finished long before November. I’m barely halfway.
I’ve texted with a couple of friends since I’ve been here. I’ve mostly taken my mom or grandma to the Dr, the store, to run whatever errands need to be taken care of, etc… while my mom is recovering from a fall that left her with multiple fractures in one arm along with a plate and nine screws in her wrist. Her sleep schedule is way off which means that mine is, too. By the time I fall asleep around 2-3am… my brain and body have had enough.
Writing is often an escape, sometimes a joy, a lot of times very hard work. Right now it’s not an escape. I can’t think straight enough for it to be an escape and I don’t have the time to sit and immerse myself in a story. I cobble together a few words, try to figure out a storyline in the moments I may have a second to think. I crave and cherish time to myself, something I haven’t had any of for three weeks. I don’t think I’ll be taking that for granted when I return home.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am grateful I can be here and I can help out when needed because no one else in the family can come. I have the freedom and flexibility in my life and schedule that my sister and cousins don’t. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my grandma who is 95. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my mom. I am close with both of these women, but we’re all also cut from the same stubborn piece of cloth and it does pull on the nerves from time to time.
All this, though, is to say… Whatever the circumstance, writing can happen. Even if it’s ten words a day. Five words a day. It’s like the jigsaw puzzles my grandma and I do when I’m here and there’s some down time. It’s one piece at a time. It may be a total of one thousand pieces, but one piece at a time gets you one step closer. It’s the same with writing. One word, five words, ten words in a novella or novel doesn’t seem like much, maybe a drop in a bucket, but it’s one, five, or ten words that weren’t written before and it’s one, five, or ten words closer to the goal.
So, if you find yourself in need of writing but you don’t have much time, you’re exhausted and don’t know which way is up or down and everything seems to be going sideways… Just add one word, five words, ten words… They don’t have to make sense. They just have to be there.
I love y’all… And I’ll be in touch again soon.
In addition to the writing I’ve been doing and all the story ideas I’ve been collecting through July and August and likely through September, too, I’ve been doing some reading and thought I’d share what those titles are…
I’ve finished a reading a fantasy novel, A Court of Honey and Ash by Shannon Mayer and Kelly St Clare, and to be honest with you… I’m both looking forward to the sequel and yet, I’m not. I didn’t like the way the first one ended and had I known, I’d have waited until the whole series was available.
I’m currently reading Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury for nonfiction. I heard someone describe it as a love letter to writing and she was right. It is. It’s wonderful.
Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin. Because I can always, always, always handle this better.
I’m also slowly working my way through Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. If I focus on it, I’ll not be doing any writing at all because I’ll be reading it and the two books that follow and re-watching the series on Netflix. So, I have to pace myself.
Not My Romeo by Ilsa Madden-Mills. It’s slow going, too.
I gave up on City of Sin by Ivy Smoak. I couldn’t get into it. At all.
There are a few on pre-order, too…
Let’s not talk about the number of books already on my bookshelves (real and virtual), my library wish list, and my bookstore wish lists.
So many books… Man, I need a couple extra lifetimes.
If there’s anyone reading this, tell me what books your reading…