Monday, October 24, 2016

Back to Normal: Let's Write

First things first, if you're still waiting for a commission from me it will be on its way to you by the end of the month. It should not have taken this long. I apologize.

I'm thankful for all the commissions I had to do. It allowed me to escape for a time here and there into worlds I hadn't needed to consider before. It also forced me to adopt a sort of formal layout for them. Since I'm done with conventions for this year I'm looking forward to opening back up for commissions for the Christmas season. I'll announce that when I'm ready.

I've been thinking a lot about what to write next. There are several short story ideas swimming around the brainpan, as well as two ideas that could be novels along with continuing work on The Cold Distance. AND a collaboration on another novel, where there are stacks of notes waiting to be reviewed and hammered into a plot of some kind. I dream about stories, I've got lots of scraps of paper in my work bag with notes for things I've started and ideas that are growing. All indications are that I'm ready to get back to writing.

But it can't be scattershot - do this one day then another thing the next. I'll need some organization to get things done.

Which is where I usually flail in desperation because I'm terrible at organizing my home work time. There are sooo many distractions. Like Netflix (Luke Cage held my attention after the first half, Black Mirror is terrifying and thought-provoking); or books (the new Caleb Carr! my about to collapse 'to read' shelf); comics (stuff I got at conventions this year that I have stacked).

One thing that's not on the list is NaNoWriMo. I want to do it but... there's too much else going on. Resetting one's life is difficult and expectations have to be lowered a bit to allow room for grief. What I'm learning is that I can't wallow. What happened happened and I'm not the first person it's happened to.

I went to hang out with my best friends last Saturday night. We talked, drank and shared stories as we normally do but it was different this time. Not that they were different with me but I recognized how much I needed to be there, to feel normal and to know that it was okay. In fact, it was good to be normal. Life must go on.

Skies are cloudy for a while but there's some blue peeking through now and then. I'm all right with how it's going because I know the sun is on the other side of those clouds. And I need sun to feel okay.

In the weeks since Mom passed away I've opened up a bunch of documents to start writing. Haven't gotten much done on any of them, but that's not the point. At least so far. Looking at what I've got in progress is part of getting back to normal. Typing a few sentences here and there is part of getting back to normal. Absorbing stories is part of it, too. All of this is building up and allowing me to feel like it's okay to get back to normal.

Watch this space. When I get back to it, I'll let you know. It's slow and I'm NOT going to rush it but it's happening. Flow will come and stories will result.

Thanks for reading, gang. Knowing you're out there rooting for me, even a little, means the world. I can't do this without you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sadness Sorrow Solace

There's some language here that may offend some, and talk about cancer and death. Heads up.

Life has been interesting the last four or five years. Lots of things going on professionally, my personal life has been and continues to be very stable over that time but there was a specter over everything for the last half of that time.

Cancer sucks. Fuck cancer. I understand now what deep anguish is and how it can affect me. No need for me to continue to wallow in self-pity/recrimination/immolation. Rather, I've been confronting the feelings of helplessness and despair as much as I can head on. The last four months in particular have been by far the absolute most difficult time of my life. However, there's been catharsis of late that came from working on so many commissions and more than a great deal of comfort from friends old and new.

In the time since I found out Mom was dying of an easily detectable and completely treatable colon cancer, I've worked hard. Not just at the day job but also at home and in my circles of friends. I've lost a few along the way to other life things but I think about them. I love them as much as I always have even though I don't reach out and make contact as often as I should. I ponder recriminations as to what I did to drive them away but it's not always me. They have life things going on too and they need to deal with them.

That's how I lose people more than anything else, just forgetting or not taking the time to send a card, an email, a text, make a phone call or anything that lets people know I'm thinking of them. Maybe it doesn't make much difference but I'll try to do better. At least where it concerns Christmas or holiday cards. And emails. I mean, I get a notification that someone has a birthday on Facebook and I don't click over to say "Happy Birthday!" when that's sooo easy. I tell myself I want to personalize it somehow, in some small way, give it a little kick like I would in real life.

And then it's gone and I'm on to the next crisis/task/whatever that demands my attention.

But I couldn't ignore cancer. I can't, going forward, either. Cancer is now a permanent part of my life and fuck cancer for taking my Mom. Fuck cancer for not having been cured.

I digress.

I haven't written on the novel since the beginning of August. My critique group is foundering a little but we'll get back in the groove. Everyone wants it to so I'm confident it will. I'm behind on a couple big projects at work but those will fall into place at the last possible second like they always do. This is Life. This is the messy stuff we should all put away when we get home so we can enjoy the best parts of Life. But often I confused it with living which it isn't. My wife has been the Rock I need, grounding me and feeding me and encouraging me. I doodle,  I've done a TON of Velocity Stories and I have a few more to go and I've batted around an idea with a buddy that could turn into something too.

There's a lot ahead but it's tinged with grief. I know it will lessen as time goes on and the hole in my heart will heal over eventually. All the little self-inflicted (imaginary) wounds are healing over bit by bit and I hope to reestablish certain valued friendships. It's an interesting time, one that could be pivotal.

Or it could just be a time that shit has happened and will continue.

It's up to me to do good with what I've got. There's love, friends, and lots of potential no matter what happens. That's the comfort available to me and I'm taking it. I know what living is, I know how to do it. I know what's important.

To everyone who has lost anyone to cancer, you are loved and valued and you're an awesome human. To everyone who has lost anyone for any reason, it will get better and there are things you can do to dilute the pain. Shutting out everyone who is still here and cares for you is not the right thing. Reach out to them, remind them you want to be included in everything. Go for it.

Mom always told me it was okay to try and fail at things. It's great advice. It's not license to be a jerk, it's permission to chase what matters to you. It's concession that you may not be ready for it despite what you think. As long as you don't hurt anyone in the process, go for it.

I miss my Mom but I have a lifetime's worth of memories. It's not the same but it's what there is.

We'll return to regular programming here soon. Thanks for your support, your words of caring, and the love you've shown me over the last few months. I mean it, you're all awesome humans.