About this same time, my twenty-year old daughter began experiencing calf soreness and mild headaches. By early November, I was sending my manuscript out for review, outlining my fic for the Prometheus Saga, and my daughter had progressed to migraines, serious leg pain, and stiff ankles. At Thanksgiving, I’d sent my novel off to a couple of agents, started the sequel, and it became obvious my daughter was in serious trouble. I published my novelette, 'Manteo', the same day my daughter was unexpectedly hospitalized a second time. At the end of January, an agent requested my full manuscript at the same time we learned my daughter would be receiving her first chemo infusion the next day.
Are these things related? No. But they complicate each other. Everyone’s lives are complicated in respect to the tangles formed between their work life and personal life. The boundaries for anyone who works from home blur even more. It’s a given that our schedules, in general, are more flexible, even more so when you are your own boss.
After years and years of writing and networking, my effort is shifting into publishing. I get paid on occasion, but I’m not making a living at it, yet, so it’s harder to justify the time I spend doing it. I’m very fortunate in that my hubby runs the business that gives us income while I stepped back to unschool the kids and then followed them into their later schools and sports as a volunteer. He’s provided for us and for the horses I have remaining from my successful barn business and the ones we currently have for the girls. The girls and the horses and writing have formed the purpose of my days for years now. As the girls have transitioned into their more independent lives, I’ve turned that freed-up time to my writing and it’s beginning to pay off.
But just as that shift is happening, my oldest has come home. She has an autoimmune vasculitis which has affected the blood supply to many of the small nerves in her body. We have been reassured that with treatment, she will regain the use of her hands and feet and ankles and wrists, but right now she requires full-time care. I have a new understanding of just what that means, full-time care. I have completely relied on friends to see to the horses. I spent two weeks out of town in December to see my daughter through the end of her semester at university. She’s been hospitalized out of town 17 days since Dec. 28. While we have managed to retain her university attendance with online classes, her schedule has become my priority at the exact same time my writing needs to be my priority in order to take advantage of my momentum.
There have been benefits to the situation. I have found a depth of emotional strength which I was unaware I possessed. I know this time with my daughter at this point of time in her life, and the things we have shared, has deepened our relationship in ways that will resonate for the rest of our lives. And I have realized that at some point there in mid-October, I truly committed myself to my writing. Despite everything during the last twelve weeks, despite the exhaustion of a medically oriented life, the grief and heartbreak of my daughter being so severely compromised at the height of exploding into being, into her adult self, into her purpose, despite time away from my own full life, I continue to write. With the help of new and old friends, I’ve met my deadlines and continue to reach out to readers and writers alike.
Part of that effort is to get back to establishing my blog. I’ve decided it won’t be a blog for writers in particular, though I intend to write about writing. It won’t be a blog for my readers, per se, though I’ll write about my work and others’ work and what I enjoy reading. It will be a blog about STORY. All kinds of stories. My story. Your stories. The stories of the people I meet everyday. The stories about people who used to be and will someday be. The stories of people who live in the real world and the stories of those who live only our heads.
My daughter is currently studying contemporary human communication. Since I’m her fingers right now, I’ve learned a lot of new terms. You, the reader, and I, the writer, are sharing the same field of experience right now. We both recognize and assign meaning to all these symbolic marks on a page. By sharing these symbols in public, I hope to learn about both your social reality and mine.