The other day I got a letter from a self-proclaimed fan of my work, gently (very gently) scolding me for not writing more. Telling me that he and my other "adoring fans" had waited patiently for my next book long enough. He was effusive enough in his praise for my work that I hardly recognized it for the admonishment it was, and honestly, it made me feel really flattered to know there are people out there who enjoy my work enough that they're getting frustrated waiting for me to release another title.
And it didn't get my back up at all, because he's right. I do need to get to it. Word-counts on my works in progress have moved little enough that it's not worth the bother of even updating my word-meters.
I keep telling myself (and the rest of you) that I simply don't have time to write, but that isn't it. I have time, lots of it, because my kids are pretty self-sufficient and I don't particularly care about keeping my house gorgeous (and haven't been doing it in any case, as anyone who tries to navigate across the legos and assorted detritus on my living room floor would tell you). Sure, I've been working a lot, and dealing with some serious logistical crap in regard to changing provinces, but I've got 4 hours a day with nothing that NEEDS to fit into it.
I just haven't been in the right frame of mind to do it.
I've been through an emotional ringer a few times since November over relationships that didn't work out the way I wanted. Black moments galore since February, but no climax to counter them, no sweet denoument into the land of happily ever after. My love life, it has not been romance of late. It's been lit-fic of the worst kind--the kind where unrequited love stays unrequited, where the hero gets screwed over by circumstances, the villain (or villainess) is victorious, and the heroine ends up alone yet again.
Add to that the fact that I spent my last year in BC angsting about even surviving, staring into a future where I'd indefinitely be making my mortgage payments with my credit card (actually, not indefinitely, because it would max out eventually, heh), where no matter how many thousands of dollars I handed to my lawyer he couldn't seem to help me, and struggling with the understanding that moving with my kids under the circumstances could have serious legal repercussions.
And when I'd finally concluded I had no choice but to relocate or be completely and irretrievably ruined by the status quo, and had put the process in motion, my stepson died. Right in the middle of that already difficult transition, a sweet, loving, soft-hearted kid I could only have felt closer to had he lived with us full time, just...gone.
And even now that things are less stressful; now that I've mostly weathered the loss of my stepson; now that I've accepted that me moving at what turned out to be the worst possible time for everyone--and the terrible pain it caused others--was simply unavoidable; now that my kids and I have the help and support we need from my family; now that I'm not scrambling to make my bills or facing decisions like "will it be milk or bread, because I can't afford both"; now that my divorce is finally looking like it will be over and done with and might not send me to the poorhouse after all ... well, there are other worries moving in to replace all that.
My divorce may be almost dealt with, but in order to settle it, I'm taking on a huge amount of risk. In a couple years I might have a nice sum of money to spend on tuition for my kids. But if property values don't recover in the hideously depressed community where my house sits, or if I can't keep it rented out, all I may end up with is a shit-ton of regret, more debt, and three kids who aren't going to college after all.
I'm staring ahead two months toward my 40th birthday, and feeling like I've wasted a lot of my life on nothing special. On struggling and putting up with things, instead of living. And it's been hard to put myself in the shoes of characters who do more than just struggle to make it from one day to the next, who fight for what they want--happiness, love, a feeling of belonging--and get it because it's what they deserve. What everyone deserves, when you think about it.
But you know what? That's no excuse. None of it is, really. I told someone I love recently that you get the life you choose, and it's true. Sure, outside circumstances have their way with us, but it's up to us to choose how we react to them, whether we opt to just settle for what the universe dishes out, or whether we work around the situation, or climb over it, or bulldoze through it.
I told someone else I loved recently that for my last year in BC I felt like a rat in a maze, wandering around looking for a way out that would be easy and uncompicated, but the only way out was blocked by lawyers with baseball bats, so eventually I had to kick a hole in the wall. It was difficult and costly in so many ways, but it was worth it.
And I can sit here and angst about everything I'm still dealing with and get nothing real accomplished, or I can put all of that angst aside. If there's nothing I can do about it, there's no point in worrying, is there? Just get on with things, put one foot in front of the next, one word on the page after another. Accept that even though things still kind of stink in some parts of my life, they stink a lot prettier than they did a year ago.
Words on the page, in life and in fiction. And I might not have that god-like power over the universe in real life that I get to exercise in my writing, but I still get to write some of my own story.
And maybe it's time to rev up that bulldozer. I think I'm done with kicking holes in things, though. My foot still hurts from the last time, lol.