Tuesday, September 14, 2010

my bad...

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.


LVLM(Leah) said...

Kirsten-- you just have so much on your plate. Sometimes we just have to live our lives and be in it.

I'm sure one day it'll all settle out and you'll be cranking out hot, juicy stories that you'll not be able to contain!

Hang in there... things can only go up. :-)

Anonymous said...

=now has an insane image of Lianon in a hard hat behind the wheel of a bulldozer=

This is what I get when I go and check up on the blogs of my favorite ebook authors during the wee hours of the morning! Glad you're kinda back! :D

M. A. said...

Hi, Kirsten,

You're not giving yourself enough credit. Heaven knows pretty much everyone is facing tough times these days. You've got as much as anybody if not more.

That said ... Look at how far you've come and how much you've achieved! I remember talking with you late last year and you were coping with all the divorce drama and your soon-to-be ex-husband's drama. I remember you felt like you might never get out from under that.

And you have. Look at you! You did it, even with so many troubles and challenges staring you in the face. You're making plenty of progress. Divorce is rough, even a nice ordinary no-fault, uncontested divorce is rough. But you are surviving it and moving forward with your family.

It's natural for people to "take stock" of their lives around your age. I'm the same age as you and I know sometimes I feel despondent that I haven't achieved certain objectives and I'm not getting any younger, any healthier, nor is life getting any easier. I give myself permission to "wallow" in it a little bit and then I force myself to move on and I focus on what I have actually achieved or am achieving.

If you let yourself think about the good and the gains you've made in life, you'll be surprised by how much you've done.

Sorry to hear about rockiness in your personal life, but hey! In another year or so you can "process" some of these people and experiences into high-quality fiction. Reinvent your "villain" as the victim of a particularly torturous and gruesome serial murderer. You don't even have to PUBLISH it; it'll still make you feel better.

It's great to read you blogging when you have time. Really wish you the best. : )

kirsten saell said...

Thanks, guys. It isn't over yet, though. The judge could put the kibosh on the whole thing, which could put me back at square one. Sigh.

But I'm back home. Getting my ex out of the house and my tenant in there went as smooth as Danny Trejo's complexion, but at least he's out of there.

Now I just have to find a new job, deal with Revenue Canada so I can start receiving my Child Tax Benefit again, call my 8 y/o's teacher (wonder what he did now *shudder*), open a bank account at Scotiabank so my tenant can pay me more easily, call the guy to get him to do the work on the house my ex wouldn't let me do while I was there, scrape together enough from my US account to pay MY rent, and try to fit in a cup of coffee with an online friend somewhere in there.

Oh, and get someon to fix the huge ding in my brand new windshield from the boulder the truck threw at me when he pulled out in front of me in the left lane for NO APPARENT REASON an hour from home last night. You should have heard the f-bombs I was dropping. Drive 23 hours without incident, then that happens when the city lights are in view. Irksome.

And I think I'm going to make some time to finish Lianon and Rhianna's story. It's time. I mean it.

Hugs, and thanks again guys. You make me feel pretty good. :)

LVLM(Leah) said...

Ummm... your real life sounds more intense and um...interesting than most books I read. Heh.

You hang in there. I'd be an alcoholic by now if it were me. snort

kirsten saell said...

Haha, what makes you think I'm not an alcoholic? LOL

I really should be. Don't understand how I'm not after all the crap I've been dealing with. Then again, this divorce ain't over yet. :P