I wrote my last blog post all the way back on August 17th. I ended it by saying, “Life is settling down, so I’ll finally get back to writing.” Oh, how I wish! If only I were able to travel back in time and tell my earlier self, “Enjoy the next couple of months, because major shit is about to hit the fan.”
Once again, I’m reminded of the famous quote by John Lennon: Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.
I’ll look back on 2018 as a year of significant changes, some good, some terrible, some planned, some thrust upon me.
After I wrote that post, I did start to write again, but I found it difficult to get back into the creative groove. Creativity is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, it atrophies. I had several false starts; stories I began but abandoned. But finally, around the end of September, I felt the magic again. I started another novel and was in my creative zone.
In my last post about moving from Toronto to Kingston, I said one of the reasons we moved was to be closer to my parents. When my father turned 80 in November, we spent the day with them. He was in fine form, and we had a great time.
Four days later he was dead.
My father’s sudden death certainly took the wind out of my sails. But life wasn’t finished with me just yet. Eighteen months earlier, my sisters and I had noticed that my mother was having problems with her memory. We approached my parents about it back then, but the conversation wasn’t welcomed, and so we backed off.
After my father died, we came to understand how much he’d been doing for her. Her cognitive abilities had declined more than we’d thought, and she was diagnosed with dementia in December. One of my friends said it’s as if I’ve lost both my parents. Not quite, but it feels that way sometimes.
We’re spending a lot of time supporting my mother until she can move into a retirement home, which should happen soon.
Right after my father died, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to write for a while. When I had some quiet time to myself after his celebration of life, I realized that it was important for me to start and finish a story. I hadn’t done so in at least eighteen months, perhaps longer. I released Their Last Hope in February of last year, but I’d completed it much earlier. It has the dubious distinction of being the story that took the longest for me to publish.
I needed to start and finish something to show myself that I could still do it. A novel wouldn’t make sense because it takes months to write one. So I put the novel I’d been writing aside and started a short story. And I finished it! I wrote the damn thing and had a good time doing it.
The story is a prequel to The Salbine Sisters. I’ll talk more about it in my next post. I’ve completed the first draft and will edit it next week. I’ll also pick up the novel I’d started, the one that was going well until the anvil was dropped on my head in November. I’m about 10,000 words in so I can’t say for sure that I’ll finish it, but I have a good feeling about it.
My Plans for 2019
I’ll definitely release the prequel story to The Salbine Sisters. If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll get it for free. In fact, I probably won’t make it available at the bookstores for a while.
I hope to release the novel I’m writing in 2019. January will be a bit of an odd month until my mother is settled, but after that, I should be able to write regularly.
I’d like to write a few short stories this year, but I’m not going to pressure myself.
I’d like to at least start another novel, but one that will be released under a pen name. I have ideas I’d like to try that I’d rather do under another name. The name won’t be a secret. It will be there to say, “Hey, this might not be like my other books. Specifically, there might not be a lesbian character in sight.”
But honestly, if I can release the Salbine Sisters prequel and the novel I’m writing, I’ll be happy. I’m not going to pressure myself to do more than that. Anything else will be gravy.
I want to give my website a facelift. It’s not a priority, but I’ve been wanting to do it for a while.
Finally, I’m going to reboot my mailing list. Part of that will be the prequel story. More details in an upcoming post.
For me, life at the beginning of 2019 looks very different from life at the beginning of 2018. My surroundings have changed (good), and I’ve suffered significant loss (bad). I’m hoping 2019 will be less of a roller coaster ride.
I’m looking forward to continuing the novel, releasing The Salbine Sisters prequel, and connecting with my readers a little more.
I’ll post again in a week or two.
All the best for 2019. Have a great weekend!