The Year in Review

It was a busy year for me.

On top of publishing the usual four editions of Abyss & Apex Magazine, I wrote a few new short stories, plus I sold a few stories and a few reprints (I’ve been much better about sending my work out this year!) I attended a greater number of conventions, too. And I hired a publicist for A&A and my writing, as promotions were taking too much of my writing and editing time.

I was featured in a couple of anthologies, wrote a few poems, sold a few poems, and ran my first writing workshops. I even sold six non-fiction articles about the craft of writing. I ran my first book tables, too, and I updated my published non-fiction BETTER DATING THROUGH ENGINEERING series as things changed in dating the world. Oh, and I published a paperback version of my poetry chapbook on dealing with depression–PLANT A GARDEN AROUND YOUR LIFE–which has been a surprising best seller at conventions.

I also made great strides on my novels, deciding early in the year to finish the entire four book series and then shop it as a whole. And I started a book on the craft of writing that is nearly done: WRITING THE ENTERTAINING STORY. Sadly, there was a problem with the audiobook version of CONFESSIONS so that project will happen next year. But overall, I’m pleased with looking back at 2018.

On the home front, we had the house interior painted, got rid of the popcorn ceilings, got a new cabinet installed in the kitchen, and redid all of our floors. This constant work on the house affected my ability to work on writing and editing, at times, but the resultant work environment more than made up for it.

Here’s to a successful 2019!

Conversation with a fan

At a recent convention, I met a fan who’d been touched, deeply, by my book about  (1) what severe organic depression feels like and (2) what coming out of severe organic depression feels like…in other words, dealing with healing. It was written with two audiences in mind: those who were currently depressed, so they would not feel so alone, and those who wanted to understand was depression was really like, so they know how to help.

This reader belonged to a third group: sexual abuse survivors. I simply cannot tell you how marvelous it made me feel to be able to point her to a support group and sign that book. In case you or someone you know is in one of those categories, here’s a sample of what’s inside.

Adjustments

It reminds me of when I suddenly had a job five minutes from home

Instead of 50 minutes away.

It’s similar to when all three of my children toilet trained within a month,

And it felt like I grew an extra arm – much more got accomplished.

It’s a paradigm shift.

 

I need less sleep.

I have more energy.

I can think clearly.

I can make decisions.

I can concentrate.

 

It’s exhilarating to know that I was ill with depression,

Not just lazy or stupid.

But it is terrifying to finally see this expanse of time

That healthy people take for granted:

What do they do with it?

 

So many responsibilities–put off ‘til later–

That time is now.

They crowd around me like a pack of reporters

At a dramatic rescue, and

It’s overwhelming.

Crushing me from all sides, like reporters yelling

And shoving their microphones in my face,

“What are you going to do now?” they ask me all at once.

 

I bite back my fear and make a statement

to this internal press corps:

I will tackle the priorities slowly, I tell them,

Because Rome wasn’t built in a day

And I will be as gentle on myself as I possibly can.

This is uncharted territory.

I will try to find myself here.

 

No, maybe it is more like winning the lottery

And being besieged by old creditors.

They had given up calling to say, “Why haven’t you taken care of this?”

They had stopped sending me nasty letters.

Now they all seem to know that I have new resources.

This is way past due, they each call to tell me.

My emotional phone won’t stop ringing.

I’d like to rip it out of the wall.

But it here: https://www.amazon.com/Plant-Garden-Around-Your-Life/dp/1980272425/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Poetry Thursday

Here’s a poem from my chapbook, Plant a Garden Around Your Life. The book attempts to show those who have not suffered from depression what it actually feels like, and to give hope to those who suffer from it.

Tension

Limbo, my old dictionary says,
Is a place
On the edge of hell.
It is also the tension
Between knowing what you should do
And not having the strength
To do it.

Limbo is the tension between
Hating yourself or nurturing yourself
Limbo is where you are stuck
Between calling yourself names,
Such as lazy or loser,
(If you have the energy
To call yourself anything at all)
And calling yourself courageous
For not having given up.
A long time ago.

How can a place so static
Be full of so much tension?
I have been trapped in the middle
For as long as I can remember.
My responsibilities pull from one side
And my exhaustion from the other.
How can I stretch so far and yet not break?

I do not break yet
Because I am in limbo,
That place on the edge of hell
In another dimension
Called depression.