Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Difference a Week Makes

Last weekend I was riding the crest of an exhilarating wave of high emotion and joy. The WhipCity Wordsmiths meeting was exactly what I'd hoped for when establishing the group with Kelly. All members in attendance were involved and contributed. There was a lot of positive energy flowing. It was like being plugged into an outlet and re-energized.

And then I got the word at 9:46PM on the 17th of Feb. (the same day as the Wordsmith's meeting) that my vampire novel Out had been shortlisted for the PARANORMAL BOOK AWARD (#CAC18, #SeriousAuthors, #PARANORMAL, #CRShortlister). This marks the second year in a row one of my novels has been shortlisted for an award (last year it was Black King Takes White Queen for the OZMA Award2016) I had happy tears spilling down my face.

On the 18th when I called my sister Lynnmarie to tell her about being shortlisted again I couldn't get a word in edgewise because she had done some unexpected ghost hunting the night before (which explained why she hadn't answered her phone at 10PM) and that thrilled me that she'd had that terrific experience to jazz up her life! I did manage to tell her about Out and she was happy for me.

I wrote most of Sunday evening and called it a night at 11:36PM, shutting down my laptop like I usually do.

On Monday morning I was going to continue writing at breakfast, which is what I like to do to relax before going off to work, which has been very stressful lately with all the insurance formulary changes and medication changes and increased demand for durable medical equipment by our aging population. No touchpad! No external mouse communication! I was annoyed but thought it was nothing John couldn't fix...until I got home and found out he couldn't, and my laptop, which I'd only gotten at Christmas, so less than 2 months ago, had to be shipped out for repair.

I was upset, but the full impact didn't hit me until Tuesday morning when I had a bad stress reaction. I write so much because there are always stories running through my head and they are lost if I don't write them. I cannot hold a pen and write like I used to. I can still type. I write every day. Writing is also the way I relieve stress in my life. For my husband it's lying on the couch and vegging out in front of the TV. TV does not interest me. I cannot lie down and do nothing. I have to write. I also write three blogs, have two emails I need to keep up with, and do a lot of research online. I am on my laptop from right after dinner until bedtime every day. Losing it after the joy of finally having a laptop that met my needs was a devastating blow. Comments that I could use my pokey netbook, that my inadequate and frustrating HPStream could be set up for writing again (this was the computer that the new laptop replaced because it was a piece of frustrating junk), or I could use the PC (that my husband is always on), or Kelly's PC (which she is on) for writing did not begin to calm me down. Then being told to "Stop pouting," only served to tell me that my family has no idea who I am as a person, as a writer. My husband does not have a creative bone in his body and is a very black and white thinker. There is no gray in his life. My daughter is a lot like him, but she also writes, although not nearly as much as I do.

And now to vent- (reading beyond this point is optional)

I have been a writer my entire life. I write every day. It's a release valve for all the stories that constantly flow through my mind, even when I'm working my regular full time job. There are multiple tracks in my brain doing different things, all at the same time. I also have obligations outside of work that I need to keep track of. My husband has no hobbies, belongs to no groups, has nothing to do but lie on the couch and watch TV after coming home from work. He does not do anything else, therefore cannot even begin to comprehend anyone else having stuff to do. It's not in his wheelhouse. My daughter comes home from work and has things she does. She goes to play cards with a friend, goes out to eat, takes trips, and writes a blog for the museum. She is a combination of her father and me, but not exactly like me. She, too, fails to understand how connected I am to writing- it is a huge part of me that needs a daily outlet or else I am irritable, frustrated and angry because I do not feel as if I am accomplishing anything. I am not the kind of person who can sit around and do nothing. I never have been.

Plus, there has been a mountain of stress and worry in my life with John having been out of work for two years with no income coming in from him. Kelly has been looking for a house of her own for over a year and unable to find anything affordable that is suitable. My health issues have increased to the point where I don't know how much longer I'll be able to work. So, I also worry about the future and where we'll be when everything else crashes around us. Obviously, no one else worries about these things if they can be so blithe and lack a true understanding of why I had such a bad reaction to even temporarily losing my laptop. All of this has altered my life in a huge way, and increased, again, my frustration, irritability, and anger.

I have spent a week trying to "get over" my family's complete lack of understanding as to how one more blow to an already wobbling and ready to crash life staggered me like that. I'm grateful for my supportive friends who listened to me vent and understood what I was saying. It's because of them that I'm functioning and able to cope with my (beloved) pokey netbook to write my blogs and check my email, and do some research...but I have not been able to write. My psych is still reeling- not only because of the laptop issue but because of how my family failed to understand why I reacted the way I did.

Now that I've vented here...maybe this afternoon or this evening I will be able to write again. It's been a week since anything creative has flowed out of me because I have been working through all the disappointment, discouragement, and dissatisfaction that overwhelmed me and dragged me under. I still feel poisoned by it...we'll see what happens.

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