Here’s the tl;dr part for those people who want the highlights. You can now see all the reviews (minus a really icky one*) for my stories on the page called Reviews.
For those of you who want to know a little more…
I’ve been in an odd “place” for writing. Life since November of 2012 has been in upheaval. When my mother self-hospitalized herself, my family and I realized that a change was a’ comin’. We tossed out the idea that my mother could move. Her fragility of mind required us to move to her, and we were able to do that with relative ease.
Then, the hard part set in. Figuring out the financials and the legalities to protect my mother took a huge amount of time. Luckily, I had my sister to help with much of that. I gained new respect for those struggling to pay medical bills as we realized how inadequate my mother’s health insurance supplemental plant was. With some help from friends, we got that situation figured out (side note: every October or November we must figure out if what we have in place is good enough).
The highest mountain to climb dealt with my mother’s health. Without listing the specifics of why, dementia is awful. Did I say awful? Abysmal possibly describes it best. My mother had hidden and lied her way through her memory loss so well with her doctors, that no one raised the alarm to her family. No one. Not even the neighbors who admitted to me later that they knew something was going on. (Y’all, take this advice. If you think something is wrong, have the courage to say something even if you have to write it down in a letter or email. It might hurt you and the person to whom you say it, but in the long run, it will be for the better.) My mother had not only missed many appointments, but her doctor had rubber stamped all of her refills without seeing her. When I discovered a medical mistake, I ended the relationship with that doctor as quickly as I could, which wasn’t quick enough.
Somehow, I managed to get my mother to all of her appointments even when she didn’t want to go. Having to face the facts of memory loss is emotional to everyone involved-including the healthcare team. While my mother would forget what she was told about her memory, she would retain the anger at me for forcing the diagnosis issue.
I kept my emotions in check as well as I could, but I know my children and husband could see the toll on me. I ended up choosing family over writing. I’d eke out as much time as I could, but when you don’t write consistently, it is more difficult to keep the characters alive as they traverse the mess of a plot that happens in the first draft.
Mixed in with all of this was a new house needing renovation, children dealing with their own emotional journeys of leaving friends behind and starting new schools, two daughters navigating adolescence, and a husband figuring out a new job.
Yes, I live on a beach. Thank you, Mother Earth, for having beaches! The white sand surrounding me allows me to escape the controlled chaos swirling around me and that which I occasionally cause. We’re finding our rhythm. My mother doesn’t have Alzheimer’s Disease, and I know this because I pushed for the diagnosis. With better healthcare and less stress for her, her memory has improved. She still has dementia, and my sister and I often complain about the vagaries of her mind and the actions those causes. If I didn’t have her…well, I would be writing at all.
A new story will be coming out soon. I’ve submitted a second one to my editor. I’ve got one that I think is as terrible as the first manuscript I ever produced. Good lord, it’s horrible. Well, except for the sex scenes. Those are steamy. I have new goals that allow me to devote less time to writing. It’s the new normal. No more long days with my characters. I get stolen moments, and I’m going to be OK with that.
So, thanks for hanging with me, and if you liked something I wrote, give it a review. They do help if they are honest.
*Why not post icky reviews? Would you? I don’t, although I do read them. The reason I don’t post them is that I know I cannot please everyone. I don’t try. I write the story. My editor and I haggle over what to keep and what to trash and what to change. We find what works for us based on our experience in the publishing field. If someone doesn’t like it, that is the way it is. I won’t try to please everyone. I can only hope to keep the readers who like the stories I tell. If I win a few new readers based on the good reviews, great. If I lose some readers due to bad reviews, well, I’ll take that criticism and see if I can use it to better my writing.