I can’t really start this without mentioning that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I mean, it’s been MONTHS. And, oh man, have things ever been happening. In November alone, I found out I was pregnant, Love and Other Alien Experiences was released, and my beloved grandfather died. Then, Love and Other Alien Experiences was picked up by Feiwel & Friends as part of a two book deal (!), which means it will be released IN PRINT in spring of 2017. Then my beloved mother in law passed away after a long illness.
To say it’s been an emotional seven months would be an understatement. I keep coming back to this quote from Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions, which I read before I even knew I was pregnant, before any of this stuff happened:
You’ve already gone ahead and done it before you realize you couldn’t possibly do it. That’s how I’ve felt about everything. I would never have thought I could even handle so much grief, so much worry, so much crying. Thanksgiving was the day after my grandpa’s funeral, and no one knew I was pregnant. I felt too sick to eat much of anything, and then I went upstairs and fell asleep while my entire extended family was at my parents’ house (~*~just grief and pregnancy things~*~). Part of the reason I was so eager to get pregnant when we did (besides the fact that I, you know, wanted a baby) was that I wanted our relatives to be around to meet our child. Did I think that I would attend two funerals while I was pregnant? Did I think that my grandpa would die before he even knew I was pregnant? Did I think that my mother in law would die before our baby was born? No, I did not. And it’s been hard, and I didn’t write much of anything for months. I love to work and I measure my self-worth by my productivity, but there were so many days I didn’t want to get out of bed or so many nights when I just put a marathon of Murder, She Wrote on Netflix because I couldn’t even deal with picking out what to watch (turns out Jessica Fletcher is pretty cool to watch in any situation).
And I definitely wasn’t in a frame of mind to really appreciate the launch of my first book. On the day of my grandpa’s funeral, one of my favorite book bloggers wrote the nicest post about LAOAE. Somewhere in the deep part of my brain, I appreciated it, but it’s hard to really feel excited when you’re so sad. And I found out my mother in law would be receiving hospice care the same week my new book deal was announced. When things like that happen, it’s hard to care about work, even though my writing philosophy has always been that I want to write books for people in the waiting rooms. It’s easy to say that, but harder to live it.
When I was in college, a professor I liked quite a bit told me, “If you’re a real writer, you write every day. You write no matter what, even if your boyfriend dumps you or your grandma dies. You write because you’re a writer and that’s what you do.”
What all of this has shown me is that I don’t want to be that kind of writer. I can’t, and don’t want to, write when I’m miserable and spending time in a hospital and saying goodbye to someone for the last time. And if that makes me any less of a writer…well, I don’t think it does, but even if that’s true, who cares? Life happens, and like Stephen King says, “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
Anyway. I’m back now, mostly. I’m in a much better mental space, I’m working on Book 2 and other projects, and I’m feeling much more creative than I have in awhile.
Also, my son is due in five weeks, and his arrival will absolutely shake up my entire life and any sort of creative routine I have.
And you know what? That’s okay. Because I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals for sad reasons over the past half a year, and I’m excited to be in one for a happy reason. I’ve cried a lot of sad tears, and I’m ready to cry some joyful ones. I’ve dealt with a lot of shitty stuff, and I’m not going to spend a single second of my time worrying about how my baby will change my writing. I’m ready for disruptions, emotions, sleepless nights, and trying to figure out how to take care of a child and write a book. I have a hard time talking to my friends about being pregnant, because there’s nothing snarky or funny in my feelings. I’m just happy. I don’t want to complain about pregnancy symptoms because I’m just happy to be carrying this baby in my body. He’s been our lifeline throughout a really hard time, and I’m so excited to meet him in five weeks (but please not much earlier…we still have to set up the nursery).
I will probably still not be very active here on Welcome to Ladyville, but know that I’m working hard on book 2 and living a life that’s much more than a support system for art. And in case you’re interested, here’s the announcement: