I recently turned thirty-three. In retrospect, I have to pronounce that thirty-two was not a great year for me.
The first few months went well enough, me still sort of coming off the Italy trip that was everything I could’ve hoped for. The late fall trip to Chennai for Diwali was also brilliant.
And then things went sideways and just never got upright again. The crisis that caused me to put RPP on hold involved a sudden job hunt and the plan to move. Where, we didn’t know. We could’ve stayed in DC, but it’s so expensive, it seemed like this was the opportune time to finally get out and move somewhere we could enjoy an easier lifestyle in a more sensible way. There were months of uncertainty, knowing we’d end up somewhere, but that was it. Texas was mentioned. Seattle. Places that I like, actually, but are very far from family and other comforts we’d both rather be nearer to for various reasons.
I don’t do uncertainty. My mind is constantly unsettled, and I know I’m not the only creative person to deal with this. (We’re insomniacs and self-medicators for a reason.) I rely on the outside world for my sense of stability, and when it starts to break down, so do I. Luckily, B is very good at providing stability when I can’t (and vice versa–this is probably why we work so well, really, we balance out the crazy). And honestly, he provides me with a reason to be grounded when he can’t.
But that was our winter. I had a few books happen–Liam at last made his debut. Without him I don’t think I’d even have done any of this. I was overjoyed. A romance novel, too, Losing Better happened just around the same time (amidst some confusion and fear, but bless my publisher, they made it happen beautifully). Both books I’d completed, at minimum, a year and a half previous. Edits were done amidst my own personal confusion, and it was lovely. Kept me a bit sane.
Thankfully, we landed in a very familiar place, the place we met, actually. Columbus is also the place where most of the worst (and unstable) years of my life were passed, but I don’t really associate it with that–or if I do, it’s in a sort of fond, “Oh, Ten-Years-Ago me, you were so ridiculous” kind of way. That eased the transition considerably, and I was happy to see it–and still am.
It seemed I had my feet under me, and I began catching up with editing work. I still hadn’t written anything in over half a year, but then, that seemed understandable in the circumstances. RPP started getting its wheels back into motion and my other editing work came along perfectly. Inedible Sins–possibly my favorite thing I’ve ever written–came to light perfectly in April.
Then summer happened. I mentioned before that my uncle died. We’re a very, very clannish sort of family, so it was a rough go; I don’t know if I was more sad for myself or worried about my family in the aftermath. Then the lovely wedding, with all its strange emotions.
I finished a short story as a lead in to a new romance release, and it felt damn good. The first thing in some nine months, probably, that I had managed to summon the concentration, sit down, and write more than three paragraphs at a time. I know, ‘put your butt in the chair and write’, but it’s not that easy for me sometimes. When I write, I write non-stop, but the more the year dragged on, the more difficult a time I had recovering from little disasters. A week or more was required just to get my head straight, to stop the constant whirring. For the big disasters, well, you can imagine.
But I finished it, and it gave me the confidence to do my first con as an author–and I did, and it was absolutely lovely. The panels were fun, the people were great, I felt good about it. I turned thirty-three the week after, and Re-entry Burn, another book I’d written over a year and a half ago, happened that night at midnight.
I hadn’t written anything in ten months, by then, I don’t think.
Four days after my birthday, my Great Aunt Mary died. It’s hard to say what all this meant to me and my family without rambling incessantly. I’m sure I’ll do some kind of post about her shortly, once I’ve had time to organize my thoughts without being overwhelmed by them. Maybe in a week or two. But suffice it to say that B referred to her as “My BFF Mary” because any time we were at the table together, no one could get a word in edgewise.
I spent Labor Day weekend at my parents’ dog-sitting for them while they went to Virginia to help my Uncle Jim, Mary’s brother, manage things. I spent most of the week after that in Virginia with them, going through her apartment, cleaning it out, organizing her things for her relatives or the auctioneer. When I said I’d go and help, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be one of the worst decisions of my life–something like that can only go one way or the other and there is no inbetween.
But it was good, after all. Just a bit surreal.
I have a bunch of art things from her, plus all my great-grandfather’s columns when he was the editor of the paper, his letters to my grandparents, etc, which should entertain me vastly some day when I am feeling weird and just need an organizational project to settle my nerves.
Within a month or two, I’m sure I’ll be back to writing things. And my editing work will be caught up at last–so close, but so far! But I’m putting this here because after years in a row where I updated this blog without fail about my wild amounts of writing progress, this happened. I’ve gone almost a year without producing even one new novel–unheard of! And now, considering the year I’ve had, there’s even more fighting to get out. Not to mention the three (yes, three) half-finished novels still waiting for me and the two others that are plotted and partially scripted. I was just lucky I had a backlog to get me through it, or my lack of productivity would’ve been even more glaringly obvious.
TL;DR Katey’s been a bit fucked up. But it’s okay. Last time I had a year like this, I started writing romance novels as well as horror. So this is probably gonna mean something good in the end too.
But this year is fired. So here’s to thirty-three.