The Only Constant

under construction2013 has gotten off to a rocky start. There was the flu I am still recovering from, and most recently, a boiler and fireplace that are acting up, kitchen cabinets that are snapping their hinges and putting holes in the wall, and a stained hutch that looked better in the mind’s eye than in the light. Quite simply, my house is a mess and I don’t have the wherewithal to fix it, because I’m still recovering, and yeah, still writing. A lot.

I am currently waiting on edits from both my agent and my editor for two separate projects, and I’ve just begun a third. One that requires extensive research. For the most part research isn’t something I’ve had to go out of my way to complete. I work with teenagers. I’m equal parts field researcher and educator. Tap Out did require a fair amount of gym time, interviews, and hours on YouTube, but where I’m going requires a fair amount of people opening their hearts and their lives to me. I will be much more intrusive and not nearly as passively observant.

And I feel ridiculous taking this on, considering how in shambles things are for me. But if I wait for the right time to move ahead, to stretch my capabilities, that time will never materialize. The one constant I’ve found in writing is that I have to say yes. In spite of everything else, say yes, and then write it. Because if it’s what my heart desires, then I have to feed that emotion. It doesn’t always work well, but it fulfills a need and a purpose that serve a greater end, one that even I only vaguely understand.

Trust me, I spend a significant amount of time behaving just the opposite. I live a regimented, disciplined life, plotting out piece by piece, not to dissimilarly than a novel. But this world is not under my control, and rare is it that I have a chance to follow a whim. That is why, amidst the ridiculousness that is my life, I reach out to people, I write and I write and I write. It is cathartic and it is a bit of therapy. It allows me to explore and learn and grow. It is easy to stagnate, and writing keeps me fresh and vibrant.

Regardless of the superstition I feel over the fallout of 2013, I’ll get over it. In no time I’ll be in my groove, the house will be in order and I’ll laugh about the rocky road the beginning of this year has been. But I’ll get to do that because I’ve looked past the immediate to what lies beyond, and I feel it’s phenomenal. It will take a hell of a lot of work to get there. But I cannot think of anything worthwhile that didn’t require such.

Goodreads and the week that didn’t exist


Last week didn’t exist for me. I went to work Monday. That was it. From there it was a series of appointments with my doctors and a lot of sleep. When I was awake, I wasn’t very with it, and was completely useless as a father and husband.

A week later, I’m doing better. Not great. My first day back to work was exhausting, and I’m still ready for bed around 7 pm. But I can function, speak coherently and have returned to writing.

However, during this malaise I did have one accomplishment: I overcame my fear of Goodreads

When I first heard of Goodreads, I immediately signed up for an account and started adding the books I could remember reading–it happens that way, I just read so much. Then I realized that there was an entirely different purpose to Goodreads, the reviews.

I took a glance at the ones for Tap Out. Painful. There were some strong opinions about my work and about me, and I did what any rational person would do, I freaked out. And then I never went back to Goodreads. What was the point?

Well, there is one, but I’d missed it in my fear. The author end of Goodreads. Yes, this site that collects reviews and makes it easy for people to connect over books and find titles similar in taste also provides marketing services to authors. All you have to do is ask.

So I did. Something I should have done back in August for the pre-release of Tap Out. We live, we learn. So now I am running a giveaway on Goodreads for a signed copy of Tap Out. At this point there are close to 300 people entered to win. That’s pretty fantastic, I think.

I have not reached Goodreads expert status, yet. But I am aware that there are many options for connectivity on the site, and I will certainly look into each. But for now, I’m just happy to have overcome my trepidation. It’s just too bad it took the flu to get me there.

Inside my head…literally

my skull

This is a CT scan of my sinuses, which I had taken on Monday because my allergist was certain I had a lingering sinus infection. Apparently, this shot indicates that I don’t. I woke up Tuesday morning shivering uncontrollably and took my temperature. It was 101, not outstanding, but as I typically run at 97, a bit high for me. Therefore, I was home from work yesterday and am home today. I’ve been sleeping 12-15 hours, eating what I can and taking pain killers. I also watched The Dark Knight Rises and read a fair amount of The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I’ve also had a fair amount of time to think.

First, I probably have the flu, a weaker form of it because I got my flu shot, but a nasty virus nonetheless. This irritates me because I did what I was supposed to and it didn’t pan out. But that’s life for you.

Second, I have awesome health care. I had two expensive exams when my allergist could have easily figured on infection, written a script for antibiotics and washed her hands of me. I love my doc for caring so much that she looked deeper.

Third, I also love my colleagues for pitching in and helping out. Emailing lesson plans in the fog of sickness is not easy, but they made it work and my students are being taken care of.

Fourth, I feel sorry for my daughters, who saw me so vulnerable. It was not easy for them, as I received a clandestine note from my eldest stating, “Feel better Daddy. I feel sorry for you and love you.” That hurts, but at least this virus will pass.

Last, I love my wife for taking care of EVERYTHING around the house, from meals to homework to school uniforms, and on and on. We share responsibility and my sense of guilt over not being able to do my share is enormous.

I’ll get back to writing as soon as my brain allows. This post was rather taxing, so I know I need more time for the big projects. Until then, I’ll keep my eyes open to the world around me, and the different ways it unfolds when one is incapacitated. Perspective is everything.

Or so I think.