Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why I Haven't Been Writing (Until Today)

I haven’t written in forever.  It’s a horrible, horrible feeling.

My 94-year-old mother’s ongoing battle with dementia continues.  My brother (with whom I am newly and happily reconciled) and I are trying desperately to allow her to live out her life in her own home, with 24-hour care.  It’s expensive as hell.

For the first time in my adult life, I have to worry about money.   If I don’t proceed carefully, my brother and I will have to move my mother to some sort of facility.
This would make her so unhappy.

So writing—which is what I love, what I believe I was put on this earth to do—has had to take a backseat while I give all my attention to an e-commerce site I’ve started.  (More about that below.)

I know how lucky I am.  I have been able to write and publish middle-grade fiction for many years without worrying too much about money.  And the fact that even in a worst-case scenario, my mother will still be able to get good care in a nursing home makes me very fortunate indeed.

Lucky.  Very lucky.  I know.
But I’m angry anyway.  Maybe it’s not a reasonable thing to feel.  I’m not living in a hut or worrying about missiles obliterating the restaurant where I’m eating.  I’m not a kid sitting at the border of some country, begging to be let in.

Before starting—an online site that allows you to customize care packages for young adults living away from home—I was working on a short story about a little girl living in Cleveland in the 1920s.  The little girl was based on my mother, until I realized I wanted something to happen to her that didn’t actually happen to my mother.  (Note to aspiring writers: this is why you don’t use real people as characters in your books.)  I haven’t looked at the story in six months.

So today I’m doing what real writers do.  I’m getting up at 6:30 (two hours before spin class), tiptoeing through the house so I won’t wake Robert up,  squinting in the early golden light, shivering in my unheated office.  Writing.

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