How many times have you heard or even said yourself, “I would die if I couldn’t write.”? I know I’ve said it, I guess I believed it … in a very dramatic sort of way. But by “die”, I didn’t literally mean to be six feet under. There have been times in the past when I’ve gone a few days or a week without writing, and I’m still breathing. I meant it in a, “Writing is my end all, be all.”
I believed that too.
In a very dramatic sort of way.
Authors are melodramatic by nature, so I probably didn’t need to actually explain that I didn’t mean to truly die … Anyway, for the last eight-ish years, storytelling has been a large part of my existence. In the last twelve months, I’ve transitioned from fan fiction author to self-published author. It’s been a real experience. Opening myself to a larger audience wasn’t easy, but despite how hard it was (and trust me, you have no idea how grueling times were), having two books on my bookshelf with my name on them is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.
Okay, so I’m now searchable on Amazon and my entire family has this cute misconception that I’m famous. At family birthday parties and stuff, everyone always asks me about the book and end up mentioning, “I was looking for Dusty at Target, but they must have been out.”
No, Aunt Margo, I’m just not that cool.
Eight years ago, I was nothing more than a mother with too many toddlers and a wife that didn’t cook all that well. So, my current family celebrity status is pretty awesome. One would think that these are the days when I would die if I couldn’t write, right?!
On the day that Delinquents was released, someone very important to me (who I’ll refer to as Vernon) was diagnosed with Stage Four Renal Cell Carcinoma. Which pretty much means the cancer he had and was “cured’ from five years ago was actually never gone and was “hiding.” It spread through his lymph nodes and to his brain. He was given six months to live, but since having brain surgery, his life expectancy is longer.
Do you want to know something that is equal parts disturbing and very me? When I was told Vernon has cancer again, the first thought to come to mind was, “Cancer only wants to be alive.” -- John Green, The Fault in our Stars.
I know, I’m sick … a true writer by heart.
But let me tell you how easy it is not to write when someone you know is literally looking death in the face.
I don’t like talking about this shit. And chances are, none of you want to hear about it. Who wants to deal with sad stuff, you know.
In my little part of the universe, we’re all about eating better, because God forbid this be genetic and preservatives will kill you, and making sure Vernon has someone watching him at all times. Brain surgery is the real deal.
Putting my book release—my end all, be all—on the back burner wasn’t something I second guessed. I don’t think I even checked sales for Delinquents until the end of October. Online, I have all of these people who mean so much to me telling me how much they love the book and how proud they are, and I even had one girl tell me that I was an inspiration.
And I’m like, how can any of us live in a world that Vernon won’t be in?
Again, very John Green-ish, but so true.
Writing is very important to me. Which is why I’m writing this on my blog instead of confiding in a real person. But is not all I am. I’m also a Christian, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and someone who will be destroyed if Vernon doesn’t make it through this.
I’m an author after all of that.
We’re 11 days into NaNoWriMo, and I’m at 4 thousand words. True Love Way is scheduled for release February 2, 2015. I may have to ask my editor for one more extension, but I will get that book out on time.
So, my rollercoaster is on a dip (John Green inspired), but it’s important for me to be a lot of other things right now. It has to be okay, and I know I won’t die if I don’t write for hours a day. I’ve learned that writing one sentence before bed is good enough.
But hey, you know what will kill you? Food additives.
Have you looked at the ingredients in tortillas lately? I just did. It’s frightening.