There are too many things on my mind lately. (Not that this is unusual.)
Prioritizing where energy is spent is of course at the top, as has been evident from several recent posts here on the blog.
I need to spend more time each day meditating and otherwise focusing on a healthy me, a healthy body, in order for any of the other things to get done. This has been so much harder to do this time around than last year’s cancer experience, for several reasons. Some of the reasons I’ve discussed; some would cause more emotional drama to discuss publicly than I’m sure I’m willing to take on, which becomes its own writer dilemma of sorts — which shades of truth to tell? I admire writers like Jay Lake, who is raw and honest and high-disclosure about all aspects of his travels through being a writer with cancer, and to some extent I try to emulate that attitude in my own style here.
Part of why to share these experiences is important is because so many people don’t talk about it. “The Big C”; isn’t that a TV show or something? Not one I watch, obviously. I think Hollywood could do some justice to the topic…but I think they’d get some important things wrong, or left off entirely. And yet the same combination of disclosure and obfuscation happens here, and I suspect in Jay’s blog, and any others brave or brash enough to throw their trials out there for the world to read. Instead you get these prose snapshots, written moments in time subject to interpretation of what lies underneath the surface of the textual picture, never the whole story.
So my top goal at the moment is to reflect each day, for some period of time, on healing, on what a healthy body and mind and self feels like: to remember. Because the illness becomes the reality so very quickly. It’s like the PT exercises (physical therapy); reteaching the muscles how to properly align and carry the body because after long enough, they literally don’t remember. ”Proper alignment” doesn’t feel “proper”, it feels strange, off, even unnatural. Remembering that I can heal, am healing, WILL heal that along with the rest of me (or now have a darn good chance of doing so) has a similar mix of dream-like truth and un-reality.
Family is the next level of returning to self and life motivation. There’s so much to blog about on this topic that it’ll have to wait for its own several posts, since I can only put so many written pieces on the screen at one time. It’s definitely a teamwork effort, and there are several team combinations within any family. One of the first promises made to the team of me and my new baby was “You keep me alive, and I’ll keep you alive.” Regardless of your religious or metaphysical beliefs, this bargain feels real and genuinely made on both sides. So many of the circumstances surrounding Wednesday’s existence can be said to reflect back on that bargain as I held her newly-arrived self. I know that I pay back pieces of that deal daily in caring for her basic needs, but I hope when the time comes to pay back the larger portion of that deal that I give as good as I’ve received so far.
And then, the writing. A career I’ve dedicated myself to building for the past five years and more, and one which feels like it “should be” so much further along than it is. This won’t end up one of those writer angst posts, since that hasn’t really been an issue for me for several of those years. I’m confident that the combination of my business knowledge, training, and attitude along with with my dedication to master the skills and art of the writing craft will result in some measure of what I can designate “success” in this field. The roadblocks along the way, however: ongoing and large, and so discouraging, and so tiring to keep hurdling, keep believing.
Yet here, too, even in the midst of the hardest battle for my life to date, there is visible progress. I keep coming back to blogging, and at least a semi-regular webpresence is wise for any writer these days. And I certainly have no end of material to blog about, across multiple categories. There is so much emotional distance between the stories I already have written and who I am after this latest round of struggle to stay alive that it’s hard to send out those stories again, to get back into the routine of submission, rejection, re-submission. I think it’s a necessary step, however, even if just to get that habit back; the stories do no more good sitting quiescent in a file than as a guilty albatross. I skeptically contemplate taking one of the workshop classes. I bemoan the lack of energy to attend the conventions where I enjoy so much and derive so many good writerly things from attending panels and meeting other people with similar passions for the written word to my own.
So I have to believe that these, too, will repair, resurge, resurrect, as I continue to return to that basic step of envisioning a remission-filled and healthy me. I suspect some of my former projects will be long-term trunked — perhaps not taken out again. I hope not, as the thought fills me with sadness; but it is also true that the person who began those projects is not the person who is typing these words anymore. My goodness would I like to attend a writer panel about THAT topic at a con, to hear what other writers who have experienced similar life changes have to say along those lines. I suspect some stories will survive in much-changed form, or be finished through sheer stubbornness even if not honed and finely-tuned to publishable state.
And I suspect Callie will return, for those of you worried about that one and following the Chrysalis story thread, hehe. And there will be new stories, some fragile and delicate and beautiful, some fierce and raw and gripping, some quietly moving or laughingly skittery-shallow or filled with shades of gray and rainbows all at once — just like this life I fight to keep living. I hope to keep having you — and an ever-increasing more of you — there to share it with me.