The hardest part of this whole "starting over" thing is figuring out who I am. Or at least who I want to be. I've worn a lot of hats in my life. Some of them didn't fit very well. Some of them fit so well that I wore them until they were threadbare and then my head sunburned. Some of them it turned out weren't really my hats, so I was happy to turn them over to someone else that could wear them more efficiently.
Through it all, the one thing I've always been is a writer. Whether it's been professionally or just jotting down thoughts I've always been happiest with a keyboard and a blank screen in front of me. There are people in my head that are clamoring to get out. Not in a crazy, "should I tell my therapist about this" kind of way, but they just have stories that need to be told.
Unfortunately, the publishing industry is a fickle mistress. Master? I think it's male actually. I've always said "If it has tires or testicles, it's gonna give you problems." Yes, the publishing industry is definitely masculine. I have received glowing letters of encouragement from numerous agents and publishers telling me what a great writer I am and how "someone" is going to be very lucky to sign me, but unfortunately, at this time, blah blah blah. Yeah, I know, a lot of writers would be tickled to get anything but a form rejection letter, but after a while, the compliments mean nothing if they're not followed up with a check. I can't pay bills with compliments. I can't heat my house with the warm glow of having some agent telling me that "my fresh Southern voice" was going to create best-sellers. Yeah, it's nice. Now, stop applauding. Throw money.
In between writing gigs, I've done just a little of everything from selling old lady clothes in a downtown store in small town Alabama (a store that always smelled like baby powder and vegetable soup and old lady perfume) to line editing manuscripts for a hoity toity New Yawk publishing house. I've owned a horse riding stable and a dog grooming shop. I had a fabulous herb greenhouse business that was growing (no pun intended) nicely, but ended abruptly on the winds of a tornado. I've lived on a big farm (100+ acres) and a little one (9 acres) and am now considering moving to something more "urban."
I've changed so much with the years. I know you're suppposed to, but I miss the me I was at some of those times. Glad to see other mes go. Curious to see who the next me is going to be. Lots of resumes going out next week to jobs across the country. I'm willing to relocate. A lifetime in one zipcode is enough. I'm hoping someone will give me wings, because i am ready to fly.
In the blink of an eye things can change. I think I'm set for one life change and another takes its place seemingly overnight. My husband's health is declining faster than I can keep up. No clue what is the problem. He has been to every neurologist, pulmonologist, and other ologist anywhere within driving distance and the problem just can't be found. He has a really bad chest cold now. Hoping it passes it quickly, but he's very weak.
It has been a long five years. I wasn't made to be a nurse. I was made to be a partner, a best friend, a wife and a lover. Not a nurse. A nurse alongside any of the other capacities would be acceptable. But, not "just" a nurse. It breaks my heart to see the handsome strong man I fell in love with ten years ago reduced to this shuffling old man. If things had gone differently over these ten years, I don't think I would be able to bear the pain. As it is, it still hurts and I would give anything I have or am to make him well and strong again...but my heart broke long ago. It's just recracking a bit again now.
Oh Lord, if only. If you could lose weight with exercises in futility, running around in circles, jumping to conclusions and by achieving target heart rate from stress, I would be a tiny little Twinkie. You can't. I'm not.
I'm stretching myself as thin as possible emotionally and logistically right now though. And the only thing I've got to show for it so far is a prescription for blood pressure pills and an appointment for more heart tests. I don't have time for this!
My doctor and my therapist tell me to slack off, give myself some breathing room, relax a little, take a break. Hello. Have we met? I don't have time for that either. Currently I am writing and marketing one blog, starting another, revamping this new author site, getting set to launch two books simultaneously (a novel and my memwars) and I may be putting my house on the market next month and have to get another house built to move into, with March 1 as the deadline. Another big life-changing event is looming too that I haven't announced publicly but I promise you'll be the first to know.
I remember the good old days when I thought you wrote a book and then sat back cashed checks. Yeah. That may work for some people. I haven't met any though. Mostly it's a lot more work after you type The End than you went through writing the damned thing. I know it will be for this book because it was an absolute blast to write. I enjoyed it so much I can't wait to get started on another set in the same town.
I'm going to include a quote from the book every few days. Can't do too many or you could just quilt together the book and save the $3.99. And Bailey and Kindle really want to eat and keep the lights turned on. So, today's quote is: "I don't know anything about football, but I know a tight-end when I see one."
I'm off to work on more ads. Don't forget to pin me please. And share and share alike!
Someone asked me recently why I was dressed all in black. "Who died?" they asked. I gave them my grimmest look and replied with one eyebrow raised slightly, "I haven't decided yet." I really need to stop doing that. I am a writer after all. My search engine would show lots of research that would indict me in a heartbeat were I ever actually suspected of murder. Not that there is anyone I really want to murder. Lot of people I'd like to torture, I admit. Animal abusers. Child abusers. Litterers. People who chew with their mouths open. And breathe. But murder? Don't be silly. Of course I was joking.
Why was I in black? The pants were on sale. Black pants go with everything. They are the blue jeans of the older generation. They have an elastic waist. They have pockets. The t-shirt was clean. Period. That's the extent of my fashion statement. I dress like a ten year old boy that is in a hurry to get down to the creek to fish. No matter where I'm going. If it requires heels and makeup somebody had better be dead. Or I'd better be getting a very big check.
I wore a white t-shirt the other day. I was so impressed when I put it on. It was brand new and sparkling white. I figured when I bought it that surely I had reached the age where I could wear white without getting it stained and soiled beyond redemption. I figured wrong. By the time I got out to the car I had a smudge where I brushed against the hose when I stopped to water the chickens. Then I picked up one of the girls to say goodbye and there was another dusty spot. By the time I got to my appointment I had a drop of mustard on the front (my boobs make a great shelf, even now that they've started their journey south for the winter of my life) and I looked like I had slept in it. Trust me. If you know someone who wears a lot of white and always looks fresh and clean and neat, stake them. Drive a stake through their cold dead heart. They are not human.
My life has gotten even weirder than the "normal" weird. I moved off my family farm for the first time ever in my life. I'm well into my fifth decade, so this was a major deal. I still am not unpacked. If you know someone who moved into a house and had company over the next week for a house warming party in their immaculate and organized kitchen, get their stake ready. They aren't human either. I know taking a year to unpack is a little past the norm, but I still had everything I had ever owned, or that anyone in my departed family had owned and I managed to bring quite an amazing lot of it with me, even after having a huge living estate sale that hauled off several trailer loads of "stuff." I'm still going through and tossing stuff.
Part of the reason that there's so much stuff is that my mother instilled in me the love of "things." Of the history in "things." You never threw something away if someone could "get some good out of it." One of the boxes I unpacked recently had my brother's christening gown (he died a few years ago, in his seventies) and a passel of my baby clothes, hand sewn with love by our mother. How do you just throw those away? What do you do with them? I don't have children. My niece's kids are already grown and not showing the inclination to reproduce any time soon.
I also have unpacked a lot of valuable stuff that I threw away, feeling the hiss of displeasure from the great beyond. I am sure that someone could have "gotten some good" out of the dozens of scrapbooks of bits and pieces of lovingly arranged cards and letters that my mother pieced together. The notes she wrote were such a lovely glimpse into a childhood that I remember quite clearly, but sometimes need a reminder of the details. Once I'd read through them. Pulled the few really poignant pieces, they went up in a blaze of glory.
I am trying to unpack and either put away or toss everything in it one box per day. I'm behind about 7 months. I guess I need to get to it...
Someday, surely I will get on the right track and I will be able to say ENOUGH to this infernal "starting over" thing. I've done it to every aspect of my life. From men to homes to lifestyle to writing style to diets and now here I am starting yet another personal blog.
I really have nothing of any great importance to share with the world. You don't really care about my politics or my religion and I don't plan to spout off about it anyway. Although I'm sure some bits and pieces will slip in now and again.
But the powers that be told me "put a blog on your website." They were the same ones that said "you must have a website." I built a website. Now I'm putting a blog on it. Yes, if they tell me to jump off a bridge I will do that too. I will hope there's a bungee cord attached, or that it's a very low bridge, because the point of all of this is to create a "tribe" to follow my writing. So I can get paid to sell books and write blog posts and magazine articles and I don't have to sit cold and hungry in the dark, or stand in the welfare line. Either of which is alarmingly possible at this point in my life. I won't go into the details, I'll just say, when I tell you I've written a book, buy a damned copy. Please.
So, now I have done what I said I would. I added a blog page to the website I created for myself. I've started over, after a lifetime of writing non-fiction, I am starting over and writing what I have always enjoyed most and done the best, fiction. My first book, a novel of the War Between the States, is already on the shelves. If you haven't purchased a copy yet, you can click here to do that right now. Although I would prefer that you go to my Bookshelf page and click on the Amazon ad to buy it. I am an Amazon affiliate and I will get a commission off the sale that way. But then hurry back here because i want to tell you about the next book that's on its way!
THAT'S MY STORY
I've never been normal. I've never tried to be. I can't imagine anything more boring.
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