You remember when you moved away from home? Like for that very last time? Maybe you got your first job and moved into your own apartment. Or maybe you got married. Or maybe you left mom and dad and moved into a commune to grow special herbs. And then you went back home to visit, and you were like . . . Oh.
This place is, like, familiar and stuff. But. It doesn’t fit anymore.
I’ve felt this way a lot in my life. Maybe we all do. That whole growing thing, and all. But in particular, the last couple-three years, my life has experienced a tremendous amount of change. Like WHOA NELLY change. Truth is, I did not see myself here five years ago. I thought I’d have a book out by now, maybe more. I thought I’d still be a full time writer, like I was then, maybe editing some for extra cash, but I imagined that I’d spend most of my free non-writing time either with my kids or baking or preparing for the next holiday or birthday, as I’d done for probably forever.
I did not imagine that I’d be tired all the time, my eyes so grainy and strained, they constantly ache.
I did not imagine that I’d go nearly two years having read only like 1.25 books.
I did not imagine that I’d be working twelve to sixteen hours a day, every day, editing other people’s writing.
I did not imagine I'd experience X, Y, Z, and other traumatic things.
And I certainly did not imagine that I’d go nearly two years without writing anything new.
But I also didn’t imagine that I’d be happy.
For a while there, I was afraid I might not make it to today. Loss became this truly palpable thing. And I came to understand helplessness at its absolute most terrifying worst. Sometimes I had to make the conscious choice to just not let go.
And then I made a new choice, and I started stepping. As in, out of bed. I started stepping, as in, to get dressed. I started stepping, as in, to apply for jobs. And I kept stepping and stepping, in part because I had some pretty amazing people in my life who loved me and climbed down to hell beside me and encouraged me to keep stepping some more, thank god. Thank them. And it got better. And better some more. And even better.
Then one day, even though I knew things still could be better in a lot of ways, it dawned on me that I could not be much happier. I did not know happiness could feel this good. And I began to feel whole again, settling into myself. I was home.
And then something happened. I received an email informing me that I had been given a reading slot at the upcoming World Fantasy Convention.
And I was like . . . Oh . . .
I’m not a writer, people. I haven’t been a writer for a long time. This world is familiar, but I don’t fit anymore.
Yet again, I have returned to a place that I once called home. And there's such a longing to stay. But. Fear. Inadequacy. FEAR. I can't do this.
Except. My friends Brad Beaulieu and Derek Silver have graciously, kindly, lovingly agreed to read with me, so that I don't have to read alone.
We're there for you, Brad said. We'll fill the room with happy faces.
So. Okay then. Okay. Deep breath.
We're calling it: Sloshed and Sexy.
Because at least one of us will be downing a shot right before. In fact, all of you are invited to join us, drinks in hand. We'll be reading sex scenes so people will come. To the reading. We can all share a cigarette afterward.
So if you'll be at World Fantasy this year or in the vicinity, hope to see you there.
Friday, November 7, 10 PM, Arlington room.
And thus, I keep stepping and stepping. Finding home again.