Today Is Making Money Monday and … I Just Can’t

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But I have to. Right? It’s what writers do. No matter what happens we find a way to be creative or edit or push through. It’s what I’ve always done. Writing is my crutch and my pillow and my dreamland and my advisor and my priest/nurse/psychiatrist, and pretty much my everything.

But this month has been hard and I am rethinking a lot of things. A lot of me. Of my life and my choices.

On Oct 11, my dad went in to Hospice for respite—meaning that he had five days of full time care so my stepmom could get some rest from the 24/7 care has to give alone. My brother is deathly allergic to cats and never could sit with dad, and I work too much, like 16 hours day, 7 days a week, for the last 30 years. Why such long hours? Making Money Everyday, saving lives through modern laboratory medicine 32 hours a week, building a writing brand and a writing career, paying bills, doing the things I am supposed to do.  Anyway …

So, dad goes in to hospice on Oct. 11 and I visit every day, and I know something is wrong, but usually it’s just being in a strange place and the hospice doc giving him meds he can’t take. Usually he comes home and his wife and I detox him, and he’s fine. But this time when he came home, he didn’t detox. This time he was in what the hospice nurse called “End of Life.”  He had been in “End of Life” for 5 days and we didn’t know. On Oct 20, at 12:41 a.m., dad died, at home, surrounded by his kids.

Don’t go getting all mushy and sad on me. I don’t need or want that. What I want is for you to think. To analyze. Because my dad taught me to think, to analyze.

My dad and I had a poor relationship all my life because he was analytical and driven and determined and goal oriented and organized. He worked hard.  You know—like I have all my life. Unlike me, Dad was also dictatorial and judgmental and selfish. I’m not being unkind when I say that, simply factual. We all knew it. I gave the eulogy and it covered all the good and all the bad and what could be learned from the way my dad lived. Analyzing what I said then and what I’ve been through lately, there is lot of fodder for the creative mind in the lessons he taught by example. I loved my father. But there was no huggy-huggy-joy-joy-rah-rah in that love.

And even with dad dying, I was able to write some and edit a lot. Because that is what he taught me to do. Making Money…Everyday

But then Melanie, friend, writer, photographer, kind and gentle and loving woman, a human so very different from my dad, had a brain hemorrhage and died. She was much younger than me. And suddenly she was gone. Melanie had so much to give and she gave everything she possibly could. I adored her.

curseontheland-finalIn the middle of all this mental and emotional mourning, I had a book release — CURSE ON THE LAND (yes, please go buy it!) — and I discovered that I have glaucoma, a rare kind, the exact rare form of glaucoma that my mom has struggled with all her life and is fighting desperately right now. We have been trying for the last 2 – 3 months to save her “bad eye” and any last smidgen of vision she might have left in it. If you are reading this on the morning of Nov 7, 2016, I am undergoing  my first laser surgery treatment for glaucoma. Mom and me, fighting the same genetic condition.

After all this, I am not feeling very creative. I haven’t written much. And I certainly am not concentrating on money. But I have been doing a lot of thinking. About making money. About being driven and working hard and … being all the things my dad taught me.  And I have made some pretty big decisions over the last 4 weeks. Some pretty big changes in my life are coming.

First, I have decided that I will no longer write 2 books a year, no longer push and strive and work my butt off putting out one book every 6 months. Instead, I will write one book every 8 months.  (My agent is currently handling this aspect of my goals.) And yes, I know that means I will make less money. Second, I will not do conferences that require a whole heap of stressful travel. Third, over the course of the next year, I will learn how to do online face-to-face  interviews so I can meet fans in faraway places. Fourth, I will exercise every single day—yoga, walking, bicycling, gym, water-walking in the Y pool, whatever. But I will move my butt. And I will eat right. Fifth, in honor and memory of Melanie and her photography, and in honor of my mom’s art and paintings, and in honor of my own vision, I will look out at nature every single day and find something beautiful to see. Sixth, I will take one day off from writing every single week and enjoy it. Enjoy life. Rest. Do … nothing to Make Money.  And seventh, I will try very hard to be gentle and kind and loving, learning from my father what not to do, what not to be.

Because what I have discovered, is that life is too short. My body may not last as long as I want it to. My family will not. My friends will not. Making Money is a great thing. But living life, being healthy, loving my friends and family … that is what really counts.

My advice is Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard (BICHOK). Work a little. Then go out and be alive.

Hugs, all.

Faith

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7 comments to Today Is Making Money Monday and … I Just Can’t

  • mudepoz

    Balance. It’s something that most people that are hard driven forget about. That is, until one half of the scale is flung into the clouds and the other half breaks on the ground. You’e been looking for it for years. I hope that you are able to achieve it. *Hugs*

  • JReizes

    Three years ago, I realized I had done nothing for myself for 20 years. I had raised three beautiful children, maintained a good marriage for 23 years, worked in corporate communications and media relations for decades, earned a good reputation in my field where I was and am respected by colleagues. But I had stopped writing, something I had done my entire childhood through college. This realization led me to you, to DragonCon, to a community of writers that I value more than I can say. It made me start a blog, open myself to the rigors and criticisms involved in writing. It made me grow. It made me find balance. Recently, we’ve had several friends pass away suddenly and a good friend lost a son at age 22 to a rare form of cancer. We have to live. As they say, we can’t take the money with us. I respect your choices very much and as a friend, promise to help you keep to them. Hugs, Joelle

  • Amy Bauer

    For some reason this comment is hard to write without sounding all preachy. So I’m just going to say, I’m sorry you’ve had a hard month and really glad that you are taking some steps to enjoy what you’ve built. Peace.

  • What Mud said about balance. I’ve had my own crappy month or so, with my mother’s passing and then Melanie’s less than a week later. That and there’s this little tiny event you folks are having south of the border tomorrow (well, south of *my* border, anyway), and the entire world is on edge. My own health issues have forced me to respect that, too. Especially as in the first case, I found myself having to be “on” and supportive a lot, even when I had my own grieving (stress and insomnia especially) to deal with.

    This has been a powerful year, a year of change. A year of letting go, as we keep losing beloved people of note, too. I wonder if cosmically, we’re being challenged. Challenged to focus on what really matters, to seek not just what we want, but what we need.

    Sending good wishes and healing thoughts for your surgery today. And may you continue to enjoy the potent beauty that nature offers, in all of its forms.

  • Ken

    Melanie’s death caused me to look at my life as well and I’m waaay outta whack. The writing is still happening, but most days, it’s more of a way to insulate myself from everything. It’s been therapeutic, but there comes a time when you’ve got to get back out there on your own. I need to follow Melanie’s and your example of getting out and about. Being present in the world. So much of the insignificant stuff has gotten so much of my focus and that’s got to change.

    I like your seven things. My seven things might be different, but it’s good to know that we’re seven-thinging in the same direction.

  • Judy B

    Be present. Be kind. Take chances. Take care of yourself. Play hard. Laugh out loud. Hold onto the ones you love, they can be taken at any time. Hug a puppy. Pet a cat. Watch the sunrise and think of Melanie…

  • Razziecat

    I’m not in a good place right now so all I can say is BLESSED BE! And be well, Faith! So sorry for your grief and all the icky stuff going on. Be well!