This is my entry for Elise Kova’s #ITookMyShotWhen contest and I do understand, should I win the lotto, I’d need to be at the Richard Rogers Theater on February 13, 2018 (incidentally my half-birthday) no later than 6:30 pm.
I sat in my reiki practitioners office devoid of hope. I’d been in pain from the time my kids were two-year-olds. Six years of being mostly disabled with pain from fibromyalgia, endometriosis, migraines, two surgeries…my body and mind had had it. I stared helplessly at her. She asked me “When do you not hurt?”
I thought for a minute. “When I do something creative,” I finally answered. But what could I do that had not been taken away from me? Irish dance was out of the question. Knitting hurt my hands. I drove home staring at the lines coming toward me on the highway and I thought back to when I was ten years old.
10-year old me was horse crazy and could not stop writing horse stories. She also loved fantasy so usually, the horses and the main characters ended up falling into a strange, magical world and having fantastic adventures. I had a lot of insomnia at the time, so notebooks, pens and later a blue WordStar screen became my best friends. High school homework and a teacher not so fond of horses falling into fantastical realms on creative writing assignments took their toll and I never really did write again.
Until. Until I needed to write my way out of chronic pain. I gripped the steering wheel that night and made a decision. You see, the writing stopped, but the ideas never did. There’d been a scene in my head for about ten years. I was going to write that scene*. And I was going to make myself write and write and I wasn’t going to stop until I had 50,000 words, the same as NaNoWriMo. It probably wouldn’t see the light of day, but this was for me. This was me telling the pain “this far and no further.”
So I wrote. And wrote. I didn’t hurt when I wrote, so I became addicted and wrote a lot. And I world built. I watched YouTube videos and read blog posts to learn about storytelling and novelcraft. And I wrote some more. At Chapter 13, I stopped and looked at what I had. And I liked it. And I thought, with some editing, other people might like it, too. Pain had already told me “no” enough times so I decided to self-publish.
Self-publishing was (and still is) a huge learning curve and there were a lot of walls in my way. Plus, life kept throwing things at me. Not just my chronic illnesses but all the normal things that get thrown at chronically ill mothers of twins who work a full-time job who decide to write and publish a novel. Who dare to defy their crazy neurological system and set deadlines. And I just kept getting up and trying to smash through the walls like the Kool-Aid man (so poetic!)
But my first book was born on January 26, 2018. Suck it, pain. I did not throw away my shot and I wrote my way out. Fuckin’ right I’m relentless.
Thank you for the chance to put words to my story, Elise.
* The scene did make it into the final published version of “Emerald’s Fracture”