Notes from a Drama Queen

Deep Thoughts

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I recently wrote a wailing, self-pitying post on a private bulletin board I'm on. A safe place, where I can express such fears. And I wrote:

I'm afraid I'm going to die before I finish the books I want to write.

I'm afraid my husband and I will never again .....

I'm afraid I'm about to sink into a depression.

I'm afraid of the IRS.

I'm afraid I'm going to be a slave to someone I'm not going to name in case that person reads my blog, and that there's no way to escape until that person dies.

I'm afraid I'll never get away from this place where the winters and the taxes are killing us.

I'm afraid, and I'm usually fearless. I guess I'm afraid the fear won't pass.

There's a reason for all this fear. My remaining sibling, my 64 year old sister, died this spring without warning. One day she was talking about plans for the future and how she was going to be more active, and then she just didn't wake up. And I still haven't really grieved about it -- I've been running around, being busy, pushing it again.

And then, just to sweeten the pot, my 59 year old, very healthy husband had a heart attack, and not a minor one. His cholesterol isn't bad, his blood pressure's fine, he eats well, exercises and has no family history of heart problems. And yet his arteries are filled with plaque, and one was clogged completely.

He's recovering nicely, and he'll be doing cardiac rehab and be back to normal, skiing, hiking, etc.

But it's no wonder I'm afraid.

I was thinking about when life isn't what you expected it to be. We all have dreams of perfect children and nuclear families and all the usual passages. We were thrown a curve when I couldn't get pregnant (our children are adopted) and life keeps tossing challenges at us.

Around now I could really do with a break. I want to move somewhere we can afford to live (Vermont is beautiful but it's not only the most taxed state in the country, it also has horrendously high utility rates). Someplace with less snow and more sunshine. A new house with room for a sewing studio, a view of the mountains, and just someplace else.

But ... life is full of trade-offs.

I am the person I wanted to be when I grew up (albeit fatter). I live the life I would have chosen.
But because I'm a writer I have to pay my own taxes, and when life becomes chaotic those fall by the wayside. It means no one pays me a pension. It means money comes in chunks and then nothing, making saving for the future very hard.

But that's the downside of the gift I was given. I was given the gift to write books I love, to be able to sell the books I love and make a living at it. If I hadn't chosen to follow that path, if I'd taken a traditional job and my husband had had a traditional job then we'd be looking at retirement in the next few years and planning for the future.

But think of all I would have missed! The stories that I would never have told, the trips I'd never have taken, the friends I would have missed. I chose this life, chose to follow my bliss, and with it comes some hard choices.

It was thinking about The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. It's probably illegal to copy it here, but you know the one -- two roads diverged in a yellow wood ...I took the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference.

And I did. I'm still on that road. It's got more brambles and you can't always tell what direction it's going. You might end up going over a cliff. But you might reach glorious peaks and amazing views. And it's the road I took, and I don't regret it.

I guess what I have to do is acknowledge the fear. None of it is unreasonable (hell, fear of the IRS is healthy). But know that some of these fears are the dark side of the choices I've made, and they really are a price I'm willing to pay.

I just want to make sure I live long enough to write all the stories I want to write. I think I need to live forever.


Blogger shir said...

I'm sorry.
I'm sorry about your sister.
I'm sorry about your husband.
And the IRS.
But most of all I'm sorry you're human - Your stories are larger than life, and make me so happy - It's hard acknowledging you're human - and have all the normal problems and fears we all share.
So I really hope you'll feel better soon, because you're giving us so much, and we need it to forget all our fears and worries and to know that no matter how creepy and scary the road is - you'll always give us a happy ending.

6:38 AM  
Blogger cashy said...

I'm sorry too. But I love your stories and can't do without them! And yes, it's official: you have to live forever...

5:35 PM  
Blogger Bon said...

Fear of the IRS is emminently healthy - so no worries there. :D

I think you nailed it with your road less traveled analogy - and you've hit a doosy of a bramble patch. And truly, the things that are making you bleed right had every chance of happening had you gone the super-highway route.

I for one am glad for the path you've chosen and hope one day to follow your example and get the heck off my freeway to nowhere - there aren't brambles here, but there are potholes, and sigalerts, and road rage drivers. The brambles are looking mighty fine to me right about now.

Stick with it... I think I see a patch of sunlight ahead.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Libby said...

Sorry about your sister. It is great that your husband is on the mend.
Someone once told me that fear is an acronym for
F- false
E- evidence
A- appearing
R- real
and that FAITH casts out fear.
So, I want to encourage you to never give up as you face your fears; spread your wings and fly with courage as you press on ...and remember even Moses was a "basket case" (get it?) and look what he accomplished by having faith.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Megan Frampton said...

I really like it that you are so continually open and honest about your fears and disappointments. That bravery is reflected in your books, too, which go where other writers don't dare.

I am so sorry to hear about your sister. My dad died much the same way, at 65, with no possible way to anticipate it. It's really hard to deal with that sudden death, so to speak. And your husband! You have been dealt a heckuva one-two punch. Good luck weathering the storm (and the winters) and know us readers appreciate the path you chose.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I know what you mean about being afraid. Life has so much uncertainty. Right now my sister is in the hospital, so I'm dealing with some of that. I'm so sorry about your sister. I want you to know that your stories have enriched my life so much. You're my favorite author, and when a new book comes out by you it brightens my life. Thanks for the contribution you make to the world.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Janice said...

I can empathize with what you've been going through. A few years ago everything was great with our family... then....
First I get a scare of something discovered on breast that requires a biopsy. Thank god it turned out to be nothing.
Then a month later my sister's only son is murdered.
Few months after that there's trouble at my husband's job... FBI investigation... his boss commits suicide...
Few months later the contract we had to sell our property falls through. This was going to enable us to move to North Carolina where we have property in the mountains. Now the move is on hold til the housing market comes back.(If you want to move from Vermont, here is a great alternative. Weather is not as cold, etc. in the winters but not hot in the summer.)
A month later my husband has a mild heart attack and problems are discovered that I'm convinced were brought about with all the stress we've been undergoing.

So sometimes it seems like everything falls apart, but I believe that life will get better again (for me and you).

I have to tell you also that I just discovered your books last year and love them and have read all that I can find. Your "Ice" series has been added to my list of my most favorite books. I hope in the future you do another series like this. I enjoyed seeing previously read characters again.

6:04 PM  

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