I’m Guest Reader for SmokeLong Quarterly for the week of March 11, and it’s entirely possible you got to this page from my Guest Reader interview. If so, welcome! And here are some Russell Mulcahy videos:
Went to the bookstore to pick up one. Found the other on the shelf. Flipped through one of them. Looked at the back of the other. Bought one.
I’ve been away. I kept tweeting because that’s how I think, how I’ve always thought, but my Twitter notifications went to an email address I never check. Instagram is mostly my cats. I’ve disappeared from Facebook for months at a time and not even really noticed myself, until I’ve had to say to someone, I’ve disappeared from Facebook for months at a time. Submittable tells me I haven’t sent anything out since…damn, 2016? So, yeah. I dropped out.
Different reasons for different time periods. Medical crisis. Less dramatic but similarly high stakes life events. I’m being cryptic because those were me-adjacent. But here are some reasons that were mine alone: I needed to know if I was writing because I needed to, or because I needed to. Also, it was high time for a new phase. Neither of those reasons were new to me. If there’s anything I’m great at, it’s quitting. I still don’t totally understand why writing is an exception. As for the other…before I wrote flash fiction and short stories for the internet, I knew that every few years my output changes, my methods change, my motives change. It seemed ridiculous and self-indulgent to inform anyone of that in advance.
While dropped out, I wrote. I’m in the middle of my third novel of this phase. The first novel is waiting for me to get back to it. The second one, I had to exorcise — I’ll talk about that sometime. This third novel is like sitting down to watch a Netflix series where I’ve read a couple of things about it, but I’m spoiler free about individual episodes. I’m having a good time writing it.
Dropping out for a while got in the way of other things I wanted to do. That’s not an excuse, but I hope it’s an explanation. To some of you who read this: I’m very, very sorry.
I also got way too comfortable being dropped out. I didn’t know it for a while, but I had vision issues that likely affected my reading habits — I’ll talk about that sometime, too. So there were long periods of time where I was helping people I loved get through things, reading differently, and writing whatever the hell I felt like writing. That all sounds so very awful. Ha!
Now, I’m trying to figure out how undropped out I want to be. Earlier this week, I wandered around social media — drop-in digging, rather than dropout skimming — and all I could do was laugh. A year ago, I might have taken that as a sign to stay dropped out. Now, I’m a lot less sure about that.