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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.

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