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Please excuse me from most of 2019.

Did not notice the rainbow until just now. Ha!

I’ve had lower back problems for a long, long time. (So long, in fact, that they used a CT scan to diagnose a bulging disc in my back because MRIs weren’t commonplace yet.) For years, when I was uncomfortable, I’d lie on the floor for an hour or take a couple of Advil and boom, solved. That stopped working this year, and the pain got a lot worse. For months, I did a lot of things to try managing the pain. They had varying degrees of success.

In September, I was at a point where I couldn’t walk, stand, or even sit up. In October, I was scheduled for surgery. But, I failed my pre-op exam because all of my lab numbers were out of whack. Some of the lab number crazy turned out to be problems that had to get solved first. I spent a week in the hospital, and then a month in a health care facility.

I’m home now. I can sit up, walk and stand. My pain today, on a scale of 1 to 10, is about a 1. I haven’t had surgery. I have an appointment at the end of the month to talk to someone about what’s next for me. I might be the same, better, or worse then. We’ll see.

Please note: I’ve taken notes this entire time. I know a lot more than I did this time last year about health care, about temporary disability, about chronic pain and its management, about medications of all kinds, and especially about non-epiphany, non-linear narratives.

However, I didn’t have my shit together to make any of it, or anything else, into a story that was ready for outside of my head. I guess being excused from that absence is what I’m really looking for.

Hyperfocus Jukebox #0003: Megamix!

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:

I can tell by the look in your eye/You’ve been bored for a long long time
PRO TIP: Always find and read backstory for anything pertaining to Fleetwood Mac.
RUSSELL MULCAHY ALSO DIRECTED HIGHLANDER, Y’ALL.
The one everyone knows.
I love what a mess this is.
In workshop, someone would definitely point out this is a lot like that last one he brought in. You know, Rio?
But we all do that sometimes…just try not to lean on it.

2018 recap

  • Knitting, because I don’t meditate.
  • A bunch of Tweets and Instagrams, a handful of Snapchats.
  • Lots of novel chunks, divided off from each other in notebooks with washi tape, because my eyes apparently no longer process highlighter lines.
  • A narrative collage-essay I had to trunk at someone’s request, but I needed to write it out of the way anyway, so it wasn’t a waste of time.
  • Writer Camp. You should apply.
  • A 75 word paragraph that ultimately had a value of about $50,000.
  • Other stuff I’m not thinking of right now.
  • Realizing FOMO is legit.

Hello

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.