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Friday, July 8, 2011

Not Dead Yet

Despite the Monty Python reference, this is serious.

Why now? Why have I reached this conclusion to throw caution (and possibly my sanity) to the wind and join the self-publishing revolution/evolution?

Because we must never take life and good health for granted. And no, I'm not going all Oprah on your asses. This is real.

All of us make excuses: 'I'll call so-and-so for coffee next week' or 'I'll do some writing after I finish the laundry and run my errands' or 'I'll finish my novel over the holidays or when I retire' blah-blah-blah... I'm here to tell you to stop putting things off.

And when I say 'I'm here to tell you', I mean I am here by the skin of my teeth.

Since I turned 40 in 2007, I have been at death's door- not once, not twice, but three times. On the first occasion, the lights did indeed go out; but I happened to have a very efficient nurse by my side at the time, so I'm still here.

Strike one...

I've always been healthy. I had no reason to think anything could change that. I won't go into all the horrid details, but I landed up with pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) in both lungs in 2008. A cheery little side-effect from the Pill, and no- I don't smoke. I recovered-- barely-- and then was back in the hospital later that year with life-threatening internal bleeding.

Strike two...

After my second release, I was left an unrecognizable shell of myself. I was weak and terrified. Convinced I would be going back to die in the hospital, I kept a bag packed and handy for months. Kind of a 'mortality bag', where other women pack a maternity bag.

Life did get better. A new 'day job' as a paid writer and a move to my favourite town healed the spirit. My friends cheered and supported me. And still I was distracted, and somehow too unwilling and blocked to do what I must and get 'Base Spirits' out to the world.

So the universe gave me another little shove at New Year's of 2011.

Long, ugly story short: complications from the flu landed me in the hospital, half-dead in an induced coma. I don't remember a whole week of my life. Thankfully, my friend Craig happened to be with me (again) when I collapsed in a seizure. He spent the week I was out worrying that I'd be brain-damaged. Imagine that: a brain-damaged writer.

Wait for it... strike three.

But? I am far from 'out'. It was a rough start to the year, but I finally began to pay attention. This 'brush with mortality' stuff is heavy. I won't pretend it was easy, but I am now physically sound and able to smile, and find humour and beauty-- more than ever. I am still processing. Among other things, I have been making effort to get to know all the wonderful new friends I have made, involve myself in my community, and to let go of some unwieldy past baggage.

And FINALLY, I am getting my work out there. Yes, I have had many short stories published, but not a stand-alone novel. And time and life and spirit are all far too precious to waste waiting around for the wheels of the publishing world to turn and maybe-- eventually-- give you a break.

So that is why, folks.

Now- go grab a stiff drink and a cold compress and get on with life.

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