I had a manuscript due yesterday. Well, not exactly. It's due to my publisher in October, but back in early August I had my schedule planned out to get the first draft completed sometime this week - and if all went well, maybe even by September 8th. Yeah, yesterday.
The reality? I only have one chapter finished. And I keep rewriting it over and over again, trying not to hate it. (Oy!)
Life happened. Life got in the way. Life--yeah. That.
It's a bit panicky-feeling to think I'm three weeks behind. With 2nd round of revisions looming for my Harpercollins YA and Book 2 of the trilogy to draft no later than October 25th, too.
Did I say I'm panicked? Naw. I meant, TERRIFIED!
I'm also adding something new to the schedule. A trip back to San Diego next week to see my baby brother who has been so ill with brain cancer. I was there over the summer, but I can't put off seeing him again. It's that serious. And that makes me crazy terrified and emotional every single day.
One moment I'm gushing tears and sobbing at my desk.
The next I'm trying to keep my mother's and sisters' spirits lifted.
Or I'm numb. In shock that this is actually happening to my family.
Every day I'm hugging my babies tight. Or escaping into a book because I have to stop weeping and if I keep thinking about this I'll truly go ballistic; throwing things and swearing.
And then guilt rushes over me for whining and complaining when my brother has lost all ability to do anything, even to speak, the cancer has taken over so badly. And yet, he's fully aware of everything that is happening to him, as his life and all the things he loves have been taken away the past year. His music, his guitar, his books, his gaming friends, his navy life he was so good at. He's spent most of the last 6 months in the hospital trying treatments that don't work--or give him terrible side-effects. Frustration, disappointment that no treatments have worked, depression, anger and fear are daily battles for him as well as his wife and three sons who are so young (the twins in Kindergarten). Ironically--unbelievably--my brother was only 5 years old, the baby of 6 siblings, when we lost our father to a tragic accident (plane crash). And yet, it struck me today as I worshiped during church services and heard some incredibly inspiring talks, that he will be the first of all of us to see our father again--a father he barely remembers--on the other side of heaven's veil. I wish I could see that reunion. Father and son embracing, weeping tears of joy, and talking, talking, talking, catching up on all that they both have missed these last 30+ years.
Writing has, many times in the past, given me an escape. A way to cope with life's trials and heartaches. I think I'm ready to go there this week. I hope so. My character, Larissa Renaud, of Bayou Bridge, Louisiana, is reaching out to me from her own heartaches and scars that have come from many sides. And she will be called to do something big and wonderful--and terrible, too. She will learn that her family is in danger. Terrible danger that could kill her mother, her baby sister, and herself, and she will be able to save them. And, as she becomes stronger, the heartache and scars and loneliness will diminish. They won't matter so much because of the person she discovers that she truly is deep inside.
Faith and sacrifice are always stronger than fear and doubt.
I leave you with a writing quote from the beautiful book, Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg:
"All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation--it is the Self escaping into the open."
I hope I can escape into my Open this week, and write true and write strong.
Thank you, Dad, for giving me a love of literature, a love of words, a love of writing--your own dream of publishing a book never fulfilled.
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