It’s never nothing

Let’s see, where were we . . . in our last episode, our heroine was tied to the tracks and a train was approaching, with no (capable) help in sight.


Sorry, wrong story. Maybe it’s just me, but that sort of sums up how helpless I feel lately.

My dad used to say: “It’s never nothing.” It was his version of: “It’s always something.” November has proven that adage, several times over.

I know, some of you are waiting to hear the final results of NaNo. It wasn’t a complete bust, although Life sure did its best to get in the way.

First there was the election. And the results, which we are just not going to talk about, because . . . well, just because. But I eventually convinced myself to stay mostly offline, or at least not look too long or too hard at twitter and facebook, and I was starting to re-focus on writing.

Then, the day after Thanksgiving, my mom made an unscheduled trip to the hospital’s emergency room via ambulance. I’m not going to get into medical details over here — my personal privacy policy makes HIPPA look like a freakin’ sieve — but I will say that she was there for five days (mostly due to it being a holiday weekend during which certain tests were not going to happen unless it was an emergency) (I’m very grateful she wasn’t considered an emergency), and then she was discharged to a rehab/transitional care place.

And then, not even 48 hours later, in the least fun text I’ve ever received at 4 AM, came word that she was right back in the hospital again. Where she still is, as I write this. But she’s getting better, albeit slowly, and we expect she’ll be headed back to transitional care in a day or so.

Never have I been more aware of how relative is the term “better.”

As you might imagine, trying to concentrate on writing (or anything else) with all this going on more than 1200 miles away has been damned near impossible. Honestly, I haven’t tried very hard in the past week. You know, priorities being what they are.

But I did manage to write 20,057 words in November, split between two different manuscripts. Probably that’s 20,057 words more than I would have written if I hadn’t participated in NaNo. Astonishingly, some of those words seem to do what I want them to do and might not even need to be deleted during edits.


So, no, not 50K words. But I’m calling it a win.

Don’t judge me. I need a win right now.

My plan for December is to just continue focusing on writing. And try not to panic at the sound of the phone ringing or the notification that a new email or text message has arrived. Any celebrations in December, including my upcoming birthday, are going to be small and quiet. Understated. Practically invisible.

No, I’m not being a Scrooge. I’m simply acknowledging the truth that I’m not in the mood for celebration. I’m listening to that inner voice advocating self-care over forced displays of holly-jollity.

I can’t fix all the problems in the world. Hell, I can’t even fix all the problems in my own little corner of it. But I can write stories that, if I get it right, might provide a few moments of distraction and enjoyment for someone at a time when that’s exactly, perhaps desperately, what they need.

God knows, stories have certainly helped me get through this disaster we’re calling 2016. If my stories can do that for even one person, I’ll be calling that a win as well.



Filed under health and well-being, holidays, writing

4 responses to “It’s never nothing

  1. I’m having an anniversary of sorts. It’s been four weeks to the day since I realized that the best thing I could do was to concentrate on things within my control. Including my writing.
    I am so sorry about the troubles you’ve been going through. Good for you for speaking about them. I tend to bury things like that. It’s hard to “out” yourself.
    And personally, I would celebrate those 20k words. You earned them. I call it a win.


  2. Wow, Evelyn, so you pretty much decided on election day to be an adult about it all. Happy Anniversary! Took me a good bit longer to reach that conclusion, and I’m still struggling. It helps to stay away from the rage-inducing tweets and FB posts.

    I’ve found it to be a very fine line between being honest and open about my feelings, and protecting the details of my privacy (and that of others). There are some topics I’ll just never talk about in public. But when I can, it results in a catharsis of sorts. Helps to have the best imaginary internet friends, ever.


  3. Richard Maguire

    “…this disaster we’re calling 2016.”

    That pretty much sums it up, KD. And on the personal level I’ve never experienced a year as bad, and as tragic, as the past twelve months have been. But I’m still standing, so maybe there is hope.

    20,000 words in November, split between two works in progress is excellent. Plus the fact you think some of them will survive the edit. So well done.

    I wish you happiness for the holiday season, and good luck with your writing in the coming year. I’m looking forward to reading some of it.


  4. Richard, I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s been such a tough year, for so many of us. I’m trying to find hope and comfort in little things, things I take for granted but probably shouldn’t. It isn’t easy.

    Wishing you happiness as well, and productivity on the writing front. We need stories now more than ever. Take care of yourself.