Big enough news that I'm going to shake up the usual Patreon rewards. THIS will be my April newsletter, which usually only goes out to my Patrons. However, this month I'm going to be publishing it on the blog to share the big news. All my other rewards will "red shift." The folks who usually get just the newsletters will be seeing some selfies. The folks who are up for early access will get to see The Inside Scoop (a sort of deeper and more personal newsletter).
April waved as it drove by. I'm not even exactly sure what the hell happened. One minute I was sitting down hoping that I didn't get any unkind pranks and the next, people were wishing me a happy Beltane. It was an entire month of "blink and you'll miss it."
If you've been following my story, you know that one of my partners, Rhapsody, lost their boss and friend in a violent robbery in early February. She stepped up to run the bakery with the owner gone. That's it's ENTIRE own harrowing story of overwork, stress, and difficulty, but what it meant was that I stepped up in a lot of ways too—with everything from extra childcare to grief support. Three months passed with a strange effect of being both ten years and about a week.
And that was just the latest absolute shocking tragedy in a string of huge setbacks and life events.
It's been months now—years really—of just one thing after another. A big move complete with massive emotional adjustments on the part of four people—two of them kids, a miscarriage, cancer, surgery and recovery (including PTSD), a huge health scare from my mother, a very impactful breakup and then this. And if I'm going to be perfectly honest, there have been some good moments in there that ALSO distracted me from my writing. I let myself get caught up in some new relationship energy when I met Rhapsody, and I kind of avoided work for a couple of months. And every time I've felt a LITTLE better these past couple of years, I've first tried to reconnect with my personal relationships instead of diving fully into the grind. There have been ups and downs, but it wouldn't be fair to say that my productivity has always been low because of the bad stuff.
Still, almost every time I'm feeling ready to get back into the saddle, another round of something awful hits—and it's usually something next level. It's not like a bad day on Facebook kind of stuff. Sometimes I feel ready to write and the schedule goes bananas. Sometimes the schedule is forgiving, but I'm struggling with anxiety and barely able to keep my mind on one thing long enough to write a post a week. It's been unrelenting.
But there is news. Great news. (No, I don't want to jinx it. I'll just call it BIG news, and we will look nervously at the sky and refuse to get excited.) A great shift is coming to my writing time. I will have SO much more of it.
Since early February, I've stepped up to help. I held space, cancelled plans when shit fell apart (some of which were writing plans), took on more with the kids, and generally threw most of my time into trying to get through the moment. I don't want that to sound like a victim narrative. I chose to be there for my partner. I chose to step back from my writing career for a little longer, even though I had lost so much time from the cancer and all the trials and tribulations before.
But bakery was hurting her—killing her really, in a non-hyperbolic sense. Our culture has a socially acceptable form of self harm in work and productivity. We let our mental health suffer for "the hustle." And the situation was untenable and unsustanable. So Rhapsody made a decision to step away at least for a while, take some well needed time "off," and then decide if she came back what her role would be. (That's "off" as in full time parent of two kids and a custody schedule that really only gives her one full day off every two weeks.) She is going to be home for at least a couple of months, able to handle so much more of the kid time and not be on the knife's edge of debilitating anxiety, dealing with daily panic attacks, and needing serious drugs just to function.
The shift should seem almost instantaneous given how much time I suddenly have to write. And there are other plans and schemes afoot (although to get in on those early, you really WILL need to become a patron), but this feels like the
best (nope, not gonna jinx it) biggest news that's come to my writing schedule in two years.
And for those of you who didn't know what my writing output was like before two years ago…