On January 7, 2010 my husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer — rare for his age. He was 41 at the time. Eight months, two surgeries, two rounds of intense chemo, and much emotional wringing later, he's okay. At that time, my father was also battling colon cancer — he was diagnosed with stage 4 in 2008. In June of 2010 he was well enough to go on a 4 week break from chemo. Near the end of that month he had a stroke — a side effect from the chemo he'd been on. It didn't seem that bad, but after my husband went back to work at the very end of August my father went into the hospital and never came out. He passed on October 7, 2010. It was maybe the most difficult thing I've ever lived through. But I got to say goodbye to a man that was so special to me. Right up until the end he treated me like his little girl, even when he seemed to be out of it mentally he would see that I was sad and rouse himself, and tell me to lie on the bed next to him so he could take care of me.
People say life becomes more clear when you're touched by death or live through a tragedy. I suppose that's true enough; you almost can't help but gain some kind of wisdom. If you run through a fire and come out on the other end you may be scorched, but as long as you aren't engulfed in flames you probably did fairly well.
I lost a friend, or someone I thought was a friend, during my husband's illness. It was as if that person dropped more wood onto the stress fire I was already barely keeping under control. Losing that friendship changed me. In some ways, in many ways, for the better.
Okay, what does any of that have to do with my writing? Well, I'll tell you! After living through such chaos as sickness and death you realize that work, any type of work, be it writing, engineering, farming/gardening, fixing a car, your day job, your night job, whatever it is, never changes. What I mean is, work is a task that needs to be done. And when you're surrounded by things you have no control over, it's feels good to get something done. To sit down at the computer and let myself talk to my inner voices and simply type them onto the page was a really helpful thing. So, I did just that. I wrote. And when everything around me seemed to be falling apart the people in my books were there for me. By the end of 2010, I'd written most of the third book in the Anastasia Evolution Series, and a sketchy outline for the fourth — I'm not too much of an outline-ist, but I had the premise for the fourth book and a few scattered chapters; I never could write consecutively.
Going through any kind of stress will put a strain on a friendship or marriage. It puts a strain on everything in your life. But even living through that hellish year, I can't say for sure what would help someone else in the same position, because all things do not effect (affect? I can never get that right!) all people the same way. But, for me, work/writing was a way to . . . categorize all the information that threatened to overshadow every part of me.
I suppose I really needed to write about that just yet, because 2010 isn't really the beginning, is it?! I mean, it's not the story of how I wrote the first book! Oh boy, my mind is jumping all over the place! Next post will be about when I first sat down to right Love and War — and EDP. Promise!