Sunday, October 9th, 2011 • 3 Comments on The Week in Retrospect
I know it’s been quiet around here. I feel like my blog has become obsolete as I share the pertinent information on Facebook and rarely have time to write thoughtfully on anything other than my Oh Get A Grip! themes. (And sometimes I don’t do a very good job there, either.) So the stretches get longer and longer between blog posts here and the list of things I want to write about continues to grow…
It’s autumn, which always feels like a new beginning. The school girl in me lingers… the urge to buy school supplies is often overpowering. What’s a new beginning without a new notebook, right? And with new beginnings, I feel like it’s time for change. Yeah, I know, I just had a baby and what a change that’s been. We’re adjusting, the four of us. For Patrick, it’s a matter of learning to share his parents (primarily dad) and get used to a new little being in the house. For Jay, it’s about learning this new son in a way he never got to learn about Patrick when he returned to Dubai. For me, it’s about trying to find the new balance between family life, work life, social life and still cram in some solitary time for myself. It is an impossible balance right now, but it will come.
It’s been a surreal kind of week from start to finish. I feel like I’m in a bit of a fog lately, between postpartum recovery and lack of sleep. So it’s mind boggling how much was going on this week while I kept hearing the same refrain, “Get some rest!”
My in-laws were in town for a few days, which was good because they hadn’t yet met almost 2 year old Patrick, but was also a little stressful as it felt like we’d just gotten into a new routine when they showed up. I don’t have any family to speak of, so it’s good for the boys (well, mostly Patrick right now) to meet their grandparents and know their extended family. But it’s not likely we’re going to get to Tennessee anytime soon, so this visit was a long time coming. Of course, for an introvert/loner like myself, being in the house with three other adults and two little kids felt kind of claustrophobic. You have to remember I’m used to going six month stretches being the only person in the house when Jay was away on deployments. Just the four of us feels like a full house now—and the kids are little. Add a couple of house guests and I’m overwhelmed. The days of being alone in the house are over and, on one hand, that’s a good thing—I have a family! On the other hand, I do miss the solitude and peace sometimes.
The day after my in-laws left, the incomparable Tristan Taormino was in town to speak at my alma mater, Old Dominion University. For whatever reason, ODU didn’t provide anyone to pick her up from the airport, so I volunteered to play driver/assistant while she was here. It was lovely to finally meet her (Tristan has bought several stories from me since 2002) and see sex education done right. It was a bit odd how her event was promoted—or not promoted. The information on the ODU website was little more than “Pucker Up” (Tristan’s website) and a phone number to call for more information—in an entirely different building than where she was actually speaking. I surmised this cloak and dagger approach was to avoid controversy and protest. Which is… ridiculous. Her presentation, despite her straightforward language, was hardly controversial. I was afraid the lack of university promotion would make for a poor turnout, but the space was packed with well over 200 students who were wildly excited to see Tristan in person.
Friday, we celebrated our twenty-first wedding anniversary, which involved an hour drive to Williamsburg to have lunch at our favorite restaurant, the Blue Talon Bistro. In previous years, it’s been a leisurely lunch in the middle of a peaceful day of walking and shopping. With two children under two, we barely had time to eat and there was hardly any conversation as we took turns walking a wailing Lucas outside to spare the other diners the noise. Oh well, at least we can say we went, even if all we did was drive up, eat in a rush and drive back. If nothing else, the weather was beautiful! It will get easier… I keep telling myself that about so many things these days. It will get easier.
The rest of the week included yet another postpartum doctor’s appointment. I’ve been having issues with high blood pressure (not to mention the allergic reaction I had to the Percocet), but things seem to be improving on all fronts. I’m almost out of the postpartum period, with one more doctor’s appointment next week. Now, if only the hormones would level out and stop ricocheting around like pinballs. Whew. What a ride!
On the writing/editing front, Steamlust: Steampunk Erotic Romance is officially out and the numbers on Amazon are encouraging. I hope so much that this book does well. I pitched steampunk to Cleis twice in an almost one-year period—it wasn’t an easy sell. But I think the genre is really hot right now (like fairy tales!) and I hope the book finds an audience. If you haven’t seen the book trailer Nikki Magennis did for Steamlust, do check it out. It’s beautiful!
I also got the final word on Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance this week and will be announcing the table of contents very soon. It’s going to be such a fun collection of fairy tale erotic romance! Copyedits are due in a couple of weeks, so I need to get on that asap. Thankfully, the accompanying note said the book was well edited (by me!) and had only minor corrections and questions. It really does pay to put in the time on the front end, even when it feels like I have no time.
Now that Steamlust is officially out I’ll be thinking about my December anthology. New York Times bestselling author Shayla Black gave me her foreword for Best Erotic Romance this week—yay! This first edition of what will hopefully be an annual collection is filled with some wonderful stories. I’m very proud of the books I’ve done for Cleis Press this year. I haven’t written nearly as much as I would have liked, but I’ve put my heart into the books I’ve edited.
I have commented more than once in the past week that the universe works in mysterious ways as I’ve noticed connections (and disconnections) in the world around me. It’s been a week of ups and downs and side to sides and two steps forward and one step back. This week I’ve had conversations about life, love, sex, lust, relationships, publishing, writing, academia, the military, motherhood, children, plastic surgery, success, failure, money, family, hopes and regrets. I’ve gotten phone calls and text messages out of the blue that have reminded me I may feel like I’m struggling, but I don’t have to struggle alone. There have been surprise baby packages in the mail and moments of unbidden tears. I’ve laughed with my toddler and comforted my newborn. I’ve felt more like myself than I have in months—and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if the tunnel feels like it’s miles long.
I’ve contemplated change a lot this week, breaking out of my writing comfort zone, going back to school, trying something new like a Pilates class or guitar lessons, taking a big trip to the UK in 2012, planning readings closer to home, letting go of the obligations that weigh me down and carrying only those that inspire and fulfill me.
I’ve also thought a lot about what I want to accomplish in the next five years, ten years, twenty years. The death of Steve Jobs at 56 is a reminder that I don’t have time to rest or be lazy. As tired as I am, as overwhelmed as I feel, there is still so much to do in this life—and there are no guarantees. I’m 44 and some days I feel 25 and somedays I feel 60. I hope to make it to 56 and beyond. But who knows? I see the missed opportunities and I want to kick myself for not pushing harder and doing more. I see the unlimited possibilities and even though I’m so eager to go for them I paralyze myself with questions and doubts. I need goals—and that’s a hard thing for me, because making a list of goals feels like limiting myself. I don’t do well with limitations. Or rules. Or being told no. But I need to focus on the things that are important to me—me!—and let go of the idea that I have to impress or please anyone else. You’d think I would have learned that lesson by now—and I have, I swear I have—but sometimes I need to remind myself.
What a week. What a month. What a year. 2012 isn’t so far away, but there’s still a chunk of 2011 left and I intend to make the best of it. You do the same, okay?