When Life Gets in the Way

Man, that’s the story of my life, isn’t it? And everyone I know. Life gets in the way of writing all the time. Either it’s the kids or the day job or whatnot. This month for me, it’s been the kids. But in a good way.

Son #1 participated in his first Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament last weekend, and boy did he have fun. Even shot the ball at the hoop. He’s not the most aggressive player, but that doesn’t matter. We got home Sunday night in time to unpack one suitcase and re-pack the next to head to Mayo Clinic the next day.

As an aside here, I actually love the drive to Rochester. We have 4-lane highway all the way and I get to catch up on my “reading” – that is if the library has the book I want on CD. This time I got the listen to a Rex Stout mystery (oh how I love Archie Goodwin) and finally was able to “read” the first of the OUTLANDER series by Diana Gabaldon. A friend of mine has been at me to read this book for years, and I have to say I would recommend it. Even my kids loved it, though there were a couple times I had to hit the mute button. I’ve never been one for steamy sex scenes myself, so that wasn’t a big loss.

Anyway, so we went to Mayo and spent one exhausting day there, but the news is good and Son #3 (whose non-cancerous brain tumor we were following up on) is looking very good indeed, and can back off on visits to the clinic to every two years! Yay!

So on the drive home, I tried to think about my ending for GUYS AND DOGS. I really need to finish that sucker. But the mind wandering that is required to form plot (for me, anyway) brought me back to what happened three years ago that got me side tracked to begin with. Up to that point, I was pumping out a couple books a year. Since then, I struggled with MURDER IN F MINOR for nearly two years until I finally chucked it, and am struggling to get to the finish line on G&D. Why?

Well, three years ago, my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I didn’t realize it until we were talking to his neurologist this last week, but there’s definitely a connection. It took us a few months to get everything diagnosed and realize that it was most likely non-cancerous. I thought I handled it pretty well at the time and, overall, I still do. But what went to hell? My writing.

When I first started writing again after I gave it up in college, it was magazine articles about epilepsy and autism – all the things we were dealing with for Son #1. But when Son #3 started having a health concern, I shut down. I don’t know what that means, but maybe now that I’ve figured it out, I can finally get back in the saddle properly.

People have told me I should write a memoir about my eldest, but I resist. I have the first couple chapters written, actually, but I don’t think I can do justice to the subject. I’m too close. Perhaps one day I will be able to articulate what it’s like to live with a special needs child, but right now I just need to concentrate on doing it. And before I get a bunch of praise for being a strong person (and you know who you are those of you who tell me that), I must say I’m not. Honestly, the kid’s kinda fun to have around and, save a Special Olympics schedule that’s going to kill me, he’s not a lot to deal with. Oh, there is the adolescence thing, but that’s inevitable.

I did bring one more thing home from Mayo, by the way: a lovely case of bronchitis. Just one more thing to work in to the end of G&D, I guess.


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