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Me, at the Rothesay Castle in Scotland, August 2009

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I’m going to get personal here, just for a moment. I don’t do this very often (about once a year, I suppose), but if you want to skip right over this post, go ahead and check out this week’s Sunday Pleasures instead. They’ll make you laugh, I think.

As some of you may already know, last year was a tremendously tough year for me. I won’t go into details here — you either know them or you don’t, and they’re inconsequential anyway. What matters is that we’ve all had those hellish years, the ones that rock us to the very core, that scare us and break us, that drop us on our asses so hard we think we may never get up again.

But of course we do get up. Most of us, anyway. Not always by our own account, I don’t think. At least for me, it’s always been through the support and laughter and, often, the kick in the ass, from those in my life who get me moving again.

I am lucky. I have fantastic friends and family (blood or otherwise), men and women in my life who support me and listen and make me laugh. Even if they don’t know the details of my life. Even if they know me well enough to know that despite my big heart and my bubbly laugh, I am a closed box, tied up tight with ribbons and leather and metal chains, that I never let anyone inside. Even if they don’t understand what’s happening or why. I am grateful every day to the people that surround me and challenge me and uplift me.

But… what does all this have to do with a blog about writing? Living and writing go hand-in-hand for me. And last year, in the midst of everything, I did not write. Oh, I mean I did. A little. A few things here and there when someone asked for something or a deadline loomed. But that was all. In twelve months’ time, I might have produced six stories. If that.

For most of that year, I think I spent the majority of time asleep on my feet. Cutting everything out, receding into myself in an attempt to alternately figure out what was going wrong and to avoid everything that was happening. I came out of the sleep-walk sometime in late 2008 or early 2009, looked around, and realized that somewhere my life had gotten far off track. I knew it was time to make some changes. To take some risks. To scare the shit out of myself. It was either that or begin to die a slow, lingering death.

An opportunity opened up thanks to a fantastic friend (if I didn’t believe in serendipity before, I certainly do now), and I took it, landing myself in another country for six months.

I’ve been here for five of those months. In that time, I’ve written and submitted nearly 70 stories, essays and poems. I’ve had fourteen pieces accepted and four rejected (including two new acceptances today, which oddly were the impetus for this post). I’ve started a new e-book publishing company, and I’ve got a dozen more stories in the works. But more importantly, I’ve begun to come alive again, to wake up, to be and feel and risk and face the things that need facing.

This was going to be another post about the acceptances I got this morning, because they made me squee and bounce around the room like a complete, giddy, alive fool. But then I took stock of how far I’ve come to get here, and how many hands have lifted me up, how many hearts have beat for mine, how many kind words I’ve been given (often when I felt I didn’t deserve them), and I wanted to pay homage instead. And to say thank you.

So, thank you. Thank you a million times over. I am coming back to you, back to myself, back to the world. I am roaring toward shore like the sea. I am sweeping silent as the moon through the darkening night. I am dawning. I am in your debt.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

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“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” ~Erich Fromm

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