As another birthday roles around this August (Virgo,not Leo) and I do my habitual yearly self-assessment, I observe the following: I got healthier (sobriety, meditation, diet & exercise do work), learned to filter out (some) lingering negativity in my life (about time, eh?), grew out my natural hair color for the third time, read 78 books, started a BookTube channel, helped to organize a local arts festival, and wrote like the dickens (not Charles, unfortunately).
My production for the year included: three novels in a YA series, one novella, a good rough draft of one novel and the start of another, a bunch of poems, five short stories, and nearly weekly blog posts. I also quit Facebook, got back on recently then promptly quit again, and spent a lot of time alone in nature. Through all of the ups and downs, self-recriminations, broken sobriety dates, and moments of quiet (at times despairing) contemplation, I wrote. I may have skipped my exercise date, but never my morning writing session.
I owe a lot of my prolificacy to Wattpad. I joined the site just a year ago and the interaction and feedback I encountered there really spurred on my productivity.
As opposed to the loneliness I encountered in the barren fecundity of the Amazon jungle, on Wattpad I found friends, compatriots of the pen and eager readers willing to devour what I put out—if I didn’t get their 99 cents in my Kindle kitty, I certainly got wind in my sails through their abundant praise and appreciation (150K reads and counting).
I’m trying to honor my, ahem, mature years by being kinder to myself in terms of what I do and the company I keep, but when it comes to writing I always try to follow Anne Rice’s advice and “go where the pain is.” I’ve written about some pretty horrible things in the past year, but as a reader (and now a fiction writer), I’ve always found horror to be quite cathartic, a purgative for my weary soul.
I’m reminded of that great “evil genius” Charles Baudelaire:
Wriggling in our brains like a million worms,
a demon demos holds its revels there.
and when we breathe, the Lethe in our lungs
trickles sighing on its secret course.
As my birthday approaches, I look forward to another year of reading and writing dangerously while (hopefully) continuing to live healthfully.