So first week of the June school holidays is almost over. Three more weeks to go. I am sitting at my desk. My joints hurt. No sure what's happening, but the joint pain started a week ago. I am worried again about things like gout or arthritis or something else.
Here I am, thirty-eight. What am I? Who am I? For a while, I thought I was a wolf, or someone who was wolf-souled or wanted to be a wolf. Now nearing the big Four Zero, my paradigms have shifted: I have two girls, been in and out of work, dealing with my financial woes, writing books and stories... and actually getting them published. I have tried self-publishing, cyberfunded creativity and publishing with small presses. I have even been foolish enough to think I would get published by one of the Big Six, part of my bucket list. I have told myself that if I don't get published by forty, I would jolly give up, pack up my bags and leave. Or simply forgo my dreams of ever being an author. I would keep all my stories, store them elsewhere and throw the keys away.
Last week saw the print release of Wolf At The Door. Excitement, anxiety, people congratulating me, etc. Then something struck me hard: it sucks to be a local SFF writer, especially somebody without a name to herself.
Let me be clear with this. This is my journal/blog/personal sounding board. I am decompressing. I am dealing with my self-doubt that has reared up again with its teeth and many heads, snapping away at me. I want to give voice to it and deal with it.
And let me be clear with this. I am grateful with the support I have from the people whom I know have been with me all the way. Grateful, thankful... words fail me here. I don't know what to say, except a heartfelt Thank You. That's all I could do at the moment.
There are moments when I feel trapped by circumstances and the resentment tastes like burnt gunpowder. Trust me. I want to attend cons. I want to attend big-ass literary festivals. Damn, I want to be recognized. But things like work and family are not going away. A writer needs to eat. A writer still needs to live. So when I see people talking about cons and geek stuff, I get... depressed and the real depression kicks in. Getting out of bed is a struggle. Getting myself to believe myself is a battle. How come I can't do this? Why am I so unlucky? Why can I just shut up, pull my bootstraps up and "hang in there"?
For people who know me, I have hypertension. Then in the mid-2000s, I was diagnosed with depression. At the moment I look and feel 'normal', whatever 'normal' is. I hide it quite well, apparently, because people see the happy and cheerful Joyce.
At the moment I consider being alive a triumph.
What do all these things got to do with me as a writer? Writing helps me cope. Writing is breathing for me. Writing is an outlet, a world I can go in and be safe, feel safe. Yet the hydra of self-doubt is often lurking nearby. Sometimes I have it cowed. Sometimes I feed it and it grows bigger, more gnarly and hurtful. This will be a continual journey and battle for me until the day I stop writing and stop believing in myself.
So I keep on fighting, fighting and fighting.