I wasn’t going to write this or go public with details, but this morning I changed my mind.
Earlier this year I asked readers if they would like more Dragos and Pia as comfort reads and got a resounding YES in reply. So after some thought, I set up a scenario that would mean readers could get at least part of the story as quickly as possible—a set of four linked stories. I wrote the first so that the reader could enjoy as much of Dragos and Pia interacting together as possible.
So that’s what I did. Readers got over 100 pages of Dragos and Pia together, and it was funny and it was fun. But because I had constructed the story the way I had, it ended on a cliffhanger.
I told the story the way I thought it should be told, and I’m aware that some readers haven’t liked the change. And that’s okay. Writers get to write what they write. Readers get to feel what they feel. And my good intentions for writing the four novellas went on the skids, because, man, it’s 2020.
This has been a very bleak, black year for many people.
It has for me as well.
In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t set up the four linked novellas, but it is what it is. Moving forward, I think I should only go public when I have completed stories.
You live and learn, right?
Here’s what happened. Earlier this year, I couldn’t hold my phone long enough to play an internet game called June’s Journey. Once at Target, I had to confess to the cashier that I was “a little bit disabled” that day and I needed help out to the car. I was in too much pain to make it across the parking lot by myself. I lost months at a time in disabling flareups. I’m not writing that to complain. I’m telling you what happened.
It’s an autoimmune disease. It is what it is. Sjogren’s Syndrome and the high, dry altitude in Denver don’t mix well. And I was stressed enough with life, the pandemic, and the civil unrest that I could hear from my little rental in Denver, that I wasn’t able control my comfort eating. I was eating the Standard American Diet which, as it turns out, is poison for me anymore.
So I took time off and moved, and I took precautions so I wouldn’t catch COVID, and now I’m at the other end of things in an area of the country where I don’t know anybody, and there won’t be any holiday gatherings with family, and I will have to figure out an all new survival strategy for how to cope with isolation, all so I could get some semblance of my life back.
Today, with the return to sea level and the implementation of an extremely limited diet (no standard American diet, no stress eating, no standard keto diet, no coconut or almond flour any longer, no more baking), I was able to take a 50 minute walk on the beach. I’m still getting very tired, but I wrote 3,000 words a few days ago, and I plan on writing more after Election Day tomorrow (November 4th). There is still all kinds of room for improvement, so I’m excited to see what the next 12 months will bring.
I was so thrilled on my walk I went a little too far, so I was limping when I got back to my car. Tomorrow I plan on walking again, but I may do a gentle stroll for a shorter period of time.
This year has been hell. But this morning was fucking awesome.
The rest of the linked novellas are coming, and more stories will be coming after that too. None of it has happened as fast as I had intended or wanted, and some people won’t like it. Because there’s always somebody who doesn’t like something.
And it is what it is.
I know times are tough. Believe me, I know. I know readers want new stories, but please don’t email spurious complaints to my assistant Gretchen. We’re not a mega-giant corporation like Walmart or Amazon (and even then there’s a human being on the other end of the phone in a customer service department). We’re just two people. She hasn’t complained. She’s a complete professional, but she’s going through the pandemic and the tough times too.
We’re all in this together. You never know what battles someone may be fighting, so remember: if you’re not sure how to be, always be kind.
Thanks, as always, for your time.