Recovery mode — that’s what I’m in. I haven’t been able to dig into the writing much since I got home because I’m still valiantly trying to finish grading. I *did* manage to see an MA supervisee’s thesis through to submission, and now I’m checking corrections on a PhD thesis I’m internal examiner for. There’s a lot to handle and to process now that I’m home, alternating between a walker and a wheelchair. The fortunate unfortunate thing is that I’ve been injured before and this is not my first rodeo. So I know how to navigate myself by wheelchair and walking aids. Never before with a walking frame, however. It’s by far the worst injury I’ve suffered, I feel. Never have I been incapacitated like I had been for over a month.
I thought of sharing some of the gory and humiliating details here but I can’t bring myself to — to tell you how dehumanising it was, how I stemmed so many panic attacks at being almost completely immobilised and in excruciating pain. Then I was partially immobilised, gain some mobility but then the click in my spine came back and the pain was worse than before. I can’t tell you what indignities I suffered, because to do so would re-open this fresh wound I am trying to heal. But I can tell you this — it does something to a person.
I survived those weeks by keeping positive, by telling myself of things I’d do when I got out, of how I would fix my writing career, how I would publish all these academic articles. I told myself of various projects I’d do and how I’d do whatever physio and exercises I could do to get well again. But, will I?
Some may say I’m fickle by careening between whether or not to self-publish Watermyth. But these weeks have told me something. The fact that I’m at 11 followers on twitter after over a week has told me something. I don’t have the luxury of choice, really. It does feel a bit like a “damned if I do and damned if I don’t” situation because if I self-publish with the minuscule reach I have now, who would read it? But with my tiny reach, and with the state of traditional publishing as it is in 2022, I don’t really have much of a chance with agents. I’m a bad investment, aren’t I?
Do I wait until my body continues to fail and disappoint me, or do I do my best for these words of mine?
I may not be able to get people to amplify and support me on twitter anymore, but I do have people I can ask for blurbs. I do have a reader or two. And I do have the IngramSpark account. I’m going to wait until I can afford to get a proofreader/editor etc though because I’m a typo queen and my worst fear right now is not that people won’t buy it but that people will buy it and laugh at me because there’s some howler or typo I missed. So.
Here’s my plan of work right now:
- Finish grading all the things.
- Finesse peer-review related corrections for two articles.
- Submit another two academic articles.
- Work on that academic book collection (much delayed because too many deadlines and crises)
- Finish writing and revising four science fiction/space opera short stories (and submit them)
- Continue work on Watermyth — send to editor/readers once I can afford them.
- Work on Rosemirror (Book Two of the Cantata of the Fourfold Realms which is 75% done) while Watermyth edits are happening.
- Publish Watermyth without much fanfare.
- Repeat process with Rosemirror.
- Keep writing short fiction. Have many ideas not seen through to fruition. Have a burning need to finish them all.
- Return to working on novel that I’m submitting to agents.
- Work on Book Three of the Cantata: Gardenswitch. Rinse and Repeat.
- Work on another novel idea to submit to agents.
- Work on Book Four (the final book) of the Cantata: Woodsgyre. Rinse and Repeat.
You get the idea. I don’t have high hopes for any of this but if I’ve learned any thing about my five weeks of what almost felt like incarceration — keep positive, focus on the next goal, and keep on moving. That’s all I have, really.
As for twitter — I consider it a failed mini-experiment but I’ll keep the account to amuse myself. And who knows, if I start getting short fiction publications again (feels like hoping for the moon at this juncture), that number will grow. Positive thinking, right? And I’m not a complete loser. I do have a substantial body of work to be proud about. An editor reminded me that I’ve achieve so much and I shouldn’t forget that. But for me, I haven’t achieved enough, and I’ve regressed so much. Well, no point crying over spilt milk. Only looking forward while also living in the present is acceptable at this juncture. I can’t dwell over past pain, trauma, mistakes and missteps. No one should live like that.
Sleep now. I’m only awake because I took my night-time painkillers late and I was waiting for them to set in before I pass out. Probably going to do my nightly Wordle first.
As you were.