From December 2005 to May 2006, I experienced migraines at the alarming rate of 2-3 searing headaches per week. In May I found the correct specialist and plan of treatment, and I've had perhaps five migraines in half a year.
In March, my friend Suzanne convinced me to substitute for her, assisting a partially blind woman who is recovering from a stroke. Karen/Cassie has become a source of strength and inspiration.
In May my job ended, and I began considering graduate school options.
In June, kids' summer vacation began and I received a request for a formal proposal for my book.
In July I hosted my brother, who brought me a new computer "so you won't have to write on a piece of garbage." I visited an dear friend in DC, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I traveled by Chinatown bus, due to gas costs and time constraints-- an adventure in and of itself.
In July I also had A Big Talk with Monica about writing, getting published, and finding the best graduate program rather than the local one. My picture of "where writing fits" shifted-- it's a little of a relief to take my writing so seriously, and a little scary.
In August I began to research SPU's low-residency masters and I mailed the book proposal for The Absence of Reliable Transportation. In September my youngest child started first grade. I added one day a week working at Cassie's house.
In late September, my friend Eugene Tiller died of a brain tumor, and I drove to DC to read a piece at his funeral.
In October I applied for admission to the low-residency Master of Fine Arts program at SPU, which is perfect for my needs. Reference letters for my application were AMAZING, powerful, and I'm still carrying them around in my journal to inspire me. Our best friend Hank visited with the young family he is dating, and after dropping them at the airport, in a state of wonderful exhaustion, I drove straight to Connecticut to visit Diana and Greg's newborn Oliver, along with Tad and Katie's newborn Sam-- all friends from Washington State, from long ago, and people I wouldn't miss for the world.
In November I was offered a place in the MFA program ( I hope to attend in August, depending on scholarships), and I wrote a query letter to a literary agent, which I expected to be summarily dismissed. I also received my first rejection letter, from the independent publisher, and began applying for scholarship after scholarship for the masters program.
A delightful woman loaned me a spinning wheel, just because I said I might like to try one. Two friends and I attended a seminar on "how to get published" and realized quickly that any one of us could out-write the folks running that seminar, who were quite, quite dreadful. They were discussing ways around self-publishing, because obviously no one is going to publish their writing for them! I certainly wouldn't. (I don't say this lightly, forgive me-- it's just one of those moments when I said, okay, so I'm really a writer.) I knitted a hat for my son during the painful meeting, so it wasn't all wasted, and so I didn't make eye contact with Elizabeth or Pat, fearing we would all fall to pieces.
In December I received a warm and delightful phone call from the literary agent. who asked me to send her my proposal, for her to read in January. We celebrated M's first "friends" birthday party, happy tooth-losses, a new kitten and a delightful Christmas.
I can't replace the bathroom floor until I hear from the plumber about the broken dishwasher and the leak into our downstairs neighbor's ceiling.
It's January, feeling like April, feeling like it's been April for months already, rain, rain, and rain. Cassie's been in and out of the hospital. Kids are in their annual post-Christmas phase of cannibal-behavior-- they wake talking incessantly at the top of their beautiful lungs, they get on each other's nerves with a constant whistling/whining/bickering mania, and I search desperately for means of controlling volume. Brendan's recent bout with Pestilence has me experiencing nightmares of creeping things. Satchmo is fine, sleeping in the window instead of under the bed, couch, dresser, desk.
The tree is down, the spinning wheel returned, and the Christmas stuff is waiting to go to the attic. I am supposed to "nudge" the literary agent, and I'm gathering my wherewithall to do so-- but first I need to go to Cassie's for the day and shake off that "creeping things" set of the creeps.
2006 has been a big year. Sometimes I forget, I'm not at a standstill, even though it is January-going-on-April 107th. Stories written, challenges embraced, people loved. I still haven't earned a dime from my writing, but it's good, good work, and that time will come. Another scholarship essay to mail this week, and work on the next two.
Keep going. I keep going. It's only rain.