Dying to be a Writer? Well, not exactly.
It is one thing to claim “When it’s my time, I’m ready to go!”
It is most decidedly, most definitely, a completely different matter when that moment is staring you in the face.
I spent seven months writing a trilogy to self-publish. Another five months spent proofreading, editing and rewriting. Finally, I reached the point where it was time to let go: it was time to publish the trilogy and allow it to stand on its own.
I decided to try and publish all three books on June 12, 2013. It was the anniversary date of the day I began writing the books. I thought it would be neat to publish on that date.
As it turned out, I didn’t feel well that day. I had taken that day off from work for the express purpose of publishing the books via createspace.com. All I could do was work on them piecemeal to complete some of the details required to get them to final publication.
I missed the self-imposed deadline and decided to aim for June 14th which was my father’s birthday.
I felt absolutely horrible. There was a pain in my shoulder that wouldn’t go away. I figured it was a pulled muscle. Then I contracted what I thought was bronchitis. I’ve had bronchitis before. About the only thing to be done for it is lots of sleep, lots of fluids and plenty of over-the-counter meds. I couldn’t see a doctor at that point but that’s another story.
I couldn’t get to work for feeling so bad. But so determined was I to get those three books published that I intermittently worked on them; there simply is no daunting the creative spirit.
I finally managed to get all three books copyrighted on the 14th and the official publication date is the 16th – Father’s Day. We used to tease Daddy a lot about his birthday and Father’s day oftentimes falling so closely together. We always treated them separately – they were two different days after all – regardless of how much grumbling Daddy did about that.
Once the books passed the review process, I ordered review copies on the 18th. I felt somewhat better and was ready to return to work the next day. There was nothing more I could do with the books: a careful once-over when the copies arrived and I could then put them out there for sale on Amazon.com.
All was right with the world.
I settled in to relax and watch a little television until it was bedtime.
It happened around eight o’clock.
I couldn’t breathe. Short, almost painful puffs of air were all I could do. It felt like drowning. It felt like suffocating. Even thinking about it sends surges of fear and panic through my veins.
And there it was: this could possibly be that moment.
That realization brought an entire barrage of emotions to the surface, the foremost of those being the truth: I’m not ready.
For all my talk, I wasn’t ready.
Or maybe a little voice told me it wasn’t my time.
Whatever the reason, I chose to get help rather than to wait and allow the fates to determine my demise.
As it all turned out, I had been walking around for about a week with pneumonia. But it was the heart attack that triggered the difficulty to breathe.
One wiseacre (who shall remain nameless but she knows who she is) asked me if I “heard the angels sing” as in some people see their lives flash before their eyes and some people hear the angels sing before they die. I responded with,” No, I didn’t hear the angels sing, but I didn’t hear no devil laughing, neither.”
I find a certain irony in the fact that this all occurred within hours of my ordering proof copies of the trilogy. Was there some significance to the fact that it happened after I had everything all finished and published? Was there a message to be found in the fact that I had yet to see a finished copy of the books? Like maybe I should stop procrastinating so much and get on the stick and get my work out there?
Or maybe the incentive was in wanting to see the finished products, to hold them in my hands.
I don’t know, really. The Universe speaks in symbols rather than in plain English and I’ve never been very good at interpreting symbolism.
And I would like to clarify that the books weren’t what led to the heart attack. Writing gives me great joy and pleasure, even more once I hold the finished product in my hand.
No, I have to admit it was my own doing. A lifetime of bad eating habits, even more poor exercise habits and not keeping track of my blood sugar.
But all that is changing.
I take this as a new lease, a second chance and about a dozen other clichés appropriate for the experience. It is definitely a prime opportunity to put priorities in order and realize what is really important in this life.
With that in mind, I have a lot of writing to do.