2020 Recap: The Yeah and the Wow of It

Hi all,

I’m not going to bore you with the 2020 sucked routine because we all know it has and all the reasons why. Nope, not going there. Rather, I’m taking space today to recap what all I’ve managed to get done with my writing, art, and a few things in my personal life this year because, well, I need to. I need this and I’m taking you along for the ride.

January

Art: digital aesthetics associated with my work in progress, Striking Balance

Writing: Finished Striking Balance cleaned-up draft and forward to betas

Life: Left crazy neurologist and scheduled w/ a sane one, commenced indirect fights with rheumatology NP over my prednisone because “I wasn’t trying.” (total BS), began researching neurological issues linked to long-term prednisone, continued researching Sjogren’s Syndrome neurological issues

February

Art:  Finished cover for Striking Balance (SB)

Writing: Tweaked SB while waiting for betas, write angry poetry

Life: Rheumatology NP now refuses to prescribe my prednisone so my primary does while we “sort things out.” At least she knows what will happen if I go cold turkey, namely die.

March

Let the COVID-19 dumpster fire commence.

Art: Begin pandemic art journal (my first art journal in… seventeen years?) And all the negative voices concerning my art return with enhanced disability content.

Writing: Betas love SB so it’s set for a July release.

Life: Let the COVID-19 dumpster fire commence. Mom breaks her left humorous and shoulder in a fall. I’m cooking 3+ meals per week for 6-8 people. We sort through Mom’s huge cluttered pantry and deep freezers. Primary schedules an appointment with an endocrinologist at my request. Someone, me, has the wild hair of an idea to plant a garden. Let the planning and deer-proofing commence.

April

Art: Mixed media – this has always been my love. Why did my undergrad classes… they’re shitheads. True shitheads.

Writing: Self-edits on SB based on beta comments commence.

Life: Masks. TP. I can’t keep up the cooking pace so I scale back to two days a week. Mom has surgery. My neuropathy is getting worse. Our house is a pile up of above ground garden bags, cat litter buckets turned tomato pots, and seed packets.

May

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Art: The pandemic journal continues, and I like the exploration. My skills are far different from what they once were, but I’m older and life has thrown in numerous complications. Note the word different, not lesser or whatever else.

Writing: Begin formatting SB for print and ebook

Life: Endocrinologist writes a scathing letter to my rheumatologist’s office. Do testing. They must prescribe my prednisone. They are responsible for my treatment in this arena. He also sets out guidelines for my medication dosages when I become ill. New ID bracelet ordered. Mom is doing better, but it’ll be a long recovery. Stay home. Stay safe. There are tiny seedlings sprouting under grow lights in our guest room.

June

Art: Holy crap. I not only enjoy the art, I’m really loving it. I think I’ll create a mixed media book to go along with the epigraphs in SB. What an interesting way to present the book.

Writing: Load in SB to Ingram, Amazon, and Smashwords and deal with all the complications therein.

Life: Well, lookie there. Seems I was right. My test results clearly indicate that I’m extremely adrenal insufficiency and my new neuro firmly states that if we try to taper I am risking a coma or worse given what happens when I attempt even the smallest of reductions. Seems I’m stuck… the very thing I’ve been screaming for over a year. I knew my body better than they did. Imagine that. New neuro schedules an EMG. The garden is widely planted, albeit late. The dirt we had brought in, which was supposed to be good garden dirt, is DEAD. We’re having to feed everything heavily.

July

It’s good work. I KNOW IT’S GOOD.

Art: Keeping up with the chapters in SB to create a mixed media book accompaniment was a crazy idea, but I’m loving every bit of it

Writing: New release. I think this is going to be another dud novel, (I do have successes) but I know it’s good work. I KNOW IT’S GOOD.

Life:  Garden. Garden. Garden.

August

Art: Finished the SB mixed media adventure but I seem to be the only one who noticed. Okay, me, my Anna, and perhaps one other. Whatever, I’m proud of it. It’s a fine piece of work I’ll never sell because of its strong personal connection. And I learned so very much while making it.

Writing: Shelved, MGB’s anthology is coming together, but I’ve pretty much lost my writing mojo at this point. This happens when you pour your heart, soul, and gods know how many hours of research into a novel that has single-digit sales. This is rather crushing. I had hopes for this one. Real hopes. (Reflection: I shouldn’t have done this. I set myself up here.)

Life: The garden is finally producing but we’ve had to nurse it along. I know this often happens with first-year gardens but… wow. Dead dirt is truly a thing. Mom is looking good and will be returning to work, at least part-time, soon.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

September

Art: I built a creative madness journal, a place to archive my good book and art “stuff.” It’s grungy Alice in Wonderland themed and I love it.

Writing: DIW – dead in the water aside from working on Shelved.

Life: Garden. I’m now dealing with bronchitis. My neuropathy, a probable product of my autoimmune issues (yeah, that’s a thing) is still getting worse. My EMG has been canceled – twice now. Stupid. Stupid… COVID-19, I know. Dammit. I will now be seeing the rheumatologist, not the NP. Good. The trust there has been ruined.

October

Art: I’m arting more and more, so much so that Anna wants me to move my mini studio space from the dining space to the den (it’s an open space, really, but I’ll be closer to her). Sweet, no? We’re a pair who can be side-by-side and do our own thing so I do so. It’s working well. Finish Shelved cover. Working on holiday gifts now.

Writing: Begin assembling Shelved anthology

Life: The garden is wrapping up and we have tomatoes coming out our ears. San Manzanos is where it’s at. Finally, the EMG, but I won’t have the results until November. That said, my neuro gave every indicator that my neuropathy has indeed spread. Mom is back to work. A round of extra prednisone to fight bronchitis.

November

Art: Holiday gifts. Prednisone-fueled rampage of collage gift tag making totaling 100 in three days.

Writing: Finished Shelved and now a lack of motivation is staring me in the face again. I need to figure out why.

Life: Neurologist firmly states that my neuropathy has spread and is now in my hands, head, and neck. This is why my face is sometimes numb and Bel’s Palsy happens whenever I’m fatigued. Joy. Pulmonologist gives me a super-special high dose round of prednisone and an additional inhaler for bronchitis that won’t go away. Thanksgiving is held outside and distanced. Thank goodness for decent weather.

December

Art: Finished those gifts, set up a 2021 art journal, wrapped up the pandemic (now a 2020) journal, begin redoing my website to reflect both art and writing. I have no accumulated at least eight pieces between 6×6 and 12×16, created a botanical journal, created a creative madness journal, am in the midst of creating an altered book, have created numerous bookmarks, collage journal pocket sets… Additionally I created a beekeeper’s journal, a pawsitivity cat lover’s journal, made eight small notebooks, a whole lot of other things this year. My artsy-fartsy mojo is back tremors, bad health, whatever. I need it so here it is.

Writing: Shelved hits the, um, shelves. I’m doing a heavy examination of my writing nope reasons, and it seems to be working. Characters, specifically Dane Gow are talking to me again. More on that in a later post.

Life: I’m learning how to create within my ever-shifting limits and how to do a spectacular job at it if I do say so. Bronchitis done, enter neuropathic foot ulcer. Ugh.


Reflection

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This has been a year of surprises, adjustments, and transformation in so many ways. Covid-19 – I don’t need to say anything there. Writing:  I have adjusted my expectations concerning the writing community and my own success. I never expected to make a living at my writing, but it seems that the more effort and research I put into my work the less it sells. This is most disappointing and has left me uninspired. As for the LGBTQ writing community. Well, aside from a few chosen places and people, I’ve left it behind due to its inherent me-me, people who have no place being there taking the spotlight, if-it-doesn’t-have-graphic-sex, MM dominated, formulaic cluster of a mess behind. This doesn’t mean I don’t write LGBTQIA+ stories. Far from it. My stories are own voices from the first word. It’s… sigh. Like anything else, it can become ruined by outsiders. Case in point: when someone who isn’t gluten-free writes a gluten-free cookbook, the recipes almost always taste off. For the LGBTQIA+ world stories written by outsiders are commonly just as off. They don’t ring true. There are elements within them that are inaccurate because the real-life experience simply isn’t there. Those stories flat-out unrealistic and potentially dangerous to us and our community as a whole yet those authors are held up as the pinnacle of LGBTQIA+ writing. This is a false dichotomy that I refuse to take part in.

 But I digress. This year, I was surprised that my art talents hadn’t deteriorated because of my illness. No, rather, they’ve grown exponentially this year in ways I haven’t expected. I’m pleased enough to begin selling my art in a small way next year. Look for it here. I, driven by a world of caution based on my experiences in the writing community, am sticking a toe into the online art community, and have joined an online sharing group and will be joining two interactive Patreons in January. I think this will be good for me.

I also learned accessible garden planning and more about the power that comes with fighting for yourself when the medical establishment is wrong.

So what’s next? A polished site. Learning how to take decent photos. Art sales – maybe a few. New writing – oh, hell yeah. Hopefully reliable posts. General nonsense chaos and disorder. And more sharing of the disabled creative life because I need to be true to myself above all else and quit trying to do what the establishment says I should. I’ve done so for years and failed more times than I have fingers and toes. It’s time I tried things my way, the way that makes me happy because what have I to lose?

You game? I surely hope so.

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