Are those crickets making noise on my blog? Why would they do such a thing? Because I’ve been absent for so long? Yeah, I guess you’re right. I’ve been away for far too long. I’m hoping to turn that around over the coming weeks with new essay-type blogs ruminating on creativity, writing, music, existential navel-gazing (hopefully not too much of that)… and well, just about any topic that would cause me to click through and read a someone else’s blog.
I do love reading blogs. Not just any blogs, but good blogs. Blogs with content, blogs that deliver the goods. And I aspire to transform this little corner of the interwebs into something along those lines.
But before I jump into the something witty, pithy, or at least something somewhat worth your time, perhaps a slightly censored explanation for my absence. I’m an ass.
Okay, I guess you deserve a little more detail than that. 2012 started out great. Our baby son still had that new-baby smell, my writing was going well, and my ebook sales were almost startlingly strong. For the first time I not only felt like a professional writer, but I could see the end in sight for my day job. But that’s when things went off the rails, so to speak. It all came apart when I climbed into our van to drop off our two oldest boys at school. I felt the slightest pop in my lower back. I thought, “Well, that’s going to be sore. I guess I better not go for a run later on.” Within two blocks of leaving our home, I started to get back spasms. By the time I had dropped the boys off, I could barely manage the complicated task of switching my foot from the gas to the brake pedal. And when I arrived home five minutes after I felt that slightest of pops, I was overcome by some of the worst back spasms I’ve ever suffered (and there’s been some real zingers over the years).
I didn’t know what to do. My wife was out of town on business, my cell phone was inside the house, and I still had to get inside with the baby. I did what I could. I took my time. It took me twenty minutes of slow, two inch long strides, but I finally made it inside without dropping the baby. I immediately called my wife and popped a fistful of Tylenol.
That little pop in my back made me miss two months of work. During those two months I had trouble walking and I was doped on pain meds and muscle relaxers 24/7. Eventually, everything calmed down, and when it did, I started a rehab program with my chiropractor. I saw my back cracker three times a week for about ten weeks. I still see him every two-three weeks, just to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. So far, knock on wood, so good.
But the words… they left me. I had never had the trouble stringing words together like I did during my injury and subsequent recovery. I was stuck and stuck bad.
You know who helped pull me out of the mire? My wife, of course. She told me to read. Read and replenish my mental stores. And I did. When my mental energies returned, she told me to write something totally uncharacteristic of my body of work. So I did as I was told. And now, in another few weeks, I’ll be wrapping up a novel so unlike anything I’ve ever written that I will have to market it under a pen name. I guess that’s some good news/bad news for my loyal readers. Sorry!
During this recuperative phase the other words have started niggling at me again. The first Brother’s Keeper novel. Also, Attrition, the collaborative zombie novel I’m writing with Charles Colyott. A historical horror novel called Vishnu Springs. An epistolary/time-travel/dystopian novella called Facets of Perception. A crime/horror novel called Driftless. These stories will be coming, and coming fast over the next year. ‘Cause, you see, the water has been rising during this recuperative phase, and the dam is about ready to break.
In the mean time I’ve had my novels Where Darkness Dwells and The Nightmare Within freshened up with a new edit (thanks, Garrett Cook!). I’ve hired my cover artist, and we’ll soon ready print editions for those two novels. So if you’ve been waiting for more print editions with my name on the spine, you should see those titles hit the major outlets within the coming weeks.
I’m also waiting to hear back on some potentially exciting news regarding my novel Nothing Lasting. A big time publisher has taken a shine to it, and now I’m just waiting to hear back if they are going to make me an offer.
It’s been a trying half year or so, but if I can take something away from these seemingly lost months, it’s that my eyes are now open to just how much I love writing, and that I could never turn my back on those words when they start niggling at me.