A Personal Update

In ACORAS news, I finished the rewrite in 8 days and sent it off to CPs, where it is still resting.

In personal news, my grandmother died and I spent last week in my home state of Washington reconnecting with family, close friends, and showing Chris where I grew up and all the people who are important to me.

I am now a grand-orphan, and my parents are both orphans. It’s a weird thing. It was particularly sad since my grandmother lived with my parents here, though she’d spent all her life in Washington. She died with her children and me in the room, holding her hands, but it was so sad to think of how alone we all could get. Removed from our homes, our life-long friends, our life-partners, a majority of our families… and in the end no matter who’s holding your hand, we all take that final journey alone.

I’m okay. It was the end of a long, slow decline, and is relieving in some ways. And although the circumstances were sad, the return to Washington was very fulfilling.

I got to show Chris where I grew up, not just the physical location but the climate, the beauty and wetness, the landmarks that spark childhood memories, and the extended family that features so prominently in all my photo albums.

Chris and I by the fountain at the Pacific Science Center.

He got to meet my BFF and other close friends, and walk beaches I grew up on. We ate local seafood and bought art, and I got to be an independent adult with my high school friends for the first time ever. Crazy.

Me with Bigfoot at Pike Place Market. I believe in Bigfoot. It’s kind of my thing.

The weirdest part was how all this touring and hanging out separated me from my Professional Self, and even my Writing Self. I wasn’t thinking about my day job, or what was happening with ACORAS, or even about Nameless. I was just being myself, with the people I loved and my memories. It was weird because I thought myself inseparable from my Writing Self. Usually on my trips my books are at the forefront of my mind, because traveling tends to set my imagination free and I scribble new scenes fiercely. This time, not so much.

I’m digging back into my normal life but I haven’t fully recovered. I’m back at work, and reading amazing books (Bitterblue, anyone?) has indeed inspired some new scenes now, but… I still don’t feel quite like my ‘normal’ self.

Part of it has been a very introspective experience that made me confront some of the harmful thought patterns I’ve been holding on to for a few years. I am prone to ‘sorrow in the mind’ — jealousy and obsessive thinking. I can forgive but I can’t forget, though honestly there have been some situations I couldn’t forgive, either. But I’m trying. I don’t want to be stuck in these same patterns forever.

I’m practicing thinking love and wishing happiness towards people who have hurt me. Finding control through letting go. I highly recommend this practice if you’re struggling with something like this in your life. I feel so calm and unburdened by the grudges I’ve carried around with me, and also strangely untethered, as if I have defined myself through my struggles, and now am free of those crutches.  Well, I guess there’s really no ‘as if’ about it.

If you want to know my affirmations I’ve listed them here:

  • I wish you happiness in all areas in your life
  • I wish you success in all your endeavors
  • I hope you receive the rewards you deserve (in a totally non-sarcastic way)

And you know what, I wish these at you guys, too. Maybe I’m just shook up by a death that affected me more than I knew, or maybe I’m still jetlagged, or still in the throes of a salt and sugar coma, but still I mean it. I wish you happiness.

(And I also wish you would read Bitterblue. I was all like, ‘yeah, whatever’ about the hype, but I’m telling you: It’s good. It’s gonna go on my ‘Books I Wish I’d Written’ list).

Chalk hearts outside Pike Place Market.

~

If you want, tell me about a time you had to let go of a past hurt and how it affected you. Or tell me about your grandparents, or what it’s like for you to go Home. Do you have any affirmations in your life?

7 thoughts on “A Personal Update

  1. Caitlin Vanasse says:

    May I steal the term grand-orphan from you? I have not had nearly as succinct or clever a way to describe this ever.

    My grand-orphaning (the death of my last grandparent) was also far more unsettling than I could have guessed. Although unexpected it was not really a surprise to any of the family, for me personally though I think it forced me to fully confront my own mortality in a way I hadn’t previously. The other odd thing for me is the days I forget my grandmother is dead. I’m not sure if this is because I was away at school and unable to attend the funeral or burial, because she has been a part of my life longer than she has not (not true at this point of my other grandparents) or something else entirely.

    Anyway to comment on other things, I’m glad you’ve working not to let bad experiences with people continue to poison you when they’ve moved on or whatever. I’m working on this too. It’s really really hard. I’m trying to forgive someone who I’m 98% sure does not even know I feel wronged (not someone I’m still friends with, but losing my illusion of the friendship hurt enough, you know?) Anyway hopefully we can both continue to inch towards success.

    • Proceed with your stealing.

      This was the first time I’d seen a dead person in-person. It was the first time I was with someone when they died. I definitely think closure is important in these situations. I’m so sorry you weren’t able to attend the funeral or burial… I think it’s the community with family/friends that truly provides the closure, not the act of burying itself. I can’t imagine how sad it is to have to realize over and over that someone is gone.

      Let me know if you want to talk more about friendships and forgiveness. <3

  2. Cassie says:

    Oh man, talking about grandparents dying is insta-tear jerking for me. I’m so sorry for your loss. :-(

    Can you tell me more about bitterblue? Is that part of the graceling series?

    • Yes, Bitterblue is a companion book to Graceling, which was first, and Fire, which came after Graceling. They’re all like companions to each other but I definitely recommend reading Graceling first, because what happens there does precede Bitterblue. Also it does way more world building than Bitterblue is doing.

      So, technical specs aside… Bitterblue is complex and delightful and heartbreaking. It starts out with disguises and making friends (which I love in Fantasy), then we move into the pressures of being Queen, and there are these horrific revelations that are so well done. Plus there’s a sense of confusion surrounding the whole thing that is BRILLIANT on the author’s part… it /exactly/ reflects the sense of confusion the citizens of this country underwent due to the mental powers of their former King (Bitterblue’s father). I’m enjoying this book SO MUCH. I definitely recommend reading Graceling, which is pretty great on it’s own, and then going immediately to this book.

      But, you know… I skipped Fire due to a mixup with library books so maybe it’s better to read Fire in-between, but I’ve heard other people say it doesn’t really matter.

  3. Cassie says:

    Awesome! That’s a great recommendation.

    I just read ‘The Night Circus’. Highly recommend it. I read it all in one day and it was AMAZING!

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