blood, ink & lots of earl grey

The past month has been a whirlwind of activity for me. Some things good, some not so much.

I don’t intend to delve into overly-personal things here at present, but I feel I should mention that, while away on a short excursion to Kansas City to visit the Renaissance Festival, in addition to some very wonderful friends, my grandfather passed away…

It was not wholly unexpected as his health had been dwindling over the years and my role in his life was all but full-on hospice care. Yet, I didn’t see it coming when it did. I was fresh off the plane, sitting in a pub (not even back to the hotel yet), sampling some Dragon’s Milk and enjoying the company of good people when I received the call that he was gone. Not three hours prior I’d been holding his hand.
Background…I have spent the last few years caring for both of my grandparents since Grampa’s Alzheimers diagnosis (and my grandmother’s diagnosis of Parkinsons and bone cancer)… We have a small family. My grandparents have gone above and beyond for me, being closer even than parents and it has been a privilege as well as a challenge to take on this role in their lives… I could go on here about how watching those you love/those you grew up respecting change in a deep cognitive way is soul-altering. I could talk about the cruelty of diseases or the blessings of well-spent time. I think I’ll omit all of that for now. I have been there through the tricky bits and the touching bits, none of which I have adequate words to encapsulate so I won’t even attempt it.

Not only has this changed the landscape of my life insofar as emotional upheaval, but also as well as time management. My time is not my own. It is spoken for, tied like a many-stringed somnambulist puppet. I suddenly have a house to sift through, straining papers and hundreds (if not thousands) of books (my grandfather was an academic, avid reader). Not the least of which are a collection of letters between himself and C. S. Lewis. It has been an honour and a daunting task and between that, massive amounts of paperwork and the demands of caring for my Grandmother, I have fallen far behind in writings or any creative ventures of my own.

I was shocked to tears to hear my story Grandma Elspeth’s Enchiridion for Domestic Harmony (American Nightmare, Kraken Press 2014) made Ellen Datlow’s list for Best Horror vol. 7, 2014. Gobsmacked, actually.

I was so raw from the unexpected trials that the possibility of this hadn’t made it onto my radar (even though I’ve been an avid collector of all Datlow anthologies, including a most dear-to-my-heart shabby collection of the Best Fantasy and Horror volumes edited with Terri Windling over the years). Needless to say, I am grateful. When I come back to myself again, I will be entirely overwhelmed.

In other news, I am undergoing a series (one so far) of surgeries from which I am still recovering. I am attempting to use my convalescence to tackle a number or projects. NaNoWriMo is upon us.

There is blood and ink being spilled synonymously here, quite literally. Much tea being consumed. The hours have changed and it is now dark at 5:30PM and I feel the hibernational animal within myself groaning and curling and bellowing for more tea and a blanket and (hopefully), well-sated, it will become the Muse.

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