I deal with chronic pain. There. Admitted it. It isn’t something I talk about much publicly—mostly because we haven’t been able to figure out why. I have flare ups of pain that are so intense, they’re debilitating. It’s in specific areas and weird. But I have a new doctor working on it, so hopefully I’ll get answers this year. The last few years, they shuffled me from one specialist to another, sending me into incredible debt, and nobody had answers.
When you deal with this sort of thing, it changes your life. Add in the consuming fear over the unknown reasons and someone with a HIGHLY active imagination and okay—anxiety issues—can be rendered useless at times. It’s hard on everyone around me. Family, friends.
My critique partner and friend, Rachel Vincent, has been so very helpful through this. She comes and pulls me out of the house and reminds me that I have this thing I still love—this thing I haven’t lost complete faith in–though the fight for success has been er, beyond frustrating. My writing. She’s been a rock of support. I’ve also had the group The Deadline Dames to offer support and in the last couple of years, my friendship with Jocelynn did a lot to keep me going. OMG, she’s been so unbelievably patient this last go around. Love her to pieces. I have a couple of personal friends and my family in that mix. I don’t think I would be dealing as well as I am without the excellent support system I have.
But it’s still been extremely difficult.
Thing is, yeah, it’s hard on those around me, but it’s especially hard on me. I have a huge drive to make my career work and I can get pretty frustrated over circumstances out of my control. The fatigue that hits when your body is fighting pain is kind of profound, so hard to describe. So yeah, frustration gets out of control.
If you can’t tell yet, I’m a bit of a control freak, too. 😉
So what do I do?
I deal. It’s what we all do when we have difficult situations. And what helps me deal is fiction. Movies, television shows and my absolute favorite… books. Fiction takes me away, so you can bet your ass I can fan girl with the best of them when I find authors I love who can take me out of the vicious circle of pain and worry.
And here’s another bit of sharing. In addition to books, I sometimes like to read fan fiction. I know, some authors hate fan fiction and feel it’s stealing and yeah, the stories that follow someone’s work too closely bug me. And there have been a few times I’ve been upset over people trying to sell their obvious fan fiction—but that’s a slippery slope of a discussion. I’m in the camp that if they’ve changed the world and the names and more, it ventures into original enough to be a new story. Let’s face it, there are only so many plots out there.
But I also feel that when someone’s fiction creates that sort of drive in a fan, it’s kind of cool. I would LOVE to create that sort of devotion in my readers. That means I’ve created something so wonderful, so realistic and entertaining, it pulled them from the real world. A world that can sometimes be so very difficult.
Is that what I want?
I want to write fiction that helps support my family yes. More than you can possibly imagine. But the drive to really entertain and capture someone else with my story is also strong. STRONG. Damned people pleaser personalities are the pits. (Not really. 😉 )
And the thing about fan fiction writers? They are doing it for FUN. Pure love of the characters is driving them. So you do get some wild stories and pairings, but wow, can it be a fun trip.
I’ve never written fan fiction. I don’t have the time. Medical research and life in general isn’t cheap, so I have to work on projects I hope will sell. But I enjoy reading it. (Okay, okay, some of it. Yeah, there are some bad, bad stories out there. LOL.) And one reason I still love fan fic? It was my first introduction to M/M romance. Many years ago, I read some Final Fantasy, X Men, and Gundam Wing fan fic slash and I was hooked.
So, I had a flare up over the holiday that lasted a full two weeks. I’m in pain most of the time, but these are rough. This one was one of the worst and it’s lingering. But I got my favorite gift for the holiday—a gift card to Amazon—and I bought a LOT of books. Seriously. It’s embarrassing how fast I spent that sucker. And um, how many books I got in the ARe 50% rebate day on New Year’s Day. I love books. LOVE THEM. So, I’ve been reading my heart out and every book has kept me from freaking out. Every book has taken me out of this unhealthy place and transported me into another world.
Fiction is priceless. Absolutely priceless.
Appreciate the authors who have honed their talent enough to take you someplace else. I do. So, so much. The best way to help them is to spread the word. Love a book? Tell your friends. 🙂