Saturday, May 28, 2005

Went to the orthodontist this week to hopefully get the braces off. Forcast is for 6 more weeks. :-(

Let's see, did I mention how so not fun it is to be on prescription drugs? And, yeah, I assume the same goes for non-prescription drugs too, but I'm not taking any of those. I go back to the doctor and in addition to doing physical therapy 3 days a week, she also prescribed a pain killer, an anti-inflammatory, and a muscle relaxer. Between these three friends, I hardly ever see the light of day. So you know there's hardly any writing getting done. Not only from being sleepy and out of it half the time, but also the fact that I can't sit up for a long period of time without my back giving out. Then there's the balance of the writing vs. pain threshold. The decision of when to take the meds. Basically, I have a choice between taking all the meds at a set time and be knocked out or non-creative for the day, OR try to hold off a little on the pain medication so I can be alert. Problem is, then I'm usually experience pain (like right now, my head hurts like I've been hit on the top of the head with a brick. As soon as I finish this, I'm taking meds so I guess the laundry will get done either later tonight or another day. I need a maid for my studio apartment). So basically, it's a lose-lose situation.

Hey, I don't even think I announced that my book is available for pre-order on Next week, I'm going to the Book Expo America convention in New York. Not sure I'll have as much fun this year as in previous years, but we'll just take it one day at a time. I'm signing galleys of my book at the Blackboard Awards Ceremony and Reception on Saturday, so that's going to be fun, I'm sure. And then, my publicist is working on the small book tour. Small. Very small. The key word is....SMALL. :-) But that's cool. We need to make people aware of me, my book, and my writing style and that's going to take time.

Okay, one last accident related thing I've been thinking about. This sucks! This is really messing up my plans for the summer. I need to hold off getting the motorcycle until I'm well enough to ride it. Therapy right now is going on through the end of June. By the time I get my license and a bike now, the riding season is going to be gone! I'm pissed! Well, I've decided that regardless, I'm going to at least get the license this year. Then next year, all I have to do is ride a few times, then get my bike (if I can't get it this year). But um....I'm not going to let this injury stop me from all the things on my to do list! I'm definitely going to try to sky dive, even if I have to do it by myself. Not sure how much affect it has on the back. Regardless, I'm going to wait until after therapy, but I'm determined to do at least that this year. Of course, I'll have to write about it and post pics here in my blog! :-)

Okay, I'm about to go knock myself out for the rest of the afternoon. This is no way to spend the beginning of summer and Memorial Day Weekend. If I hadn't said it before, this sucks!


Monday, May 23, 2005

Thanks again to all of you who have posted comments, emailed me, or even called me about the accident. I'm doing okay, but I'm experiencing back pain at the moment. There's tighteness and pain in the base of my neck and I'm having problems lifting my right arm past the shoulder. I think that's from me trying to stop the car. :-) In any respect, it seems like the healing has stopped and now it's just consistent pain. But, I'm going to the doctor today and hopefully we will get to the bottom of all this very soon. Your concern has helped my spirits. :-)

Well, I've been getting some writing in here and there when I can. It's difficult and uncomfortable to sit up for a long period of time. And going out to restaurants and sitting in uncomfortable chairs to read and write has been all but impossible as well. It's funny how the little things mean so much when they are taken away. Oh, and another thing that I've noticed. It's like I'm having little panic attacks now when trying to cross a street. It's crazy!!! Because, I know what happened was an accident. I know I was crossing the street correctly and it wasn't my fault that I got hit. But I get extremely nervous now. My body shakes, my heart starts beating faster and harder. It almost makes my chest hurt. I break out in a sweat. And I'm thinking, "My goodness! I'm just crossing a street!!!" I think my mind would have been at ease if I was in the wrong. If I was jaywalking or had on a walkman or going against the light or something. But it was like the situation was out of my control. I saw this big massive car coming at me with no way to stop it or to get the driver's attention. So I guess now, my mind is being overly cautious, but it's driving me crazy. The first time, I had to turn around and go back home. I didn't know what the deal was. It didn't get better the next time, but I forced myself. I had tears coming out of my eyes by the time I got to the restaurant. And I stayed there for the longest time, trying to put off having to go through it all again to get home. The thing is, logically, I know it was just an accident. But apparently, I can't convince my body that it's not going to happen agian. This is driving me crazy.

So, I'm having a bit of a time trying to adjust and get back to a normal life. And the pain ain't helping! But, I'm hoping that this is just a minor interruption. Hoping things will get back to normal very soon.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Okay, my Friday the 13th wasn't very good, how was yours?

No, I'm not superstitious and don't believe in that stuff, but I did have a bad Friday. I got hit by a car as I was walking across a downtown street, headed to the Bread Company for lunch, reading and writing. If you read nothing else, please read this: Accidents happens. If you are ever in an accident and clearly in the wrong and at fault, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE show concern and remorse to your unintended victim. Even if for some reason you have to fake it. A simple, "I'm sorry. It was my fault," can go a long way in making pain and suffering more bearable. It can go a long way in someone seeing your humanistic nature, your compassion and in returning that compassion. But when you hit somebody and your victim is on the ground in obvious pain and there are tons of witnesses around, trying to blame the victim by saying, "She just jumped out of nowhere" when she had the green light, the walk sign, and was in the crosswalk with people walking in front of her," well, that possibly might even make your victim's pain and suffering even worse. Compassion goes a long way in healing and soothing the mind and body. If you're ever in an accident and clearly in the wrong, just apologize and see if there's anything you can do to rectify the situation.

So yes, I'm walking across the street, headed to lunch and out of the corner of my eye, I see this massive moving object coming at me. It happened so fast. By the time I look at it head on, I'm in the path of the middle of the car to the passenger side. My mind tells me that I need to move quickly because this car is coming so fast and it appears not to be slowing down. At the same time, my mind is saying that the worse thing would be for me to freeze and be knocked down and run over by the car, because I was dead center of the moving vehicle. It's amazing how many thoughts go through your head in one or two seconds. I had envisioned being knocked down, run over and possibly dragged by the car.

I don't know if my legs were actually able to run. I do know that my brain sent the signal, but I don't think my legs had time to react. The car was coming so fast. So the passenger side bumper hits my right thigh and hip (and arm, I think), and the force of it knocks me backwards, spins me around and knocks me down hard on the pavement on my right side. I use the ball of my left hand to brace the fall and I guess it jams my shoulder joint because it's sore later. And I land HARD on my left hip. Oh the pain! It really hurt! At first, it was just a looooonnnnnggg sharp pain. As we sat there waiting for the ambulance, the pain was diminishing, but never completely went away until I was given a shot of pain medication in the tushie hours later. On the pavement, the officer put out his leg and let me lean against it to try to ease the pain. But they didn't want me to move and I was sitting exactly how I landed, on the arm and the hip and it felt AWFUL!!!! I really wanted to lie down and take the pressure off, but the didn't know if anything was broken and didn't want me to move. Those were the most uncomfortable moments I have ever had in my life. I've never been in any type of accident with possible bodily injuries. Although I know it could have been a LOT worse had I'd been a couple of steps behind, but still, it was no walk in the park.

So, it's the next morning. Now I'm feeling aches and new aches in places that weren't hurting yesterday. My lower back is stiffening up and hurting and the sharp pain in my hip is starting to come back. I have a headache. I didn't hit my head so maybe that's from stress. Don't know. And the right side, where the car actually hit me is starting to get a little sore. I'm just going to get the pain medication prescription filled and take it easy for the next few days. Gotta try to see if I can figure out a way to lie down and type because already, sitting and typing this post is hurting my left hip.

I'll try to post periodically.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Feeling rejuvenated about writing. I'm usually all over the place in what I want to do--my mind wonders terribly. So, I set a schedule so I can fit in a little bit of everything each day. In the morning, after meditation, coffee, and light exercise, I get myself in the writing mood by reading inspirational writing passages (Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul) and follow it up with writing studies (Story and Introduction to Literature). Then, I'm ready to roll right into writing, which I have allotted a block of 3 - 4 hours. Then, after lunch, I knock a few more items off my to do list. I'm past the urgent stuff now, so I just allot three hours to do as much as I can. Then it's break time. A siesta, leisure reading (if I so choose), or The Young and the Restless. Then the evening hours are filled with an aerobics class, reading, studying, and writing. Right now, I'm getting about six hours of reading and writing, and as the to-do list dwindles, I'll increase it to 8 - 10 hours minimum.

If I didn't know it before (but I did), I can truly see it now. Writing is definitely a lonely profession and you really have to want to do it. No matter what the profession, others may see glory where you don't. When I was an engineer, I traveled a lot and a lot of people would tell me how "lucky" I was. Especially since I flew to California a lot. But I didn't feel lucky. There's very little fun in flying from Ohio to the west coast every other week along with traveling to other cities, living out of a suitcase, having to remember where you are and what city you're in when you wake up, and going to a large parking lot and not remembering where you parked, then realizing you don't even remember what rental car you're driving (and of course, this time you have a car without the panic alarm button, which is great for locating a car). It wasn't fun having a condo at home, but only being in it about 5 non-consecutive days a month. Just long enough to unpack, do laundry, and pack. It wasn't fun getting home an not knowing anybody in my area, and not having the chance to go out and make friends because I'd be on the road again soon. Yet, of course, others thought I was crazy to give up a lifestyle where I get to travel and have the company pay for everything. And it's funny to me how they would say, "Even if I had to work 16 hours a day, I'd still go out and enjoy the city and its night life." Yeah, right. As they say, the grass is always greener...

So here I am with writing. Another lonely profession. But, it has its perks. I do like to explore, get out, observe people, listen to conversations. It's best to do this alone because if you bring a friend, then they want to talk and you miss out on observing others or taking in the atmosphere and writing about it. Bar and grills are so cliche, but still one of the best places to observe a variety of characters (oops! Did I say characters?) and the best conversations. Especially from those who've had a few. Yes, I'm there, reading a book, then pretending to read a book. I have my notebook out where I'm taking notes. People think I'm studying school work and when they ask, I lie and say, yes, I'm a student. I learned not to say I'm a writer because then you get the long list of questions: What do you write? What else do you do? You write-full time? I see, but, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING??? (This tickles me.) Tell me about your book. You know...I do a little writing myself. How did you get into it? What made you want to become a writer? And the list of standard questions goes on. I don't mind these questions, but not when I'm working. So, I no longer tell people I'm a writer. Usually, if someone knows, it's because somebody else told them. It's funny because some of the people I've been working out with for months are slowly finding out (because a girl in the class chose my book for her bookclub's book of the month), and afterwards, they seem to be in total awe. That's another thing that I really don't understand and don't have a preference for...The awe. Because it makes you feel like people think you're doing something special, and you're not. And it feels awkward. It feels like, I would imagine, looking like a famous person, and walking around accepting praises and signing autographs, undeserved, when you know you're bagging groceries at the neighborhood grocery store. Maybe when I have at least 5 books behind me, I'll feel differently. I'll feel like I've really done something noteworthy. I don't know what it will take. But it really feels awkward right now.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

I want to say thanks to everyone who posted comments or sent an email about my last posting. And yes, I'm getting back on the right track. Life happens in between writing, so you must tend to that. But for the most part, I'm back to reading about the writing craft and carving out a daily writing schedule. I'm getting into the routine of getting up early. No alarm clock, just somewhere between 5am and 6:30 am, depending on what time I finally made it to bed. I check email briefly, which has become a breeze since I left several online newsgroups. I'm an email junkie and when I hear that little beep for new mail, I drop everything and walk like a zombie to the laptop to see what it is. So, the best way to cut down on time distractions like that is just to cut it out. So, after email, I burn incense, do a spiritual reading, and meditate. I find that meditation does wonders for setting my whole day. It sets me in the mind of first clearing my mind, then filling them with positive, constructive thoughts. I'm a firm believer in the power of attraction and thoughts being energy. I could write several posts on this topic, so I'd better not get started. :-) So, then, after the mediation, I either go right into writing, or I'll read something on the writing craft, or I'll read a few pages of a novel first. Then, that's how I'm spending my writing time. Using my creative senses and floating between reading and writing. It feels good.

Oh, and I took photos for the book. Oh, how I dread taking photos! I know it's probably considered a female mind issue, but yes, I think I look chunkier in pics, so I loathe taking them. So, I pull back my hair, find the appropriate black top, then set the digital camera on 5 second delay so I can find the right pose, the best angle, and the right balance of smile (one that doesn't give a hint of my braces that I thought would be off by now). So, about 40 snaps later, I was able to pick out 4 shots that I thought were half-way decent for the cover of the first book. I send them to my editor, relieved that the whole ugly process is now behind me. A couple of days later, my editor tells me that they think they want to go with the photo that I used for the self-published book because I'm smiling more and look more approachable. Oh, yeah, that's right. I didn't think about the right image to present on the author photo, and comparing the two, I have to agree with my editor (and even my agent who thought I was going for the serious author look), that I didn't have much of a smile, although I seriously felt I was smiling. It's just that I'm old as dirt and the thought of having a picture etched in time showing and old person with braces is not the most pleasant thought in the world. So, again, I was relieved when she told me that they find the first photo acceptable. Otherwise, I'd have to send in a picture with a bigger smile, which would mean another afternoon of me trying to find the right balance for the camera. And all is not lost. I'm using a few of the pics I took for the new website. And after the braces come off, hopefully the end of this month, I'm going to have pics taking and I'll be able to smile deeply on a picture for the first time in my life!


Sunday, May 01, 2005

A few days ago, I woke up at 4AM with what I think was my epiphany. It just hit me of how busy I seemed to be all the time. With personal stuff that I HAVE to get done. With book related stuff, but not much of it writing. Not much of it studying writing. Somewhere along the lines, things changed. Things went haywire. I think back to when I first decided to write. Yes, I was busy then too and that's why I didn't really write anything significant, even though I always wanted to write a book. Then, I just said that I'm going to make writing a book my first priority and I did. And I wrote a book and published it all in one year's time. But I had a FULL-TIME job then, as an engineer. I was on the road a good 85% of the time. I worked no less than 9 - 10 hours a day, sometimes as much as 16, and has stress headaches and body aches 50% of the time. Yet, through it all, I wrote. I got up at 4AM and wrote. I wrote on the weekends. I wrote, I wrote, I wrote. I read books on writing, I went to writer's conferences and workshops. I did nothing but writing and writing related things. I can finally say that I do believe I have been given a gift for writing, however, even with a gift you have to study, practice, mold, and shape it before it's any good. I spent all my time doing that.

Then I self-published. You don't realize it, but self-publishing can move you in the direction of the business side of writing with marketing, promoting, and selling. If you're not careful, it can become the number one focus...for too long of a time. I woke up and I realized that I had been blessed with the opportunity to write full-time, but yet, I'm not writing full-time. Because I all of a sudden have so much to do. I haven't been to a writer's workshop or conference. I read books on writing every now and then. Writing is infrequent, and not consistent. I woke up wondering what happened? How did I get lost and wind up on the wrong path? I can finally say that writing is a gift. I, Cherlyn Michaels, do not write the stories. It's the creative spirit that many of us have been blessed with that does. However, even with the different gifts that we all have been given, it still has to be nurtured. So, if I don't read to it, feed it, nurture it, mold it, shape it, and let it grow, then what you're going to get is crappy-ass stories on paper that's not worth wiping with, let alone reading. But that's the path I'm on right now. That's where I'm headed. That is, if I don't make some changes now.

So, I'm going back and starting over. I'm going back to what I did when I first decided to follow my passion and write. I have a publisher now and a publicist, so now I'm going to go back to studying writing. I'm going back to reading books on writing, taking classes and workshops to try to learn more and to improve, mold, shape my writing. I used to loved doing that and I miss doing that full-time. I do realize that as a writer, especially an unknown writer, I'm still going to have to promote. However, it should not come before writing. I'm a writer. Writers write. Good writers study and continually learn and strive to cultivate the gift they have been given.

So, I'm making a lot of changes, cutting back on or cutting out the things or people that I'm allowing to stand in the way of writing. The madness stops now.

That was my epiphany. Then I got up and wrote.