I’m publishing a book this fall.
If you know me only from my blog or have met me in passing at poetry readings, it may come as a surprise that I have a wicked sense of humor. Afterall, it is a natural antidote for pain and anger. I have decided to give up trying to be a serious literary author and play to my strengths. But more on that later.
Though I write poetry, short stories, and have several unfinished novels, by default I am a blogger. But not a very good one. Oh, the content is good but I lack focus and marketing and followers and blagh blagh blagh. My website isn’t optimized. Isn’t that what they tell us we are supposed to do? FYI: I’m not selling anything so lighten up. This is my own very public, private writing space, with some online lurkers that I know and some that I don’t.
I like to consider it a cult following.
By all measures, 2020 has been a difficult year. No matter where you fall on a myriad of life’s spectrums, COVID-19 has shaken the world and its long reach is just starting. We are in the midst of an uncontrolled pandemic with oncoming economic disaster. To be fair, this train was turned toward this cliff long ago. But this is not a political blog, so I won’t go into how unbridled greed led to the decay of the pillars of our American democracy. This is a personal blog and amidst the chaos of COVID-19 and civil unrest and everything the fuck else going on, my mother died.
2020 has been a difficult year.
The focus of my blog this year has been around my role as caregiver. I helped my mother to die as she wished. She asked me to ensure that she died at home as comfortably as possible and I made that happen. Truthfully, it was a great gift to both of us.
My blog allowed me to provide information about what was happening to extended family and close friends. It saved me from having to answer or ignore individual emails and phone calls from those reaching out in concern and support, so that I could focus on the day-to-day struggles at hand. It helped me to process everything that was happening and provides me with a permanent record of a time that is little more than a blur.
Now, I have about eleven or so blog posts focused on caregiving for my dying mother. It is an experience so terrible most people won’t talk about it. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. But there is value in letting others know they are not alone. My experience may not look like yours but there are common themes: grinding through the medical system, dealing with the amplified character defects of others and my own, the emotional struggle at the end when you have to accept that you are not there to save your mom, and no matter what you do or how much you do it, this was always going to be a one way ticket.
As I enter the second half of 2020, with my mother buried and an accelerating crisis in our democracy, what exactly should my blog focus on? What has it ever really been about?
It is and always has been the experience and perspective of a middle aged, mostly single, white American woman who is an IT professional by day and aspiring author by night. I am a working shlub lucky enough to have a good career that pays my bills. I am not financially dependent on anyone. My day job supports my creative endeavors.
In 2020, I was scheduled to travel with my partner once a month to various storytelling events. He is a professional storyteller. Yes, that is a thing. In February, we were in Seattle, WA for his tour, right before COVID-19 broke out there. In March, we were in Denton, TX attending the Texas Storytelling Festival when it was abruptly shut down by the mayor over COVID-19 fears. I had planned to blog about all these adventures but that has now been postponed.
So, I have a lot more time on my hands these days. But to be honest, I am not emotionally ready to start writing again. I was invited to an online poetry group that meets every other week. And I have signed up for an online poetry writing class at the university for the fall semester. I know poetry will be the medium by which my grief finally gets unstuck.
But my book, well… I’ve been collecting material for about three years, unsure of what to do with it. And as the stress and pain in my personal life increased, so did my need for a funny project. And so, I have picked up where I left off last year and am nearing publication of a book of satire intended specifically for people like me:
Working professional women who’ve had just about enough of this shit.
More on that soon. I have to get a cover before I can do a good promo, right? I have to build the hype, right? I have to bombard my social media and blog followers with an exciting promotional campaign, right? Isn’t that what they tell us we are supposed to do?
No, you don’t get to know the title yet. Bask in the glorious anticipation…
-Copyright C.M. Mounts, July 2020