After voting in November 2016, my best friend and I headed to a Mexican restaurant as we waited for polls to close and votes to be tabulated. We were hopeful, excited about the real prospect of seeing a woman in the White House, and we chose our cuisine that night as a wink to having a taco truck on every corner in the very near future. Yum!
Three hours later we’d moved to a bar so we could see the election results roll in. We had few glasses of wine, still in high spirits, and then everything changed. The map bloomed red.
Dread took root in the pit of my stomach and spread. Sensation in my hands and feet dulled.
I was numb.
I was afraid of what would happen to my daughter, how her life would be affected, and if there would even be fresh air for her to breathe by the time she got to be my age. My friend and I clung to each other and cried. We were speechless. Everyone sitting around that bar was in shock too. This was a tragedy, and the future of our country was in doubt.
We decided to head home, both wanting to be with our kids. When I got to my daughter’s room, I told her the news. She sobbed. We ended up staying awake most of the night talking about what might happen and how to protect ourselves. Our rights were on the line. Our safety. I kept her home from school the next day because she needed time to process that reality.
It was a dark and uncertain time for women, for the LGBTQ+ community, for BIPOC, and that dread has lingered. Fear and anger and outrage filled in some of the gaps these last four years, and that has sucked the life out of my creativity.
I’ve had to keep myself numbed to a degree. It’s the only way I wasn’t jerked around by every dramatic news cycle vying for my attention.
As a result, I’ve barely written in the last four years. I can edit just fine, so I’ve revised books I recently got the rights back to. But writing? Nah. It’s a slog. In June 2016 I published Picked Fresh and immediately started working on the third book in my Naked Organics series, Fresh Earth. But all work stalled out. It’s been a challenge to focus as much as I need in order to do it justice. The real world has essentially been on fire and demanding I pay attention.
So I set that book aside. Worked on re-releases. Edited for clients.
Yet all this time, I’ve ached to be writing. It called to me, but each time I sat down to a blank document or scanned my outline or even settled in with a fountain pen and a favorite journal, my well was empty. I somehow managed—I still don’t know how—to write Socks for an Otter a year ago. That came out in a frenzy I couldn’t have stopped if I’d wanted to, and trust me, after not writing for years, there was no way I was going to halt that.
But six days ago on November 7th, the AP called Nevada for Biden, pushing him to the 270 threshold to secure the presidency.
In a heartbeat, that dread that has caged me started to melt.
Tingles buzzed along my fingers and toes and made their way up to my heart. My gut unclenched and I took a breath so deep, I felt it in the soles of my feet. It was as if the numbing, weighted blanket that had cocooned me for four years was slowly being peeled away. It was palpable.
People danced in the streets. London set off fireworks. Church bells tolled throughout Paris. Nations around the world were celebrating for us! And I cried tears of relief. I’ve cried joyful tears several times a day ever since and for so many reasons.
Now that my protective cocoon has been removed, I’m hoping words will flow again. I’ve been working on several books. At this moment, I have four works in progress and three rewrites on my desk. I have so many stories to tell, but it may take a bit to learn how to fly again.
Thank you for sticking with me through this. I hope to bring you Charlie and Leo’s stories from Naked Organics. I’ll be re-releasing some older books in the next year or so, though some are expanded and will have new titles than the original works. I’m also working on a new series, the first book of which is titled Sojourn With You. If you’re curious about it, there’s a tease to the series in Gifts for the Season, a charity anthology that benefits The Trevor Project. You can meet Sawyer and Gregg in Sojourn for Christmas and Murphy, the bullmastiff.
Now it’s time for me to get my words for the day written.