Summer 2015. Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast is completed and with the publisher. Edits done. Cover finished. Release date being decided. Work on Eidolon Two has begun.
And I’m laying on the floor in my living room staring at the ceiling fan spinning.
I may never move from this spot.
My 18-year old dachshund, who I adored, died suddenly in June. The hole her absence left in my life is indescribable. That same week a friend I loved dearly succumb to suicide at the too-young age of 31. I’m kicking myself for not knowing how deep his hurt was. And I’ve lost another friend for reasons I’ll never understand.
In short, I have no more words.
Since 2011, I’ve written three screenplays, the full-length novels Martuk the Holy and Martuk the Holy: Proseuche, the first three books of The Martuk Series, several short stories, three other books under a pseudonym, and then Eidolon. At this point, everything hurts. My heart hurts. My brain hurts. Even taking a breath hurts.
And I can’t stop fighting the tears. I should cry but that hurts, too.
Of course eventually I move. I get up and walk quietly through life content that at least one Eidolon was written and will be released. I try to find comfort in that. Assure myself that the world doesn’t want a second one. Who cares? People will go on and forget me and who cares?
Obviously I’m depressed. Grappling with the fact that my life as a writer is over.
Over the next two, three years – my publisher amazing and patient and absolutely wonderful – I’d open the Eidolon Two files to see if I could dive in. Or even sneak in, on tip-toes, unnoticed. Slip in a few words here and there. The guilt of this unfinished thing haunting me, but it’s impossible. There’s this huge psychological block. It’s all wrapped up with missing my dachshund Cinnamon, and mourning the too-young theft of Max, and the confusion around the Friend Who Left.
It’s pain. But not the kind of pain that feeds Eidolon. It was the kind that made me gasp, and wince, and quickly close the file, convinced, again, Eidolon’s dead.
It’s dead. Let it die. Leave it be.
It was also that voice screaming in my head that I couldn’t do this anymore, that I’d never do this again, and that no one cared anyway, so why bother?
And then I noticed something: people did care. Readers would reach out, asking about Eidolon Two and I’d reply with one weak excuse after another, the shame of my weakness and inability to snap out of this stupor growing. The publisher would touch base. The editor would sneak in, on tip-toes, with perfectly placed words of kindness and encouragement.
So, with the voice screaming insults, I started writing again. A bit here, some more there. Apartment 1 done. Apartment 2 finished. Apartment 3 locked and loaded. Everything taking so much longer than I used to, than it should. Apartment 4 still wrapped in confusion. Apartment 5 = no clue.
And bit by bit, I wrote. And the voice quieted. Never went silent, of course. But became background noise. Apartment 3 polished. Apartment 4 clear. Apartment 5 = an interesting idea I can play with.
Inch by inch, month by month, it all came together.
And now, on Launch Day, here we are. A book that almost died several summers ago, that I was sure would never be finished, that I had accepted was done and dusted and over, is actually alive and well and living.
So why the missive? Why share all this?
Because it’s important – even if no one reads this; even if this is simply words scattered on the electronic page for my own benefit – to never forget how deep into the abyss I fell. To remember that even in the darkness of constant hurt and terrifying silence, I found my way out. I put words on the page. First, tentative words. Bad words. Words I deleted and then left blank.
But then there were more words. Good words. Strong words. Evocative and intriguing words.
Words I could live with. Words that worked. And now words that people are liking. Right now.
And a day that almost never came did come. And that’s something to be celebrated.