Leading your life with passion

It’s been a few days since we lost Jack Ketchum, and I’m just now finding the words for it. I sat in on a session at the HWA conference in Portland a few years ago and was awestruck to hear him talk and still be so humble about his craft. He was a laid back guy who cared about what he did, and it showed. He seemed glad that he was able to help people heal from tragedy through his writing. It struck me that that’s why he loved what he did.

He did mention, though, that some people weren’t too pleased with his writing. If you’ve ever read Jack Ketchum’s stuff, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But he didn’t mind. He was still passionate about what he was doing. And when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, everything else just fades away.

Passion for writing and art has helped guide me through tough decisions. It has helped me through heartache, loss, and anxiety. By talking about my horrors–crappy modeling gigs, rape, the loss of my mother–I’m able to heal while still reaching out to others who have experienced something similar. And that’s huge.

Some of you write romance, some of you (probably most of you reading this) write horror. Usually, there’s a damn good reason we write about the things we’ve chosen. For me, it’s because I’m passionate about life and being in this world today, and I appreciate the glaring extremes in day-to-day life.

Horror is real life, whether we like it or not. And while every day above ground is a good day, we still need to talk about the bad shit. Horror writers go there. It’s not always such a bad thing.

Love hard and live easy, because the next minute on earth could be your last. The more you accept this, the more you appreciate the positive end of the spectrum and lead your life with a passion.

Horror writers don’t write what they write to piss you off; they write it, in my opinion, because they appreciate life. Death scares every one of us, but it makes us think in the present and forces us to think about many ‘what ifs’–what if we lost the love of our life? What if we left this earth without telling our loved ones what we feel?

The thread between life and death is thin and tenuous. It could break at any time.

A lot of us are sick. A lot of people live blindly and refuse to think about any negative thing that could happen. I don’t judge that approach. But I do seem to appreciate the things I have when I run the ‘what ifs’ through my mind. It’s easier for me to focus on the positive and keep the negative, the horror, in mind. And that’s what helps me live passionately.

What has helped you find your passion?

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Free through October 23rd!

What Lies Within is free through October 23rd! You don’t need a Kindle. You can read the book on your phone. Click here to download the app for your smartphone.

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Have a wonderful weekend and happy reading.

News!

I’m just as weird in person. Join me and other indie authors at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library on October 14th from 12-5 p.m.! There will be a panel discussion followed by book signings. I’ll have print copies of What Lies Within and RARE print copies of Second Skin!

I’m almost done editing my crow shapeshifter novel. Date TBA.

Later, y’all.

Climbing out of the downward spiral

I have to say, being on Prozac has helped dramatically. I was originally prescribed five (!) different meds, but am now down to just one. I don’t even have to take Buspar for anxiety. Relief!

NOW! On to the truth about how I got on these in the first place: depression and anxiety go hand in hand for many people, and I was no exception. I had the occasional zing of anxiety, but it got much worse over the past two years or so.

I was in a pretty good place up until then, publishing regularly, writing daily, traveling, just enjoying life…until I heard about my cousin, Darryl.

Well, first, I felt a horrific pang of dread one night during Mardi Gras. It got worse during the night, so much so that I got up and cried in the bathroom. I had no idea what was wrong, but this happened to me several times before when someone close to me died.

The next morning, I got the call from Dad: Darryl, my cousin, had committed suicide.

How many of you have had a terrible feeling that someone died, and it turned out to be true?

Like me, Darryl had to take care of a sick parent. Like me, he didn’t take it so well when their illness took over. I knew how he felt. I went through the same thing with my mom, so seeing him so upset over his dad really got to me.

This and several other issues led him to take his life. But why was I given this flash of dread? Was it to warn me? Make me try to reach out to him?

I still don’t really know, and I’m still trying to make peace with it.

Losing my grandfather was also a real blow, and seeing my grandmother slide further into dementia isn’t easy, either.

But, this is life. You lose people you love and you go forward and do the best you can. It is nice to know, though, that there is a nice little pill I can pop until I work out all this yuckyness–and something that helps me focus on my writing and work.

Prozac and Buspar: A Love Story

Ah, the crazy creative stereotype. I know that by chatting with some folks on Twitter, many of us are not immune to it. I’ve talked to plenty of other writers who suffer from mental illness. I’m one of them.

It’s hard to write, but it’s a part of me. Anxiety is a real bitch, and so is depression. It’s gotten to the point where it’s tough to manage with just diet, exercise and GABA supplements, so off to the psychiatrist I went, merrily (?) trotting into the building to see what he could prescribe for the panic attacks I was having that jolted me out of a dead sleep.

To put things rather bluntly, the past few months have been tricky to navigate. And I haven’t been writing or painting lately.

I loaded myself up with extra work late last year, and my left eyelid started twitching to the point where it was completely CLOSING shut. I was told it was a combination of eye strain, stress, and caffeine.

Really? That’s the story of my life.

So it went on non-stop. And I was afraid people were taking notice.

I went to the eye doctor and he jabbed me with 3 CCs of Botox. Botox. Yes. It was bizarre. But I have to say, it worked. I felt really strange going into the clinic and saying I’d do it–here I am, sneaking up on 40, but I have no concern for wrinkles (I don’t care, and I’m not judging you if you do)–I just wanted my damn eyelid to stop twitching.

There are many, many family things going on as well, but I won’t get into all of them. The saddest is that my brother will be leaving after he finishes his PhD. I’m happy for him. I left after I finished my degree, and he should, too. The world needs someone like him, his genius, his creativity, and his strange sense of humor. I will miss him, though. Luckily, he’ll be a short flight away.

Our dear friends also left to move up north. I’m also happy for them, but will miss them dearly. Luckily, Mardi Gras will be calling them back…

I’m at a crossroads with career things, too. The next few months will decide my next steps in life. Should be interesting.

I was on a few pills back in the day: Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Ambien, and Buspar…the only thing that worked was the Buspar. So he prescribed that for panic attacks, and Prozac for depression.

It is still not easy to admit, and it’s not easy to *take* this stuff, because that puts the writing on the wall: I’m nuts. I’m not thrilled about being on it. But I would be thrilled if I could just get my creativity back. I’m not so sure I believe medication drains your creativity. I suppose I’ll let myself find out as time goes on and my affair with meds goes deeper.

The medication is helping, I think.

Hell, I even wrote a little and painted a little last night. Is that what life is about? I had forgotten.