Today, I want the world to know: that the sadness won’t beat me, that the heartbreak won’t stop me, and the fear of bad things happening might slow me down, but I will keep going. Even if I have to crawl. That’s all.
For the last couple of years, I’ve challenged myself to write one short story every month around a central theme. Other writers have joined, and it’s just been a lot of fun. So, onward with the tradition!
Last year’s theme was: Folklore. And while I didn’t write a story every month – December ended on a sad note, and I just couldn’t bring myself to write a story while grieving my sweet Gatsby-cat – it was interesting to look at aspects of folklore, how things become folklore, what folklore is and what it can do… Anyway, it was a good year for stories, December notwithstanding, and I’m excited to continue writing them. On that note –
This year’s theme is:
There are all sorts of ways to be wild. There are all kinds of things that grow wild, become wild, live wild. But not us. Not humans. At least, not usually. I want to explore what it means to be wild. And if you want to join me, too, you should!
The rules are simple: twelve months, twelve stories, posted whenever you’d like in any given month. (Normally, I post towards the end.) You can link to this post, if you’d like, so we can read each other’s stories. 🙂
I hope 2023 is a better year just generally. And I really hope it’s a great year for stories.
I’ll post 2023’s short story theme soon – hopefully by Monday. And I’ve got some good, exciting things on the horizon, creating-wise. But y’all, I’m just struggling.
I’ve wanted 2023 to be a fresh start, but 2022’s parting blow combined with everything that came before combined with some noisy construction combined with my general anxiety combined with this new fear I have that things will fall apart if given the opportunity (wait, that’s still anxiety, isn’t it?), it’s all got me distracted and frustrated and really out of sorts. I’m just sad. I’m sad, and I’m stressed, and I’m worried. Not sure what I’m worried about, but I am.
So, for today, I’m going to read, drink some tea, try to focus on resting my mind and my heart, and think about writing and short stories and such tomorrow. In the meantime, you can do me a favor:
Send me some recommendations for happy-making things. Your favorite books, movies, and music, board games and card games that make you smile, activities that always leave you feeling better, little moments you try to take for yourself – whatever makes you happy when you need it, leave it in a comment below. Because I need all the help I can get.
I know things will be better soon. I just hope soon means soon.
*Thank you for your kind words and condolences. Knowing that you’re out there, thinking of us, just means a lot. Gatsby was one in a million, and I will always, always miss him. He gave us everything he could for his entire long and happy life, and he loved us so much. So in this new year, I aspire to honor him and remember him by loving like he did – unconditionally, and in your face, and completely.*
Welcome, New Year, and please be kind – I’ve had enough time grieving. I’m tired of tears and loss, of waiting, and of fears that joy is fleeting. I hope that things are better brighter in this space you’re making, and that you bring new light and hope. I’ve done my best, and I’m still trying, but a little help would sure be nice. We’ll create something together, I know. May it be – please let it be – something good.
I’m meant to be posting a short story today, but 2022 – awful year that it’s been – had other plans for me, it seems. And 2022 – the worst year I think I’ve ever had – will just have to settle for eleven short stories. And this will be my last post of the year, because right now, I don’t have anything left in me. But also because Gatsby deserves this last reflection, this moment just for him.
Last night, we came home from dinner and found Gatsby on the bed. It looked like he’d fallen asleep and just not woken up. He looked peaceful and cozy. It was the best way I can I think of for him to go, comfy and safe in one of his very favorite spots, but I feel broken, and sad, and empty, and lost, because he’s gone.
I knew this day would come. Gatsby was an old man – sixteen, and a Maine Coon. I’ve been dreading it for the last couple of years, as he’d gotten sick and then better, and as we’d learned about some health issues that likely couldn’t be fixed. But you’re never ready, even when you know it’s inevitable, to say goodbye.
But today, I have to.
Gatsby was the world’s most wonderful cat. That tiny little kitten grew into a big, purring, fluffy sweetheart.
He was sweet, and loving, and floppy, and in his younger days, really playful. He loved watching birds through the window, and lately on TV, too, and he loved to snuggle up with us at night. He loved Graham, and me, and he loved us so well that his absence today feels acute and awful. But that doesn’t change that he lived a long happy life, and that he loved us, and that we loved him.
I will love him every day for the rest of my life. I never want to forget his meow, the way he purred, the softness of his fur, the glow in his golden eyes, his big rabbit back feet, and the way he’d latch on to me with one claw when he didn’t want me to leave. I never want to forget him.
My sweetest boy: You’ll always be in my heart.
2022 really has been a terrible year for us, and to have it end this way is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. At this point, I’m honestly afraid of what comes next. I am so tired of being sad. But I hope 2023 is better, and brighter, and full of the kind of love Gatsby showed us every day.
I’ll be taking a break until Wednesday, December 28th so that I can spend time with family and eat lots of food and make good memories. So, in the meantime, whatever you may be celebrating this season, I hope it is joyous and full of love! I’ll see you next week with one more post for the year, and with December’s short story. 😊
I think I’ve cried every day since August. I think I’ve cried more tears this year than in my entire life before it. I think I’ve cried so many tears that the universe had to make extra to give me. I think I’ve cried enough for more than just me and I love those women who couldn’t cry. I think I’ve cried enough tears to fill a vast and endless and deep and wide ocean that only I can cross. I think I’ve cried enough. I think I’ve cried enough. I think I’ve cried enough.
I can’t remember exactly who I was before August. But right now in this moment, after months and months, after recovering only to learn I hadn’t recovered, I think I’m ready to find her again. I know she’s waiting for me. We won’t be the same as we were. We’ll become someone new and strong and brave and happy together.
I can’t say why now is the time, when the time wasn’t before, in September, or in October, or in any of those liminal days in the autumn that I love so much.
And if you gave me a million chances to explain why I feel like I should share this with all of you, I don’t think I could tell you all the ways that knowing you’re out there reading and creating and making good things and putting them into the world has helped me heal, a little bit and a little bit, every day.
Nevertheless, here we are.
Here I am.
And I just wanted to tell you thank you and I love you for sticking with me and bringing me light, and also that I finally think I’ve cried enough.
At night in the dark and quiet I sometimes dream it turned out differently, ended happily, that maybe somewhere in some universe you stayed and we’re together. Dreams can be funny hopeful painful things, can’t they? But in that dreaming place, at least, I can kiss your face and tell you, “Good morning, good night. Goodbye.”