Sunday, January 02, 2011

A SEASON OF LOSS

You see a lot of retrospectus posts these days on the blogs. It’s natural and I rather enjoy them. Usually I like to do one myself, and I guess this is such a post, but this year it’s a little harder. There are things I don’t want to look back on, losses that I’ve had a hard time dealing with.

In March my mom died, after a really tough few months of illness, hospitalization, and pain. While attending her funeral I came down with the flu and it lingered for well over a week. Physical exhaustion. Mental exhaustion. I had them both. It’s still hard to believe I’ll never speak to her alive again.

Then came more loss. In July, my brother-in-law, Roger, died. He had several pretty bad weeks with brain cancer before he passed. I wasn’t there for it, although the family kept me informed of what was happening. And then came the third loss. In November, my stepfather, Ray, passed. He didn’t suffer as long as mom or Roger. And in such times you find yourself thankful for small favors.

Such things do not make for a good year. For anyone. And they linger; they ache. Like an arthritic limb. But the year was certainly not all about loss. It wasn’t primarily about loss. I have Lana and Josh. Their love is wonderful. I have a job I enjoy and not a lot of money worries. I live in a great house with trees on three sides and a yard full of birds and other critters. I ate well in 2010. I bought and read many good books, often by friends.

My writing did not go as well as I’d hoped. Certainly I didn’t get much new work done. I started two novels and both came to screeching halts. However, I did complete some projects that were close to my heart. I self-published Killing Trail and am rather proud of it, although sales have been modest. I also completed two collections of my short stories for Borgo Press. One was a collection of vampire fiction, Midnight in Rosary, and the other horror, In the Language of Scorpions. “Midnight” has been turned in but Borgo is setting up ebook versions of older books so new publications are on the back burner. I’m hoping 2011 will see both books in print.

In the end, I cannot be sad to see 2010 go. It will not be remembered with joy, as I remember 2007 for my marriage to Lana, for how we settled into our current woodsy home, and for the publication of the Talera novels. I know I’m looking forward to 2011; I’m hoping for better things. But 2010 did remind me of what is important in life. It reminded me that love and family are the reasons why I’m here. I can live with that.
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42 comments:

David Cranmer said...

On writing: Killing Trail was one of my reading highlights for 2010. In a few weeks the Simon Rip saga continues at BEAT to a PULP with a story you wrote last year. You did extremely well from my point of view.

Tom said...

While I extend my condolences for your losses, I salute you in celebration of a life well-lived, Charles. Killing Trail is indeed some good writing. And I will definitely be placing your other books on my to-read pile. I wish you all the best in 2011 and beyond.

Sidney said...

Sorry for the loss. I know how it all feels. May 2011 be a fabulous year.

Charles Gramlich said...

David Cranmer, thanks for the kind words. I really enjoyed working on the Rip story. Great fun.

Tom, thank you. I appreciate it. Glad you liked Killing Trail.

Sidney, I'm hoping it'll be the year of the 'lesser' known writers!

Scott said...

Charles,

Myself, I'm hoping for a year where I don't lose someone close to me...I don't think that's too much to ask. I hope you and Lana have a great 2011!

David J. West said...

Here's to 2011 and to new projects.

X. Dell said...

You're right. 2010 really sucked for you. I'm thinking (hoping) things have got to look up in 2011.

Question: even though sales are "modest," are the revenues from your self-published book comparable to your others? I'd reckon you wouldn't have to sell as many copies to make the same amount of money.

Deka Black said...

On personal: My condolences

On writing: Im hoping for something this january. We'll see, if something is left after pay the bills...

And yes: You have a family. A thing not all the people can say ;)

the walking man said...

Your good year was my bad year. 9 funerals including my moms and 6 suicides. But I can say truthfully though I miss her I am happy she sleeps now and doesn't have to go through the shit she went through for the last year of her living on this plane.

Be Well Charles, you set goals and mostly get to them. You are much better at this living thing than you give yourself credit for.

Be Well

pattinase (abbott) said...

I know very few people who counted 2010 as a good year in their life. It certainly was nearly as bad as 2009 in mine. Losing a parent each year was terrible.

Scott Parker said...

While my losses were not nearly as hard as yours, they were still losses. Yes, 2010 was not a good year in many respects, but here's to a bright, shining 2011.

Lana Gramlich said...

You're a sweetie pie, hon. I'm sorry you've had such a rough year. *hug*

Charles Gramlich said...

Scott, I'll wish along with you. Same to you and Kim.

David J. West, indeed!

X. Dell, considering everything I make from Killing Trail is really pure profit it does compare favorably with money from the individual publications via the normal channels.

Deka Black, my family strengthens me to keep going. Happy New Year.

Mark, yes, I'm glad my mom isn't still struggling as she did that last month. It was agony for everyone. I hope your 2011 will be better too.

pattinase, When the hits come like that it's really hard to maintain your balance. Let's hope 2011 will be better for us both.

Scott Parker, agreed. And it seems 2010 was a nasty one for many folks. Sorry to hear of your losses as well.

Lana Gramlich, you made it better.

Ron Scheer said...

A plus for me in 2010 was getting to know you. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments here in the blogs, wherever they appear. In some ways, loss is our best friend; it never leaves us, and it makes what remains all the sweeter.

ArtSparker said...

What a hard year. Hope this year gives you more time for writing and the simple pleasures - as i get older, I am beginning to really get the simple pleasures concept.

Vesper said...

What a sad year, Charles. Yet, from all these losses, may you find renewed hope and strength to continue your good life. You're a great writer and you have a great family.
Happy New Year!

moonrat said...

This is one of the reasons I'm so glad there are markers like New Year to help us delineate epochs - of course the pain doesn't vanish with the calendar, but we do give ourselves a feeling of opening new doors, perhaps compartamentalizing the hard parts and sealing them in the past as a means of moving forward.

Charles, I wish you a very happy 2011, full of joy and exciting new projects and work you are proud of.

Erik Donald France said...

Thank you for that retrospectus, a powerful one. Here's to a happier 2011~

Charles Gramlich said...

Ron Scheer, I was just reading an article about the refining qualities of loss. Apparently Charles Darwin went through a serious bout of it when his 10 year old daughter died. Glad to have met you this year as well.

ArtSparker, I will have a relatively light semester this year in school so that is a big help.

Vesper, thank you for the kindness.

moonrat, thank you, and you're right. It is good to have some markers of things we've passed through, and the promise of turn arounds.

Erik Donald France, amen, my friend.

sage said...

May 2011 be a better one! I am tired from 2010, but it wasn't that bad for me with the exception of one death-a good friend.

laughingwolf said...

2010 was not a good year for me, either... but survived it

hope 2011 brings you your heart's desires, my friend...

Oscar said...

One consolation to the sad year is you will always have the fond memories to recall as time goes by. Here's for a better go-round in 2011. Your writing in Razored Zen amazes me and I look forward to the next one.

Charles Gramlich said...

sage, any death diminishes us, and yet, perhaps, saves us as well.

laughingwolf, So far so good. :)

Oscar, thanks much. I appreciate that.

Steve Malley said...

Wow, was it really 2007? Guess we really have known each other a while...

Good luck with 2011, my friend!!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Cheers, my friend - here's to a very good 2011, indeed.

And you should be proud of "Killing Trail," which I enjoyed very much.

best,
Don

Demon Hunter said...

You have my heartfelt sympathy for what you went through in 2010. I hope your 2011 is awesome.

Even though I'm new to your work, I look forward to reading it. ;-)

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, it's amazing indeed how quickly the time passes. I didn't think it had been that long either.

Don, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was pretty happy with the stories in there.

Demon Hunter, I appreciate that, and I hope 2011 is grand for us all.

Randy Johnson said...

Condolences for the bad year. 2011 should certainly be better all around.

Ocean Girl said...

Blessings abound, we could not count them even if we tried. Challenges are blessings too.

Carole said...

Very good post. It is so important to remember what is important. Thanks for the reminder.

ivan said...

After hearing of your losses and also Mark's, I feel like the
little ingrate in the song,
"Oh Lord Won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz.
"My friends all drive Porsches
I must make amends..."

I think Mark, the Walking Man is right.
You are much better at this living thing than you give yourself credit for.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy Johnson, I feel like it's going to be.

Ocean Girl, I know, I'm very grateful for all the good things I have.

Carole, I didn't always remember it.

ivan, thanks for the kind words. I try, just don't always succeed.

Travis Cody said...

Killing Trail was my very first Kindle purchase, so I can thank 2010 for that.

I do have an odd thing to like so far about 2011. My job is about inventory and operations, so there's a lot of number and date typing. Typing a date that ends in "11" is a lot easier than typing a date that ends in "10".

So huzzah for the onset of 2011!

writtenwyrdd said...

You have had a really rough year, Charles, but I'm glad that you have some perspective. I hope 2011 is much better.

BernardL said...

One of the tough realities of surviving on this sphere is outliving people we love. You're right. It never gets easier.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis Cody, I guess you take your victories where you can get 'em. :)

writtenwyrdd, should be. So far so good,.

Bernardl, unfortunately true.

Mary Witzl said...

I can certainly commiserate: in the space of a few months, I broke up with a boyfriend, lost my grandmother, an aunt, then my mother, and during all of this, another aunt was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. It was very hard to cope with all of that, but it made me re-evaluate my life and what was truly important in it.

Here's to 2011 being a great writing year!

Jodi MacArthur said...

This post breaks my heart, multiple deaths is a hard knock. It's a real hard knock. And it is wonderful that you can find joy to pull you out from where its dark and aches.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mary Witzl, wow, that's pretty harsh as well. 2011 must surely be better for both of us.

Jodi MacArthur, thanks for the kind words. We all have to find ways to survive such things, I guess. Something that gets us through and helps us toward the future.

jennifer said...

I have held my losses so close to me that they can't be defined by a date or an anniversary (in fact, I can't remember the 'when' very well). They seem to be ever present yet easier to live with.

I am so sorry for the losses that you suffered in 2010. I hope that 2011 is a year of happiness (like 2007 - so sweet).

Cloudia said...

"It’s still hard to believe I’ll never speak to her alive again. "


Yeah

Charles Gramlich said...

Jennifer, 07 was an exceptional year. I"d love to have another of those.

Cloudia, *nods*