So 2009 is almost over. It hasn't been a bad year but I'd be lying if I said I've accomplished most of the things I was hoping to accomplish. I'm feeling a little driftless although most people would tell me that's crazy. After all it seems that the Sophie series will be continuing and I think there's a good chance that I've found a good middle school for my son. Those things should be giving me direction. As for my personal status, well I'm single but I've certainly been having fun. So what could be missing in my life?
I guess the answer is a sense of security. I don't have that and without it things can seem a little scary.
The reality is that there is NO security in being an author. There's not a lot of money in it (people don't realize that there are LOTS of NY Times bestselling authors who are netting much less than fifty-thousand a year), there is no company sponsored healthcare plan and you are always only as good as the success of your last book. One big commercial failure and you might never get another contract again. The driftless feeling stems partly from my own uncertainty about what career goals I should be setting for myself. Should I be pinning my hopes on the continued growth of the Sophie series? Putting more energy into other books outside the series? Trying harder to get someone to make my books into movies? The obvious answer is all of the above but there are only so many hours in a day and I do have other responsibilities.
For instance, in addition to being an author I'm also a single parent of a wonderful little boy who does have special needs. I THINK I found a middle school that he can start next year that will be good for him. But then again we've tried so many schools. Between kindergarten and third grade we tried four schools both public and private and if you want to include preschools we've tried a total of seven schools. Now I'm homeschooling him but I can't do that for much longer. I'm falling behind on all of my writing and other responsibilities and I can see that something's gotta give. Add to that the fact that this new middle school which currently has a campus in San Diego is planning on opening here in LA in March...the word "planning" worries me. Oh and the tuition...it's not as bad as it could be (it's not uncommon for private schools in LA to charge upwards of $30,000 a year) but it's still going to be a stretch.
As for my relationship status...well like I said, I'm having fun but there is a part of me that really misses the security that comes from being in a steady relationship. When I was with my last boyfriend, who I had thought I would stay with forever, I believed that there was at least one area of my life that was settled. That was so reassuring and comforting and while it turned out that we did have irreconcilable differences I did know while we were together that if, God forbid, something were to happen to me, if I was in any way in need he would be there for me and my son. I thought about this as I talked to my friend who has survived breast cancer. I listened to her story and thought, what if that were to happen to me? What if I needed chemo and radiation? What would happen to my son? How could I support us and take care of him while going through all that? It's a hypothetical of course, something that probably won't ever happen but it bothers me that I don't feel in any way prepared for such an eventuality.
It's like I'm walking a tightrope while holding my son and I simply can't fall because when I look down I can't see a net.
And yet there is a net there. I get glimpses of it from time to time. Like the night when I went out with friends to an evening street fair and I was hit with an unexpected bout of vertigo (something I hadn't suffered from in years). I sat on the curb with my head on my knees praying for the feeling to go away. In the meantime one of my friends gathered the troops and her husband drove my car home while she drove me and my son home in her car. She was there for me and checked in on me in the days that followed. Or when my car broke down in San Francisco on a Saturday night and my friend Lamar gladly opened his doors to both my son and myself and made us a fabulous dinner and made ME a fabulous cocktail. There's my friend Brenda who sends me flowers when I'm sad and there's Kim who always drives me to the airport when I need her to, picks up my mail when I'm gone and even watches my son when I need a last minute sitter. There are many other friends too and of course there's my family who have spent the last ten years proving to me that they will always be there for me when the chips are down.
So although I occasionally lose sight of it there's definitely a net there and it's actually more solid than most. It isn't made from the fabric of my career or my romantic relationship status...it certainly isn't made from the dwindling cash supply in my savings account. It's woven from a much stronger fabric and if I were to fall, something I do not plan on doing, it will catch me. I just have to remember that.
Bestselling Author of:
The Sophie Katz Murder Mystery Series,
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING
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