I don’t know if this is as universal as I perceive it, but my feeling is that when you get to be my age, or even your forties, everyone in my generation has passed a day or a week of years.
And you know exactly what I mean by that. Someone you love very much is in the hospital, struggling between life and death, and final plans have been mentioned, and you’re there…. unable to do anything and waiting. It’s arguably easier if you can be with them, the way Dan was with me when I almost died giving birth to #1 son. Second easier, as bad as it sounds, is when you are in the hospital though not allowed in with the person. You’re in the waiting room, reading the same page of the magazine you have no interest in ten times, drinking the stupid mostly acid coffee and wondering if it will drill a hole in your stomach. You’re pacing the halls, trying to accept this THING that fell on you.
But even that is better than being away. Trust me on this. When you’re away, you have to pretend to live normal life; you have to carry on as though nothing happened. You can’t be there, and hold their hand and influence it in some way. And your mind keeps drifting to your worry, so you don’t get much done, and what you get done is sloppy. And you feel like you’re ill yourself, on the verge of a major illness. You might cry for no reason, or spend a lot of time staring at something. You might eat what you know you shouldn’t. You might not have the will power to do things you know you should do like exercising.
And you can’t do anything. You can’t influence the result even a little.
And all of this is multiplied if it’s unexpected. Even if you know the patient has been ill a lot, or even fighting cancer. If things seemed stable, and there’s a sudden crash, and they’re between life and death, it guts you. Once Dan and I spent a weekend crying and sleeping instead of writing, because our friend who’d been fighting cancer had a sudden crash and was between life and death.
And yes, I’m quite aware I’ve been the cause of that kind of wait for many people over the years. Even for some of you, the last time it happened. I know why you panic when the blog is down.
Until one of you in the comments said this is the state we were in, it hadn’t occurred to me. I’m not giving credit because I don’t remember who, and I’m sorry. I slept like 12 hours, and need to go work (good news. I got ALL my IP back from Baen. So, there’s a lot of cover planning/editing (I don’t have the edited files, and anyway, it wouldn’t be legal to use them, and besides there’s a bunch of things I want to reconsider including, which were taken out on edit and such. So, lots of work.) in addition to finishing the current books.
We knew the republic was ill. Some of us who come from socialist/communist/leftist countries have been screaming for years the elections were rigged. But we didn’t know how badly the left was cheating. (Look, I’m not going to argue. Some people are still in denial. But go here and after the Monster Hunter Bloodlines announcement, read the last three posts, in reverse order.)
Hell, even I didn’t know the extent of fraud until I STUPIDLY became a poll watcher in 2012. So much fraud it’s almost unbelievable, all from the left. (And the precinct still went GOP. Think about it.) It was literally a miracle 2016 happened. Which gives me hope. But miracles are…. slippery things and not ours to perform.
And even knowing how bad 2012 was, this year, the brazenness of it took my breath away. And I’m sorry to all the delicate violets who say revealing the fraud is worse than committing it because it loses faith in the republic.
I’m not going to examine what is wrong with your head, if that’s your position. I’ll only say your major dysfunction is widely shared. But it’s very much the equivalent of telling a cancer patient with perhaps 15% chance of surviving to give up those harsh therapies and take up aromatherapy instead. It’s saying “Let the republic die happy, instead of risking all to maybe save it.” Some of you are friends, and I want to remain your friend, but your judgement isn’t sound. You’re not well. You’re cringing away from the suffering so much that the patient dying seems preferable. Kindly shut up. And straighten your spine. Go pace the halls for a while if you have to. But do not discourage us or the patient. You’re not helping.
And us, the rest of us. Take a deep breath. This might be an endless month or months. And our chances are slim, but the patient is worth it.
But we can’t do anything. And keeping your eyes glued to every monitor, your ears tuned to every beep down the hall, standing up every time a group of nurses comes running is not going to help. You can’t do anything.
Son suggested I adopt the Heinlein strategy during WWII and read the news once every two weeks. It would be nice but I’m too neurotic for that. Still, reloading the few reliable sites is not helping anything.
And I can’t help behaving/feeling like I have a low-level illness myself. I’m sleeping too much (or not at all) and eating all the wrong things, and not exercising as I should. I’m unable to read anything of consequence, and writing wordcount has gone to hell.
That needs to turn around. Win or lose, the sewer has been exposed and we need to fight it. We need to fight it starting at the point of greatest corruption: the culture. It is the culture that has gifted us a corrupt enough bureaucracy to allow this to happen.
The relentless hatred of themselves and their nation has made people act like enemies within.
And that needs to stop. I can’t do it alone, but we need an army of culture warriors, from writers to people who “simply” engage in impossible conversations at the dinner table.
So we need to do some self-care. And yeah, I know, normally I view self-care as “being an utter sissy.” But we need to take care of ourselves, so we’re around to turn this shit around either way. We are suffering under chemotherapy as a nation, but that’s not enough. There will need to be a neutralizing of the cancer, on a permanent basis.
Be gentle to yourself. No, you might not be able to impose regular sleep hours. Do try to keep exercise going. (I’m up to one time out of three actually doing it.) Try not to go overboard with food or whatever your indulgence is. But if you must read very silly, mindless books, or if you end every day wrapped in a fluffy robe in front of silly tv shows (my sin is British Mysteries) do so.
You might not be your most productive right now. How can you be, when the republic is fighting for its life?
But be as productive as you can. Try to do whatever you can. Me, I’m going to go upstairs to write, and then try to figure out a concept for new Darkship covers. And find my outlines for the sequels. Oh, and the Shifters too. I will need to get new audio done, because the chick who read Athena didn’t amuse me. Mind you, they can continue selling theirs, but there needs to be a new one out. (And yes, I just heard some of you cheer.)
And I’m going to plan for the years ahead, win or lose. Because work must go on, either to restore or just heal (but not like the lefty “healing”) the republic. To restore civics and patriotism and an understanding in who we are, and why we are unique. And even if the republic dies (for now) there has to be hope of its returning. Soonest if possible. Otherwise I start looking for exit ramps, and the Lieutenant wouldn’t like that. Neither would my family for that matter.
So, understand where you are. And treat yourself a little more kindly than you normally do. But go back to work. It’s time to work as hard as you can building under over and around.
Just in case it all falls.