Good, Sad, and Newsy News Copy

Badminton with my boys, swimming in the South Toe River, musical theater at Parkway Playhouse (River, left, playing "the lazy villager"), and a desk of books and pages.

For about four years now, I have marked the start of summer by unplugging my desktop computer, removing it from my desk, and putting it in the closet. Sure, I have a laptop, but I keep that stored behind my printer, out of sight until a moment arises (ideally just once a week) that I need it. In place of the bulky desktop, I stack books to finish or start reading, pens of various colors, mini notebooks and full-sized journals, stamps, lists of friends to send letters to, and draft pages of my novel.

Halfway through summer, I’m happy to report that I’ve finished reading a few books, written 20 new pages (that’s a lot for me!), outlined “Judy’s section” of my novel, and have my eyes on 20 more pages over the next five weeks (that will be hard; I’m determined to try).

It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s been easier than a lot that’s come my way these past few years, and I feel very lucky to finally see a bit of light at the end of this long-haul covid tunnel. I’m speaking medically and creatively, of course, as my body has been through so much undoing of its nervous system that inventive and imaginative thinking were elusive to me for longer than I want to admit.

But I’m two months into three new medications for my long-haul covid and have experienced nearly 40% improvement in my symptoms for the first time in over two years! If you’ve supported or followed this health journey, click here for an update and a way to share your mailing address with me, so I can properly send you my thanks. I’m so happy with this progress, though I know I have a long way to go. To me, 100% improvement will mean that the major systems in my body are communicating well enough via neurological, hormonal, and digestive pathways that I can finally begin to think about what a “new normal” means to me. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if I had to guess, I’d say that part of that “new normal” will include eating all solid foods (no more liquid meals!) and exercising 4-6 days per week. There was a time I thought that would not be possible. Now, I think within six months to two years, it will be!

Bob, Brad, and River

Amidst these wins, my family faced an unexpected loss when my father-in-law, Bob Quillen, died the morning after Father’s Day, on June 19th. Just a few days before, I woke in the morning and said to my husband, “Brad, you don’t need to spend Father’s Day with us. We can do our plans later or in the evening. You should spend the day with your dad. You should go over the mountain and see him.” I don’t know why I said this; all I know is that it was the first thought I had that morning, and I said the thought out loud and I’m very glad that I did. Brad drove over the mountain, and less than a day later, Bob was gone. I miss him, especially the times we’d Facetime or text about weather, tires, the fields at Mercy Me, and bargains on winter coats. I’ll miss him more next week, when we head to Mercy Me to pick berries, and even more when we hunt there later this fall. Right now, I’m focused on supporting my husband and child through their loss, during these syrupy early months of grief.

Since this is my one post for the entire summer, I also wanted to share a bit of newsy news before signing off. It’s been a true pleasure to email with authors I respect and admire as I’ve worked hard to arrange for their guest appearances in my Monthly Mentorship and WRITEABILITY programs. While I love sharing the curriculum I’ve created and building community in all the ways I know how, it’s often these visits and presentations from other authors that truly invigorate the Zoom sessions for the writers I’m lucky enough to work with. So far, here’s who the Guild members and Monthly Mentees will get to meet:

If you haven’t sent me an update or touched base with me this summer, let’s fix that right now! Tell me how’ve been and what you’ve been up to in the comments below or write to me directly with your summer update!

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  • EvelynKrieger

    Nice to discover you through Writers Studio Chicago. I live in Boston but occasionally find myself in the Windy City either physically or via Zoom. Hope your fall brings further recovery and creative sparks in the midst of tough times.

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