Saturday, March 16, 2013

State of the Onion or What I've Been Avoiding

My State of the Union address is long overdue. I've been avoiding it.

My parents shuffle about, getting ready for dialysis. In truth, they're dragging their feet on purpose. Who wants to go to dialysis? Even as it's a necessary procedure to extend the life, dialysis has become a chore. Three days a week, my parents put their lives on hold to sit in a chair and do nothing for four hours straight. And lately, the staff, although professional and conscientious, is running hours behind due to a corporate takeover, making my parents thrice-a-week trek all the more unpleasant.

I sit in a state of onion: Layers of frustration and needs and chores and depression, all neatly packaged in a parchment-thin skin that makes me cry when I go to chop it up. When ignored, this onion only grows bigger and bigger, sprouting new life all on its own. I know what I need to do. I know how I need to do it. But instead I sit amidst my growing projects and feel like I've accomplished nothing for four hours straight. I'm spinning wheels like I'm stuck in Alabama mud and I'm going nowhere fast.

Or am I? I'll get back to this point in a second.

I'm still unemployed, after a year and a few months. In today's job market, I'm just not getting noticed. I probably need to fix problem areas in my resume, get out of the house and make connections, and/or pester all of my friends to point me somewhere, anywhere that will prove fruitful. But that's not the crux of the matter, and I know this. It is obvious even to me that I have been granted with an over-abundance of time. If I had used this time to my best advantage, I could have drafted and re-drafted at least three novels by now and had them ready for publication. I have squandered my time through false hope, lack of dedication, and poor work ethic. I have closed my eyes and my onion has sprouted a life of its own.

Time to wrestle Time back, peel back the layers, and get to chopping. That means focusing on the aspects of my life that I find exciting, so I can draw from that energy to apply to things that I should be doing.

Outstanding Personal Obligations Recently Completed:
  • Scrivener: Learning the nuances of a new software. I'm now comfortable using it for bigger projects. As a result, Waking Grandpa is trotting along nicely.
  • Knitting: I've completed several washcloths for baby showers and scarves for gifts.
Inserting proud camera moment here:

The camera is an important addition to my techie circus. My previous camera wasn't "Shelton-friendly" so all pictures I took with it look like...well...something that came out of the south-end of a north-bound kangaroo.  This new one has features and I don't need a Bachelor's in Computer Science with a Minor in Japanese to figure out how to use it. Now, I can dabble in photography and feel good about the pictures I take. Like the above duck. Don't make fun of it. I'm really REALLY proud of that duck. Soon, I'll be able to play in the Really Cool Sandbox of Really Cool Blogs with Really Cool Pictures along with the big girls. YEA!

The point is this: although I've avoided a few things and I don't feel like I've accomplished anything, I do have completed projects. I have seen remarkable growth in my creative writing (thanks in no small part to the wonderful WoE community and daily encouragement from my editor and good friend.) I have had job interviews that haven't produced offers, but that proves I'm doing something right somewhere. So maybe I'm not further along because I zigged when I should have zagged, but I've accomplished enough of my little goals from last year that I can devote some time to what comes next.

Next On My Pipeline:

  • Novel: The second draft of The Trouble With Henry is back from my editor. There are only a few trouble spots to work through. But I'm seeing the end of the tunnel on this WIP. The next steps are: Revising and Tweaking: by the beginning of April, and formatting, cover art and (drum roll) PUBLISH by the end of April. (Hey, it can be done. I'm THAT close!)
  • Novel II: Waking Grandpa second draft to be completed by the end of July.
  • Camera: Three local trips are planned ('cause I can't afford to go farther right now) to exercise my budding photographing skills. Orfila Winery, Old Town San Diego, and The Huntington Library. Oh and the beach, which makes trip four.
  • New Job: Time to pester those friends for a little assistance. 
  • Taxes: yes, I need hold my wallet open for Uncle Sam and remember the IRS agents are only doing their jobs. I'm really not that important for them to have a personal vendetta against me.
  • Knitting: Another scarf or three for my editor. And few gifts for the Hallmark Holidays. Maybe I'll actually knit something bigger than a scarf or a washcloth. Maybe a tea cozy?

So there it is. The State of the Onion that I've been avoiding from the beginning of the year is finished. I'm not where I wanted to be, but that's okay. The slow and steady pace of the tortoise is better than the flashing over-confident pace of the hare. And if I run the onion under water before chopping, I won't cry.

My parents will still have to trudge to dialysis, but perhaps I can have dinner ready for them when they come home.


  1. I can so relate to this post. My parents aren't in dialysis, but their health has deteriorated and I don't live close enough to be much help, although I'm the only one who really can. On top of it, I've also been desperately looking for full time work. Unlike you, my WIP hasn't actually made much progress, but a little progress is better than none. Good luck to you! And have fun with your camera!

    1. Thanks! It's nice to know I'm not alone, although I'm sorry you're in a similar boat. But this too shall pass and there's better things to come, I promise!

      I hope you enjoyed your stay. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  2. You have accomplished a lot! I wish I had half of your determination. I own a restaurant. Do Not Ever Own A Restaurant. It sucks the life out of you for almost break even pay. Although, as much as I whine, I do love the work, I'm just getting old and tired.

    Your Duck is beautiful, as is your writing.

    Wish I could help in your job search, unless you'd like to be a waitress or minimum wage grill cook, I'm no help there.

    Kudos to being there for your parents. Mine are gone, and I still miss them. (Maybe that's what grandkids are for, to fill the void.)

    Also, I regularly beg for autographed copies of books by my writing friends. (I buy the book, I beg for autographs.) I have a shelf just for those books.

    I have no doubt your dreams are well on their way to being fulfilled.
    Just keep after that onion.

    <3 Renee

    1. Thanks! I know how lucky I am that my parents are still around. I try not to be a pest when I beg to help them. I don't think they get that I see it as a badge of honor, to give back in some small way what they have done for me my whole life. I can't do it as well as they do, but I try. :)

      I appreciate the help for the job search. I'm not sure I can do the waitressing thing (I'm so not as young as I used to be!). I give you props though. I watch the Food Network. I know it takes a wonderful, special sort of person to own and operate a restaurant. You absolutely have any support I can toss your way. Seriously, so impressed.

      Thanks for the love, for stopping by, and for sharing your thoughts. You're always a bright light on my blog. :)

  3. You are going through a rough time. 2 parents on Dialysis at the same time? It's a lot.
    And looking for a job is something that scares me. Yet, you write masterfully. I don't even have a wip or know what my goals are/should be yet. I wish you much luck with the job search, the books, your parents and life you are talented and deserve it. I always enjoy reading your entries at Write on Edge

    1. Thanks! Whatever you decide your writing goals are, I hope that your writing brings you joy. Thanks for the vote of confidence and the good wishes. I cherish all such words and store them in my heart.

      I hope you enjoyed your visit. Thanks for the support, and for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!