Pausing to Grieve (and book delay)

On Wednesday the 9th, or the 3rd of Sh’vat on the Hebrew calendar which will mark my mourning year, I got a call from my sister in Israel.

I knew before I answered the phone. Had more than half been expecting. Sepsis is a nasty, nasty infection and kills more than it’s share of perfectly healthy people.

Ima hasn’t been healthy in the entire time I’ve known her. Knew her.

She was buried on the 4th of Sh’vat and our week of sitting shiva began. I wasn’t able to keep shiva as fully as I’d have liked. There’s a reason all the mourners are supposed to come together for shiva with a community around them to help them mourn. I wasn’t completely alone, my rabbi was good about staying in touch, and some friends made time to ‘sit’ with me on Discord or by phone.  But I was more alone than I would have liked.

Shiva is over now, and I’m well into the first month of mourning. And… it’s pretty much the rollercoaster I expected.

Of all weeks, Kid chose week of shiva to get serious about taking up Magic the Gathering. In some ways, that’s been good. It’s been a low-pressure thing to spend time one when I can’t do anything but need to do something to stop the bad thoughts. (Not the grieving thoughts, those are healthy and needed. But most folks with mental health problems are familiar with the way healthy sad/angry/hurting thoughts can slide into unhealthy, damaging thoughts. So distraction at the right time can be good.)

In other ways, it’s been rough because he doesn’t always understand when I need to cut short a game, or just start crying randomly.

He never had a chance to know his savta. Neither did Kidling, of course, but she’s young enough this is all going over her head. He knows what death is, we’ve had pets that died. But he hasn’t before seen the kind of deep grief and mourning that comes with this kind of death.

Anyway, I’m babbling on more than I meant to. This post is sort of a heads up.

1st, I’m getting a post up about my Resolutions blog series this week. I don’t know for sure when I’ll start it again, though I hope to get back to it next week.

2nd, After agonizing about it since shiva ended, I’m going to need to push back the publication date for Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous. I just can’t work on it right now. So instead of February 14th (it wasn’t intentional, but I loved the idea of publishing this book on Valentines Day, damn it!) it will be out on March 14th.

3rd, there are probably going to be times over the next few months/year when this blog is going to function as a sort of grieving journal for me.

See you (hopefully) next week.

Lifetime Resolutions: Jess Mahler’s Bookshelf

When I first started this little series, I planned on discussing the identity-focused resolution first–who I want to become.

But (partly because it’s frigging late), I decided to start with the simplest resolution first.

Jess Mahler’s Bookshelf

It really is that simple, I want ‘Jess Mahler’s Bookshelf’. I want to be able to fill a shelf with books that have my name on the spine. Books that I can be proud to say are mine.

Depending on how you look at it, I’m either being ambitious or low balling. On the one hand, I’ve already written and published more books than 99% of people ever will. On the other hand, a typical shelf holds around 20 or 25 books, and many prolific authors have written over a hundred books.

But to get that kind of output, you need to be writing full time. Being a full-time writer has been an on-again-off-again dream for a while. The truth, though, is that I can’t see myself finding the time, energy, or sanity to write full time. At least, not without sacrificing my ability to achieve my other goals.

So one shelf’s worth of books sounds right. A book every year or two, as it were.

Note, I haven’t said anything about making money from these books, developing a fan base, etc.

One of the hard truths I accepted this year is that marketing is something I struggle with and don’t much like. And I don’t want to make it a focus anymore. I like both me and my writing better when I’m writing for love of it. For me, writing with another end goal in mind (like making money) becomes self-destructive.

I will do some marketing, but it’s going to be a ‘when I have time but if I can’t, I can’t’ kind of thing.

In theory, keeping a blog and talking about my books here and on social media may give me enough reach to get some steady sales. Especially when I get a couple more books out. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the idea.

But that’s not part of the goal, it’s a side benefit.

For more on the Bookshelf

I’ve decided that these resolutions will be the core of this blog going forward. I’ll try to write a blog post a week about my progress a resolution or something related to one of them.

Posts related to this resolution will have tags like ‘polyamory,’ ‘fantasy,’ ‘research,’ ‘werewolves,’ ‘conlang,’ and ‘relationships.’