This has been a difficult year for many people. For some, it's been a difficult decade. That's where I am. It's the reason my blog is rarely updated: the old saying suggests "if you can't say anything good, then say nothing." I have said very little, and that, I think, says more than I need to give details on here.
Suffice it to say that thanks to some very kind people, I am at work on a novel again. The tentative (in-progress, really) cover is shown above, inset in a desktop wallpaper I made to keep myself motivated.
This manuscript has been with me a long time. I wanted to do a good job on it, but needed to get some distance. To that end, being unable to work did me no lasting harm. I've recently been able to make some hard decisions.
First of all, the publishing market is insanely complicated. It always has been. COVID-19 only made that worse. Good, established editors and acquisitions people lost jobs. Many changed positions in the business and kept going. Some opted out. It's harder than ever to know what's going on, and how to address it.
Book sales are way down, indie or traditional, and the movie industry began to reel, concern over safety of everyone's safety throwing the old funding patterns awry. Take away the storytellers, and the entertainment industry, et al, is a mess.
Ho-hum. No news? Well, not to me. I'm just summing it up.
Personally, I have a whole other set of problems. Apparently, disability conditions I could never have ducked out on. That tops the list. It set off an avalanche of peripheral problems, thanks to the antiquated medical and associated systems where I live. (To be honest, we would relocate, if we could. It would be a practical decision.) We're working on that, but don't have a lot of hope for change anytime soon.
There's no way to change the medical issues. There's no cure. There's only living with it, and doing something to feel productive. Facing those facts cost me.
Being honest with myself, well, that conflicts with some people who have little understanding of what it's like. I am a person who was once physically active (I worked with animals, on farms, and in rural areas), and who cannot be now. I don't know even day to day how my health will go. Good days are getting farther apart. Things, my joints and connective tissue, go wrong overnight. Braces help rest the damage (not autoimmune), but are no viable replacement for a healthy body.
The decision to ignore all the "you should sell" advice and simply enjoy the art for what it is, as I have chosen to do, is very freeing. In future, I will not actively seek agents or editors, or other venues outside my social loops. I expect to get no money for what I do, because it's a bad gamble.
I want to tell great stories. I want to do an excellent job of it, because I enjoy the art form, and because it's within my means to do.
Photography is outside my realm; I don't have the equipment. Painting had gotten painful; I was making three paintings a year when I had to stop. I don't have the space to work, even if I could maintain it at a competitive rate. I doodle with graphic arts, mostly online, but there again, I don't have the equipment or software.
This is where I am. I make up stories. I like to see a copy sitting on a shelf, a solid copy. Not an ebook, stored on someone else's device (I don't read ebooks, myself... eye issues). I don't expect to make a profit; past history proves it unlikely.
There are those who like my stories. Friends, mostly. Family, no. Few. I intend to finish the de Oro manuscript, which I am editing and revising at present. I'll cobble up some kind of cover, set everything up myself, and get a printed copy, eventually, for the satisfaction of it.
Life goes on. Look for some way to have fun. COVID-19 won't last forever, and neither will we. Life is a gift... it shines the more you use it.
Be happy. Shine on.
R.L.M. Tipton, artist and author (for the joy of it)