The Scarlet Queen is my new WIP. "Dark" is good, but it's gone on hiatus due to major interruptions. I don't sweat it when that happens to good openers. They sit on my hard drive till I make time to finish them off, if the idea's good I'll pick it up again.

I'm moving to Dallas, Texas. I've visited, but never lived there. I've got a job waiting for me that's live-in, taking care of my beloved godson Jaime and his sister Shali. They are cool people. They don't quite count as "children" being that they're cool people that I love. Hehehe.

I will have more space, much better food, much more security in the position because those kids will need someone around for those afternoon hours for a *long* time -- and the elbow room that I need. My room has a door on it. If I want to retreat and have privacy, which I will quite a lot of the time, I can just close the door. I've got about nine days before I leave, given that I don't know exactly which day my friend with the truck will arrive to get me and all my stuff out the door. Big truck and small trailer, both with shells. This will be *good* for transporting books.

This would've been more of a LiveJournal topic but LiveJournal's down at the moment. I've lived with the Texas crew before. The first time was a disaster. Later, he said "No one could have lived with us during that year." They were going through some of their own problems and Jaime wasn't born yet. Second time, WE had everything thrashed out through numerous discussions that went into detail on habits and abilities, and we got through it without any major conflicts. I left because in the same household we also had an extremely crazy woman, her young fiance who was going through a lot of personal problems and degenerating in character, and her three tortured kids who started out marginally okay and went way downhill from there. Irrational demands got piled on all of us, over and over, until it got to a point where it was ludicrous.

I moved out with Kitten, who was also putting up with the same shebang in a much too crowded house that was much too broke and tanking daily on personal infighting.

Tensions in this household erupted volcanically. I went into it *knowing* what my situation was, and I was honest as possible about my limits and my health. What chills me is that when all that was already discussed and decided, some of the same frictions and misunderstandings came up as when I and everyone else was laboring under the misconception that I had serious mental illness -- mostly clinical depression.

What I get are crying jags from chronic exhaustion. If sleeping 12 hours makes it go away, that's just the results of the ugly equation "normal activity takes four or five times the effort it would for anyone else." If eating something and then sleeping makes it go away, same thing. Anything that antihistamines knocks out that fast isn't depression but difficulty breathing. If an acetaminophen dose or an ibuprofen takes care of it, there's more of pain than angst in my wallows.

I'm basically a cheerful, optimistic, energetic guy with a sporadically social personality if I'm not physically stressed. NY wiped me out. NY was so far beyond what I was capable of doing in terms of everyday activity that I had five years of cumulative decline and loss of quality of life. When I got down here, I was literally incapacitated. I *had* wanted to blog the entire adventure, even writing episodes offline on the road and posting them as soon as I got in. I wasn't capable of it. My physical reserves dropped below even journaling. That's bad.

I ran into logistic problems every step of the way. Much of that was that I didn't have enough energy to be enthusiastic about the move, even sessile. Emotional energy was part of that cruel equation. Past a certain point of exhaustion, you could tell someone "Hey, you've won the Lotto and the world's most beautiful woman just asked you for a date" and he can't keep his eyes open or wave his hand. Logistic problems continued to mount as everyone involved including me had no idea how sick I was until it was way too late.

But in all the tensions that led to my leaving, one thing came up that I have to think about and take seriously.

"You've changed. You're not the person we knew before. You're unrecognizable and incomprehensible."

That may just be true, and it isn't a bad thing. I think back to who I was then, when I lived down here in New Orleans before, and I was miserable a lot of the time. I have something now that I didn't. Chazho is in the mail, and though I had Raven Dance in the mail then -- it wasn't the same. I wasn't the same. My attitude wasn't the same. I've spent years working on my attitude about my writing and grown a much more pragmatic, professional attitude. Rejection slips have dropped down from 'omg' emotional terrors to a routine "Oh. What can I send them now, do I have postage and a stable address, is that an encouraging one?"

Most of all, back then I was so lonely. I craved company and used anything as an excuse not to be alone with myself and a blank page. I had a thin skin about critique that bordered on a burn victim with 80% of his skin gone and pats on the back felt like the torturer's in town. That is a *huge* personality change. I don't talk as much about my writing. I do blog it, but that's different. Even in blogs, I'm emotionally satisfied to just drop a quick synopsis comment or two about content of current project, not go into vast detail unless I'm ruminating on process. I'm not posting entire chapters of current WIP to beg for support, to know someone out there is going to read and enjoy it, that my life's work isn't in vain.

My life's work isn't in vain.

I write for the people who enjoy my writing. I know they're there. I trust they're there and that my writing is a lot more skilled than it used to be. My ideas are still grabby, but half the time when I post a synopsis or short snippet, what I'm doing is practicing the Grabby Blurb itself. Prewriting and rehearsing what I might put in a query letter on the same project. I found out to my chagrin that people who aren't writers are sometimes driven up the wall by this -- because the Grabber worked and now they want to read it, but the book isn't done and isn't sold and I can't just point them at Amazon or B&N and tell them where to get it. Or if close, just pass out an ARC.

That took me by surprise. It's real -- I have to remember that as a reader *I* got that frustrated too years ago when I'd begged Fritz Leiber for when the next Fafhrd and Mouser book would come out at a con. Yep. That used to be me. Now I'm backstage. Now I've got five good years of work to rewrite and shovel out the door, knowing it's not going to appear all at once next year even if I get a good agent -- it will shuffle around and get sorted by contract into a publication schedule that makes sense, and meanwhile I'll keep writing good new books that may take less rewriting by the fact that my skills have grown. Or just as much, because my tough Inner Editor will keep picking on me till I wind up trying to turn into another Anthony Burgess.

This year I'm finding my balance and building a good life. I didn't turn back. I didn't give up and try to find some other way to survive and hope that "someday" I'll live as a fulltime writer. Someday is still now. I'm getting a handle on what I'm doing and it's starting to look like it's just a steady cumulative progression up the next slope. Onward!

Robert and Ari >^..^< (Will there be cats to play with in Texas?)