The last time I released an article for this column was April 22, 2020. Honestly, looking up that answer in preparation of writing this hurt a bit. The MH who wrote that post feels completely different from the one writing now. There have been times in the last almost two years where I’ve had to mourn losing her.

By now, some of you have seen the post on 18thWall where James updated y’all on why we basically went radio silent. I went quiet about two years ago and sometime after that, the entirety of 18thWall just seemed to stop.

I’ll be honest. I’m the one of the four of us that was diagnosed with a chronic illness. The official diagnosis came about a year ago but it was just a couple weeks after that last article where I started to notice something was up. I’ll take a second to note, I said chronic and not terminal. A MRI last year eliminated the things that could be deadly.

Last March, I was diagnosed with a Chronic Intractable Migraine. The biggest difference between a regular chronic migraine and what I have is that mine doesn’t stop. I haven’t had a pain free day in almost two years. Now, I don’t tell you all this because I want sympathy or pity. I’m sure there are some of you who are reading this who have been in pain for far longer than I.

There have been times in the last two years, the last year especially, where I’ve mourned the loss of the me from two years ago. The one who had pain free days and everything just seemed easier. There’s been a lot of figuring things out and it’s only been in the last few months I’ve started to try and piece my writing life back together.

So, to those of you who have been waiting on a project from me and it got put on far too long a pause, I’m sorry. To those who come and read my musings week to week and have been left hanging for two years, I’m sorry.

I’m trying to bring myself back up to the writing pace I had before, but I don’t know if that’s possible. Maybe it is, but it will take a bit for me to go back to it. You’ll see in later posts that I’ve been playing with how I approach writing, trying to trick my brain into being more productive – and sometimes it works better than others.

But yes, posts are coming back. Unofficially, they’ll restart next week. James and I have picked a couple of our favorites to run again before I return with new ones in February. I’m working on having a bit of a backlog so there are plenty of posts. That way I can make sure I don’t take an extended break for a long time.

There will be a lot of what you’re used to: things I’ve learned, odd tidbits off of what I’m working on, reviews of things I read or watched. You might catch me chatting about things from the last two years, and more recent releases as well. Other times, I may chat more about what’s going on in my life and how its affecting my writing.

Because far too often, as creators we try and paint things as sunshine and roses when they aren’t. In many ways, this pandemic has hurt all of us, and in ways that people don’t immediately catch. There are the obvious ways, we’ve lost people we know, watched them be sick, the fear, you know what I mean. But there’s also the toll it takes on us mentally, the way the fear clouds our creativity, the utter lack of energy we must approach tasks that were once so easy.

As we enter the third year of this, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to expect from 2022. I probably will try and keep this light and informative, maybe I’ll reach into my own memory and share some stories I have never mentioned before.

Also, I’d love you guys to engage with me more. You can come over to the 18thWall Twitter (@18thWall) or to my personal (@girlinpink44). I’m working on being more active on social media. I will warn you, now through March you’re going to have to deal with a lot of basketball. I will not apologize for it.

So, what have I been working on?

Dr. Rosella Tassoni’s first full-length mystery Jazz Street got a major overhaul last year. I’ve changed how I’m approaching the story (and why I made those changes might be the subject of a future blog post). There are several lessons there. From what I’ve done of the current draft, my changes have made this book so much stronger.

I’ve been working on my book for the Chronosmith Chronicles, which is The Importance of Glass Slippers. It’s a unique project for me. Hopefully I can chat about it more soon. It’s been a slow process as it’s a genre I usually don’t work in. Learning how to adapt has been an experience that has truly helped me to grow as a writer.

James and I have been working on The Raconteur Roundtable and making plans to bring it back. I will also tease that I’m working on a podcast of my own, but that’s all I’m going to say about it at this time.

There’s also been one more project that has helped me get back on the creative horse. It’s easily the most ambitious thing I’ve tried to do to date and I’m super excited for it. I do want it to get a little further along before I chat about it here. But I can’t properly express to you how excited I am. And yes, I’m aware at how close together I used multiple instances of “excited” (whoops there was a third).

It’s been slow and steady over the last six months (give or take) as I am trying to get back to a functional writing schedule. But I’m getting there. I’m writing more, I’m reading more (current read is State of Terror by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny – political thrillers are a guilty pleasure of mine), I’m even playing video games more (Switch and PC). I’m trying to put stories in so I can start writing them out again.

There’s no wide overreaching point to this post (though if you stuck around and were still wondering, I do acknowledge I have taken this long to circle to it before). It’s more of a hi, how are you, here’s where I am now.

And to say this column is back. It’ll be similar but different, just how I am compared to who I was two years ago. Hopefully my struggles and challenges, my victories and realizations can help you guys out.

See you soon,