by Cheryl Brooks
My internet went down yesterday afternoon and wasn't up again until this morning. I finally got to talk to an actual person at about 11PM last night, and apparently the server had a major meltdown of some kind. It's amazing just how cut off you feel from the world when you can't reach out via your usual outlets. I always have my personal blogs go up at 12:01 AM, and there are people on the west coast who often comment almost immediately. Like a lot of other things, you don't realize how much you depend on the internet until it's gone.
Another thing you often take for granted is the interaction with your coworkers. I'm looking back at my calendar and seeing that my last post here on Casablanca Authors was July 29th. That's a long time to go between blogs, which is what happens when we add more authors to our roster and eliminate Sunday blogs, so what I haven't talked about here is old news elsewhere. But one thing stands out during that time period. On August 13th, I turned in my resignation at the hospital where I had been employed as an ICU nurse since April 1990. I started nursing school in the fall of 1973. Do the math. That's a long, long time to be suctioning (my personal favorite!), giving shots and pills, and emptying bedpans--and very frequently changing sheets when the bedpans were insufficient to the task. I don't miss those things much at all, but what I do miss is the people.
I'm now a full-time writer. So far, money hasn't been much of an issue except in my own mind. The bank balance hasn't suffered a whole lot. The only reason I can see for that is that I'm spending less on gasoline, food, etc. because I'm staying home more. Since I'm not the only employee to leave that hospital recently (for a variety of reasons), about a dozen of us got together last month, some of whom I hadn't seen in years. We plan to continue these mini reunions, but I have a feeling they'll peter out eventually as people find different jobs and meet new people.
Facebook has been a great way to stay in touch. I see the events of their lives, but that face-to-face interaction is something that writers don't always get. I guess that's why conferences are so popular. Yes, they're expensive and often require us to travel long distances, but the face time is important to all of us. Next month, my local chapter is having their annual retreat at Bradford Woods near Mooresville. I'm retreat chairperson along with my critique partner, Sandy James. I volunteered for that job because I have always known how important it is to sit down and relax and talk to people, and I really know it now! Writers need interaction with one another because our concerns, like those of so many other career groups, are very career-specific. Our theme for this retreat is Feeding the Muse--a topic not too many others can relate to.
Also next month, Sandy and I will be giving an informal discussion of publishing, writing, and marketing books at the Starbase Indy Star Trek convention in Indianapolis. Can't wait for that, but in the meantime, I should probably celebrate my "retirement" from nursing (I'm not tapping into the retirement account yet!) by giving away a book. I've got an ARC of Wildcat, my next book to be published with Sourcebooks. It's not slated for release until February, but you can win a copy of your very own by posting a comment telling me what you do to feed your muse, or anything else you'd like to say about the importance of having friends handy when you need to vent.
Be sure to include your email address so I can contact the winner, who will be chosen at random!