It’s the Might Have Beens that Get You…

“Oh, it’s the might have beens that get you
when you’re old,
when the weeks fly by so fast
and the story’s mostly told.”
~ Sherry Blue Sky

Two months or so ago, an artist friend of mine lost the final battle against a chronic illness that had been part of her life for some time. A week before she died, she emailed me to commission farewell poems for each of her children. I had been very busy with hospital visits and with trying not to puke my guts out… so I didn’t open the email until several days after her death.

I was heartbroken, very hurt because I couldn’t give her that last bit. I didn’t know what to do. After discussing my feelings with my Piano Man and a couple of friends, I decided to use the limited information I had to write the poems. I sent them to her children with a copy of her email… and with my apologies for not having been there for their mom when she needed me.

I had never met (or spoken to) any of her children, so I was a bit anxious about their response. My apprehension didn’t last long. They replied right away, and thanked me for the gesture. They explained that although their mom knew her condition was terminal, no one foresaw the end would come as quickly as it did. So she never had a chance to say goodbye.

I’m not a crier, my Wicked Luvs, but there were a few lines from my late friend’s email that ripped tears out of places I didn’t know could cry. She wrote, “I’m frightened, Maga. The doc says I’ve lots of time but I think he’s wrong. I’ve wasted much time trying to stay honest to my plans. I should’ve changed things years ago. Now I know there’s lots I won’t have time to do.”

Don’t panic, my Luvs. I’m not dying—at least not any faster than anyone else is. But my friend’s words made me think about my own approach to life, to being ill, and to planning. For instance, before I got sick, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my writing: I would publish a few stories and novellas on my own, then approach traditional publishers with my longer works.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know my plans have been seriously amended more than thrice. In the original version, the first AlmaMia Cienfuegos novel would be trying to find its way into the world in 2015. Then there would be a dark urban fantasy novel, and more short stories… And with the kind of teeth baring stubbornness that few people can survive and stay sane, I’ve been coming up with ways to stick to those plans.

Right before April, as I reread my friend’s email, I decided that I was done twisting my life in order to force it into a mold that is no longer mine. I wanted to visit the Dominican Republic, and research the landscape, before I finished the AlmaMia Cienfuegos novel. The book is fiction, but I wanted the setting to be as true as possible. My GI issues put an indefinite hold on those plans. Memory, the Muse and the seat of my pants shall have to do the work. It might be more fun. I must (and I will) do what makes me happiest now, and the rest shall come when it comes.

The following are some of the changes that will affect my blogging ways:
– I will blog thrice a week—Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays—unless a blog event entices me to cheat. Tuesdays will be for storytelling (fiction and creative nonfiction), for writing updates, and for bits of witchy living (posts like this one). Fridays will be for news, the occasional review, and for the re-posting of tales previously published on my former blog. Saturdays will be for poetry.

– I shall continue Expanding Bits of Fiction and Poetry into Haibun, but there won’t be regular posts asking you to help me pick the one you like best. My choices will be based on how a particular poem bit fits the prompt(s) offered by the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, dVerse, Prompt Nights… or on pure whim. Yep, I’m super wicked and selfish to the bone. 😀

– Next year, Dark Fiction for the Cruellest Month will be a one-prompt event. The same applies to Witches in Fiction, starting this year—just one prompt, which will stay open for about 5 days.

– While I work on writing for commercial publication, I will satisfy my sharing fancies by posting Stories of Yamasá (super short creative nonfiction about growing up in the Dominican Republic, which I hope will help with my AlmaMia Cienfuegos research, since the novel is set in my homeland); and Tales of the Gashlycrumb Tinies (in which I craft totally unauthorized stories about some of Edward Gorey’s deliciously creepy children).

So… this is the many-times-revised plan, my Wicked Luvs. Let’s see (read?) how it goes.

a not so random note: to he who told me “You must use your time for doing things more beneficial to others than to yourself like The Lord intended”, I wish to say that “You must go and smoke a bag of rotten toes.” See? Trying to make other people do what you believe is right for them is distasteful… and mighty stinky.

Oh yes, and I cut my hair very short. I’m ready for surgeries, for summer heat, and for ample grinning. The “might have beens” won’t get me (at least not all of them), if I can help it. 😉

Magaly Guerrero, May 2016