You know what makes me sublimely happy? What keeps me going, excited and motivated as I run SLM?
When I get an e-mail, submission or not, from someone saying they’re huge fans of Sick Lit Magazine. That we’ve inspired them, spurred creative thoughts and that we’re making an impact. Because when I came up with the concept for this magazine, it was for us to be a catalyst for change among literary magazines and the literary world as a whole. We are the shining beacon of light in a world full of dark that constantly says, “No.” We choose to celebrate art, poetry and writing–in all forms–without boundaries and without stifling your form of expression with arbitrary limitations.
It’s because of my passion that I began this venture–I vowed that when it became a burden rather than an escape that brought me happiness, I would take a step back.
As many of you know, I suffer from multiple autoimmune conditions (asthma, interstitial cystitis, arthritis–which no physician has yet to connect the dots between to find out the overarching causal disease) that leave me drained, in pain, depressed, perpetually fighting fatigue and recurring MRSA staph infections, all while doing my damnedest to keep my “McMansion” clean and raise my 8 year-old and my 3 year-old (FULL TIME).
Now, back in October when I officially started SLM, Jackson, my 3 year-old who will be 4 in August, was still napping, wearing diapers and sleeping in until 11; this gave me time to work and to create. This is not the case any more. He requires a lot of attention, help, etc.
Here’s the bottom line: I got a reply e-mail that I felt was out of line, snippy and mean. Earlier that day, my doctor sliced open my left index finger because of a raging MRSA staph infection underneath my cuticle. I’m left-handed. I was trying to reply to as many e-mails as I could that night, using only my right hand, replying to these e-mails on my phone. It disheartened me; while I work diligently, for free, and most often while I’m fighting an illness. It was a well-crafted and snarky e-mail. It was almost scathing. It hurt me and dampened my passion and spirit.
This year has been a wild roller coaster of both emotions and events. It’s as if there are a few, rare, calculating people out there who know just how and when to hurt me. I’m not ashamed for a second to admit that I get hurt or that I am disillusioned.
I’m ashamed of people who are quick to judge, label and cast aside their peers.
The happiest posts I made this year were about women’s equality, announcing our Pushcart Prize nominees and naming some of you individually, highlighting your excellent work, spirit and enthusiasm.
To openly attack someone who has given you their heart on a silver platter, to openly attack someone without provocation, is mean. For example, I may have laughed when someone called me “Batshit crazy” earlier this month, but the comment stung. You know what else is mean? Blocking, lying, and, well, being an asshole.
My husband and I laughed the other night about when I used to work at the bank (as a banker) and was performing a Notary Public service for a couple. I was deathly ill, had actually just thrown up in the ladies room, was sweating profusely at my desk when the husband said to me, “You are way too giddy for this job. Damn are you bubbly.”
I had said about three words. My pallor was sickly white and I was anything but “bubbly.”
Although I’m down at the moment, I need to acknowledge and thank my pillars, my cheerleaders–without you, SLM would not be what it is today. Prerna Bakshi, Kate Jones, Chumki Sharma, Don Tassone, Gene Farmer, Jeffrey H Toney, Dee Lean, C.C. O’Hanlon, Brian Michael Barbeito, Scott Thomas Outlar, Sara Codair, Katie Lewington, Hillary Umland, Annabel Banks, Ani King, Penny Barratt, Lee and Bibi Hamblin, Joanne Spencer, Grace Black, Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber, Rebecca Harrison, Paul Beckman, Nick Black, Nick Kitto, Jen Ellerson, Mickie Bolling-Burke, Toby Penney, Chris Iacono, Tom Gumbert, Gavin Hedaux, Rob True, Owen Clayborn, Jamie Andrews–and that doesn’t even scratch the surface.
It’s late. I’m tired. I’m disappointed.
P.S.- Visiting the past (for me) is like digging up graves; it hurts. It holds life, memories, pain, joy and milestones. And for whatever reason, my brain is hardwired to think that if I keep revisiting it and giving it life, then I can turn the past into the long-distance “present,” and then that I’ll feel whole again. I’ll be whole again. That the hole in my soul that aches every night as I lay down to sleep will somehow be satiated.
This year, I’ve reconnected with a high school best friend; and it has turned into the best friendship I’ve ever had.
In the beginning of May I got to go to my hometown and spend the weekend with her. It was the lightest, most magical few days I’ve had in a long time. We were bright lights again, giddy and silly; we finished each other’s sentences. We went shopping at a thrift store and marveled at each little gem we saw.
I remember walking up her stairs…I tripped and dropped everything in my arms. Normally, with the crazy pace of life and watching the kids, I would have cursed; my blood pressure would’ve gone up. Instead, I giggled like a happy gradeschooler before clumsily picking everything up. We spent mother’s day together walking along the beach, looking for shells, talking about everything, yet nothing.
We both cried as I drove off on Tuesday morning, as the rain rolled in.