by Allison Pang
Apologies for the slight lateness of this post - holiday madness has set in, which apparently includes copious amounts of food, sleeping, and staying up exceedingly late to wrap things. >_<
At any rate - writing influences this year for me were fairly slim. In fact, I'd call them non-writing influences. If you thought I withdrew in a major way, you'd be right - mostly because I was so overwhelmed with physical issues, I could barely handle a lot of my normal day to day.
1) Pain - sad to say, but pain was probably my biggest influence this year - in my lack of productivity and just my general disinterest in anything other than not hurting. Over the years I've tried to explain to people what chronic pain feels like - and it's one of those things that can be hard to grasp. If you take a pain scale of 1 to 10 - stubbing your toe might be a 9...but that's going to go away in five minutes or less. Imagine being at a 5 or 6, where it never, ever stops. It is debilitating and eventually it does lead to depression (for me, at least.) I'm probably the only one I know who enjoyed getting her last tattoo because the pain on my arm distracted me from the pain in my back for a couple of hours. It felt GOOD.
So, yeah. Between the pain itself and the painkillers blitzing me out of my head, writing was rather craptacular, but I also pulled away from most social media, blogging, etc. I just didn't want to be bothered and also, listening to someone do nothing but bitch about how much they hurts gets boring after a while. So, it was just easier to NOT be involved. Hopefully now things will be better.
2) Comics - it's not that I read a huge amount of them so much as I learned more about the side of things that I need to do when it comes to collaboration. Having something creative to do without being responsible for the ENTIRE thing (like a novel, ha ha) was nice. It kept my toes in the pool and allowed me to work in small chunks as I was able. Aimo was and is an ongoing part of that, but I also credit her with always being able to pop in with something cheerful to say at some of my worst lows this year. (Or a naughty drawing, because frankly, who *doesn't* like getting naked elf pictures on their phone from time to time?) *nods sagely*
3) Family - part of not feeling great for me meant unplugging from the world (as noted above) and trying to do more with the kids. There's a certain time frame that parents have - a limited window, before kids hit those teenage years and then they're busy trying to figure out who THEY are. (And want nothing to do with parents, thanks.) I'm on the cusp of that with the oldest, so my window is closing. (Not to mention he was diagnosed with ADHD and both depression and anxiety disorders this year - it's been pretty stressful, overall.) So, part of my pulling away from things was about trying to deal with that AND try to work on the inter-family relationships. But again, we are starting to get a handle on a number of these issues - and hopefully that will turn into a more productive me. :)
That being said? I'm really looking forward to kicking 2013 to the curb.