It’s been so long since I’ve been in touch, I imagine that I should write you a letter like the ones people send at holidays: “And here we are in Santorini! Harald is no longer a guest of Her Majesty, so we kept the champagne flowing the entire trip. Doesn’t he look wonderful? He came home a strapping shadow of himself, sans Type 2 diabetes! Poor little Gustav accidentally set off a firecracker behind a mule during one of our excursions–thus the eyepatch. He only has to wear it a few hours a day now, and it hasn’t slowed him down on the footy field! Dear Penelope got a terrible sunburn, and is now engaged to a young man in the island’s food service industry. We are cautiously optimistic that she comes to her senses before she comes into her trust fund next year! Happy Winter Holidays!”
I’m being silly–mostly because it feels fun to be silly again. I get a genuine kick out of end-of-year letters. They are compact and complete. People who write them are brave and open, and seem content with their lives.
If I were writing you a letter about the last year, it would be long, and so full of emotion that it would be nearly as difficult for you to read as it would’ve been for me to write.
The (very) short version: My mother died of a tragic terminal illness. My mother-in-law died of a difficult and complex condition. We helped our fourteen-year-old dog, Scouty, to the end of his life, with help from our veterinarian’s loving staff. Our daughter and her husband birthed a sweet new baby boy into our lives.
That’s a lot, yes? Pain. Love. Shock. Fear. Sadness. Depression. Thankfulness. Grief. Relief. Tears. Laughter. Joy. More tears. Many, many hugs.
It has all felt too complicated to share about all these things widely and often. It’s not so much that I’m a terribly private person. I mostly haven’t had the words.
Funny, that. A writer without words. Inchoate. I’ve always been fascinated by that word. Merriam-Webster defines it as “being only partly in existence or operation” especially “imperfectly formed or formulated.” That’s exactly where my words are. They are there, but live ghostly half-lives. They feel impossible to form, impossible to force from my throat, or send them onto paper or a screen. They are there, and yet I can’t speak them into existence.
I wish I were only talking about my emotions. My professional writing has lagged. There are writers who write novels and stories and essays even as their daily lives flare with tragedy or great joy. Writers who do their jobs. Support their families. Get up and do it, even when they feel they can’t. I live a soft life, without hunger or huge responsibilities. I feel a bit ashamed that I haven’t gotten up every day to write. Sometimes I forget how much I’ve already written. Sometimes I wonder if I can ever tell a truly good story again. Any story I write has a lot to live up to. My life has been full and so dramatic at late that I feel like any fiction I might write could never touch it. I want to be able to share the depth of feeling I’ve experienced in the past year, and I just don’t know if I can do it. And if I can’t, can I simply write something enjoyable to read? Such a cliche that life is stranger than fiction. While it may be true, fiction cannot touch life for revealing our souls.
Still. I am working on a novel. It’s quirky and different and, of course, there’s at least one murder, and a whole lot of bad behavior. So much for soulful gravitas?
A couple of months ago, I took some time and gathered all of my short stories into one volume. My words have been recently inchoate, but I have brought many, many words and stories into the world. Putting the book together felt as though I were gathering friends around me. I reread many of them with wonder, and unexpected pleasure. They have kept my words safe for me.
Did you know I have a new book of stories available?
“When I Make Love to the Bug Man” is a compilation of over two decades of published short stories. Individually, they’re mysteries, gothics, and surreal and horror stories. Collectively, they’re everything you probably already expect from my work. I think that’s a good thing! In a lovely surprise, many people have been buying it in paperback (only on Amazon for now), along with the ebook version (everywhere you buy online, or by order from your local bookstore). It’s on Overdrive and Scrib’d too.
Here’s my favorite Instagram post with the cover:
Who wouldn’t want their new favorite book/cover on the side of a bus shelter?
In other book news…I’ve put nearly all of my previous novels–from ISABELLA MOON to the BLISS HOUSE gothic series into Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited for a few months as a fun little experiment. (They’re still available if you’re not a KU reader, of course!)
It feels right to tell you what is going on in my life. It feels right to talk about my work, and what’s going on. Thank you for reading this, and for reading my work. It means a lot. Let’s not be such strangers, okay?
Sally forth! Hugs from me– xxL
10 thoughts on “Hello, Laura here!”
So good to see a post from you, Laura. I’m sorry you’ve had such an emotional year, but I’m glad there have been some positive elements. (A grandson recently joined our family, too. What fun they are!) When I Make Love to the Bug Man is going straight to my TBR. I’m looking forward to reading it.
In my neophyte writing neck of the woods, this year I released my first standalone (it’s just a novelette), sold five short stories, and found a publisher for my first novella (due out October). This writing thing is rather fun! (Not as fun as grandkids, but still.)
Priscilla! What a wonderful year for you–a grandbaby and so many book babies. I hope you are celebrating like mad, and keeping up the excellent work!
I hope you love When I Make Love to the Bug Man. I’m a pretty proud Book Mama, and the grandbaby is visiting this week. Absolute heaven 💕
It is so lovely to see your words, the silly and the serious. Welcome back, my dear. I have missed these essays so much.
You are one of my favorite reasons for writing. Miss you! Thank you 💜💜💜
You are hardly without words. This is wonderfully heartfelt and beautifully written, and I am halfway through your short stories and loving them.
You are the sweetest, Karen. 💙
Bug Man arrived here safely yesterday. I have not yet cracked it open, except to read the inscription, but it has a place of honor with your other books on my shelf of books by people I know and love. I’ll probably need to grab an e-copy as it seems to be my preferred reading method of late. Great to see you back at keyboard and I miss you muchly.
Yay! I’m delighted it arrived. Can’t wait to hear what you think. Check your email 😉
No words. Just sending lots of hugs! xoxo
Lots of hugs back to you, dear Brandee 🧡