Granting Permission to Walk Away
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Writers can be a bit obsessive. I've spent my life feeding this life with retreats, conferences, workshops, writing sprints, and submissions nightmares. One of the questions we're asked a lot is when do you find time for writing. The simple answer is sometimes we don't. I stepped away five years ago when my life had one of those shifts we all experience. My husband and I left our jobs in Kansas City and moved south to be closer to our boys in Oklahoma. We took new jobs and began dealing with the culture shock of city to rural. Unfortunately for me, as we moved my parents began a decline we all naturally experience if we live long enough.
I found myself stretched between Oklahoma and Kansas City to deal with things my parents could no longer be expected to handle. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Myasthenia Gravis within a year of each other and ultimately, my brother and I had to make the call to move him into a facility before his care sent my mom to an early grave. Just as things began to calm down, I returned home one summer to find my mother far weaker than I thought she should be. A doctor's visit led straight to the hospital and the following day a diagnosis of cancer. I spent my summer there and returned in time to teach while managing my mom's care from afar.
My thoughts were not on writing for the first time in as long as I remember. Walking away is not something I regret. I want these final years with my parents. Many of my friends have been denied this. Now, I return to my passion and my writing while keeping one eye on my other life concerns. This is what writers do. We have no choice. No one is offering us millions of dollars to carry words the way athletes are paid to carry a ball. We Work. We parent. We live. Somewhere in there, we hold a small part close for that thing we are driven to do.