Hope you all had a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving!
First, some tea thoughts and good news on my health front. (I know, you didn’t know I was sick. Turns out I’m not. That’s the good news.)
TheTeaTable was one of my first mail order tea services. I haven’t ordered lately because I have supply of loose teas still (see: local tea shop closing leading to tea spending spree) but the Tea Table’s Bourbon Sunday Blend is my absolute favorite of their black teas.
Alas, despite its name, it contains no bourbon. (But it would mix well with bourbon.) From the website description: a black tea blend of tippy Assam teas combined with real Bourbon vanilla pieces, giving it a wonderfully sweet aroma. Enjoy with milk and sugar for a great dessert.
It’s best when enjoyed during the weekend when the taste can be savored but I’ve been known to indulge on weekdays as well, especially on holidays. Follow the link above to TheTeaTable and you’ll find a full selection of all manner of teas at reasonable prices. Plus, they’ll toss in free samples with your order.
Only one piece of fiction writing news to report: my erotic romance novella topped out at 43,000 words and was sent off to my agent for review. It was Hawk’s Family but now it’s Phoenix Inferno. Not sure what the final name will be. It’s way out of my comfort zone so there are more than the usual nerves but I needed to write it. I’m still parsing why–we writers often get the desire to write something without knowing the reasons—but I know that it relaxed and occupied me these past few months.
I needed that because, since September, it’s been uncertain whether I had breast cancer or not.
Oh, sure, the doctors tell you not to worry and I’m excellent at compartmentalization but, OF COURSE I WAS WORRIED.
The saga started with a lump under my arm that turned out to be a skin issue but that led me to set up my yearly mammogram or, as I like to call it, the squishing of the boobs. That mammogram turned into an ultrasound where they found a “spot they couldn’t explain.” Fun.
That spot led me to a biopsy and awaiting the results with an attack of nerves. Naturally, it took longer than they said to get the results. The first call I got was an all-clear. Three days later, I received a call back that “hold on, wait!” They wanted to do a breast MRI because there’s still a spot they didn’t check.
That’s when worry set in.
And it turned into a saga. The insurance denied coverage of the MRI because my biopsy was clear. Fine, fine. Several rounds of doctor calls later, another month of waiting on insurance, and the MRI was approved, then another two weeks until the MRI. Remember, I started in September. The MRI was the Friday before Thanksgiving. Yeah.
I plunged myself into other concerns–kids, writing, etc.–and waited on the results. Finally got them the Wednesday of Thanksgiving. All clear. Nothing wrong but lumpy breasts.
But I did develop one habit during the three months of waiting that I’m going to keep.
Each time something came up for me to do, either a new story idea or a non-fiction writing assignment, I said to myself “If I have cancer, would I spend time on this?”
Turns out that question is terrific for setting priorities.
I promptly decided to stop doing reviews of tech like headphones or iPhone cases and to write about the things that mattered to me. Combine that with the election results and the uncertainty with our country right now, and I’m more convinced than ever to spend my time writing stories or articles that I need to write.
I thought about that in regards to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, this year’s family Thanksgiving movie. It has received so-so reviews but I found the world absolutely fascinating and it was full of crunchy story possibilities and characters. It’s more layered and nuanced to me than the Harry Potter movies (not the books), which are mostly adventures stories, though good ones. Fantastic Beasts was about people at the margins of society struggling to be heard.
It has its flaws–are there no non-white people in NYC in the 1920s??–but it also has something to say about the world today.
I hope that, eventually, my fiction does that too.