Official confirmation: this writer’s life is circular

On the general principle that if you can’t find something to read, you should write something, I go to the list of ideas I have for blog posts, all, as in a seamstress’s workshop, in various stages of completion, lying around draped over forms and mannequins and furniture.

A gray chinchilla being hand fed her treats.


A year goes by – everything is the same

I find this, from almost exactly a year ago: May 7, 2013 10:19 AM. [NOTE: I never turned it into a post, but I’m fidgeting because I can’t write, it’s raining (and I got the last of the garden fertilized this morning, and there is NO energy left and major brain fog), and it made me chuckle to see how little has changed.]

At, Amanda Green complains It’s Tuesday, where’s my brain. I start writing a comment. It gets too long, so I bring it to my own place:

I’m feeling a bit snarky, too, it being Tuesday.

Before I comment, I want to say that
1) I am not minimizing YOUR pain
2) I do not want sympathy/pity/whatever. Okay?

[More whining stuff – read at your own risk.]

At least your brain WORKS. Mine does not (CFS). Except for carefully managed bits of time when I MAKE it work.

Sometimes I wonder why I waste what usable time there is on writing fiction – and then I remember: it gives me more pleasure than anything else – and I would get supremely depressed if I stopped. I bet you would, too.

The planet has rolled around the sun again. It is the same season: Spring gardening. I am writing the SAME novel – Pride’s Children – but we are MUCH further along. I have been posting finished scenes every Tuesday (+/-) for another year!

Some things DO change

In the past year I discovered that Vitamin B1 helps a small subset of CFS people, including me (and I’ve written about getting more time and functionality for writing), and use is faithfully to get at least 20% more functional time. Adding self-discipline to this has improved things a bit as well, so the happiness quotient is up.

Walking has taken a turn for the worse – which reduces that happiness quotient, but we’re working on it – and there is plenty of hope (GRUMBLE: going to doctors to acquire that hope uses up writing time.)

But Life is pretty much, in many ways, the same as it was last year – and the garden needs the same attention, and it’s raining again (Duh – Spring in NJ), and everything is Beautiful and getting Greener and Flowering. The azaleas are ready to burst like pink popcorn. I swear the same weeds are coming back from wherever I didn’t pull out the taproot.

Surely I must have learned something in a year?

Some significant things did happen. Our family, which had four living grandparents in their 90s for our children, lost our first one: RIP Ann C. (Paruta) Ehrhardt in January, the epitome of a sweet woman (she didn’t want to be called a mother-in-law – so she was always Ann, Bill’s mom, to me), who NEVER did any of those horrible things they are supposed to do, never had a cross word for me (or her son!), adored her grandchildren, and whose first words to me, “My, you’re a tall one!” I will always remember, failed quickly and suddenly, and left the family to go home to Our Lord on January 16, 2014.

Sometime between then and mid-March, the second gastrocnemius muscle (calf – the one in my right leg) stopped firing, making my walking something that looks like an Imperial Walker from Star Wars. It is the muscle that pushes you up to tiptoe – so I can’t dance. The right one went sometime after spinal surgery a number of years ago, so I am clumsier than I like to be.

My silly little chinchilla, Gizzy (above), stopped eating for over three weeks, also in that time frame. They can live 10-15 years; she is two and a half. I fought for her life with a vengeance that I now realize was because our family – and I – couldn’t take any more loss. I had given up, was letting her just be, waiting for the natural conclusion of NOT EATING ANYTHING, when a friend recommended I pray to St. Francis of Assisi, Patron saint of animals, and somewhere in there I had the idea to wonder what a chinchilla in the Andes after a hard winter with little food would eat in the Spring after getting down to skin and bones – and I came up with the idea of wheat grass. The health-food store provided, and she started taking two or three blades at a time – yeah, lots of food – but rallied, and now I am happy to clean up after our little furball, because how you determine if a chinchilla is okay is by whether little green pellets go in – and little black pellets come out – and I am happy to report that they do. In quantity.

The spouse retired – after 11 years of teaching science in the NJ public school system and 22 years working in industry. We are still trying to figure out (well, he is) what ‘retirement’ will mean. Meanwhile, it has been wonderful to have the man of the house around with some time to do more than mow the lawn and attack horribly overgrown things during the horrible hot humid NJ summer months and get poison ivy. The garden is feeling its trim – here is last year’s picture of part of it, and this year should look quite similar, but tidier:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last year in yoga has been wonderful – though I’m on hiatus until we figure out why I can touch both feet to my forehead, but can’t walk around the block. Yup, that’s me:

handstandI learned to do book covers, and Pride’s Children’s cover went from this:

PC Anobl logoto, with the help of online folks, an amazing photo, and PowerPoint:

PC 2nd gen coverStill a placeholder – and I have a lot of ideas for what else it needs – but, I think, much better.

Wattpad or not – I’d like your opinion, reader or writer:

I am considering putting Pride’s Children up as a serial on another platform, Wattpad. I am thinking of the possibility of more readers – and a younger demographic in general.

Do you have any experience with Wattpad, either as a reader and/or as a writer putting up work in serialized form? I see that they have both younger and more adult books (with adult meaning all kinds of things, including mainstream novels).

When I first looked at Wattpad, they didn’t have a mainstream category, so it didn’t look as if I’d fit there, and most of their authors and readers seemed quite young – possibly not interested in my kind of story. They seem to have matured as a platform, and are doing very well – but I’m having trouble finding people I know who have personal experience, so I’d especially appreciate any comments from those of you who read my blog and/or my fiction. Thanks in advance!

Life in the round (only slightly eccentric) orbit

So: the seasons roll around again. The household has its small changes and upheavals. The French say it best:

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

(The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

How has YOUR life changed in the past year? Is it basically the same – or not?





6 thoughts on “Official confirmation: this writer’s life is circular

  1. juliabarrett

    Holy shemoley! How do you stand on your hands like that? Yikes! And impressive! Years are weird spans of time, yes? They become increasingly circular as we get older. But you are accomplishing a great deal nonetheless.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It’s amazingly simple. You put your hands down at the right distance from the wall, kick up higher than the horizontal, and walk down the wall. If the other women can do it, I often can. Except the standing balancing poses, because those require, ah, standing and balancing – which is very hard to do if the back of your leg doesn’t fire properly.


  2. clairechase51

    I loved reading about your life and how it has changed in the last year and how it has stayed the same. It’s all in the details. I knew about about your mother in law, but did not know how sweet she was or what she said when she met you. I knew you had a chinchilla, but not this story of her attempt at starvation; I had seen the latest cover of your book, but didn’t remember seeing the first one so I got to appreciate the progression. . I’d say there were lots of changes to your life. Thanks for sharing. 🙂



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