It’s been a brutal and very long year here on the East Coast.
It was exactly this time last year when one of my greatest adversaries began skulking through the bushes looking for the perfect angle to attack. Menopause. Oh, you dastardly, evil twit. Perfectly natural, they say. There are remedies for that, they say. Well, they lie. Outrageous fatigue, headaches, bloating, hot flashes, hyper anxiety, moody outbursts, weight gain…lucky me, I got the full monty.
But, as I look back on this hellish year, I notice a few orbs of light standing there like brazen soldiers, encircling me, protecting me, egging me on. One of them was the beautiful woman who is my wife and without whom, I most certainly would have ended up in a rubber room. The other shining star was my critique buddy and editor (she calls herself my “critter”). Also a life saver. The hours and hours we spent on my latest novel (J.J. Houston: Murder on Moon Street) kept my mind occupied and off of my suffering. God Bless you both. The other armored soldier, and last but not least, was Miss Jennifer Jane Houston.
This may not be true for every woman going through menopause, but a hammer of Thor-ish proportions bashed me over the head, leaving me with an overwhelming desire to revisit my childhood. I could not deny it, although I most certainly resisted. Giving in to the impulse, I began to write Murder on Moon Street, delighting in the descriptions of the countryside that cradled my childhood and immersing myself in those delicious memories. I openly admit this fictitious tale holds some of my fondest memories, although I strictly adhere to the waiver: Any resemblance to real people or places is strictly coincidental. Still, while writing J.J., I did find myself jettisoned back to a simpler time in my life, a time when I still believed in all the good in the world. I felt safe there, tucked away in 1963, surrounded by a clan of warriors who knew when to stand up and defend themselves and their families against oppressive forces. Ah, yesteryear.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It’s true. But, I am thankful for the gifts given to me, for the magic a simple pen holds. I allowed J.J. the freedom to tell me her story and, in return, she allowed me to tag along while she went out on her adventures.
As I continue to reflect on the events of the past year, I am in awe of, and so very grateful for the orbs of light in my life. Those brave souls who hold the flashlight while I try to find my last thread of sanity. The words seem so small, so inadequate, but Thank You.