The State of the Ellie: Be Still

only for you by jeremiahketner

Hoo-boy, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. And I have to admit that coming to the keyboard is giving me the sweats. That’s not internet hyperbole — I just had to go change my shirt. But there’s a tiny susurrus of bravery keeping me here. Let’s see where it leads, hrm?

It’s been a month and a half since The Quittening. It feels like a year and more.

Every time I meet up with someone for coffee, they inevitably ask what I’m up to these days. Some people don’t know I’m not writing, some do. They all get the same basic response: “Not much. Working part-time at the card store. Otherwise, a lot of reading and video games.” An awkward, confused pause on behalf of my well-meaning friend follows, and I don’t know how to fill it. So we move on and talk about them because it’s more interesting. Their lives are filled with stress and work and excitement and hobbies and families. They’re busy. We know how to handle busy; we don’t know how to handle vast stretches of time with no particular aim.

In this age where busy-ness is idolized, it’s borderline blasphemous for me to say I quit good, productive, praised work to do nothing and am content.

Not that it’s easy. I struggle with the direction I was given, this concept of Stop What You’re Doing And Then Don’t Move Until You’re Told. I’d imagined a new wave of productivity following my author-exit. Projects I’d toyed with and didn’t have time for would burst into life, artwork I’d abandoned would be revitalized, my to-read list would be decimated. That’s how it’s gone when previous ambitions went south; a new venture arose swiftly after a period of rest.

But it hasn’t happened this time. Mostly, I’ve clocked 70+ hours across two Mass Effect games.

See, what I didn’t understand when I laid down my writing work was the depth and strength of the iceberg two years of constant pushpushpush had formed, the hulking mass of mental and emotional resources lurking beneath the writing itself. Quitting left a sudden gap. Like a smoker who quits cold turkey, I knew I’d done the right thing but wasn’t prepared for the sensation of loss, of not knowing what to do with my hands.

But rather than dive head-first into something, anything to fill the void and keep me busy, I’m choosing to be still. Rather than appeasing the fear of irrelevancy and the craving to earn the validation of others via work, I’m embracing a season of unproductiveness. I’m obeying the call to be at peace without striving. It’s odd, and few people understand, but there’s a real happiness in this space. And I’ll stay here until I’m called up again, learning to cultivate life without busy-ness.

So that’s the state of the Ellie, possums: I’m drifting along day-to-day, content for now to rest and do nothing more productive than throw the occasional dinner party. It’s different and weird for me, but I’m embracing patience. Because I laid down what I believed was my life’s work at God’s gentle insistence, I must wait for new directions from the same source, wait for a new heading crafted by the one who draws the maps.

And that, my loves, is worth waiting for.

The writer is out

There’s no good/easy/clever way to say this, mostly because I’m terrified of how it’s going to be received, so I’ll just blurt it out like a teenage girl in the AV Club shouting her crush at the quarterback from a moving car. (Not that I’ve ever done that…)

Here it is:

My dearest darlings, I’m hanging up my writer’s hat.

No more novels, flash fiction, self-publishing, or Patreon.

Not forever, but for the foreseeable future.

It’s not that I don’t love writing (I do), and it’s not that I don’t love Cora and Jack (I do), and it’s definitely not that I don’t love you (I do, so much).

It’s that I’m no longer the person I was when I started this endeavor.

It’s that I’ve tried to keep my writing life separate from the rest of it, and the fruit of that has been less and less joy and more and more angst.

It’s that I’m burned out and frustrated, exhausted and chafing.

I need to rest.

I need to refresh the well with God and friends and family and time with my husband and sex and art and reading and movies and sleep.

I need to see where this writing thing is meant to go rather than where I keep trying to force it.

And, in order to do that, I need to put it down and walk away, at least for a little while.

But please don’t worry about me or my sanity or my happiness. I want you to know that I’m fine—great, even!

This conviction has been on my heart for months, but it was too scary to acknowledge (much less accept). I resisted, rebelled, refused. But eventually the pain of ignoring what I knew in my knower was right outweighed the fear of change and the shame of failing. And here we are.

What’s wonderful is that having decided to Do The Thing, I feel released. Free. I’m lighter, even as I grieve the loss and nurse my wounded pride.

I’m ready. It’s time for a new season.

In practical terms, I don’t know much about the future. The fate of the Forgotten Relics series, when/if I’ll come back to writing, who I’ll become in this new season—they’re each a giant question mark. Perhaps an interrobang.

What I do know is I’m not disappearing. I’ll still be lurking/oversharing on Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow me on Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest for pictures of food and Dean Winchester. Also keep a weather eye on this space for random blog posting.

I also know that I love you.

I may not know what happens next, but whatever it is, I’m convinced it’ll be amazing because you are amazing. You’ve been my cheer-readers, my co-adventurers, my friends. You’ve trusted me when I felt untrustworthy, loved me when I felt unlovable, and continue to do so even now, when I’m saying I need an indefinite break.

Words aren’t enough to thank you for your love, support, and generosity, but the internet doesn’t support transmedia hugging yet, so words will have to do.

Thank you, my lovelies—for everything. See you ’round the ‘verse.

Garnet Dagger haircut FFIX
“Sometimes, you can’t think everything out. You have to listen to your heart.” — Zidane Tribal, FFIX

MIRROR OF ASHES has arrived!

It’s here, it’s here! The third book of the Forgotten Relics series has officially arrived!

Thanks to everyone who helped me get this baby off the ground. Between Team Patreon, the generous crowdfunders, and miscellaneous folk who patted me on the head when I got squirrelly, the acknowledgements section is two pages long. SO MUCH LOVE.

Okay, enough mush from me. It’s launch day! You want information! Here are all the ways you can get the book….

kindle :: print :: epub :: goodreads

And don’t forget to share with your friends!

The Mirror of Ashes (Forgotten Relics #3) - Ellie Di JulioGlittering snow, twinkling lights, carols in the air—Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

Or it would be if Cora Riley wasn’t neck-deep in magical crime and double shifts at the Supernatural Cases Division.

Two weeks after losing the Sword of Souls, her friends deployed across the nation on top-level missions, Cora finds herself walking the beat alone in DC, wondering if she’s the hero of this story after all. Loneliness, exhaustion, and a perplexing romance threaten to drive her back into the darkness she fought so hard to escape.

But the pity-party comes to an abrupt end when Cora makes a horrific discovery at headquarters that sends her racing to New York City. There, Jack Alexander’s assignment to the Japanese ambassador clicks with Manny Boxer’s spontaneous combustion case to reveal a new facet of Eris’ plot: an ancient artifact the local vampires are literally dying to get their hands on.

The hunt is on to find the Mirror of Ashes. But who is hunting whom?

kindle :: print :: epub :: goodreads