Or, The Reason Why I'm About To Take an Internet Hiatus.
Blog interviews this last year or so have gotten increasingly harder. Why? The first question, the almost certain "Tell me a bit about yourself." Why? Because I want to put down the fact that I'm homeschooled, and that I'm 20 ... and then it gets embarrassing. You may have noticed my clever wording of "20 and homeschooled my whole life" that I used throughout the blog tour.
Because I can't say homeschool graduate, and people expect that of a 20-year-old.
It's difficult in real life, too. People ask me if I've graduated, and I answer "It's complicated," because no, I haven't dropped out, but I'm not technically in school either. I quickly tack on a "but I've published six books" and they're usually more impressed after that, but still. That underlying "I haven't graduated yet - what kind of author doesn't finish high school?" hangs awkward in the air.
And honestly, I wonder what my younger self, say eleven or twelve years old, would think if she were to meet me. You see, I had big plans for my education. I was going to be done with "school" by sixteen, and then use my Timothy Award that I was going to win in AWANA to help pay for college. And I was on track for it, too. I started school a year and a half early, so eager was I to learn new things, and I was crunching through my AWANA handbooks every Wednesday. I was smart enough for it, that's an undeniable fact.
But somewhere about twelve, I began to let my study get away from me, and by the time I was sixteen, I could barely focus on it.
I don't have much school left to do: A research paper for English (I have no idea what I'm going to write about), two half-credits in Science (Chemistry and Biology, I've gotten about halfway through each), a half-credit in math (Algebra II), and modern history. (Post Revolutionary war - present.)
I'm not here to ask for pity, make excuses, or anything like that, I'm just going to tell my story - to stand before you guys as human instead of the perfect authoress I try to pretend to be. Because I'm not perfect, and neither has been my life.
Until I was five, my life was pretty normal. As I said, I even started school a year or so early. There were bumps in my life, I'm sure (such as my sister being in and out of the hospital with Asthma), but for the most part, the bumps didn't faze me. It was the adventure of life. But that year, my dad, a computer programmer, lost his job. He got a second, even better one quickly enough, but it only lasted six months.
And so, that year and a half was spent with a LOT of moving - first from our house in Colorado, down to Texas to stay a few weeks/months with my grandparents, then back to Colorado because dad had a new job, and then back down to Texas "temporarily" which became a permanent state of flux for the next two and a half years where we went back and forth between my two grandparents.
Divorce is one thing that I've never had to live through, thank the Lord, but these few years was close to it. We spent Saturday through Wednesday with my dad's parents, and the rest of the week with my mom's. My dad stayed permanently with his parents, because we had two and half rooms in their house, and only one with my mom's parents (toward the end, they were also housing my aunt and her family). Mom was trying to not be in the way and give both sets of parents time to spend with us, since this was "temporary" and we were suppose to move far away again.
Finally, an uncle died, and his wife decided to gift us with her trailer home, and we spent the next six weeks or so fixing it up so we could live in it, during which time, we practically forgot about school. However, once that was done, we had a stable home, and we didn't have to be moving twice a week.
About 18 months later, when I was ten, I gained my younger brother, which meant a major rearranging so we had room for him.
However, aside from that, this was probably the most stable period of my life for some time.
Then, when I was twelve, our Dad lost his job again. This set in motion several years where our family literally dreaded spring as:
When I was thirteen, our mother suffered a nasty miscarriage. Miscarriages were nothing new in our family - but this one occurred later in the pregnancy than the others - in what she had previously considered the safe zone. This miscarriage was so bad, they had to take her to the hospital - where she was given a painkiller which she was allergic to. We almost lost her. She spent the next several months in a deep depression, during which time V and I basically had to run the household on our own.
But the year I turned fourteen was probably the worst. In February, mom discovered she was pregnant again - which meant she had to take things easy again - V and I took over the household once more, my Grammy was going to help. But just a week or so later, my grandparents (to whom we still lived next door to, mind you), gained custody of a two-year-old to whom the word "no" was a foreign language.
And then, the day before Mother's day, my Grammy collapsed. We rushed her to the hospital, but God took her home within twenty-four hours. This sent our whole family into a tailspin. Grammy was one of those special women who managed to have her whole world revolving around her as she took care of everyone, and without her, it took us a bit of time to find our equilibrium again, especially for one aunt.
My baby sister was born, and then just six weeks later, we nearly lost her, my brother, and mom in a car accident. They all survived, miraculously, but the repercussions continue to this day.
The next spring, a family friend had complications following the birth of her youngest, so for the next eight weeks, we added four extra kids to our household during the week, one of whom is special needs.
Please note that during this time, my Dad was, for the most part, unemployed. He reffed during basketball and volleyball seasons, and he had a few temporary jobs, but nothing full-time.
The spring I was sixteen, Dad had a heart attack. Fortunately, basketball season had just ended, and he survived it, but we went into yet another tailspin. It was months before he was back on his feet. Mom doesn't drive, and we did without a lot that summer.
During this time, I always turned to writing as a form of escape, as a way to control something in a life that was way out of my control. This was the year I discovered NaNo, and in specific, the NaNo forums, the roleplays in particular. And, well, let's just say that I got a bit addicted. Mom thought I was doing school, but I would be there instead. This lasted at least six or seven months, while my parents tried to find a way to keep me off of the site, but I worked around it until my dad put a block on the term "NaNoWriMo" on our internet. Said block exists to this day, which means that if a URL contains that term, I can't pull it up. Mere "NaNo" is fine, which is why it's what I use when blogging.
I've said before that I published Sew rather on a whim, and this is the reason why: I felt desperate. I wanted a way to help bring in a bit of an income, and I really wanted to start my journey to fame and fortune.
With publication came a shift in my own attitude. I began to think of myself as an author rather than a student, and I'd fallen so far out of the habit of school, it was almost impossible for me to focus. I made progress, and I'd devour the subjects I was interested in, like History (until modern times) and English. (I was really on a roll when it came to math too, until I was introduced to theorems in Geometry.)
When I was seventeen, we housed the whole family of our family friends, while they were going through a rather crazy move, for about six months.
Just as my life was evening out and I was gaining more time to work on things, I got my job, which ate up all my time. You guys know most of the rest of the story.
So, long story short, I'm not graduated, though I'm nearly there. And it's not because I'm stupid, but because I'm easily distracted or hyper focused, and I often use that as an excuse for laziness. That's why I'm going to disappear from the internet for the next few months. Because I've been dividing my time too much. I'll post from time to time here on my blog - such as posting the research paper for you guys to grade. (BTW, I have no idea what I'm going to write it on, so any ideas? I'm considering the ear, because my last research paper was the eye.) And I'll probably keep up with Goodreads, and some Facebook. But if you see me anywhere else (or you see me posting too much on Goodreads or Facebook) you have my full permission to ask me how I'm doing on graduation, and quietly guilt me back to work (because I am easily distracted).
And I do plan to devote exactly thirty minutes a day to writing - ten minutes each to LDTD, Poison Kiss, and the Bookania collection (because I have books 3.5 and one and half a short stories left to write). Because each of those projects have a looming deadline I still need to meet, so I need to continue to be making progress. I'll be using a timer on these projects, and I tend to write faster if I'm going against a timer, so hopefully I'll get some good words.
So farewell! I hope you guys won't miss me too much - I know I'm going to miss all of you. I intend to be graduated by NaNo, so hopefully I'll be back by then. If I'm not, I'll have to reevaluate my life.