Sunday, October 7, 2012

Time to Come Clean

Hi all:

Well, here's another attempt to fire up the blog again. It's been pretty obvious that I've fallen off on postings for quite a while now - actually all this year and part of last year. At the gentle urging of dear friend Walker Martin, I've decided to come clean with the hopes that it will get me back into the groove of the blog again.

I've had a couple of rough years in a few different areas of my life - namely my health and my job. A year and a half ago I started to suffer chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain and discovered, lo and behold, that I had fairly significant scoliosis of the spine. How I lived so long without it being diagnosed is anybody's guess. It took a physical therapist to find it. While I've been able to adjust my life somewhat, it's pretty evident that I'll never be completely pain free again; for example right now I'm dealing with rotator cuff issues and numbness. Next week it could be something different. In addition, I've had to adjust to a much heavier work load at work, which requires me to sit at a computer for hours on end. Anyone who has back issues can see the problem there.

In addition I realized that I was deeply unhappy with where I was living. Two years ago I moved to Santa Clarita. I rented a wonderful house - a big 3 bedroom with a den and a large yard where I could garden to my hearts content. But the utility bills were killing me, and I was spending 12-15 hours inside because it was so hot you couldn't go outdoors. You'd think I would spend that time writing, but sometimes when you're dealing with conflicted emotions and pain and feeling overwhelmed, any kind of writing, whether it's for a book or for a blog, can feel insurmountable. Instead, I sat on the couch and ate and watched TV.

A few months ago I decided to make some major changes. I downsized. I sold a large portion of my books (don't worry, no pulps went out the door) and my vintage linen collection. I sold almost all of my furniture, including some pieces that I had bought for that big house and had barely used. If you've ever seen the Under the Tuscan Sun movie, you know the scene at the beginning when Frances, who is reeling from her husband leaving her for younger woman, is moving out of her house. Even though her house is full of beautiful furniture, she eventually tells her movers that the only thing she wants to take are a couple of boxes of books. Any time I watched that scene, I envied Frances. You just want to shed it all, like a skin that doesn't fit, and start a new life. Well, I did it - on a much less dramatic scale - but I did it.

Call me crazy, but I moved from well-tended Santa Clarita with little crime and moved back to the area I left in 2008 - San Pedro. I moved from one of the safest cities in the country to one of the craziest. (Although Santa Clarita isn't perfect; it has a major drug problem and people drive like maniacs. And when I told people up there where I was going, many of them responded with "Man, I don't blame you at all"). Now I have a 1 bedroom bungalow, on a busy street and surrounded by apartment buildings. But I'm paying much cheaper rent. There are fewer distractions; for one thing, my yard here is about the size of a pencil, so I won't have to be spending hours watering and pulling weeds.

If everything works out, this will be the Daisy Bacon house, where I will finally be able to focus and research and eventually write her story. And because the rent is so much less, with any luck I'll be going down to part time at my job the first of the year so I can spend more time researching and writing.

It's a start. I hope I can keep it going. While I'm not completely recovered from my funk, I feel a little more at peace. I feel as if I've made some significant steps towards making my life work a little bit better. And that is huge for me.

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Walker Martin said...

Laurie, it sounds like you are on the road back despite your health problems and I really believe your Daisy Bacon book will help you even more.

Your books on Paul Powers brought this forgotten writer to our attention and I'm sure your research on Daisy Bacon will have an even greater impact, after all she was so influential as editor of the best selling LOVE STORY and later, as editor of DETECTIVE STORY.

We need more books about the great magazine editors, people like Arthur Sullivant Hoffman, Joseph Shaw, Farnsworth Wright, Ken White, Fanny Ellsworth, H.L Gold, and so many others. Your research will lead the way.

Laurie Powers said...

Thank you Walker. I appreciate the encouraging words.

Cap'n Bob said...

Thanks for checking in with the update, Laurie. I've missed you. I hope the dramatic life change will bring you all the contentment you can stand. And don't forget there's always a open roster spot for you in OWLHOOT. Best of luck.

Alfred Jan said...

Thanks for the update, and good luck in your new location. I hope your chronic pain management is successful. Remember Friedrich Nietzsche said whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.

Barry Traylor said...

So glad that things are looking up for you. I figured the reason you weren'y blogging much here of late was either health related or stress from your job. Work related stress can be a bear (I was there so know how depressing that can be in itself). Happy you have found a PT that has helped as my wife has chronic back pain, etc. and I know how that has limited much that she enjoys doing.

Tom Johnson said...

Glad you're back Laura. Take care of yourself, we want that book on Daisy Bacon to come on. Sounds like great material. We got completely (well, almost) out of that hectic rat race, and moved settled in a small town in Texas, which is more like an old folks retirement town. Not much here, however. The big stores - including bookstores - are fifty miles away. But small town life is easy living, and you know all your neighbors. My kind of town.

Oscar said...

Here's to clearing out and new scenery! A change of outlook always helps. Now, on with Daisy!

Richard R. said...

I've been very worried about you and your lack of blog posts. I thought you might just be working and writing, but that didn't stop you from posting now and then. It sounds like Santa Clarita just wasn't right for you, and I completely understand the problems with the heat. I am a little surprised you went back to San Pedro, rather than somewhere cheap but nearer the coast, such as Lompoc, but I'm not sure where or how often you have to commute for work and that may have been way to far.

I'm also really sorry to her of the health problems but it sounds like you're doing all you can about them, and accepting what is necessary. If you can manage part time at work that would really be a blessing, provided you can afford to go to a Dodgers game now and then! Please, please stay in touch with us!