Happy Old Year: a look back

As hard as I tried to stay up til midnight on New Years Eve, I just couldn’t make it. So, it’s official. I’m old!

I woke up to 2019, early, as usual, and felt much the same as I did the year before. Only now I feel that stupid obligation to make changes to “better” myself. Great. More pressure.

Those New Years Resolutions make me cringe, yet they continue to tap me on the shoulder from behind, year after year: “Hi. It’s me!”

Go away.

Okay, so the kinda-sorta resolutions I have this year are these three:

1) This is a 2-in-one: Stop checking myself regarding my own intentions, meanings, abilities, or judgments. I’m a good friend, a good person and I don’t deserve to be shit on. So continue staying clear of assholes.

2) Just because I have a weight problem doesn’t mean I shouldn’t accept myself. I have to try. It’s fine to diet, count calories and walk when it’s not painful, but more importantly, I have to accept myself as I am.

3) As of today, I haven’t smoked in seven weeks. I need to continue to distract myself from thinking about it and think of my health instead. 

So, in a nutshell: stop doubting myself, shaming myself, and stay clear of cigarettes and assholes. That’s a lot more concise.

Looking back on 2018–wow! So much has happened. Jesus christ!

Last year around this time, I went through the worst bout of depression of my life. It nearly killed me. I suffer from bipolar I and II (mixed episodes), and a disassociative disorder that’s a result of complex-PTSD. I’d been going through a bunch of medication changes trying to find something that would help me during this time and nothing was working. My health insurance isn’t the best, and I’d been trying to find a decent inpatient facility that wasn’t scary awful (like the one Frances Farmer stayed in, circa 1945). It seemed that my only option was LA County. So, I didn’t go.

Exacerbating this depression was the copy editor I hired for my book. The situation turned into some kind of mental torture. He handed me back an unusable, ruined manuscript filled with insults–not suggestions mind you–but masochistic, berating put-downs about my life. Everything he wrote was in bold caps, making it worse, and with lots of exclamation points.

Whelp, I was devastated and I let it effect me in the worst way. I quit writing. I thought I was a terrible hack and that my story was overly mediocre. At that point, I decided not to publish it. 

Then, after 10 years of living in the cute house near South Pasadena, the roof showed signs it was definitely collapsing. Our landlord lost her marbles, and not just about her house caving in. She suddenly became very ugly and made our having to relocate an unbearable experience. I almost couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t have time for a mental breakdown! To make matters even worse, Michael lost his job of 13 years. 2018 was off to a great start. The only good part was it couldn’t have gotten any worse.

Once we put our stuff away in the new house, I’d lost nearly 30 pounds from running my ass ragged. The weight loss was a small mental boost that I needed, and wanted. I got the gumption to begin life again. I rewrote my book, from scratch, starting at the end of February and worked 14 hours days–non-stop. I didn’t look up until the first of June. 

Done, and done. I had a book I was proud of that no one could invalidate. And if they did, I didn’t care. So there it was:

— Book finished.

I shopped it. All that. But by October, I decided to take fate into my own hands. I’d take it to market myself by building my own publishing company. And since that time, I’ve got a lot done. Viola:

— Started business

By August/September, I decided to include about 100 illustrations in the book. Many of them were specifically new for the story. I even managed to paint a few little watercolors to possibly use for the book launch party. A little more was accomplished, even though I thought I was running in one place. I guess I needed this hindsight.

— Illustrated book, finito.

I got a great lawyer to make sure I wasn’t legally defaming anyone too badly. Not only was he a nice person too, I’m proud and honored to call him a friend now. Scott Pilutik is a badass and has dealt with the Church of Scientology before so I’m not worried.

— Legal stuff, done.

When it came time to hire a new copy editor, she was a dream come true. I mean, she was perfect; professional, and so very helpful. And nice! No harm in being nice, right? Not surprisingly, she’s an editor for Random House.

— Copy edited book

Setting up a business takes work kids. A shit load of legwork:

— Business banking, budgeting plans, registration, licenses/certificates, logo, website, business plan, timelines, social media, blah, blah, blah. 

— Tons of research about marketing strategies, SEO crap, metadata, keywords, how the layers of Amazon works, and promotional tactics, bla-dee-blah.

— And working on getting the book published, to print, and to the finish line (with still a ways to go) has been a lot too:

— I formatted the eBook so it would work across all devices with the pictures and still be interactive. That wasn’t exactly easy when I knew nothing about that stuff. Then I formatted the print versions too.

— I joined the Independent Book Publishing Association, and NetGalley;

— began booking my blog tour. I have guest spots, reviews, and interviews on people’s blogs and websites booked at the end of February and March;

— I finished the press releases and Sell Sheets for independent book stores;

— helped designed book cover;

— registered the thing with the Library of Congress and copyright office, got ISBNs and barcodes…

And Now, I’m working on the planning of my launch party in April at Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica, as well as the launch of the publishing company’s website. We should be good to go with that in the next couple weeks, possibly sooner.

Whew! . . . and Jesus christ again!

That’s not just an impressive amount to accomplish, it’s down right insane.

So, while the year started out like poop, it ended really well, don’t you think? It makes me hopeful for 2019. Being hopeful is better than being happy. For me anyway.

I hope everyone has a happy, hopeful and easy 2019, and beyond. 


2 thoughts on “Happy Old Year: a look back

  1. Scarlett decker January 2, 2019 / 5:14 pm

    Amazing, you do more than anyone I know. HUGE accomplishments – congratulations!

    • Carol Es January 2, 2019 / 6:54 pm

      Thanks Scarlett. Really, it’s all done with mirrors. <3

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