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You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Tlhis is the first book I’ve read this year and it has set the bar very high for whatever book I read next. This mesmerizing novel by Rachel Lynn Solomon takes a story about teenage twins to a whole new level.

Adina and Tovah’s mom was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease when the girls were 14. It’s a genetic condition, and there would be a 50/50 chance each one of the girls could get it. They make a pact when their mom is diagnosed – when they turn 18 years old, they’d take the blood tests to see if they have that the gene that would conclusively say whether they will or won’t develop the awful condition. One girl’s tests comes out positive, the other’s tests come back negative. (I won’t spoil which is which.

I loved the book because it’s so real and raw, plus it’s very obvious that Rachel didn’t cut corners. She did her research on the disease, painting a portrait of mental and physical deterioration that comes with it.

This book is beautiful. Please, read it.

Find it here on Amazon.

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#CarrieOnForever

I’ve been wanting to write something on Carrie Fisher since she passed away, but I couldn’t get the words out to do it, so I kept putting it off. But here it is, the anniversary of her death, and I decided it’s time to say something.

I know from my former journalism career that people are obsessed with celebrities. What they wear, what they eat, what they name their kids, their favorite everything. Thanks to the explosion of social media, this has been blown up to an epic proportion.

I first saw Postcards From the Edge when I was in high school, and I only watched it because Shirley MacLaine was in it, and I love her, thanks to her kick ass performance in Steel Magnolias. After I saw the movie I did some research and found out it was a “semi autobiographical” movie based on that woman who played Leia in Star Wars. That’s all I knew her as at that time – Leia. Nothing more, nothing less.

So I Googled her.

And that Googling got me a hero. She was tough. She was vulnerable. She came from a remarkably twisted family tree. Basically, she and I were the same person.

I watched all the Star Wars movies because she was in it. I ended up loving them, but she’s the reason I even watched them in the first place. Her movies are one thing, but her books are quite another.

She wrote both memoirs and novels, the novels mostly being memoirs with a little bit of fiction thrown in to qualify them as “novels”. Then I read one of her personal mottos.

“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.” – Carrie Fisher

I took that motto on as my own, and started writing about my own life. Her bravery for me to spill my life onto the page. Some of it for public consumption, some of it for just me.

She taught me how to make my life funny, even when it wasn’t funny in the least. She gave me the courage to write about my medical induced PTSD and seek treatment for it. Same thing when it came to my clinical depression I had after a stretch of extremely bad health I doubted I would survive.

She made me realize that writing about my life isn’t tortuous – it’s freeing.

When she died, I was crushed. So crushed. Ugly crushed. For a few reasons, mainly that I never got the chance to tell her she saved my mental health, rerouted my career and made me realize it’s perfectly okay not to be okay.

She died when she was 60 years old, after having a massive heart attack on a plane going to California from London. Her heart was damaged by the copious amounts of drugs she had ingested over the years, and the toxicology report that came out months later did confirm that she did have drugs in her system. Her family faced it head on, acknowledging her ongoing mental health and drug battles, and they have taken up the reins in both keeping Carrie’s memories alive, along with the work she did when it came to being an advocate when it came to mental health and drug dependency.

“If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true, and that is completely unacceptable. Let’s say something happens and from a certain slant, maybe it’s tragic and even a little bit shocking. And then time passes and you go to the funny slant and now that very same thing can no longer do you any harm.” ~ Carrie Fisher

She made a difference in more lives than she could ever imagine. Her house was outrageously decorated. She swore worse than I do.

She reminds me, even a year after her untimely demise, that it’s okay to be me.

#CarrieOnForever

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That one time a random author changed my life. 

Last week I got to meet someone who changed my life and now I am no longer scared of publishing my collection of essays.

Once I made it public that it was going to happen, I was very nervous. In fact, I had written a Facebook post about pushing it back until fall, but I had saved it in drafts and never hit send in.

My reluctance had many sides. Would anyone actually buy it? I’m a nobody. Was this my story to tell? It involved so many people.

Then my friend Lyndse jokingly telling me that this guy named Zach Anner was going to be speaking and signing his book at a large bookstore and I should go and get a book signed for her.

Never heard of the guy, but I figured what the hell, I’ll go.
That one hour changed my life. It made me

I originally was planning to self publish it, but I’m going to look into revising it again and then sending it to traditionally publishing it. So thank you, The Official Fan Page of Zach Anner for being my new role model, and Lyndse for suggesting I go.

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I’m Changing My Career trajectory… and it’s kind of scary

I’ve been writing young adult (YA) fiction for about a decade. Five books, about 100 (seriously!) lit agencies and endless revisions … Stressful. Frustrating. So I am done writing fiction. For now, at least.

I don’t think my fiction will ever sell, so I’m going to be focusing on writing nonfiction…. Mostly my stories and my anecdotes about the life I’ve lead, the hell I’ve been through, the family I came from, and how that makes me who I am.

I’m also trying to break into the motivational speaking field, but that’s more difficult to do than I imagined.

I think I was put on this earth to inspire people, I really do. I’m perfectly aware that sounds corny as all hell but that’s what it feels like.

So it’s on to the next chapter.

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I went to a college football game this weekend…

… and I was scared the entire time.

My husband asked me to go with him to a football game for this weekend. Trying to earn some Wife Points, I said absolutely, put my Longhorns shirt on.

Fortunately, I had looked at the team’s website to see what time the game would be starting, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen that the football arena at the University of Texas banned all bags that weren’t completely see through, unless it was a very small wallet or clutch purse.

Filling all my things that I require on an evening out into my wallet wasn’t easy, but I managed it.

We had very cheap tickets, so this was our view: at the very top, seeing both the gorgeous Austin skyline and nearly every other person who was there to watch the game like us. Spectacular view, isn’t it?

All I could think about when I looked at it was that someone could shoot up the stadium. Their clear bag policy is obviously in place to keep weapons out of the arena, but this is still Texas. I don’t want to feel like I’m going to die every time I step foot in a place like that. No one wants to. And no one should.

We have become a world of constant shootings, senseless murders, aimless bombing and shattered souls. Death tolls are rising. Stupidity is winning over basic common sense. It doesn’t matter anymore if you are for or against things like gun control, freedom of speech or anything in that realm.

The choices are being taken away from us, one by one, and I’m petrified that there will come a point where we have no choices left at all.

I debated writing this, then after I got it down I let it sit for a couple days, to make sure my feelings stayed the same. They did.

I want to feel safe again. We all do. But how can we make it happen?

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the absolute runaround of medical facilities

I’m currently sitting in my office. That’s right, I went back to work rough 36 hours after discharge, which is a record, apparently. Mostly I just slept, something I desperately needed.

There aPhoto on 9-29-17 at 12.36 PMre a lot of things still medically up in the air, a lot of things. I could walk out of this building, get driven down to Seton Main and be taken care of there for awhile. Or I could get to go home and stay there, mixing both powder and pill antibiotic together to get all those freaking infection bugs to go away.

On one hand, I could be told I’m perfectly fine. The other hand, the more likely hand, is going to tell me I need long term IV antibiotic care. The statistics have been read to me, and I now I know know them better than I have myself. I know what I’m looking at, long term treatment wise.

Now if anyone would just pick up the damn phone, that’d be fabulous …

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I just paid for a birthday party for an 8 year old boy I’ve never met.

It's been a rough 6 months in my little corner of Texas. I've been hospitalized five times for pneumonia, two of my friends (spouses) died 17 days apart. Both were traumatic, unexpected and just plain sucked. I live 800 miles from them, so I missed both funerals, which broke my heart.

When I got released from the hospital last week, my BFF/cousin texted me that she was about to be admitted to a hospital in the town she lives in. She was 25 weeks pregnant with my nephew (her kids call me Auntie Em) and the baby had just been diagnosed with something called fetal hydrops, which is a very serious and usually fatal.

John Edgar Brooks was delivery through an emergency csection at the exact stroke of midnight on August 10 and passed away shortly thereafter. His few minutes on earth were damn good ones, being snuggled with his dad until he passed away, wrapped in love.

Between the three deaths an five bouts of double pneumonia, I'm … numb. So much death. So much pain, both mental and physically. I felt horrible about not being able to fly to my cousin's house to help out like I wanted to, but my lungs are still rebounding from the last bout of pneumonia.

I recently stumbled onto a website called One Simple Wish, which provides wishes from kids in foster care. It's a website I visit occasionally, but had never donated to before.

This evening I was scrolling through their website and one wish caught my attention… An 8 year old boy's request caught my attention. His request was for a day at LegoLand with his friends to celebrate his birthday. He had never had a birthday party before. I scrolled past it, even went to use a couple more apps in my phone, but I kept returning to the request.

So I granted his wish.

I feel much happier now, knowing that I could help someone, even if it wasn't my friends or my nephew. I made a difference to one child's life.

And that made me smile, really smile, for the first time in many weeks.

Hey Evan, I hope you have the best birthday ever.

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