More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Revising a Dream--Why I can't be America's Next Best Celler

The funny thing about life is that it changes.

Nothing is given, especially not good health. Just when things are rolling along fine, the world spins and turns over, often in the space of a single heartbeat. Sometimes those changes are good. Other times, not so much. Often, there's no way to tell whether the changes that have rocked our worlds are positive ones until the dust settles.

Let's just say some major dust is settling in mine and my family's lives right now.

My oldest son has severe autism, and I'm truly ok with that, as long as he's a healthy, happy human being. But right now he's not happy or healthy. Not anymore. David developed regressive catatonia last fall, losing his abilty to speak, read, write and interact with others. When he inexplicably snapped out of it, he seemed fine, at first. Turns out, he brought something new into the mix--schizophrenia. My formerly, placid, laughing, albeit severely impacted child, turned into a screaming, headbanging, often hallucinating teenager who was determined to exorcise whatever inner torment drove him to such fits with his own fists. During his episodes he's gone through doors, windows, walls, and anyone who dares to stand in his way.

We thought for a few brief weeks that we were over the worst of it. We thought wrong. He adapts to medication regimes in three week cycles. Then his world goes to hell again. His strength during his rages is superhuman. No, this isn't an exaggeration. We're averaging a concussion a month. He can't go on like this. Neither can we.

As his mom, I can't stand by and watch him throw himself through a window. Not intervening to protect him is not an option. But those interventions usually wind up with my getting hurt. Sometimes badly. So we've made a tough choice, to do everything in our power to increase our son's level of care to 24/7 in hopes this level of intensive consistency will help calm his misery so that he can make it through the hell that has become his puberty alive.

Getting him there will occupy ever spare moment of my time over the next month--and then some. This will be a hard and heartbreaking transition for all of us.

I'm not sure this is the right choice for my son, but I do know that for now, it is the only one we haven't tried. I'm going into this phase of his life armed with a lot of hope. I have to believe on the other side of these frenetic teenage years I'll see my handsome, laughing boy again. That is the image I'm holding in my mind as I wipe the egg from my face and apologize to my readers, fans, Stan Soper of textnovel and Alicia Condon of Dorchester Publishing for this unexpected, last minute decision to withdraw my manuscript, Muse Struck, from America's Next Best Celler contest.

All of these changes, combined with a prior obligation to deliver the last manuscript in the Three Kinds of Wicked series to my current publisher will prohibit me from continuing on as a contestant. I simply can't in good faith give this contest the energy, enthusiasm, and promotion it deserves while throwing my child and a publisher who has been so very good to me under the bus.

I'm pretty sure the editors at Dorchester wouldn't want me to. They're pretty amazing people. :)

Please trust me when I say that there's nothing else I can do. Thank you. For all the vote tarting fun, the laughter, the comraderie, the editing suggestions and the support. Mostly, for the friendships and contacts that will last forever. For that, I've already won this contest a thousand times over. That is plenty enough to sustain me through the difficult days ahead.

I wish each and every one of you the very best of luck. Any one of you will do Dorchester proud.



Gail Hart said...

{{{ Liane }}}

You are very brave and very wonderful and I know we'll see Muse Struck in print when the time is right.

SarannaDeWylde said...

It sucks being a grown up sometimes. :)

All I can say is that I'm proud of you. :) You knew what you had to do and you just pulled up your big girl panties and did it. (Not that big girl panties can't be cute.)

I'm sorry that you've had to withdraw from the contest, but I'm proud to say that we stood together on that podium for the finals. Oh, and that you're a great friend who I wouldn't have met if not for this contest.

When things calm down, there is a beach and a couple cabana muses calling our names!

Deborah Blake said...

What a beautiful and heart-felt blog. I'm so sorry for everything that is/has been happening to you and your family. But your attitude is great, and I think you've made your best-possible-for-now choice. Your day will come!

Lots of love and hugs,

Writer Girl said...

You are grace and beauty personified.
Much love and hugs to you.
Gail is right, Muse Struck will have its day in the sun!

C.J. Ellisson said...

Wishing you the very best in this extremely difficult time. You know you're good, you know you're book is good or it wouldn't have come this far. It will be there and so will your legions of fans when this more important issue is behind you.

Have faith that you are doing the right thing for your son - getting him the care he needs is the only thing that matters. It's just awful how it makes us feel as parents when sometimes the best thing for our kids is not something we can provide at home.

He'll pull through it and so will the rest of your family - but it won't be easy and it won't be fast. Wishing him a speedy pass through puberty and a quick return to his old self, may the time you spend apart be with remembering all the good times and not these recent darker moments.

My heart goes out to you and your family and I wish I could more for you than just send my comments. If there is anything I can do to help with your current deadline please email me and I'll help however I can.


MolliesMom said...

The choices are hard but you are brave to make them. I wish you the best of luck. You deserve happiness and the chances for your dreams.

This is part of the journey. Not the destination.

Marjorie said...

My heart goes out to you. I am honored & touched by your choices and convictions!! I too have a child who has chemical imbalances in the brain. I remember the scary times when we were trying to get her medication just right & the absolute rages. You are making the right choices for your family for right now. I will be proud to support the Muse when it is finally published in physical book form.
Blessings & love to you & your family. :)

Finny said...


As difficult a decision as it was, I know you've made the right choice. I've worked with severe autism before and I know it can be very challenging and demanding. My best wishes to you and your family as you work through this.

With love,

Jennifer L Hart said...

Love and hugs and all the best to you and your family, Liane. Wishing you peace of mind and soul ;-)

Casse AKA Catholic Kittie said...

I am truly praying for your family. I have faith that your son as well as the rest of your family will emerge from this and possibly even stronger.

Julie Robinson said...

I'm sorry to hear about your son's episodes. How scary, sad, and heart wrenching for you. I pray that you and your family are able to find more stability.
Your decision shows the kind of strength you have. I am in awe.

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