Monthly Review

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I came into July expecting to be posting. I got my IWSG post up on the 1st. On the 3rd, my mom told the family she was stopping her chemo treatments while we were all together at my older sister's where she was taking care of her. On the 7th, my older sister called my younger sister frantic because some of the things mom was saying was scaring her, so we went back up to her house. On the 10th, we watched our mom die.

Fortunately, we were "prepared" generally, if not emotionally. She had been battling Stage 4 lung cancer for 18 months, which is more than what our local doctors predicted, and thankfully my older sister set her up with Fox Chase, who took great care of her. She had a tumor wrapped around her bronchus. After her first 6 months of chemo, it was gone, but the metastases weren't changing, and her body was starting to shut down on the new chemo. She did not want to be incapacitated. She used to tell us that even when she was healthy. Emotionally, we're pretty wrecked. The deterioration happened so fast. At the end of June, she was walking around. Two weeks later, she was gone.

My younger sister and I stayed at our older sister's from the 7th through my birthday on the 19th. We mostly sat in mom's in-law suite and every now and then looked over at her recliner where she sat and slept the last few days before my sister ordered her a hospice bed. My older sister, brother-in-law, and niece had been living with mom for about a year. They bought their home specifically so she could move in with them. We had all hoped for more time for her, especially for her to do more than just be sick and get treatment.

I haven't recovered from that night. Thursday morning to Friday evening, aside from maybe 2 hours of sleep, was one long day. My younger sister and I don't really leave our rooms except to work. If I could've, I would have taken the whole month off. I went back to work last Wednesday, and I plan to return to my part time this week. I had just started reading a new book, but I haven't really touched it since the beginning of July. I had also just started writing again, so I'm trying to pick it back up. Trying to "get back to normal" isn't really something I want to do without it involving calling or seeing my mom. But this is where I am.

I wish I had a more positive update, but unfortunately, I don't.

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Industry Changes

It is the 1st of July and the first Wednesday of the month, so that means it is time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh and the co-hosts this month for keeping this program alive for writers to share their insecurities and successes. If you are a writer, please join us by visiting the IWSG website and signing up!

I'm in a better head space to blog this month. I took an inadvertent month off, which was much needed. But do remember as your timelines and media return to "normal," the systems of this country still need to be rebuilt to work for all of its citizens, and arrests still have not been made for Breonna Taylor's killers.

This month's IWSG question is: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

Well, in the wake of the spike in tragedies that occurred in May, many publishing companies decided to open their submissions to black writers. This is interesting because there has been a huge lack of diversity in traditional publishing, from the agency to the writers, for as long as publishing companies have been prominent. Many who received this news rightfully thought, "Now, you want to look at our work?" Most black writers, including myself, have turned to self-publishing because publishers have only been interested in black voices if they provide a look into black pain. Otherwise, agents "loved but didn't connect with" our work (and often, they've already filled their quota on black authors or books about black characters, sometimes not even written by black writers).

So in the next decade, if these publishing companies truly care to represent more diverse authors and aren't just opening their gates for optics right now, I hope this sudden interest in black writers does not die down and that more of our stories--and not just the ones that center our suffering--can be accepted by the industry.