Thursday, March 31, 2016

The next step...

Day seven of Erik not living at home. We've been through the gamut of emotions, but I think things are starting to settle down just a little bit.

The Grumpy Old Man and I went and saw a lawyer yesterday, just to be clear on our right and responsibilities in a situation where we are no longer our son's carers, but are still his guardians. I'm sure in his head, this is just about him moving out to get more freedom of choice - ironically, at least as far as school goes, the choices are still not his and not his carer's either - but the ripple effect here at home is huge.

I have just submitted the intermission application form to the university with the permission of my supervisors. So, my degree has been suspended. We need to contact the school and let them know Erik is no longer living with us, and that we can no longer afford to pay his school fees since losing the family tax benefit - they will need to make arrangements with his new carer. We will likely give our permission for him to change classes if that is possible as we'd already decided to do that before he left, anyway, and I had already spoken with one of the assistant principals about beginning that dialogue. I will seek some sort of assisted conference with the staff, the GOM, myself, Erik and his new carer to arrange things like parent-teacher conferences, reports and so on. Despite being unable to pay school fees and materials, we are still allowed access to his reports and his teachers to see how he is going. Obviously, his carer will need access to his compass, but I still want to be able to see that as well, to see that he is attending school and classes. At least until he turns 17.

He needs to get his own medicare card because he doesn't have access to ours and he will need it for his skin condition and eyes at the very least.

We found out that because there is only a sixteen month age gap between him and his girlfriend, he cannot be charged with statutory rape if their relationship is physical - that was a huge weight off our shoulders. Now we can only hope he at least filed away all the information about sexual hygiene I know was imparted to him by us.

I wonder what his carer will make of his unvaccinated status. He has had the choice to get vaccinations for a few years now, but hasn't taken up that choice. If she claims family tax benefit for him to help with costs, she will not be eligible for the end of financial year bonus because he is unvaccinated.

My main focus now, though is not on him. He has chosen to move out and there is nothing we can do about that. In the eyes of the law he has autonomy. He is safe and he is happy.

I have to focus on the well being of the rest of my family now. The GOM is terribly upset about this whole situation. He feels so deeply hurt, he keeps saying he may never recover. I worry about how the tension of this situation will impact his long term health, particularly his blood pressure. The boys, mostly Bryn and Ari, are acting out in their own ways, so we're working with them to reassure them Erik is okay, and so are they. Lukas has been so mature and level headed through this entire week, endlessly helpful and kind. He was already showing a leap in maturity in the second half of last year, but has stepped it up to another level this last week. We have to be careful that he doesn't take on too much responsibility for supporting everyone else, because one day it might become too much for him.

Today we went out to The Pancake Parlour to get out of the house and do something fun. Being the middle of the day on a Thursday, it was really quiet. We had a good time. There has been a significant drop in arguments and aggression in the house this week and it is quite noticeable.

We had a laugh at Harlem going from being a labrador when we arrived to being a sausage dog when we left.

In order to accept this new situation (accept that Erik is serious about this - he did take ALL his stuff, even the headphones he had let his father use for the past year because he had three others, he got a new phone and changed his number, he seems pretty determined -  to respect that) we started the process of rearranging the house to suit the new family situation here. Lukas is now back in his old room. He has been given the second TV as it was in a sort of rumpus area down in the garage, and no one is living downstairs now. Lukas is the only person in the house who plays on the playstation 4 at the moment - the little boys don't have any games for that console, and they also have the PS3 and the Wii to keep them occupied in the lounge room. Lukas is pretty happy with his set up, I have to say. It feels good to do something nice for him in light of how great he has been this last week, too.

I'm going to set up what was Erik's room as a guest room for when my brother, or dad, or other guests come to stay, and then the space in the garage where the blue lounge and the TV and consoles were will become a sort of paint studio. While I'm intermitting, I'm going to get back into painting. I still owe my brother a star scape from two Christmases ago, so I'm going to do that first up.

Poor Harlem is all out of sorts. I would also say he was reacting to the stress here at home as well, but then I think I might just be anthropomorphising him. On Monday and Tuesday he vomited and had to go on plain chicken and rice for a few meals. He has not left my side, which is not unusual as such, but now he seems to want to be in physical contact all the time.

Another reason for this change in demeanour might be that his routine has been put all out of sorts. He not given the tasks of finding the grass, or the lift, or the office, as he is used to doing every day, so he's probably all at sixes and sevenses, poor boy.

So, April is going to be all about getting us all back on an even keel and letting Erik go until he is ready to come back, if he ever is. It is not that we don't love him. We all love him. It is just that loving him was not enough for him, and we can't force him to come home or to interact with us if that is the case.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hello again 3am...

Another sleepless night and I'm having to admit defeat. Tomorrow (well, later today), I'm going to apply for another intermission of my PhD. I can't do this thing where I'm supposed to function like everything is normal, everything is all right. It's not. I'm terribly worried about the Grumpy Old Man, he is so upset, so hurt, and of course he's just trying to hold it all in because he's afraid of what might happen if he lets it all out. I admit, that thought scares me, too.

I can't see how I can go to uni every day and do research and writing and leave him at home with his thoughts and three kids, it won't be fair to him and it definitely would not be fair to the boys.

And then there is the thing where I'm just not getting any sleep.

Today I found out Erik has himself a new phone, an iPhone 6s, and a new number. I know this because he added it to his Apple ID account. I guess he's determined to cut contact with us. I don't know how he got such a late model phone, he certainly has no money to buy one, and he is too young to sign a contract for a phone. Has his girlfriend's mum really bought him a brand new phone? The 6s only came out last September, surely she's not upgrading already, and even if she was, wouldn't she give her old phone to her own daughter? Did he steal the phone? Is that where he is now in his journey of self-discovery, stealing merchandise? Hopefully not, but then that only brings me back to the question, why would someone give my child such an expensive gift?

It frightens me. Him getting a new number frightens me.

Right now, his head is full of how awful his father and I are, me in particular I know. How much we have restricted his life - he doesn't acknowledge the desperation we have felt over his behaviour at home and at school. He doesn't acknowledge that he has bullied his brothers and deceived his parents on a daily basis. He doesn't acknowledge that he has broken school rules and lied to his teachers time and again, causing them stress. His head is full of everything we won't give him and everything we won't let him do. I don't know how to begin to change that in him.

Tonight I helped Lukas move his room up to where Erik's room had been. We have decided to let him have the tv and PS4 in his room now because it was only him and Erik using it, and now that Erik isn't here anymore, Lukas might as well have it in his room. Lukas needed a power board, and so I went to the top of the linen closet where I'd hidden the power boards months ago because Erik kept stealing everyone's chargers to charge the devices I'd confiscated from him when he repeatedly refused to turn up to class or hand in any assignments for VCE Art Studio (one of the classes he wanted to repeat this year when he saw no point to it last year).

It occurred to me that the younger boys have suffered so much because of Erik. When we set consequences for his behaviour, it often impacted on the other boys. If Erik couldn't play on the Playstation, I had to pack it up so no one could play on it because he'd just bully the other boys until they let him play. Same with his phone, when I took his phone off him because he refused to answer it and tell me where he was when he repeatedly turned up late from school, I had to take their phones and iPods of them so he wouldn't steal theirs and use them instead.

His behaviour has impacted so deeply on them. They have all expressed relief at being free of those threats and it breaks my heart. Twice as much because they also feel bad for feeling that way and they are all feeling some level of rejection that he has just left without saying goodbye, without explaining why, and without making any effort to be in contact with them. I know Lukas has tried to text Erik several times and Erik has ignored him. Lukas who was always by his side, who kept his secrets, and who kept him company. Lukas is angry now.

Bryn says he feels safer now, but he has cried the most since Erik left. It is such a tug of war in him, he loves his brother as much as he feared him. Bryn has long felt rejected by Erik, going back seven or eight years, really, I think Erik saw Bryn as a threat to his relationship with Lukas, still he misses him terribly.

Ari went to bed the other night chanting, 'I love Erik forever and ever.' I think maybe he thought if he said it enough, with enough fervour Erik might hear it or feel it wherever he was.

I can't leave these boys and their father alone to go do a PhD, we have to get through these holidays somehow and I have to be here to see us through them.

How will we ever get back on an even keel, now?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What kind of person...

I can't sleep again. The stress is too much.

I need to know.

What kind of person helps a sixteen year old pack up their bedroom and move out of their parents' house in the middle of the night, claiming later it was so the child had a 'safe place to go'?

This person obviously believed the child was going to run off and live on the streets, but never spoke to the child's parents, never spoke to their school, never contacted the Department of Children's Services, just drove a child away from his home in the dead of night without a word to anyone, and then believes herself to be a hero?

The police said it was bizarre.

The child is happy as Larry because, well, he wasn't getting what he wanted at home. He wanted to do VCE subjects in year 10 when he'd failed them in year 9 when he refused to attend classes because he couldn't 'see the point'. He didn't have his parents' permission, which to him was intolerable. His girlfriend's mother listened to him talk about how his parents were holding him back and how unhappy he was at home because of this, and she told him if he couldn't stand to be at home anymore, he could stay at her place.

She never spoke to his parents, not once.

He left a stripped back bedroom and neatly made bed, and a note to say he wasn't coming back, that he had been planning this for months, that he thought they could see how they survived without him. He didn't say where he was going. He caused panic and mayhem and distress to his mother, his father, and his three brothers.

She didn't call or message to say she had him. She said nothing.

He didn't answer his phone, but then he texted, 'I'm not coming home.'

His mum told him there was a family emergency and she just needed to know where he was - it was a lie, of course, but she was desperate. He told her. She asked for a number, he gave it.

His father called that night. The woman said, 'I know you're probably cross, I would be too, but I wanted him to have a place where he felt safe.' The implication was unmissable. Cross? How about devastated? How about afraid? How about betrayed!

She said she went to the police station as soon as she left the house with the boy. A constable on night duty remembered someone talking to him through the intercom, but he took no notes, so there is no record.

The child is happy. He thinks he has everything he wants. He doesn't have the emotional maturity to comprehend the situation fully. He has autism. He has 'won'.

Of course, the woman can't give the school permission to change his subjects, so nothing changes on that front, but maybe that doesn't matter anymore, anyway. Maybe he just wanted to leave.

The parents have no recourse, the child is sixteen, he can live wherever he wants.

They were just being parents, setting boundaries, setting consequences, trying to protect him from his adolescent inability to always think things through, but that means nothing now.

She can be his friend, but can she be a parent to him? Her child drinks bottles of Carlton Dry  and Crown beer from the fridge, will he drink beer from the fridge? Will he like the Carlton Dry better, too? Her child has her permission to break the school rules and leave the school ground, will he have her permission to break the school rules and leave the school grounds? Will she check his phone messages and wake him up in the middle of the night to yell at him, the way her daughter says she does to her, too? Will he still consider her place somewhere he can 'feel safe', then?

What will she do when he steals from her and lies to her the way he did to his parents time and time again? Will she set boundaries and consequences? Which 'safe place' will he run to when she does that? Will she call his parents when he runs from her house?

What kind of person doesn't tell the parents when she knows their child wants to leave home, but instead helps him pack his room into her car in the dead of night?

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Sorry peoples, this is going to be another vague post, so if that sort of thing bores you to tears, feel free to skip it. I just need to get some stuff out that has been swimming around in my head for a couple of days now.

A couple of days ago our household woke up to some shocking news. At one point or another, I think, we've all had a little cry to ourselves, a couple of us a much bigger cry (it won't surprise you to hear the couple of us are Bryn and me). Ari has been off the planet, so we're just trying to be patient with him.

With a couple of days under our belt we're starting to emerge from the shock and trying to find a path through the chaos.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about how you can do your best, you can try to do everything 'right' and still bad stuff happens. I've questioned myself, my actions, was there more I could have done, but search as I might, I just can't see what.

In the wake of this world rocking event I've been sad, angry, but also relieved. The relief brings guilt. I shouldn't be feeling relief, and yet I do. This was always going to happen, I can see it now, no matter what we did, it was inevitable really, there were things beyond our control that we did our level best to work with. But life has been so stressful for so long because of the circumstances leading to this event that to have it here instead of hanging over us like a threat, lurking in the back of our minds all the time, creating so much tension and stress at home, it is a relief.

Right now, I feel like doing nothing. Just enjoying the peace. And I feel horribly guilty for that too. On Friday I felt like crawling into bed and never coming out. I felt like I'd been kicked in the guts and left bleeding by the roadside. The Grumpy Old Man and I sat in shock most the day. Today we pulled ourselves together and took the boys out Easter Egg shopping - funny how life must go on as normal when it is anything but normal now. We may have gone a little overboard as some sort of compensation or self-comforting measure, but we don't really care right now. Tomorrow my parents are coming over. We haven't told them yet. I spoke to mum tonight about tomorrow, and I was going to say something, but I just couldn't form the words. I don't know how I'll go tomorrow.

Maybe that is why I can't spell it out here yet. I still can't face it directly, I can't create the words to say the hard truth. Relief aside, I'm still deeply, deeply upset. I'm still blaming myself. And I'm still very, very, VERY angry.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


On the bus on the way to uni this morning, I found myself listening to a song about regret. It is on my walking playlist and so I listen to this song all the time, but this morning it really affected me. Suddenly, I was overcome by a crashing wave of regret. Not for any one thing in particular, but for so many little things. We were passing the boys' first primary school and I wished things had turned out differently. Then I started to think about all the other things I wish had turned out differently and how I regret so much of my own attitudes and actions that played into how things eventually came to be.

It's funny, it must be an age thing. In my past I've felt strongly that I regretted nothing in my life because my life as it was had led me to the place in time that I was when I was not regretting anything. That last bit hasn't changed much. I am still satisfied with where I am in my life. I have so much of everything I ever wanted - I would not risk losing any of that now.

Still, I think about things I would have liked to not have in my past. Especially things I could have influenced to be different if I had only had more self-awareness.

This is all very vague, I know. The feeling was very vague. My point is, I can see now why talk of regret usually turns to later stages of life, or perhaps it is maturity. I can see why it is older people who say, 'I hope you don't live to regret this.' Living to regret something refers to having the hindsight to see how one's actions, which might seem small at the time, contribute to an overall curve of a person's life. One attitude feeds another, and one action leads to other actions.

I think these feelings stem from watching my sixteen year old dig into the tracks he's already made. He's not happy, and I can see he wants his life to change, but his pride and stubbornness is getting in his way and while he steadfastly holds onto the belief that just being determined reality must bend to his will, will somehow make it so, his options are diminishing every day. It seems inevitable that he will have to move from Templestowe to Doncaster Secondary. He will lose the control he might have had over his education, all because he wouldn't attend classes he chose over the past two years, and with his choices restricted this year (as a result of his previous actions and attitudes) he has dug his heels in and is refusing to attend two of his classes this semester as well.

He keeps saying that he will change his attitude if we just let him do the classes he wants to do, but he cannot see that we did that for two years and his attitude didn't change. He has to accept the consequences of his actions, but he is determined to cut his nose off to spite his face because he wants everything his way, NOW!

I can't decide if I regret sending him to Templestowe, or regret letting him go to school when I had believed homeschooling would suit his temperament better, or what... Certainly, he doesn't believe 'the rules' apply to him, though he is very keen that they should be enforced with everyone else. Maybe he had too much choice at Templestowe and it fed his belief that he should not be expected to do anything he is not wholly inspired by? Maybe a school with fewer options would have been better for him?

Will he regret this when he's more mature?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In the background...

I usually mourn the end of summer. This year I'm not so sad. It has nothing to do with summer being too hot. For me, this summer was pretty mild. I think I'm just in a better frame of mind at the moment. Maybe also because while summer wasn't too hot for me, it has been too hot to walk Harlem home in the afternoons, and well, I kind of miss my afternoon walks. Cooler weather will mean being able to get in two walks a day, which is good for my mental well being.

I think the antidepressants are helping as well. Certainly, I haven't been having the horrible lows I was sinking into in December and January. A lot of people don't like the idea of chemically treating depression or anxiety but I really do find it works for me. I did really well without the ADs for a long while there - three years, I think, but something changed last year. I don't really know what it was - I'd say stress, certainly the seizure is put down to stress, but I've had very high amounts of stress within the period I was fine as well. Maybe it was prolonged stress? Or maybe it was just too much high stress? Too much excitement? I don't know. Whatever it was, it wasn't good.

I'm feeling a bit better about my research since having written that abstract last week. I think it helped me think big picture. I seem to get stuck in the part of the thesis I'm working on at any given time. I seem to think each part is the whole thesis and some parts are quite distant from my central goal - still supporting my argument, but they feel quite separate at the same time. The abstract allowed me to piece together all the bits to see how relevant everything is - and it all is relevant.

Having said all of the above, I feel a bit detached from everything.

Like I'm floating around my own life, not really in it. It isn't an existential crisis, per se. I'm not feeling any sense of a crisis, just that my life isn't really my life. It's all a bit of a fascade.

I'm aware that I'm feeling lonely, and that I can't seem to believe anyone would really enjoy my company.

I became aware of this last night when the Grumpy Old Man commented on how devoted Harlem seems to be to me already - H was sitting in front of me staring at me, he does this when he wants something. I couldn't feel it. I couldn't feel the devotion. What I did feel was that the Grumpy Old Man was misreading the situation.

Now, I know dogs are very loyal and quite simple really, in their emotions. If you feed them and are kind to them, they tend to love you. So, I have to ask myself why I'd question the devotion of my dog?

It's the detachment.

I feel - I have always felt - that people don't really like me. That people tolerate me. It's something I can't seem to shake. Somewhere way back this sense of how other people see me took hold and I just can't believe that anyone would actually like me. This goes for everyone, really. From the moment I meet people, I find myself trying delay the point at which I will inevitably rub them the wrong way. The point from which they will tolerate me.

Sometimes, I just don't care. Some people just shit me, and then I don't care. If I like a person though, I tend to expect that sooner or later they will become annoyed by me because I am too outspoken.

The odd thing is. I like me. I like people like me. I just feel like I inhabit a world of people who are too soft for the likes of me. They can't cope with my spiky bits - it's not their fault, it just makes things difficult because I am what I am, I've tried to be different but in the end I always end up just being what I am.

So, I'm floating a bit at the moment. Watching my life from the background. Maybe that's just a side effect of the medication as well - maybe also the anti convulsants...

I still need to get to the GP about the combined anti convulsant and migraine medication. The migraines keep coming and because I suffer daily headaches, most of which don't become migraines but some do (about 3 times a fortnight), I'm finding it difficult to deal with them medicinally. I feel like I'm taking so much medication I try to minimise it, and sometimes that's okay because I can tolerate a headache, but sometimes it turns into a migraine and by the time that is happening it's too late to medicate against it.

And then there is the thought that that medication might further exaccerbate the feeling of detachment...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Journalling, abstracts, and privacy...

I'm trying to write an abstract for my thesis. This is often done once the thesis is written, but I've been asked to do it now to help me distill the framework and methodology of my project in my own mind. I'm aiming for about 350 words, I think, and have been googling the writing of abstracts all morning. There are more science based approaches which include background statements, aim, methods, results, limitations, and further research suggestions - these broad areas could quite easily be applied to my creative work as well. Then there are more loose approaches where you outline the nature, scope, and intent, and show how the creative artefact is linked to the exegesis. I guess this is not that different, only maybe a little more fluid?

Anyway, I've started writing, and in doing so I've realised that I haven't actually addressed a major part of my framework. I've written about narrative identity and able flash fiction and how it mimics the nature of memory (which informs narrative identity construction) with its fragmentation and ambiguity, but I haven't actually addressed the intercultural aspect of my project and the theory of Third Culture Kids - and I need to do this because that theory plays a major part in my final chapter, and I can't just be tacking it on at the end like an afterthought.

Writing an abstract early is probably a great idea for me!

Another great idea I've come somewhat late to the party with is a thesis journal. I was strongly encouraged to start one of these at the beginning of my Masters, but I felt it was very contrived and self-conscious, so I just junked the whole concept. With all the confusion I've felt over the work I'm currently undertaking, I started keep a journal at the end of February. It has really helped! I dedicate about an hour each morning to journalling about my project. I write to-do lists, and thoughts, inspirations, problems. I've drawn mind maps in it, and how-tos. I find it a great place to dump all those whirling thoughts that jumble up with my straight thinking about the thesis itself. I've used the journal to work out where I am in my time line and how much work I've done. It has been a very grounding experience for me.

I should have started a thesis journal right at the beginning!

The issue of privacy plays on my mind a lot. The internet is not a private place. I live under no illusion that it is, however, it does offer a fair amount of anonymity which can be somewhat reassuring a lot of the time. I have kept this blog for ten years now, and I come here to write my thoughts because while I could do this in a journal, I feel like I have to be more honest when it is in a public forum. In a private journal, I can delude myself about my own thoughts and actions. I can colour situations to favour the outcome I wish it to have. Online I feel like someone, somewhere is going to say, 'Uh-uh! That's not how it is, and you know it. Get real, honey. Face facts.' So, really, I use the knowledge that the internet isn't private to keep myself honest with myself.

Just recently, I heard that kids today are not as concerned about privacy as their parents and grandparents are. They don't actually care about keeping their lives private. This makes me laugh because I've often been accused of invading my kids privacy by insisting on being able to access their accounts online and their emails. I've been told it's like reading my child's diary. I completely disagree - obviously - because, well, a diary - at least as we knew them in our childhood - was a book that only the writer and maybe their snooping family could access. It was kept in a home, under a mattress, in a drawer, whatever. Furthermore, a physical diary could be destroyed and its contents lost forever.

The internet, by contrast, is very public - even with all the privacy settings in the world the nature of Facebook is public because whoever you interact with can screenshot your interaction and send it to anyone else, or save it to their computer for eternity. When kids put an event on Facebook, it is possible for 100s of people to be invited to that events without the knowledge or the permission of the kid. Pictures and videos can be shared in seconds. Accounts can be hacked. And information is very often sold to third parties.

So, it's really no wonder that kids today don't value privacy the way their parents or grandparents do. They know, at some level, that there is no privacy online, really, so why pretend there is?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The clock struck two...

I can't sleep. Aaaargh! I've taken all the medications that usually knock me out and I still can't sleep.

I've done some maths - you'd think that would work right? Counting words instead of sheep, trying to work out how many words of my creative artefact I've written so far... 38 066. As it is flash fiction - which compresses the narrative similarly to poetry, we're working with a 7:10 ratio, so that every seven words I write in flash equates to ten words in prose forms such as a short story or a novel. With that equation, I've written equal to 54 380 words. I only need 60 000, so I'll well cross that line as I have another 66 flashes to write (which, averaged out to 250 words each would brings me to 54 566 net, or 77 951 gross), just scraping in under the upper limit.

But I still can't sleep.

Together with the introduction and the 75% of chapter one that I've written, I have a total net words of 47 414, or 59.2% of the minimum 80 000. If I then factor in the 7:10 ratio for the creative component (so not the intro or first chapter), I've actually got 79.6% of the minimum 80 000. That's a lot more encouraging that the <50 a="" ago.="" and="" had="" half="" i="" p="" thought="" week="">
Maybe I'll be able to sleep now...


Monday, March 07, 2016

On having no edges...

I had a journal send me a friend request on Facebook the other day. I always find it odd when journals send friend requests. Why do they do that? Are they really interested in what my kids said over the weekend, or that I'm having an anxiety attack over the state of the car, or that my spirit animal is a cow?

I'd understand sending an invite to like their page. But friend requests are so reciprocal, I look into their 'life' and they look into my life. Strange for a journal, don't you think?

Anyway, I accepted the friend request (more because it was funny to me than anything else), and then I felt 'watched' (though, I'm sure they probably unfollowed me immediately, it was more a what if they actually read my page? sort of thing). What if they were actually checking me out to see if my writing was good enough, hip enough (does anyone use 'hip' anymore?), edgy enough?

A lot of journals these days publish edgy, gritty, raw fiction. Fiction about people hurting, or having profound moments of insight, or hurting... I don't write like that at all. My favourite approach to writing is much more pedestrian, and while I may occasionally write about people who might be hurting, they aren't usually tearing themselves apart with the pain of living. When I do write more gritty pieces I tend towards having a strong sense of irony about it, perhaps even impostor syndrome to some degree. Generally, attempting to write gritty or raw pieces leaves me feeling dirty and depressed. I much prefer to approach pain in a philosophical, slightly detached sort of way - the way fairytales do it.

I soon found myself making a status update about my lack of edge. You know, just putting it out there in case the faceless journal-person-friend decided to check me out. I wanted to say, 'Nothing to see here. No edges, just middle. Pretty mediocre, really. Please lower your expectations, so you don't knock your head on the low hanging branch there called disappointment.'

This lack of edge goes hand in hand with my lack of ambition and aversion to competition. I just want to write. I don't really have a need to be published. I see other people get excited about the books they've published, or are about to get published and I think, well that's nice, good for you. I have no sense of urgency to join them. I just like to write. I love to tell stories. I like to entertain. I'm not driven to push the boundaries, or get people questioning their existence, or reliving their trauma. I just like to write and tell stories. Like the sun on a foggy day, I'm all middle, and I'm good with that.

Good Job!