I stumbled this month, in more ways than one.
The first time:
Two weeks ago, I was at my writing café, which is not too far from my apartment, a coffee shop off a quiet street and up a set of wide metal stairs. I’ve been climbing and descending those stairs for years without a problem, so that morning I spent an hour or so tinkering with a new novel at a favorite table in the back and then I left, heading to my usual writing space, where I planned to spend the day. I was in a moment. I felt inspired for the first time in weeks. I felt ready, at long last, to write again.
That’s when I slipped.
I’m not really sure how I did it, but I was coming down the wide metal stairs out front, and my feet stumbled on the way down, and when I hit the sidewalk I couldn’t keep my balance. I had my laptop in a backpack, and I remember being aware that I shouldn’t crush it because my novels were in there, so when I fell to the sidewalk I fell forward, to keep my laptop (and my novels!) safe. And so I landed on my ankle.
The pain was a quick flash, and made it so I couldn’t stand up. I was so very dizzy. A woman walked past, chattering on her cell phone, and she asked me quickly if I was okay. I said yes I was fine*, so she kept walking. I was still on the ground at this point but after a minute or so I hobbled over to the stairs, sat on the bottom step, and tried not to pass out. A man ran over from the delivery truck outside the supermarket next door to see if I was all right—he was very mad that the woman with the cell phone walked away and left me—but I assured him, too, that I was fine, just a little dizzy and with a sore ankle. He asked if I could move my foot and I showed him I could, so he announced that my ankle wasn’t broken. After he left, I sat there for a long while. Once I wasn’t dizzy anymore, I hopped all the way home.
I was unable to walk for about a week. My ankle swelled to great proportions, and turned weird colors, but I iced and elevated and stayed in and slowly got better. There are too many stairs between my walk-up apartment and the street, so I couldn’t go out. But one day I hopped down all the stairs and to the corner for a cab and went to get an X-ray, and thankfully it’s not fractured.
I’m okay now. I can walk, even if my leg and foot ache for some reason and I think I’ll need to ice it again when I get home.
That was the first time I stumbled this month.
The second time:
This one was worse. Because this time it was with my writing. I’m having a hard time talking about it—but it’s not at all the end of the world, it’s just a roadblock, and I’ll get through it. In fact, it’s an opportunity to be new and better than before. One day this will be an interesting story about my publishing journey—one day in the future when I have some distance from it. Then it’ll be something I pushed through, something I can be proud of accomplishing.
I’ll tell you all about it next year.
In the meantime, I’m grateful to my brilliant and amazing editor, my beyond supportive agent, and kind family and friends.
I’m feeling good now. I’m picking myself up and I’m moving forward and everything will be okay.
What else does this month have in store? All I know is I’ll be extra-careful on the stairs.
I’m under deadline again, so if you don’t see me for a few weeks, that’s why.
* I don’t like to ask for help. This is true in my writing as much as it is anywhere else.