As a general update, Tuesday, December 10, 2013 was a freaking crazy day:
At 11:00am, I receive an email from Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass agency offering to represent my novel. My first agent! This is something I’ve worked for years (decades) toward, a major milestone in my writing career. And she’s a great agent and a great person too. So exciting!
And then, at 5:00pm, my house burns down.
Everyone is fine, even the cats, and doing well. We have insurance, and likely will be fine. And we are holding up really well. The fire was so incredibly hungry and swift, 5 minutes either way on the timing of the fire (or, worse, if it had happened overnight) someone would be dead. From first smoke to inferno was just a couple of minutes. Six fire trucks worked for an hour to put it out, and two ambulances and just about every cop in the city were on site. We are very lucky.
The rest of it is just stuff: furniture, clothing, books, DVDs. It’s hard to get upset about that when things could’ve gone so wrong.
Jennifer Jackson, who now represents me literarily, has a post about it here.
Yes, we are sad about a lot of things: pictures, letters, and keepsakes, mostly. We also had my mom’s collectibles (a vast collections of collections, uncountable reams of autographs from any science fiction movie or TV show you can imagine, rare science fiction memorabilia, records, stamps, boots, etc.), and the insurance will not come close to reimbursing us for that.
But, really, we’re looking at it as a new beginning, a chance to rise from the ashes (see what I did there?) better and stronger than ever.
It’s strange, we’ve both had problems with depression in the past, but as long as we keep smiling and marching forward and looking for the positives in the situation, it doesn’t seem to drag us down.
Maybe that’s the real secret to happiness, huh? It couldn’t be THAT easy, could it?
Still, there are a lot of things up in the air. We’ve never been through this process before (and hopefully we never will go through it again!), so the sheer weight of the unknown is a stressor, a weight on the back, all by itself. But we are filled with hope rather than fear, and that is the important thing!
A lot of people out there feel compelled to help us because it’s such a terrifying story. Because death was close at hand. We think we will be fine, and we are not asking for help, but if you feel compelled to aid us for some reason, don’t buy us blankets or crackers or juice (please don’t!).
If we end up needing help, it will be for unexpected things, housing overruns, or build overruns near the end of the recovery process, months and months from now.
And since I know everyone is curious to see what fire damage looks like, here is my shelf full of esoteric books on Kung Fu, Taiji, Qigong, and Languages (everything from Sumerian to Chinese to Sanskrit to Lakota Sioux Sign Language to Latin to Cherokee, and many in between).