A Writer's Life
An Even Universe

My friend and fellow podcasters, Gaby Anderson and Lizbeth Jones, are with me at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting after I get the news that I’ve just won Georgia Author of the Year for Romance. (Thank you for nominating me, Kathy Nichols) Gaby turns to me and asks, “Are you excited?”

I think for a moment and icy fingers snake their way down my back and hold me in a grip so firm that I attempt to make a cryptic joke of it to disarm this doom demon before it takes any more power from me than it already has. “Well, you know I’ve got that diagnostic mammogram in a few days for that mass in my breast. It stands to reason that this is the universe’s way of evening shit out. Right? Now, it’s more likely to be cancer.” I don’t really mean that, but, hey, it’s scary as hell—of course the thought clawed its way to the surface.

She cocks her head to the side and asks, “Are you sure you aren’t Jewish?”

On the way home, I ask my husband, who, like Gaby, is a nonpracticing Jew, about this philosophy. He laughs about her comment and says, “Yeah, that’s a very Jewish thing for you to say.”

I thought it was just a “me” thing. He explains, “Well, I guess when a lot of awful things happen to a group of people, they get fairly stoic about life to avoid disappointment.”

“Bullseye,” but I digress. As my friend Terra told me, “People get these things in their breasts all the time, and it usually turns out to be a big fat nothing burger.” I know the odds are that she’s right. But even as I write this, I feel a little nauseous. On our Wild Women Who Write Take Flight Podcast, we interviewed a woman in episode 30, Suzan Rivers, author of Dear Girlfriend: A Handheld Walk through Breast Cancer, who talked about the painful process of breast cancer, the treatments that followed, her hair falling out, the psychological trauma…

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I know much like with my writing, I need to get all this down now, while it’s fresh, while it plagues and tears at me. For many people, this is a reality and no matter what happens, I am glad to have a newfound understanding for the worry, the fear, the being on the edge of tears in the middle of the grocery store, out of the blue, when moments before I’d convinced myself of the nothingness in this nothing burger—only to believe in the next moment it might be a whole lot of something. Now I have more compassion, empathy, care, I’ve become more real, like God is trying to get a picture into focus.

No matter what happens tomorrow, I hope I’m a little less blurry, a more defined human.

UPDATE: It did turn out to be nothing to worry about, but as I looked around the waiting room of so many women in pink smocks waiting their turn to go get scanned or get sent to another room for more testing, I kept thinking, we can’t all get out of here unscathed. At least one or two of us is bound to leave here in a state of tears or icy numbness.

Yeah, I’m feeling more defined these days: successes, failures, fears, they all serve to make us a little more real, sometimes… all at once.

Kim Conrey is the author of The Wayward Saviors series and the sci-fi romance series Ares Ascending. She’s also the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award for Romance and serves as VP of Operations for the Atlanta Writers Club. In addition, she podcasts with the Wild Women Who Write Take Flight, where they interview authors and industry professionals with a primary goal of supporting women writers.

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Kim Conrey is the author of the urban fantasy Nicholas Eternal Book One in The Wayward Saviors series and the sci-fi romance series Ares Ascending. She's also the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award for Romance. She podcasts with the Wild Women Who Write Take Flight and serves as VP of Operations for the Atlanta Writers Club. She also writes about the misunderstood condition of OCD.


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