DRAMA AS THE NEW WRITER’S BLOCK

Despite the knowledge that I’m writing fiction – fantasies, in point of fact – I strive for a certain level of realism, and believability. Sometimes, when it’s quiet and dark, I’m the only person in the neighborhood who’s awake, and I’m writing a very dramatic scene in a story, I question whether it’s possible for anyone, anywhere, to genuinely have such extreme incidents of drama in their lives. Is it possible for someone to have a constant stream of difficult, highly emotional issues forced upon them? Does anyone ever get caught up in a raging storm of conflict and emotion without bringing it on themselves? If I wrote a book that reflected the last month of my life, would it be the least bit believable?

I’m having great difficulty believing the drama – that somehow sucked me in – is genuine, and that I’m not trapped inside a poorly written pulp fiction novel.

I do an excellent job of keeping my life, and my relationships, free of high levels of drama. It would seem though, that everyone is required deal with a minimum amount of drama, throughout the course of our lives, and I’ve fallen far behind in my lifetime quota. It appears I’m attending summer session, and accumulating a fuck-ton of make-up points.

I have zero blood relationship to anyone at the center of any of the swirling vortexes of drama. The origin of some of this drama reaches back more than 30 years, at which time I wasn’t even a part of this family! The real irony is that, I chose not to have children, because I didn’t believe I possessed the right temperament, or enough patience. The Universe didn’t agree with me, so it graciously loaned me a 15-year-old boy, with ADHD and abandonment issues.

DH and I have lived for 12 years, with the constant hum of his ex’s emotional blackmail (attempts), neediness, dependence, clinginess, and just plain laziness. It’s usually just background noise, but the previous 18 months have been exceedingly trying. The parents have each gotten suckered into an arrangement of room & board in exchange for some type of service. When it turns out her definition of service is 5-6 hours of babysitting per day (no evenings or weekends), there’s a falling out, and she turns up on someone’s doorstep, needing a place to stay. The grandkids didn’t mind giving up a bedroom to bunk with a sibling when they were 8 years old, but now that many are teenagers, it’s nothing but resentment. Out of options now, the last 18 months have been a campaign to wear down DH, hoping he’d just give in and agree to support her while she plays grandma 24/7.

The next drama-layer is that ex-DIL who had the psychotic break, and has been showing signs of Paranoid Schizophrenia with Borderline Personality Disorder. Her sisters both have restraining orders against her. Her oldest son is DH’s grandson. She shows blatant preference for the hell-spawn daughters she had with her second husband, which has lead to behavior issues. All of this has led to both the police and social workers conducting investigations. When Grandson made a (verifiable) claim of physical abuse, there was a desperate scramble to find a suitable custodial home that WASN’T a group home. There was a time when DH and I supervised Grandson’s visitation with his Bio-dad, so when a judge saw that, along with the fact we own our house, and I work from home, and we became the proud custodians of a teenage boy. The legal jargon has changed a few times, in the last month, and visitation is now supervised, but the dust settled just in time for school to start. Thankfully, school is walking distance from the house (which explains a hell of a lot about the neighborhood we live in).

Things got really fun when DH’s oldest son abruptly moved back from Oregon. He’s very entrepreneurial, but his ego always has him spending as much as he makes, so there’s never any savings in case of emergency. There have also been a few shady business partners, friends, and acquaintances, who have contributed to a few of the economic plunges. So, he showed up on our doorstep – unannounced – a few weeks back, 2nd wife and daughter in tow. The most recent business had gone under, neither had a job, they only had a few thousand dollars, and they were using that money to buy an RV to live in while they got their lives back together. DH happened to have a friend looking to sell a camping trailer, so they borrowed our truck and managed to get settled. THEN, Eldest Son appeared one evening, needing to have a private talk with DH. He announced that he has a chronic disease that has gone untreated (due to his denial). The lack of any treatment left the disease to run its course, unchecked, so he will most likely die within the next 2-3 years. Naturally, you can’t get a life insurance policy when you have a chronic illness like this.

I’m not sure how much validity there is to the story about the illness. From a factual standpoint, it could be legitimate. But it feels more like a bid for sympathy, or an excuse for any future failures (to be added to the already long list). I could very well be wrong, though. Time will tell.

Despite all of this, I’ve had to keep working. I was struggling to get a manuscript turned in to Mama Kris, as we were going through the early, and most hostile, stages of getting Grandson settled in. There were unannounced home visits, interviews, and supervising visitation, at the same time we had to hit the ground running with actually caring for a teenager. His mother tried to pull a few stunts, but DH (and also Grandson, surprisingly) put a stop to that. Finally, I managed to get the manuscript turned in, and I’m pretty happy with the final result.

This week started out well. We had a great weekend, the weather is lovely, school started without any incidents, and I was taking a few days off from working on anything taxing. Eldest Son showed up to tell DH that he’d gotten a job offer back in Oregon, and it was too good to pass up. He’d already accepted, so they were packing up the trailer and going back up there, this week. The kid was manic, as he was telling is father about this. He was even excited because he was willing to take his mother, too, so she’d be out of OUR hair. It was perfect, because he had just enough money to tow the trailer back up there and rent a space for them to park and live. His wife had been in touch with an old employer and they were able to rehire her, too. It was all so perfect.

On Tuesday, he bought a large (used) SUV to tow the trailer to Oregon. Once there, he’d sell it and get his money back out of it. He didn’t consult anyone about this vehicle, before he bought it. He didn’t give his father a chance to inspect it. So, on Wednesday, they packed everything up and headed for Oregon.

At 4:30 PM, DH and I were standing in the kitchen, discussing the meeting we were going to that evening, to learn about how he might be able to retire in 3 years instead of 5. His cell rang, and it was DH’s ex. The SUV’s transmission had given out on a very nasty grade, leaving Eldest Son, Wife, and Daughter stranded at a truck stop. He called his mother, in tears, no idea what to do. He was too afraid to call DH. Yeah, his father was going to chew him out, but there was no question he’d go help.

DH called Eldest Son and it was true, he was in tears. Dealing with the breakdown was just the first of many problems we had to work out, so Son was overwhelmed and not even capable of handling the first, and most pressing problem. He was difficult to understand because he was crying, but he kept ranting about how he was a broke loser who couldn’t do anything right, and he might as well be dead. Anyway, DH was pissed off, and shouting about everything. We had to skip our meeting to go rescue everybody. We’re the ONLY ones with a truck big enough to tow the trailer back home. At least they’d broken down just a couple of hours away, rather than when they had reached Washington. DH asked me to go along, to keep him company. I agreed. I had to, really. I couldn’t stay home, nice and comfy, while he spent the evening driving to Bakersfield and back.

So, we packed up Winston (who LOVES road trips), arranged for our Dependant to stay the night at his cousin’s (since he was already there), and hit the road. And as always happens in situations like this, once you solve the most immediate problem, other solutions appear and/or fall into place. We worked out what to do with the broken SUV, and how to get everybody to Oregon, and have DH’s truck back here by next Tuesday, when he needed to have it for his fishing trip.

We got the trailer back here, and they went to stay the night with someone else in the family. Eldest Son was still saying dark things, talking fatalistically. DH had to loan them gas money, on top of loaning his truck, and discussing that seemed to make things worse. I told DH that everyone needed to keep a close on Eldest, cause he was having suicidal ideation. DH said I was exaggerating, but he mentioned it to DIL, anyway.

About 5 minutes after we locked the front door and started to settle down for the night, there was a timid knock. DH opened it to find Eldest Son on the doorstep, asking us to take possession of his guns, while he was having these dark, depressing thoughts.

See? Not exaggerating, at all.

DH was surprised by this, but at least he started to take it seriously. I asked if we had ALL the guns now, or was anything stashed? DH asked about specific weapons, so unless he bought a new one, we had them all. DH called his ex and the DIL to make sure they knew to keep an eye on what/how much Eldest drank, and any meds he might take.

So, everybody left on Thursday, using our truck. They arrived safely on Friday. The truck will be back by Monday, Tuesday at the latest. DH is taking care of the damaged SUV (which worked out in Eldest Son’s favor, I guess). Grandson has accepted that I’m a consistent guardian, unlike his mother. Also unlike his mother, I’m able to help him with his homework. DH leaves for fishing on Wednesday. And I’m awaiting edits from Mama Kris.

No doubt, most of this will change by the end of the day.

I’m so ready for the drama to be over. I don’t know how the people who create drama for themselves, have the energy to deal with it. I’ve got better things I’d rather be doing. I absolutely can’t gripe about being in charge of the 15-year old – he’s always been my favorite – but I could have used much less excitement in the arranging of things. Now, it’s time for everyone to settle down, and let me get back to my writing. This has gone on long enough, damn it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

  1. John A.R.

    Mrs. McKenna,

    My sympathies for having to put up with all this drama.

    I just wanted to let you know that I read the Tameness of the Wolf series several times over the past weekends enjoying this enticing world of marine wolf shifters. Love, dog tags and claws, I guess. Hence, I am equally upset about the drama in your life as it threatens to delay the writing and publishing of book 4, 5 and 6.

    I hope it will work out at your end for the benefit of your sanity … and ours when we get to read your next wolf marine masterpiece.

    John A.R.

    1. Kendall McKenna (Post author)

      Thank you for the good wishes! We’re settling down now, I think. I’ve managed to get a few chapters written in the new book. I think my sanity is intact!

  2. Denni

    There’s no drama like family drama *HUGS*

    Any chance DS can/will seek professional assistance/counseling? Sounds like he’s trying to do the right thing, but trying too hard and ultimately damaging himself with poor impulse control and self sabotage. Add the depression, and he’ll have a difficult time digging himself out mentally without some clear directions and assistance.

    Blessings on the grandson guardianship. My cousin found herself in a similar situation years ago, no kids of her own but unexpectedly took on her niece for the last year or two of high school. A bit tense at times, but IMO they both benefited from the situation. The niece is now a productive and stable citizen, a loving wife and lovely mother.

    Hang in there, and hope your writing schedule is salvageable!!

    1. Kendall McKenna (Post author)

      Family is the worst for drama! Yikes! We’ve actually stabilized around here. People that need counseling are getting it, and the kid and I have settled down, and probably don’t have any more conflict between us than a bio mom and son. More than anything else, I think consistency and stability made him feel safe and comfortable, and he’s begun to thrive.

      And I’m getting back to the writing, so it’s all good!

  3. Delane

    Well I thought I was the only one with a chaotic life. I believe you have me beat. I hope everything begins to settle for you. I thoroughly enjoy your fabulous books and as a retired veteran I find them an echo of what I have experienced. My oldest boys are Marines and my baby girl is in the Air Force. My life has become a roller coaster of emotions because sometimes one is going out while one is coming back which make for a happy but sad moment and I rarely see any of them at the same time. I guess that is the way it goes. I look forward to your future books. Thank you for your dedication to the men and women in the military.

    Delane

    1. Kendall McKenna (Post author)

      I don’t typically have a chaotic life! I guess we all have to pay our dues…?! We have finally begun to settle in to a workable routine, thankfully.

      I’m always glad to hear when a veteran appreciates my books. I try hard for that authenticity. I’m so happy you enjoy them!

  4. Anndee

    I have to tell you that I love the Tameness of the Wolf series. The Strength of the Mate was a great book. I read the book 3 times since buying it in paperback. I’m looking forward to the next novel in either series (Tameness of Wolf and Recon Series). I love to write and read and have great ideas. If you need to bonus ideas off someone … – Will be here it you need anything.

    Thank you for the great novels.

    1. Kendall McKenna (Post author)

      Thank you so much! I’m always happy to hear when someone likes my books, and takes the time to let me know.

      Thank you again!

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