In February I was riding a psycho horse infamous for throwing people off. Yes, I do have my own horse, but my sister was riding him so I got stuck with the devil named Showtime. He had already thrown three people off earlier in the week, but I was determined to master this beast. It was hard. The entire lesson he tried to toss me by refusing jumps, stopping abruptly, bucking, and rearing. I had lasted forty-five minutes of my one hour lesson when it happened. You can watch me get my concussion here. We were going down a line-- Showtime jumped the first jump, refused the second, and after I got him over it, he dropped his shoulder and mini-bucked me. I landed head first on the ground. But I finished my lesson, and I didn't think anything was wrong until I went to school two days later.
I could not think. There was an enormous fog in my head, I couldn't tolerate the lights, looking at the whiteboard, and I was ridiculously dizzy. A test a few hours later confirmed it: I had a concussion. I was pulled out of school for the rest of the year, and to most people, that would be a dream-- eating junk food, watching television and playing video games all day, etc...
But I couldn't do any of that.
I was nauseated all day and watching TV gave me headaches and extreme waves of dizziness. So for the first couple of weeks, I lay on the couch and stared at the ceiling. It was awful. I was exhausted but I couldn't sleep. I always had a headache, and to this day, ten months later, there still hasn't been one day without a headache. I've gotten used to most them.
But the one positive in months of pain was Blue Abyss.
September 2008 I had a dream that inspired Blue Abyss. I don't mean to get all Stephanie Meyers on you, but it's true. I had a dream about this boy with uncontrollable "episodes" and a girl who was the only one who could stop them. But I had to put the idea on hold for school, and when I got my concussion, it seemed like the opportune time to write it. So a month after my concussion, I began to write five minutes at a time, because it was all that I could handle. That eventually increased to ten minutes, then fifteen, and so on. But during that time, I had severe depression. Blue Abyss was the only thing that made my overwhelming sadness diminish. I was very emotional, ranging from somewhat happy to oh-my-god-my-life-sucks, and therefore I tried to channel my multiple emotions into my story.
I finished Blue Abyss in July, edited until September, then began sending out queries. By this time I was allowed to go back to school, but with special accommodations. School was a good distraction from agents, and for the most part stopped me from refreshing my Inbox every other minute. And I was shocked my the amount of interest Blue Abyss acquired: 14 partials and 6 fulls were requested in the span of three months. The requests included some of the leading literary agencies, such as Steven Malk from Writers House and Nathan Bransford from Curtis Brown.
And finally, I found Absolute Write. I discovered the wonders of beta readers, who have made my manuscript 200% better (thanks Angie, Kathleen, ink, Arya, CK, Amanda, Jaco, Krista, and Tanya), and made new friends at Teens Writing for Teens who understand my passion for writing. I would name everyone, but there's just too many of you! Blue Abyss and the people at TWFT began to heal the enormous gap my depression and concussion left, and that was probably the best thing anyone has done for me this year. So I want to say thank you to everyone who believed in Blue Abyss and me, and to those who tolerated and are still tolerating the symptoms of my concussion.
I am not the same person I was a year ago. I have changed so much, for both the better and the worse, and I am excited for what 2010 holds for me. An agent, possibly?? But what I want more than an agent is to be healthy again and maybe have one day without a headache. I just want to be better again :)
Happy New Year!