Here’s a look at what’s taken place since Intention Tremor officially launched in February 2021:
- FEB 2, 2021: THE INTENTION PARTY (book launch) (watch on YouTube)
- FEB 2, 2021: THE TREMOR PARTY (book launch) (watch on YouTube)
- MAR 1-31, 2021: #31DaysOfMS campaign for National MS Awareness Month
- MAR 1-31, 2021: March Madness for MS Book Selfie Challenge
- MAR 5, 2021: Associated Writing Programs conference bookfair Author’s Table (accessible to attendees only)
- MAR 17, 2021: Parley Poetry reading (Fringe afterparty) Watch the entire reading in YouTube
- MAR 23, 2021: FUMS podcast episode 077 guest appearance Go to episode 077 and listen now/there be prizes!
- MAR 28, 2021: Friends & Family party
- MAR 31, 2021: Interview and reading with Jane’s Stories Press Foundation (Watch the event in YouTube)
- APR 14, 2021: Coast Weekend Virtual Book Club conversation with Barbara McMichael (watch on Facebook Live)
- APR 15, 2021: Erratic Dispatches podcast guest appearance (listen at the site)
- APR 18, 2021: National Poetry Month Reading hosted by Gayle Brandeis, featuring Tamara Kaye Sellman with Jeannine Hall Gailey & Emily Rose Cole (link forthcoming)
What’s coming in May
This month I’m looking forward to:
- “A Chronic Illness Poetry Salon” hosted by chronic illness advocate Lorene Alba, and featuring myself with poets Risa Denenberg, Rene Mullen, and Julene Tripp Weaver
- A spot on the wonderful Reclamation Podcast
- A live appearance on the UK’s Chat & Spin radio broadcast (10:40am, Pacific time; stay tuned for link).
More events are slated for June and July, as well.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess. If you haven’t attended a live event or viewed a recorded one by now, and you want to, stay connected through my virtual tour list to receive links to upcoming events as they happen while they’re still happening.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 is still winning
Rumor had it my hometown bookstore of more than 20 years was going to open up for readings and I got a little excited.
I am finally free and clear with two doses of Pfizer vaccine far behind me. I still dream of a live performance in front of friends, where I can established real eye contact and speak to each and every person at a book signing…
But womp womp, the pandemic persists. Any plans they envisioned were just talk, and they remain unable to do much in the way of readings (even virtual ones) for the time being.
Lots of businesses in about a dozen Washington state counties are preparing to regress to stage 2 lockdown rules after enjoying some freedom at stage 3 because, basically, people aren’t masking, practicing social distance protocols, washing hands, or getting vaccinated.
Between slowed vaccination rates (why are one million doses sitting unused in freezers in Washington state???) and increased COVID-19 cases, it’s obvious that life even for the vaccinated will remain limited because new reports suggest the US will never achieve herd immunity (Here’s one reason why).
Time to protect my brain
A new development: It’s clear people are now officially burned out on virtual events. “Zoom fatigue” is a thing now for healthy people.
(I mean, it’s always been that way for people like me with neurological conditions—welcome to my world).
Meanwhile, conducting a virtual tour—my only option as a debut author—is wreaking havoc on my neurodivergent brain.
Problems with vision, pain, cognitive fog, ADD, and fatigue are pretty much my new reality on the daily.
For that reason, I’m changing up my efforts by doing less of the organizing from my home base and seeking out more opportunities with podcasts, radio shows, bloggers, and book reviewers.
It already takes a lot of energy to do these guest spots (which I enjoy, even if they wipe me out for a day afterward). But independently producing new media and virtual recorded live stream events as my own publicist requires too much of my limited time and brainspace as someone living with MS.
(Listen, I tried to hire publicists, but they don’t handle poets. Seriously, I had money to spend and they said NO. #FML)
In short, my current efforts are both heroic (someone else described me in that way) and unsustainable. (Trust me, a live reading is still 1000 times easier for me, even if I have to drive half a day to a bookstore to do it.)
Time for me to put myself first because, at the end of the day, this book tour is not more important than my health.
Time to protect my body
I’m also living with new and more clever “joys of arthritis.”
I’ve lived with some form of it for 30 years and it’s now diversified itself in my body in ways both expected (it runs in the family) and not so much (I’ll find out more after a slew of tests later this month).
Let’s just say this: the bone spurs found in my last MRI, threatening each and every vertebra, have put me on spondylosis watch for the time being.
One thing is clear: it’s time I detached from this spot in my office chair, in front of the eyeball-shaped video camera, and got reacquainted with my walking shoes, gardening gloves, and vitamin-D rich sunlight.
At least I am cleared to return to chiropractic and massage to deal with the accumulated pain that both MS and arthritis gift me every single day.
Fuck you, pandemic, for robbing me of my first book experience.
Just keeping it real. I’ve waited 50 years for my first book experience. Like high school graduation or a wedding day, you only get one. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with Intention Tremor, but I still mourn what the pandemic has taken from me.
It’s heartbreaking. I wrote Intention Tremor to be read, to help people, and the only way to get people to buy and read it is through all of these virtual efforts that basically just make me sicker and bring me more physical pain.
No, my loss isn’t more or less painful than any others, but it’s real to me and I need to grieve it all the same.
Want to help?
If you haven’t purchased Intention Tremor yet, please consider doing so. Some of my most stalwart supporters buy multiple copies: one for themselves, and copies for their friends and family with chronic illness.
If you know someone living with a new autoimmune disease diagnosis, they may find some guidance and hope from my book; why not send them a copy as a gift to show you support their new journey into the chronic realm?
All of my proceeds from the sales of the book benefit the Accelerated Cure Project (ACP), an organization that MS scientists rely upon to expedite data collection and accelerate research findings.
People with MS don’t have the luxury of time on their side; the disease progresses by means still not clearly understood. Even during a pandemic, 200 people are diagnosed with MS every week in the US. However, research for cures and treatments remain in limbo as COVID-19 consumes all the resources, personnel, and funding available to medical researchers.
When MS research can begin again in earnest, researchers are going to need the ACP like never before.