April 19, 2018:
Unavoidable cancellation of my participation in the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference–for the third time in a row
The past three years in a row I was accepted to present my essay –“The Power of Sympathetic Villains of Literature and Screen Pulse Through Music”–at the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference that takes place at StokerCon. The first year my work was accepted, I simply couldn’t afford the trip to Long Beach, California where the events were taking place. It’s the second and third year cancellations of my participation in the conference that have left my jaw dropped in amazement of my horrendously shitty luck, for lack of a better way to put it.
Last year the conference was taking place in Providence, RI. I was all set to go to StokerCon for the one day that my presentation was scheduled for. I had busted my ass on my presentation. I practiced it every morning, recording it to find where I stumbled, or maybe said “um” a little too much. I even taught myself how to do a PowerPoint presentation, since I had somehow never learned this earlier in my many years in college. I was psyched! I had my car packed, I had copies of my essay with me for potential publication opportunities, and I had my business cards ready for all the networking I had planned to do. Then on the day of my presentation I hit the road, in spite of the massive Nor’easter that was ravaging New England. I ignored all the weather reports, telling people to stay off the roads and not travel. Of course, I thought, on the exact day and time of my trip and presentation, the biggest Nor’easter on record hit my exact route of travel, and the exact city I was set to go to was getting hit with a cyclone. I joked with one of my writers group friends who was at StokerCon already–I sent her a message that said:
“Cthulu is rising and he’s coming for StokerCon. The Biltmore was finished construction in 1918; it’s now 2018. Lovecraft died in March. March 2018 and the world horror convention is in his city and it’s getting hit with a cyclone. Cthulhu is rising. Get out!
Sleep tight. “
I was having fun with the whole storm issue, not thinking much of it in the way of my potential travel troubles. I was that pumped to present my work that I’d put so many hours into polishing for others to see and hear.
Then it came time for me to hit the road. Snow was falling so hard and so fast that I could barely see the road in front of me. I’d left extra early to make sure I’d arrive in time for my presentation time-block. I thought, What the hell–I’m a fucking Mainer, born and raised. I can handle driving in a snow storm. No problem. And I have all-wheel drive and one of the safest vehicles on the road today. Fuck it. Let’s go!
Then I hit the backed-up traffic on the highway. Cars were off the road all over the place. Accidents here and there. And weather report warnings, telling people to stay home, don’t drive.
I thought of my young son at home, my husband. Both worrying, and waiting to hear from me.
I pulled off an exit and headed back home, slowly.
I don’t know what made the visibility worse–my tears or the historic Nor’easter blanketing my windshield.
So, I submitted my work again, for a third year in a row, to the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference for 2019. I was miraculously accepted again. I didn’t think they’d take a chance on me again, since I’d already been accepted twice and had to cancel. But I was accepted, and I was ever so grateful, and super psyched all over again. So psyched that I edited my entire slideshow, spicing it up, adding bits of humor–since my work is very dark and heavy. And again, I practiced every morning, recording my presentation so that I could make it the best I could. I bought all my tickets, arranged my travel to Grand Rapids, MI from Maine. I was all set. This time I was going to make it happen. Third times a charm. Right?
On March 18, I got some distressing news about my health. At first I thought, No problem. I can handle this. I’ll just take extra care while traveling. Take it slow & easy. I’ve got this. I’m strong and resilient. I can handle anything. Then on March 29th I found out that the treatment I need has to happen soon–right during StokerCon (or the week before)–and it will leave me unable to travel for some time after.
Seriously?! Is that how the universe works for me?! What the fuck kind of luck is this?! These thoughts keep rattling around in my brain, since I had to cancel my participation in the conference yet again. And next year StokerCon and the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference are taking place in the UK. There in no possible way I can afford a trip overseas. Hell, I couldn’t even afford a trip to the other side of the U.S. (Yes, I am the stereotypical “poor & struggling artist”, though I hate to admit it.) If people ever wonder why I write dark fiction and horror, all they need to do is hear about the shit I deal with in my real life.
Whenever I hear people say, “What are the odds of that ever happening?” or “No, that’s not even possible.” I tell them, “Oh, yes, yes, it is possible. Just look at my life; I will show you just how possible and realistic that is.” I always seem to be the exception to the rule. Murphy’s Law is my life. What you think could never go wrong, goes wrong for me. The horrible things you think will never happen to you, happen to me. When something really good and positive happens for me, I always look over my shoulder, watching & waiting for that dark cloud that always comes to dump an equal amount of shit into my life. You may think I sound pessimistic, but I only speak from experience.
Pessimistic–no. As disappointed as I am in having to cancel my entire StokerCon trip and my participation in the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference, I am already planning my next opportunity. ReaderCon is in July. I suspect I will be feeling much better by then, and I hope to be back to my sunshiny-self. When one opportunity is lost, find the next one and make it BIG.
I’ve got plans. I’ve got BIG plans. Nothing can keep me down. And with the publication of my first book in September (The Bone Cutters), my plans don’t end with ReaderCon. That’s only the beginning. I’ve got a whole book launch event planned and booked–(More news on that is soon to come.), and I’m in the planning stages of a fall/winter book tour. I never quit. When I fall, I jump back up and go at it even harder. I’m a determined mountain goat Capricorn. I will make it to the top of ANY mountain that’s in my way. Nothing can stop me–I keep on keepin’ on, No Matter What.
Life may dump a ton of shit in my path, but I’m equipped with a shovel and a take-no-shit attitude. I got this. I can handle anything.
Peace~To all you crazy fuckers out there.