The Aftermath

Oh, hi there.

If your only interaction with me is this blog, you might be wondering what happened to NaNoWriMo. Actually, if your only interaction with me is this blog, I have failed on multiple levels, but let’s focus on one dangling plot thread of life at a time. In November, I decided to do the National Novel Writing Month challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. The first day went well and by day three or four, I was up to just over 4,000 words. Then life really happened.

As you may have read here before, my wife Nahleen has multiple sclerosis and lupus. She started to fight an infection. Then I got bronchitis. Then I got the flu. Then she had an exacerbation, and we’ve been dealing with that ever since. Amongst all of that our beloved Cleo kitty was in and out of the vet. Just now, after two different treatments for Nahleen, it feels like we’re just starting to crawl out of the last 2-3 months and find more stable ground.

In early February, while still in the thick of it, I stopped performing. Yes, remember how I’m in the improv groups The You Convention and TMA (The Meaningless Acronyms)? Remember how I started a show called The Corey Blake Experience? Well, my experience hasn’t been all that fun lately and instead of having to drop out of a show or cancel it entirely at the last minute, I decided to put things on hold for two months. So if you’ve been to one of those shows in the past month and didn’t see me, that’s why. (I should note that all three shows are still happening without me, even The Corey Blake Experience. They’re funny people, you should check them out!) This is the first time I’ve not been regularly performing every week or so in at least 5 years. It’s the first time I’ve put acting and performing on hold in… 20 years, maybe? So it feels a little weird. To be honest though, I haven’t really had a chance to think about it much. I’ve mostly been spending time with Nahleen at doctors, calling insurance companies, trying to get medications refilled, helping her with injections, and just spending time with her. Time with her is precious. In between all that, I’m still working at MobileCause and writing for Robot 6. Both jobs have been incredibly compassionate and understanding during this time. And the love, support and help we’ve received from our family and friends has been unbelievable. People have dropped off home-cooked meals, picked up groceries, found just the right cat food, mailed care packages, helped do laundry, walked me through removing an IV over Skype (!), and more. Much of it was coordinated through Facebook, which was both fascinating and miraculous to experience. Be as jaded as you like about Internet culture and social media, but it saved us these last few months.

It’s really been an exhausting, heart-breaking, and painful few months, but I’m not without gratitude. It’s shown me that the selfless and giving acts of people can make up for a lot of that struggle. It’s taught me that asking for help is OK. It’s actually more than OK. It allows those that care about us to not feel so helpless. It keeps us from becoming isolated in our misery. I really can’t recommend it enough. Of course, I’ll forget this lesson if/when something similar happens because the world teaches us to go it alone and never ask for help. The individual is supposed to push on, never realizing that their community can push together and disperse the burden.

Anyway, so that’s what’s been going on. For at least the next month, I’ll be focusing on enjoying time with Nahleen as she slowly recovers. While I’m not performing for now, so she doesn’t get sick of me staring at her face, I may do some more writing. Maybe continue with what I started for NaNoWriMo. But to be honest, I’m not exactly sure. I haven’t had this much empty, unreserved time in a long time. Maybe some time-wasting face-staring is exactly what is in order.

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