My eldest sister died at the end of the summer last year. With 20 years age difference between us, we had never been close, despite a mutual love for creative pursuits and speculative fiction. She had a successful career as an artist and, shortly before she died, she encouraged me to aim for 100 submissions a year.

I had just started Richard Thomas’ Short Story Mechanics class when she died, and I continued writing and attending my local writing group as normal. My writing was going well and keeping to the routine helped ground me.

However, my heart bled for my 10 year old nephew who had just lost his mother. My mother died several years ago, and I miss her everyday, I could imagine how much harder the loss must be to bear as a child.

After a perceived failure to help my nephew, my tentative seed of hope was crushed. I didn’t finish the final assignment on the writing class. I passed up on NaNoWriMo. I neglected my website. I continued to write sporadically, but no longer submitted to publications.

The black dog of depression was my constant companion once again.

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