October never fails at being a particularly hectic and utterly draining month for me. I don't know if it's the onset of the winter holidays, which carry their own baggage, or that it's the month that follows my birthday, which manages to get more depressing despite my efforts to make it otherwise. Somehow, though, this is the month when it feels like things fall apart, even if they're perfectly solid.
Following my anything-but-amicable encounter with an eBay buyer (who never lived up to the "buyer" portion of that title, among other shortcomings), I went up to Wisconsin for a few days to see my dad and some of my family, including my aunt. I'd been planning on going up anyway for some time, but after what happened with my aunt's health, I wasn't sure if I'd be going. It's hard to talk about, so this will be brief. In addition to back problems since young adulthood, my aunt recently had trouble swallowing, which she found out was due to a tumor at the base of her skull. It was also starting to have an unusual effect on her voice, a kind of breathy falsetto I got to hear when I called her a few days before her surgery. She'd been run through all the worst-case scenarios of the surgery, and was doing her best to keep a smile on her face despite it all. The good news is that the surgery went very well.
The bad news is that she had a stroke shortly after. The nurse was moving her from one side of the room to the other when her entire right side fell limp. After being virtually comatose for what seemed like weeks, she began to slowly, painfully come around. She cannot speak, has all but zero control over her right side, and her overall communication and comprehension skills are sketchy at best. When I saw her, there was certainly no questioning her awareness, which I'd heard was the biggest improvement. She had no trouble recognizing me, and seemed utterly ecstatic, even if she couldn't say so.
In the months approaching her surgery, she'd commented on Facebook how much she liked much of the artwork I'd been posting there, especially the BaRoW and Punch Cards. I'd brought along some blank cards of bristol and a small assortment of my markers. I ended up making three cards while there, with the intention of leaving them with her (I took a few quick snaps of them, but I don't intend to post them; they're too personal). I'll never forget the smile on her face when she saw the third of the bunch. I placed them on a shelf above her bed, next to another drawing I'd sent her (a remake of another black-and-red drawing I'd done, Rubeno Florajoj) that my other aunt had gotten a nice frame for. I gave her a big hug and told her that I loved her.
I drove back home the next day. The last I'd heard, she was back in the hospital due to some swelling around her incisions, possibly brought on by a bad fall she had a few days before I arrived. I haven't heard any news since then, which can be good or bad. I have no idea what will happen to her, and as hard as it is to talk about what's happened, it's even harder to think about what's to come.
Since I've been back, I haven't been particularly productive, except for the occasional post to Tumblr or even Flickr (mostly about cooking projects), but apart from a quick stick figure comic about an online gaming ad, I haven't been terribly visible on DeviantART, something that's honestly started to bug me less and less the more I think about it. During breaks at work, I'll break out my little notebook I always carry with me, but rarely will I put anything in it beyond a few random thoughts or a doodle I only find myself doing out of some desperate attempt to feel productive. As I said before, there's really no shortage of ideas (my to-do list is ever-growing and I'd initially only thought to make one card while visiting my aunt, getting ideas for two more while there), it's the other step of the process that tends to get the better of me. It's never fun to miss your own deadlines, and while I've been somewhat ahead of the curve here compared to DevART (my goal here being one entry a month, whether I've got anything or not), I still feel like I've been neglecting this place, which I like to think of as my main site.That is, should anything happen on my other pages (like if I get banned from DA for whatever reason), this will be the fallback.
So, as much as I hate writing journal entries that are simply, "today I did this/tomorrow I'll do that/yesterday this happened" I guess there's nothing wrong with writing a simple update entry every so often, especially when things slow down, giving everyone a chance to get on the same page and assure everyone these sites are by no means abandoned or even neglected. Trust me, if that happens, there will be a notice posted on the door, a "Dear John" if you will. It's a kind of rule/courtesy I got from a past relationship, that if we ever broke up, we at least owed each other a goodbye letter. Luckily, for anyone who regularly follows my work, this is not that letter.
Thank you all for your patience.
Good night, and good luck.