One of my readers, Caitlin Plavala, asked me this: "Have you already made a blog post about getting hit by that truck? Because I have some questions. Like a wake up call for suicidal people like me who think getting hit by a truck sounds nice. Gory details of pain, idk. I think there is a misconception that getting seriously injured will solve all of our problems." And I will oblige by telling this little story here, the one I touched upon in another blog post, a while ago, on quitting your job to write full time. I only mentioned it as one simple line, but it wasn't simple, it was life changing, perhaps, perhaps eye opening, or perhaps it was life's kick in my ass, to make me finally do what I wanted to do.
It all happened on a dark clear December evening, three years ago, on some day after Christmas but before New Years. I had to work that day. I worked in a cool techie startup in Bellevue, which is a small city by Seattle, which is also small to me, as I'm from Moscow. Anyway. I was biking a lot, on my bicycle, because I recently got divorced and tried to save money by not using my car much, wanted to exercise to look good, obviously, and to be green, you know, to give a little love to this world in the shape of me biking. So. I had the proper gear, the jacket, the bike, the works, I also had a light on the front of the bike and on the back. It was pretty dark when I started heading to this bus station from where I could catch a bus back to Seattle, and, well, there was this narrow tunnel, emerging from which I rode in almost total darkness, with no lampposts at all, hardly any light. I only remember looking to my right, and, while still pedaling, seeing this huge truck pull out from some office parking lot, without blinking, and turning into the main road just as I was coming up to the same spot. I thought I yelled something obscene, like, what the fuck? And then all went black.
I woke up in the hospital, barely feeling anything, and registering my daughter by my side and my boyfriend, immediately asking them to take a picture of me, being the social media addict that I am, which you see above. Sorry it's bloody, sorry it's gory, but it was what finally made me stop and think and make a decision. The doctors said I was lucky that the helmet saved my brain, I was lucky nothing in my body was broken except my right pinky, I was lucky I didn't bike as fast and the truck didn't drive as fast because I hit it head on, I was lucky the driver didn't drive off, leaving me lying on the road, in total darkness, for some other car to run me over, but waited for the ambulance to get to me. I was lucky in so many ways, that I thought, okay, I've seen death, literally, I've seen a guy being killed in Moscow way back, by a pack of mafia guys, I've been followed, several times, my relatives have been killed, my friends have been killed. I brushed with death, but still I was afraid to do something I wanted to do, something I always did, in one form or another, telling stories. I was terrified even more because I've heard horrorific accounts about how writers are poor, how nobody would buy my books, how hard it is to break into the market, not mentioning the fact that English is not my first language, so who the fuck I thought I was to write in it in the first place? And you know what? After realizing that I could've been dead, after having been suicidal prior to this and recovering to what I thought would be a comfortable life, with a high paying job, I thought, I'm miserable, I need to ditch it all. It's now or never. If I won't do it while my body is relatively young, some other job will suck me in, something else, and then it will be too late and I will be sorry, or maybe I won't be sorry at all because another truck will hit me and I will be no more.
Well. It took me another 4 months to finally muster the courage, and, finally, on May 15th of 2012, the scar on the bottom of my chin still healing, the right side of my body no longer one huge black bruise but still numb (some nerves came fully back, but some never did), I announced to everyone that I'm starting to write full time. Now, I had savings from my job, and I also got great unemployment benefits because I was laid off due to my job being eliminated. But. To those of you shaking your head. All of this happened AFTER I proclaimed to the universe that I'm going to write full time. Everything kind of sort of fell into place. The lesson from this I learned, you don't have to wait for your circumstances to be perfect to do what you want to do, they never will be. I was fresh out of a divorce, a single mom, just met a guy on OkCupid and didn't know where that would go, just got laid off from my job, I mean, I was scared shitless, but I'm so happy I did it. Back then, I thought I was crazy. I still think I'm crazy, but I got this one huge benefit out of all of this. I know that if I die tomorrow, I was my happiest these last three years. I got to write, to lose myself in my stories. It's amazing that people read my books, I honestly didn't expect anyone to read them, I was just happy writing. I got to read genius books I always wanted to have time to read. I fell in love and I allowed my boyfriend to love me, which made me a better writer. And I'm just happy, simply happy, being able to do all this, being able to hopefully inspire you to do the same, to follow your dream now, NOW, not wait until the world falls apart on you and kicks you in the ass, because you don't know how much longer you have left. None of us do, but while we're here, if we do what we love, if we're happy, we will make people around us happy, and this whole world will benefit from it, blossoming a little more. Do it. Don't wait. The universe will turn around and hold you when you think you're falling, because you told it you believe in your dream. Here is one more thing, if you're still not convinced. I'm barely making any money from selling my books, only about $3,500 in 2013 and hardly anything in 2014. My unemployment has ended, and my savings are running out around April - May. I don't know what will happen when I'm out of money, but until then I will continue writing like mad, continue giving my books away for free, because art was meant to be shared.
I love you. Write. Read. Love. Do. Create. You can do it. I believe in you. xoxo