by Holly West
Edited 2/7/18 at 9:09 a.m.: I feel like this post comes across as too sad sack. I'm not, really! I'm actually super happy and excited about where I'm at. So read it with that in mind. I think you all are great.
This is my last regular post on Do Some Damage. It makes me sad to write that. Sadder than I thought it would, actually. I'm gonna have to hold Steve Weddle to his word that I'm always welcome here.
It's been four years, nearly to the day, since my first novel came out. I say this because it roughly corresponds to when I started as a regular on DSD. If you ever need a gauge of how fast time goes by, get two novels published in one year (in my case, 2014), have grand plans to follow up with several more published novels (each more successful than the last), then wake up four years later and accept that you're still working on the novel you started before those first two were published.
For a long time, I felt great shame about the fact that I haven't lived up to my own writing/publishing goals. And I suppose, if I'm really and truly honest, I still am. But I also understand that nobody is waiting for me, nobody is sitting around thinking about why Holly West hasn't finished another novel, nobody is thinking about me at all. I am the center of nobody's universe but my own. If I feel shame (which is a completely useless emotion, IMO), that's on me, just as my success or failure is on me.
There's no doubt I've learned a lot about the writing biz, about life, and about myself in the four years since my novels were published. I'm a better person now than I was then. Believe it or not, I'm less self-centered. I'm also a better writer.
I feel this tremendous need to go back to the beginning, even knowing I can't go back. But as the wise and not-so-powerful Bryon Quertermous recently told me after I lamented the state of my career, "Our careers haven't even started."
I hate to say it, but he's right. I don't need to go back to the beginning because I haven't even started. There's great comfort in that realization.
With all of this said, I'm excited about a couple of upcoming projects. In January, I submitted what I believe is the best short story I've ever written for inclusion in an anthology collection. I don't know if it will be selected, but if not, I'll try to find a home for it somewhere else. I'm also in the process of editing a short story collection for Down & Out Books called MURDER-A-GO-GO'S: CRIME FICTION INSPIRED BY THE MUSIC OF THE GO-GO'S, with net proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood and a foreword written by Go-Go's founder Jane Wiedlin. Watch for it in March 2019.
My co-poster, Thomas Pluck, will be taking over Wednesdays. I couldn't be happier both to know him personally and to count him as one of my writing allies. He's a good one.
Speaking of allies and friends, there's been no one more supportive of me than Steve Weddle. Steve co-founded Do Some Damage and invited me to join the group way back when. He's also responsible for publishing my first short story in Needle Magazine. I love that guy.
Thank you for all of the support and feedback you've offered over the years. I've loved my time with Do Some Damage and I'll miss it. I'll miss you. But I know where to find most of you so you're not through with me yet.