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20 February 2011

A Friend in Need - Gina Needs Our Help

Hi folks,

This is from Gina Darrt who has entertained us for YEARS with her fiction. Please help if you can - please also spread this to other lists and forums. A paypal link is available on Gina's site (for those using firefox, it won't work...use Internet Explorer or Safari)

http://users.eastlink.ca/~ginadartt/

February 19, 2011
Yes, I know it's been quite some time since I uploaded anything new. The reason for that is manyfold, but it basically began with my mother developing Alzheimer's four years ago. I mean, she probably had it earlier, but it became apparent then. And the family banded together to look after her, but because I had been laid off, I tended to do the greater proportion. It was really hard, as anyone who has dealt with this cruel and miserable disease knows and it really affected my writing. Before that, I used to write so much. During the heyday of Just Between, I could write a story in a week. Not only that, while I was writing one, I would be editing the previous one to ready for posting and outlining the next one. It was incredible. I thought that was just how a person wrote. Even the novels I wrote, it only took a month to write each of them. But then I started looking after my mother and it changed. I think it was because I was depressed all the time and didn't know it. I also didn't realize how much I was relying on royalties from my books to supplement my unemployment insurance. Then, when I was able to go back to work parttime and still look after my mom, but it was wearing us all down. Finally, we had no choice but to place her in a care facility. It was honestly a blessing when she had a stroke three months later and died. A part of me believes that she willed that to happen because during her lucid moments, she realized what was happening to her and hated it. I still miss her so much. I'm weeping as I write this and it's been four years, yet the hurt remains.

I went back to work at Walker's fulltime but that didn't last because the economic downturn struck. It wasn't as bad in Canada as it was in the US, but everyone suffered and still is. My hours were cut and they've never gone back to fulltime. No jobs out there in Truro for a woman past middle age that were better prospects so I stuck it out with what I had. Besides, they have a medical plan that other jobs don't offer. At least, I can still get my asthma medication. And through all this, like a lot of people, I was also using credit to get by. And like a lot of people, I slipped further and further into debt. Always thinking it would get better, always thinking that if I could just get through the next month, I'd be all right. I mean, I've never been rich or even able to call myself middle class. I've always been existing below the poverty line, living paycheck to paycheck, but it didn't really matter, because I never needed much. A roof over my head, food on the table, being able to play tennis in the summer, and having a computer on which to write was all I've ever needed. I could eat out once and awhile. I could always look after myself and felt pretty good about it..
But this past year, it got especially hard and I was no longer keeping up with the monthly bills. There were a few times when I got sick and couldn't work, and lost a paycheck here and there. Where I had been going along, treading water, now I was being pulled completely under now and again. My phone was cut off at times, so was my internet. My credit was used up but I still have the payments to make. There were no more royalties because of what was happening in the states. I couldn't play tennis. I told everyone it was because of my knee, that I had injured it, but honestly, it was because I couldn't afford the membership. I borrowed small amounts from my sister, and while I was able to pay it back, it just made the next month harder. Sometimes a reader would donate and I always wrote them telling them how grateful I was because it came at a good time. I never added that what it really meant was often the difference between eating peanut butter sandwiches for supper all that week or being able to afford more. I'm still depressed all the time, but now I'm also worried and stressed over money, which makes writing impossible. I peck at stories, trying to recapture that magic where it just pours out. I had a few months of it in 2009 with All My Children. For some reason, the Bianca and Reese storyline inspired me, but it didn't last and neither did my ability to write like that. I don't know if I'll ever get it back. I'm trying to go back to the basics, writing J/7 in the hopes that it will come back and maybe it will. I know if I can only get a book or two out, I'll be able to get back on my feet.
Yesterday, I went to the bank to get out my paycheck. I'd been operating on overdraft for awhile and I guess they decided that it was time to end it because there was no money in there which means no money for the next two weeks. At a time in my life when other people are looking forward to retirement, I'm hoping that when I die, I do so while I'm still working so that the company life insurance will pay off my bills and maybe have enough left over to cremate me. Hopefully, I'll be able to pawn some stuff today to buy groceries, but I just don't know how much longer this site will remain up. I wanted to let you know why it disappeared when it does.
I know it's pretty pathetic. I'm embarassed and ashamed to have to write this. Call me stupid or shortsighted with my finances. Believe me, it isn't anything I haven't already called myself a million times this past year. Take care of yourselves and thank you all for the kind words over the years for my stories. I'm truly glad you enjoyed them.