One of the first things I did after Lia’s diagnosis for T1 was go out and buy dress clothes. It sounds crazy, I know, especially all of these twenty-five months later. What an impulsive, irrational thing to do, right, as if $100 slacks, a couple of nice shirts, and a pair of new shoes would serve in some sensible fashion as a means of returning control to me a little something of what had been lost. It didn’t of course, but who can blame me. History is full of many a father’s reaction to disheartening news met with haste, impulse and abandon.
Let me explain to those of you who might not have all the details. In April 2007, with Franca’s support, I left a fifteen year long career in operations and supply chain management to pursue a dream of writing a novel. Though it was a new direction for me it had not come out of the blue. For every one of those years leading up to that moment I had treated my writing like a second job, a thing I did everyday, at the same time of day and with the same determination and dedication given my corporate job. From four a.m. until six, I wrote. Five, often six, days a week. Over that time, I wrote one book, then another. I made every effort to get them published but gave up after a few promising but disappointing starts. Looking back at those manuscripts now passing on them was very much the right thing to do. I still had much work to do. If I only had more time.
With that in mind, I decided in 2007 to give up my “first” job and give writing a full time try.
I loved it. Living as a writer. Working in the house. Wearing what clothes I wanted and not those which were required. I entered and won an Emerging Artist Grant for a novel I was reworking and I honestly felt at that time that it wouldn’t be long before I’d be earning an income from all those many years of effort.
Then, two years after quitting my job, everything suddenly changed, and in ways most of you know very well. With Lia’s diagnosis and a little education I came to shortly understand that it would challenge our lives and in this case in particular, our family’s finances. Almost at once, I believed that the resources we’d set aside to allow me time to write would be grossly inadequate to cover the looming (and unavoidable) medical costs, much less my “starving artist” endeavor. But beyond even that was the feeling I had that writing fiction was simply unthinkable, spending my day making things up just seemed wrong what with everything else that was at risk.
So, I suspended my writing and prepared myself for the notion of returning to a salaried position. One year passed, though and another and somehow we endured. We focused on Lia’s health, on learning all we could about diabetes, and fundraising for the JDRF. I never had to put those new dress clothes to test and return to the job market, but I never fully divorced myself from the notion.
Eventually, I returned to my imagination and writing, but this time I approached it with the added advantage that I wanted–needed–to show Lia that you could pursue anything you wanted in life, even with the worry and cost of diabetes. And so we have. With just one income. With sacrifice. With a passion for pursuing a dream.
Like many things in life, things gradually worked themselves out, and so it is with great pleasure that I am pleased to announce my debut novel, A Lovely, Indecent Departure, a phrase that hardly describes our last two years, but captures nonetheless the heart and hopefulness of family.
A novel by Steven Lee Gilbert
To read more about the novel, my life as a writer and find ways to buy the book, please visit: