how to fall off the face of the earth in four easy steps

1.) First, right before Christmas, you have what is either a family financial crisis, or the best thing that ever happened to your hubby. Try to wait around patiently until you find out which of those it is. But don’t worry too much – not just yet anyway – because there are thousands upon thousands of families just like yours in Michigan this Christmas, and you are actually not as bad off as some.

2.) Write a short story that shatters your whole novel (for the second time). Shatter it completely, then rebuild a new plot structure around that short story, because it actually fits quite well with that chapter you vowed you would write the whole book around. It really seems to make for a much stronger book – but you don’t wholly believe yourself, because you’ve claimed this before. This isn’t starting over, just restructuring, you tell yourself – you have to tell yourself this because otherwise you would have to admit that you are, in fact, a failed novelist after all.

3.) Spend a little bit too much time playing your Sims, because at least Sims aren’t supposed to make sense.

4.) Try to have a normal Christmas for the boy, because little boys need normal Christmases, and you just figure God or fate or the universe has it all worked out and happening for a reason – like how you never did get around to picking up a second car payment, or never bought a house in this deteriorating state of Michigan, or how you somehow managed to already buy all of the boy’s Christmas presents before #1 happened, when you normally leave Christmas shopping until the last minute every other year. Fate intervenes, people, believe it.