Things kind of fell apart for almost a year. I relapsed into old habits/addictions and found myself dedicated to so many projects that I didn't know which way was up, sleep became secondary, family and friends were gently placed on the back burner and I dove headfirst into quicksand. I walked away from social media, I stopped writing altogether and ignored all the signs.
After the first of the year, the GetOffended gang reconvened and the decision was made to shut it down. I didn't go down without a fight. Angie, my longtime consigliere, locked me in a closet and pulled the plug. It was depressing. We were all heartbroken. I was lost.
I thought I had seen the worst of it, receding into the confines of my head, but I was wrong. After meeting with the accountant and making the official call to waive the white flag, I dove back into the quicksand. A huge part of my life, that actually began in 1985, had come to an end. My mortality was staring me in the face. I was saying goodbye to what had defined me for the entirety of my adult life. GetOffended was my fortress of solitude. I'd met so many people, made so many friends and shared so many times with my cohorts because of GetOffended... I didn't know how to move on.
So I didn't.
I didn't know how to say goodbye. I didn't want to. I took all of the stock left over the site (thousands of t-shirts, stickers, catalogs, office materials, business cards, etc etc) and moved them to my home office. There were many suggestions on what to do with everything, but I wasn't having any of it. It's been six months and they are still stacked in there, reminding me of where I came from. They'll probably be there ten years from now.
In the spring, I was pulled out of the quicksand. I dusted myself off and did my best to assume the role of human being. I opened old projects and began to revise Harnessing the Spark before sending it off. The problem was, my heart wasn't in it and my head wasn't ready. Lost in Infinity was thrust into my face. The book had become my bane. I had rushed it with intention of getting it off my chest and never looking back. It was a stupid decision. The only thing more prevalent than my naivety was my impatience. For the last year I had stewed over its state of unrest and my inability to chalk it up for what it was. It was time to focus on making it something I was proud of in hopes of freeing myself from the chains it wrapped around me.
I spent half the year reworking Lost in Infinity into Lost In Infinity: Deja Vu Redux. It was quietly released in October. The rerelease is the same overall story and concept, retold the way I had originally envisioned it. I completed the book without assistance, input or third-party editing. I chose to remove the opportunity for manipulation in lieu of polished craftsmanship. Despite the fact that the novel rests on my shoulders, I was at last able to move forward and walk away from the book feeling like it was an accomplishment rather than a means to an end. I haven't decided whether I'll pursue marketing it or attempting to get it into the hands of readers. I'm satisfied at this point just knowing that it's out there.
I'm finally able to say goodbye to GetOffended without fear of losing my identity and my friends. Neigh, my family. That's what we had become. Those that made it happen, those that helped, those that supported us through the years... we became family.