Why I’m not attending WorldCon: Thoughts on privacy, family, and the writer’s life.

Some of you have noticed that I’m cancelling a lot of appearances this summer. I was not initially going to talk about why, except to the people that my absence directly affects, but after a lot of conversation with my parents, we have decided to be open about it.

My mom has Parkinson’s. On Monday, she’s going in to have the first procedure involved in receiving a Deep Brain Stimulation Implant. This is a great thing. This is an amazing thing. I know people who have had this surgery done to help mitigate their symptoms and it’s life-changing.

So I’m canceling things because I’m going to be helping my folks with stuff surrounding the procedures.

Now, here’s the reason we decided to talk about it, and this is a useful life lesson for you writers out there. At a certain point, you may discover that you are living a life more publically than you had planned. My first inclination, as I’ve said, was to not talk about the surgery, because it’s Mom’s life and she’s a very private person.

The problem with being a public figure is that people think they know me and so will try to fill in the gaps from limited information. I tried telling people that I wasn’t attending WorldCon and people immediately assumed that it was a political thing around the Sad Puppies issue.

No. No, that was part of why I was bound and determined TO go but not why I wasn’t attending. (By the way, have you voted?)

So, then I tried, “I’m not attending for personal reasons.”

And the response then was, “Is everything okay between you and Rob? I know you’ve been traveling a lot.”

::Headdesk:: Ugh. I miss him, but this is hardly the longest we’ve spent apart – see six months in Iceland when I worked on Lazytown.

I tried just, “It’s a medical thing,” and people immediately assumed that death was on the line.

So… so that is the other reason we decided to talk about it. And by “we” I do mean my parents, my husband, my brother and me. There are a lot of useful things to know, beyond just the fact that I won’t be at a number of conventions this year. The prime one of which is that when you start living your life in the public view, people will make assumptions.

Now, I have a favor to ask. Would you pretend that this is not happening. Don’t ask me for updates. Don’t send encouraging messages. Because while I have solid reasons for letting you know, it is still a private family matter.

And thank you. I know you understand, and I really appreciate it.

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