My name is Kristina McBride.

I write books.

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Working It (the best I can)

On December 9th of 2016, I lost my father. It was fast. And brutal. We thought he had an ear infection. But it was cancer, so far advanced, it had reached his brain, spinal fluid, bones, and lymph nodes. He passed a mere 12 days after diagnosis. (12 days. It still doesn’t seem real.)

 

Dad’s house was three minutes from ours. He was a regular part of our daily lives – from dinners out to BBQs in the backyard, from sporting events for the kids to shopping to just stopping by, Dad has always been there. He has been one of my best friends for most of my life. When I lost him, nothing seemed to matter anymore. I’m an only child, therefore took on the monumental task of settling his estate, including prepping his house for a sale. It was overwhelming, to say the least. Everything else in life kind of just fell away. Including writing. Which my father would have understood, but would also have hated. Dad was one of my biggest supporters in life, but especially when it came to writing.

The last picture taken of me and Dad together. This is at the launch party for A Million Times Goodnight.

The last picture taken of me and Dad together, roughly three months before we lost him. This is at the launch party for my third novel, A Million Times Goodnight. (He had a serious addiction to toothpicks. It’s beyond fabulous that you can see one here.)

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever feel like writing again. But I had commitments, the first of which was leading the Young Writers seminar at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Ironically, the workshop kicked off on my father’s birthday – July 8th – the first without him. The location of the event literally butted up to the cemetery where we’d buried him in January. It was heart-wrenching to make the drive every day, to not be able to call him on my way home and give him the run-down of events, as was customary after every author event I had ever attended. But the whole thing – starting on his birthday, seeing headstones as I parked my car – felt healing at the same time. Like somehow, this part had been planned for me.

 

Even more healing? The teens I had the honor of spending the week with. Their energy was limitless, their talent, insight, bravery, and hope knew no bounds. And they were intensely supportive of one another. Just being around them made me feel hopeful. And brave. These teens made me see that I might just be ready to try again some day. I haven’t started writing yet, but I’m close. I can feel a story churning up from the depths of my mind. It’s hazy and needs a good dusting off, but I know I’ll get there. My very fist step in the right direction is due to the Young Writers, and everyone else at Antioch Writers’ Workshop. After the worst 9 months of my life, AWW offered me a soft and safe place to land.

 

 

AWW was held at The University of Dayton this year, a gorgeous campus that I enjoyed exploring.

AWW was held at The University of Dayton this year, a gorgeous campus that I enjoyed exploring.

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A quiet bench – the perfect spot for writing.

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This statue intrigued me. When I went for a closer look, I heard a fountain and found my favorite spot on campus.

My favorite spot at UD.

My favorite spot at UD.

I wish I could include sound effects. This burbling water was soothing to my soul.

I wish I could include sound effects. This burbling water was soothing to my soul.

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Brainstorming Session

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Plotting

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Drafting

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Flowing

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Soaking in the Inspiration

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And a little time for play!

Receiving feedback

Receiving feedback

Evening Readers (such an honor!)

Evening Readers (such an honor!)

Prompt Time

Prompt Time

Beauty

Beauty

2 Responses to “Working It (the best I can)”

  • Chris says:

    Hi Kristina- you probably don’t remember me but I was a children’s librarian at the Centerville Library for a long time and had the joy of being around when your first book was published. I was wondering what you had been up to and decided to check out your page. I am so very sorry to see that your dad passed away. As your first year of being without him is close to an end, I can tell you that the first year is the hardest. That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that any of the following years are amazing, just that some of the overwhelming ache will lessen. You will reach for the phone to call him a little less. Get a little more use to talking to him-to the air- at random Cry less in checkout lanes when a sweet memory surfaces or the grief is just too much to bear. I used to get really annoyed when people would tell that the first year was the worst. I get it now. They were throwing me a lifeline when I most needed it. If I could just get through that first year…. They were right and the lifeline was appreciated. I am throwing it your way now. I wish you the best and love that you had such a beautiful relationship with your dad. It is good to be loved so well.

    • Kristina says:

      I do remember you! I’m so glad you reached out. This year has been excruciating. Time has warped in the way that it feels like it’s been a lifetime since I’ve seen and spoken with my father. But right alongside that, it feels as if not much time has passed at all. I can be back in those final days with a split-second thought. Your message is both timely and perfect. I get this, all of it, but it’s so hard to slog through the messy emotions. I’m waiting for the sharp edges of this pain to wear down so that they are smooth enough to tolerate. The worst of all is the thought that I will never ever see him again, not one single time, for the rest of my life. He was one of those classic “larger than life” men, it still feels so surreal that he’s actually gone. But he taught me well, so I have 40+ years of advice and guidance to apply to everything that comes my way. I gained so much strength from being his daughter, and his death will only serve to strengthen me more. This is the only way he’d want it to play out, so it’s the best way to honor his memory. You’re so right, it’s very good to be loved so well. Thank you so very much for your kind words of support.

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