|A Round of Words in 80 Days|
Round 2 2013
The writing challenge that
knows you have a life
These check-in posts will contain any commentary I have about encounters with the goals since the previous check-in and any relevant links.
Below the commentary is my current reading list for the READ CRAFT goal.
Last round I finished the edit for Blow Me A Candy Kiss, the short story I'm planning to use as the experiment in self publishing. This was on my original Goals when I first joined ROW80 last April. It is now ready for beta readers. Anyone interested can say so in a comment or email me at the email in the sidebar. A link to an earlier draft can be found in the ROW80 Goals page linked under the spreadsheet below.
|Ed and I April 2nd|
5 minutes before leaving
I stopped requiring myself to do the freewrite before using the netbook for anything else because the first thing I want to do is check my email for my 'good morning' from him and then of course reply to it. Sigh. And that is just the first of two or three or four emails before I sleep again. And that doesn't count the chats and the Skyping. Who knew it could still be this fun to be in love at 55. And it is especially poignant because we came so close to wreaking it and calling it totaled less than three months ago.
I've written nothing but emails, chats and posts this entire month which makes me feel a bit of a fraud for being in writing challenges. But I've decided ROW80 anyway isn't about successes only but also about setbacks and working out the kinks. I've got a lot of kinks right now...
Note: The following contains lots of carryover from previous check-ins to provide context. New material is mixed in with the old some of which has been reordered or eliminated. And this time I've create themed sections so that adding new and subtracting old will be easier going forward:
Evolution of the workstations
Continuing aftershocks abound. The latest being the notice from our landlord to vacate by May 15 as he needs to sell the trailer. So my sister and I have made two trips down to Phoenix OR after van loads of my stuff. We were supposed to bring our cat Merlin back with us last trip but he was sneezing and had goopy eyes so my sister took him to the vet there and discovered he had an infection from rotten teeth and inverted eye lashes. He had surgery two weeks ago .
The bulk of what came back so far was books, papers, crafts and clothes. Books being the greater part the first week of April with 8 boxes of them alone. The work of making room here at Mom's for 22 boxes and then unpacking 11 and organizing it along with the stuff already here ate up at least ten days. I continue to tweak and fiddle with my two main areas--the wall on my side of the bed in Mom's room and my desk and workout area in the room across the hall. Some of the story of the evolution of the writing and workout room since February is below.
The date for the next trip has been set for April 29. But my sister will be returning with the load after a day or two and leaving me behind to spend eight to ten days helping Ed with the final packing up and the deep clean in preparation for his move by the 15th. We are both ecstatic about the idea of a whole week together even tho it may be bittersweet with the knowledge of my return to Longview and full of some very hard work--both physical labor and relationship.
|My reading and crafting corner|
on my side of the bed
in Mom's room
I received some more feedback from my husband during a recent Skype asking for a similar commitment to time management. It is related to the sleep issues but still a separate issue. I agreed to that and then promptly did another belly flop. Have not kept my hours regular all week now and had another 24 hour awake yesterday then sleeping only three hours this morning.
After several weeks of what felt like steady progress on the mood and sleep front I had a major meltdown Wednesday evening and another Thursday evening. The anxiety, which had seemed to have bowed out after the new med regime was in place, came raging back. I woke frequently with surges of anxiety and startle reactions.
I was feeling pretty devastated about it until after I took meds again this morning--three hours late--and felt them kick in. And the anxiety melted away. Ah. I'd been crediting the Trazadone for all of the magic. But apparently it was the BP med Metoprolol that was responsible. When the clinic here reestablished the BP meds in February they had switched it from one 100mg time release tab per day to two regular 50mg twice a day so for the first time I was taking it both day and night.
Then last weekend I discovered I was going to be short getting thru the weekend with two doses per day as I had forgotten to initiate the renewal process before the clinic closed Friday. So thinking the night time Amlopodine would cover the BP for nights I saved all the Metoprolol for days and then on Monday we played phone tag with the clinic all day and did not get the renewal phoned into the pharmacy until Wednesday and then my sister who had several crisis to deal with on Wednesday and Thursday forgot to go pick it up. By Wednesday I was out and it was Wednesday evening when the first meltdown occurred during a Skype with Ed. Which made me loose confidence in our new communication skills and feel like it was all falling apart and the progress had been an illusion.
I went back on the twice a day Metoprolol regime starting Thursday night and with the Friday night dose taken at dawn today it seemed pretty obvious to me why the meltdowns happened as well as the inability to stick to the sleep schedule. The latter creating a vicious feedback loop with the anxiety preventing solid sleep and creating the resistance to laying down and the sleep deprivation creating more anxiety and low tolerance to frustration, confusion, depression, agitation and low energy.
Before this week's setback then the progress had seemed to be steady in the right direction as described previously:
I'm still struggling with the issue with my brain not coming back online for up to twelve hours after I've slept longer than six hours. This has played a role in my sleep issues. Often the insomnia is truly involuntary but just as often I'm opting for those 24, 36 and upwards straight hours because I can't bear to let go of the creativity, productivity and the me that I know and like because I can't depend on getting them back again.
This choice to put my sleep on a higher priority than creative work continues to be very difficult to stick to. Taking the Trazadone and blood pressure meds by 3am and requiring myself to stay in bed for a minimum of 7 hours is a struggle every night because I have to set aside whatever my mind has finally engaged on and say goodbye to my 'self' not knowing when/if I will pick up where I left off.
I am doing it as part of my role in saving my marriage and shortening the time we must be apart. But I confessed to Ed during a chat last Friday night that if I believed that how I'm experiencing this now would be the reality going forward I would revert to despair because it is that hard. I feel like I'm loosing myself.
He suggested I shift perception and see it as growing pains. We both know we can't go back to the way things were. That was slow suicide and also crazy-making for both of us. Not just the unpredictable sleep cycle but the unpredictable mood and energy levels.
It wasn't like I was getting regular, reliable creative or brain intensive work done then either. That is an illusion created by the memories of the occasional--twice a month or so--crazy spurts of work on a project over a two to four day period in which I slept little or not at all, and neglected food and water and hygiene.
So I remain committed to the project of the new me. There is still the promise of the med nurse to address the slow-waking brain issue as soon as she is satisfied the depression and sleep issue has been dealt with. And the fact that the new regime of Trazadone as anti-depressant seems to be working bolsters the hope that she will find the solution for that as well.
Meanwhile the regular sleep has gone a long way to regulating my moods. My anxiety has fallen so low it may actually be what healthy people experience as normal. My sister noted last Friday night when we went to listen to the band at The Electric Bean cafe, the type of place full of the sensory overload that triggered my anxiety attacks--that I'd left the house with only my white cane. No book, no netbook, no notebook, no crochet. In other words, none of the things that I always carry with me as buffers between me and the anxiety triggers. And I had a thoroughly good time.
I've had more energy and stamina lately and have been tending to my diet, exercise and hygiene to nearly a normal sustainable level and that is paying off in big ways. I've lost an inch on my waist in the last two weeks and dropped below 200 on the scales for the first time since 1986 just this week.
Now, if only I can add fiction writing back that would go a long way toward making me feel like me again.
The evolution of the writing and workout room:
|2nd Workstation and |
Indoor Workout Space
The time best suited was the hours immediately after Mom heads to bed. The space was trickier. But the best bet was somewhere in the room that had once been Mom's office and had become a storage room. So I rearranged some boxes and created a desk in a cubby behind the stairwell. I was even able to set up the mini-tramp in there. Tho I had to walk across it to get to my desk, I liked having it there until I fell twice inside a week.
Sunday I set my mind to being careful but after the second fall the following Friday I realized careful would not cut it. Not indefinitely. Not for someone visually impaired and with such a history of scattered thought and impulsive movement.
After a third incident--a close call--my sister set the tramp on end. But as I feared it seldom got set down for use after that. I kept wanting to find the time and energy to rearrange the stuff again to make room for the tramp and a path to my desk. That became one of the goals as I worked to make room for the stuff coming in from the van.
The reference books are now on that cabinet above the tramp. The 1999 World Book set and the Britannica Great Books set I bought from the library in 2005. And writing related misc.
|Desk in cubby|
|To right of my desk|
Saturday he knocked my netbook off the desk. I had an extreme moment of panic before I got it picked up and checked over.
I do hope that when we bring Merlin back next trip the two of them can entertain each other.
My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs
The Storyteller's Spouse is also an exploration of story itself and features a married couple the female lead being a novelist and her husband a raconteur with a rep for tall tales, fish stories and war stories and life of the party yarns. Neither of them have an especially good grip on reality so their POV scenes are exercises in unreliable narrator.
Synopsis: Lor and Bull Teller, married for over two decades, are about to discover the power of story to either create or destroy when a disturbing accusation lands tall-tale-teller Bull in jail where suddenly he has nothing to say just as Lor, author of evangelical children's stories witnesses something that tangles and then snaps the tether of her faith leaving her afloat on a sea of mystery which often feels like insanity.
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors. many of them self-published)
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller Net Galley a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels. Since this discusses writing and techniques of fiction
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff In late February I lifted the strikethru I put on this the week I left home in January as I brought it back with me on the 22nd.
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols Since I'm reading this for an understanding of character type and the language of symbol understood by our unconscious as well as research for a character who is a Tarot reader
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley This was one of the 24 items I checked out of the Longview library on my sister's card last January and has been the one I've spent the most time with ever since. Friday's post was a quote post for this one.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. Found this while spelunking the stacks looking for the Smiley book. Who knew. Dick was a mystic. I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor This is a reread for me and has had significant impact on the development of my storyworld in the early months of its inception. My Friday post was about my current encounter with it after checking it out of the Longview library again for the first time in over a decade.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. Also a Longview library book.
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf Review for blog tour Haven't finished it yet tho so it will remain in the list.
A Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-publishing eBooks by Tom Hua read this online
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Just finished this last fall and wrote an overview of it for that check-in along with my musings on how to apply what I learned.. This is where I've been getting the most help with learning how to recognize a habit, determine if it is desirable and if so maximize it but if not change it.