writing

Looking For Beta Readers

Okay, I know I haven’t written in forever, and so I have no right to ask anything. But I’m entering a literary short story competition. I think I have a good premise, theme, plot, and a couple of plot twists, with a solid resolution.

But a well-written story in my view could be a total disaster or yawning bore in yours.

So, this post is short but sweet. I will need several beta readers to give me their opinions, what works and what doesn’t, what might be added or taken out for clarity….all that stuff.

This is not a decision you need make on the fly. If you’re not into critiquing others’ stories, or you only want to do it because you like me and find me endlessly fascinating, 😉 don’t bother. I haven’t even finished the story, so you have time to think and make a proper decision.

Peace and hope you have a lovely day. xoxoxo

No Problems Here! ;)

 

Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?

bigmacI almost closed/deleted/whatever my blog yesterday, which I’ve kept since (I think) May of 2007. Anyway, it’s a pretty long time. It’s just getting to be like FaceBook to me, which is why I mostly stay away from FB these days. FB is all about the houses to me. The big ones, the prettiest ones, the ones with adorable kids on swing sets in the backyards, handsome couples walking hand-in-hand down the neighborhood for all to see. Most of the rest of us stand there and admire, whistle, and applaud. Oh, and we can’t forget the likes. The more likes you get, it means more people like hearing about your pretty house, husband, wife, kids, pets . . . and not simply friends but total strangers. Someone you have never ever met in your entire life likes your dog, Fido. :/ What, and now there are love buttons, in case one can’t like the person enough. Am I the only living soul who finds this a little surreal? No, you needn’t argue with me about the difference between liking the poster and liking what the poster posts.

Anyway, blogging is getting to be like that, like FB. It’s been that way for a while for me. I just don’t “like” myself waiting and worrying over . . . likes. If you know me at all, I don’t need to explain that sentence to you, and if you don’t know me, there’s not enough time to educate you.  I suppose I could keep writing, for myself (it’s the only time I write anymore), while disabling the likes and comments. That way I might wonder who would’ve liked it, but I don’t have to torture myself over why no one liked it.

Nobody realizes the power they wield. I know I don’t have any power. I’m nobody. But not you, nope, not to me. Okay, there’s a lot more rolling around in this old head, you know, but I’m going to stop now. See you. okay

A New And Exciting Adventure

challenge-accepted-meme-dumpaday-17I am one of, as of right this moment (but that can change quickly), 1166 people signed up for the http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.

Some people have what’s known as “themes,” where all their blog posts are tied together by a specific thread or idea. Others simply go by the seat of their pants and write about whatever moves them that day. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world, especially at A-Z blogging time!

I’m a theme person, and I’ll be blogging about mental health as it relates to social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you think of anything else you might want to know about and I don’t know anything about it, ask anyway. I’ll try to find out everything I can to help you.

I’m excited about this challenge. I think I’ll be learning as much as you, and I’m hoping it will be both interesting and fun. Onward!! I can hardly wait until April 1st! 😀

Your Call Is Very Important To Us

pleaseholdcover James bumped right into Patsy’s head, who had been helping him with decorations, when the phone rang. He dropped the Happy New Year banner, so that it swung precariously from one taped edge.

“Patsy, it’s the phone.” He tripped over a blue balloon, caught his hand on the corner of his desk, and landed in the chair, which sent him spinning into the corner. The phone rang again.

“James, the phone!” Patsy rubbed her head where it had collided with James, and paced back and forth, her poodle skirt making quiet swishing noises with every move. Patsy refused to update her wardrobe to the 21st century.

James pulled his chair back toward his desk. The phone rang a third time. He sharpened his pencil and pulled a book open to a fresh, clean page, flattening it with his hand. The phone rang a fourth time. He wrote the date.

James punched the blinking line, the only blinking line on the phone, and picked up the receiver.

“You Matter Crisis Hotline. Can you hold please?” Before waiting for an answer, he put the caller on hold.

James returned to the book. He wrote the day next to the date, looked at his watch and noted the time, and also wrote that down. Then he returned to his call.

“Thank you for holding, and Happy New Year. This is the hotline where you always matter. How may I help you?”

“My girlfriend left me on New Year’s Eve. Said she was reassessing her life and I wasn’t in it. Oh, and my dog died. I don’t see any reason to go on.”

“Can I please have your name, so I know what to call you?” James adjusted his paisley tie and wrote down in his book the phrases “girlfriend left” and “dog died.”

“Fred. My name is Fred. And – And I feel so alone. Everything is meaningless. There’s no point in anything.”

“Well, Fred, things’ll look better in the morning, after a good night’s sleep. That’s what I always say.”

“I’m an insomniac.” Fred’s monotone voice did not deter James from his mission.

“It’s always darkest before the dawn, Fred.”

“What does that even mean?” came the reply over the phone, which now sounded a bit more annoyed than depressed.

“Well, I think it means things are never as bad as they seem, and we should always keep our chin up, buttercup.” James wrote in the book “insomniac, aggressive.”

“She took all my Bruce Springsteen records.” Fred sobbed.

“You were too too good for her, Fred. And there are plenty of other fish in the sea.”

“If I was so great she would have stuck with me. And I don’t want a fish, I want a girlfriend. Do you actually get crisis training?” Fred shouted.

“Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we just have to look for the reason.” James flipped through the allowed response book and desperately searched for something more to say. He wrote down “girlfriend took Springsteen records.”

“I had the best dog in the world. Snickers. A yellow lab. He used to be able to get bottles of soda for me from the fridge. Do you know how amazing that is?” Fred’s sobs were bordering on hysteria.

“Fred, Fred, you know-you know can always get another dog, just like you can always get more Springsteen records.”

“Oh, oh, dogs are so replaceable, aren’t they?”

“You know, God never gives us more than we can handle, Fred.”

“What?! What the heck does that mean?”

The phone rang.

“Fred, I’m going to have to put you on hold. Your call is very important to us.”

James punched the next line. “You Matter Crisis Line. Can you hold please?”

THE END

620 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (that I may or may not manage weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Peace out.

 

Insecure Writers Support Group – Bouncing Back From Rejection

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.”
― Billy Joel

A lot has happened since I last wrote here in August. September 5th I celebrated my 50th birthday, and so was out of town for the Insecure Writers Support Group. I hate missing it. I enjoy reading others’ blogs, and being able to share my own insecurities and fears.

Well, last I shared I had submitted a story near and dear to my heart to Glimmer Train Press. Usually, when I’m rejected from them, it happens quickly. They get something like 40,000 submissions and have two people who read them, so they have to be fairly speedy. But two weeks passed by and I still hadn’t heard anything, my story was still “in process.” (Yeah, I checked the status every day – lol.)

Finally, one day I checked, in a hurry and not even really thinking. It had been at least a month and I was getting my hopes up. When I read the status as “complete,” which meant basically “thank you for letting us read your story, but it’s not what we’re looking for at this time,” I felt . . . numb. I didn’t cry, I didn’t shout, curse, or any of those things. I felt really numb.

I posted on Facebook that my story had been rejected and many friends came forward to commiserate and to encourage me to resubmit the story immediately at other journals, other magazines. One offered to read it and make suggestions. The outpouring of support shook me out of my numb state and helped me see different perspectives.

It was, after all, one journal. Glimmer Train Press itself admits that it usually rejects people many times before it accepts something from them. They are not an easy journal. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad story.

I’ve already submitted it to two other magazines, and I’m thinking about looking at addiction journals, since it’s based on a true story.

I hope you are all doing well. Write on.

Peace out.

Feeling Terrified But Doing It Anyway

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, folks, and that means it’s time for a gathering of my friends in the Insecure Writers Support Group. Here we share our fears, our anxieties, our hopes and dreams. If you would like to join, just click here: Insecure Writers Support Group. We”d love to have you!

I did something this past month that terrified me. I submitted my short story, “Damaged,” to Glimmer Train Press. I wrote it, rewrote, cut some, rewrote it, and cut some more, until it was about 756 words (It was an entry for the Very Short Fiction Award, which tops out at 3k, but can be any length shorter).

Then I gave it to a good friend of mine, Bonnie, who will be forever in my debt, to crit for me. She told me what would work even better, and what didn’t work as well.

By the time I was finished, it was still flash fiction, and I was a little worried about submitting flash to a literary journal, you know? But here’s why I stopped being afraid. The story is the story. To add to it falsely just to make it fit into a mold you think it needs to be, cheats the story, and – that’s not right. Not right for me, and more importantly not right for the story.

I had shared the beginning of the story here with you all last month. It’s fictionalized, based on a true story. So I thought about using a pen name. Then I got braver and decided to use my real name when I submitted.

It’s been a full week and the status of my submission is “in process,” which means it hasn’t been rejected. In past experience, if Glimmer Train flat-out rejects a story, it gets done within the first few days. They’ll notify us by Oct. 1st, unless we’re one of the 1st,2nd, or 3rd place winners, in which case we’ll get an email or phone call the week before that.

Maybe I should stop checking my status every day. 😉

This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Check some of the other writers out there, too. We’re a great group of people! And join us if you like. 🙂

Peace out.

Steps to Success; How Sweet It Is!

How sweet it is, indeed!!

Sunday afternoon I went to something called The Irregular Writing Meetup of the Mid-Michigan Prose and Writing Group. It was called Irregular because it normally meets on Tuesday nights in Ann Arbor.

A factoid about me: I have a touch of social phobia. So lots of times, I desperately want to do things, but I find myself unable. So far, there had been three times I keyed in yes I would be to the Tuesday night meetup, and hadn’t showed, out of nightmarish fear.

What changed this time?

1. I asked for help. I told my friends on FaceBook and my therapist and my super sponsor, and other friends about the meetup. I TOLD them I was scared, and what I was scared of. They wrote back encouraging words, told me things they know to be true about me and other writers, and made it seem a lot less scary.

2. I prayed. If you pray, of course, pray. I used to think it was silly to do this, because God already knows everything about me, so He would already know I’m terrified. But – it keeps me humble, and it also brings me closer to God at the same time. It helps me feel that conscious contact with something greater than myself. And I know He’ll be right there with me.

3. I saw it going well. I pictured it in my mind. I saw myself walking in the Cafe Ambrosia door, NOT tripping and falling flat on my face, sitting with the other writers, having intelligent discussion, laughing, supporting each other in the loneliness that can sometimes grip us . . . Try that the next time you want to succeed.

4. I left early enough to feel calm when I got there. Or – I tried to. It was my intention. But I left the house at 1:10 without checking my laptop for the address to input Stella, the GPS. So then I thought, “Well, I’ll just check at the 7-11 when I stop and get an iced tea for the road.” DUH. Last time I looked, 7-11 does not have Wi-Fi. So I had to hop back to my house and check it in the drive way. By the time I REALLY left, and was on the highway, it was 1:25. Stella informed me it would be 1:58 by the time I got there. It was 1:57. 😛 So there, Stella. But really, try to leave early enough so you don’t feel rushed – so that you even have time to settle in, by a coffee, set yourself up, the usual.

5. I relaxed and had fun. I really did. I don’t know how that happened, but – I thought the writing group was scheduled from 2-4 pm, but then when the group’s founder told me they all actually stay until 5:00, I ended up staying too! Usually, I’m the first one out the door.

Those are my steps to success. They worked for me, and I hope they will work for you. I truly had a blast, and I would be going tonight, but they are setting up for the Ann Arbor Art Fair tonight, and I would have to be crazy to go. The several people that ARE going maybe should be checked out. 😉

Have a great day everyone. Peace out.

 

 

Insecure Writers Unite!

Often I wish I were already famous, like Hemingway, or Fitzgerald. I wonder how they would have dealt with family problems. Would they let it stop their writing cold, or would they just plow full steam ahead, as if nothing had happened?

Last month was a difficult month for me. I got zero done on my WIP. I did start a new story. It’s based on truth, fictionalized of course. I’m including the very beginning of it here for your perusal and, of course, critique and comments.

Barter for a glass of vodka is like a highly-skilled hostage negotiation. I have nothing tangible to offer, no currency. There is nothing more valuable than what she clutches in her hands.

She looks up at me from hooded lids, slumps against the back of the couch, sits on a carpet stained with wine spills and holes where cigarettes have missed their ashtray. 

“Here’s the thing,” I venture. “How about I hold your glass for you just until we can get you on the couch and off the floor, then give it back to you?”

She mumbles something unintelligible but I think I hear the word “okay” somewhere which I mistake for compliance.

As I reach for the glass, she bends forward with it awkwardly, like a puppet on a string, careful not spill a drop.

“Julia, I promise to give it back to you. I promise.”

She still holds on. I know EMS will be here soon. I sit down next to her on the floor. 

That’s it. That’s all I have so far. Tear it up. Be as critical as you can. I am subbing this to Glimmer Train hopefully. It won’t have a happy ending, but I don’t think they always expect that.

I hope you are all doing well. Peace out.

~~~~~

This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group, which meets the first Wednesday of every month.

The Morning After A Good Sleep

I SO LOVE this picture. In case you can’t read it, it says: “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

Had THE BEST sleep last night. I mean, if I could call The Guinness Book of Records and report it, I would, but I’m not sure how they rate the scale. In terms of number of hours slept, it wasn’t amazing: eight. Lucy woke me once and I took her round back, eyes at half mast, to do her thing before I slid under the covers once again. But I went to bed at 9:00 last night. THAT’s a personal record. Slept until 5:00.

Everything looks better in the morning. I’m on my 3rd day in the Summer Reading Program, and enjoying my 2nd book.

This photo reminds me of a trip to Ireland I took with Karissa, to see mutual friends of ours who lived in the countryside of Dublin. The roads out there are so narrow that when another car approaches one has to pull over in the next available spot on the side of road. And I don’t remember seeing any posted speed limits. LOL Maybe fast and faster? But it was so much fun, and very, VERY spiritual to be there. I’m an early riser, and Karissa as well. We’d both get up, she to read her Bible, and I to walk along the winding path, pray, meditate and smoke, commune with the sheep in their pastures. We had lovely hosts. I did try a Guinness while I was in Dublin for the day. Our hosts laughed at me, because I couldn’t tolerate the dark ale.

This other picture reminds me of a weekend Mom, my sister and I went to a place halfway between here and Traverse City. It was

during National Novel Writing Month. I was working on a novel and my sister was working on her memoir. Being late November, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving there, and were treated to the worst blizzard they’d had in years. I was in my element. I’m a snow bunny. If I’d packed proper boots, I would’ve been traipsing about in the woods every day.

Good times. It’s a grand Wednesday after a proper sorting in therapy. I hope you are well.

Peace out.

Filling My Cup

Is this not a beautiful picture? I couldn’t resist it when I saw it. If I could get my heart started every morning on a cup full of sparkles instead of caffeine, I’d be all over it. 🙂 That is SO pretty to me.

It made me think about what I need to fill myself with every day. Like, how does what I read, watch on TV, and look at on the internet affect me? How does who I talk to on the phone or in person affect my mood? How does what I write about or not write about make me feel? If I don’t spend time in knitting do I feel that loss of my center?

What about meetings? Sometimes who I sit with at a meeting affects my ability to share more . . . not freely, necessarily, but – without stumbling over my words? I get very nervous, and if I don’t  know at least half the people at the table pretty well I get very skittish, like a cat.

But wait–let me back up a second here. My super sponsor and I were talking about books and what we read, and she said that if she reads horror, like Stephen King and stuff like that, it affects her too much in a negative way. Now, I can read Stephen King-like stuff all the livelong day and it does not put me in a negative mood. But let me read some self-help book that tells me I’m doing something wrong — and I’m in a pissy mood the rest of the day.

So the only self-help I need in my life at this point is Al-Anon related material. That’s what I can fill my cup with.

I used to be able to watch the different Law and Order spin-offs all the time. Now I can only watch the main one and Criminal Intent (okay, okay, because I have a thing for Vincent D’Onofrio, happy now? :P) He’s married. So I have to admire from afar. I still watch The Waltons on The Hallmark Channel, and I once watched a whole 24-hour marathon of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. If you remember that, I’m your friend for life. 😉 Too much violence isn’t a good thing to fill my cup up with. Humor is great. 

My mom thinks I’m too open on here, and on FB. Psh. It’s my blog. And —okay, I’ll be more careful on FB. I don’t exactly have to say where I’m going, or where I am. I still think she worries too much. I guess that’s what Moms do. It’s one of the many ways they offer their love up.

And I’m babbling. What positive ways do you have to fill your cup on a daily basis?

Peace out.

Just Do It ‘Til You BELIEVE It

The popular saying in AA and Al-Anon is “Fake it ’til you make it,” but for the purposes of today’s post, I’ve made up my own slogan. Yeah. I did that. 🙂 Well, they all have to start somewhere, right?

So one of these days I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll hear someone talking to a friend, chatting them up, saying, “No, you just do it ’til….” ooor maybe not. 😛

It’s nice to dream, though.

The point is for whatever you are dealing with, whether it’s another person’s behavior or your own behavior you are trying to change . . . I’ve always found that taking action, putting one foot in front of the other and actually taking small steps is what helps me BELIEVE. Because, look it’s either working (the action) or it’s not. And if it’s not, well that quickly I can take steps to change it.

Recently I’ve had someone try to take advantage of me. Try being the operative word. Because I’ve learned so much in Al-Anon, and because I talk regularly with my super sponsor, I know the things to say. I know how not to get walked on anymore. I didn’t “fake it,” I just did the behavior and the consequences were ten times better than they would have been had I taken the actions years earlier, putty in the hands of a master manipulator.

One can use this new “slogan” 😉 for anything. I think of it with my writing as well. As soon as I finish this blog post, I’m going to tackle an hour of writing, straight through. I’ve been thinking of myself as a writer, believing it as it forms in my mind, speaking it to my mother and people who normally don’t commend such statements from me.

What are you hesitant about? What do you need to do ’til you BELIEVE it? Do it today!! What’s stopping you?

Falling

NB: This blog used to be called K2together: Yarns and Words. If you came here looking for that, you are in the right place. 😉

Welcome to my first ever post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Ahem. My name is Chris, and I’m an insecure writer. And, may I just say, I’m insecure about this post? I thought and thought and prayed and prayed about what I wanted to say this morning. Then I realized it was almost like Bonnie Friedman swatting flies in Writing Past DarkI was distracting myself from just writing the dang post by thinking about it so much and what your reactions to it might or might not be.

I keep a Where Is Taylor word count meter on my blog (you can see it you scroll down a little), even though it’s so totally embarrassing. Out of 63,000 words I’ve only written 2,154. And that’s after I dropped out of Camp NaNoWriMo for June.

Dropping out was actually a good decision for me, though. I thought I wrote well under pressure, you know? Like usually I do well with the November NaNo (unless I fall catastrophically behind), but this past November I wrote crap. I went back to read it recently, and I just cried. It was that bad.

So when I noticed that I’d fallen way behind on Camp NanoWriMo because of some family issues, I panicked. I knew I’d be pumping out that same kind of drivel again.

Instead, I just put my head down, went onto Write or Die for half an hour and wrote a little over 1k. This time, because I wasn’t under any pressure, not even of my own, it felt just like Bonnie describes it in her book, like I was falling into a dream state. I was descriptive, which is usually my prickly pear. I could feel Taylor developing in 3d while my fingertips touched the keys. It’s almost like . . . you know how you can feel the rest of the world just kind of “go away” when you get to that place in really good writing?

Yeah. I was there for a little over 1k. And I don’t think I can fall again. It rarely happens for me.

Usually I’m afraid to touch my writing because I want it to be something it can never be. I’d rather read and hide behind others’ words.

Peace out.

~~This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Groupwhich happens the first Wednesday of each month. 

Whole Vs. Hole

Right, I was going to post more pics of Tweetybird. Well, I got sidetracked by preparing to write my novel, Where is Faith?, for Camp NaNoWriMo, starting tomorrow. I promise I’ll post pics tomorrow. Pinky promise. 😉

Today I want to talk about a book I’m currently reading and about how a certain passage resonated within me. It’s a YA novel called Clean by Amy Reed, about a group of teens in a rehab together. They are asked to write essays about themselves, what got them in their situations and so forth.

One of the teens, Eva, writes so beautifully, she breaks my heart. Here is an excerpt: Do you remember? Do you remember being solid? Do you remember life before the hole? Before you were empty and needed to be filled? There was a time when everything was enough. There was a time you didn’t try to get out of your own skin. Remember. 

Wow.

I cried when I read that, because I do remember that time. It was when I was three years old riding my tricycle and when I was five years and my mom gave me a huge birthday party with all my friends over. I can see everything, smell the grass outside, see the trees in our neighborhood, all my friends smiling, I can remember playing red light green light, red rover (memories get mixed up, so I may have been older here).

Then there was the hole. Really it was a void. That’s why I picked that picture. It was a void so huge nothing could fill it. I tried to fill it with food, with fixing people, with trying so hard to be perfect, with trying to please other people, with anticipating every need. . . I even tried to fill it with screwing up in college when the other stuff didn’t work. I tried to fill it up with self harm and suicide attempts and dark, dark thoughts that would never go away.

Then two wonderful things happened. First, I became a born-again believer. That was a very good day. March 5, 1997. I don’t push my beliefs on anyone, but I’m not ashamed of them either. Then, I keep thinking it was longer, but it was only around September of last year, I found Al-Anon.

Now, I have that W- in front of the Hole again. I know and feel what it means to be whole. Not all the time, because sometimes I forget and slip back, but most of the time. And it feels . . . FANTASTIC. 

Peace out.

Overwhelmed

Okay, so I spoke with Mary, my temporary OA (Overeaters Anonymous) sponsor yesterday evening, and she told me she would like me do several things that she did for her sponsor and that had worked for her.

1. To call her every day, and tell her what I’ve eaten the day before, if I’m on track with my meal plan for that day.

2. To read three pages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, find something on each page that means something or touches me in some way, and write about each thing in a notebook . . . every day.

3. Go to more OA meetings. I only go to one OA meeting a week so far.

I guess that’s all she said for now. But it feels totally overwhelming, and I’ll tell you why. These are all my reasons:

1 I’ve put Undertow on the back burner and have started a novel, the beginning of a series, called Where is Faith? , to be followed by Faith in Prison, and finally Faith Forever. 

2. I’m working on putting together a book proposal for Where is Faith? which is not exactly an easy process. They are generally quite a bit longer than synopses, and more involved.

3. I love to write, but I’d rather be journaling my feelings regarding my cravings when it comes to food. Like, when I get hungry, is it emotional or physical hunger, and if emotional then what the hell is going on?

4. The reason I only go to one OA meeting a week is because I usually attend four Al-Anon meetings a week, and I told her that, but it didn’t put her off mentioning other OA meetings I might like.

Well, Mary did say at the end that we could try this for two weeks and see how it goes. We might be incompatible, and that’s okay. But when I talk to her today I’m going to ask her about the journaling thing. What is the point of the pages? Why that particular assignment? Is it just to make sure I read the big book? Because I’m reading it.

I don’t know. I’m just so overwhelmed. It’s making me tired and pissed off. 😦

Peace out.

Progress Not Perfection

progress not perfection
My family physician – also board-certified in psychiatry – and I go back a ways. I checked with the receptionist, and their computer only goes back as far as 1995, but it was a return appointment, so we’re figuring at least 1994.

That’s a long time to know someone. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, because I used to be a lot sicker than I am now. As I sit here, and I know I’m in for a wait, sometimes as long as three hours, I think of the progress that’s been made. Today, I come to Dr. Sack’s office with a bag of tricks to engage me. There’s a knitting project, two books I need to finish reading for possible review, and of course an old-fashioned notebook and pen to write this blog post for later transfer to computer when I get home. Plus my smart phone so I can stay in touch with FB friends and all of that. God forbid I should lose touch with the world for a minute. 😛

When I first began coming here, through the wayback machine, I was much angrier and impatient. I was in the throes of borderline personality disorder”, which – if you click on the term it will take you to a great website that describes and explains the symptoms and characteristics.

I remember feeling rage and paranoia that other patients had been called back into rooms before I had. Numerous times I’d storm the poor receptionist’s desk. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting? My appointment was at such-and-so, and here it is two hours later! I demand to be seen!” Like it had never occurred to me the other patients waiting in the room had been waiting just as long if not longer. 😦 Bless their hearts, they took that vitriol, and gave back nothing but calm, clear, kindness.

Part of the problem, I realized much too late, was my panicky feelings at being jam-packed in a waiting room filled with sick people. I wasn’t physically ill, I was mentally ill, and didn’t want to add strep throat to the mix if I could help it. Also, I did not know then that I was dealing with claustrophobia, which has still not left me today.

There is a theory bandied about that people can “age out” of borderline personality disorder, and I think that is what has happened with me. Then too, with the advent of cell phones, when the waiting room is packed, the receptionist is kind enough to take down my cell number and call me when it’s time for me to come back into a patient room. And, like I said at the outset, I bring things to engage myself and to keep myself busy.

It’s nowhere near perfect, but I’m a work in progress.

All In For God With Faith

faith

5The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”

6But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.
–Luke 17:5,6 Message

Doesn’t that sound just like us? I mean, there were the apostles, they had Jesus, the LORD Himself, in the flesh, and they wanted more. It wasn’t enough.

I’m learning, slowly but surely, that faith is one of those I was given just enough of, and it’s up to me to do with it what I wish. Like concrete here in Michigan, it can expand and contract, but it’s still the same. The measure of it hasn’t changed. Maybe it’s shape, it’s edges, the form it can take – but it’s the same amount I was given at the beginning. Sometimes it might feel smaller because the ground is shifting, and sometimes it feels huge because everything is smooth sailing.

The last 48 hours have not been smooth sailing, but I had to make a decision – last night – to be “all in” no matter how I was feeling, and keep moving with the understanding that God knew what He was doing.

God always knows what He’s doing. I can’t always see it because I can sometimes only see as far as the nose on my face, and I can only see that if look through the corner of my eye. 😉

When I made that decision, when I pushed “all in,” something shifted . . . in me.

There’s still some work to be done. I still can’t see very far, but I don’t think I need to. I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Peace out.

Riddles for Fun and Folly

1. I have but only two
They taste just as sweet
Though thru bitter words may flow.

2. A hairier face you’ve never seen
and the halitosis might make you green
Brown eyes staring, body wiggling

3. Three eyes have I, all in a row.
When the green one opens, everyone goes.

4. I cover without smothering.
I’m not clothing.

5. Pull my chain, everything goes black.

6. Stout am I but not from food
My whiskers betimes slip off my face

That’s it. That’s all the fun I have today. I’ll write a more serious post later. Wanted to get this out now.
Have fun!

Knitting and Purling, and Soothing

Didn’t end up going to the meeting last night. Listened to my inner self, my chronic fatigued, bipolar self, and – more importantly – the H.A.L.T theory. Never let myself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Well, as I wrote yesterday, I was pretty wiped out. I needed a break. Today I’m going to an afternoon meeting and tonight an open talk (my first one in a very long time, so I’m excited!).

Last night was a time for knitting. Recently I splurged and bought a set of Harmony wood needles, along with the cables (and a tightener for them, otherwise they may come off during work at an alarming time!) from http://wwww.knitpiks.com. If it’s weird to be in love with knitting needles then I’m officially off the charts strange.

Everything about knitting turns me on. From the feel of the yarn as it slides through my fingers, to the soft click-click of the needles as I knit and purl (no frogging allowed here, that’s for another post), to all the beautiful colors, to seeing the product grow and knowing I – I did that!

When I’m too fatigued, I can’t do it, because I know I’ll make mistakes even in the simplest of patterns. But when I’m just a little tired and feeling sad because – like last night – I missed a favorite meeting, it soothes me and quiets my spirit. As a little girl, if someone I played with said something upsetting to me or something didn’t go my way, I would run in the house and bang something out on the piano really quickly, which usually made me feel better. Sadly, I don’t play the piano anymore.

But – knitting. Sigh. It does that and even more. If I was confident enough, I would teach others how to knit. I even get plot bunnies for writing while I knit, and that I consider a side benefit! Sometimes when I’m writing and get frustrated with how it’s going I’ll work out the snarls (no pun intended) with a good knitting project. The cobwebs get cleared out in my head and I’m ready to get back to work.

If I’m making something for someone else, like the baby blanket I’m currently making for little Eleanor Grace, I pray while I’m making it. I pray for her future, I pray that God will keep her safe in the palm of His hand.

I’ll try to remember to post pics of my knitting as I go, but I often get distracted by other things, like my lovely Lucy. Which reminds me, I want to make her a dog sweater. 😀

There. How many other knitters did I speak to, or how many did I make want to knit? Who knows, some people swear they can teach knitting over the phone. 😉

Priorities

I’ve been doing too much. Going to about four Al-Anon meetings a week, attending two lectures on alcoholism followed by sharing times afterwards, which amounts to two 3-hour evenings a week, reading all the literature on alcoholism I can get my hands on and then some. I had to take back all the books I had taken out from the library on the subject. My sponsor made me. 😛 I couldn’t exactly take back the 30+ I have downloaded to my Kindle. 😦

I’ve been accepted to work on a collaboration with 13 other writers. Also, just been accepted to do a weekly book review for a blog. So I have to, I guess, RE-prioritize my life.

It’s not about the alcoholic in my life. It’s about me. Starting today, I’m paring down my reading to Al-Anon related literature (mainly the Big Book of Al-Anon and my meditation books, like One day at a time in Al-Anon), and the books I need to read for review.

Also, I’m writing a non-fiction book this year called “Undertow: Growing Up With An Alcoholic Sister.” I’ve only written the outline so far, but that took some serious work.

So, I’m only going to keep my favorite one or two Al-Anon meetings. Only going to the skills building and sharing meeting on Tuesday night. One or two open talks. LOTS of rest and sleep. Walks with Lucy so I can talk with God about all that’s going on (that’s whom I choose to call my Higher Power; if it helps you, fine).

The life unexamined is not worth living. Didn’t someone famous say that? 😉

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