A Bloody, Sweet & Bookish Friday the 13th

Tsunami w:Girls


If I can face my tsunami phobia, I can face this summer!!!


It has been summer break for less than forty-eight hours, and nothing too terrible has happened yet, thank God. We got through Friday the 13th/the full moon in one piece.  Although Lucy the puppy, in her playful way, bit Rilla on the lip with her razor-sharp teeth.  Although it was a tiny wound, Rilla bled profusely and the poor girl screamed like a banshee; the decibel range she hit was extreme.  I was folding laundry in another room. When I heard screams and tracked down Rilla, all I saw was bright red blood – it was on her clothes, hands, floor and of course her face.   I was amazed at the amount of blood I saw given the minute size of her scratch. That’s how my Friday the 13th began: with plenty ‘o blood, which was fitting, I suppose!

After the excitement of Rilla’s scratch, it was just one of those “blah” days where nothing much happened.  We went to buy ballet tights, got stuck in construction traffic, and the trip to the store took twice as long as usual. When finally arrived at the store, the staff measured Avonlea’s height so we could select the appropriate tights. At the register I was informed the store, which I had shopped at for over twenty years, no longer accepted checks.  I considered their policy to be rather ridiculous, but instead of throwing a hissy fit as I was tempted to do, I sighed and put the item back. ( In case you’re wondering, I didn’t have enough money in my other bank account to use my debit card for the tights.)

I felt nervous during our excursion because we left twelve-week-old Lucy “Vampire” Puppy alone at home.  I made sure she had plenty of water, food, and Pandora classical music playing softly in the background. I checked that the room was totally secure.  When we came back home, she was fine, but I wish she could have joined us during our errand.

We hung out around the house the rest of the day.  I forbade the girls to turn on the TV because we’ve all been watching it way too much.  We played “School”, in which Avonlea was our teacher and instructed us in my least-favorite subject: math.  Then I took a Facebook surfing break while they played “Chutes & Ladders” and chess.  

Afterwards we walked Lucy on what I refer to as our “death street”.  What could be a relaxing, enjoyable stroll with little Lucy is a scary risk when it comes to walking her on our road.   We live in one of the absolute worst neighborhoods for dog walking.  I was a desperate dumbshit during our search to buy this home.  (A ripe topic for another post, I promise you.)  Perhaps if I ‘d walk Lucy when I’m partially naked, that might get our unneighborly speeding drivers to slow the hell down for ten seconds when they pass us.  On second thought, that idea could backfire – they might speed up instead, because seeing me without clothes would frighten them! 😉

As the evening came to a close, I completed a book that I’ve wanted to finish for some time:  L.E. Henderson’s A Trail of Crumbs to Creative Freedom: One Author’s Journey Through Writer’s Block and Beyond.  I discovered Trail of Crumbs while searching my Kindle for bipolar-themed books.  I hit a goldmine when I found this book because I had also been searching for books about writing.  In the sample I downloaded, Henderson reveals that she has bipolar disorder and in the book she explains its influence upon her writing career.  In Trail of Crumbs, her third book, she vividly describes her experience with bipolar disorder interwoven with tried and true writing advice.  Apart from buying her book, I located Henderson’s blog and Twitter account, signed up to follow both, and we’ve been in touch ever since.  Henderson has been a wonderful source of encouragement and has inspired my writing process.

Henderson is a fantastic, imaginative fantasy novelist as well.  She is creative and original when sharing a variety of techniques to spark one’s writing.  Out of curiosity I read two Amazon reviews for Trail of Crumbs. One review made me feel wistful, for it was the review I wish I wrote for this book!  Here it is, in part, by “Carrie” of Ohio:

 5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for any writer March 27, 2014 by Carrie
 Although at first glance this book is a discussion of how the author rediscovered her writing after suffering crippling bouts of mania and depression, its pages go far beyond that. The advice is sound for any writer who has at some point struggled to maintain momentum. From presenting techniques such as ‘clustering’ to recommending the use of You Tube videos as visual research for unfamiliar experiences (such as hot-air balloon rides), fiction writers will find a wealth of information in this book. The author is obviously a gifted writer, and her strong analogies helped clarify more abstract concepts. If her non-fiction is this good, I can only imagine how good her fiction is! I easily read this book in one sitting and certainly recommend it to other writers, no matter where they are in their creative journey.
Unlike Carrie, who read the book in one sitting, I’ve been meaning to complete Henderson’s book for several months.  There are reasons for this that have nothing to do with the excellence of Trail of Crumbs.
Over the past year, I’ve been having difficulties with focusing while reading my beloved books.  For me, it takes way more energy and focus to read a book compared to reading the assorted blog posts in my WordPress Reader.  During my reading time, which is mainly in the evening just after the girls have gone to bed, I’m totally exhausted from the day and from my three meds, all of which have potentially sedating properties.  I think I can change this pattern by taking better care of myself, mainly by not eating so much sugar and caffeine, which I know has been blowing out my adrenals.  I exercise almost daily, and that helps me, but unfortunately it can’t compensate for a lousy diet.
Also, this may sound strange, but I think that I’ve been self-sabotaging in terms of finishing this specific book. The reason?  Well, I knew that Henderson’s book contains lots of juicy writing advice that could very well help me complete my own book which I’ve put on the back burner for weeks now.  I’ve begun examining this issue with my therapist as of last week. During our sessions we’ve discussed many experiences that I want to include in my book.  Because she has worked with me for years, my therapist can fill in certain significant blanks in my recollections; plus she provides invaluable perspective.  She suggested that from now on I tape record our sessions and see if that helps me with my writing.  I’m curious to see how that goes and I feel it’s definitely worth a try.
I’d love to read about your experiences with writer’s block/writer’s anxiety & (if it applies to you) how bipolar disorder has  affected  your writing- I think almost all writers face these challenges at one point or another.



9 thoughts on “A Bloody, Sweet & Bookish Friday the 13th

  1. What great advice from your therapist. I’ve thought of using my iPhone to tape myself, did so once, but never listened to it. Next step is to actually listen and write down what I said.

    I, no doubt like you, spend an inordinate amount of time engaging in social media — Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, as well as reading non-Wordpress blogs. Commenting on the blogs I follow can be overwhelming and takes me away from producing original content. I am debating how to balance my time. Since I am a new blogger, I do believe that it is important to network, read other bloggers, and actively comment on posts. But, who knows, maybe it’s all just a waste of time. What’s great about my WordPress activity, though, is that I can gather my comments not just on my own blog, but on other blogs. I plan to use my blog content, including my commentary, as raw material for a book to be written at some unknown future date.

    This summer, though, is the summer of finishing multiple household projects. So I may be spending days with paint on my fingers rather than fingers on my keyboard.

    After the new school begins, I hope to do some clinical training, specifically in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Time to start honing my rusty skills as a psychotherapist.

  2. I was curious what you’d think of my therapist suggesting the tape recorder, and I am glad you’re in favor of it. Stay tuned on how that pans out!

    As far as the social media dance goes, I’m still trying to create a healthier balance between my daily writing and remaining connected with my favorite online networks. I finally realized I need to take off the “Following” setting on Facebook for pretty much everyone (duh!) and only get notifications from people who I’m actively in touch with, and who I learn from, such as you. I agree that as new bloggers it’s worthwhile for us to network,to read other posts and comment. I genuinely like doing all of that…but it’s sooooo easy for me to get overly caught up in the Facebook, Twitter etc. wheels. I am excited to learn that you plan to use your blog content in your book-to-be. You know I’ll be one of the first people to order it! 😉

    Now I’m wondering if it’s realistic for me to write the amount I had initially hoped to write this summer. I already don’t think I’ll be able to do it. I’ll give it a shot, but I am going to take off the self-induced pressure. It’s disappointing but oh well. Craig took seven years to write his book with his co-author Gary Fogel, and they would up with a multiple-award–winning book, so it’s nice to know that just because I don’t meet my two-year-deadline that I shouldn’t give up hoping to completing my project..

    Anyway, I look forward to your taking the CBT training and perhaps reading your impressions of that experience as well. Thanks for stoping by and leaving me a nice, detailed comment. Your generous comments are at the tip-top of my favorites.

  3. The book sounds very interesting. Writing with mental illness can be a challenge. Focus is a problem for me too but it has greatly improved by the seroquel.
    In Australia, payiing by cheque is all but a thing of the past. I think it has to do with the immedicay of other methods of payment, whereas as cheques have to clear and it can take up to a week to do so. So shops are having to wait for their cashflow and that can cost them money.
    No surprise that Friday 13th came and went without event, after all it’s just another day.
    Cheers, Glenn

    • Hi Glenn! Please forgive me for my late reply. I haven’t replied to any comments within the past couple days, and I dislike being tardy! As you know, my mom has been in town and I’ve been caught up with entertaining her and hardly being online.

      As far as Seroquel goes….I’m very pleased the Seroquel has helped you with focus – hmmmm, maybe I shouldn’t lower my dose to just 50 mg as I had planned!?! The only reason I wish to do that is because of the morning grogginess factor, but if my sleep isn’t as good, then I’ll stay at 100mg.

      Re: cheques/checks – I know what you mean when you mention how cheques are becoming a thing of the past because of technology/speed/efficiency. I need to be better prepared from now on when I go shopping and make sure I have spare cash with me. Want to send me some? 😉

      Re: Friday the 13th – I am glad that nothing spooky/bad happened to you on that day. You are right. It is just another day and also the title of a movie I don’t want to see – I’d rather see “Les Miserables”!

      Thanks for your comment as always – they are all a joy for me to read. Hope your Thursday is going really well. Now, time to catch up on all my fave blog posts including glenn2point0!

  4. Hi Dyane, in terms of focus, I’ve not read an entire book since a major depressive bout in 2005. Goodness knows I’ve tried!

    I read about 30% and then grind to a frustrated halt. I’m buying trail of crumbs this week in the hope that it’ll help both my wife and I who’re really struggling with our creative processes. I’m hoping we can apply it to our art, poetry, song writing and music. Gee I even struggle with my flow at work writing economic analysis.

    I’ve been following both you and Lisa Henderson on Twitter since I got into it a couple of months ago. Been really helpful to know there are others out there just like my beloved wife and I.



    • Kia Ora James!

      Your lovely comment made me feel better about my not being able to finish books despite *wanting* to so badly – I’m sorry you’ve had challenges with this lame problem too. That is so awesome that you are investing in “A Trail of Crumbs” – let me know what you think, and please don’t put too much pressure on yourself to finish it right away. I hope it helps fire you and your wife up – that would be absolutely wonderful. It sounds like you both have so much talent percolating, and it needs to be unleashed.

      Economic analysis? Wow – I’m impressed. I can barely say those two words clearly, let alone imagine doing any of it! 😉 Good for you!

      I am honored you’ve been following my Twitter feed, and that’s super-cool you follow Lisa’s Twiiter as well. I would like to follow you on Twitter so that’s what I’ll do!

      I get a big kick out of Lisa’s spur-of-the-moment flights of fancy on Twitter, etc., especially when it’s connected with her cat.

      I send you and your wife my absolute best. I look forward to keeping connected with you.
      🙂 Take good care and thanks again for reading my blog.

  5. I’ve had to refocus and simplify. There was too much going on in my brain and with my kids and I can’t do it all. But I’m glad I’m back and hoping to be more careful with what I take on. I love your enthusiasm about writing Dyane!

    • Hi Doreen! It’s nice to see you here & I love your comments! 🙂 I *totally* understand your need to refocus and simplify. I want to do the same thing!

      In addition, I’ve always marveled at any mom who has three kids because I think there’s a BIG difference between parenting two as compared to three kids (I could be wrong…but I suspect not! 😉 Anyway, yes, please be careful with what you take on (selfishly I want to keep seeing you online!) and I’m going to be more careful as well. I cut my blogging down to only a few times a week, and I’m spending much more time with my girls. And our glorious new puppy! 😉 Take care – hugs to you!

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