The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Real Tweets

Rillaonhorse

 

Horseback fun in Alpine Meadows

 

I’ve been missing reading your blogs in Alpine Meadows, but it’s good to be forced to unplug every now and then. Although there is no Wi-Fi in our cabin, I brought along my MacBook and Avonlea figured out how to use the Mac’s iMovie app. I didn’t even know I had iMovie or what it is, so it’s very cool to have my ten-year-old show it to me. (And here I am, a former American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women intern!) Anyway, Avi and her sister had a blast making a bunch of trailers; see below for one wacky example.

I’ve been low-tech for the most part, taking long hikes with Lucy. We’ve been exploring trails overlooking the appropriately named Red Dog Ridge. I love hiking – I used to do it all the time in L.A. Hiking reminds me of the happiest times in my life in which the word “bipolar” wasn’t part of my lexicon. 

Watching Lucy sniff wildflowers and tree stumps, her tongue lolling out to the side in ecstasy, is one of the best parts of this trip. We haven’t run into any bears yet, but I’m on the lookout, and I know what to do if we have an ursine encounter. (Mom, do NOT worry!) Lucy’s ear-splitting barking will help frighten them away, and I’m to make very loud noises, and/or sing loudly. Craig said that if I belt out my beloved Crowded House catalogue, my shrill voice is guaranteed to drive away any bear.

In the evenings we’ve been watching a BBC series called From Lark Rise to Candleford. For you Downton Abbey addicts it has the fantastic actor Brendon Coyle, a.k.a. Downton Abbey’s John Bates.

I haven’t been writing as much as I hoped I would, but I’ll be honest with you – I’d rather hike than write! Plus I’ll be doing some heavy-duty writing soon enough. Want to join me? There’s still room in my Catamaran Writing Conference Nonfiction workshop with Frances Lefkowitz. Lefkowitz is the author of an incredible memoir  * entitled To Have Not and the founder of the Community Memoir Project. She has taught memoir courses alongside luminaries including the high holy Cheryl Strayed. The registration deadline has been extended to August 1. Visit www.catamaranliteraryreader.com for details.

I look forward to catching up with your lives next week when I plug back in to my daily dose of reading devouring your blogs.

Have a great weekend!

Dyane

 * That’s for you, L.E. Henderson, author of the five-star A Trail of Crumbs to Creative Freedom: One Author’s Journey Through Writer’s Block and Beyond.

This prolific writer lives with bipolar and has been a tremendous inspiration. I do declare…“titled” is so pedestrian!

 

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A Bloody, Sweet & Bookish Friday the 13th

Tsunami w:Girls

The sign says: “SEAWALL CLOSED – SEAWALL TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO TSUNAMI DAMAGE – REPAIRS TO FOLLOW SOON”

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.
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