Readers, I adore you! (Yep, another thank you.)

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This week I was way more isolated than usual since I’ve been holed up at home caring for my two sick little girls.  Thankfully, today they are doing much better, and I’m surprised and grateful that I haven’t picked up their nasty bug yet.  (I pray that I don’t!)

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Last week my blogging served as a verrrry welcome break from wiping runny noses, administering cough medicine, and mediating fights.  (Two cranky girls with misery-inducing colds do not make for a peaceful household!)

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve loved reading comments submitted by readers expressing how they’ve appreciated my sharing my experience with bipolar disorder.  When someone writes that he has been inspired by my post, or that she feels less alone with her struggles, I eat up these words as if they were a double chocolate brownie.

I don’t require loads of appreciative remarks – one juicy line or two will keep me floating for a while.  Sometimes I get such a thrill that I practically morph into Julie Andrews singing as Maria in “The Sound of Music”.

 

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Last fall, I thought the ultimate blogging prize would be having a huge readership, getting forty comments a post, and making money from blogging.  Then I realized as fabulous as those things may sound, if it all happened to me, I’d feel completely overwhelmed.  I enjoy responding to comments, and if my blog became uber-popular, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the unique give-and-take between blogger and reader that I find so gratifying.  From this point on, I’ll be happy to gain a few followers a month, but there’s no need for me to be greedy by aggressively seeking more followers.  Fixating on numbers would rob the fun out of blogging – at least it would for me.

To make a blog into a job has never been my goal, but  I’ve been tempted by the allure of making money from blogging.  I live close to Silicon Valley where the first BlogHer conference occurred ten years ago.  I’ve watched the blog craze take off over the past decade, and I can see why the blogging phenomenon took off the way it did.  I’ve read some of the success stories.

Out of curiosity, I visited the BlogHer website.  A full conference pass for the July 2014 BlogHer conference costs $400. Wow!  I’m sure that BlogHer will offer its attendees a wonderful,valuable experience, but even if I did have that kind of money to spare, I’d rather invest it into a writer’s workshop or a perinatal conference.  My top priority is completing my book about postpartum bipolar disorder, not (sniff, sniff) my beloved blog.

It’s not late November, but I’m in a thankful mood this month.  Also spring has cheered me up, although it hasn’t propelled me into hypomania or mania like it does for some people with bipolar disorder.  Recently I wrote another post of thanks containing a few of the topics that I discuss in this post; if you want to take a peek, here’s the link:

https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/a-heartfelt-thanks-a-writers-retrospective/

I’m being a bit repetitive today, but it’s all sincere, and it’s all good.

Thanks for reading this, and have a wonderful weekend!

Dyane 🙂

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The Jennie Garth, American Eskimo, & Bipolar Memoir Connection

imgresimgres-1imgres-2The adage “write what you know” has always made perfect sense to me, especially because I’ve never been a fanciful writer.  All my writing has been 99% non-fiction.  I’ve also been a self-help book fan for over twenty-five years.  I’ve had well-meaning relatives implore, “Write a book that has nothing to do with bipolar disorder!” but that feels all wrong to me.  I want to write something incorporating memoir, self-help and research with expert interviews.  I’m happy to say that I’m on my way – the introduction and chapter one are complete.  Now I probably have only about 180+ pages to go!

A few days ago I read an interesting quote in the new memoir Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde written by none other than Jennie Garth.  Yep, “Beverly Hills 90210” Jennie Garth.  I couldn’t resist buying her book even though I’ve never watched a single one of her T.V. shows.  (Not even one episode of 90210!)  I just wanted a pure escape read, and Deep Thoughts looked like it would fit the bill.

Another reason I bought the book was because of a road trip that Craig and I took years ago to Los Angeles to visit my parents.  We brought our dogs Tara, an adorable shaggy-haired Sheltie, and Shera, a white fluffball American Eskimo, with us.  Shera had an unusually piercing bark that would scare the pants off a hardened criminal.  The pups were both our “children before children” and in our eyes they could do no wrong.  (Well, almost.)

We stopped off at a tiny town off the main highway which we had visited before on previous road trips.  The main drag, all of two blocks long, had a yummy deli.  I noticed a film crew was at work along the road.  I usually found on-location shoots exciting, but I couldn’t care less because I was suffering a deep depression.  We exited our truck and opened the windows wide so that Tara and Shera would be comfortable.  I noticed a blonde woman walking towards us, and as she reached our truck, Shera started barking viciously at her.  Shera startled the hell out of her and literally caused this poor soul to jump up a foot up in the air and scream.  I felt sorry for the lady, but the scene was pretty hilarious and I laughed out loud – it was the first genuine laugh I had in along time.

The frightened woman was Jennie Garth on location to film her television movie.  Ever since that wacky incident, I’ve felt a connection to her.  Hence I splurged on her book, which I most likely wouldn’t have bought if it was Tori Spelling’s or Shannen Doherty’s autobiographies.

Jennie Garth remarked in her introduction how she had an absolutely terrible memory.  How the hell did she write this book?   I immediately thought.  She had a co-writer’s help, but still, I imagine that co-writers can only do so much.  She explained that in the process of writing her memoir,  “Once I got started, writing seemed to activate a dormant recollection part of my brain, and my life as I had forgotten it began to come back to me.  The more I wrote, the more I remembered.  And the more I remembered, the more I began to realize how good this process was for me.”

I believe what Jennie Garth wrote about memory stimulation was sincere and true.  Her words give me hope that the more I write my book, the more my memory will generate details about my life that I thought were gone.  Not to sound pompous or anything, but I am already impressed with my brain.  This beleaguered organ has been subjected to electroconvulsive treatments (ECT) up the wazoo, yet I don’t feel that I’ve had that much memory loss from ECT.  (At least that’s what I recall! 😉  I can remember complete lyrics to many 80’s pop songs and that pretty much says it all about the resiliency of the brain.

I hope that the writing phenomenon Jennie Garth describes happens for me because if it doesn’t, I’ll only have about twenty pages of Birth of a New Brain.  I can’t allow that to happen.  As BP (Bipolar) Magazine columnist and blogger Beth Mader asserts, “I have things to say.”  I also have things to say, and if I keep my nose to the grindstone I have a chance of completing Birth of a New Brain.

I know it sounds catty, but if books such as The Joy of UncircumcizingWhy Do Men Have Nipples – Hundreds of Questions You’d Only Ask A Doctor After Your Third Martini, and Be Bold With Bananas! can be published, there is room for my book to exist.  If written (preferably written well), Birth of a New Brain could actually help people.  I hope that someday I’ll announce in this blog that my labor of love has been born  When I get a publishing deal,  I’ll invite you to the book’s baby shower!