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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My Favorite Birthday Gift: A Book Deal with Post Hill Press!

Post Hill

Dear Friends,

This post won’t focus upon errant hamsters, dancing cows, or much darker thoughts. I have great news to share, and I hope you’ll understand why I want to sing it from the mountaintops! 

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After a nine-year-long labor, in Fall, 2016 (as long as an asteroid doesn’t fall on me), I’ll finally be giving birth to…drum roll please!

 

          Birth of a New Brain – Healing with Postpartum Bipolar Disorder                           

Last month on my 45th birthday, I woke up groggy as usual and made a beeline for the coffee machine. I trudged over to my laptop and opened up my email.  While sipping my beloved Steve’s Smooth French brew, I spotted a message from Post Hill Press and braced myself for another patronizing rejection.  As I scanned the lines, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  They read my proposal and were interested in speaking with me! Yes, it was the same proposal that was rejected by a mean publisher which I whined about here:

https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/lets-play-the-schadenfreude-game-a-writers-1st-rejection/)

Over the past month I received a contract, successfully negotiated a few amendments, signed and mailed the blessed document back to them. Now my goal is to produce a manuscript I’m proud of, and that’ll sell more than three copies.  (To people I don’t know!) 😉

The brilliant Dr. Walker Karraa has agreed to write the foreword. She’s the author of the highly acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma, Healing and Growth (a #1 bestseller in the Amazon postpartum category) and founder of the wildly popular site Stigmama. http://stigmama.com./

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Now, many of the bloggers I read are absolutely amazing writers. (I bet you’re one of them!) There are numerous blogs containing writing that’s far superior to mine. So why did this deal happen if my writing isn’t National Book Critics Circle Award-worthy?  I’m stealing an answer from the talented author Kim Hooper. Hooper recently acquired a book deal with St. Martin’s Press for her book People Who Knew Me, and in her blog http://www.kimhooperwrites.com/she states,

“I still believe that getting a book deal is based less on talent than on luck and persistence.  I mean yes, you have to be a good writer.  But you have to keep trying, again and again and again.  And again.”

Kim’s right.

For years I’ve searched high and low for a book depicting PPBD, and to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing out there.  Like every author who’s passionate about her book, I believe my topics are worthwhile, interesting, and unique. That belief keeps me going when I wonder why the hell anyone would read my book.

Life hasn’t been all wine and roses since I got my happy news.  I’ve woken up many mornings at the grisly hour of 4:00 a.m. in a panic, wondering if I can pull any of this off.  I’ve been heartened by the encouragement of bloggers including Kitt O’Malley http://kittomalley.com/ Blahpolar Diaries https://bipolardyke.wordpress.com/ , Genevieve Desrochers/ Birth of a Bipolar Mother http://www.post-partum-bipolaire.me/, Anonymous, https://hidinginthespotlight.wordpress.com/, L.E. Henderson http://passionatereason.com/ and Laura Droege https://lauradroege.wordpress.com/.

All of your comments have bolstered my spirits when I’ve felt like giving up! Thank you!!! 

I’m also extraordinarily lucky to have a writing mentor in Wendy K. Williamson. https://wendykwilliamson.wordpress.com/ and 

http://www.twobipolarchicks.com/

I discovered Wendy years ago through one of my first Kindle purchases. I bought her bestselling memoir I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar, never imagining that we’d correspond and become friends.

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Author Greg Archer (Grace Revealed) has also served as a magnificent mentor. The day Greg surprised me with a profile in the Huffington Post in which he praised my writing nearly made me keel over.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-archer/agents-of-change-5-inspir_b_5992870.html

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My husband Craig went through the publishing process for his award-winning book Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West.  When it came to negotiating my contract, he helped me fully understand every item in the document.

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There’s a little more to my publishing journey that makes this “birthday gift” significant.

In 2013, I landed a book deal with another publisher. When I got my contract it was absolutely thrilling, of course! Unfortunately, a few days later I relapsed with bipolar depression. I was hospitalized three times within six weeks. When I was released from the unit the third time, I remained terribly depressed. I continued with the bilateral electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy I had requested as an inpatient.  ECT helped me out of suicidal ideation, but back then I couldn’t write a few sentences to save my life.  I had to back out of my contract.

I didn’t think I’d get a second chance at remotely feeling like writing a book, but maybe my Dad had a hand in this one. Finding a great psychiatrist and an effective combination of medication were essential.

 

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Richard Leshin, May 22, 1927 – January 6, 2009   How he loved reading!  

And Mom, you inspired me to read. Thank you for buying me wonderful books as soon as I could hold one up, and for always believing I was a writer. Xo

 

I’m excited to work with Post Hill Press, an independent, progressive publisher. www.posthillpress.com  The team I’m working with has experience at several “Big Six” publishers, and their list features 20 New York Times non-fiction and fiction bestsellers. Post Hill Press publishes books that I purchased long before I even wrote my proposal. (I took that as a good omen!)  

Thanks for reading, thanks for inspiring me through your blogs, and thanks for your “likes” and comments, all of which have motivated me to keep submitting my book proposal again and again and again.

(and again!)

 Dyane

 

Please “like” the Post Hill Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/PostHillPress

Follow Post Hill Press on Twitter:

@PostHillPress

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.
.   

 

 

I Could Get Used to This Kind of Thing! (At First I Said No…)

Liebster

I am happy to share with you, my beloved readers, that I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award by Bipolarmama.

Thank you Bipolarmama!

Dankeschön!  

The enlightening Bipolarmama blogs at http://thebipolarmama.wordpress.com.  

Before I get into the nitty gritty about this distinction, forgive me for a slight digression, as I’m prone to do – at least it’s related to the concept of awards and what they mean to us.  

Most of you are too young to remember the actress Sally Field.  I knew who she was in part because her son Peter was in my L.A. high school chemistry class; her films were definitely out of my teenager scope of interest.  

Ms. Field gave a famous Academy Award acceptance speech for her second Best Actress award that she received for the film “Places In The Heart”.  During this speech she said twice that she didn’t “feel it” the first time she received an Academy Award for the role she played in “Norma Rae.  However, after winning her second award, she triumphantly declared to the audience,

“I haven’t had an orthodox career.  And I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect…YOU LIKE ME, RIGHT NOW, YOU LIKE ME!”

To watch go to http://www.ontheredcarpet.com/Sally-Field-finds-out-the-Academy-likes-her—Oscar-History-Video/8517653

Field has been parodied for this speech ever since she gave it, but I love how she’s so transparent with her insecurity, especially since she’s addressing such a ruthless, cynical, judgmental crowd.  Now, I’m no actress (although I’ve been told I’ma drama queen) but I relate to Field’s  insecurity in regard to my writing.  

I LOVE winning any award for writing because it makes me feel like you like me (well, you like my writing!), right now, you like it! 😉

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, guess what?  At first I declined the Liebster.  I said “thanks, but no thanks!” for several reasons.  The main reason was that it was one of those days where I felt completely overwhelmed with life. I wasn’t depressed, but I felt depleted from being woken up each day at 4:30 a.m. by a certain adorable fluff of a puppy.

I didn’t think I could handle doing one more task; you see, being nominated for a Liebster Award is easy, but earning it requires a bit of work – you can’t just rest on your laurels and spoon in the Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food like I was hoping I could do.

What is a Liebster Award?

In a nutshell, it’s a peer-appointed award that was “created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers, welcome them to the blogosphere, and build the blogging community.”  Of course the award also recognizes high-quality writing. 

The four rules are as follows:

1) I must provide 11 facts about myself (I know you just read some facts about me  if you read my Very Inspiring Blogger post – well, here are yet more facts, and then you’ll really know me!)

2) Answer 11 questions created by my nominating party Bipolarmama

3) Nominate 11 blogs

4) Provide them with 11 questions to answer

Okay, so I here I go again.  

Dyane’s Glorious 11 Facts

1) I’m terrified of spiders. (Isn’t everyone?)  But I can kill big, freaky ones if necessary.

2) If I could live anywhere else in the world it would be Kona-Kailua, Hawaii or the North Island of New Zealand.

3) I consider chocolate to be one of the four food groups.

4) I consider coffee to be another one of the four food groups.

5) I believe in psychics, although I’ve never met with one.

6) My favorite band is Crowded House.

7) I love essential oils such as orange, lavender and jasmine.

8) My Sheltie dog Tara was the flower girl at my wedding.

9) I have an IQ of 152. (or so I was told…)

10) I’m into namedropping as well as I.Q.-dropping.  (Ahem, Sally Field?)

11) After being around bipolar for 44 years (first with my Dad, then with me) I’ll never consider bipolar disorder to be a “blessing”, despite my usually wanting to see the good in everything.

Questions submitted to Dyane by Bipolarmama

1) What is your favorite color? Why?

It’s purple, because it makes me happy to look at it & I think it lowers my blood pressure!

2) If you could have one wish, what would it be? (Be Honest)

To finish my book and get a great publisher!  Honest!!!!

3) Pick a song that defines you. Why that song?

Neil Finn of Crowded House wrote “Nobody Wants To” which discusses the stigma he encountered after his best friend Paul Hester hung himself.  I relate to it because it applies to any kind of mental illness stigma, which I’ve faced time and time again, and it just speaks to me.

4) If you could travel to one place, where would you go?

Back to the Kona region of the Big Island of Hawaii — when I’m not severely depressed like I was last year – I want my do-over!

5) Who is your hero? Why?

My husband, for putting up with me for the past sixteen years both pre-biplolar-diagnosis and post-bipolar-diagnosis, and for supporting my writing.

6) What makes you smile?

My American Collie mix puppy Lucy – she’s the apple of my eye, and my children aren’t even jealous because they adore her too.

7) What made you chose the topic you blog about?

Postpartum (childbirth-triggered/PPBD) bipolar disorder has been the predominant theme in my life for seven years, and I find it therapeutic to write about it.

8) If you could live in any time period, when you would you choose it to be?

After reading and loving Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon I’d live at the turn of the century, despite the fact there was no central heating or television.

9) If you had to give up one of your senses, which would you choose?

Smell – I actually went to high school with a young woman who lost her sense of smell and she had a great attitude.

10) What was your favorite movie as a child?

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” had an amazingly profound influence upon me.

11) What is your favorite way to unwind?

Well, it used to be booze, but now it’s reading blogs on my WordPress reader.  I’d say that’s a positive change, wouldn’t you?  Thank God for the blogosphere!

THE ELEVEN BLOG NOMINEES ARE…

Note to anyone who declines, which I totally understand if you choose to do so – just let me know, for there are other worthy blogs I could contact in your honor!  Also, you can have more than one Liebster Award!  For more info. about the Liebster visit: http://wordingwell.com/the-liebster-award-the-official-rules-my-first-blog-award-and-a-few-personal-secrets-revealed 

1) Kitt O’Malley – Life with Bipolar Disorder and Thoughts About God

2) Passionate Reason – the blog of L.E. Henderson http://www.passionatereason.com/

3) A Bipolars Reality

4) Shedding Light on Mental Illness

5) WhyteKnucklez

6) The REVELATION of being BIPOLAR

7) Struggles of a Bipolar Woman

8) inthisisbeauty

9) Adrienne’s Chat Lounge

10) This bipolar mom – mama with training wheels

11) Come Unglued

Thank you for reading this, and I’ll “see” you here on Friday.  That’s the first day my two girls are out of school, and summer officially begins in our household.  God knows what I’ll be writing about! 

have a good day!!!

Dyane

 

 

 

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

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I got the happy news today that I’ve been nominated for a “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”!  

I want to thank Labeled Disabled for totally making my day in nominating me!!!

Here’s the link to her amazing blog:

http://breakdownchick.wordpress.com

 

The rules in accepting this award is as follows:

  • Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.  (You better believe I will!)

Seven (-ish) Facts About Dyane

1) I’ve written six original songs, sing and play a little guitar. (A clip of me singing my song “The End of the Day” is here: https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/the-end-of-the-day-click-link-to-open-up-my-song)

2) I was filmed live for a New Zealand T.V. news program when I visited the North Island. (I was at  a music industry party.)

3) I studied for my pilot’s license when I was 23 and flew a Piper Cub airplane above Santa Cruz County.

4) I’ve sat on two toilet which were each used by two famous people I greatly admire! 🙂

5) I was an American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.) certified personal trainer.

6) I’ve met my all-time favorite author Madeleine L’Engle at her writing workshop – she said she liked my sonnet about dolphins!

7) I landed a publishing deal for a book in 2013, but I cancelled it due to bipolar relapse.  (I’m gonna get another one!;)

 

AND THE NOMINEES ARE... (Sorry if I left anyone out – I’m doing this in a rush!  I wish I could have listed 30 blogs!  The list is a tad bipolar-heavy, but hey – what can I say?  It’s my field of expertise, dont’cha know!  These are all truly wonderful, u nique and inspiring blogs that touch on all kinds of topics.)

1) Moorestorms Support for the Bipolar Parent

2) Kitt O’Malley

3) A Bipolars Reality

4) A Way With Words

5) Fleetiris

6) Struggles of Bipolar Woman

7) Passionate Reason (The blog of L.E. Henderson)

8) Come Unglued

9) Musings From A Ragged Soul

10) Bipolar, Unemployed and Lost

11) The bipolar mama

12) Motherhood Unadorned

13) Inside A Bipolar Mind

14) The REVELATION of Being BIPOLAR

15) Thinking about life

The Commentologist

funnyThis week has been draining due to poor sleep and losing my patience with my two spirited young girls far too often.  Meanwhile. I’ve been sooooooo frustrated with writer’s block, which, coincidentally, happened as soon as I stopped writing over thirty minutes consistently.

Apart from reading L.E. Henderson’s book A Trail  of Crumbs to Creative Freedom: One Author’s Journey Through Writer’s Block and Beyond (the perfect book for me as she insightfully addresses bipolar disorder, creativity and writer’s block),  I’m following some well-known writing advice.  The advice is to simply write and not worry about what you’re producing.  It can all be trash, but the point of the exercise is to move the hands and engage the brain and one’s pen…or laptop keyboard, if you’re like me!

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As simple as that advice sounds, I can’t write gobbledygook – I need to write about something that interests me.  Today my topic focuses on Facebook friends, commenting, reading blogs, commenting on them and “liking” posts.

I’ve been thinking about all these things for some time now.  Last year I had deactivated my Facebook account.  After reactivating it last fall, I noticed I had no meaningful connection with hundreds of my “friends”, so I trimmed down my list.  My guiding rule was to unfriend people I had no contact with for over a year, with the exception of longtime friends and a few other people.

I had two fall-out experiences as a result of my choice.  One person I barely knew messaged me and wrote that she didn’t understand why I was no longer Facebook friends with her.  I explained my rationale and then I  friended her in a feeble attempt to people-please.  She accepted my invite, but I haven’t heard a peep from her since.  

The other person who messaged me gave me a harder time, and I wrote about that in a previous post because she acted so weird.  I totally stand by my decision, but unfortunately I know I’ll be seeing her this summer face-to-face.  My husband told me last weekend she showed up at the community pool and she’s an avid member, as is our family.  Oh well – if she’s angry, she can’t drown me there – there are too many lifeguards!  Plus I’m pretty strong these days and can kick some serious ass.  Don’t mess with a mom with bipolar!

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As far as Facebook goes, obviously there are pros and cons to using it, but so far the pros have outweighed the cons for me since I reactivated my account.  I’ve “met” some wonderful people, and lately  it has been the ideal vehicle to share my puppy pictures with everyone.  (I realize that these folks don’t need to see 30 pictures of me and Lucy within two weeks, but I figure they can give me a well-deserved break!) For now I’m remaining on Facebook.  I do spend far too much time using it; precious time that could be spent on writing my book or blog.  Maybe I should look into those programs that shut you down on Facebook after using your account for an hour!

(I most likely won’t do that.)

I had yet another Facebook-related snafu happen a few days ago.

It began with my sharing a post about an Australian news article that I thought sugarcoated bipolar disorder.  I wrote my opinion about it without apology.  I received a comment from one of my Facebook “friends” who I never see or have communications with.  I’ll refer to her as “Snafura”.  Snafura and I have barely anything in common except for being mothers with bipolar disorder and for living in the same area.  Her lengthy rebuttal to my Aussie article post and her subtle passive/aggressive tone frankly pissed me off!

Snafura generally appears out of nowhere every six months to comment on my Facebook account in her annoying, oppositional style.  I consider this to be a form of lurking.  Meanwhile, I never follow her feed, and I have no idea what’s going on in her life.  That’s just fine and dandy with me.

You’re probably wondering the obvious question: “Why haven’t you unfriended her?”

Well, I haven’t unfriended her because we live very close to one another, and I don’t want to rock the boat if I run into her, which will inevitably happen if I unfriend her according to Murphy’s Law.

I’m not losing any sleep over this, but it helps to “write it out”.  It feels invasive when someone with whom I have virtually (or literally) no contact decides to comment out-of-the-blue and be argumentative.  It also disturbs and annoys me because I would never do that to someone else.

There are different privacy settings on Facebook, and I was thrilled to find one called “Restrictive” in which I don’t unfriend a person, but I can keep her from viewing my newsfeed.  I signed Snafura up for that right away.

Perfect!

When it comes to Facebook and this blog, I’d prefer having fewer friends/followers who scan my newsfeed & blog posts, who “like” my posts, and who make comments at least once in a while, than have 1000 friends who never take a look at my feed once they friend me.  (Forgive me for using all this Facebook-ese and for that gruesome run-on sentence! )

I call today’s post “The Commentologist” because  I’ve decided to make more of an effort to comment in response to posts by the wonderful bloggers I follow.  I read their posts on my Kindle each day, during the forty minutes I work out on my NordicTrack.  

At the very least, I “like” the posts so I can let the author know, “Yes, I was here.  I read your work.”  Then, if time and energy level allows, I write a comment ranging from a couple words to a paragraph.  It’s hard to comment when I’m on the elliptical – my carpal tunnel syndrome acts up in my right wrist.  It’s also not easy to type on a Kindle when you’re sweating buckets!  If I want to write a lengthier comment I make a mental note to do it after my workout.

I want to support the writers I’m networking with, and foster our virtual relationships.  It makes me happy when I see the WordPress orange notification symbol letting me know that someone “liked” my blog post.  A comment makes me VERY happy.  (Yep, I haven’t gotten any mean comments yet!) Because of that, I like the color orange even more than I did before WordPress entered my life.  I know that most of the people who follow my blog don’t read it, which is a bummer.  However, the bloggers who take some time out of their hectic days to respond to my writing are the reasons why I’m blogging instead of privately journaling.

I continue to encounter the super-famous blogs.  I belong to a network in which a blogger has shared how “viral” her posts are. (I’ve held myself back from making a snarky comment. 😉  The bottom line is that I become insecure and jealous of the mega-blogs. I need to stop wallowing in those feelings as soon as they hit me, and move on.  It doesn’t help one bit.  For all I know, these super-famous bloggers might have their own serious problems I know nothing about, right?  I have friends related to world-famous people, and I know it’s not all wine and roses in their world.  Still, when I spot that a blogger has 88 likes on a post, or 100 comments, my face turns green.  I hate that!

Speaking of green, I’ll move on to focusing upon greener pastures…

I’ll continue my study of commentology.  Perhaps I’ll even earn an honorary doctorate in the field!  If I’m following your blog, my hopes are that you will see my comments more often.  At the very least I’ll gladly take a moment to “like” your work to let you know I’ve stopped by and read about what matters to you.

Have a great weekend, you awesome bloggers!

Dyane

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Where the Heart Lies – My New Blogging Schedule & Book Musings

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I love to blog, even though I don’t like the word itself.  “Blog” sounds too much like “frog” (No offense to frogs!) and it simply doesn’t float my boat.  But that doesn’t matter, because blogging has been a wonderful catharsis, and it has inspired my writing.  “Meeting” fellow bloggers has been a total joy.  I thank my lucky stars for this technology which allows us writers to connect with one another.

I tried blogging seven years ago.  It was the year after I diagnosed with bipolar, so I called the blog “Proudly Bipolar”.  My blogging habit didn’t take back then, for I relapsed and let the blog fall to the wayside.  Last November I gingerly re-approached the blogosphere, and the second time was indeed the charm.  When I began getting positive, helpful feedback from other bloggers I admired, it solidified my commitment to blogging.  Five months ago, I surprised myself by posting each day, never imagining that I’d keep it up for any length of time.

I’ve blogged every single day since deciding to write daily, and I’ve published over 140 posts.  

In sickness and in health.

I, in essence, married my blog! 😉

Blogging relieves my tension, and brainstorming for topics is challenging, but satisfying.  It’s particularly gratifying to write on a regular basis because I was unable to write during so many lengthy, debilitating bipolar depressions.

I’ve known the day would come where I’d break my record of daily blogging.  I know it’s healthy to take breaks from everything we do in life, except breathing, perhaps.   Even professional bloggers take days off from their blogs.  Call me stubborn, call me silly  – I just didn’t want to stop!  (Waaaaah!)  

The main reason I need to change my ways is because of my book.  Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder has been taking a backseat to my other writing, i.e. my blog, my International Bipolar Foundation blog, and articles for the website Stigmama.com and the revamped Anchor Magazine plus more.  Every fiber of my being tells me it’s not good to put my book on the back burner.  I want the satisfaction of completing it, and I feel in my gut that I was meant to not only write this book but for it to be published by an established publisher.

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As gratifying as it is to write a memoir, make no mistake – it’s hard as hell.  I can easily spend three leisurely hours writing a blog post, and still have plenty energy to spare.  In contrast, when I spend an intense, focused thirty minutes working on my book, I’m worn out for a while afterwards.  The subject matter is tough, extensive medical research is involved, and I want the writing to be top-notch.  

Just this morning, in a moment of exasperation, I wrote to a friend about this subject.  I emailed the great writer L.E. Henderson, author of A Trail of Crumbs to Creative Freedom,  

“If I can birth two children and have electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) done, I can write a book!”  

To clarify, I know I can write a book! 😉  What will make this knowledge a reality is that I need to create more energy and time to do it.  No one is going to supply those two key conditions for me except myself.  After completing over a hundred pages, I’m more determined now than ever to see this project through.  

When I become dejected about the book writing process, I remind myself that I have the potential to realize my dream.  In 2013, I submitted a detailed book proposal to a respected publisher, and I was offered an honest-to-God book contract.  It pains me to write this, but I cancelled my contract when I relapsed with bipolar depression and had to be hospitalized. Now I’m going to wait until my book is done before approaching any agent and/or publisher. That feels like the right way to go for the time being.

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So I’m making it official by stating it here: I’m going to force myself to only blog three times a week.  I plan on posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.   Three times weekly as opposed to seven times a week will definitely free up some book-writing time.  (Ya think? 😉 

I’m also going to watch yet another Nick Ortner EFT YouTube video (even though he’s so hideous, ha ha ha!) because I couldn’t help but notice the title – it definitely applies to me, as does the clip’s description:

“Use EFT To Clear Patterns of Self-Sabotage” – Nick Ortner at Wanderlust

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwgFIKjTpWY

Description:

“These days,” says Nick, “we are activating our fight or flight responses in a variety of circumstances. Frustrated goals, mounting stress, patterns of self-sabotage: at the most basic level are stress responses related to fight or flight responses. The latest research shows us that when we hit these meridian points in the body while focusing on certain issues, we are actually sending a signal to the amydgala in the brain. The amygdala is the fight or flight response center.” In this Speakeasy lecture, Nick explains how tapping can release these fears and patterns.

 

As I promised to the amazing blogger Doreen Bench of “Always Recovery”, I’ll report back here with my EFT findings at some point, hopefully soon.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue reading my blog, and I wish you lots of fulfilling blogging and reading of your own.

Thanks for reading!

Dyane

 

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