Update from the Boondocks of Bigfoot

 

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Hey there my Sasquatch lovin’ friends,

I’m in a goofy mood, which comes at a good time after my Facebook Fiasco. a.k.a. the unfriendings over the past week. After I published my last post, I received fantastic comments packed with insights and support, and I felt a bunch of warm fuzzies.  Thank you so much!

It has been five days since I deactivated my Facebook account and I don’t miss it at all! I remain on Twitter, and it helps me feel connected to the internet, but as one follower Jasminehoneyadams of Invoke Delight  https://invokedelight.wordpress.com/  wisely notes,

“I much prefer Twitter for social media, where it’s less personal and there’s no pretension of people being friends; they’re more acquaintances which is less confusing for me, and it’s less upsetting if someone unfollows because it’s just the way Twitter works.”

I agree!

So you may be wondering what’s the story about this Bigfoot title? Well, I live five minutes away from the world-famous Bigfoot Discovery Museum. (I’m sure you’ve heard of it.)  

I’m not proud that despite living in these mountains for close to a decade, I haven’t been inside the legendary exhibit. My time will come. Last year I met the Museum’s owner Mike at the post office and he was very charming. He even offered to watch my puppy Lucy outside the post office when I mailed a package. I promised Mike I’d pay the museum a visit because let’s face it, one’s life is not complete until a pilgrimage to the Bigfoot Discovery Museum is made.  

There isn’t really much of a connection between Bigfoot and last week’s virtual rejection. Today I gazed out the window at the beautiful redwoods, and thought, How lucky I am to have such a view! Bigfoot came to mind because the hirsute creature supposedly roams these woods. Then I began to laugh, because of all the places in the world for me to settle down, I had to pick Bigfoot’s ‘hood. (Well, at this point I’d trust Bigfoot more than a lot of “friends” on Facebook!)

I used to hike all the time at nearby state parks, and I never once spotted the wily beast, but who’s to say what’s the truth of Bigfoot’s existence? (There must be an X-Files episode about it, right?) In any case, I’d much rather be pondering the mysteries of Bigfoot than surfing Facebook and wasting time better spent on important projects, not to mention finding out that someone has unfriended me!

Speaking of important projects, I’ve been working each day on Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder. I’ve made some progress, but I have a looooooong way to go. I’m slower than molasses when it comes to completing the draft, but I’m highly motivated due to the book deal with Post Hill Press. To help inspire me to do the best job I can, I bought Your Life is a Book by Brenda Peterson and Sarah Jane Freymann, which has 99% 4-5 star Amazon reviews:

 

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I don’t have a good track record when it comes to utilizing self-help books, but I’m hoping that reading this book (and doing some of the exercises) will be a positive experience. I figure it’s definitely worth a try!

Because of the huge surge of interest in reading and writing memoirs, there are numerous awesome-sounding memoir how-to books available. I considered buying Natalie Goldberg’s Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir and Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk & Writing, but I was drawn to this book. Another book that caught my eye was written by a New Zealander (! yes !) named Lindsey Dawson. She wrote Crack Your Life: How to Write a Memoir That Rocks. Although it only got two reviews, reading the glowing, detailed praise made me download a sample on my Kindle. I haven’t read it yet, but I will.

I’ve also been enjoying the Twitter feed of @WomenWriters. It has frequent tweets, but the beauty of Twitter is that it’s easy to sift through tweets without becoming overwhelmed. @WomenWriters offers links to helpful articles on websites including Women Writers, Women’s Books. http://booksbywomen.org/  I highly recommend @WomenWriters and the site!

Be good to yourself, be good to your friends, and please protect yourself from negative, toxic people/headlines/whatever!

Thanks for reading…

XOXO

Dyane

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For more information about the Bigfoot Discovery Museum please visit: 

http://bigfootdiscoveryproject.com/

Heeding Madeleine L’Engle’s Advice Yet Again!

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As I write this post, I watch a Life Flight helicopter land on the field situated less than 1000 yards away from my bed.  I spot paramedics transferring a person hovering between life and death over to the Life Flight team. I’ve seen this scenario many times over the years we’ve lived here.  The roar of an idling copter never fails to put my problems into perspective.  I’ve just been given a “reality check”.

For various reasons, I’ve struggled more than usual the past week, but as the gifted blogger Kitt O’Malley gently reminded me, “this too shall pass”.  I must remember that just because life is more difficult, that doesn’t automatically mean I’m going to crash into the depths of despair.

For some people who have bipolar one disorder and are stable, dreading a relapse is ever-present. Fortunately, fear of bottoming out doesn’t mean that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Still, unless some kind of miracle occurs, I’ll always be afraid of relapsing.

Last week I deliberately stopped my daily blogging habit, which I had kept up for over four months.  I still can’t believe I didn’t miss a single day.  If sometime told me that a writer/mom with bipolar was keeping up such a demanding writing routine, I’d wonder (perhaps a tad jealously) if that person was hypomanic or manic.  I most definitely was not in either of those states. (thank God!)

Anyway, I ceased writing my minimum of thirty minutes a day, whether it was for this blog, for my book or for freelance articles.  Writing at least thirty minutes a day was a famous rule created by my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle.  I’ve discussed L’Engle’s writing advice in prior posts, and if you’re familiar with my blog you probably know how much I revere L’Engle.

Today I came across an interview with L’Engle about writing that I found to be affirming and fascinating.  She was asked by Scholastic students for the advice she’d give to aspiring writers.  L’Engle told the students:

“I would give the same advice to writers of any age – and that’s keep an honest, unpublishable journal that you don’t show to anyone.  You dump things into it – it’s your private garbage can. Also, you have to read to be a writer. You have to write every day – not necessarily in your journal.  But you have to do it every day. It’s like practicing a musical instrument – you have to practice and stick with it.  I love every bit of it.  I love getting the ideas, and I live with the ideas for a long time before I write them – I may write two or three other books while thinking about an idea.  And I love sitting down to work at the computer and just starting.

L’Engle wrote the Newberry Award-winning, bestselling A Wrinkle In Time and many other amazing books. This prolific writer knew what she was talking about.  I especially appreciated her comparison of writing to practicing a musical instrument.  One of my fondest childhood memories was listening to my Juilliard-trained, Fulbright Award-winning Dad practice on his Stradivarius or his Guadagnini violin almost every single day.  (Yep, I’m gonna namedrop!  And he had bipolar one!)  Dad’s Irish setters Tanya and Amber hung out in this practice room listening to his world-class performances seven days a week, those lucky hounds.  I didn’t realize how disciplined Dad was until much later.  If I had an iota of his work ethic, I’d be stoked.

Oh well.  I thought that the time I freed up from reducing my writing schedule would refresh and perhaps inspire me to write more and that my writing might even improve.  I was dead wrong.  I’ve found myself feeling blah instead of the usual rah regarding writing. This SUCKS!

A few days ago it was my father’s birthday.  He passed away five years ago, and I’ve missed him ever since. The anniversary of his birthday drained me emotionally, but I don’t think that was the main reason I haven’t been gung-ho about writing.  At least I haven’t been depressed, but I’m definitely not where I want to be, and I need to take care of myself.  I’m convinced that part of “taking care of myself” includes scheduling writing time every day unless I’m really sick or there’s an emergency.

Thirty minutes is not that long a time to write!  It’s the length of one “Full House” or “The Nanny” episode, now, isn’t it?  And those episodes roll by in a flash.  I’m guessing that the very act of writing has been like my own version of Lumosity.  My theory? Writing stimulates and exercises certain areas of my brain that are usually not in use.  Furthermore, I’m guessing that consistent writing is serving as a mood stabilizer! How I wish that Madeleine L’Engle was alive today so I could run that supposition by her and hear her opinion.  After participating in two writer’s workshops with her, I learned firsthand that she would tell you exactly what she thought.

So yes, I’m missing my “writer’s high”.  The cardio exercise I’ve been faithfully doing on my NordicTrack gives me a different kind of high – actually, it doesn’t feel like a high, but more of a grounding of my jangled nerves.

For the time being, I’ve decided to give myself the gift of daily writing, and not feel guilty about making it a priority.  I used to journal all the time, and I stopped when the bipolar depression became too much.  Now I’ll either create a private blog for my use as a journal, or buy a blank book.  (Most definitely not for publication, as L’Engle instructs!)  I’m looking forward to feeling better and clearing my brain out, Madeleine L’Engle-style!

Kitt O’Malley’s blog (Life with Bipolar Disorder and Thoughts about God)  is: http://www.kittomalley.com

This link leads to the entire transcript of Madeleine L’Engle’s interview with the Scholastic students and I love it! ;

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/madeleine-l39engle-interview-transcript

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Madeleine in her office at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City – probably sometime in the 60’s with those groovy glasses!

Dy and L'Engle 2Dyane & Madeleine at the Mount Calvary Retreat in Santa Barbara, California, 1997