Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

There’s this one picture I want to show you….

November 13, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog. About the blog I used to have before I started this one (and the one before that!). I know some of you followed me here from there, and I imagine there are a lot of differences. For one, I nO loNGer TypE liKe thIs. The backgrounds are not blinding pink, the writing not cursive. Those things are inevitable when you begin blogging when the internet is born, because if you’re my age you were a teenager when that happened.

But there were other things there, too. Real names, pictures with heads and faces. I miss those things.

I debate switching over again. Unlike some people, though, I’ve never been a blog hopper. I’ve been attracted to the idea to starting many blogs, and may have started the odd one or two that fell to the wayside while the number of entries was still in the single digits. The exception to this was a nice little babywearing blog…..which, of course, has now joined all the others on the scrap heap.

I remember feeling confused when I realised many people classed blogging as their job. Some were mothers who needed to still feel like they had a piece of themselves, something to contribute, as they (like me) were trapped in the mindless, wonderful world of childrearing. For a handful, they made a lot of money from blogging.

For me, well, it’s not for me. Not at a place where I want to just have a dumping ground, an old fashioned diary, a place to record some memories or work out some of my mental bullshit. I don’t want to have to write on a timetable, with sanitized topics, to hunt for sponsors. I don’t want the joy of being me to become an obligation. I’m not sure it would, but for now, this is my place. My Place.

And I’m not an anonymous sort of person.

I know a lot of bloggers are witty and fabulous and funny and smart – and I’m always confused when they say how painfully shy they are in real life. Don’t get me wrong. I know the pure pleasure of being truly yourself – which is something the internet does afford those of us who choose to use it in that way. In the 1990s I regularly used primative chatrooms called Talkers. These were places for the geeks, for the misfits, for the wonderful few who knew how to literally teleport into little black screens, adopt a name befitting your personality, and make genuine friends. Perhaps fall in love.

I did a little of both.

But I’m not that blogger. While I may feel insecure and cautious with the best of them, I am really comfortable talking. If I’m somewhere and a new person shows up who looks a bit left out, I always make a point to reach out to that person. It’s how I met Aussie, actually. I love telling stories, I love making people laugh, I become bigger and more grandiose and shinier when I am with other people. When I am with MY people.

And I’ve always been painfully honest online, in whatever form ‘online’ has been. My online persona matches my ‘real’ persona, or at least I think it’s a pretty damn close representation. I talk about poop in real life. I dance in my underwear with (my!) children. I overshare, etc etc.

As a counsellor, I’m also a pretty good listener. And that counselling bit? Well, that’s the reason this blog started. Simply because my other blog was so big, so public, that I was very easy to find online. And I wanted to talk about therapy, oh, I did. It was my love. I still love it. Except I’m not practicing as a therapist at the minute – though perhaps that will come back into my life as I more fully integrate motherhood into my roles – and that makes it difficult to remember why I wanted to be anonymous online.

I’m friends with many people from here and twitter on facebook. I’m shit at replying to emails, I fully recognize and admit that – and apologize to those of you who have waited weeks or months to hear from me. I have trouble leaving comments on other blogs from my phone. But I am here. Many of you have seen my face, know my children’s real names, and two of you have MET my children!

One of you named her child after me. More of you have sent amazing and thoughtful gifts for my children or myself.

The thing is, you know me. So what do I do? Somehow reread and erase past entries about therapy? I think it’d be impossible for anyone who has read any part of this – well, pre-pregnancy, at least – to not understand that I work with other people for a living. With their pains and fears and hopes and pasts and presents. I like it. It’s part of who I am.

So do I acknowledge that and be more me anyway? I don’t know. I feel like going more public is a choice that accompanies a decision to not work as a therapist. Though I also have deep mixed feelings about how much ‘self’ to share with clients – would the world really collapse if they had outside proof I was really human? Of course not.

So, for now, we stick to headless pictures and cute pseudonyms. I don’t link to my blog on facebook, family and old friends don’t know I’m here, I’ve carved this space for myself. I don’t quite know how to integrate the spaces, but I suspect that’s because I don’t quite know how I’m going to move forward in life.

And I’m mostly okay with that.

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Writing contest a go go.

October 7, 2011

You know the whole writing contest that I posted a million entries about and then never mentioned again? Here’s me, mentioning it. Popularity wise I’m doing very well. I’ve got a lot of ratings and am holding steady at 65%. May not sound like much, but this is where all the most popular ones are – aside from those with two votes who have scores of 80%.

So. The scores mean nothing, but they I am still checking in every morning to see if I have new ratings and/or feedback. Right before I go check the hour-by-hour weather forecast.

Yes, my early mornings are awesome.  Not as awesome as the video I put in my last post, though. You guys know I never put random videos up – in fact, I HATE that shit on other blogs – so for me to put it up, it’s something unmissable. Warning, though: once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it.

The Mabon harvest I waited a lifetime for.

September 23, 2011

It’s Mabon, a time of harvesting. I woke up feeling really great, not realising it was the equinox. I was just crammed full of orangey light and goodwill and feeling really….um…..bountiful. I know, I know. I just embarassed you, I just embarrassed myself. Sorry about that.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately; I think entering this little writing contest has changed my life. I know how that sounds, but listen: I’ve transformed from a painfully shy writer who wanted to puke at the idea of doing something like this, to feeling like I am happier, and more full, and more willing to do something like this in future. The genre (sorry to be non-specific, but am trying to avoid search engines. If you’ve clicked through to my entry, you’ll see the genre!) is a safe one for me. One I think is actually trickier to write than one would suppose.

It’s not my life dream, but it would be a dream day job.

This entry was safe for me, in a way. Something I wrote a year ago and never looked at since. I suppose that’s a risk because it was not polished, edited, etc – but for me, that was freeing. I think this contest was to trying to get published what NaNoWriMo is to trying to write. Just something to plunge into, to try, to experience.

And it’s a nice surprise to be doing well – in terms of feedback from other writers, from author mentors, etc. I’m happy.

But more than any feedback or ratings, it’s the sense of contentment that is changing me. I’d forgotten (had I ever known?) what it was to have a goal for myself, something that made me feel connected and powerful and HAPPY. Just that: happy.

I think about it at certain points in the day – as I do the dishes, cart small children to playgroup, get dressed in the morning. I’m a writer who is trying to move forward, who has something on the go, who is learning to take herself seriously. To respect myself enough to try to let go of 33 years of bullshit fear.

It really doesn’t get much better than that.

I tell my mother not to get her hopes up. I know I’m not going to win this contest; I feel I won’t make the next cut. Not to be defeatist, oh no, because my soul is feeling nourished and it’s filling up just fine. I don’t need to win a contest to know I want this feeling to keep going – this unbelieveable joy in being and trying and remembering/discovering myself.

Breathies and sleepies.

September 17, 2011

Taking a break from the inevitable writing contest blog entries, let’s move on to Snort’s nine prescriptions this morning. The past three nights, I/we have calculated when he will need his inhalers (we are currently trying to stretch to six hours between ten puffs, but he’s not quite there yet). Both nights had different calculations on when he’d need that little bit of extra help to clear his airway – and both nights he woke up exactly five minutes before a dose.

I’m not being all exaggerated here: we are talking EXACTLY five minutes before EVERY dose of breathies.

One morning I said to TMD, ‘You know, I think he may be waking in the night because his breathing is disrupted. I wonder what would happen if we gave him breathies before bed.’ I paused. ‘Actually, is this a conversation we’ve had before? Why does it feel familiar?’

TMD said – ohyesshedid – that when we saw his pediatric allergist doctor, she suggested that we give him inhalers every night before bed, as while it was still completely normal for a kid to keep waking through the night, she thought he was actually waking because of breathing issues. TMD then continued to point out that we’d been too lazy to try this.

Slap our wrists and call us sillies.

Um.

So ANYWAY, he’s now been prescribed steroid inhalers as well. Two puffs twice daily throughout the winter (ie, everything that is not summer), and four times daily when he gets a cold. Continue with the rescue inhaler as needed.

I’m curious to see what effect the steroid inhaler will have on his at home treatments, his hospital admissions, and HIS SLEEP. Oh, his sleep. Coconut sleeps soundly all night long, though waking and asking for a few sips of water once a night is common. Snort has slept like a rock these past few nights of breathing treatments, except when actually having the treatments.

Last night just before 11 pm, we did wake him to give him breathies. He cried softly throughout, clearly unhappy with us fucking up his sleep. When we finished, he said, ‘Yay!’ in a tiny, tired voice and clapped for himself. This is a milder version of the insane clapping and cheering we do post-breathies during the day, at which point Coco grabs the mask and proceeds to give herself a treatment.

The only other awesome IsThisAsthma news is that rather than the unshaped mask and giant volumatic spacer, we now have a tidy little tube spacer with teddy bears on it. The mask is shaped and soft, and the tube is petite enough that Snort can reach his own inhaler to help push it down – that is, when Coconut is not screaming that SHE is giving him the breathies.

(Two pounds down this week. That’s forty pounds lost. Just over halfway. Jesus.

Writing contest: Still in first place popularity wise, though I reiterate that means nothing officially as the judges make the first cut. Still, it’s making me feel more calm and confident about sharing. Please click here to view my MUST READ post about the contest and see a link to the chapter. Or click here if you’ve already read that post and want to read the chapter. Ratings and feedback welcomed, though you need to complete the ten second site registration to do so – and I found out last night that everyone who registers is entitled to a free book. You’d better believe I already ordered mine!

At this point I am brave enough to say that I am happy for you to share the link to the site on twitter, facebook, etc should you feel so inclined. I MAY just share it on my own Facebook soon.

That being said, I am having uncontrollable diarrhea so it’s clear the anxiety and self-judgment is still going strong.)

Holy fucking shit.

September 16, 2011

Ten minutes ago I was in tenth place, out of 144 entries.

Now I’m in third.

WTF.

My last entry, along with exposing my paranoia and insecurity, also has a link to my contest entry. And a plea for ratings and feedback.

I’m almost afraid to go to sleep. I hope I don’t wake up and discover I’m really number 143.

Peace out,
Your friend,
(sometimes) Negative Nelly

EDIT

Oh my god oh my god. Just checked again. First place.

Heart is pounding and I may pass out from anxiety. Jesus Christ.

Must. Stop. Checking.

I don’t know how long this link will be up. Just fair warning.

September 16, 2011

From my written journal this morning:

Today I just need to wait for the editors at _____________ to email saying my chapter has been accepted.

I am afraid of linking to it on Facebook. Even my blog.

What has crystalized for me is that I am afraid if people don’t like my writing, they won’t like ME. They’ll judge, they’ll lose respect, they’ll never look at me the same way again. Instead of encouraging my writing dream, they will silently roll their eyes and keep their mouths shut because I’m not worth it anyway. Not good enough.

Wow.

Two years of therapy and I only see this now.

Wow. 

This is deeper than a fear of rejection, or IS this the fear?

But why should I CARE? I know I am an awesome person.

WHY is fiction writing – and the exposing of it – such a BIG thing?

There is more. And there was even more I thought of but didn’t have a chance to note down before it submerged, once again, into the murky depths of my unconscious.

Two friends on twitter (hi, girlies!) asked for a link to read my chapter. And I like them enough to feel safe enough to have asked: Will you like me anyway?

Will you like me when you discover the genre I think it would be fun to write as a day job is ___________? Will you like me even though ___________ is wrong with my chapter? Will you commit to writing me comments – all please on the actual entry (you need to register with the site to leave comments and rate), unless they are comments about how truly terrible it is, in which case please email me directly?

This is the real me: insecure, longing, hesitant. Also brave enough to say it. I’m afraid. I find my fear isn’t about submitting my work in the first place, it’s about waiting to hear what other people think.

Thus, gulp, fuck, terror: click here to read the chapter I submitted. I refuse to allow myself to write disclaimers for it (but they are demanding and brutal and trying to fight their way through my fingertips onto the screen). I just need to keep breathing and say: fine, if you want to read it, you can. If you would like to comment on it*, I would really appreciate that. Honest feedback, please, though remember I am fragile. If you would like to rate it, go for it.

I can take it.

I think.

*Remember, you need to register on the site to read, comment, and rate my offering to the competition gods. It takes fifteen seconds to do so. Thus far I’m feeling like I have already won, just because I entered. Having the editors give it the okay to go through to the competition is icing on the cake. Maybe your comment will be my cherry? All comments on the actual competition site, please, so I can have them all in one place. Of course, if you want to copy and paste your comment over here, that’s fine.

Or leave a comment here saying that linking to this entry will not result in certain death, trauma, or a hemmorage of disappointment.

(I realise I am totally fucking crazy because YOU PEOPLE see my writing all the time. It’s all you see of me. But this blog feels like the real me, not writing….even just putting the link into this entry has accelerated my heart rate. God only knows if I can click ‘publish.’)

Yeah, so, wow.

September 16, 2011

The editors have read and approved my chapter submission. I’m officially in a very large and well known writing contest!

Have lots more to say, but my wireless isn’t functioning and the slowness of my phone’s internet provider is grotesque. So more later…..

I did it.

September 15, 2011

I just submitted my entry to the writing comp. I pulled a synopsis and first chapter summary out of my ass. I made up a format that looked legible. I did it all without reading any of the other entries, because I didn’t want to freak myself out.

I am not puking into my lap. I am not shaking with nerves.

WHY?

After a life of thinking (and sometimes experiencing) a self that is deeply troubled, scared, exhilarated, and unable to share (non-blog) writing, I just fucking DID IT.

I am using a pen name. I forgot that I do plan to re-enter the counselling field at some point, so am playing it safe. The public will see my pen name, but the editors and judges will get my real contact info and name. I haven’t yet decided whether to ask any friends or blog readers to read my entry. People who register with the site can read entries, rate them, and offer critiques.

Of COURSE I want some sympathetic people to rate me five stars and leave stellar comments (at this point, none of the ratings or comments counts toward anything; judges/editors decide who moves forward. The comments are just for critical learning, testing the waters.) because even worse than the idea of negative comments is the idea of no comments at all.

Plus I need some bolstering.

I just don’t know if I only want feedback from strangers who don’t know me, and think my (fake) name is pretty……or if I want feedback from people who seem to matter more, because they KNOW me – through this blog or otherwise. Thoughts?

Hopefully my chapter will be approved tomorrow and up for public viewing before the weekend. I guess I’ll let you all know when that happens.

I think I am already learning, though. If you look at my last post (please, look how awesome our day was!), and imagine non-stop awesomeness with NO NAPPING FROM TWO TODDLER TWINS, you can imagine how fucking tired I am. Yes, emotionally I enjoyed eating pizza on my lawn at twilight, but physically I’m about ready to fall asleep in your willing arms.

And despite being as tired as it’s possible to be, as tired as I can be after three nights in a row of alarm clocks, ‘breathies’ (inhaler treatments), and screaming sad little boys, I am still able to do this. To focus. To try.

If I get nothing else from this contest, that may just be enough.

Okay, I am really gonna do it.

September 14, 2011

I asked TMD to email me my half completed manuscript. She mailed me TWO. Yeah, two. I forgot I’d written one. It’s pretty good, too.

Going to stick with the one I was thinking of, though. I’ve just read the first two chapters and while it’s not a masterpiece, it’s definitely not something I would be embarassed to have someone read. I liked it. I wanted to keep reading.

The problem is chapter lengths. I need to combine chapters one and two, and then chop the last two thirds of the second chapter to get a good length. It’s doable. I sort of already did it.

Going to leave it be tonight, then tomorrow night – all going well – do some quick fixes and just submit the thing as is. I hope, hope, hope this is a good experience and I learn a lot.

I gave Snort waxy ears, TMD gave Coco a love of chocolate.

September 14, 2011

Snort is out of hospital. Blah blah long story glad he’s home.

Coco is sick. Snort’s sickness, minus the inability to breathe.

Nana (MIL) is out taking them for a ride in the pushchair as we speak. Well, as I type. By the time you read they are probably home and my too brief break is, alas, over.

I am going to enter the writing contest. My brain is working overtime with reasons why I should not enter – voting has already started and I haven’t even reread the lonely little chapter that was written about six months ago. I don’t even care. I stand by what I said, this is an exercise in being brave. Of course, the fact that hundreds of people will be leaving comments makes me leary. Not to mention this being the first exposure to my work the publishers will have had.

See? Brain, overtime.

Don’t know whether to submit under the penname I have had ready for this genre for years, or under my own name. Probably my own at this point. If I want to be truly brave and authentic. Of course, that means I can’t force all of you to go read my entry and comment due to real name issues. Of course those of you who are curious, let me know. I will be letting you all know when I do submit the thing.

(Have you seen that old John Carpenter movie, The Thing? Just wondering.)

This is a random entry because I’m alone and wanted to write but didn’t actually have a flash of inspiration burst into my brain. Feel free to leave a question you’d like me to answer – long enough for a blog entry, people! – or a suggestion of a topic. Then I can get into Mah Groove and write a whole burst of posts.

In the meantime, I’m still recovering from my injections and trying to keep Snort in The Yellow Zone. (Green = healthy, Red  = back to hospital, stat!) Aussie is coming up tomorrow and bringing vegan chocolate cake with her. Coconut will think she has entered a new plane of joyful existence.

As TMD says, chocolate has broken Coco. On the odd occasion we let her share a pack of chocolate buttons with Snort. There is a book (Mommy, Mama, and Me) with a bit about a Mommy packing a healthy snack. She used to point to the brown blobs and say, ‘Raisins!’ Now she says, with authority, ‘CHOCOLATE!’