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Mania, Interrupted

After spending much of the past few days sewing as though if I didn’t finish *right then* I never would, I had a bit of an RA flare up last night (with a side order of heartburn).

If I’d been paying attention, I would’ve noticed that the frantic determination to complete a simple sewing project–especially a completely impromptu and non-essential one–was a sure sign that a manic episode was brewing.

That wasn’t important at the time. I had a mission.

I also was invited to join a very interesting writing project yesterday, so I clearly *had* to finish the sewing so I could get started on writing. I had to.

The sewing caused good ol’ Arthur to act up, and Goddess knows why the reflux had to join the party. By the time I had kicked those two out for the night, there would be no more sleep for me. My mind was up and at ’em.

I wrote a little. I checked Facebook constantly for someone, anyone to pop online. I had a few friends I wanted to talk to, but I also had a racing mind that craved stimulation and interaction.

More writing followed once the rest of the household was awake. I feverishly sorted through my old poetry for potential submissions, then wrote yet another short story when I ran out of material that would fit the project.

My manic steam ran out after about 36-37 hours of sleeplessness. Thank the Gods.

Now, following a two hour nap, I feel more tired than I did when I was in the midst of the insomnia (not to mention feeling slightly punch-drunk).

I suppose I should pay more attention to when one of these episodes is approaching. Then again, I have a very cute handmade purse and a few new literary gems….

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The blackest of days

Ok, so maybe Black Friday (and the new Black Thursday last night) wasn’t so bad.

As a former retail worker, I have a sort of retail PTSD when it comes to Black Friday. It was the one day a year I specifically requested the opening shift. You get in at like 0500 (probably even earlier for some people), so you’re not even really awake–just on autopilot. Then by the time your body is conscious it’s time to go. I have vague memories of rude, pushy customers who would almost literally kill for whatever sale is on. The worst side of humanity.

For almost a decade (after escaping from retail), I refused to shop on Black Friday. I even swore a solemn oath that I would never work retail during the holiday season again.

Unfortunately, four years ago necessity dictated that I break my vow and work retail once again, that being the only job I could get after moving across the country. Then, people were just as unbearable as I remembered.

A few months later, I got my current job and fled the department store. Last night was my first Black Thursday ever as a consumer and today was my first Black Friday shopping day in memory.

Maybe it was the places we went, or maybe people actually aren’t bat-s*** crazy anymore, but about 90% of the shoppers we encountered were patient and courteous. A Thanksgiving miracle.

Faith in humanity restored? Maybe not just yet. But the hope is there.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m not going to make a long post today. Happy Thanksgiving to all and here’s a poorly-lit photo of my #thanksgiving #drawing (I’ll post a better one Sunday or Monday when I have my scanner)

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Serial Killer: the Birth of a Monster

Through my watery cocoon
I hear screams
Bloodcurdling screams
Screams of someone in great pain
It is my mother
Carrier of my life
She is giving birth to me
And she is in agony
I hear a tear as I am pushed through
Bringing forth another scream
I am too young
To understand the words spoken around me
But the screams are primordial
Something any age can comprehend
They are like a lullaby
I am disappointed when they stop
I fill the room with screams of my own
Screams of anger
How dare she stop the melody
Years pass
I learn many new words
One in particular comes up often
“Disturbed”
A disturbed child am I
Simply because my favorite crayon is red
And I have used the scissors
Improperly
One too many times
So what if I cut Ken to pieces?
Barbie had no use for that eunuch anyway
My parents seem afraid of me
They whisper about my “unnatural” stare
And how I stare in childlike wonder
At all the beautiful red rare meat
In the grocery store
There are insinuations
That it is unusual
For a four-year-old
To ask for extra-rare steak
And then eat it barehanded
I say that it is perfectly natural
After all…
I am only following
My instincts

^^There you have it: the first in the sequential line of my original #serialkiller #shortstories. Not quite structured like a short story, but I wouldn’t consider it a poem lol Stay tuned next week for the next installment #amwriting #inspiration #amateur #givemeabreakiwasyoung

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Serial killer: origins

For those who know me (and I believe most who come across this on the Interwebs instead of my Facebook or Twitter don’t), the inspiration from my #WIP is a series of short stories I wrote about 8 years ago. Each one is very short–I’m talking a page or two, no more, with short, choppy sentences–but I’ve decided to share some of them with you here. The main character has evolved since these were written and in the novels will have a different personality, but the character was “born,” so to speak, in these stories.

The stories take place in sequential order, but they were written out of order. The question, then, is this: Do I post them here in the order in which they were written, or the order in which they take place? The answer’s fairly easy, because frankly I don’t remember exactly where in the storyline I started skipping around. (Give me a break; the last one I wrote was 8 years ago, after all.)

So keep an eye out for the first installment! I’ll likely do one a week, and since Friday or Saturday seems like a reasonably easy day to remember, you’ll have to wait until then.

#amwriting #suspense

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The churning mind of a creative person

Are you a #creative type? #Artist #writer #musician? Then you probably know how I feel right now.
It is currently 3:20 in the morning where I’m at. I woke up an hour ago because I was hungry. I’m still up because my mind won’t let me sleep.
I’m thinking about the novel I’m writing, the stress of trying to promote the poetry book I mentioned in last night’s post, the short story submission I just sent in for an anthology yesterday, and finally I’m thinking about how I can’t sleep. The old paradox: the more you want to sleep, the more thinking about wanting to sleep keeps you up.
If I didn’t have a spouse sleeping peacefully next to me I’d probably write a little bit in my novel. I don’t want to wake him though, so I’ll just lie here until my mind quiets down. Which likely means until I have to get ready for work anyway.
To all those insomniac artists out there reading this, I sympathize. Do your best to channel your lack of sleep into the next great work of art, writing, or music.

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Technoderp extraordinaire!

really need to learn this computer stuff. I’m supposedly from the generation that learned PCs and laptops from the ground up. Remember playing with the Turtle program in computer lab as a kid? I do…kind of. You typed in a C:// command (or something like that), told the Turtle how far to go, how many degrees to turn, etc., and the Turtle followed those commands and drew a picture based on what you typed. I remember when computer screens came with one background color (black) and three font colors (white, green, and orange). Exciting times! And who didn’t love the free AOL email account discs in the checkout lanes of the grocery stores?

In trying to teach myself how to promote my new poetry book and learn to use social media outside of Facebook, I have confused the Dickens out of myself. I have followed so many people on Twitter that my feed is flooded, and of course I don’t know the best method of filtering through them. How can people follow thousands of others and not go blind scrolling through the feed?

My Facebook page is minimally better to manage. I understand how to post on there, but sadly Facebook has been making it difficult for pages to have all of their posts viewed by all followers. Sure, I could “boost” my posts, which I am sure requires currency of some sort, but no thanks, Facebook. Sometimes I get more post views if I share my page post onto my personal profile, but that makes me feel as though I’m unnecessarily spamming those friends who follow both my page and my profile.

I also got so excited about making this blog and seeing that it had a mobile app that I neglected to remember the URL for it. Logging in took me about fifteen minutes on the laptop. (Did I mention I also created and set up the account on mobile? I’m one smart cookie–sometimes.)

The one thing that I seem to have gotten right was linking Twitter, my Facebook page, and this blog so that one post on any of the three automatically is shared with Twitter and Facebook. (Most of my Twitter and Facebook posts aren’t really “blog material,” so I have not yet attempted to link those to this blog. If it is indeed possible.) Oh, and I self-published a small book of poetry. Not quite the Great American Novel (give me time; I’m working on it), but still something I consider to be a big accomplishment. The book is called “Kamikaze Butterflies” and will be on “sale” temporarily for the holidays, $1.99 USD and whatever that translates to in other currencies. Kindle Direct Publishing has this nifty feature that calculates the exchanges for you. Imagine how much trouble I would have had with that if it took me so long to log on to this blog on the laptop. For anyone interested, the link is…long. Searching Amazon’s books for Kamikaze Butterflies should come up with a few selections. Mine is the awesome-looking one, with the blood-splatter butterfly on the front. Wicked. Of course, I could be biased.

By the way, once I do finally finish my Great American Novel, which will probably be in about a year or so, less if I push myself, there will be fewer run-on sentences and babbling. I want to have fun with this blog. Editing is no fun. 😉

So, very long story short, bear with me. I learn best by doing, so I will derp my way along until this all jives.

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Never be ashamed of who you are

I talk about bipolar disorder because it is a way for me to take control of it. I talk about it a lot. I refuse to let it make me feel like less of a person. By freely admitting that I used to hear voices, by describing the emotional highs and lows, and by doing so in a calm, rational voice, it turns the mental illness into just another fact of life, a part of who I am but not all of who I am.

I also make jokes about it, not to trivialize the condition but to show that I’m not going to allow it to take away my humor.

Not that I don’t feel the devastation that mental illness can bring, but I would rather channel that emotion into my work (usually my poetry). In personal conversation, I’ll crack a joke about how I learned that my great grandfather died in an institution from “exhaustion in the progression of psychosis,” but unless I’m with someone who knows me well enough to look past the stigma, with a family member, or with someone who reads my poetry, I try to treat it as something that sometimes happens.

Does it terrify me that I might end up that way even with today’s advances in medicine? Sure. But I don’t want someone who might be hiding the same fear to think they’re alone.
You are not alone. Don’t be ashamed of who you are or what you have inside of you. You are human, and that’s all that matters.

Aaaaand I’m done with the crazy run-ons 😉

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Beauty from pain

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Pain can be debilitating if not well-managed, but it can also provide inspiration.

I donated this painting for use in a raffle to support the Wounded Warrior Project, and though only one person bid on it with some of the tickets he purchased, I had the chance to meet him when he came to pick up his prize.

It was a powerful moment as an artist. This man, who had never heard of me or seen any of my artwork, was as giddy as a fangirl meeting her favorite actor. I spent over an hour chatting with him; I told him about my struggle with the onset of chronic back pain and he told me about the first date he went on with his wife. (It turns out their first date was in my hometown.)

It wasn’t fame that made him so excited; it was the way the painting spoke to him.

This post might make me sound like a braggart, but I haven’t quite reached the point yet.

This post is for all the beginning artists out there who worry that they might not ever get famous: Don’t do it for money or fame. Do it because something inspired you to create a piece that will speak for you.

It might not be pain that inspires you. It could be the beauty of nature, the injustice of society–inspiration can be found anywhere, and any subject can become a thing of beauty.

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…someday this pain will be useful to you.

The quote in the title of this post (at least according to the Internet, so therein lies my disclaimer) is supposedly attributed to Ovid, an ancient poet. The words resonate deeply with many; there are many forms of pain, and everyone has experienced pain of some sort in their lifetime.

Pain can be crippling. It can also be empowering. Your attitudes towards the pain determines which effect is predominant in your life.

It may not seem likely that physical pain could be useful, especially if that pain is caused by illness, injury, or stress. Those arthritic knuckles? That aching neck, fractured in a car accident? That headache brought on by the two-hour conference meeting? All of these can be helpful if you allow them to be. Physical pain, especially chronic pain, can strengthten your tolerance to less debilitating pain. For instance, after a recent surgery, I recovered from the majority of the pain fairly quickly, having become accustomed to days or even weeks at a time in which my body decided to attack my joints.

Emotional pain can be equally crippling. Whether from heartbreak, mental illness, bullying, or any number of offenses, emotional pain can be harnessed into creative outlets. Some of society’s greatest works of art and literature have emerged from the pains of authors, poets, painters, and sculptors who chose to channel their pain into whichever medium best suits their talents.

Never allow pain to stop you from living.

Pain doesn’t have to be an impenetrable wall of agony. Instead, consider pain more of a speedbump on the way to something greater.