Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eat. Pray. Love. Whine.

Playing in the background: Another episode of Criminal Minds. The good guys try to outsmart the bad guys and I try to ignore everybody.

My shrink (which is to say, my psychologist-I also have a psychiatrist but since those folks go to school much longer and have advanced degrees and all that and also hand out drugs, I'm afraid to rile them by calling them shrinks, so let's just agree that shrinks are psychologists, okay? Good) gives me the occasional homework assignments. This is partly because I can't afford to see her every week like a good little patient and also, I think so I won't get bored. Anyway, last week's homework assignment was to read the book Eat, Pray, Love. So I have. I haven't finished it yet but I have startled hell out of myself by actually liking it, especially the middle section about India. So I'm recommending it as my new Book o' the Decade. Go forth and read it. It's fun. And yes, the title character whines a lot, as others have pointed out. It's still pretty good.

I'm also pleased to report that while we're still broke, the circumstances are slightly less dire than they were last month. Huzzah. And Joan has found a group of D&D players she really likes and is having a lot of fun with that. Huzzah again. And January has been a rather sucktackular month and I'm glad it's over.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No, Really, I'm Still Here.

This hasn't been a good month for blogging. Not a lot going on. Well, lots of stuff going on but nothing to write about, really. I've done my anxiety fits to death. I knocked three query letters out of the laptop today, so nothing exciting there. I continue to swim and bead and do just about everything except write stuff. I seem to be in a lull. I hope it is a lull, anyway. Every time this happens I start to wonder if I've perhaps just dried up, if I have nothing else to say and I'll spend the rest of my life in complete silence. Then everyone I know starts laughing hysterically and even I have to admit this scenario is a tiny bit unlikely but seriously, what if I've dried up? What if I've run out of things to say and I'll spend the rest of my life in complete--yeah? I mean, the possibilities boggle the mind. Especially when you consider that I have at least five, maybe six decent ideas for novels, including one I tried to write back in '93 that kind of crashed and burned but left me with a fine cast of characters for Mindbender. I got all the way to page 240 before it crashed and burned, too, which for the record really sucks. I mean, if something's going to die on you, can't it do so on page ten? I've since gone back to it and determined that it's basically unfixable but it's still got this odd hold on me so I may try it again anyway. And then there's the five, maybe six other ideas that I've never done anything with but sort of want to but sort of can't figure out how to start. So it's not like I've dried up but more like I'm stopped up. Somebody pass the Ex Lax for the brain. Ew. How's that for a pleasant metaphor? On the other hand if this is the level I'm composing these days maybe it's best if I don't. I mean, it's not like I'm famous. As Dashiell Hammett once said, it's not like anybody will miss me. I'd miss me though. Next time, paragraph breaks. Promise.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

And Now For Something Really Scary

I have to admit I haven't seen a lot of scary movies lately. This is unusual, because I love scary movies. I think I've been too scared in real life to bother with scary movies. Why buy fear prepackaged at the theater when you can get it for free just by waking up in the morning, is what I'm thinking.

You see, I'm having this little problem with anxiety. Well, make that a great big problem with sharp pointy teeth. Remember Scaley, my nervous wreck of a T-rex that shows up whenever I'm trying to write query letters and howls about the impending apocalypse? Well, he has an older brother, and this guy is sweating everything from getting fired to not getting fired to imminent death to the horrors of living to be 97 to buying a new car to never being able to afford a new car and on and on and on. Set this guy off and he won't shut up without the use of prescription medication. And unfortunately I don't know what sets him off. Sometimes I wake up and he's right there in bed with me. Sometimes I go days without seeing him. I don't even know what to call him, though if I did it wouldn't be something as cute as Scaley. He Who Shall Not Be Named, perhaps.

The weird thing is, when I'm crawling with anxiety (or rather, when it's crawling all over me, like, I dunno, angry red ants or something) it's impossible to imagine that there's ever been a time I haven't been crawling with anxiety. When I'm not in that mode, having ever been in that mode seems completely ridiculous. I mean, of course anything can happen at any moment but I really don't THINK I'm about to get fired, die, not die, or need a new car. And even if I did, would it be the end of the world? No. But all logic flies out the window when this is going on. It's just Imminent Doom and to hell with anything you say to the contrary.

Well, you would say something to the contrary, except that you don't know this is going on. I don't bother to tell you. On the outside I probably appear Quite Normal, or as normal as a fat lesbian Buddhist Democrat in Dallas ever manages to look. If you could look inside my brain, though, you'd probably need to sit down for a minute. And through it all I keep going to work, swimming, doing what I need to do. I'm not sure how some days, but I do it.

It's called the "kindling effect". See, bipolar disorder is a lot like epilepsy (!), which is why a lot of the drugs they use to treat it are epilepsy drugs. If you have an epileptic seizure, that somehow lays the foundation in your brain to have more seizures, so the more you have, the more you're likely to have. At first something sets them off, like flashing lights (though that may be a myth) or being startled. If you have enough of them, though, they can start happening all by themselves. For no reason. Purely at random. Which is why epilepsy is such a hard disease to treat and why they'll do crazy things like cut your brain in half at the corpus callosum to stop the seizures. I mean, really, that's pretty radical.

Anyway, I think this may be what's happening to me. I think maybe the anxiety has started to happen all by itself, at random. And this is bad, because--well, hell, it's bad for all kinds of reasons. The good news is that the aforementioned prescription meds definitely do help. The bad news is, when I don't take them, or it's a weekend and there's less structure around to steer me from point A to point B, it gets lots worse. It gets to where I need to make myself lists on a Saturday just so I won't wander around bumping into things and wondering what in hell I'm supposed to do now. Ain't mental illness grand?

The only positive, if it can be said to be positive, is that Scaley seems to have gone into remission. Or rather, there's so much anxiety in the house that what little gets generated by writing query letters gets lost in the flood. So I've knocked a lot of them out lately. I dunno how many, I'm not really counting, but I think I have at least seven or eight of them out there being ripe at the moment. So hey, literary agent checking out my blog, how you doin', request a few sample chapters and throw me a bone, okay? Rather, throw Scaley the bone. I'll send the sample chapters.

One of the most valuable things I learned from Buddhism is that you can't trust your brain. It will lie to you. Mine is lying to me so much that I have to tune it out completely to get anything at all done. So, again trying to stay positive here, maybe I'll reach enlightenment sooner. I mean, if you can't trust your brain, what can you trust? Maybe the ultimate reality of all things isn't ultimate, or even real. Certainly nothing setting off the anxiety is real or I'd be dead, undead, fired, not fired and have a new car all at the same time.

Barring that, though, I think I'll go in my room and lie down.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year and Friday Frights (on Saturday)

Playing in the background: The penultimate David Tennant episode of "Doctor Who." Part Two airs about 7:30, so count me out for the duration.

Happy New Year everybody! If you're like me, you're not nearly so happy that 2010 has started than you are that 2009 is finally over. I'm certainly glad it's over. Seriously, wasn't it the year from hell? Okay, we had a brand new president, and the economy got marginally better. I'll give you that. But here in Jen and Joan Land, we got older, tireder, sicker and seriously low on dough. Cats got fleas (and worms) and upper respiratory infections, Jen bled cash from a bipolar wound all over the pharmacy and the therapist's couch, Joan needed an expensive sleep study, and just in general, things kind of sucked. Kellum's ferret suffered an untimely demise. Even Dr. Who is about to kick the bucket, though being the Doctor, he'll come back in a new body and go on to save the galaxy countless more times. But seriously. Enough, already. Let's move on.

For our last Friday fright of 2009 (even though I didn't see it until today), we have Paranormal Activity, a weird little flick about a haunted house (more like a haunted human) shot documentary style. Whatever you've heard about this movie doesn't begin to do it justice, so let's just say it: SEE THIS MOVIE. I'm giving it an AWESOME (four stars) but that aside, it's just really frick'n scary. The doc-shoot style makes it seem very real and in your face. Plus, it was filmed in San Diego. Gotta love my former hometown.

And that's all I've got to say today. Strange, huh? Bring on part two of "The End Of Time," Mr. Davies. I'm ready.