Submitting My Manuscript to My Publisher! Resources & Boo Boo’s

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Greetings, my friends!

Yes, I’m thrilled to announce I’m finally delivering my baby to my publisher, but it’s not a human baby. For starters, I take lithium & a MAOI, so I’m done with all that. From now on if we want to add to this family, we’re going to the Santa Cruz SPCA!

I’m delivering the manuscript of my memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder to Post Hill Press on Saturday. Dr. Carol Henshaw agreed to write the foreword, and I’m truly honored. She’s one of the top perinatal psychiatrists in the world, a highly acclaimed author, and intrepid world traveler.

I began writing Birth of a New Brain nine years ago after my daughter was born. I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder, and it took forever to complete the book because of my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. If you want to know more about that saga, well, you can read my book next October 2017!

The past week has been a whirlwind of editing, writing, assembling last-minute photos, and completing the freaky metadata form. I also realized I made a ghastly mistake, which you’ll read about, I promise. First the good stuff:

The following links contain incredible resources that helped me. They might help you with your writing projects too. 

Filler Words Detract from the Power of Your Writing!

Rae Ford’s Write for Your Life blog post Ecstasy Editing Notes: 20 Filler Words and How to Get Rid of Them is soooooo worth checking out! (Rae, that “so” was for you, LOL!) 

In 2015 I printed Rae’s page, and put it in my “procrastination” file. On Monday I finally got out Rae’s pointers and combed through my 320 pg. manuscript. I cut as many of the filler words as I could. It was an exhausting process, but editing those suckers felt good! 

Grammarly Fun

Yesterday I splurged and bought Grammarly Premium for one month ($30),  and I have one word to describe it:

SUPERHELPFUL!

(That is a real word according to Miss Lucy. And if you refer someone to Grammarly, you can each get a free week’s trial period, but I was too lazy to do that.)

NY EDITORS

I discovered more awesome editing tools and the cool NY Editors website. Some goodies are free and some cost cha-ching! Visit “Instantly Improve Your Writing With These 11 Editing Tools” at this groovy NY Book Editors link.

My Quotation Nightmare – Don’t Make My Amateur Mistake!

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I did something SO foolish and SO lame, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but if you learn from my mistake it’s worth the shame!

A Bit ‘O Backstory:

I spent many hours searching for apt quotes I placed at the beginning of each of my 28 chapters, and one quote for the “front matter” area. I enjoyed searching for these quotes – it was a labor of love.

Some of the quotes were from songs, others were from books, poems, and newspaper articles. Yours truly didn’t get permission to use any of them.

Big mistake.

Moreover, I should have known better! Last month I contacted the American Psychiatric Association’s Permissions Department. I applied for their holy permission to cite two brief paragraphs. Guess what they wanted?

SIX HUNDRED BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP DOLLARS!

(I appealed, but I was told no. I got around that snafu by paraphrasing the information I wanted to quote.)

Yesterday when I reviewed the “need for permissions” clause in my publishing contract, this image came to mind:

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It was time to do a little research I should have done, um, last year. It turns out I need permission to quote anything published after 1923. Of course, any publisher/person/alien/whatever can charge a fee (i.e. songs are notorious for costing major bucks) unless that source allows a writer to quote without formal permission. (See this link for infoplus, there are tons of other sites with all kinds of information about this topic.)

Even one line of a song is a no-no, which sucks because I had song quotes from Dolly Parton (yes!), Crowded House, Split Enz, Toni Childs, Bic Runga, and Howard Jones – yes, 80’s music forever, people!

A JOLLY UPDATE:

This morning I figured I had nothing to lose by emailing an author asking if she could provide a quote with a similar message to what I read in her book. (Her remark was the most relevant, meaningful quote out of th etwenty-nine.)

I had the good fortune to locate her email address online, but I didn’t have high hopes. Well, she wrote me back within the hour and graciously gave me the perfect quote. I’m thrilled! Remember this is an option if all else fails.

Below are some of the quotes I tearfully deleted. I’m not afraid to post them here because I can always delete anything in WordPress in 20 seconds. 

I also registered at Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s publisher Penguin Random House * and I applied for permission to use her quote. It wasn’t that big a deal, and I’m glad I did it. I’ll know by eight weeks if it’s a yay or nay. I’m hoping they won’t ask for $600.00

* https://permissions.penguinrandomhouse.com/faq/

On hypergraphia:

My writing felt like a disease: I could not stop, and it sucked me away from family and friends. Sensations outside of language dried up: music became irritating discord, the visual world grew faint…While my hypergraphia felt like a disease, it also felt like one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It still does.

Dr. Alice W. Flaherty, The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block and the Creative Brain

On bibliotherapy:

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe

Madeleine L’Engle

Electroconvulsive therapy/ECT:

I had been in a place where no drug could touch me. ECT was like a huge crane that pulled me out and let me back down on land. But I still had to walk the rest of the way.

Martha Manning, Undercurrents: A Therapist’s Reckoning With Her Own Depression

Benzodiazepine addiction:

To escape, you must make a conscious decision to break the fear-benzo-fear-benzo cycle.

Matt Samet, Death Grip: A Climber’s Escape from Benzo Madness (fab book!)

And it’s de rigueur to have something from the great Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison:

Suicidal depression involves a kind of pain and hopelessness that is impossible to describe — and I have tried. I teach in psychiatry and have written about my bipolar illness, but words struggle to do justice to it. How can you say what it feels like to go from being someone who loves life to wishing only to die? Suicidal depression is a state of cold, agitated horror and relentless despair.

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind, in the New York Times Op-Ed piece “To Know Suicide”

I’m glad I figured out this mess three days before submitting the manuscript. Maybe I can still apply to the powers that be to use some of my favorite quotes. If I get permission, maybe the quotes can be added during the editing process. I’ll check with my editor and give you an update in a future post.

Lose It! Update

Awesome blogger Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I continue struggling mightily with our healthy eating/exercise program (I have a knee injury and I’ve been overeating every night, a topic for another post…) but we aren’t giving up! No way! If you’d like to join us, sign up for free at www.loseit.com  and search for the Wondrous Writers group.

Halloween Is Coming – What Shall I Be, What Shall You Be?

Halloween is my favorite day of the year! My daughter Avonlea came up with my costume idea last night. She sure cheered me up after that quote fiasco.

I’m STOKED!
I’m going to dress up as….

MELINDA GORDON, THE MEDIUM in THE GHOST WHISPERER!

(This show is my current glorious, guilty pleasure – while my family watches Avatar and makes fun of me, I watch Melinda send everyone to the light! I mean, how can you go wrong with actors Jay Mohr, Camryn Manheim and David Conrad?)

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I already have the perfect vampire-ish dress; now I just need to get a ton of makeup (she wears pounds of it in every episode, plus fake eyelashes) and, um, maybe get ahold of some falsies, since (TMI Warning) because when I lost forty pounds, um, a lot of it came from up top. Oh well.

And on that lovely note…

Thanks for reading!

much love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Bad Manners

Can you believe I used to publish a daily post?

Neither can I. (Never again!) But I felt like sharing this “extra” post today since I meant to publish it last Friday. I really hope your Monday is going well, and I want to thank you, as always, for reading!

Xo,

Dyane

I wrote Bad Manners the same day I waxed poetic about the happier topics of redwood baths and bulletproof coffee. If I had combined both sections it would’ve been a novella, so I held back. Plus, this post has an entirely  different tone and needs to stand alone.

It’s not a feel-good piece. The post is so whiny, if your laptop had a “smello-net” feature, this post would smell like Robert Mondavi’s winery!

Without further adieu, here’s the debut of a (very) occasional section called….

I Don’t Feel The Magic!

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Two events happened over the past few weeks that got my goat. *

know I shouldn’t have gotten defrosted about them. Much bigger calamities are afoot and many of us are struggling. I’m still upset about Ulla for all kinds of reasons. I guess the horrible loss made me more vulnerable to the b.s. that’s simply part of life.

I hesitated publishing this post in fear of turning some of you off, permanently, due to my whining and negativity, but I’m sharing it anyway because my gut says to do it. (Obviously I’ve watched far too many Scandal episodes!)

Most importantly, I value learning about what some of you do to rise above your own wicked, petty ways in response to bad manners. I hope you might share a juicy anecdote or two in the comments. (I’m still working on the rising-above part, so please bear with me! I’ll keep you posted…)

In the meantime, check out this meme’s heartfelt quote. I recommend you read it whilst listening to Snatam Kaur:

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That sounds good, but this is a double Pisces you’re dealing with! I’m a walking exposed nerve ending!!!

So here’s the latest…

Petty Thang #1 

“You Asked Me To Help You, I Did, and Now You’re Blowing Off My Emails – Whhhaaaat?”  images

This isn’t a complex situation. Before I get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to acknowledge I’m cognizant there could be extenuating circumstances why “Mechante” hasn’t replied to my emails. Illness. Crisis. Laziness. Who knows?

HOWEVER, according to Mechante’s Facebook activity over the past week, she seems to be doing fine ‘n dandy. (I spied on her Facebook page using Craig’s account; I’m still footloose and Facebook-free!) Yes, here is where I tell you my deep, dark secrets! 😉

Anyway, I doubt my emails went into Mechante’s spam folder because that never happened during our previous email communications. Her email is the same.

I wasn’t asking her to give me money or do anything major. I was simply offering her a unique opportunity, and all she had to do was write back “yes” or “no”. But I only heard the sound of silence.

After that, I was tempted to remove my 5-star Amazon review about her book, but I didn’t. This is progress, no?

Petty Thang #2  

“Now That You’re Famous-By-Association Means You Can’t Take Thirty Seconds To Thank Me?”

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This petty thang regards one of my best writing teachers.

The backstory: After I took her classes, she became involved with a super-famous writer who had many tête-à-têtes with Oprah. That’s all I’m writin’ here. 

A couple weeks ago I read in the paper about a cool event scheduled to happen three minutes from my front door. My teacher would be there! Even though I suffer with social anxiety, I knew I had to go. 

I was inspired to write her a letter, and wrote over three hours. (Yes, I used precious, kid-free time I should’ve spent editing my book.) 

I explained how she influenced me as a writer. I wrote how grateful I was for her feedback. I mentioned what happened to me after college graduation – how I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, endured the hospitalizations, the ECT, and so on. Lastly, I described my joy at landing a book deal.

I wasn’t asking her for anything. I didn’t need her famous partner’s help – I’m sure she gets hit up for his contacts all the time. 

I assembled a couple belated “thanks for being a great teacher” gifts (a soap  and a signed copy of Craig’s beautiful book), a Papyrus thank-you card, and my business card.

After I sealed up the goodies in a mailer package and wrote her name on it, etc. I drove to the venue. I made sure she got the package. I didn’t see her face-to-face, but I know without a doubt she got it. 

It has been over a month and I never received a reply. Not even a one-line email.

Um, whhhaaaaaaat?

Maybe since the return address didn’t have a celeb’s name on it, I wasn’t worth a simple thanks.

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(Yes, it’s crass, but the image made me laugh…)

I know, I know, it’s dumb. As my friend the magnificent writer Greg Archer would say, “Get over it!”

Blogging about such malarkey helps me, I kid you not. (I goat you not?)

p.s. I give you permission to bill me for bloggotherapy. Can we set up a monthly payment plan?


* I love the phrase “get my goat” – I need to use it more often!

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Lose It! Update – I’m A Proud Loser (40# since April, 2015!)

Writer extraordinaire Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I are persevering with our healthy eating & exercise routine. I won’t kid you – it’s tough! We use Lose It!’s website – at least it’s free! Remember, you can always join our Lose It! group: Wondrous Writers.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017.

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Redwood Baths & Bulletproof Coffee Keep Me Sane…Sort Of

fphoto-sixteenHenry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Fall Creek Unit, California

photo courtesy of David Baselt

 

This post was originally four times as long, and it covered too many topics. Thankfully, I saw the literary light and I deleted most of it.

Some folks might think that writing profusely about all sorts of things sounds rather manic; if anything, I’m headed for the opposite direction. That’s due to my friend’s death. I miss her. I wish she was still around to read my post and write one of her trademark witty comments. She sure knew how to make me chuckle.

Apart from my not quite believing she’s gone, the fall is a rough time of year for many of us. I love the fall. Those who are close to me know that I consider Halloween to be the most important day of the year, but in the past I’ve become manic or depressed in October.

Although I’ve been stable for three years, I get nervous. That’s not that long a time. I use my Sunbox, which I’ll write about next week, and I’m doing something new that’s helping me ground myself, literally.

Redwood Baths

Yes, redwood baths. I’m not the only one to love these tall trees. One writer did a fair job of expressing his reverence for the “giants of the forest”. You might’ve heard of him. 

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.

John Steinbeck

Recently I learned that the trees emanate far more than silence and awe. In Japan there’s the practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.  The term “forest bath” is misleading, but I love it. Forest baths are simply mellow walks among the trees in which one aims to be present and notice the beautiful environment.

When I first went on redwood strolls, they resembled hasty showers rather than relaxing baths. I wasn’t taking in my magnificent surroundings. Instead of gazing up at the tall redwoods to see ethereal shafts of daylight peeping through their branches, I stared at my feet plodding along the dirt trail. 

I ignored the refreshing, cool scent that was a unique combination of Fall Creek’s redwoods and the other trees. It took time for me to change my old habits, but after reading an article about the physical, spiritual and emotional significance of forest baths, I began regarding the forest in a totally different way.

Now, brace yourself for some dry statistics – they’re very convincing and cool, so that’s why I’m including them.

Studies have shown that 20-30 minute-long forest baths are enough to reap health benefits. A 2010 study published in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine found that forest bathing lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Some benefits are derived from inhaling the forest air. The trees emit organic compounds called phytoncides such as alpha-pinene and d-limonene; these are substances that are also found in some essential oils such as grapefruit. (I worked at an essential oil practitoner college in the 1990’s, so I got a big kick out of that fact!)

Check this out: these amazing phytoncide compounds not only protect the trees and plants from insects and disease  – they can benefit people. A 2009 study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology cited a direct link between inhaling phytoncides and an increase in the body’s natural killer, or NK cells.

NK cells, a major force in our immune systems, help identify and destroy infected, damaged, harmful Satan cells. They’re considered important in the study of cancer. Another study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology found that forest bathing significantly increased the activity of NK cells by an average of about 50 percent. Whoa! I like that.

If that stat wasn’t cool enough, there’s another convincing reason why forest baths can help anyone suffering from depression and anxiety:

the power of the color green

Color theory studies have shown that green triggers emotional responses including relaxation, calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, hope, and even excitement. One reason the color green is thought to generate positive responses is due to our genetics. Green environments signaled to our ancestors that there was the presence of three essential aspects of survival: food, shelter, and water. 

I found the Japanese tradition and studies fascinating. It was validating to learn my humble walks had health benefits galore. Next time I want to pass on a forest walk, I’ll remember that it’s free and it’ll make me feel better…plus I won’t be billed for it by any greedy insurance company!

Bulletproof Coffee 

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A Fun Public Scene: Avonlea wanted to try one sip of the pricey java; naturally she spit it out and entertained the Silicon Valley commuters!

After reading ketogenic articles and the bestselling book Keto Clarity, I finally bit the bullet and tried bulletproof coffee. (If you caught that pun, you’re a quick one!)

A couple weeks ago Avonlea and I went to the high-end cafe Coffee Cat in Scotts Valley. Scotts Valley is home to many Silicon Valley commuters and their multi-million dollar abodes. 

Coffee Cat has a super-cute logo that someone painted on this Fairy Door

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I was excited to learn that Coffee Cat sold their own version of bulletproof coffee they called “Ironman Coffee” to avoid being sued by Silicon Valley bulletproof founder Dave Asprey. Silicon Valley is only 30 minutes away, so it’s entirely possible he could find out about the breach and sue away.

When I tried my Ironman coffee I was disappointed.

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My cup cost $5.50 for about 10 ounces, and consisted of coffee, Kerrygold butter and MTC, which are medium chain triglyceride fatty acid – yummers  The coffee had all the right elements, but it tasted pretty gross. There went $5.50 + tip down the drain.

Last week I had the opportunity to try a homemade version of bulletproof coffee at my friend’s house. She combined about 8 oz. of Peet’s Major Dickinson’s coffee, a heaping teaspoon of organic butter, and a tablespoon of organic coconut oil. She simply mixed it together with a spoon instead of using a gold-plated $500 blender that also doubles as a kareoke machine.

I didn’t have my hopes up high that her concoction would be palatable, let alone delectable. I was pleasantly surprised to find it very yummy and had two more cups!

Inspired, I bought the same ingredients and made my own version. It was far better than Coffee Cat’s Ironman fiasco, but not quite as good as my friend’s cup, and I can’t figure out why that’s the case…it’s a mystery! If I figure it out, I’ll write about it here.

Anyway, articles such as this one and a blog post (and comments) by Dr.  Georgia Ede imply that the ketogenic diet can make a major difference in bipolar disorder symptoms. If you haven’t read any of this material before, it’s worth checking out.

I’d like to end this post on a positive note, but unfortunately that’s not happening today….

The Lose It! Update – It’s Not Going So Well For Us

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Awesome blogger Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I are struggling with our healthy eating & exercise routine, but we aren’t going to give up. We’re still using Lose It!’s website. Nothing’s gonna stop us now.

Cheesy 80’s Rock Will Never Die…

If you’d like to join us, sign up for free at www.loseit.com. and search for the “Wondrous Writers group”.

Thanks for reading, and above all else, have a great Thursday night, Friday & weekend! See you next Friday.

love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017.

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Sadness Behind the Smile

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I’m at my daughter’s beautiful middle school library. This corner overlooks the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods where I go “forest bathing”, a.k.a. shinrin-yoku, with Lucy. (Check out this cool article about the Japanese health tradition.) 

 

Like many of you, I’m grieving over the suicide of Ulla, which I wrote about last week. I think about her often. I even talk to her in the car when I’m alone – it’s a bit crazy, I know, but hell, maybe she’s listening…whilst rolling her eyes. 

I found out that her beloved dog Solo has been in a friend’s temporary care. A permanent home is being sought. You can visit Ulla’s final blog post for more information in the comments section: https://theblahpolar.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/dont-what-shut-up/

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Solo

 

My Memoir Manuscript Update

My Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder ms is due to the publisher in 15 days. I know it’s only the beginning of a long editorial process, but I feel like I’m running mile 25 of a 26.2 marathon and I’m so close, yet so far away from the finish line.

I’ve been writing this memoir, on and off, since 2007, so it has felt like forever, and that’s a mighty long time. 

Speaking of Prince, you know I’ll be buying this memoir when it’s published even if it may seem a bit opportunistic in terms of its timing since Prince’s death is still recent.

I keep track of upcoming memoirs by searching on Amazon and through subscribing to the excellent blog Memoir Notes by author Lynette Davis. Like Lynette, I love reading good memoirs – I always have.

Anyway, I’m getting excited to move forward in publishing process, but I remain nervous as hell. I was instructed by Post Hill Press a few weeks ago to complete a metadata form. Have you heard of those? I was clueless, so I’ve been taking a crash course in what I call metadata madness.

My particular metadata form requires all kinds of info. such as:

a short book description, back cover text, a one sentence description of my book, search phrase lists, BISAC categories, marketing plan ideas, cover ideas, social media platform details, endorsements and blurbs, comparative titles, and my nemesis: the plot synopsis… I’m dizzy just from reading that!!!

Some of these items are parts of a standard book proposal, but my proposal didn’t include all of them. I wasn’t asked to submit this info. until now. There’s more to the form, but you get the idea…meanwhile, I might dress up as a metadata form for Halloween. Here it is in all its glory:

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Happy Halloween – let me give you a headache instead of candy!

I’m still not caught up with some of your blogs, but I promise to catch up soon because I’m missing out, you know? 😉

I’ll be back next Friday with the latest excitement in this neck of the banana slug-filled redwoods. (My alma mater’s mascot is the banana slug. No offense to banana slug aficionados, but I’d prefer the mountain lion, another local legend, or a dolphin!)

imagesAt least this slug reads…

I wish you a good weekend!

love to you all,

Dyane

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p.s. Lose It! – We’re Losers and We Like It! Update

Bradley, blogger extraordinaire (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I continue to encourage one another regarding our weight loss quest/exercising/healthy eating on Lose It!’s website. We’re struggling these days, but we’re not giving up, ya hear that Bradley? If you’d like to join us you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com. Search for the “Wondrous Writers group” & say hello.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017.

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Losing Ulla

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Ulla’s dog Solo

 

Ulla. Where do I begin?

When I told someone yesterday my friend died by suicide, adding that we never met face-to-face, I sensed that she didn’t understand the power of a virtual friendship.

Of course that’s not her fault – if you haven’t experienced being friends with an online “kindred spirit”, it’s hard to relate to the idea. But I was frustrated all the same because it was a genuine friendship.

How I hate writing that word “was”.

Ulla was a better friend to me than most of the friends I’ve ever had; hell, she was there for me during some of my toughest times far more than some of my relatives.

Oh Ulla.

She supported my writing, and — this was big– she helped me grieve my father’s death. She truly understood what it was like to lose a parent since she had been through it too.

She sent me e-books. She made me laugh through her original, feisty, always-brilliant blog posts. I looked forward to her provocative, witty, informative linkdumps – check out one example here

Even when she was way down, Ulla would check in with me out of the blue to see how I was doing.

We loved going off about crazy Scientology – Jeez, they gave us SO MUCH to make fun of – we couldn’t help it!!!!

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Thetan looks like a lady

 

Best of all, Ulla sent me pictures of Solo, her sweet hound.

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We tossed around the idea of her making a meme of my Lucy, and she gave me this fabulous image:

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I feel guilty that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) didn’t help her out of the evil treatment-resistant bipolar depression. When Ulla began asking me about my ECT experiences, I shared how the treatments helped me.

I was suicidal after my father died, and once again after I relapsed after  tapering off meds. (Word to the wise: just don’t do it!) Anyway, I had ECT each of those times, and it brought me out of those horrendous states.

While I didn’t feel happy after the rounds of ECT, I stopped thinking that I had to kill myself all the time.

She tried ECT. It didn’t work. Should I have encouraged her the way I did? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so gung-ho about it. If I go down that route, I feel worse. Ulla would probably tell me to shut the f*ck up and remind me that she wasn’t a puppet – ever the meticulous researcher, she made an informed choice.

When I found out the news about Ulla, even the lithium coursing through my bloodstream couldn’t prevent tears from falling down my face. (The salt usually does keep my tears at bay; it’s a very odd feeling. But that’s one shitty, unhealthy side effect this drama queen could do without. We need to be able to cry sometimes.)

Upon seeing their mom’s twisted-up face shiny with rare tears, my daughters wrapped their arms around me. A concerned Lucy circled around us and barked as if ten ambulances were speeding past our front door. 

Ulla.

Platitudes come to my mind:

“She’s in a better place.” “She’s at peace.” “She’s with her mom now.”

I’ll be honest with you – I want to believe those cliches are true. I want to believe Ulla’s okay, and that she’s no longer suffering. And here’s the final kicker:

I want to meet her…and thank her…. in person in “Some Fantastic Place” (a beautiful Squeeze song written about their friend who died) because I’ll never get the chance to do that here.

On Saturday, September 10th (World Suicide Prevention Day) Jill of My Spanglish Familia and Yvette of Yve’s Corner have organized an online vigil at this link at Ulla’s blog Blahpolar, the blog I’ve mentioned numerous times as being my #1 favorite.

Yve and Jill invite us to: Bring…your fondest memories, your favourite posts, some ‘food’, ‘flowers’, ‘candles’, and let’s honour her struggle and mourn her loss together.”

I’ll be there.

 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017. 

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It’s World Insecure Writers Day!

Since there aren’t enough official “Days” and “Months” in the year, i.e.

World Bipolar Day and World Gourmet Donut Month,

I’ve decided to petition Congress for yet another day:

World Insecure Writers Day

Why not?

(Okay, okay, I’m kidding!)

Today’s post will be rather silly, superficial, and my personal favorite: whiny. (I hope you’ll enjoy reading it regardless of the content.)

A wise blogger once wrote, “Our blogs are the equivalent of our living rooms.” 

That quote resonates within me. 

Welcome to my living room – I vacuumed it just for you!

This is a time of year that breeds insecurity for me. While I love the fall, it’s also an unsettling reminder that I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar (bipolar, peripartum onset) in October, 2007. Even without my insecurity woes, I’d be waffling around in my soul.

In last week’s vlog I referred to a few incidents that were utterly ridiculous, but threw me for a loop. I promised to write about them this week, and true to my word, here goes:

First I was freaked out by an unpleasant, blog-related incident. Then I was unnerved by two writing-related schmuppywuppies. 

Schmuppywuppy means a weird coincidence that reminds one of yearned-for dreams that were never realized, touched with a soupcon of envy. It’s the dark, dreary side of wistful. It’s also a good name for a pet fish.

My Yucky Bloggy Bummer

After writing over 350 posts, I never had a single request from anyone to delete his/her name from a post. That changed last month. And the irony of the whole enchilada was that I only wrote glowing remarks about the person – damn, I’d love someone to write what I wrote about me. The way I saw it, I was giving the person’s services great P.R.

The reason for his request made no sense to me, or to Craig, or to the girls, or to Lucy or even to our new, erudite Asyrian hamster Copper. I’d write more, but since this person is local, I’ll leave it at that for now.

I realized the reason for this person’s request had to be STIGMA.

Yes, gruesome, bipolar-related stigma! (Don’t you think that could be a Halloween costume? STIGMA!)

My gut feeling was that this individual didn’t want anyone on the planet to think he had anything to do with a bipolar-related blog because — gasp — someone might think HE had bipolar too. (Perish the thought!)

As I mentioned, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it threw me all the same. Apart from the stigma theory, I couldn’t imagine what else could cause him to feel that way unless this person thought I was a sh*tty writer and wanted no assocation with my blog. Was I being paranoid? Yes.

I’d love your thoughts on this one…don’t hold back. (Well, maybe hold back a little bit. I’m so sensitive…)

What Was In My High School Water Fountain Drinking Water?

At least two people in my high school class of ’87 became best-selling authors. One author is a junior high friend I lost touch with when we attended separate colleges. Her name is Aimee Bender. (I’ve briefly mentioned her here.)  

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Made into a feature film!

The other writer is Norman Ollestad; I only knew him in passing.

And this writer also attended my high school – you might have heard of her – but she was, and remains in a class all her own!

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So, a few days ago I received the latest e-letter from a publisher I admire named Counterpoint. I met the head of this publishing company last year at a writer’s conference. He was super-cool and even gave me useful advice. 

As usual, I scanned Counterpoint’s e-letter and I saw that they’re representing Norman’s second book. The newsletter editor went on and on about how fabulous a writer Norman is. (I’m sure he is brilliant, but I didn’t read his first book because I was too depresssed at the time.)

I’m happy for him because he has gone through hell, and he turned his agony into a bestseller.

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Suffice to say that when I saw Norman’s name in Counterpoint’s e-letter, and read accolade after accolade, I thought, Look at him, he’s the type of author you’ll never be: super-successful!!!

That thought came and went because even though I’m not going to get on the NYT list, I can make peace with that. It’s just all the other writing-related insecurities I have a problem with handling well.

The last thing that happened was kind of funny.  

There are a lot of writers in this area, but most of them aren’t professional and they do it as a hobby. There are many independently published local books with titles such as The Magic of CannabisJerry Garcia Is God, and How I Found Myself Dancing in the Pagan Rain

After my girls’ school started last week, I read all the introductory material from their teachers. One teacher’s welcome letter particularly interested me because she wrote her husband is an author whose newest book is coming out soon. I snarkily thought, I bet his book is called Banana Slugs and Me – A Love Story or something like that!

Of course I Googled the author’s name to discover that he had a big-time agent, a glitzy website, an exciting book tour, and, to top it off, his book is being published by one of my dream publishers.

This publisher is the one that famously took a big, controversial chance on publishing Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, who is one of my favorite authors. (The publisher is Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, now a division of MacMillan.)

After reading the author’s lengthy bio, I found out that some of his previous books were compared to my junior high classmate Aimee Bender. Small world, eh?

What can I learn from all this?

What might you learn from any of this?

It’s okay to be jealous, and it’s okay to be petty, but keep on moving. 

Keep on writing, or keep on doing whatever you enjoy, even when you get insecure about your ability. Move through those negative thoughts, distract yourself, do anything but linger in the great sinkhole of envy and insecurity because these thoughts can drain the spark out of us faster than when Lucy chases after a squirrel.

Take a lesson from Arrow’s song Groove Master from The Mighty Quinn soundtrack. Arrow reminds us to keep on moving! (If you haven’t seen The Mighty Quinn, you need to put it on your bucket list.) 

I know there has to be another lesson to learn from the recent events, but I have to pick up the kids at school. I’ll let you know if anything comes to mind next Friday. In the meantime, happy September!

XoXo

Keep on groovin’,

Dyane

Lose It! – We’re Losers and We Like It!!

My friend Bradley, author of the excellent Insights of A Bipolar Bear and I are continuing to use Lose It!’s website. We encourage one another to reach our goals, especially now that it’s harder to eat well for a myriad of reasons. If you’d like to join us, leave a message in the comment section or sign up for free at www.loseit.com. Search for the “Wondrous Writers group”.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

 

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