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
(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.)
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!
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.
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 Cannabis, Jerry 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!
Keep on groovin’,
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.