Tag Archives: depression

Airing my Dirty Laundry

Things never are what they seem here at Chez Mabee. First I was going to have a working washing machine; then I needed to wait another two weeks (because even the company can’t figure out what happened to ours): First I was going to have surgery on my jaw; then I’m not because the endodontist doesn’t want to work on an area that inflamed and infected.

Hand cranked laundry

Now?  Well, hopefully those rescheduled events will happen on schedule now.

BTW, just so you know… washing clothes in the bathtub and carting it downstairs so it can dry on the line is hard work, and it makes me really appreciate how people must have had to deal with their laundry back before the industrial revolution took off (oh, and that maybe, instead of spending another $600 on a new machine, maybe we should have invested in one of these.)

And…  I really want all this oral care stuff dealt with asap.

Still, they say “Change is good” and “You’ve got to roll with the punches.”  So here I am…  a few days late with my ROW80 overview/final check-in.  I considered doing a WIPpet on Wednesday, but I elected against the idea.  I want to spend some time catching up on my fellow WIPpeteer’s projects before I jump back in, and that took a bit of hunting as the linky contents change weekly.

My WIPpets will start next Wednesday, with more of the Unnamed Story.  Until then, why do you visit the rest of our awesome group at the linky?

ROW80 Overview

ROW80LogocopyI fell close to completely flat this ROW80.  No one thing (except maybe the nearly constant mouth pain) kept me down this round, but I could name a multitude of little ones that cut into me: head, time and spirit.

By the middle of the round, I was dealing with a full-blown case of depression and didn’t give a crap about anything (frankly).  I blew off most any social media.  I skipped check-ins, sponsor duties, even writing…  There were days that I didn’t do much more than get up in the morning and stare idly at a videogame (or out the window).  They were rare, but they happened.  I’m not happy about it (kind of embarrassed now that I look back), but then…  nothing mattered.

It ended up that I did write that sponsor post and sent it out (this Monday).  And, in a fit of madness, I also offered to sponsor for another Round of Words…  I think I did because I need the connection that the ROW80 offers…. and because “faking it until I made it” was probably the only thing that kept me going most days.

I’m ready for next round though.  On Monday, I sent Kait Nolan (Great Guide of the ROW80) two sponsor posts.  No more anxiety about what can I write…  I needed to be proactive since my inability to come up with a post triggered much of the downward spiral.  And knowing this helps.  It may mean that this upcoming round is the last ROW80 round I’ll be sponsoring for a while (as I won’t volunteer to sponsor from now on unless I have a post written and ready to send out with my offer).  If I don’t end up taking on the task officially, I will still visit other ROWers and offer support and commiseration where I can.

picture of my office

In All its Chaotic Glory

And last, my goals…  I’m not even going to look at what those were.  I could, but I can not bring myself to dwell on them.  Instead, I looked at my stories this morning while I hosted some #JuNoWriMo sprints via Twitter.  I looked last night at the notebook of story pages I somehow managed to pull out of … of somewhere during these past few weeks and…  I smiled.

Because somehow, even when things seemed impossibly bad, I wrote things.  They may not be good things, but…  I wrote.

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Pinnacle

The Pinnacles in Mulu National Park

The Pinnacles in Mulu National Park (Photo credit: Erwin Bolwidt)

I almost didn’t do a post at all this week.  It’s end of school year crazy, JuNoWriMo has kicked in full force…  and, remember those teeth I said were bothering me?  Two extractions (one still in the works) and oral surgery coming at the end of the month.

Excitement all around….  hey, it’s even time for the:

WIPpet

MjAxNC04ZjBlYTU5ZmNiZjdiZjY4To avoid confusion, a bit of framing…

I’ve jumped a page or two in Phuque Ewe (also called the Unnamed Story) to get to this week’s WIPpet.  We’re still in ‘Listii’s bedroom at the Hastor family Home with Atyr and Valistii, still in the heat of things, both trying to escape in each other as ‘Listii’s brother attempt at ritual suicide hovers over the Hastor household.  The POV shifts here to Atyr and her feelings about what is happening…between them.

Australia pinnacle

Australia pinnacle (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))

Five paragraphs for the 5th of June.

She found herself hovering at that pinnacle she had touched so many times before. Her thoughts were less on their bodies now and more on the mutual pleasure between them, on life, on heaven….the gods only knew what else.

No coherency there.

Random happy memories–maybe they were memories; somehow she suspected they’d never happened–passed though her mind. She wondered fleetingly what was taking him so long to join her, to dance on that pinnacle with her.

She reached with gentle, loving mental hands into his thoughts, feeling his love for her, his delight with her foremost.

Feeling his ultimate refusal to surrender to his desire more than he had.

And as with most things I write, I can find a song to fit the mood…  This one does pretty well:  No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”.

K.L. Schwengel, of My Random Muse,  fearlessly leads the #WIPpet where writers post pieces of a draft (Work In Progress) that somehow relate with the date for fun and discussion. Feel free to comment and visit other #WIPpeteers here. We love company.

ROW80 Check-in

ROW80LogocopyI’m just not functioning at my best this week.  Worse yet, the degree of malfunction has been such that I now know how poorly I was functioning before this point.  I skipped my Sunday post (yet again) and seriously considered skipping today’s post as well.  I would have, if I hadn’t had the WIPpet section ready as a draft.

I mean, things aren’t “horrible”.  I am writing.  I am editing.  I am getting out and about, having lots of hugs and family time.  I’ve gotten my camera batteries recharged so I can get out and enjoy all these great flowers and the run-off waterfalls we will be having this weekend (and possibly even some cool Revolutionary War re-enactment at the historic Mabee Farm on Saturday).  Life is happening at its usual pace.

The Mabee Farm house

I just feel completely unable to handle the task.

I know on an intellectual level that this is just the family depression kicking me in the pants.  I’ve fought with depression enough over the years I know and recognize the symptoms.  Usually it doesn’t hit me now.  June is usually one of my best months.  But it’s been an extra stressful year already, and I’ve already dealt with the swings twice since  December.  I don’t know where I’m going to get the energy to fight this extra dose… not when I haven’t fully pulled myself out of the hole.

So, anyway…  I make no promises this time about a Sunday post.  If all goes well, I’m hoping I’ll be too occupied with family out-and-about time to think of blogging.

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Green Tea and Five Sentences For Me

This time it's green tea.

Green Tea

Not only is Green Tea an awesome beverage, one that makes me think of times with my grandmother; it’s a presumed health drink.  Certainly my memory holds a healthy glow–sitting at one of Nanny’s kitchen tables and watching as she measured out the rolled dried leaves into a tea-pot.  She would have a pan of water heating on the stove and just before the water reached a boil, she would pour some over the dried leave, rinsing them.  This acrid water she disposed of  after swishing the pot once or twice to warm it a touch.  Then she would pour in the rest of the heated water, go get cups for us while it steeped, rinse them with other warmed water she had waiting .  Finally, she would bring the tea over to sit between us.  She never actually sat down.  My grandmother’s maiden name is Sparrow, and it suits the way she flutters about her kitchen even now almost into her 90th year.

The resulting drink would be a pale, crisp golden green, a touch sweet.  I remember not liking it at first, but wanting so much to be a “big girl”, I drank it readily.  I did not appreciate tea for years, even well after my grandmother could no longer enjoy the drink she prepared with such love.  A few small strokes and a prescription for Coumadin limited her chance to enjoy many of her favorite foods including green tea.

But this isn’t about my childhood memories or even the limitations of medication and diet.  It’s about a short story by the Irish writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu–or rather about my rediscovering Le Fanu’s writing.

“Green Tea” by Le Fanu turned up in the book (Dover Editions Great Irish Short Stories) I picked up for my #readsprint on Wednesday.  It had been quite literally over 30 years since I’d ever read anything by Le Fanu.  But, even so, I sensed something in “Green Tea”…  The name of the Dr.Hesselius.  It was warm and familiar.

Yes… “Warm and familiar” is an odd description for a story involving ghosts and paranormal destruction.

Turns out, Le Fanu also wrote my favorite vampire story “Carmilla”.  That story, that I’d read sometime around 4th grade, made enough of a mark on me that I drew upon it when I was in college.  Using amber-screen vt220 terminals in the various basements of SUNY Albany, I hung out on early social networks such as MUDs and MUCKs,  usually in FurryMUCK. I had two characters.  One named after my cat Ishkabibel who was, quite accurately, a ball of white fluff with eyes that bounced around excitedly and left strands of hair wherever she went.  The other was a shape-changer: a sleek black cat/frail girl/lycanthrope based on Le Fanu’s Carmilla; my own character’s third anagram named was Lalmirca.

Illustration by Michael Fitzgerald for Le Fanu...

“Carmilla” also introduced me to the joy of word play in a sense I’d never known before.  And while “Green Tea” was a pleasing story in its own, I find myself more delighted by the memories that looking up details for this post inspired.

The joy didn’t end there.  In doing a Google search to get the link , I found other stories of that name.  Short stories are a bit of a passion this month, since this is Story A Day month here at Chez Mabee.  And so I also found this little gem: Green Tea by Nasir   It is rough.  There are mistakes.  Pronouns shift for characters; there are clearly places where the author was thinking in one direction then wrote another.  But it was sweet.  Sad, but sweet.

Now skipping away from Green Tea  to savor a cup, I have an idea…

Five Sentences

Similar to Kait Nolan’s wonderful Test Mile, I find myself committing to getting at least five sentences of new story written every day.  It wasn’t so much an intention of mine but something I began suggesting to other ROWers after I realized I’d been doing it automatically every day even on those days I felt I too busy or (worse imho) “blocked”.

The idea came from trying to write more in my WiPs.  This unnamed, unspoken goal stated “write five more new sentences in the story.  Just five…”  These sentences had to be part of the story I was working on(not a new story), and they had to try to break the block.  If I couldn’t manage more than five, that was fine.  I went on to new things.  If I could write more than five, I would keep going until I found myself blocked again.

Sometimes I wrote paragraphs of complete and utter nonsense or character sketching, scene sketching, minor character creation or even just ranting into my blank page before I came up with those five sentences.  Sometimes five sentences resulted in pages of backstory, new secondary and tertiary characters, new story ideas…

The “Unnamed Story” I have posted in my Tuesday Snippets developed out of many of these sessions.  Now it is a story in its own right; it is not the WiP I want to work on.  And in the manner of exploring the unknown, it has a multitude of flaws.  I overindulge myself in describing scenes.  The story splits and goes in different directions as I reconsidered the effects of a character’s actions and followed those possibilities further….  It was/is an exercise–I’m still writing pieces in it.  It and the Was Long Variation are my scratch pads for those five sentences, places where I can explore a character and effuse details that I need to know, but perhaps the reader does not.

But  for every paragraph there–indeed for every several paragraphs there, I draw a sentence that I can use in my Writing In Progress.  Maybe not as a sentence itself, maybe as just an idea…  I still have  that sentence to write.  But it is there.

And when I have five sentences, my day can be done…or not.

But I know I’ve written.

The ROW80 check-in however…

Well, since my goals for the rest of May are fairly limited in scope: a story a day and maintain my regular comments and sponsor duties, I can say with delight that I am meeting those goals with almost no problem.  Even days without internet have not really interfered much, since I am rediscovering my joy of writing with pen and paper (I am not as eagerly looking forward to typing everything in before the 30th).

So everything is going well.  Sort of…  As some people may have noticed, my update on Sunday (made via a short post on Facebook) was not the happiest thing.  Most everything is better now, but it reminded me of something…    The ROW80 is a challenge that is more that writing; it’s about living as a writer.

And the ROW80 is about supporting each other as writers.  My ROW80 teammates were there for me this past week.   Please, never hesitate to ask when you need support in your ROW.  It’s what makes this such a wonderful challenge.

And speaking of support…. here’s the linky!  Why not stop in and meet a few of these wonderful people?

Photo Credits:

  • This time it’s green tea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Illustration by Michael Fitzgerald for Le Fanu’s story Carmilla in The Dark Blue (January 1872), electrotype after wood-engraving, reproduced in Best Ghost Stories, ed. Bleiler. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)