of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax

Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings

Today has been absolute insanity.

First, because of the way buses run, I had to be up a little bit after six this morning to go through my morning routine and wake up somewhat before I left the apartment. It’s always good to be a little bit awake when playing Frogger on Armstrong Mill Road to get to the inbound bus stop. But crossing at 8:15am is easier than crossing at 8:45am. We shan’t discuss crossing at 5pm!

And of course the bus was late. Even after being on time all the way along the route, the driver somehow managed to fall back five minutes late on the last half of the loop. I always have anxiety when I go to therapy anyway — the clinic itself sucks — late buses don’t help that at all. But I had a good book to read along the trip, so that helped.

Then I get to the clinic, and the lights are off and the door is locked. Generally this isn’t a problem, as I’m the first appointment. But usually the hallway door is open, and I can at least go in and sit down. Not this time. The place was locked down tight. So I made a phone call and found out they’d “moved next door”. Isn’t that something someone should have told me during my reminder call yesterday?

So I go in, sign in, and sit down. Then I can hear someone in the back saying she doesn’t know who I am and that there’s no information on me anywhere — and my therapist hasn’t gotten to the clinic yet. The anxiety that landed on me outside the other building settled in on top of me. I refrained from going outside and bashing my head against the brick wall.

Good thing, too, because my therapist came in shortly after that, and around the same time, I got to an intense part of my book, so I had plenty to keep me busy.

Once we got into the back, my therapist said this was her first day in this building, too — she even had to ask where her office was! The bad thing was that she didn’t have my records or her computer. She had to dig pens and notepaper out of her bag. And we never really got to talk about anything I’d gone in there to talk about, and I’d been trying to get in to see her since the middle of May. Just more of the usual crap that clinic shovels out on a daily basis.

She had plenty to tell me, though. Two things in particular.

1. The cost of generic Ritalin has skyrocketed. She didn’t even know until patients started calling or coming in and telling her about it. Here in Lexington, it’s gone from $4 for 30 10mg pills to $126. So, we’re switching me over to Vyvanse. The problem with that is, there’s not a generic (yet), and I have to qualify for their prescription assistance program — but my cost could still be $30 a month, which I can’t afford (that’s about what I pay for all of my medications combined; there’s no way I can pay that for one medication). The other problem with that is that it takes at least two months to go through the approval process. I have one week of Ritalin left.

Now, the part about this whole Ritalin thing that sucks, I found out when I got home is that apparently there’s another “shortage” on, like there was earlier in the year, like their was last year and the year before. This page says most of the issue is “supply constraints” or “due to delay in obtaining raw materials”. I would pull my hair out by the roots, but it’s taken too long to grow it this long.

Personally, I feel it’s Big Pharma being greedy assholes.

2. “It’s very probable” that clinic will be closing its doors soon — as in, I made an appointment to see my therapist again in October, but if the clinic closes, then I won’t be seeing her again. We actually cried together. She said the clinic doesn’t want their workers telling people what’s going on, but she said she and a handful of other therapists agree that their patients need to know. I mean, really — you’re a mental health service. You have to disclose this kind of thing so we can look and get referrals and get set up elsewhere. My first choice is to go back to Comprehensive Care, but I can’t get medications there. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, I guess. My therapist gave me enough prescriptions to get me through until the first of March, so I’m good there. (except for the whole Ritalin part) And we’ll deal with the whole Vyvanse thing when we get there.

3. She said they were all pledging to do follow-ups and so forth and said she definitely would be in touch one way or another. I told her to find me on Facebook if I don’t see her in October. I can’t stand the thought of not seeing her again. She’s been my angel (one of my angles) these last three years. We both cried; it was awful.

I left and walked up to the bus stop and got ready for the long trip (an hour) to Wal-Mart. See, that’s the thing with Lextran. It takes you just about anywhere, but it takes forever to get there. An hour to the clinic, an hour to Wal-Mart, an hour home. And people wonder why, when I have therapy, I’m gone all day and need a nap when I get home! I read another good chunk of my book, of course, and had my mp3 player to keep me company; I learned years ago (2005?) never to get on the bus without an mp3 player; it keeps you saner. In 2010, I added my Kindle to that equation. (Wow – I’ve had my Kindle almost three years! Time certainly flies.)

Got to Wal-Mart, did my shopping. Got a text from Josh saying they’d be there shortly. They were meeting me to hang out while I finished and then taking me home. We have such rich, busy social lives! And of course Micah had to be with me in my buggy and not his parents’. Since my child seat was full of stuff, I just dumped him in the buggy with all the food. Which he didn’t mind at all. It meant he got to practice stacking and made cool towers with my Noxema, instant tea, and a can of gooshy food. He was so proud!

Then he wanted to go back into his parents’ buggy, which was fine, and he had more room over there anyway. By the time we got around to the frozen foods, though, he was getting bored, and it was getting on toward his naptime. Mandi left us to go find herself a bag of chips, and Josh and I were talking, and next thing I knew, Micah was face-first on the floor. I keep hearing the sound he made when he landed, and I keep trying to forget it.

He’s fine, though. He’s fine!

He got a nice goose egg on his forehead and a fat lip, and we got a package of popsicles so we could give him one to soothe his mouth. And I still feel like absolute shit about the whole thing even though it’s been ten hours. Everybody keeps telling me that they do stuff like that, and since I have two grown boys, I should know this myself, and I do know this myself. But I still feel like shit.

In the checkout line, I was telling Josh and Mandi to make sure Micah got some Tylenol when they got home, and Micah nodded his head, “Yes.” We laughed. Josh said, “Do you need Tylenol, Micah?” And he nodded his head yes again. He is so rotten.

So while I was sitting here doing Internet things — ie, writing group and writing this post — I managed to find the prescription assistance application form I need, and Preston printed it out for me. I got it filled out, and am going to fax it to the clinic in the morning.

Speaking of which, I asked to get Micah early tomorrow, and I have a ton of things to get done before he gets here. It’s midnight. I should probably get to bed!

It’s been a long time since I’ve really given any kind of update, and I do apologize for that. It’s been a long, insane year. A lot’s happened. I promise not to be gone so long between now and next time.

i (re)discovered destiny!

 
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So I worked out probably my biggest problem with Destiny’s Story.

I had too much material.

I had the brainstorm the other day to do another notebook. I’ve not done a physical notebook (binder) for any story since … oh about three or four back, honestly. Doing this helped me see what I had – and what I had was a lot. So I sat down with printed sheets, dividers, pens, and markers.

Turns out I have enough material for three books.

Since then, I’ve been working on breaking up what needs to go into which book, updating notes, separating sections, answering questions, setting up various pages and notes I need/use in OneNote. Kind of, in a way, starting this whole project from scratch. Yesterday, I printed off four pages of questions I need to answer. Today, I spent a bit of time answering them. Tomorrow, I need to get the timelines for all three books set up.

After that – I should be ready to write again. Finally.

Which is good because I have some of this material up for the WriteOnCon and need to get it all switched around and redone before the actual con starts next week!

I also finished one editing project (remember the one with all the commas?) and got it turned in. I’ve got a piece to read before Thursday evening, to turn it back in to my critique group. And I still have one editing project in progress.

During all this, I’m sitting here thinking – maybe I need to break the Midnight sequel into two books, too … But I’m not ready to tackle that yet. I need to clear what’s right in front of me first. (must stop piling on more and more and not getting things done!)

guest blog: the dark side of louisville

charles suddeth

Charles Suddeth was born in Indiana, living on a farm right on the Ohio River as a baby. He grew up in Michigan and has spent his adult life in Kentucky. He is widowed and lives in Louisville with his two cats. He is a graduate of Michigan State University. He belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), International Thriller Writers, Green River Writers, and the Kentucky State Poetry Society. He spends most days hiking and writing in Tom Sawyer State Park, within walking distance of his house. He often spends weekends at writer’s retreats or workshops. He started writing in the sixth grade and has never stopped. He has published numerous poems and short stories. His books: Halloween Kentucky Style, middle readers, Diversion Press, paperback, 2010. Neanderthal Protocol, adult thriller, Musa Publishing, e-book, 2012. 4RV Publishing will release three books: Picture book, Spearfinger, 2013. Young adult thriller, Experiment 38, 2013. Picture book, Raven Mocker, 2014.

The Dark Side of Louisville

Charles Suddeth

 My thriller, Neanderthal Protocol, takes place in and around Louisville, Kentucky. All these locations don’t figure in my novel, but they lurked in my mind while I wrote the manuscript.

Ghosts: Waverly Hills Sanatorium, reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the country, is a TB hospital that closed in 1962 after thousands of people died. It has been featured in several TV programs and movies. The most famous attraction is the Tunnel of Death, where bodies were whisked away at night. Do you have the courage to tour it? Not everyone does.

More Ghosts: Tom Sawyer State Park was built on the grounds of an 1870’s mental hospital, often called Lakeland Asylum. Once housing 3,000 inmates, the building is gone, but two unmarked potter’s fields hold possibly hundreds of bodies. Nearby, a bricked-in cave was used as a morgue. Ghost tours are available in October.

Things Best Left Unspoken: At the height of the Slave Trade, Louisville contained as many as 44 slave traders and four large slave pens. The term, Down the river, originated in Louisville, because slaves were sold, dragged to the Louisville wharfs, and steamboated downriver to cotton plantations in the Deep South. Thankfully, nothing remains but historic markers.

Murder: On Bloody Monday, August 6th 1855, members of the Whig Party and the Know-Nothing Party rioted against immigrants, mainly German and Irish Catholics. At least 22 people were killed in downtown Louisville and a nearby neighborhood, Phoenix Hill. Many of the churches where people sought refuge are still standing.

More Murder: The Pope Lick Monster (the Pope family were early settlers) is a half-man, half goat rumored to dwell under the lofty railroad bridge spanning Pope Lick Creek. It hypnotizes its victims, luring them onto the narrow train trestle until they are run over by trains. Despite No Trespassing signs, several people have been killed. By the monster?

Boom! The Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, located directly across the river from Louisville, covered about 15 square miles. It made gunpowder and rocket propellant from World War 2 through Vietnam. Rumors floated through Louisville about people and Jeeps blowing up. Part of it is now Charlestown State Park, but tall fences circle the remainder. Signs announce, No Trespassing.  Even without signs, I wouldn’t set foot on those grounds.

Gone but Not Forgotten: The United States Bullion Depository, AKA the Fort Knox Gold, holds the government’s gold. No one has been allowed inside since the 1970’s, because they don’t give tours, even to members of Congress. Rumors persist that the gold has vanished, but no one’s talking. Is the Federal Government broke?

Now you know the Dark Side of Louisville. If you’re afraid to visit Louisville, lots of great writers live here so you can visit the city via books.

got myself disentangled

This made me happy!

I’ve known for some time that Destiny’s Story just wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, but I couldn’t figure out why. I thought maybe, at first, the format I had chosen just wasn’t working. I wanted my 15 year old FMC to write journal entries.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this story since my father-in-law passed last month. It’s funny what gets a writer’s mind working toward the right direction. Anyway, I’d been trying to decipher the problem and find a solution. Of course, you can’t prescribe a fix without a diagnosis, so for a while there, I just went around in circles. As if my ADHD brain doesn’t need more circles to navigate.

The problem is two-fold.

  1. I started the story entirely too early
  2. The narrative needs divided into months — such as what I did with the Midnight stories — not diary entries

So now, I get to sit down with the new starting point and get on from there.

so this is where i am right now

pic06131029

This mess was on my dining room table this morning while I was trying to eat breakfast. This mess is what I’ve let my life erode into. And I hate it. The only thing to do about it is to get up off my butt and fix it. I did some of that fixing today but not as much as I should have. I at least got my dayplanner and Outlook calendar somewhat semi-reorganized. One step at a time, I suppose.

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get – Calvin & Hobbes

taking naps at my apartment

It goes something like this:

I get tired.
I take my afternoon meds.
I head toward the bedroom.

me: come on, miss kitty, let’s go lay down.
kitty: mow.
me: :goes to the bedroom:
kitty: [sometimes she’s already there. sometimes i have to call her again]
kitty: :jumps up on the bed and roams around the bed:
me: kitty, lay down now. it’s time to lay down.
kitty: :continues to roam around the bed:
me: lay down, kitty. lay down.
kitty: [lather, rinse, repeat]
me: :opens eyes to peer right into an up too close and too personal cat eyeball: CAT!
kitty: :snicker: :lops over hard: :grooms: :grooms loudly:
me: CAT.
kitty: :comes to investigate and puts her foot in my mouth:
me: miss kitty, don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth! for pete sake, lay down!
kitty: :roams around the bed:
me: miss kitty, please. lay down.
kitty: :lays down:
me: good girl.
kitty: mow?
kitty: :reaches over and puts her foot in my mouth:
me: miss kitty, don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth!
kitty: :puts her put in my mouth:
me: don’t put your foot in my mouth! it’s time to lay down!
kitty: :digs my arm out from under my pillow: :pokes my arm:
me: :pets the kitty until arm falls off: now lay down, cat! it’s nap time!
kitty: :purrs with really loud motor: :lays down:
me: good girl.
kitty: mow? :continues to purr:

We go to sleep.

I wake up, moaning and groaning and ready to finish the day. I look to the side because it seems one of my arms has gone missing.

me: :heavy, long-suffering sigh:
kitty: :decided in her sleep to play Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board on my arm:
me: kitty, time to wake up.
kitty: …
me: miss kitty?
kitty: …
me: :shakes cat awake:
kitty: :looks at me like i’ve ruined her life:

i’m still alive!

I’m still here. I’ve just not been blogging. Nothing to write home about? Yeah, well, that’s where I’ve been. I did NaNoWriMo again last year and managed to get 35,000 new words for Destiny (which is still searching for a new, real title, by the way). Also, I picked up some editing and reading for hire and will be picking up more.

I’ve also been going through this big organizational project. The apartment, myself, my life. Everything.

I got a 2013 Peanuts Moleskine dayplanner and finally got over my fear of actually using my Peanuts 60th Anniversary Snoopy Moleskine journal. This is all helping getting my life/mind/home “still” and organized. Organized isn’t really the word I’m going for here. The ADHD isn’t letting me find the proper word for this, of course. I know what I mean but just am not able to convey it right now.

I’ve wanted for a long time to get back into scrapbooking, the kind I did all through school while I was growing up, but I’ve never been happy with all the themed scrapbooking stuff that’s been out there for the longest time now. Scrapbooking isn’t supposed to be that orderly! So I just never did. Then last Summer while I was thinking real hard about getting back into journaling and trying to get my mojo going again, I ran into ‘smashbooks’. What neat things! And they’re so portable!

Like I said above, I got over my fear of using my Moleskines, and I’m so glad I did! Both of the ones I have are the 5″x8″ size, which is perfect for what I need them for. The dayplanner isn’t huge or bulky, and the journals isn’t one of those daunting 9″x11″ books I was hooked on for twenty years. Seriously, I think that’s why I burned out. I was trying to fill up those enormous pages with every thought and activity I had, and with the uncontrolled, undiagnosed ADHD I had going on, I got some righteous burn-out.

As for the dayplanner, I’ve known for some time (like three years) that dumping everything into Outlook Calendar just wasn’t cutting it. Especially over the last year. I’ve not been keeping Outlook open around the clock like I used to. I’ve not allowed myself to continue being a slave to e-mail (as a result, I also have a continuous backlog of e-mail, but I’m trying to break that habit, too). I don’t need it on 24/7, so I leave it off. But I needed something to help me stay organized and on task through the day, and everything I’ve read for months about ADHD is that having a physical dayplanner is a blessing. And it has been. It helps keep me on task.

Getting over my fear of actually using my Peanuts journal took a long time. But I’m glad that I did. Honestly, what got me going again was the time I spend on Pinterest and Flickr looking at beautiful and creative (and beautifully creative and creatively beautiful) things. I was searching for inspiration, and one afternoon, I found it, and got my books out and started using them. It’s made a world of difference.

I got into this whole journaling/dayplanning thing so much that I created a group on Facebook. The group is just over a month old, and we’ve all had so much fun and learned so much from each other already. Everyone supports one another. It’s been amazing. If you’re on Facebook and keep a journal or are considering picking the habit (back) up, if you scrapbook, art journaling, anything similar, we’d enjoy having you as part of our group. Daily, we start a Link thread to keep everything as corralled and orderly as we can. So like, if it’s Tuesday, someone will start an empty thread titled Tuesday Links, and everyone is welcome to post up outside links to anything journaling or scrapbooking related. We have a long thread about handwriting, even! (I’ve been working hard on improving mine, and it’s working.)

One thing I’ve learned over the last six or so months is that I’d been journaling wrong for the last thirty years. Wrong for me. I wasn’t exploring it as a creative outlet. I had, for all that time, created what could be called nothing more than Bitch Books. Finally, at one point, I sat down with the ones I’d kept from 1992 through 2007, when I stopped (I’d told myself I didn’t need to journal any more because I had my biog!). I went through some thousand pages of crap. Serious. I kept only what I found important. My poetry, good quotes, pictures, cards, letters, some stickers, comic strips. Stuff like that. I took, wrapped in two tightly tied T-shirt bags, and chucked them into the nearest dumpster. That act along took a load of weight from my shoulders. Amazing how stuff like that works out! I wanted to burn those books, but when one lives in an apartment, one does what one can with what one has.

Since then, I’ve gotten everything I saved, which was little, into its proper scrapbook or journal with the exception of my poetry. I still need to see what I already have in electronic copy and type up what I don’t. I think there are maybe eight poems I need to go through. Yeah, real hard work.

But like I said above, I’d been journaling wrong. I had approached it my entire life as a repository of gripes and sorrows, rants and raves. While I ripped those books apart, I rarely found anything good. That, and I’d insisted all that time in writing in 120 page, 9″x11″ books. All of them beautiful. I refused to buy them if they weren’t pretty! So on days when I didn’t have anything to gripe about, I just didn’t write. Those large pages were intimidating, and I allowed them to intimidate me. The odd part is that I had (a few months ago) a small slew of 5″x7″ journals that I never used. I bought them because they were pretty and just never did anything with them. I still have two I need to find a home/use for.

Then I searched “Moleskine” and “Journal” on both Flickr and Pinterest. My eyes were opened. Wide. What a wealth of creativity!

I don’t have to write an entire page to record my entire day. I don’t even have to write. I don’t have to do it in chronological order. Nor do I have to orient every single page “top to bottom”. When I was in therapy at Comprehensive Care in 2010/2011, my therapist “had a thing” about coloring therapy. I rediscovered coloring and art because of her. She especially favored mandalas and bright colors. Google “mandala” and “zentangle”. Wonderful things. I searched for and found good, easy to follow (and free!) drawing instructions at the art is fun website. My journal is littered with mandalas, doodles, lines, circles, shapes. I’ve filled it with pictures I’ve drawn and colored. I’ve added stickers. I started a collection of ephemera. I bought crayons, pencils, markers, and other things (including a box to keep it all in).

I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this, how much it’s all helped me already.

Below, I share some pictures of pages I’ve made. More to come!

pic12221125

This is the opening page in the Snoopy journal.

 

2013 dayplanner

This is the opening page in the dayplanner. I can control only what’s inside my hula hoop.

 

dream page

This is from my K&Company Smashbook. I got the Retro Blue one – because it’s blue and because I liked the pages inside; they’re all themed. I don’t generally care for themed scrapbooking or journaling, but most of the ‘prompts’ are great. I also got a themed ‘smash pad’ which is also great for prompts. You pull what you want to use on a given day from the pad, glue or tape the whole thing (or part) down, and write on it. Then decorate the page the best way you see fit.

 

hch page

This is the page I started for HCH. It’s not finished. I still have a ton of ephemera I want to stick in. The left-hand page is made of up a recent Harlan County map, a Harlan County directory, and the US 119 tag is from a packet of information I got from a Pine Mountain tour thing several years ago. The places I highlighted in yellow are settings in my Harlan Vampires stories. The right-hand page is a postcard about HCH and the welcome card from the book launch at The Morris Book Shop.

 

midnight page

This is the Midnight page. Totally unfinished. I started with printouts of the 100 word blurb, snippets of poetry that didn’t make my final cut as chapter headers, a writer ‘trading card’, maps of Loyall and Harlan, and excerpts from the book. Then, when the books is published, I’ll add more things in. Lots more things.

So that’s where I’ve been for the last six months. Embroiled and enjoying it. I’ve also relaunched my editing service – which now has a name! – and have taken in three projects so far. I’ll be free to take in more near the first of April. And yes, I’m still working on the apartment. Organizing, cutting down, simplifying, scrubbing everything to a showroom shine.

All of this has been so very freeing.