Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Personal Best...

Oh. Em. Gee. You guys, I did it...


Not one first draft-- the first one was for me only and no one will ever see that so I don't count it really-- but two first drafts, the second of which might actually turn out to be something...

A new personal best, despite being sick, despite Bipolar, despite med changes, despite the darned ER stay and ALL...I just finished the first draft at 51,820 words for the second project.

Grand total wordcount as of tonight for the month a new personal best: 101,805 words.

Count 'em!

I am going to go giggle myself silly in a corner now as I try to find the strength to remember how to take a shower. LOL

Oh! And before I go, on Friday, look for a link to an interview I got to do a couple weeks ago talking about GODSPEED, of all things, after all this time it was so good to revisit my old friends in that book. How I have missed them.

Happy writer tonight. Even if it never happened again, it happened today, and today that is all that matters.

xoxoxo
bru

Monday, July 28, 2014

Social Media: It Is What It Is

I wonder if I'm the only one who is really struggling with social media lately.

First of all, I am an introvert (believe it or not, I really am: a 10 out of 10 in introversion on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter: but I'm INFJ and we are often mistaken for extroverts because we care about people so much) and that makes engaging in social media at all a challenge and often a battle for me. Add all the other noise going on in my head? Yikes.

What would a modern Alice make of Facebook? Is it the ultimate Mad Tea Party? A recent painting: "Wonderland Lost"


I've found a niche I really enjoy on Twitter: you say what you mean, you keep it short (or at least down to a few tweets if you can't fit it into 140 characters) and you see a lot of interesting people. My favorites are those I have actually come to know something about and care about. It's great to check in and see how they're doing, to offer support on their down days, to cheer their successes. I'm lucky to have some people who even reciprocate in those things. Good times.

Facebook...

Facebook has become like a minefield for me. I keep a personal account because you have to have one to have say, an author page, and it's tricky.

I stay away from politics entirely (not going there) and I try to stay away from religion as much as I can (though events in my life have led to the mention of its direct effect upon my life every rare once in awhile...) mostly I try to post interesting quotes, fun things, pretty things. Things that make me think and inspire me. Things that are unoffensive and benign.

But I have found there will always be someone who will take issue with what you post, no matter how innocuous it may be. And that is why I struggle to stay on Facebook.

It's like a never-ending family reunion (and I'm not even connected to any relatives on social media, if I was I'd have lost what was left of my mind long ago) and sometimes things get tense, even after you post something that you don't possibly see how it could offend ANYONE, someone makes a snarky remark and there goes my morning.

I have got to learn to shake it off. Especially when they won't follow up with a response as to why they made the snarky remark to begin with.

If I wasn't published through a publisher, I wouldn't stay on social media as much as I have/do. Well, except maybe Twitter. Cause I'm telling you that there are good people on Twitter among the craziness and fast-paced world of "buy my book Buy my Book BUY MY BOOK!" that goes on continually. You just have to look around a bit.

Maybe it's time for me to close ranks a little and narrow down who I let into my FB circle, I don't know. I'm certainly not difficult to find if people want to reach me otherwise.

I just know that when you're as sick as I've been the past week (I think the tests/'cures' are often worse then the ailments that put you in the ER to begin with) you tend to have time to think and reevaluate what matters in your life...and I am reevaluating how much of my time social media deserves.

I have come to the undeniable conclusion that it's a lot less than I've been giving it.

~bru

Friday, July 25, 2014

Talking About Wattpad Over at Upgrade Your Story

Hey all,

I am really sick at the moment, was in the ER overnight earlier this week for a horrible migraine and that was only the beginning. Still recovering, but am posting this on my iPad from bed because I am so thankful to Ally Bishop at Upgrade Your Story for asking me to write up something about my Wattpad experiences!

I hope it will inform and entertain. Here's the link... Thank you again, Ally, for having me.

I hope to be in better shape by next week.

xoxo

bru

Monday, July 14, 2014

Word Count, A New Painting, And An eBook Giveaway

Hi all,

Sorry I haven't posted, I was writing like the maniac I was the first week of July (CampNaNoWriMo total in six days of writing (between July 1 and 8th, I took two days off in the middle) came to 50,145 words.

For a project that I did entirely for myself and don't think the world will ever see. And that's perfectly okay with me :~)

Given the highly manic state I was in at the time due to a doctor prescribed change in meds (you never know how these things will go... and hence my ability to write like that-- if there was any doubt before that my meds are the master of my fate when it comes to my ability to write, there can be none now...) the writing was effortless, and I have missed it being that way so much. Alas, I could not continue on like that (too dangerous to my health overall) so my meds have been changed AGAIN and I have been exhausted the past several days. Trying to wake up, and get back into the swing.

Some changes on my publishing team have me scrambling at the moment, too, but hopefully that will all work out soon...(I will really miss you, Wendy...thank you for everything.)

In the meantime instead of a real post, I will show you my latest painting...first time I've picked up a brush in a long time...hope you like her.

The text is taken from a single line of random dialog I wrote some time ago. The entire piece read:

"Do I miss him?" She repeated the senseless question. "Sooner you should ask, sir, if the stars would mourn the moon."

So the painting has the last line in it. I think it's kinda cool.


Moon and Stars by February Grace (blue streaks in her hair, still drying!)


Talk soon, xoxo

bru

PS Thank you to Melissa and Jo for their recent 5 star reviews of In Starlight! I appreciate them both so much. Additionally, Jo is running a contest on her blog for eBook sets of OF STARDUST and IN STARLIGHT! You can enter by visiting her here. Thank you again, Jo! :~)

Monday, July 7, 2014

...And The Universe Laughed

Oh, how can I still be so naive, even at the age of 43?

I thought that a simple change of what I called 'mindset' and a new datebook, a new goal or two, and a hopeful heart could work magic.

The Universe at large (whatever that means to you) had other plans I guess, and I am starting to think has a really snarky sense of humor.

I have taken more hits in the past seven days since my little mid-year-restart program began than in a good long while before it...and it knocked me off my feet. Straight to bed, shaking in full-blown panic attacks with my anxiety meds barely controlling the fury of the terror of the flashbacks.

I have been so agitated that I have walked, literally, up and down the block until my legs refused to hold me up (that isn't as long a time as it would be for most people, remember, I am $#!* at walking long distances because of my joints and my back; hence why I am wheelchair bound in WDW and other large places like museums and the like. Distance walking? No matter how the soul is willing (or in this case, manically driven) forget it. I have walked until the pain is absolutely unbearable and now I can't move.

This past week/weekend everything seemed to hit the fan at once.

The anchor of my team, writing-wise, has moved on to other things. I wish her the best...but I feel lost and am trying to figure out what happens now.

My husband wasted most of his holiday weekend trying to deal with a recurring water problem at our apartment that should have been fixed months ago but no one can seem to figure out. I can figure it out just fine-- CALL A FREAKING FULLY-QUALIFIED PLUMBER but no one seems to hear me.

Got bad news about my father's (seriously declining) health. The cancer keeps trying to come back on his skin, the same kind that took his voice box (though he never smoked a day in his life) and has left him scarred and silent (though whispering angrily, and sadly making little sense most of the time these days...)

Another relative is having major surgery soon that scares me half to death. Elective, but risky.

There is a family wedding we are missing this month because I am in no condition to cope with the stress (no guilt there...)

And on top of it the mania has just kicked into overdrive...

I mean, I wrote 28, 472 words in the first four days of April. No, that is not a typo. I'm sure some of them are trash, but I don't think all of them are horrible.

That might be considered a major victory for someone who has not been able to write in fifteen months (anything but blog posts and a few lines of flash or poetry) but it was kind of like a person who has been starving gorging themselves when they finally see food: and I made myself sick.

So I've written nothing the past two days, spent most of them in bed with the covers over my head, feeling like I am strapped into a roller coaster I can't get off of.

Add to that the fifth anniversary of an event that, while it didn't directly involve me, had a huge impact on people I know and care about in a place that means the world to me, and the memories of doing what I could to help through that time are never easy. I never feel like I did enough-- like anyone could have done enough.

I'm beginning to realize that despite my desire to put the brakes on all these raging emotions, the most that I can do is try to look at it the way that my doctors have taught me-- as a cyclical thing and not as things that will last forever-- though days can certainly feel like forever when you're shaking and crying and can't accomplish anything that you want to and you feel like a burden to everyone.

If I could control it, then I wouldn't have Bipolar/OCD/PTSD requiring a cocktail of ever-changing medications because it refuses to be managed. Yeah, at about two months in I think this latest combination has run its 'helpful' course and is doing more damage than good (note to self, email doctor today.)

Then... Monday came.

Not so sure when I've been happier to see a weekday, honestly.

I am taking very slow steps.

I got some extra sleep this morning when I felt too tired to get up at the first alarm.

I'm writing a blog post. 

I'm drinking my beloved cOfFeE...

I'm wondering if maintenance is going to insult me with another round of "we aren't sure what's going on here..." or just call the freaking plumber already.

And I'm getting ready to take my story in a direction that I didn't imagine when I started writing it. A direction that scares me, and that ensures that this book would never work under the 'February Grace brand', that's for sure. Maybe it's just something I need to 'write through' and get out so that I can move on to the next 'February Grace' type thing.

I'm not sure.

So that's how my holiday weekend went.

I hope yours was better.

As far as my re-start to the year, yeah, lets just pretend that didn't happen and try to continue on with our previously scheduled 2014.

It was probably better to begin with.

~bru

Monday, June 30, 2014

All In

So, I'm taking a very big emotional risk here...

I went ahead and signed up to participate in CampNaNoWriMo for the next month. (If you don't know what that is and want to find out, visit campnanowrimo.org)

I promise not to blog about it consistently (gets old fast, I know) though I may update word count on Twitter, depending on how it goes! (Again, only now and then, promise.)

It was a very difficult choice for me to try to do this: after all, it's been an entire year since I've written anything of any length or substance (In Starlight started at Camp last year) and I have been unable to write for so long.

But I have an idea screaming (not whispering, not murmuring, but SCREAMING) in my ear and I can't shut it up-- and I know of no other way to shut it up faster than to try writing it out.

The reason I am choosing to try doing it with NaNo is the sense of community (and comforting familiarity to me, been participating in some form or other every year since 2008) that the project offers. Even though I opted out of being in a 'cabin' (I am going to be a 'hermit in the creepy little shack alone' type for this) I still find the whole of the idea of NaNo, in any form, invigorating.

I sat out NaNoWriMo last November on purpose but not by choice: under strict doctor's orders not to participate. 'It will feed the manic cycle' she said. 'It will not help you stay at a more stable mood level,' they said.

Pardon my language here, but after a year of playing by their rules I have only one thing left to say here: screw that.

After going so long without writing and so many med combinations in the past year I have lost count of them, I am definitely riding the edge (if not over it) into an agitated, more manic state anyway and I am driven to DO SOMETHING. I think the safest thing I can do is try writing something. My doctors may not be happy when they find out (by the time I see them next the month will almost be over...so...) and yes I am taking a chance by doing this. But I have got to try something to break out of this cycle of being lost without words.

I had intended to start with simple poetry (being there is no exact word count requirement for CampNaNo it seemed to lend itself to the endeavor) but it has morphed into something else, something that no one will ever likely get to read but something that I want to try to write for myself, at any rate.

So that's that.

I can't wait to start writing...I wish today was the first. Given I have to sleep (because of my med schedule mostly) I probably won't be able to start writing until about 24 hours from now. But...

I actually found myself writing something of a *gulp* outline-ish thing on sticky notes this morning because I am so ready and raring to go. That is new for me...I am usually a total 'pantser', beginning to end.

I hope the idea holds up, that it doesn't fall apart halfway through but even if it does, I will have learned from the experience (you don't learn if you don't try) and maybe I could still harvest some decent poems out of it all. At any rate, I will have written SOMETHING somewhere.

So wish me luck...the candle will be lit and in my window from July 1-31.



I have no idea how bright it will burn, but I hope it will help me find my way out of a dark place without words that I have been trapped in for so long.

~bru

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Rebeginning" 2014: Or, A Second Chance at the Year



Song I am listening to at the moment: Walk On, by U2


"Anguish" By February Grace: 2/14


 
Have you ever hit an emotional landmine?

Of course. We all have.

Sometimes it comes in the form of running into someone we have been avoiding, or have been avoided by, for years.

Sometimes it’s a random song on the radio or on shuffle on our iPod. 

Sometimes it’s a ragged-edged photograph at the bottom of a box stored deep in the closet, behind our winter clothes.

Today, in my case, it was opening up a notebook I thought was still blank inside and finding it was anything but.

It was from 2011, right about this time of year, and I was in a full blown manic state, though I didn’t know it at the time.

It contains pages of thoughts on some latest-thing-self-help exercise or other, in which I was supposed to write every day and work toward self-acceptance.

It holds barely legible notes on the origin of the word ‘acceptance’, and ways in which I was not accepting myself. It was also full of mania-infused hopes and dreams, plans and lists, of things that never came to fruition or at least, never in the way I had possibly imagined that they would.

I still grieve for the things that might have been.

I also find it sickeningly ironic that three years later, even with the knowledge that I was manic then and may well be manic at the moment—I still haven’t accepted myself.

Some may say it’s the plight of the idealist temperament (INFJ here) that we can’t ever accept ourselves. I don’t know if that’s true. I just know that last night, I felt more optimistic than I do in this moment, having just stepped on that epic emotional landmine. 

I’m still taking stock to try to figure out which parts of me it took with it when it went up.

Last night, in my previously more optimistic moments (which I am trying to reclaim in this moment) I saw someone post a photo of a blank datebook on Facebook. 

I was thinking—I have a blank datebook for 2014 that I never used. (Monet’s Gardens at Giverny…) I went with a different one instead.

What if I started the year over again—my own personal second chance at 2014, beginning on July 1?

I mean, hell, I have the new datebook. Why not?

Will the things I record in it change?

I hope so.

I hope instead of just charting the bad of my moods running from one end of the Bipolar spectrum to the other with many mixed-states in between that I can think of and record some of the happier things. 

(Observe: two different self-portraits I painted in February of this year: while in different Bipolar states. Quite striking, the difference, isn't it?)





 
I hope that, with some time and distance, I can look back on the first half of 2014 and remember more of the happy things there have been than the sad things. Because honestly, if I were looking at anyone else's life and seen what I have managed to accomplish in the first half of the year despite the devastating effects of the ‘constellation’ of health issues that I battle, I would be damned impressed.

But I can never be impressed with myself. It just isn’t how my brain works.

I just want to get back to words—to finding ways to twist and craft them into something with more meaning than the letters themselves possess on their own: to create a broken-china mosaic on the page that turns into the image of something beautiful when you take all the fragments and fuse them together, finally.

I want to create in 2014—more than I already have (though 60+ paintings in February was quite a run…) and what is more, I want to CREATE 2014. At least the last half of it.

I want this year to be something I lived by choice and not just a series of events that happened to me.

I want to take as much of my power back from those who would hurt me with their silence as best I can.

I can’t control what others do and sometimes because of the Bipolar I can’t even control my reactions to it. But I can try to learn to twist those reactions, to smash and break the ugly down and rearrange the pain into something beautiful, to someone.

Even if only to me.

So I am counting down to the rebeginning of 2014.

The preparation work begins now, reframing my thoughts and building upon them to try to ready myself for this restart.

Then, on July 1st, hopefully I will be in the right frame of mind to say “Happy New Day, everyone.”

"Angel Fountain" (also painted by me)
 
I hope, come December 31, I will be able to look back on the second half of 2014 and say I lived by choice and survived through rebuilding; not that I lived by the rule of circumstance alone.

xoxo
~bru