I have to be honest, I’m not a poetry fan. I don’t read it, I don’t write it, I just don’t particularly enjoy it at all.*
*with a couple of rare exceptions, such as Charles Bukowski, Sylvia Plath, and ysome Dorothy Parker.
Last Sunday I took a bathroom break while reading the book “Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone (if you enjoy YA at all I strongly recommend this book)and when I sat back down this popped into my head and I had to write it down.
So, without further adieu, I present the only poem I have written since my teen years.
Things Left Undone
sometimes I look around
and all I see
are things left undone
books to be read
crafts to be finished
kits to be sold
a storage box I never filled
mugs never put away
folder laundry sitting there waiting
dresses that should be hanging
a yoga mat gathering dust
oh the dust
there’s so much dust
projects I haven’t started
pictures never hung
paper that needs to be filled
notebooks never defiled
a planner I do not write in
a shirt I will not keep
outfits I have yet to wear
canisters just sitting there
everywhere there’s a place to start
a step to take, a move to make
instead I sit here typing
I cannot seem to move
I cannot seem to do
I shared this with my therapist yesterday and she found it insightful, so I thought I would share with my readers. If the mood strikes you, I’d of course love to know what you think.
Do you write/read poetry? Have you ever felt inspired to write poetry, even if it is not usually something you write?
The subject recently came up on Twitter about the strange things you end up knowing from novel research. It’s a favorite one of mine because you can’t help but retain bits of information that when repeated in polite company make you look like a psychopath.
Random Person: Joe got in a car accident yesterday. Me: Is he okay? Random Person: Yeah. He punctured a lung, but the doctors said he’s going to be fine. Me: Yikes. Can you believe that some people get collapsed lungs for literally no reason? Like, they’re just walking along and bam! Lung collapsed, trouble breathing. Some people it happens to regularly. Random Person:
Friend: (watching a crime show) Can’t they just dig up the body and test the DNA? Me: Depends what’s left of the body. Flesh is all gone by this point. And depending on the soil acidity there might not even be bones left anymore. Friend:
Yup, it’s interesting, to say the least, being friends with a writer. I’m full of all kinds of useless* facts and frequently frighten my friends and family.
* It’s actually all completely necessary. Knowing what to do if you’re confronted with a bear could come in handy someday!
So, without further adeau here’s a few of the miscellaneous pieces of information I’ve acquired while doing research that may or may not make me look like (more of) a lunatic on a daily basis.
1. Hearing aids are itchy, sweaty, and are pretty gross at the end of the day.
Ear wax gets everywhere, ya’ll.
2. Getting a family member’s body exhumed is a lot easier than you’d think.
It requires a judge to sign off, but moving Aunt Judy’s body to a closer cemetery isn’t that much of a hassle.
3. If you live in a building with a doorman, depending on his duties, you might not need to hire someone to feed Fluffy while you’re on vacation.
They’re also very useful if you frequently lock yourself out of your apartment or get heavy packages delivered.
4. DNA and blood testing results do not happen quickly.
Most take weeks or even months to come back from the lab and contain a lot less useful information than shown on TV.
5. A child with selective mutism may talk perfectly normal at home but clam up the second they are in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation like school.
They also might speak to selected people in that environment, often whispering in the person’s ear.
6. You can’t inherit a rent controlled apartment in NYC unless you can prove you were living with the relative for at least a year prior to their death.
Basically, forget everything you learned on Friends.
7. There aren’t any bears in Maine that are likely to attack, and even then the chance of you being killed are statistically minuscule.
(To my dismay, as I required a bear to attack two young boys in that particular story)
8. Depending on the soil content and the conditions under which the person was buried, bones can decompose in a matter of decades, leaving little to no trace of the murder victim.
Which would be a much less interesting episode of Bones.
9. A large percentage of foster children wind up homeless within a year after aging out of the system.
A haunting statistic.
10. Probably the easiest, least traceable way to kill someone is by injecting air into their veins, causing an air embolism which is often written off as a heart attack or stroke.
I swear I’m not going to kill you*.
*Outside of a book. And probably only is you piss me off.
What kinds of strange (but interesting) kinds of information or tidbits do you know? Has sharing that information ever caused your friends or family to worry that you were going to murder them in their sleep? Share your stories, my readers. I love learning and reading about new things. Maybe that’s why I’m a writer. (possibly a blog post for another day)
I’ve decided this is going to be my mottofor 2018. I’m a terrible perfectionist and have a tendency to avoid doing things simply because I know I can’t do them the way I want to be able to. This is the year I’m going to put that aside.
Those of you who suffer from mental illness likely know what it’s like to feel paralyzed. You see all those things that need to be done, like cleaning, and all the things you want t
o do, like writing, but you can’t seem to get yourself off the couch and actually do them.
It’s a terrible and frustrating feeling. Especially when you know that getting certain things done will do wonders for your mental health. I don’t know about you guys, but when my apartment is clean and decluttered I feel a sense of satisfaction whenever I look at it. I can’t help but feel better.
But that nasty perfectionism comes and bites me in the butt.
I’ve always struggled with it. It likely began with my mild case o
f OCD. I can remember as a kid my mom would send me to clean my room and two hours later she’d find me putting the finishing touches on alphabetizing my bookshelf. I couldn’t see the bigger picture. Everything had to be done just so. To this day my bookshelves are more organized than the rest of my home.
This year I want to put into practice something that I’ve learned from reading books by The Fly Lady (Sink Reflections), and more recently, UnF*** Your Habitat. Both books focus on building routines and doing something rather than nothing. Dust for ten minutes. Give the worst spots 20 minutes every day. Or ten, or five. ANYTHING you do is better than doing nothing.
On an extra hard day, it might mean cleaning my bathroom i
n increments over the course of the day. One bathroom trip I might wipe out the sink. Another, clean the toilet. A third, shake out my rugs and leave them in another room so next time it’s easy to run my vacuum around. At the end of the day, it might not be perfect, but it’s a million times better. And instead of putting it off another day because I can’t do everything at once, I’ve divided the chore into short steps that don’t seem so overwhelming.
Life is still frustrating. I was all excited, feeling like my new medication was kicking in and feeling ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, I was sick for the last two weeks of December and by the time I could get up and move, all that motivation was gone. I feel hopeful, however. Maybe the next dose increase will be the one that sticks. It’s obviously working at least a little.
Until then, I’m not going to let myself get tripped up by perfectionism. It’s an ideal I can never achieve and it will only cause frustration and hopelessness.
Be better, not perfect.
Do you have a mottofor 2018? Does perfectionism get in the way of your getting things done? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing from each and every one of you.
I’m not a rabid John Green fan. I like his books, but I wasn’t waiting with bated breath for his next novel.
Until I heard it was about mental illness.
After reading a short interview with the author, I opened up Amazon and pre-ordered myself a copy of Turtles All the Way Down.
The package came right on the day of release. The dust jacket was colorful and coated in something soft that made it impossible not to pet. I eagerly anticipated cracking it open.
The next day I did. I was immediately sucked into the story, into the journey of Aza and Daisy and Davis. But after reading about a third of the book, I had to put it down.
You see, reading this book was hard. Not because it was boring or pretentious, but because it was real.
I not only read but FELT Aza’s pain. My stomach twisted in knots as she worried away at the callous on her finger until it bled, feeling the pain of myself picking at hangnails and my lips in such a similar way. My eyes filled with tears as she isolated herself, both literally and figuratively, from her family and friends.
My fears are not Aza’s fears. But intrusive thoughts? I’m no stranger to them. I know what it’s like to have your brain take one passing thought and send it down a twisted path so fast you get mental whiplash. I know what it’s like to yell at yourself but be unable to listen to your own good advice. I know what it’s like to be so involved in what’s going on in your own brain that you can barely see what’s going on around you.
John Green has stated that he also suffers from Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He clearly poured himself into this book. He took his own fears and thoughts and applied them to Aza in a way that explains them better than any other book I’ve come across.
Turtles All the Way Down was an amazing book, beautiful and touching and honest.
But it was really hard for me to read.
Have you read Turtles All the Way Down? Do you intend to? Did you like it? Have you read other books about characters with mental illness that were difficult to read? I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether or not you suffer from mental illness also.
Today marks the two month anniversary of my adopting Nutmeg. To commemorate the occasion I’ve decided to share five facts about my furry little friend.
1. She tricked me into
The cat I brought home from the shelter was cuddly and subdued. She curled into my neck and purred constantly. Little did I know this was not her natural state. In actuality, she was sick and didn’t feel well. A round of antibiotics later I was suddenly faced with this crazy, energetic kitten constantly staring at me and waiting for me to entertain her.
2. She doesn’t play by herself.
I have bought dozens of toys of all kinds and Nutmeg has laughed in the face of 99% of them. I consider it a win if she half-heartedly bats at a toy. The only thing she really loves is Da Bird, which requires me to wave a stick around for hours a day. She will occasionally play with her own bird (I bought refills and let her have the old one) but for the most part it’s all on me.
Those cute little websites that say you just need to play with cats for 15 minutes twice a day? THEY LIE.
3. She hates wet food.
I was so ready to spoil her. I went out and bought a bunch of different grain free wet foods and the first time I served one she tried to BURY it. She barely even sniffed the food I so lovingly provided for her. Cheeky little brat. I have discovered she likes boiled chicken so it looks like she’ll be getting homemade food eventually. (because wet food is so much better for cats and she’s totally spoiled.)
4. She loves water.
When we brought Nutmeg home my mother said we were not going to teach her to drink out of the faucet. She was just going to drink out of a bowl. Guess who was the first person to carry her to the counter and offer water?
She’s not picky either. She happily accepts tub water upstairs and still drains her water dish daily. This is one cat who will never be dehydrated.
5. She’s a climber.
Mr Muggles never climbed anything, so I wasn’t quite prepared for a cat whose skills rival mountain goats. She can scale window frames. I was out on the porch one day and looked over to find her in the window, all paws extended like a suction cup Garfield.
(I wasn’t witness to it, but apparently there was also an incident involving a bug and the screen door.)
Bonus Fact: She’s very patient.
Unlike other cats who meow and climb on you and generally beg for attention, Nutmeg takes a much more passive approach. Instead, she sits in front of me patiently and stares until I notice her and give her what she wants (usually food or to play). I’ve seen her do it for a half hour straight, barely blinking.
So, that’s my Nutmeg. She’s getting more chill by the day and has already gained a little weight because I buy her the yummy food. And, I suspect, to fit in with the rest of the house.
Tell me about your pets! Cats, dogs, rodents, whatever. What kind of odd behaviors/habits do they have? I’d love to hear your stories!
First of all, this is a totally sappy and self-indulgent entry about my new kitty, so plan accordingly. It’s full of pictures and obnoxiously cute captions and I’M JUST GETTING THIS OUT OF MY SYSTEM, OKAY? Onto the entry:
Shortly before I started this blog my cat of nine years, Mr. Muggles, died suddenly.
I was heartbroken. We’d had no warning. He got sick one day, we took him to the vet, and the next day he was gone. I had no idea losing at pet would affect me that much. I remember crying when I realized I was going to have to update the about section because it mentioned him.
I’ve been really depressed ever since. It’s affected everything in my life, especially my writing. I knew I didn’t want to live without a feline in my life, but I had to put it off, first because my parents were both grieving too, and then because my nephew’s wedding was coming up and we were going to be gone several weekends.
Then this week I decided to just go to a shelter and take a look. There didn’t seem to be many kitties available at the local shelters, but there was one or two listed online that looked promising.
I didn’t really expect to find a cat that day. I hoped, I really hoped, but I thought it might take a few visits to find just the right kitty for us.
That morning, two eight-month old kittens had come up for adoption. Their owner was moving and couldn’t take them with her and they’d both just been spayed. Another person was in the kitty room playing with them.
They were cute, but I was more interested in Patches, a beautiful gray adult. Truthfully, I only played with the kittens because I was too shy to ask to take a different cat out. I figured I’d work up to it eventually, but until then I’d just enjoy being around them.
I was starting to get braver and I reached out to scoop up one of the kittens. I wasn’t even sure which one I’d grabbed, the shy one, or the outgoing one. Providing she didn’t freak out, I was going to give her a snuggle and tuck her back into her cage so I could take someone else out.
To my surprise, she didn’t protest being held at all. Instead, she leaned into me, purring up a storm. After a few minutes, she climbed onto my shoulder. I thought she wanted to get down, but instead, she just laid down (or tried too, she really isn’t little enough to nap on shoulders anymore).
I think I knew the second I picked her up. As much as we loved Mr. Muggles, he was a very difficult cat. He was affectionate, but only on his terms and quite frankly if he’d ever been in a shelter I don’t think he would have gotten adopted. He had too many behavioral issues. We had to be so careful when people came over, we never knew when he was going to lash out.
It was immediately evident that this kitten was the polar opposite of Mr. Muggles. She just wanted to purr and be held. She curled up in the crook of my arm and melted my heart. When I finally put her down, she came over to my chair and stared up at me, waiting until I picked her back up so she could snuggle some more.
I think it was obvious to everyone that I’d found my kitty. I wish I could have taken her sister too, but it was evident that they weren’t particularly bonded so I didn’t have to feel too guilty.
We picked her up the next day and brought her home. I’d planned on keeping her in my bedroom for a few days while she got used to things, but by the second day it was clear she was fine and we let her out to roam. She follows me around the house all day and she loves to be scooped up and snuggled. I’m loving every second.
The whole experience has been so healing. I don’t know how I survived being without a cat as long as I did. I had no idea just how important being a cat owner had become to my mental health. (That will be a future blog entry, I’m sure.)
I’m still a nervous wreck, despite not being a first-time kitty mama. I’ve spent a lot of time on Google (Is she peeing enough? How much should I be feeding her?) and worrying about squishing her (she weighs seven pounds, less than half what Mr. Muggles did).
I have a kitty again. And she’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. It’s been exactly a week since I met her and I’m already having trouble remembering what it was like without her.
Meet Nutmeg. If you follow me on social media, you’ve already seen her and know just how besotted I am, but this is her official blog debut. Expect to see much more of her in the future.
If you came here looking for answers, you’re probably going to be disappointed. I’m not sure there are any answers. Depression is a terrible creature. It rears it’s head at the most random moments, leaving you with a terrible feeling of inertia that’s almost impossible to explain, even for a writer.
I guess it all depends on how depressed you are. Is it depression with a little d or Depression with a capital D? If it’s the latter, reading a blog entry or trying to psych yourself up probably won’t do anything. Then there’s situation depression vs chemical depression. Each requires different approaches, many requiring professional help. (Seriously, don’t suffer alone. Get help. There are so many places that can help you. No one should have to go through depression alone.)
Today I wanted to write. I really did. I’ve been busy with stuff related to a family wedding (congrats Cal and Amberlyn!) but now that it’s over with I finally have the time and brainpower to write.
But I couldn’t. It really is the weirdest thing. I know what I want to do, I know what I want to write, but somehow I just can’t make myself pick up my laptop. It’s right there but my body doesn’t listen to my brain and I just CAN’T.
Today I didn’t write. Sometimes it’s better to recognize the feelings and give yourself permission to just take care of yourself. I went on Twitter. I talked to my mom. I identified today’s depression as situational (I miss having a cat) and took a step to change that situation (I put in an application for adoption at a shelter. Don’t tell my dad!).
I even did something writing related. I picked out a notebook to make a ‘story bible’ of sorts in. I looked at articles I’d saved on Pinterest and made a list of things I want to include. I made a list of characters that need profiles or short bios (Dang this book has a lot of characters).
After all that, I felt a little better. I decided to write the blog entry I’d jotted down an idea for earlier. I’m ignoring my perfectionist side and posting this without a fancy graphic or making sure I share with every social media page I have. I’m just putting the words out there and maybe I’ll come back later and do the rest.
I don’t know how to write when you’re depressed. I don’t know how to write when you aren’t. All I know is what I do and whether or not it worked for me on any given day.
Do you suffer from depression? Or any mental illness really? How does it impact your writing life? Is there anything that helps you when you’re having a bad day? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(Disclaimer: If none of this makes sense, I blame the cold medication.)
I went out and peopled and came home sick. (see? People are bad.) Not very sick, but sick enough. Sick enough to be exhausted and miserable but not sick enough to get sympathy. Just a general bleh. It’s been a week now and it still hasn’t gone away.
I haven’t felt up to writing, so I’m probably not going to make my 10k Camp Nanowrimo goal. I’m okay with that. I’ve mentally written a few scenes and at least know how my story is going to end.
Just to add insult to injury, I have an eye infection. I caught it early so hopefully it will be gone by Saturday, when I have a family wedding to attend. And for fun I forgot to take my pills yesterday so I spent a long morning anxious and twitchy, waiting for the withdrawals to go away.
I really hate weddings. I love my nephew, but I hate weddings. All the details have kept things busy this summer and I’m looking forward to it being over. I’m super anxious that I’m not going to feel better. Or that I’ll have a red swollen bump on my eye that will get immortalized in family photos.
I’m fairly certain I’m not making a lot of sense right now. This is why I haven’t been writing. Or blogging. I keep thinking of stuff I need to do, but then it either floats out of my head or I’m too tired to do it.
I do have writing plans. I want to finish my prequel of course, but I’ve also realized I need to do some backwards plotting. I need to re-read my novel and fill out a notebook with character details, events in order, ect.
But my brain is shot and I’m feeling very sorry for myself right now. So instead of doing that, or preparing for the trip this weekend, I’m going to read fanfiction and/or binge watch Psych.
Oh! Wait, one cool thing did happen. I reached 500 Twitter followers! *throws confetti* I have no idea how that happened. Wasn’t it just yesterday I got to 100? I love that there are that many people in the world interested in my rambles and talking with me about writing. So a very special thank you to each and every one of my followers. May that many people someday read this blog.
Actually, it was a fledgling. Big enough to get kicked out of the nest but still can’t quite fly. It’s mostly a lot of flapping and hopping.
We have an old cast iron tub on our porch that we put plants in. It has a wooden pallet cut to fit inside so the plants are raised about six inches off the ground. One of the plants is a small catnip I got to plant when we finally bury Mr. Muggles ashes. It keeps getting knocked over by wind and rain.
And boy have we had a lot of rain. This morning we had another rainstorm, the kind that pounds on the windows and makes it near impossible to hear anything else. Then it stopped as suddenly as it started and the sun came out.
I stepped out onto the porch to right the catnip pot. I heard splashing coming from under the plants. I thought maybe there was a frog or something inside so I peered between the leaves.
It wasn’t a frog. It was a very scared, very stuck, baby robin. I moved two of the plants to get a better look. There was about 3 inches or so of water in the bottom (the drain had gotten clogged during the storm) and this little guy was flapping and hopping as hard as he could.
He couldn’t gain purchase on the smooth sides of the tub. I was a little afraid he might scratch me, but I couldn’t leave him there so I reached inside and closed his little body in my hand.
I lifted him out and he immediately stopped struggling. I looked him over a bit to make sure he hadn’t gotten hurt while he was flailing about. He appeared fine so I set him down on the porch.
The poor little guy curled up on himself and stood still, except for the shivering. He made no effort to move, even let me stroke his little head without budging.
I saw the shadow of a few adult robins flying around so I went inside to see if his parents were going to come around. But right before that, I took a couple pictures of him. (I named him Tom)
After a little while, one of his parents came by and fed him a worm. Then another. And then another. He moved around a little and stopped shivering. Then he pooped, so clearly his digestive system was working properly.
As time passed, his feathers dried out and he appeared to fall asleep. His parents kept returning with food and he continued defecating all over our porch.
It’s been a couple hours and the last time I looked outside he’d finally moved. He was standing at the edge of the porch, next to the wisteria, likely working up the strength and courage to hop onto the vine and make his way in the world.