Head Balloons!

I finally got myself an appointment with a headshrinker next week and I’m trying to nail down exactly how to tell him how nuts I am.

“Hi, I’m Eda. I wrote a manuscript during my postpartum depression and I’d like to read you an excerpt that sums things up pretty nicely.”

I can’t breathe. I can’t think. There’s a hole in the world where my chest used to be and what crawls out of it is every twisted ugly fear and insecurity, every shame, every disappointment. My head balloons outward, each string of thought separates like rocket ships splitting as they leave the atmosphere. How do I explain the complexity of my entire being cracking, of feeling each break, hearing each pop, watching in slow motion as every fragment of my soul drifts apart and not having the strength or even the will to pull it back together again? He couldn’t possibly understand. He doesn’t feel it the same way I do. He’ll never know what it is to have the soft fuzzy fabric of security ripped apart, leaving him stranded and alone, never knowing if he’d ever be whole again.

So… do you prescribe medication yourself or…

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I feel like… maybe stock photography isn’t really that enlightened about mental health issues because… I mean, this photo. I searched “crazy” not “adorkable.”   Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

 

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How Those Parts Started Peeling Off

I’ve been watching/reading/listening to some inspiring stuff lately. It’s pretty much all I’ve been able to do with my new work schedule and baby girl’s penchant for chaos. But I’d really rather be writing my own stuff. I want to be sending my thoughts out into the universe to see if anything sticks to the debris floating around out there long enough for anyone to notice.

Meanwhile, I’ve got Beyonce, Brené Brown, and Hannah Gadsby all echoing in my head,  telling me I’ve got to be my authentic self if I want to put something real into the world.

Then I finally finish reading that thing I wrote right after my daughter was born. 53,000 words of mostly true postpartum insanity that basically ends with me sliding on my sun glasses and almost running my husband over in my driveway. And guess what.

That might be it. That might be my big authentic story.

I’m still in hardcore editing mode and all the stuff that comes with self-publishing a book doesn’t seem doable in less than bite-sized chunks over the next couple of weeks and/or months. But I feel like I need to release just a little bit of that tension out into the world.

So here it is, Chapter 1 of Fully Functioning Fangirl: a postpartum decent into absurdity

Superwoman with Needles in Her Pores

That little dance you do with a stranger when you both attempt to pass through the same space at the same time? My husband does that. Constantly. Inadvertently, though, so I can’t even yell at him. Every annoying thing he does is inadvertent. Doesn’t make it any less infuriating.

This morning, he has managed to subconsciously anticipate my every move and finds a way to stand exactly where I need to be exactly when I need to be there. I wish he was the kind of mathematical genius who could apply this talent in other areas, but he’s not. He’s just an oblivious dude who’s always in the way. He gets it from his dad. That man stands in doorways and plants himself in the middle of small spaces. Again, he doesn’t do it on purpose; he just has a sixth sense for maximum spatial disruption and minimal awareness.

When it happens for the sixth time, I’m holding a full bowl of water for the cat which, because that little bastard’s hovering around my feet trying to trip me again, he gets to enjoy externally. His hiss begets a “What the hell?” from my husband which prompts a squeal from the baby he’s holding which is what makes his getting in the way extra annoying. If it wasn’t for her, I think, maybe I could just push him out of the way.

And I want to. I want to push him. I want to grab him and shake him and scream in his face, “I’m so sick of this! I’m so sick of you! None of this is what I thought it would be!” That flash of anger, the sudden flush followed immediately by a thorough loss of energy, that’s my world right now. Nothing makes sense, nothing seems real, and nothing feels good anymore.

Now my socks are wet, as are his pajama pants, as is the top half of the cat.

“Jesus Christ, dude!,” I actually say out loud. “Why are you even here? There is no reason for you to be hovering over the cat food with the baby. Can you just get out of the way for once?”

“I was just walking her for you so she wouldn’t cry,” he snaps back but he’s been on his phone the whole time. His “helping” me with breakfast time means wandering around holding the baby and checking sports scores on his phone while I do all the actual work of making breakfast and loading the dishwasher and feeding the cat.

“The baby is asleep. Put her down in the bassinet and do something useful.” I mutter.

This is what mornings have become. Before the baby was born, we had a routine. Everyone had a job. Things got done. That was what, a few weeks ago? And since then, everything has fallen completely apart. Now it’s just chaos. And by “it”, I mean me. My brain, my emotions, my reactions to everyday events are all freaking chaos. I shouldn’t be this angry. Things have never been perfect with my husband but it’s never made me feel like this, like I want to throw things at his stupid head every time he speaks or acts or breathes in my direction.

“I was trying to help,” he grumbles but he does what I ask. The baby is asleep in the bassinet, the toddler is sitting quietly playing and I’m melting into the floor like a plastic toy egg set on fire, just bubbling and steaming and reeking toxic fumes into an otherwise sterile environment.

“I’m going to shower,” he says without even noticing. He doesn’t want to see it because if he did, he might have to do something about it. And he doesn’t know what to do.

The toaster dings and that sets my toddler off. “Mom, that my waffle? That my waffle, Mom? Mommy, me want my waffle.”

“Yes, baby boy. Hold on a minute!” It would have been nice if my husband had helped clean up the water, or the cat, or stayed in the kitchen for two minutes so he could get the waffle to the whining child, but of course he didn’t. Of course, he left everything to me.

It’s the lack of sleep, I keep reminding myself. It happened with my son when he was a newborn too. Sleep is the glue that holds sanity together and without any of the sticky stuff, all my parts are peeling off.

I need to eat. I haven’t eaten. Why do I keep forgetting to do that?

I take the kid’s waffle out and throw a whole English muffin in. It probably won’t cook in the middle and I’ll probably eat it anyway, along with any leftover waffle my son doesn’t eat. When he first started eating solid foods, whatever leftovers of his didn’t end up on the floor ended up in my face. There never seemed to be enough time to feed myself in those days.

But that’s another of the million things I said I’d do differently this time around, along with an epidural during delivery and pumping milk as soon as possible.

Pumped milk meant independence. If there was baby sustenance readily available without my presence, I’d always have an escape route as long as I could get some other adult to come to my house for a couple of hours. I’d settle for the mailman some days, I swear. Just drag his skinny ass and safari hat into my house, hand him a bottle and a box of LEGOs and finish his route for him so I could take a break.

Today’s going to be one of those days, I can tell. The mailman better cross his fingers that he shows up while I’m in the bathroom or elbow deep in baby poop or he’s going to find himself on the wrong side of a kidnapping.

I’m so irritable, I think as I yank open the toaster oven, I can feel it prickling my skin, the anger forcing its way out like needles through my pores. If I had a moment to sit down and suss it out, maybe I could figure out its root, but the baby’s crying again because she’s cluster feeding and no amount of milk is enough. The waffles are too hot and my son is having a stomp and scream fit. And the cat is crying because apparently, he wanted to drink his water, not shower in it.

“Mommy, foo my waffles!” the boy cries as I plop down on the loveseat with the baby. My nursing pillow is missing again and between the crying and the tantrum, I don’t have the patience to look for it. I hike up a knee, prop that little bundle up on an elbow and pop a boob out of my V-neck. One problem, at least, has been solved. As always, on to the next. In the amount of time it takes for me to get my son to stop crying and bring the damn plate of waffles over to me, it’s already cooled, but I blow on it anyway.

*ffffooooo* “There you go, bud. Now you can eat them.” It’s good enough. For him. For her. For everyone else who doesn’t seem to be complaining. But not, so my gut keeps telling me, for me.

 

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Stock photo image searches of “sad woman” result mostly in beautiful women posing in the rain. Search for “peeling” and you FIND some stuff.

I Write for Fun So… Let’s Have Fun

I am STRUGGLING to finish the WIP I started for NaNoWriM0 2017 and I’m for real getting close to scrapping it altogether. I just don’t care. I don’t care what happens to this character and my mind is on this other story I’ve been itching to write.

But I have that, “If I start something new before finishing this one then I’ll never finish this one and whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.”

So I had a good chat with myself. Self, I said, who cares? And my self said, “Not me.” And I said, then stop stressing out about this story that no one cares about and write something that makes you want to write.

And my self said, “Yeah. Ok. That sounds good.”

Judy Deserves a Better Shelf

I spent some time today watching TV instead of filling my day with chores that never end and projects that no one cares about but me and got a fun-filled lesson on character development from one of my favorite shows, The Magicians (on syfy):

 

Image result for the magicians the side effectWhen you file people away as sidekicks you don’t realize their importance to the story, and this story belongs to a lot more people than you think. Where to shelve a book, it’s not a little thing. You’re telling the world what to value. Who to value. You get our responsibility here?

Penny

Awwwww shit, that’s how I solve the problem in one of my new WIPs of having the best friend/side kick dilemma. I have a perfectly good character that listens and gives great advice, and then disappears into the woodwork only to pop out again when the main character needs her? No. No, I will not Judy Greer this character.

And by the way, Judy Greer deserves better.

 

Image result for judy greer book

 

(Oh my God, she wrote a book about it! Go Judy! You go!)

I need to value my side character like casting directors need to value Judy. I need to shelve that book somewhere important.

Thanks Penny! Way to embrace your character arc and grow as a person!

I Never Dream of Flying

Do only the briefest of moments pass between the end of one NaNo and the prep for the next or did I really spend that entire time binging Agents of Shield and reading books I hated and ultimately gave up on?

I’m already getting emails from the good people at NaNoWriMo asking me to announce my novel and here I am all, what day is it again?

I do have an idea, though! Based on a dream I had and a reality I see a lot of my students living, it’s a YA adventure about the appearance of perfection. Sounds derivative, yes. Might be. Don’t know yet because my “prep” is usually like, “remember that dream I had one time about that girl and it felt like I had to lie to everyone all the time or clowns would eat me? What would that story look like? Who’s that girl? What’s the real life equivalent of feeling like clowns would eat me at any moment?”

It’s a strategy that’s worked for me in the past:

“Remember that dream I had where I was sitting on a bench with Daniel Grayson from Revenge and we had these two kids we needed to figure out how to take care of but they definitely weren’t like OUR kids and some really bad shit was happening like fires and destruction and apocalypses and whatnot?”

homecomingThe Homecoming Effect

What starts as a meaningless fling between Bunny, an emotionally-conflicted older woman who just left her battle-scarred husband and Daniel, a hopelessly infatuated younger man recently graduated from college, is curtailed by a series of explosions that destroys schools and hospitals sending the couple 200 miles from home with three children in tow. When the found family seeks safety in a strict religious community, they are forced to concoct a web of lies to appear legitimate and avoid being exiled, or worse. Can they maintain their ruse to avoid suspicion and keep their family together or will the secrets they keep from each other drive them apart? And how much of the trauma they discovered her husband and his father shared upon returning from war was ultimately responsible for the tragic events that lead to their new lives?

Ultimately, though, I imagined Daniel Grayson as the young Daniel and Derek Hale as the older Daniel and… it was a fun book to write.

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Now we’ve got the Noah Centineos and Cole Sprouses of the world to imagine playing our characters. Not the same, or maybe I’m just old and stuck in my ways, but it helps to imagine an adorable smile shining down on your characters as motivation to keep writing.

Image result for cole sprouse

Point being, it’s a strategy and it works for me and I might change my mind six times before I get there but at least I’ve got a starting point, right?

Tracy Says Slow Down

Between finishing Camp NaNoWriMo and realizing that Wynonna Earp season 3 started a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t been writing much. Also, those children. Those children take ALL my time. And work, I guess. Not sleeping, so much. I don’t do much of that.

But I had an idea for a something new–which always happens before I actually finish most of the old–and since the process of writing is a lot more fun than the process of editing or self-publishing, I think I’d rather dive into that than finish anything else.

There was a guest post on Chuck Wendig’s blog recently about the thrill of a new idea and slowing down when you have no deadline. It’s good advice from someone who wrote/designed “Iron Edda” which, honestly I have no interest in other than it sounding like the me I imagine myself to be every time I do three push-ups. But it’s a good reminder to the self-published and the hobby novelist that if this writing thing is for myself then I should just do what works for me and to hell with all expectation.

So I’ll just let those other projects simmer, especially the two super personal ones I’ve written in the last year. Let’s start something new for funsies and see where it goes.

Image result for mow the lawn meme

A long time ago, in a suburb far far away…

Now… time to research some weird shit like… who invented mowing lawns and why?

Have Fun or Go Home

IS IT CHEATING if you change your goal to meet the reality of your circumstances?

I ask because I’m not sure. But neither am I sure that I care.

As I say to my students when they get a little too intense about a friendly game of dodge ball:

What happens if you win? Nothing. What happens if you lose? Nothing. There are no stakes other than your own enjoyment so ENJOY IT and don’t worry so much about the outcome.

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I changed my CampNano word count goal to 20,000 because I think that’s doable, if still difficult for me to accomplish right now. Still, I think I’ll get more out of this experience if I can at least get close to my goal than if I fail miserably.

The real goal is to keep writing. Feeling good about what I can accomplish is key.

Get Back in the Closet, Unicorn

Geez Louise, Eda, why is your word count stuck at 23 today?!

Well, internet, given that “free time” is a precious commodity in my life and I’ve just wasted half of it restarting my damn computer, I’ve opted to go clean out my closet instead.

My computer doesn’t want me to write today. It’s not procrastination.

It’s not.

Image result for technical difficulties meme

This is what I’ve written today:

I’ve got nothing doing. I had had a nice little fantasy about a Mexican actor I’ve had a crush on since film school.

Go go Na-noooooo!

“OK, SO LIKE… WHATEVER”

CampNaNo word count = 24,930 out of a goal of 25,000

I’d like to take a moment to thank… myself for setting a reasonable goal. I’ve got about a third of a strong story that definitely wants to become my next book. I can feel it struggling to get out of my brain and out into the world for others to judge and criticize.

Little book-to-be, I hope I can give you the time and attention you need to become fully realized. But if it doesn’t happen in the next two months, rest assured that there is another CampNaNo in July and I’d be happy to work with you again then.

Until then, let’s crank out 70 words of angsty teen dialogue and call it a month.

Love, Eda

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Get Back to It or Buy That TP Holder

You know when you have a pretty clear couple of hours that you had intended to spend writing but then…

I’m hungry.

I should just check Twitter first.

This email has been sitting in my inbox for a month. Now seems like a good time to read it.

You know, I really haven’t checked out the new offerings on edX lately.

Maybe if I just start a new photobook on Shutterfly, I’ll be able to finish it later.

I really need to find a matching toothbrush holder for my bathroom.

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Not sure what’s happening here but it captures my feelings of frustration with myself as well as my love of cozy-necked sweaters.

I wrote two actual sentences in the last 45 minutes.