Overwhelmed

I am taking a minute to breathe. I felt my anxiety creeping up and I had to take a moment to squeeze it back down. It is kind of like those yogurt tubes my kids eat. If there is too much pressure the whole thing comes out of the top instead of just what you can handle.

It’s Monday again. School is back in session so that means I am up before the sun laying out clothes and packing lunches. In an hour I will awaken my two sleeping angels, who will then stumble around like zombies until that final dash to the car.

I have fed the cats, given the kitten his antibiotic and eye drops, as well as clean the litter boxes. (The kitten, Max, is a stray we took in. He has eye problems that have caused him to lose one eye and he will probably lose the other as well.)

My son has dress up week. Today is wacky Monday. He can wear odd clothes, put his shirt on backwards and wear mix matched socks. (I am glad this one falls on Monday.) Later in the week he has to dress like he is from the 1940’s. So I have to figure out how to dress him up like my grandfather.

(I remember my grandfather in plain white t-shirts and work pants. Somehow, I don’t think that is what the school is going for. My papaw wore suits or overalls. I don’t think either of those would go over well with my son.)

He also has his first fund raiser this week. I am broke until Friday but for some reason these people always seem to end fund raisers on Thursdays. It will be a week of begging my co-workers to support the school. Unfortunately, most of them are broke until Friday as well.

My daughter is in her first year of middle school. There are three posts worth of problems and drama to go along with that. I spend two hours every afternoon in school lines to pick up the kids. I’ve started taking my novel with me so I can write edit notes while I wait.

My dinning room table is covered with bits of novel, mail, my daughter’s drawings, pieces of newspaper, school work, and forms to fill out and/or sign. It can be a bit much. Faced with it this morning, I felt like hyperventilating. I need to clear it off, not just put a random box in the middle so the cats will quit knocking papers to the floor. (It works. They sit in the box and leave the rest alone.)

But for right now I am just going to take a deep breath and just breathe for a minute before jumping back in.

 

 

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A word about depression

I woke up this morning from nightmares. As I lay there watching the shadows cast by the labyrinth-handsfan and what little light shone under the door, I came to a revelation. I have been depressed.

I have anxiety depression. I know this. It is a fact of life. I take a little blue pill every morning after breakfast to help with it. Yet I still fall into that quagmire of dingy gray without realizing it. The world loses color, I sleep too much, and everyday activities take a herculean amount of effort.

Looking back I can kind of notice where the slide began this time. The multiple days of rain haven’t help matters either. Neither has sinus trouble and a sick child.

The ascent out of my gray world began yesterday when I sat on the porch for an hour and read the newspaper. (You would think that reading tales of drug dealers and politicians would make me more depressed.) That one hour out of the house and in the sunshine did something.

I am sure it had something to do with vitamin levels and such. But I prefer to think that a bit of that sunlight managed to trickle down to me where I was trapped and wrapped in gray bindings. That while I slept last night I was able to use that trickle of sunlight as a rope to climb up.

I am not completely out of the hole yet but I can see top. And from where I am in my climb I can look back on that dingy gray world and say: Oh. I was depressed. 

 

Bad neighbors, a rant

Sunday morning dawned wearing a foggy cloak and with air thick enough you could drink it.  The temperature outside was pleasant enough that the humidity wasn’t choking. I greeted the day with a smile.

It took two hours for that smile to be wiped from my face.  I have a neighbor; a bony thin, shaved head, scarecrow of a man who owns a pelt gun and likes to shoot doves.  Now, I am mourning_dove_sim_2well aware that mourning doves are considered game birds.  I understand people hunt them to eat.  I don’t have much of a problem with that. (Especially with the way grocery prices have risen.)

However, I live in a subdivision inside city limits. The elderly woman directly across the street, has a bird feeder in her front yard and I some times toss out old bread for whatever wants it.  There are many birds in my neighborhood and almost just as many cats.  The two seem to mostly coexist except for the occasional blue jay corpse I find half eaten on my door step.  (The blue jays delight in stealing cat food off the porch. So this may be a case of it’s in my bowl, I’m going to eat it.)

I looked up from my computer and out the window Sunday morning. I was not happy to see my scarecrow of a neighbor walking down the street, swing his pelt gun around like a color guard from a bad marching band.  In fact I saw red.  I don’t like people shooting any type of gun in near my home, but especially if they don’t respect the weapon.  And yes, a pelt gun is a weapon. It can kill, as Mr. Dove-killer proved.

I watched from my window as he looked to the power lines searching for prey.  Finally sighting a target, he shot at a dove two houses down. It took him at least four tries to kill the poor thing. (I know he hit it a couple of times before he killed it because I saw feathers fly.)

Mourning doves mate for life.  Life for them, in the wild, can be up to 10 years but they mdovem1have a high mortality rate. Often chicks don’t make it through their first year but they are not endangered or anything.

I would like to say that I stepped out of the house and confronted the man.  This isn’t the first time I’ve wanted to.  But calmer heads than mine have cautioned me otherwise, because if he can kill a bird what is to stop him from killing a cat?  So instead I seethed from inside the house and sat down to write about it.

I should also say that I have other reasons to dislike this neighbor and those reasons may also be fueling the anger I feel.

Him and his family have a black mongrel on a chain in their front yard.  My mom has sneaked over to their house to untangle the animal from its chain and to give it water in the Summer.  Its a sweet dog but not cared for.  I like animals. I don’t like people who neglect them.

There is a low speed limit in residential areas for a reason. Children play up and down my street.  My children play in our drive way. These neighbors however, like to squeal tires and burn out of their drive way getting up to 50 mph.

At 2am, 3am, 4am, ect. I am often woken up by revving motors.  There are always three to four cars in their driveway.  I used to like to sit on my front porch steps and star gaze. I can’t do that any more because of the spot light in the yard across the street.  My dad was a mechanic. I understand about late nights trying to get a car fixed…but every night?

Right now my hope is that they will move.  I think they are renting the house rather than have bought it.  If they actually own the  home and are planning on staying for boilinggood…*sigh* I pot can only boil so long before it over flows.

 

 

Foggy

o'connorSitting down at my computer to write a blog post is an interesting thing.  Most of the time I don’t know what I am going to write until I start.  Sometimes there is a phrase or a general idea that gets me started.  Sometimes I just sit down and write.

I am moving slow this morning. It is foggy and misting rain on this cool St. Patrick’s Day.  Good Irish weather I suppose.  I thought about doing an Irish post. I have Irish blood, not just today but everyday. HappyStPatricksDay

Some of my ancestors were Irish. They came from Ireland to America after a brief stop in Australia.  I have always wondered if that lay over was willing or not.  Did they set out on a ship looking for smoother seas and greener hills?  Or did they get shipped out for not paying taxes?  Either is a likely option.  There is a story there, if only I had the resources and the talents to excavate it.

irish fogMy thoughts are as scattered as the water droplets hanging in the air today.  Not condensed enough for actual rain, just thick and damp.  I am on my second cup of tea too.  It’s just not kick starting my synapses.

I found an old book on sailing ships I forgot I had. I think I am going to go flip through it for awhile and day dream about what it must have been like to cross miles and miles of open ocean, traveling to a place you’ve never been but hoping for a good new start.  irish-blessing-with-text-larger

A New Year Confession

confessionalI have a confession to make.  I didn’t write very much in December.  In fact, I had a great internal battle about whether I should give it up entirely.

Anyone who is a writer knows, you can’t just stop writing.  It is something that comes out if you want it to or not. (And more likely when plathyou don’t want it to, rather than when you do.)   I pondered for a while but I didn’t talk about it.  First, I was afraid my friend would think that I was looking for sympathy or pats on the head.  Second, I was afraid my friends might deliver swift hard smacks to the back of my head.  (Or even scarier, what if they agreed that I should give up my silly writing dreams?)

Eventually, the simple fact that I was afraid I would be told to give it up, finally sifted through my self doubt to make me realize I didn’t want to.  Because if I did, wouldn’t I be feeling relief rather than dread?

anime_dragon_1024x768-634320I am still wrestling with that dragon of self doubt. It keeps asking me questions that I don’t have the answers to.  Am I good enough? Does anyone want to even read what I write?  Why would someone chose one of my stories over all the many others out there?  What if I finally get my stuff where people can see it and they scoff and toss it aside before giving it a chance; because I over looked something simple, like a spelling or grammar error?   (That last one really scares me. I have friends that do that so I know it isn’t just paranoia.)

Writing is a very solitary thing.  You spend a lot of time in your own head.  This means you face the good and bad about yourself all the time.  You struggle with it.  When you can, you pen it down on a page. (Pun intended.)

I am not writing this to seek sympathy.  I am writing to…well, write it out.  Things look o'connormuch clearer on a page than they do all jumbled up in your head.  I am not giving up even though I still feel a bit downhearted at the moment.  I am told that many writers go through the “Am I good enough?” struggle.  Big names with many book contracts under their belts still doubt themselves sometimes.  It’s a hazard of the occupation.

The important thing, the thing I have to remind myself, is to just keep putting one word in front of another.  If I can do that then I’m bound to get somewhere eventually.dream time

 

Starving on a plate too full

cat-peeking-out-from-under-beddingI didn’t post on Monday.  I meant to.  I even had the whole thing written out on paper.  I just never got the chance to transfer it from the paper to my computer.  I could come up with a dozen excuse as to why not, but to be honest I chose sleep over writing.  Sometimes that happens.  (It has to or at some point you become a danger to yourself and others.)

Working third shift, as a single parent, with two elementary school aged children, and trying to give a writing career a go is hard.  Doing all of that with two sick elementary school aged children, plus fighting off a cold/allergies-of-doom is nigh impossible.  Thank God for my mom or I don’t think I would have survived this past week.

Also with the threat of NaNoWriMo on the horizon, I have been striving to reorganize a few things.  If I am having trouble just getting through the day with all of my obligations now, then writing a 50,000 word book in 30 days will not happen. (And giving up NaNo is not an option.  As crazy as it sounds, it’s something I really look forward to.  I can write a book, just for me, and it doesn’t have to be good.  Think of it as the literary equivalent of screaming into a pillow.)

I’ve needed to take a look at my plate and push a few things around for awhile now but I im-najera-froissartam one of those people that say “no, I can do it” even when it is obvious that I am trying to fight an fully armored charging army, by myself with a toothpick.  (My friends have called me on this many many times.) I think it is a family trait.  My brother and my parents do the same thing.

I was on a friend’s street team.  (Which is a group of people that work together to help an author promote their books.)  I still respect her.  I still greatly enjoy her books and will throw it a plug here or there when I can, but it isn’t something I can really focus on at the moment.  Not with everything else.  I suffer guilt for giving it up, but at the same time I know it was the right thing to do. (And fortunately she is one of those gracious people that understands.)

Also with cold and flu season starting up, work has gotten a lot more hectic.  Saturday, tissuesjudging from the people at our pharmacy at 2am, you would have thought the ER had a two for one special going on.

I probably will still have to do some more shifting of all my obligations, but right now the portions on my plate look a lot better than they did.  During November, if blog post dwindle back to twice a month, don’t worry it is only temporary.  My Monday schedule of posting will remain the same, it just may not be every week.

“Our Heart’s there to conquer the world, but we’re only human beings.” -Aaron Rudolph Flinchum

21 days until November

0autumn_wallpapers_EA54095We only have 21 days until November.  For some this means Holidays and Christmas shopping.  For others it signals the beginning of a massive creative endeavor, National Novel Writing Month.

Every year thousands of people attempt to write 50,000 words in just 30 days during one of the busiest months of the year.  If you have never attempted NaNoWriMo, I highly nanoencourage it.  It is a lot of fun, which is the whole reason I do it. For fun.  Not to produce a critically acclaimed book that will win hundreds of awards.

There are writers out there who frown and boo National Novel Writing Month simply because when novices take up a pen and produce a large quantity of words, they often think it is the most wonderful thing ever written and must be shared with the world.   50,000 words in 30 days is quite the necronomiconaccomplishment.  It should be celebrated.  But no one really wants to see your baby covered in the after birth…and honestly there are some books written during NaNo that should never be allowed out in the daylight.  (I have written a couple of those myself.  In fact often my NaNo ideas are completely silly things that I wouldn’t normally attempt.)

So while I greatly encourage all to come NaNo with me during the month of November, I ask that you let the word count high settle during December and then re-read what you have written before sharing it with the world.  Sometimes NaNoWriMo produces gems that are usable sometimes it doesn’t.  But always remember that first drafts are diamonddiamonds in the rough.  They need to be cleaned, cut, and polished before they truly can shine.  And for the love of ink slingers everywhere, please please let someone else read your book before sharing it with the rest of the world.  It will save you and the world a lot of heart ache. Trust me on this one.  (As mildly dyslexic and a natural bad speller I am speaking from experience.)   I will probably be posting more on the Pros and Cons of NaNoWriMo as the month passes.  Though if anyone wants to register early (its free btw) don’t forget to add me as a writing buddy.  I am thecoffeefox.coffeefox