Spoons in service of Hillary Clinton

Hello, readers!

I made a reference to “spoon theory” in my last post- because I myself, while I don’t look sick, often am tired and lethargic and unable to do a lot once I’m home from my full-time job. Lucky for me, my full-time job ended! Today was my last day. From now on, it’s just a few hours a week here and there. I’m mostly on “vacation”!

I put “vacation” in quotes because I’ll be visiting my husband for several months in Ohio, and I’ve decided to marshal my energy once again for something important. I did consider spending a lot of time writing, but this seems far more urgent. No, Ohio is a battleground state for US Presidential Election votes, and I am going to volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign to make sure she has as good a shot as possible at winning Ohio. I can’t vote for her- I’m Canadian- but I will help her campaign. I can’t afford a lot of money so I’m going to volunteer.

I realize this will make me very uncomfortable- they have things for volunteers to do like knocking on doors and phoning people, stuff that makes an introvert like me very nervous- but I’m willing to step outside my comfort zone to do this. Never in my life have I been more afraid of someone getting elected to high political office than I am now of Donald Trump’s candidacy for US President.

I hope if you are in the United States, or an American living abroad, that you will do what you can to make sure Donald Trump is never elected.

One more week of counting spoons

My full-time hours at my paying job cease at the end of next week! I’m very pleased- in October and afterward I will be working part time for my current boss, remotely on an as-needed basis. This comes as a welcome relief. I’m lucky enough that I am being supported by my husband at the moment, and my income can be optional.

I’m planning a long vacation in Ohio, which is where my husband works. Now, Ohio is not really a locale which springs to mind as a vacation destination. For me, the ability to spend most nights with my husband make going there worthwhile.

If you are familiar with “spoon theory”, you’ll know that not everyone has the same amount of energy or other physical resources to get things accomplished. In my case, I’m bipolar, so I find it hard to marshal a lot of energy at least half of the time- like a lot of bipolar women, I am frequently depressed, though I’m happy to say that in the past year or so the depression has been fairly mild. This past week I’ve been exhausted most nights and finding it hard to wake up, and hard to get anything substantial done after dinner. When I have a good day where I have a lot of energy, I try to use it to get the things done that I meant to do earlier, when I had less energy.

The thing that makes me look forward to this vacation is not laziness, or a lack of interest in my current job, which I love- no, it’s having more free time and the freedom to work when I feel like it (or, when I have more energy), and the freedom to nap when I don’t (or, when I have less energy). I don’t really think of myself as disabled, because my illness is managed fairly well, but finding energy is something I struggle with most of the time. Not when I’m hypomanic, of course, but that state of being comes with its own challenges.

When it comes to writing, I haven’t done very much at all this year, and it’s mostly because I’ve been waiting for a solid chunk of uninterrupted time when I also have energy, and nothing else pressing to do. I suspect I will become more productive so long as I’m able to keep a firm cap on the number of hours worked at my job per week. I’ve been indulging myself in John Scalzi, Neal Stephenson, Gail Carriger and Stephen King novels here and there, because reading takes far less effort than writing. I’ve also been rereading old works of mine, and thinking: (1) wow, there are still errors that need fixing, and (2) I wonder what would happen if I added in this character’s back story, or changed this other plot element?

So I’m not even finished revising those works. This includes my already revised novel Perigee as well as my novel-in-progress, Anagama. I realize I do need editorial input if I’m going to take my work out of free self-publication and into the realm of paid work, but first things first. I want to spend a bit more time with my novels (and also write a draft of Infinity) before I start looking for an agent that can help me find a good editor.

I have one more week of counting “spoons”, and then as far as I’m concerned, I’m on vacation! I can’t wait.

My 9/11 story

I thought long and hard about whether to share this story, which I have kept to myself for fifteen years, but I figure it can’t do any harm.  This story has been with me since before I started having problems with delusional thinking, and it has never changed in my mind- so I really think it is true. It may not be, though, which is the frustrating caveat I have to make for all my memories. Take it as you find it.

In September of 2001, I was gearing up to leave my abusive first husband, who lived in Auburn, Alabama. I was packing things (my now ex husband was travelling overseas, and I planned to be gone when he got back) on the evening of September 10. I answered the ringing phone.

There was a person on the other end asking for a travel agent. I hung up the phone.

The phone rang again. Same person asking for a travel agent. He was very irate and told me there was no chance he had gotten the phone number wrong.

One thing about me: when I lose my temper, I don’t usually yell or scream. I use my Sarcastic Voice. It is a very sweet, gentle voice in which I am capable of saying the nastiest things.

Out came my Sarcastic Voice. I pretended to transfer the call to a travel agent. He told he he was very unimpressed with our service and wanted to know when his flight left the next morning. I pretended to take down his name and contact information, then pretended to have trouble looking up the flight information.

“Oh, for Chrissakes- it is either 9:30 am or 10:30 am, which is it?” the irate man on the phone exploded at me.

In a split second, I calculated that if I said his flight was at 10:30 am, there was a 50% chance he would miss it completely.

“Your flight is at 10:30 am, sir,” I said,  hoping I was lying. He snarled at me. I hung up the phone, satisfied with my mild sabotage.

The next day, of course, everything changed. I was in my laboratory when I heard the news, saw internet footage of the planes flying into the Twin Towers. At first, I thought it was a movie. But the news reports kept coming, and coming. No movie, but reels and reels of horrifying footage, transmitted into my television set at home.

A few days later, I got another phone call. It was a man asking to talk to the travel agent he had spoken to on September 10, 2001. I told him I was alone in the house, a residential address, so if he had spoken to someone at this number, it had to have been me.

He apologized for his earlier rudeness, and told me that he had missed his plane in New York that morning, thanks to me.

Distractedly, I apologized. My mind was full of my upcoming move away from my now ex husband.

“No, no,” he said. “I was on flight, ” and I can’t recall the flight number now. “From New York to Los Angeles.”

“I’m sorry, I-”

“It was one of the planes that was hijacked on 9/11,” he said.

My jaw dropped.

He went on to thank me for saving his life.

“You have my information,” he said. “Look me up. Call if you ever need anything.”

To this day I don’t know who it was that had phoned me.  I hope he is well and happy. I decided to share this story not because I want to glorify myself or my actions- which were actually really mean-spirited- but because I felt it is important to remember that sometimes, the smallest things you do can have far-reaching consequences.

Dreams of “Brian” by the train station

I wrote this little piece as an attempt to overcome writer’s block. If you know anything that might help me find “Brian”, please contact me.

They spring, fully formed, from my brain each morning as I wake up. Each dream is so clear and detailed, so plausible, that I find myself puzzling over them again and again. Are these memories? Are they imaginary? I have no way to tell. Most people can tell the difference between dreams and reality, at least to some extent. I can’t. This is what it means to be touched by the gods, if you believe in gods. For atheists like me, this is what it’s like to be bipolar.

Today I woke up thinking about my friend at the train station. I never knew exactly who he really was- his name online or at the clubs was “Brian”, and he contacted me when I was living in Sweden, asking if  he could have my address. I expected a letter or maybe a phone call, not an American standing by the train station building, calling my name. His dark navy or black wool coat stood out against the deep yellow of the station’s siding, and he had dark hair and eyes. He called my name again. I did not recognize him. I looked at him, and he recognized me. I turned to walk away- who was this? Why was he here? I was wearing a dark pink winter jacket and a bright green backpack from IKEA that held my work laptop. He walked up to me, said my name once more.

Uncomfortably, I looked away.

This is where the dream fragments. I don’t clearly remember what happens, other than that he quotes some of my fiction writing- passages from my novel Perigee.  I run away.

Later, in the sunshine of another day- I can’t remember if it is just a few days later or if it is a few months later- I meet him again at the train station. I have twenty minutes until my train. He asks me to have a coffee with him. This time I am not afraid. We go to a small coffee shop that sits across from the yellow-sided train station building, and I sit looking out into the sunshine, at peace. He sits next to me and does not say much. He sketches in a black-covered sketchbook. Again, I cannot recall much of anything of what is said. He gave me a ten kronor coin and told me to keep it. I pocketed it, and later used it at a grocery store. Ten kronor is about $1.30 or so in US dollars, not a significant amount of money.

I later regretted giving away the coin, as I had another dream that it had been a special coin- one of very few works of art by a Swedish artist, who made solid gold 10 kronor pieces and put them into general circulation as an art project. However, that I owned one such coin was probably only a dream.

I don’t know who “Brian” ever was. He would phone me occasionally while I lived in California, so I gather he lived there too. I think he wrote IMs once or twice while I was in Alaska, and he may have called me and done impressions of different characters on some cartoon shows. He was briefly on some online forums I was a participant in. I know these dreams are based on someone real. Who was at the train station? I might have met my mysterious friend, or I might have been delusional and completely imagined these encounters. I don’t normally hallucinate, but I do sometimes remember things that never happened. Maybe these dreams, these god-children, are not memories but only fantasies.

Whoever he is, wherever he is, if he is even real, I hope my friend “Brian” has a pleasant day followed by sweet, harmless dreams. Tonight, I will sleep, and tomorrow I will start puzzling again over the morning’s dose of strange dreams.

I keep hoping “Brian” is real and that someday I will find him to thank him. I can be reached via this page.

Overcoming writer’s block

Hello, readers! I have no idea who might read this little blog, so I’m putting in a contact form- let me know who you are and what you might have read recently (my work, or more likely someone else’s).

I’m currently in Centerville, Ohio, in the condo my husband is renting, enjoying a short vacation. This fall (see previous post) I will have more time to write. I thought of trying to finish something short this week, and I find myself faced with a crippling case of writer’s block.  I’d love it if you helped me overcome this by telling me something about yourself, even if it’s just what you are currently reading, or what kinds of stories you would like to see written. I may not be able to write those, but I enjoy email and would welcome input or feedback.

The stuff I’ll be working on will most likely be an Agent Diamond and Charming Guy tale. One that’s a bit more inclined toward espionage and Bond-esque villains.