National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) Update

I have written 8,574 words.  I have yet to decide whether to “publish” the book here.

Formatting is a consideration.  It’s a bit tricky to get documents to format properly on web pages, and it can be time consuming to get them right.

Well, I’m off to the shower.

National Novel Writing Month has begun!

Today was November 1st–still is.  I wrote 4,179 words of Summer in November, my Nano book (NaNoWriMo being the acronym for National Novel Writing Month).  And I might write more before the day is up.

I am considering “publishing” the book here as I go along, but I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be doing this or not.  I am consulting a number of people to see if it would be a wise choice.

Let me assure you that Summer in November, as I am writing it now, is not great literature.  If you write 50,000 words in one month, you’re not going to come up with great literature.  It is a draft.  So what you see here won’t be very polished.  If I do “publish” it here, keep that in mind.

Okay, off to walk the dog, then maybe back to writing!

Further Progress on the Pastel Patchwork Dog Sweater

I am referring to the sweater I was making that I posted here:

http://juliemadblogger.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/progress-on-my-next-dog-sweater/

I have added the collar and rear trim.  Next, I have to do sleeves.  Then, the tedious chore of weaving in ends.  But here is what it looks like right now:

Sweater Progress 7

Sweater Progress 8

Ain’t she cute?

Jenni Schaefer at MEDA

Jenni Schaefer came to the Multi-service Eating Disorder Association today to speak and sign books, and I attended the meeting.  She is a strong, confident speaker.  She also sang a song, the text of which is printed in her book.  (Jenni is a professional singer and songwriter and a very good one, too.)  I had already purchased and started to read Life Without Ed, and at the meeting I purchased Goodbye Ed, Hello Me. Jenni signed both for me.  “Ed” is the acronym for “eating disorder,” and in the books, Jenni suggests that “Ed” is the voice of the ED, and is like a person, a partner that you can divorce and separate from.

I cried through much of the meeting.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I cried when she sang the song.  The truth is, my motivation is very low right now.  When I hear that someone is recovered, I think, “Good for them, but this is not for me.”  I don’t think I even want recovery.  It is too distant and unattainable.   My therapist has hope for me but I have no hope, only hope that I can hold out and keep them off my back, and not gain the weight they want me to gain, and NEVER be fat again.

My therapist agreed not to talk about food and eating and my weight for the session.  This, for some reason, made me sad and hopeless.  I wondered if she had given up.  I didn’t want to tell her I’ve fallen into a hole again and am restricting, not a lot, but enough so that if she read my food journal, she’d comment and be concerned.

My therapist seems to think I’m doing okay.  I’m not.  On the way home, I walked in front of cars, and didn’t care.  It wasn’t deliberate, just lack of common sense I guess.  I wasn’t looking.  I didn’t bother.  The fact that the behavior didn’t alarm me was the scary part.

Use of text messaging in treatment of ED’s

I have never binged and purged, but this fascinates me.

Mobile Therapy: Use of Text-Messaging in the Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa
Objective: To examine a text-messaging program for self-monitoring symptoms of bulimia nervosa (BN) within the context of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Method: Thirty-one women participated in 12 weekly group CBT sessions and a 12 week follow-up. Participants submitted a text message nightly indicating the number of binge eating and purging episodes and rating their urges to binge and purge. Automatic feedback messages were tailored to their self-reported symptoms. Results: Fully 87% of participants adhered to self-monitoring and reported good acceptability. The number of binge eating and purging episodes as well as symptoms of depression (BDI), eating disorder (EDI), and night eating (NES) decreased significantly from baseline to both post-treatment and follow-up. Discussion: Given the frequent use of mobile phones and text-messaging globally, this proof-of-principle study suggests their use may enhance self-monitoring and treatment for BN leading to improved attendance, adherence, engagement in treatment, and remission from the disorder. Int J Eat Disord. 2009 Aug 28.

I am reading at the Artsmith Salon Series February 15, 2010

I will be reading at the Artsmith Salon Series in Olga, Washington February 15, 2010.  The location is at Doe Bay Resort, at the Cafe.

http://www.doebay.com

Doe Bay is on Orcas Island.  You take the San Juan Islands Ferry to get there, from Anacortes if you’re coming from the mainland.

Thanks to Jennifer Brennock for organizing this.

November is National Novel Writing Month

I am going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month this year

http://www.nanowrimo.org

in which individual participants write 50,000-word novels over the span of the month of November.  That’s 1,667 words per day, which isn’t a lot when you consider how much polished writing I wrote for graduate school.  The novel I write for NaNoWriMo does not have to be polished.  It will not be great literature, but it will be the required 50,000 words, and I will do it.

My plan is not to write a novel at all, but a memoir about my 40-day, 40-night hitch-hiking trip across the country I did in 1979 with my dog, Hoofy.  At NaNoWriMo it is okay to be off the beaten path and write nonfiction, so long as it is started on November 1st and not earlier.

Therefore, I could not use my current memoir, After the Funeral, nor would I want to, for NaNoWriMo.  Why?  Because I don’t want ATF to be a rush job on the first try.  I simply don’t want to write it that way.  I already have over 20 pages of  ATF written, and these pages have been worked and reworked many times.

NaNoWriMo is just what I need right now to boost my self-esteem, and my self-esteem has been floundering ever since I started this recent term at the stand-up class.   I have been crying every day for over a week now.   This despair is seeping into all areas of my life.  Working out at the gym is really helping right now, though, but yesterday while I was working out, all I could think about was class, and my negativity affected my workout.  I simply did not push myself hard enough with my exercises.

I will periodically post updates on my progress with my memoir, perhaps daily.  I don’t know if I will write at the library or at home.  We will see what works best.  I think it will be nice to combine a trip to the library with a trip to the gym.  Exercise has always been a boost to my writing, and is a nice reward if I’ve had a good writing session.  According to the NaNoWriMo site, the second week is the toughest to get through.  Lucky for me, I have no Thanksgiving obligations (my family does not bother inviting me for Thanksgiving).

I wish my therapist would talk to me about real life situations, such as my stand-up class and this current project.  But she insists on wasting time talking about the ED.  My loss.

Wish me luck!

Stand-up, fall down–I WILL RISE!

I had another bad experience at stand-up class last night.  It wasn’t so much the class itself this time.  It is clear that I am progressing.  I actually got a few laughs, which didn’t happen last time, and Bob, our teacher, stated that I had improved considerably, so I was satisfied on that front.

What is happening that concerns me is basically a social thing: my classmates are the problem.  Of course I am taking a leap here, but I believe they see me as a loser.  When we are gathered before class, they disregard me and will not include me in their conversations.  They act as though I am not there.  They look through me and talk around me.

For instance, I was in the room with two of the fellows, who were conversing, and they started talking about getting together before class to try out ideas on each other.  I said, “Hey, I’d be interested in doing that!” and they looked at me like I was from Mars!  I don’t recall their response, but it was not a friendly one, and they abruptly changed the subject.

Another time I was in the hallway, and passed another student.  I was expecting a friendly nod and hello, and instead I got a hostile, nasty look.  I was shocked.

While I was performing, I looked up from my papers, and was shocked to see that two students were not even looking at me.  They were not paying full attention to my performance (stand-up comedy involves gestures and facial expressions that must be seen, as well as spoken words).

After class, the students and teacher were gathered outside, and I stood there, hoping someone would approach me and speak to me, and after everyone ignored me, I decided to approach a couple of students.  I did so, and after a very brief exchange, the two students hurried off into Harvard Square.  It was clear that they had no interest or desire to speak with me.

I have no allies in the class, no friends.  Perhaps there is one among them that is not like the others.  I have yet to make acquaintance with this person.  May he or she speak up soon.

Why is this happening?  Is it my age? I believe I am the oldest in the class, 51, and just about all the students are in their 20’s.   Is it that they know I have a mental illness?  Is it because my first performance flopped so badly? Is it because I don’t own a television set, and haven’t seen TV since 2004, and haven’t a clue what they’re talking about when they talk about TV?  A combination of the above?

I came home and cried.  This time, I know the fault is not mine.  I am NOT a loser.  I know if I keep on working at stand-up comedy, I will succeed, the other students be damned.  They will not stop me, and I will not drop the class and forfeit my education because of them.  I will keep trying, and I will keep taking the class again until I get it right.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that next time, the milieu is friendlier.

Excerpt from my food journal that I wrote just now

I believe this “treatment” is defeating its purpose.  Now, what’s happening is that my life is so centered around my ED.  My life was centered around LIFE before.  Now it is centered around resisting these doctors who are trying to “treat” me.  They will soon learn that I am not going to gain weight no matter what they do.  I will not cooperate.  And so there is this fight going on.   They are forcing me to focus on this fight, and they have been forcing this situation on me ever since graduation.  I wish they would just stop.  They call this “treatment.”  I call it wasted effort, a waste.  Why don’t they just leave me alone?

If this goes on much longer, I will get angry and rebellious.  I might even start to lose weight again.  I’m not sure yet.  I haven’t decided.  There is a small margin to play with.  I can lose a little without being hospitalized, and I might go for it.  Of course, that might be stupid, because I might lose too much.  I’m not going to die.  I know I won’t die.  I am too alive for that.

At one point during my history as a mental patient, I said, “Julie will NOT be forced!”  I don’t know the context of this statement, but it stands out as something that is relevant right here now.  Maybe I was saying it when I was in a locked unit, telling the nurses I would not be forced to take medication, or that I would not be forced to go to my room at a certain time, or that I would not be forced to shower, or go to group.  Or maybe I was talking about being forced to go to a day program, or being “pink papered” into a hospital.  There is a lot of forcing going on in the mental health system.  There is more forcing going on in mental health than in any other kind of health care.

I always thought people who are filled with fear should be approached gently and kindly, NOT FORCED.