Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “April, 2016”

For the Love of Donuts by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: I call it Hatred Hazelnut because I accidentally bought beans instead of ground coffee.

By Julie

The hours of 3:30 to approximately 5:30 Monday through Friday are a little like having a bald eagle rip out your eyes around here. It would be painful as hell, but I’d be sort of honored because it was a bald eagle, right? I’m so glad I get to pick up my kids from school every day because for so long I couldn’t. And that after-school time is a wild stampede.

Today was NUTS. I give you the breakdown:

3:00 “Sam, wake up, we have to pick up Ben soon.” (at 3:20)

3:45 OH MY¬† GOD I FELL ASLEEP (on my laptop), fly to school where Ben stands on the stairs and yells “YOU FORGOT ME” then laughs, thank Christ.

3:50 “Sure, we can go to the park.” Sam proceeds to freak out within 10 minutes because none of the kids are playing with him. (literally ALL OF THE KIDS ARE PLAYING WITH HIM).

4:00 I have given Sam enough alone time to scream at us from the dirty tree that he has his freakouts under. I deliver the blanket. We do nothing without the blanket.

4:05 Sam is walking around the playground, screaming at no one. Bennett yells from across the playground at friend “I DON’T WANT TO PLAY YOUR PEE PEE GAME YOU WEIRDO.”

4:07 Am discussing with fellow mom that I have no energy to sugar-coat this, that her kid child has to stop peeing in the woods and chasing Bennett saying he has pee pee hands. Neither of us can have this talk with a straight face.

4:10 Sam has ordered us all to stop goddamn playing because we are LEAVING.

4:12 Am calming Sam down as he sobs saying nobody even loves him and threatening to kill himself. (Yes, we see not one, but two therapists. It’s being handled.)

4:15 I ran over a bird on my street on the way home. What the hell bird doesn’t FLY AWAY?

4:16 Sobbing Sam refuses to get out of the car. Ben is yelling at me from the doorway that we got a package and can he open it. Sam is streaked in dirt. I’m late taking my meds.

4:20 Sam asks me to go up the stairs first. (OCD requires that we do this exactly as he asks). Proceeds to cry that I left him behind.

4:25 Ben is still going on about the package. I’m reading a book to Sam who is calming down. Ben approaches, a look of horror on his face and breaks to me with agonizing slowness that our elderly dog peed on the floor. (She does this literally 5 times a day, this is not newsworthy.)

4:30 I forgot to take dinner out of the freezer.

5:00 Laundry has to happen. Ben has finally been given permission to open the box. It is a replacement Lego that the company was kind enough to send us after Boba Fett mysteriously disappeared.

5:05 Legos are all over my couch, I’m making sandwiches, and excuse myself upon delivery. “I’m going to cry for three minutes, and I’ll be back. There will be no more excitement today. I’m all excited out.”

Then you know what? I cried for a couple of minutes, but I didn’t think any of these things:

  • THE WORLD WILL END IF I DON’T CLEAN THIS HOUSE WHAT KIND OF A PERSON LIVES IN THIS MANY LEGOS
  • I am the worst mother
  • I can’t live like this one more minute
  • Everything is horrible and then it’s soaked in pee and why bother please let me go to bed now.

I DID think these things:

  • Ben is 9 and I’ve never missed picking him up at school because I fell asleep. Which is a pretty damn good accomplishment if you knew what I did in a day.
  • I still brought the kids to the park even though I knew Sam might have a tantrum and it was late.
  • This is just a couple of hours that are rough every day almost, and then it will be good
  • What kind of bird doesn’t just fly away??
  • I got to revise my book today and am halfway done with editing and that’s pretty cool
  • I feel not one ounce bad for eating 2 mini packs of cookies.

See, this lifestyle is why I love donuts. Donuts GET ME around this time every day. I don’t eat a donut every day, but I probably would if they were here. And if I eat a salad for lunch, like today, I have extra rights. The fact that I’m smiling now, and not freaking out shows me what headway I’ve made mentally, emotionally and hormonally in the past month alone. It’s a damn good feeling. I can handle some chaos. I maybe even like it a little. I like it just fine when I have donuts.

 

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The Writing Spark and Why Writing Happens All the Time

TODAY’S BREW: 8 o’clock Hazelnut

By Julie

Creating a book takes more than words on paper. It takes watching the world. It takes paying attention to things you normally wouldn’t. It takes breathing and wondering and finding new things to inspire you every single day. It’s the random line that means nothing but creates a context to be fit into.

Writing a book is living life and committing it to paper, fictional or non. Without living your life, you have nothing new to offer. A writer has to sometimes let their brains flow freely, make notes on five different books, cut pictures out of magazines, doodle and re-read old books, take walks or watch tv all day. Writing is something a writer is always doing. Everything beautiful and ugly and powerful is a book in their heads and that can’t all be bolted down into a thousand words a day.

A writer is the deconstruction of goals over and over, the tearing apart of their own rules and limitations. A writer knows that nothing can stop them from creating, no matter what medium they use. Life is their medium.

So, writers, when those moments hit that you lament you didn’t take a free hour to write, remember that you have. Writing starts in the heart, and it makes it to your brain in a hundred different ways. It isn’t always about throwing slobber on the page to weed through later. It’s surviving the ambush of images and sentences that you live with every minute.

Write. Do it your way then make all new ways to do it. Have ten notebooks, write the middle first, spend half a day at the craft store digging through clearance bins. Find the spark. The spark is what writes the book. The spark is what makes you need to create. A writer lives their work, and their work lives because of them. Don’t let anyone tell you that the way you do your art is wrong. There is no wrong way to make art except ignoring the spark in all its various forms.

Captain Coping Mechanism Tries To Emote

TODAY’S BREW: made at home Hazelnut

By Julie

If I’m being honest, I’ve been irritable since I woke up. Still lying in bed, I was annoyed, snapping at the husband, wishing I didn’t have to do All the Things.

Add to this the incessant battle of potty training with a child the physical equivalent of Hulk and the mental equivalent of that boss you once had that HAD to be right.

Add to this that my fertile window ended yesterday, and I know this because I track every step of my Hormonal Trail of Tears to better anticipate what will happen next.

Add to this the death of a family member that I would rather not discuss.

Add to this my physical exhaustion from the book fair I co-ran and the fact that I spent too much time outside yesterday–never a good idea for me.

I didn’t want to admit that I was going to have an anxious day. 15 days of feeling well-balanced and happy despite any little pitfalls was not a title I was willing to give up.

7pm and I have isolated myself emotionally from my loved ones. I reached out with a shaky little pathetic hand that I assume everyone understands is me needing affection when I feel vulnerable, and when it’s not recognized, BOOM! YOU’RE OUT, MOTHERFUCKER!

Then I can’t read, write, edit, move.

Then everyone’s accomplishments become my failures.

Then I see the end of the day as a bigger picture, symbolic of my waning lifetime.

Then I took my emergency anxiety pill and cried a little–not as much as usual by a long shot–and I wrote this. Because I need to get outside myself when the panic disorder rears its stupid fucking head.

It’s silly of me to think that 15 days of feeling fantastic means YAY YOU DON’T HAVE HORMONES OR A PANIC DISORDER ANYMORE! These are things I will probably always have to cope with, and I did cope with them today–albeit, fairly poorly in some respects, but I did something different, and that has to count for something. And I didn’t hide in my bedroom, sobbing and screaming. And I’m not shaking at all. And I do want to go to bed and I can’t say with amazing gusto that I want to wake up tomorrow, but I’m counting on that when I do I’ll feel better.

So today I don’t get a pretty sticker that says I had another excellent day. And that’s okay . Maybe I’ll give myself an ugly sticker. It’s not a goal, and it’s not a failure. I cannot expect absolutes–to always feel wonderful any more than I can expect to always feel stressed. But when my body and mind tell me they need a day to freak the fuck out, I’m just going to admit it.

This is step one.

The Zen of Kicking Ass with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: I took Juan Valdez’s donkey and I just squeezed.

By Julie

I missed you guys.

Blogging for me was a business strategy. Kristen and I wanted to make it as writers and knew we needed a platform. I had no idea that blogging would bring out a new side of me as a writer, one that connected to a community sometimes with my ugliest side(s).

So stepping away from blogging for so long, when I had been meticulous with the schedule was very, very difficult. But I couldn’t do it all anymore. I couldn’t blog once or twice a week, write a book–no, two books!–no, three books! I CAN WRITE A HUNDRED BOOKS AT ONCE!, edit for clients (which is the same amount of energy as writing a book), run the Scholastic book fair, be Most Involved Mom Ever and survive. I had a nervous breakdown, which I did a post about. My last post, actually.

But guys, things are better. Not just better–they’re GOOD. I see a therapist now, just for ME. Not for my marriage, not for my child, but for me. I realized that not blogging would not end time as I know it. I wouldn’t lose anyone. I missed deadlines. For interviews, editing, my own for writing…. And everyone was like, “yeah, that’s okay, just be better.” I thought for sure I would be screwing up; everyone’s lives. I gave myself a goddamn break. And everything is better because of it.

Even my books are fine. They’re still there, waiting for me to finish up all in good time. I don’t need to produce at the fastest rate humanly possible. I NEED to enjoy the process. I can be tired to write. I wrote all of RUNNING HOME and half of RUNNING AWAY after 10 hour shifts in retail, after being awake since the crack of dawn with an infant. But I can’t write well when I’m spent. I shouldn’t say I can’t write well–I do, I do write well, but I don’t write at my best, even when I think I am. THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS is a good damn book, one I’m uber proud of and was so sure was ready for an agent. A lot of agents thought so, too. Amazing agents, including my dream agent read the full manuscript, and all were torn, but all of them just found something MISSING.

One would think this would be heartbreaking for me, and sure, the dream agent passing on the book was. But I got over it, and I’m revising the book–based on what I think it should be better at–and I realized that the book was the best I was capable of AT THE TIME, which is still goddamn good, but I was spread too thin. It’s difficult when your best work isn’t your best but still damn good because you can’t recognize the troubles within. It’s the A+ student who suddenly gets a B and has a heart attack–still good, but not good enough. It breaks you for a minute, but you take the next test. Because you have to. Because being that good is a commitment.

Totally off the subject–I get to do that because this is the first blog I’ve written in months–yeah, I just said a few times that I’m a good writer. I am. IT’S NOT JUST OKAY BUT ACTUALLY RECOMMENDED TO CHAMPION YOURSELF. Being your own worst critic is fine or whatever–I prefer to be my own best friend. I wouldn’t be nasty to a friend about their writing, and I won’t do it to myself. Not for that or anything else.

ANYWAY. I’ve felt really well-balanced for two weeks today. I count it like someone sobering up would. Two weeks where I didn’t feel like I was hanging on by a thread. Where I woke up happy instead of feeling like I was fighting against my life from the second I opened my eyes. I’m starting to feel like I can do anything again–a dangerous feeling if I didn’t learn a lesson so well.

So, you’ll be seeing more of me ’round these parts. Talking about writing, dropping wisdom and stuff, telling you my dark and uglies. You know, I never got the appeal of Howard Stern until I started working at becoming a public figure. He HAS to be himself, let the ugliest sides of himself show and highlight them like it’s the best fucking thing ever. I kind of get it now. I mean, he’s still a pig? But he refuses to be ashamed of anything about himself, and that’s awesome. I think of him sometimes when I talk about my raging hormones, my crippling anxiety (which is doing much better), being the poster girl for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, mistakes I’ve made, the weird crap I like. This is me. I like myself a whole lot, and I do what I want to do. I can apologize for mistakes I’ve made, but I won’t apologize for who I am. Who I am is pretty goddamn fantastic, dark and uglies and all.

Thanks for sticking around, folks. I look forward to kicking some ass for you on the regular.

 

 

 

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