About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, Masque & Spectacle, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Skeleton Dancing on World Bipolar Day

Today, March 30th, is World Bipolar Day. I've posted a picture of a skeleton dancing (a public domain image) because this is how I feel about being open about my bipolar disorder. The skeleton is me, deep down inside, everything revealed, and I'm dancing because I feel good about being open and compliant with my treatment and so well supported by my family, friends, and psychiatrist. I've had bipolar disorder for twenty-one years, and for about the past nine years, I've been doing really well. It's been a difficult journey, and it continues to be daily work, but I feel good about it all.

So why am I so open? It's my goal to advocate for others with mental illness; to help end the stigma and stereotypes of mental illness; and to educate and enlighten people about this chronic, incurable but treatable condition. I see my psychiatrist monthly; I take five medications, and I have an excellent support system. I'm a mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, and friend. I'm a writer. I am very much like anyone else, except that I have bipolar disorder. It's okay to talk about it, and I'm always willing to answer any questions anyone has. We, the community of people with mental illness, should all be able to feel this way, but unfortunately, many of us feel we can't talk about it or even let it be known. I'd like to see this change, and I try to do my part in bringing about that change.

If you want to know more about bipolar disorder, check out the information on the National Institutes of Mental Health website, the Depression and Bipolar Disorder Support Alliance website, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness website. Another important resource for all people to know is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (the phone number is 1-800-273-8255).

Monday, March 28, 2016

Walking in the No Boundaries Program

To keep myself honest and on track, I'll post here that I'm starting the Fleet Feet No Boundaries Program tonight. I'll be in the walking group because I haven't run in so long and, if I do run again, I've got to work up to it slowly. The program is ten weeks long, and at the end of it, we all do a 5k race. I'll be walking the 5k.

In the future, I don't know if I'll remain a walker or if I'll run again. I ran into problems with running. I have hypothyroidism, and there have been times when my thyroid wasn't right, which made it very hard to run. And then I started having exertional (exercise-induced) headaches that were the worst headaches I've ever had. I had to take a low dose of Metoprolol, a blood pressure medication, to keep those away (and I don't even have high blood pressure). Because of the headaches, I started walking and only walking, but I took the medication for fear that the headaches might happen with walking, too. I'm off of it now, and all is well with walking. But will the headaches happen if I run again?

I would like to be able to run again. I liked running and started doing it at age fourteen. I've run in a few 5k races and enjoyed them. But if I can't or decide not to run again, then I'd like to be a fast and powerful walker. This program will get me started and keep me going until it's a routine and not hit and miss the way it has been.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Point of View

Bare with me... I'm kind of just thinking out loud here. In my novel, Hoping It Might Be So, I'm trying to figure out whose points of view I should stick with. (By the way, my novel is not in first person point of view.) Right now, I have a few small sections that are in certain characters' points of view, and these characters don't have any other sections in their points of view. So I'm thinking I should stick with five major characters: Matthew Holman (of course--he's the main character), Gil Egan, Sadie Egan, Veronica McFadden, and Danielle Porter. Matthew, Gil, and Sadie are very
important throughout the whole novel; Veronica is important in Part Two; and Danielle is important in Part Three. I really need to show various things through these five characters' eyes. My points of view will change within chapters, but I have section breaks to help signify this.

Point of view can be a difficult thing. One could always use an omniscient point of view, but that wouldn't work well for this novel. One could also move from point of view to point of view right within a single section or scene, but I'm not fond of this (some would call it head hopping). So I'm going with limited third person point of view, and I've narrowed it down to these five major characters, which means I'll have to fix some earlier parts of the novel. But that's all part of the writing process! I keep notes about what I have to go back and fix. I'm most interested now in finished a working draft that I can then work on as a whole.

I'm getting close to being done with that working draft. I think I have about a quarter left of the novel to write. I'm excited to have this finished so that I can get to work on revision. I enjoy all of the writing process, even proofreading.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Spring Equinox!

One of the things I love about my native New York state is the change of seasons. Today is the first day of spring and I wish you all a Happy Equinox!

I've included here a picture of my front yard the way it will look in a few more weeks. We don't have leaves coming out yet, but we have buds, and I have tulips coming up and crocuses blooming. As is typical with New York, it's very cold today. Only 28 degrees as I write this.

I've been thinking of my friend Lori who passed away this January. I remember that it was about a year ago that she wrote to me how much she was looking forward to spring and all the renewal. She got to see spring a year ago, and I'm glad for that. I miss her very much, but there's one thing her death has made me even more adamant about: to appreciate the loveliness of the seasons and to always look for beauty.

In upstate New York, there is so much beauty. Every season has its own merits--yes, even winter, long as it may be--and we have so many beautiful places here, my favorite being the Finger Lakes. I also love Lake Ontario and Letchworth State Park and little Mendon Ponds Park and my own yard with all its plants, trees, bushes, and flowers. We're blessed that the people who lived here before us did some fantastic landscaping. I just have to keep it up. It can be work, but fortunately, I love to garden. Soon, I'll have a lot of it to do.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Depression Not a Disease?!

I just read a Facebook ad that stated: "Depression is not a disease. It's a symptom. Inflammation is at the root of depression." I respectfully disagree and believe this is a dangerous way to look at a serious medical illness. While I realize that there are many factors involved in the development, diagnosis, and manifestation of depression, I firmly believe that it is a brain disorder--a biochemical disease.

Of course, I know I'm just reacting to a little Facebook ad, but it can be the little things that get inside a person's head. I just want to say here that I find this point of view to be reckless and a potential aid to the stigma that surrounds the disease of depression.



Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Novel's Progress

My novel, Hoping It Might Be So, is coming along well. It has three parts: Part One: Missionary, Part Two: Man, and Part Three: Matthew. I'm now working on Part Three and I'm on Chapter 20.

Of course, getting the whole thing written is only the beginning. Once I have a full working draft, I have to go through it and revise, rewrite, reorganize, add to it and subtract from it--all that good stuff that's part of the writing process. I've been keeping notes about certain things I know I want to or have to change. And I have to check for continuity, and make sure that dates and times are right, etc. There's so much fun yet to be had! But I really do think it's fun. I love the writing process and love revising and working on writing.

This is a picture of my novel so far. The post-it notes and page tags mark places where I know I have to do or change certain things. They also mark time for continuity. This is my hard copy of the novel. I also have it saved on my laptop's hard drive, a thumb drive, and an external hard drive. I think it's important to have multiple copies in multiple places. I love the hard copy because I can see it grow as I add pages and chapters, and I can flip through it easily.