I’m on the upswing, and hope it’s for the better. Lithium is my friend, even though it does make my hands shake, my muscles weak, my depth perception non-existent, and my brain even foggier than it normally is. I’m counting on you, Lithium, to keep me between the ditches here. I just don’t want to end up in one of those horrid mixed states, where everything feels horrible all over, body, mind, soul, everything. I had a nasty one of those recently, I think about two months ago. You see, when these things come upon me, even time goes out the window. I have to count empty medicine bottles to see how many refills of Seroquel I’ve had, to know how many months this has been going on. Two, I’m pretty sure. I’m weaning down on the Seroquel now, and my body is wanting less of it. My shrink tells me I’m the best judge of what to take and when. It’s kind of annoying. I’d really like someone to just KNOW what to do about this stuff, and TELL me what I should do. And yet he’s right. He doesn’t know how I feel. Only I do. And that’s why I’ve kept him on my team for over ten years.
Now. It’s about this novel. It’s November. That means I’m in NaNoWriMo mode. National Novel Writing Month, where thousands of similarly obsessed individuals band together to support each other in writing a 50,000 word novel in 31 days. This is my second time through it. Last year I got to 20,000 words and had to bail out to move from Jerusalem to North Carolina to help my parents.
This year I’m IN North Carolina, and I’ve started my novel.
My life is so full of dramatic stories, they crowd and jostle each other for attention. I’ve written hundreds of them down, have a memoir in progress, and yet have never published anything except for one article in The Jewish Press that I sent in as a letter to the editor and they decided to publish it on the front page.
But fiction? My life has been so full of drama, what need have I had for dreaming up fiction? My life, if published just as it is, would rival any made-up story.
So yesterday, November 1st, I took a bunch of my life’s stories, shook them up together, threw them up in the air, and began to write. Heavens! The things that came out! Bits from here attached themselves to bits from there. I wrote frantically to get them onto the screen as fast as they were falling out of the air.
And two hours later, I came to a halt. I looked at the screen. It was the end of a chapter. Chapter one.
Today I started anew. Oh my goodness, things that have been bothering me for years and years, injustices and incongruities, working themselves out as if by magic on the screen! This is interesting, not even trying to “create,” but letting the stories tell themselves in their own terms.
Certainly this will have to become “work” at some point. I can’t expect to just throw things up in the air and let them come down into print for twenty-nine more days without a hitch. We shall see.
And in the meantime, pray that my brain behaves itself.