Depression

Depression colors everything. It affects what someone eats, how they view life, what they are able to accomplish.

I had planned to write today on my blindman book. Today I found out that my youngest son, who has been overseas for almost a year is probably not coming home after all. If that’s all I can think about, how can I write my blindman chapter?

I walked the dog, which usually lifts me from my doldrums. It did briefly. Then I came back in the house that my son is not coming into soon, like he said he would.

Do people intentionally lie to me or don’t they know what the hell they’re doing from one day to the next?

One son came in a couple years ago. He had been living with me for awhile. He announced that he’d had a job interview, was moving across the state, and oh, by the way, he was moving day after tomorrow. Then he wondered why I was upset?

In my day, which doesn’t seem like so long ago, we made things called “plans”. We shared these plans with anyone who might be affected by them. We tried to stick to our plans.

My oldest son is moving soon. He will be farther away from me. I wonder if he’s sincere?

Can anyone be trusted, if you can’t trust your own family . . . your own offspring . . . not to blindside you with a change in plans and act like it’s no big deal.

Here’s an idea. Don’t act like my feelings don’t matter, because eventually I might quit having feelings about you one way or the other. If I am so unnecessary to your plans or change of plans, I guess I don’t need to care so damned much about you.

There. That got written. Probably will only be seen by my eyes, but damnit, I wrote something.

Let’s see if I can find anything to write about the Blindman.

There is a place in Durham where you can enter into drug trials. They’ll pay you to take a certain drug while they monitor the effect it has on your body. This place seeks fairly healthy individuals who are about the same age range as the people who will take the drug – the people that actually have the illness and who might take the drug they are testing, once the testing is completed on healthy human individuals. By the time the healthy humans have taken the drug and are being monitored for side effects, the drug has already passed testing on animals. Or that’s what they told me.

I saw an ad for a drug trial on the bulletin board at work. I wrote down the information about it and discussed it with some other employees. At that time I worked for Measurement Incorporated in Durham. A couple of the guys said they had participated in one of the drug trials. The money was good and it was no big deal.

I called the number. The lady who answered asked if I had time to answer some questions to see if I might qualify. Yes, I did.

When she finished with her questions, she asked when I could come in for a physical.

Well, when did she want me to come in?

We agreed on a date and time and I showed up at the big, imposing building where they would decide if I was healthy enough for their drug trial. A woman doctor came in and did an examination and asked me personal questions. She had someone else come in and do an EKG. She said it looked like I qualified, but they were examining other applicants and she’d have to let me know later if I was chosen.

I hoped to be chosen. The payout for that particular drug trial was $2500. I badly needed the money for the Blindman’s demands.

(This is not a great bit of writing. Dialogue needs to be written in. Settings need to be described. The tags on the EKG comes to mind. They did EKGs frequently during the drug trial. I should remember what they’re like. The reason for the blindman causing me to need the money should be explained and I think it is in a previous chapter.)

This is how I write. This particular book is a memoir. I write the scenes as I remember them. I am hampered here by not wanting to divulge too much info in a blog. Yet I wanted to prove to myself that I could work on my book, even when so depressed I feel like just lying down and crying. I’ve been through worse things than my son not coming home after I had been told he was. I’ll get through this. I’ll make a million dollars off this book and then won’t LET him come home to my new fancy house. Ha, ha. I made myself laugh.

Whatever I write, I print out and punch holes in the side of the page and stick it in a binder. I will do that now with the short narrative I wrote. It is really more of an outline, isn’t it? I see from the wordpad word tool that it is 322 words I actually wrote. There are many more words to be written about that drug trial. I was accepted. It meant I had to spend 3 weeks in that big, imposing building. Some days they did blood draws every 15 minutes. Those were the hard days. Some days I sat and mostly just watched TV. Some days I worked with another participant putting puzzles together. They told us we would get a little crazy before the three weeks were over and we did. We also had to go back a time or two after the study for one more blood draw. I guess they were seeing how long it took for the stuff to get out of our system.

So here I’ve written 435 words total to add to my book about the Blindman. I’ve written over 1000 words total in this blog.

Yes, I can write when depressed. I just have to drag myself to the computer chair and start typing. This crazy condition I have that they say is nerve damage makes it hard to write with a pen, but I can still type. That’s strange, but I’m grateful.

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Markets

You would be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t, at how many people want me to tell them where to get their writing published.  That’s a whole job in itself. Sometimes it’s the toughest part.

I use a Writer’s Market Book, which comes out once a year. It lists many places that publish different things. I’ve sat down with my copies and read them cover to cover. They are thick books. It’s a resource book for writers. One way you can use it is to have your piece written and then look through the index, the listings, everything you can research with that book, and try to find a market. The other way it can be used is to look through the book and find a place that wants to buy something you feel confident writing. Then slant your writing to their requirements. Notice the preferred length. It is not “a suggestion”. It is the usual length of what they buy. Notice if they pay on publication or upon acceptance. Read the whole listing for any place you want to consider your work. There’s no need wasting your time or theirs submitting something to an inappropriate market. Study the listings like you’d examine anything else you want to approach.

There’s a lot to be learned in the writing business and unless you’re paying for help, you need to learn it yourself.

There is also the query letter to study. Then there’s the “what to do if the submission is rejected” part to consider.

It’s never as simple as a quick glance in the book to see where something that someone has written can be sent.

If you’re serious about publishing your work, you need to be serious about finding markets for it.

Don’t ask another writer to do this for you. While writers can share their methods and tell you about tools they use, including various books and magazines, they do not have time to find markets for your writing. That’s your job, or your agent’s job.

How to find an agent? That’s a whole ‘nother blog.

Writing Daily

I’ve now begun to write on a project (as opposed to a blog) daily. One day it was over 2000 words. Yesterday it was a mere 250 words. But I write until I’m through saying what I wanted to say and then I stop.

I’m working on a book about a blindman and it seems the more I write the more I have left to write, if that makes sense to anyone. Once in awhile I realize I already wrote this part that I just finished writing, but I punch holes in the side of the printed out pages and put them in the right place in the binder anyway. As I edit, I will combine the two and have an even better chapter.

When I’m seriously writing, I close my door. When I’m blogging or just fooling around with words, I leave it open. Usually when I’m writing poetry, the door is open because the words come quickly into my head and I must get them down before I lose them.

One morning I awoke with a whole ABC rhyming book in my head. I repeated it over and over as I ate breakfast. I would have been late to work if I’d taken the time to write the whole thing down. It’s a pity, because while I thought I’d jot it down quickly as soon as I got to work (on time), someone intercepted me between the front door and my classroom and ZOOM! it flew out of my head. Not the beginning, but the ending. I’ve always regretted not being late to work that day.

I did jot down what I could remember, but without the rest, what good is part of an ABC book?

A is for apples that grow on the trees,

B is for something about the beekeeper’s bees

C is for can’t remember

D is for ?

I have it here somewhere . . . Oh, I am laughing out loud! A is not for Apples, it’s for alligators. Here is what I could remember and wrote that morning after someone stopped to talk to me and I forgot my poem. I don’t like what X is for . . . Did you know the proper sound of X, which is the “ks” sound, is best represented at the end of a word, such as in the word, Fox? Anyway, here’s what I found in my notes:

ABC Book

by Constance Barr Corbett

A is for alligator that lives in the deep

B is for the bees that the beekeeper keeps

C is for corn that grows in rows

D is for dog – everybody knows

E is for elephant so big and gray

F is for fox that chases chicken all day

G is for goat

H is for

I is for

J is for

K is for

L is for

M is for

N is for

O is for

P is for

Q is for

R is for

S is for

T is for

U is for

W is for

X is for x-ray that shows what’s inside you

Y is for

Z is for

Disappointments

I don’t know why people failing to do their jobs fills me with so much disappointment. They are not even sorry for their lack of competence.They seem to think that’s how it is in business today.

I saw my doctor on June 22. She prescribed some pills that should make me feel better. On my bad days, like today has been, I need to feel better.

The pharmacist had called yesterday and left a message saying my new prescription had been filled and was ready for pick-up. That sounded really good because when the doctor sent in the prescription the first time, the pharmacist claimed it never came and said I should call the doctor and ask her to submit it again. So I did. The doctor’s nurse said she would send it in again. No big deal. (No, it’s no big deal to either of them because they don’t feel like I’ve felt all day today. My health is no big deal. Only the health of young people seems to matter. Once you reach a certain age, even if you have good insurance, your health is expected to be bad, and if you don’t feel well, it’s no big deal.) It doesn’t matter that you may have blocked off this day to do something that is important to you, but instead you find yourself feeling so poorly that you cannot get out of your pajamas all day. So, of course today when I checked to be sure it was my new prescription that would make me feel better, it was not. No, the pharmacist sing-sang into the phone in her cheerful voice. She didn’t have that prescription. Perhaps, she said, the doctor had sent it to the wrong pharmacy? How could that be, I asked her, when all the other prescriptions got sent to the right one? But maybe I should change pharmacies? The only draw-back, which I did not share with her – is that they’re all full of incompetent employees.

The pharmacist insisted I had to call my doctor back again. So I did. I left a voice mail for her nurse, which I know will not be happily received. I was feeling terrible and upset. And I was wondering why, when the doctor has sent the prescription twice already – why doesn’t the pharmacist call the doctor herself? Their signs say they do call doctors for customers, but they’ve never done this for me. It may be a part of their job description that they don’t understand? Do I want a pharmacist dispensing what pills she is willing to part with, to me, if she doesn’t understand her job description?

I’m sure the next time I check, IF she will acknowledge getting the prescription, the pharmacist will say she is out of those pills and to try back again in another week.

I’d just tell the pharmacist to go to hell and quit my medicine, but that’s what all the people in America want us older folks to do. They make fun of us; they call us names like I heard recently “the tsunami of old folks – the baby boomer tsunami”. Well the young folks wouldn’t be here to feel crowded by us if we hadn’t taken such good care of them when they were younger. They don’t ever consider that.

I sent two complaints via email to the corporate headquarters today. I said pretty much the same stuff I’ve said here. I did ask if those pills are ones employees might want and if they had a prescription for them, would they be tempted to take them and say they never received the prescription? I asked why the pharmacy can’t call the doctor herself since I’ve done it twice and obviously my calling doesn’t solve the problem. I mentioned how much I spend at that store and whether or not it might be best for me to take my business elsewhere?

That is one good thing about being a writer. Words come easily as I type and it’s no trouble to write a letter to the employers of these incompetent people to let them know what a piss poor job is being done in their place of business.

I will tolerate a lot. I’ve had to my whole life. However, when I finally get so damned fed up that I am not going to tolerate any more, I’ll get on the computer and either type a letter and mail it in, or I’ll find the place where complaints can be lodged via email. I never feel so bad that I can’t complain. These “do-nothing” employees need to realize that sooner or later people will report their lack of competence, their lack of concern as they socialize while at work supposedly doing a job . . . for that’s what many people today think work is – you go there to talk to your work friends. The actual work itself comes last.

Keep treating me shabby – keep treating me like I don’t matter – and I will see what your boss thinks about your attitude. Oh – and I’ll share the name of your company and its poor dealings with anyone who can and will read. It was CVS Pharmacy.

Life Gets In The Way Of Writing

July began with plans to write every single day. How hard can that be when I’m not working?

I did write on July 1. Off to a good start.

That was after June 29 when my landlord showed up unexpectedly to say he’d had a complaint about my yard and I needed to get it mowed. Ok. How hard can that be? He even recommended his cousin who has a mowing service and a fancy business downtown. I called them on Monday. They were going to come look at the yard and then call me with a quote. They never called. When I called again on Tuesday, they said they hadn’t been able to get out to look at the yard, but they’d do that and call me back Tuesday afternoon. No phone call. I called on Wednesday and the woman I’d talked to Monday and Tuesday was not there, and I talked to someone who didn’t really want to give me a lot of information. You know – I am familiar with the word “No”. I’d rather hear “NO” than hear empty promises, but once again one of those was given to me. On Thursday when I called, I was told they’d had one of their workers who was in the area come down and look at the yard, and frankly they were just so busy they would not be able to work me in. I checked the newspaper. No one was advertising to mow yards. I finally remembered a local website and looked there and found a couple people who did yard work. I called both. One took down my address and phone number and said they’d be by later that day. One had an answering machine and I left him a message. Meanwhile I had forms that had to be filled out and after waiting until 3:00 pm, I drove to my doctor’s office to hand deliver those. When I got back home, there was actually a truck with a trailer on the back that contained a riding lawnmower. The man and his son who run the business got out and walked around the yard and quoted a price. They even did part of the work that afternoon. They left after a couple hours with a promise to be back the next morning. The man I had called to clean the gutters never showed up. I’d been calling him since Monday as well. He finally showed up the next day just after the mowing men returned. They all worked that morning making my yard and house look much, much better.

One day during the week, I came in and was excited because while walking the dog, I had composed a lovely short story in my head. I could hardly wait to sit down and type it up. I noticed I had a message from my son. He’s half-way around the world. His time is 12 hours ahead of my time. My time was 8:00 am. He wanted to Skype with me. I thought we’d do that and then I’d write the story. Guess what. We skyped for almost four hours and by the time we were through talking, the story idea was completely out of my head.

Monday also brought a trip to the dentist who was running about an hour behind, I found out after I got there. That whole morning was shot.

I just cannot figure out how to be selfish and demand this writing time I need. I don’t really know when I need it because a lot of my writing goes on in my head as I think through things and then when it’s time to write it down . . . well, it varies what time of day that occurs. Friends have said to set a schedule and write, but if I’m not ready to write, if the idea hasn’t congealed at that time, all the schedules in the world still won’t afford an excellent written piece.

I see why writers go away and retreat from the world to write. I cannot do that. To start with, I can’t afford to go away for very long at the time. Secondly, I have a 14 year old dog who grieves if she doesn’t see me frequently. I have a 14 year old cat who has heart failure and will take her medicine nicely from me, but will scratch anyone else who tries to give it to her.

I just don’t know what I’m going to do. At my age time is valuable and I resent anyone encroaching on it. I have things I want to get written and published.

I think I will do this. I will set a certain amount of time to write daily. I’ll keep a journal of that time so that I know I spent that much time each day. I cannot write on a schedule. My mind doesn’t work that way. I can probably write a certain amount of time each day, or can devote a certain amount of time to finding markets, making a website, entering contests, and approaching editors. How long should I devote daily? I am thinking 2 to 3 hours of actual sit down work because a lot of my organizing and writing ideas come when I am doing other things, like walking the dog.

I think I have figured it out. I’ll make a folder on this desktop. I’ll write down what I do towards my writing daily – I don’t mean the thinking part, but the actual work on the computer doing it part or read about it part . . . My goal for now will be one to three hours daily. If someone wants something at a time I am sitting down to write, they’ll have to get it later. I need to honor my talent and honor my craft. I owe this to myself. I’ve waited all my life to devote my time to this. It’s not fair to me not to make this work.

CBC   7 4 15 at  1:07 am