Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones
cleolinda

The morning after

Eerie Horoscope of Doom:

Quickie: You are in one of the biggest transitional periods of your life -- let it unfold.

Overview: A winning attitude can go a long way toward ensuring a degree of success, especially when it comes to new ventures. Think pink, be positive, strike up the band -- whatever you do, keep your mental state high.

Daily extended (by Astrology.com)
Not all of the important changes in your life need to be dramatic, Hollywood-like moments of revelation. Having a major turning point or epiphany is nice, but it can be overrated. You don't need to make a splash to make a change. True growth happens slowly ... so slowly that sometimes (like now) you might not even be aware of it. Look around today -- did you realize that right now, you're in one of the biggest transitional periods of your life? Let it unfold -- enjoy it.

Just so you know, I'm going to be putting emotional parts of entries behind lj-cuts, because I know it can be triggering, as they say, for a lot of people, no matter who you might be grieving at the moment. And thank you again, for all the kind words. I'm afraid to try to respond for fear of bursting into tears, but I read everything as it hits my email, and I appreciate everything. (If you've just walked in and have no idea what I'm talking about, read the previous two entries.)

"God is watching out for us," my mother declares, as she so often does. We haven't been to church in years, but she believes quite firmly in God's Plan for All of Us. "You were home when it happened. George happened to come home the moment you called for help and heard you. [Sister Girl] is off from work and school this next week"--we were afraid she'd be so upset she wouldn't be able to go anywhere, at which point she might get fired or failed; she's already coming home early from work today--"and we're not out of town like we will be two weekends from now. He went the best way possible for a dog to go, even if it's not the best way for us. And if you had to choose, you'd rather it be easy for him. I'm telling you, God watches out for us."

It's still hard. I do want to clarify that no one yesterday tried to make me feel stupid for grieving, no one at all; my discussion of that came purely from my own self-consciousness. My father used to say that I was "tenderhearted" because I cried way, way too easily (which I did; I was one of those shy, pudgy kids who got teased a lot. Never mind being depressive/bipolar on top of that), and so as I got older, about the time I was thirteen, I swore that I would never cry again. Obviously that was something horribly unhealthy that I did get over, but I think I must have gone two or three years without crying once, even when I should have been. The way it shook out, Sister Girl and I became very like Marianne and Elinor in Sense and Sensibility, and sometimes I wonder if Elinor didn't turn out half the way she did because Marianne was so emotional. When you have someone prone to acting out, the other person tends to compensate for it in the other direction.

I did a lot of things when I was a teenager, actually, made a lot of resolutions--I think I had a good enough sense of humor, but I actually decided that I would try to make people laugh, because they wouldn't pick on me if they were laughing. They would value that. So I would watch how people responded to something I said--I wasn't a class clown; more of a Daria type. I was thirteen, after all. But I watched what people responded to, what they laughed at and what left them cold, whether I said it or someone else did. This is probably why I'm the person I am today, talking to an audience of people, many of whom are here because they found me through movie parodies, about how I am not crying, or trying not to cry, about my dog.

It's easier to talk about anything other than my dog, and yet I keep coming back to him. Mom came to check on me before she went off to work just now--I still have the head cold from Hades, so I sound like I'm crying even when I'm not. Well, actually it's pretty clear that it's more than crying, because right now there's a lot of hacking and snorfling involved. (It's okay. You can laugh. "Snorfling" is a funny word.) We talked about how it's hard because he used to follow us around so much, because you see him everywhere you go. "It's like, I'm going to get out of bed and step over him," I said. (He was napping beside my bed when he went, like he does a lot, and that's where he'd been sleeping at night lately.) "I'm going to go to the bathroom and he's going to be lying outside the door when I come out, I'm going to step over him again. We're going to go downstairs; he's going to stop halfway down and look back to make sure I'm coming. Sam's going to bark at him. He's going to go to the back door and I'll let him out, or he'll flop down by the kitchen vent."

"If he goes out back," says my mother, "he'll hop over that little barrier we put up for Meko and sit on his landing and watch the yard behind us."

"He's going to come back to the screen door and I'm going to wave at him before I walk over to let him in. I'm going to take breakfast upstairs. He's going to run up before me. I'm going to pat him on the back as he passes me. It's going to go on like this all day," I said, and she nodded. "There's like two parts to it--you go around expecting to see him at any moment and then you don't. And then you have to go, 'Because he's dead.' It's like I have to break the news to myself again every time I think I'll see him and I don't. It's like I'm five years old and I don't understand the concept of death. There's just no way this can be happening--he was so healthy..."

"I know," she says.

I told her I was the kind of person who gets all their crying out the first day, but now I don't know that this is true. You can rationalize so much of it away--he was happy, he did have a good life, he did go quietly, he didn't suffer, there wasn't anything else we could have done--the vet said he (the vet) couldn't have done anything for him if he'd been standing next to him when it happened--but after you've sent all the blame and regret packing, if you can manage to do that, you're still left with this roadblock of emotion that can't be waved or articulated away. It's just there. "There's just nothing for that but time," my mother says.

So I am here, even though I said I wouldn't be. I may put off the linkspam a bit longer. But she's right, you know, about God watching over us--well, let me rephrase that. Even if you don't believe in God, you have to admit that a terrible thing happened in the best possible way, rendering it "really sad" rather than "fucking traumatic." I can't imagine what state I'd be in right now if I weren't on Lamictal (day 20). Far from medicating me out of creativity, I've actually been more productive since I went on it. I think I'm in the middle of a hypomanic period at the moment, as I've been working on Black Ribbon all week so far, but it's taken the edge off, the "manic" out of "hypomanic"--I don't feel chained to the desk until I've gotten everything out. I can get up and get some tea and not be afraid all the ideas will be gone when I come back. I've got a horrible head cold and yet I've been spending most of the day out of bed working. And the best part (she said wryly) is, I've been running a low fever, on and off, for three days now.

In the meanwhile, here's the partial entry I had in Semagic to post yesterday:
Can I just tell you how much I enjoy breathing through my mouth? So much.

Ran a mild fever and alternated sleeping with writing. I don't know if I'm having some more hypomania--I'm also at that point in my hormonal cycle when I'm usually more creative--but I tell you what, it's quite an experience to try write down what you're thinking, but be so feverish that you're not making any sense. And what was I writing about? Espionage for Black Ribbon, of course. It was basically this total MacGuffin situation of, I need someone to hand something over to someone under the cover of a masked ball, and I kind of don't care who or what, I just want it to involve a major antagonist. So I sat there this afternoon and hashed the whole thing out--it went from "plans for... something. Something sciency" to "some kind of written note" to "a vial of something." And there were these endless crossings and double-crossings and then finally when I had simplified the whole subplot down to something that actually made sense, I kept trying to figure things out that I had figured out two minutes previous and promptly forgotten. I know this because I was freewriting, and I'd interrupt myself half the time: "And then the handoff happens, but what's his motivation for wanting to help them? What if he thinks that--wait, we just discussed his motives two paragraphs ago, duh."

(Yes, I am "we" or "I" when I freewrite, and sometimes "you." I don't judge you, you don't judge me.)

By the end of it, though, I'd had a major breakthrough that will actually inform most of the storyline of the second series. Sometimes the most important writing you do isn't the pretty writing; it isn't even the writing that anyone will ever see. Sometimes, it's the writing you do when you talk to yourself, figuring things out.

I think I was actually referring to the writing I was doing late Tuesday night. Wednesday proper, I was a bit more lucid and making more sense. That, or I was working on a less logically taxing part of the storyline. I was working on the second orange volume, the Paris one, because I'm incredibly clear on the third installment but incredibly fuzzy on that second one, and it seems bad to be ending the first story and not be sure of what's happening in the second, since the second picks up pretty much the same day as the first one left off. I mean, just in terms of the logistics of who stays in Paris and who goes back to London--since the last scene in the first one is at a train station, I kind of need to have that part of the second one settled before I end the first one.

But a lot of things are falling into place. I have a few specific events that are kind of floating around the series in general, and I've been mentally moving them around from volume to volume to see where they fit. A masked ball has been moved from the beginning of three to the end of two and combined with a ball that was already there. (This is the ball with the handoff of the MacGuffin. This is how you know I'm a girl: it involves espionage and fashion. And if, some years from now it's published and you're reading it, you can smile when you get to the part about how it has a Marie Antoinette theme.) But it's funny, because I've gone two or three years without any major progress on any of this, and so the directions I'm going in are a little different now. I don't regret the hiatus, though; whenever there's a time-out period of some kind in my life, it usually results in something else being better than if I'd gone ahead with it at the time. In this case, I feel like I know a lot more about structure and pacing than I did three years ago--what needs to happen vs. what I idly wanted to happen, whether it really made much sense or not. Like my mother says, I guess, sometimes it's just a matter of the passage of time.



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Tags: black ribbon, conversations with my mother, grief, house of bark, marie antoinette, writing
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