Tag Archives: Depression

Leaving The Joy Out of Writing

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dog coutureWriting is not always fun.  There are times when it’s downright taxing.  Various authors have compared the process to cutting veins and bleeding onto the page.  Certainly everyone has had the feeling of being discouraged, of thinking that the words are flappy, the sentiments trite, the whole thing a complete waste of time.  Many writers get so stuck in the morass that they can’t get our, and so they write word after every begrudging word with any joy at all.

Often this happens when a writer gets stuck on one particular story.  I have often seen it happen that a writer will carry around a story for a decade.  He will work on nothing else.  He is going to finish it if it kills him.  He submits the same story over and over and over again to be critiqued.  Although I suggest politely that he move on and write something else he can’t.  He has to tell this story. But now he hates it, and quite honestly, I hate it.  I’ve critiqued the character, the plot, and the dialogue.

I suspect this is even more likely to happen to novelists than to short-story writers, because we’re more likely to put big chunks of time into a novel.  Certainly it’s harder to walk away from something you’ve spent four years working on.  That was how long I worked on my novel, Courting Disaster.  It was the story of a woman who gets engaged 17 times and then falls in love with a man named Chuck Jones.  My novel was a finalist for a number of prestigious literary awards, got a lot of agent and editorial attention, but after four years of writing, rewriting and submitting, no one wanted it.  I was depressed, to put it mildly I was also discouraged at the prospect of having to write a whole new book.

But I did.  I wrote a book about a woman who teaches a fiction class, and I began to feel something I hadn’t felt n a while: excitement.  At one point, as I was trying to figure out who the students were in the writing class, I realized that my old friend Chuck Jones, would be perfect.  I had been obsessed by this character, and I was delighted to move him over to my new novel.  The Fiction Class was, in fact, published by Plume, a division of Penguin.  Often when I’m at book clubs, people will come up to me and tell me how much they like Chuck jones, and I always feel like that’s a tribute to the beleaguered part of me that struggled so hard to get a foothold in this business.

Don’t be afraid to start something new, if this is what you need to keep going.  Start a new story.  Take what you’ve learned and apply it somewhere else. But don’t give up the joy that brought you into this insane profession in the first place.

<div style=”font-size: 8px;”>Original by Susan Breen</div>

Back Then

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depression2One of the readers of my book Dobyns Chronicles compared my book to “The Walton’s” and I have to say I really like that. I thought The Walton’s was one of the greatest shows that TV has produced for the family. I put it right up there with Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. I can definitely tell that I am ageing because nothing is a good as it was “back then”. That got me to thinking about how things were “Back then.”

depression3My dad came from a family where he had thirteen siblings and they lived in a three room house with a path plus a chicken house. He had to eat water gravy and biscuits many times because they didn’t own a cow. Mom would tell how she never had to go hungry because her grandparents had cows and pigs and everyone hunted and fished. Charley Dobyns took care of his family during those tough times but several members of his family left and headed to California because there was work there. Mom’s parents was part of that group that left Oklahoma. They worked in the fruit orchards or the canneries. Times were still hard but it was easier there than in Oklahoma.
cannery

cannery2

My mother always told stories of her family and the way it was “back then”. My sister and I were taught how to prepare and survive just in case there was another depression. Living through the depression left a big imprint on both my mother and my father. I truly believe that the underlying fear of having nothing made the need to work and save very strong. I think that’s why “The Walton’s” was such a favorite around our house because my parents could identify with the time. I could identify with it because of all of mom and dads stories.
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I Am Lonely, Are You?

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This morning I watched a video that made me realize that I’m lonely and it’s by choice.  There is no telling what or who I have missed by sitting in-front of this computer.  Have you ever wondered what kind of world we have created for our children and grandchildren.  I can truly say that I understand the line, “back in the good-ole days.”  There is so much my Grandchildren will not see and experience due to technology.

Take a look at this video and give it some thought.  Have a blessed day.    Shirley

 

 

 

Mind Boggling

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The BrainHave you ever given any  thought to how amazing the mind is.  The more I read and watch what happens in this world, the more I realize what an amazing creation God gave to us.

Even as slow as I can be at times, it’s the other times that totally blows me away.  I ask myself “how is this possible, because I know me very well and this is not my norm.”  I’m not the brightest bulb in this vast closet we all live in, but I’m not the dimmest either. Why my brain can do what it does I will never figure out.  Some people may think they know, but there is always an area of doubt when it comes to our minds.  Science is making headway into figuring it out, but still has a long way to go.

I have struggled with my mind since I was a child. Over my life time, the majority of the disease processes which has affected me, involved my brain. Two of the main areas were Clinical Depression and Encephalitis. According to the Mayo Clinic

Clinical depression symptoms may include:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep nearly every day
  • Slowed thinking or movement that others can see
  • Fatigue or low energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Loss of concentration or indecisiveness
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

The only symptom I don’t have is the recurring thoughts of suicide. I think of death, but not suicide. I deal with it every day. Please don’t think I’m whining because I’m not. It”s just a part of being me.

Encephalitis (en-sef-uh-LI-tis) is inflammation of the brain. Viral infections are the most common cause of the condition.

Encephalitis can cause flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or severe headache, as well as confused thinking, seizures, or problems with senses or movement. Many cases of encephalitis may go unnoticed because they result in only mild flu-like symptoms or even no symptoms. Severe cases of encephalitis, while relatively rare, can be life-threatening.

Because the course of any single case of encephalitis is relatively unpredictable, it’s important to get a timely diagnosis and treatment.

Of course, I had to be one of the rare exceptions. I acquired equine encephalitis from mosquitoes at the same time my Uncle had two horses die from the disease and also a boy in Atoka, Oklahoma did.  He died,  but God decided it wasn’t my time to join him yet and kept me in this world.  I think I was around 12 or 13 when it happened. I’m still dealing with the side effects from the disease.  That’s another one of the “it’s just me” area’s of my life.

Mind BogglingThis reflection of my life  is all due to finding a movie on YouTube this morning called “The Mole People.” I saw that movie in 1956 in Marysville California at a movie theater with my cousins. I was six years old. That is the first time I can remember being in a movie theater.  I never forgot that movie. I told many people about the scenes from that movie over the years.  I ‘m almost 65 years old and I can barely remember my name at times, but I never forgot an old campy horror film. That takes me full circle back to how amazing the brain is.  Of all of the life events I could remember, why is it “The Mole People?”  I guess only God knows that answer and I’ll have to wait to get my answer. Mind boggling, isn’t it?

Here is that wonderful old horror film.  See if you can forget it easier than I could.

The Mole People

Taking The Easy Way Out

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Ok, I admit it, I am doing things the easy way today.  I have decided instead of wracking my rather weak brain (today) to try to think of something to blog about, I am going to post some poetry I have already written.  I think most of us choose to take the easy way out at times, no matter what we are doing.

Our life is full of conveniences, which is diffidently the easy way out.  For instance, using the electric can opener, instead of the hand-held you opened by turning a crank.  I am grateful for the electric, but it does give me pause to think about all the people in the past who had arthritis in their joints, how they ever manged.  Another convenience, the vacuum cleaner, isn’t that taking the easy way out, instead of using a broom to sweep everything up.  The list goes on and on and we take it all for granted.

What happens if another great depression hits, and no one has any money to pay electric or gas bills or buy food.  Do you think you know enough to help you survive.  I feel very blessed, I was taught how to live without the amenities we have today.  It would not be easy and I would never want to see it happen, but I know my family and I can survive.

It is a very tough world we live in, and I honestly believe it will continue to get worse.  I am not talking politics here, I am just talking about life in general.  We improve in some areas but in others we seems to be involved in a landslide headed down the hill.  Hum, I think I just wrote my blog, and I will let you read my poem anyway.  That’s my two-cents for today.

Forever

Not long enough

The depth of your love

Strong and sure