Postpartum Writers

Have you heard of Postpartum publication syndrome? It appears to be a real thing for many writers.

Many of us have heard of or referred to our “babies” when writing. The act of creation – creating – we are bringing something new into this world. A good book takes years of hard work, anxiety, and challenges.

Then it’s finished, it’s published, and we have to release it into the world. It is, in some ways, no longer ours. The precious little life we have brought into this world is out, and… well… I know we’re supposed to be excited, ecstatic, but somehow, for some reason, we’re feeling down.

It’s a gain, no doubt, but it’s also a loss. It’s a transition from one phase to another, and the hard work is not done yet. In some ways, it’s beginning again, in another way. We are no longer alone in the dark at a desk, but we got comfortable there. And this change from releasing our darling into the world is harder than we imaged.

Many writers go through a phase of mild depression once their work is published.

I’ve heard many “cures” for this postpartum publication syndrome, which include:

  1. Start writing something new. (Of course, I feel writing is the best way to cure my blues.)
  2. Talk to other writers. (It does seem to be a good idea to talk to those with similar experiences.)
  3. If it doesn’t pass quickly, talk to a professional. (Yes. Good idea. There are a number of types of professionals who deal with writers (there has to be, we are a questionable bunch)
  4. Absolutely know that you are not alone.

So – look at me – book’s not even released yet! haha. No worries! I’m okay. 🙂

.

.

.

(this post, by no means, insinuates that the very serious topic of postpartum depression new mother’s face can be solved easily or taken lightly)

Secrets can be Deadly

Secrets, at first, seem so harmless. Yet, when you find the person you love is keeping something from you – something that could damage your relationship – secrets can be deadly.

Secrets can be the lies of omission. When someone doesn’t tell another something or includes it after it’s been found out or questioned. Lies of omission are the gaslighter’s favorite game. This way they allow their victim to fall into a trap – the gaslighter will question their trust. “I was going to tell you. I thought you trusted me.” There’s no easy way to get out of the advanced manipulation tactics.

“I do trust you.”

“Then why are you questioning me?” or “Then you should know I intended to tell you” insert “at the right time” or other. The manipulator will then pout or become angry – or start with one and end in the other. Whatever it takes to throw their partner/victim off balance, leaving them uncertain of how to respond or rushing to correct the situation, which is what they want. Power. Control. Over the other person’s emotions, ideas, opinions.

Another hint for my upcoming release:

BUT THERE’S MORE –

More secrets….

and more to come.

Cover reveal – coming soon!

Gaslighting

The old movie, Gaslight, is about a guy who tries to make his wife think she’s crazy. Have you ever had someone do that to you?

It’s the most maddening thing. Someone tries to convince you that what you think is happening, what you hear, and/or what you believe is all wrong and that you must be imagining things.

In fact, they get upset with you when you start doubting them and try to seek information for yourself. Of course, they are tying to keep you ignorant and under control. That’s what it’s about.

In my new novel – cover reveal coming soon – Valerie is a sweet, kindergarten teacher who married the man she thought could give her the life she wanted and needed.

Sometimes, let’s be honest, we gaslight ourselves. We believe there’s a certain something (or someone) we need or want for us to be happy. If we’re lucky, we figure this out rather quickly. But, seriously, how many of us are that lucky on the first go ’round?

So – is Valerie being gaslighted? or is she gaslighting herself?

Stop the Abuse

A few disclaimers:

  1. I’ve wanted to keep this blog writing related, and this one will sort of be related: One of the characters in my new novel is an asshole.
  2. I’m not a fan of reality tv – as seen in my previous piece – I’ve never seen any of the Kardashian shows, and certainly don’t appreciate Kim K’s latest words about/to women in business.

Given that – This whole Kanye and Kim that has repeatedly made the news makes me wholly uncomfortable and I’ve figured out why.

Trevor Noah said it:

“What she’s going through is terrifying to watch, and it shines a spotlight on what so many women go through when they choose to leave. You know, people always say that phrase to women. They go, ‘Why didn’t you leave?’ … Yeah. Because a lot of women realize when they do leave, the guy will get even crazier. And when I say ‘crazy,’ I don’t mean ‘mental health crazy,’” he said.

“What we’re seeing … is one of the most powerful, one of the richest women in the world, unable to get her ex to stop texting her, to stop chasing after her, to stop harassing her,” he said. “Just think about that for a moment. Think about how powerful Kim Kardashian is, and she can’t get that to happen.”

YES – THIS IS ABUSE. It is stalking! And the madman is threatening the only person I actually like in this whole fiasco – Pete Davidson.

I dated a man who would not leave me alone. I blocked his phone calls only to have him call me from a private number. I blocked his emails only to have him reach me from new email addresses. When I warned him not to show up at my house, he sent letters. When I wrote “return to sender” on those, he began sending post cards, then packages to my children – all of which went straight into the trash. It took more than two years – two years after I broke up with him – for him to stop. He’d even been seeing someone else while doing this. He’d even proposed to me while he was seeing someone else. As if he believed this was just a hiatus and all would be well again.

While he didn’t threaten me – too smart to put it in writing – the fact that he would not leave me alone was frightening enough.

It happened again, some years later, but this one did threaten me. I went straight to the police. In some ways, I didn’t hear from him again. However, he did damage in other ways through other people.

Because the laws of verbal abuse, threats, and stalking are not strong enough to actually stop perpetrators from continuing to abuse their former partners, we see in the news when it erupts in violence.

As Trevor Noah said – K & K’s drama is playing out in the public eye. We can see what is happening. We may have all dealt with an ex that was an asshole – but this goes beyond that. The woman shares children with guy. She can’t cut him off completely. She seems to be attempting to be civil – kudos to her. He continues to harass and attempt to control her. And he is threatening Davidson’s life.

If it is not stopped, we will see a violent end played out in the media.

Maybe the soon to be attorney can help create new stalking laws – perhaps she can see the seriousness of a problem so many others face and fight for them.

Let’s speak out – add to the #metoo movement with the #stoptheabuse movement and bring attention to all who face this type of harassment.

We can say no. We can walk away. We have the right to do that. And we have the right to not be shamed, harassed, attacked, or threatened when we choose a better life.

(More – or less – about the asshole in my upcoming novel on my next post.)

The Warp of Time

Did you ever notice how when you’re looking forward to something it seems to take forever to get here?

And when you’re nervous about something, it seems to come far too quickly?

I think these both describe the release of a new novel.

I thought I’d be finished with final edits. (Maybe I am and I’m freaking out about nothing.) I thought I’d have the cover in front of me – something visual for me to get me through those long nights of worry.

But, so I’m told, we have some time.

But will time go slowly? or will it speed up and suddenly be here and I won’t feel ready?

There’s so much more I want to do with this one – more book signings, more marketing. With the lift of restrictions, that is a possibility.

This story is a little different than my usual. But, then again, I have crossed genres before. I’ve done a little mystery, a little horror, some magic realism, but this is different. There’s actually a romance in this one. That’s not the only thing- you guys know me. The dark stuff is there. The mystical is there. So is some cold hard truths about love, drugs, marriage. And also – the beauty is in the details.

I hope to have a cover reveal for you in a few short weeks! The photo above – HINT. HINT. HINT.

Wellness Writing

It’s do over time. Sort of.

I play with this idea a lot, and we all do it sometimes. We think about something that happened where we could have said or done something different. As children, we had little power over our greater environment. We may have just wished things had taken an alternate path.

Some psychologists believe that it is our perception of events that does harm. If we look at the same event in a different way, it’ll appear possibly not as we first thought. (While I can see their point, I immediately think of traumas that can not be explained in lesser terms.)

However, let’s try an event we experienced as children or teens and rewrite that. Whereas we may want to come out as victors, trust the story to develop itself. Begin the incident and change one detail, maybe two. Follow where it goes.

I sometimes refer to this as reparenting ourselves. I feel if we do this enough it may give our inner children the power to feel at peace.

Feel free to share here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writingtowellness/

I’m considering a Discord account for those who don’t use Facebook. Let me know what you think.

Trust your Instincts – Writing Prompt for Writing to Wellness

Writing Prompt – Instinct

Our body knows! Our sixth sense, our gut feeling, our fight or flight response, those tiny little hairs on the back of our neck, that imagined voice in our ear – we know – but we second guess ourselves. We put ourselves down – oh, you worry to much, we whisper to ourselves. We use logic and emotion to try to talk ourselves into things because we have really no SEEMINGLY valid reason to feel this way. We ignore our instincts and end up in a bad way.

I’m not talking about the worst of the worst – but that happens too! But even that date – we knew something was off, but couldn’t put our finger on it and we end up having the worst time. We make that deal, buy that product, maybe because we need it, but we knew we shouldn’t have and it turns out not as promised. Damn it!

Let’s write TO that instinct. Not about it. But to it. Let’s give that instinct physicality – what does it look like? give it personality – what do they sound like? how does it act? Maybe we should name it! And let’s be honest with our new friend – we need to learn to trust them more often.

Feel free to share it here! I can’t wait to read these!

I may make a Discord group for these prompts. Let me know what you think!

Beautiful Accepted

My short story, All the Beautiful People, has been accepted by Hoxie Gorge for their Spring/Summer 2022 issue!

All the Beautiful People was inspired by a past time of mine – people watching. I think individuals are beautiful and one of the most wonderful things about them is that, in all their anxieties and insecurities, most seem to overlook the loveliest parts of themselves. It might be their smile, their kindness, or even their imperfections!

I spent Sunday at the Norton Simon museum. I watched a group of visitors take selfies with the Picassos and Reniors. They fussed and posed, smiled and laughed nervously. Gorgeous in their own individuality.

All the Beautiful People is told by a first person narrator who looks for this beauty even as she pushes down her own pain.

Wellness Writing Prompt

When I first came to yoga, our instructor made fish pose a regular part of our sequence. And for so long, I disliked it. It was uncomfortable – and I thought possibly unsafe.

matsyasana or fish pose

Fish pose, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a pose in which the person lays flat on their back, but then lifts their upper back and head to place the crown of their head on the floor.

This pose, or rather the dislike of this pose, inspired a story titled Matsyasana. It is the very things which make us uncomfortable, which may (or may not) be connected to other, deeper things, that we must explore.

When I started looking at Fish Pose from a different point of view – thanks to the story – I understood what the pose could be. For me, it became about looking at life from a different point of view. Sometimes we get stuck in our discomfort. If we don’t or can’t move past it, we will never find what is on the other side. And nothing is as bad as being stuck – anywhere or in any way.

The first writing prompt for the group Writing to Wellness is to approach this topic in some way. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a yoga pose, but consider a position which makes you uncomfortable and write about it. If you’re perplexed, begin by attempting to describe the pose or position, then delve into the part of it that makes you uncomfortable – either in a fictional or non-fictional way. The point is just to start thinking about it and writing about it. This group is a safe place. We will support one another in our individual journeys. Feel free to share or ask for feedback.