It’s hard to know what to blog about when everything is going really well. I mean, I guess I’ll just write about how well everything is going…?
It’s been 10 days since I was discharged from the treatment center with a diagnosis and a medication regimen, and every day just gets better and better. The difference continues to astound me. I have remained uniquely me, retained my various oddities, sense of the absurd, and extreme sensitivity, but now I have the benefit of a new sense of balance and clarity. I can stick to a steady routine with ease. I’m kind of addicted to exercise (and no one is more shocked at this than me). I can be creative AND grounded at the same time, without the aid of booze or a personally manufactured crisis. Basically, I can handle my fucking business now. I’m sure it’s beyond annoying for me to go on and on about this, but you have to realize that for me, this is like being a born-again human.
Anyway, I guess I’ll just share what is currently going on in my life for those of you who are interested.
I’m seeing my life coach several times a week, which I still think is hilarious and awesome. I’m getting into the habit of planning out every hour of my day and learning how to manage my time, which is absolutely essential for someone like me. The medication works on a physiological level to level out the internal fluctuations, but I have to meet it halfway by managing my external fluctuations as much as possible. And when both of these aspects are under control, I can finally fire on all cylinders. Routine is absolutely essential for my lifestyle, and up until now, I’ve never been able to maintain one effectively. Again, it’s this consistency of body and mind that I never had access to before.
Right now I’m taking baby steps and adding one new lifestyle component at a time. I’m used to making huge sweeping changes all at once, which makes sense for someone prone to extremes. But this kind of change is slow and steady and (hopefully) more permanent. At this stage, I’m focused primarily on my health and my creative projects, and frankly, just really enjoying being with my family and celebrating this newfound peace. Then in the next couple of weeks, I’ll start volunteering. Then a few weeks after that, I’ll get a part-time job. My life coach (hahaha omg I still can’t get used to saying that), my parents, and myself all agree that I need to take my time with all this as I feel comfortable. Because basically, I’m learning how to live like a fully functioning adult for the first time rather than relying on my upswings to achieve the things I want. It’s a really good feeling.
As far as my creative work, I just started the prewriting process for the split-screen love story I described in a blog post a while back (the one tentatively titled Retrograde). It’s an ambitious project, but it’s going very well so far and moving right along much more quickly than I had anticipated. I have the whole plot outlined in pretty minute detail, and I’ll start the actual drafting process April 1st. The plan is to be halfway finished with the first draft by May, complete it by the beginning of June, and have the final draft submitted to The Black List by the end of June. At the pace I’m going, that timeline is completely doable and I may even finish earlier. But I want to give myself plenty of time because of the level of detail involved with this particular screenplay.
Then, starting in July, I will be developing a children’s book idea I’ve had in the back of my mind for the past year or so that is very much in keeping with my tendency to mess with narrative structures . The concept is a series of books called “Circle Stories.” The books will consist of those sturdy cardboard pages commonly used for children’s books, only they will be affixed around a circular binding (I’m thinking either by magnetic strips on the edge of the pages or some kind of plastic snapping mechanism), such that the book stands up on its own with the pages fanning out around it. However, the pages are all mixed up in no particular order, so that the book is also a puzzle for the child to solve, requiring the reader to arrange the pages in the correct order using context clues. I’m thinking that at least initially, I will do common fairytales in this format, both because children are already familiar with them and because they’re public domain, meaning I could adapt them without having to pay royalties or infringing on any copyrights.
I’m thinking Circle Stories might be a useful and marketable tool for early elementary classrooms because it teaches children how to use context clues and deductive reasoning skills to improve reading comprehension skills, all of which may theoretically help improve scores on state standardized tests. I haven’t decided yet, but I may also write the books in rhyming couplets, which would also help children with phonetics.
Of all my writing projects up to this point, I think this one is the most potentially publishable and lucrative, so I’m really excited about developing it. Children’s books are one of the only types of literature that people actually buy physical copies of anymore. And coincidentally enough, Scholastic, which is perhaps the largest manufacturer of children’s educational literature, is actually headquartered in Cincinnati. And my life coach (still laughing every time I type this) thinks she has some connections there to potentially get me a meeting once I have a prototype made. Obviously, I’ll need to partner up with a local illustrator and draw up some kind of contract before we actually start working together. I have a few people in mind that I’m interested in approaching.
Anyway, I’m giving myself a deadline of January 1, 2014 to have all the content and illustrations done, acquire a patent on the book design, and have a prototype created and ready to present. Even if no one commisions or publishes the series, it will be really valuable for me to learn more about the business end of writing and publishing, and I like the idea of building something really novel from the ground up. I think it’ll also be a lot of fun to do a collaborative project for once.
So at least until the end of this year, I’m focusing primarily on my health and well-being and getting these two writing projects completed and shown. I feel really good about my goals and think they are realistic and attainable. And IF Circle Stories were to sell, I could potentially become a very wealthy woman and sit on a steady stream of royalties that would give me the freedom to write anything I damn well please. But that’s getting way ahead of myself :)
*Knocks on wood; immediately regrets jinxing self*
And that’s all for now, I guess. Life has been amazing on the other side of all this…if someone had told me six months ago that I would end up back in Ohio doing a stint at a looney bin and living back at home, I would have been extremely upset at this notion. But so far, I can’t really remember a time when I’ve been happier. As one of my best friends said to me when I was first considering leaving LA, “sometimes the story we begin is not the same one we end.”
And the wonderful thing about endings is that they’re always beginnings, too.