So, that’s a bad thing. Right?

As close as I can figure, I was up for 20 hours “yesterday.” I went to my counseling appointment, made a list of all the things I need to do to start dealing with the “aftermath,” as I am calling it, of those lost 10 days, went to my parent’s house and pulled up my Double Delight rose, transplanted it into a pot on my porch along with some pink clematis, and generally felt like I was doing pretty good. I also got most of the trash out of the house.

Obviously, I am ramping up for a manic cycle (if not technically in one right now). But I am having a hard time thinking of that as a bad thing. I am actually relieved. I have lots of things to do, and I need some get up and go.

Granted, the get up and go also tends to wander off and get distracted (in the time it’s taken me to write the above two paragraphs I’ve also played a few Facebook games, said good morning to unsurprisingly grumpy trash collectors, retrieved my trash can, hung a hanging basket, chased the kittens around the porch, put more soil on the rose/clematis, and watered some of the garden). And the not being able to focus long enough to really eat is bad for my hypoglycemia but good on the budget.

I understand that predicting cycles can head off calamity; i.e., knowing when I am about to become suicidal is a good thing to head off, but is knowing a manic cycle is imminent a calamity waiting to happen? My answer: Depends.

Granted, during my last two manic cycles I spent a grand total of about $1,500, and though that was not the greatest, I can’t really be too hard on myself. I struggle a great deal when I am down, and the ups are rewarding in their way. Ok, that was classic justification, but what the hell? I had fun and didn’t get evicted after all.

What are the other pitfalls of mania? Unprotected sex is a continuing issue I’ve faced in the past, but given my geographical location (i.e., not a large population of lesbians or bi-sexual men), travel issues (no money for gas + dizzy spells), and the fact that I have worked REALLY hard to have some sense of taste when it comes to who I fuck, I don’t really see that as much of an issue.

I don’t think I ever could endanger the lives of my cats, no matter how bad I get. Bad driving? Sure. Going into the 10-day confusion zone, I hit two cars (no damage), but since the social anxiety is still pretty heavy, I don’t see myself going wild outside.

So I waste a few days playing video games and watching TV. Who cares? So I rearranging the furniture in my apartment and throw away a ton of trash. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? Even if it is some nicer stuff, or I break some shit, still not the end of the world. Or I might finish a short story or actually dive into that novel project I’ve been nursing. I would put that down as a positive, even though the chances of that happening have been practically zero since the Cymbalta (curse you, fibromyalgia!)

My days of delusional thinking about how I was going to change the world are fewer and farther between, and while I still get that sense of my life seeping out of my hands as I do something pointless and shallow, I am trying not to pay too much attention to it.

Looking back, I think I was actually mostly manic all through college. I would have really bad crashes, but with the flexible class schedule and very understanding supervisors at the library, I was able to get through fairly ok. The delusions started even before college, though the collegiate environment is a fertile ground for delusions of grandeur.

I remember feeling so very different as a child. I was the only one in my immediate family born outside of the month of October. Since I was the only child born in a hospital, I would fantasize about being switched at birth. Until I was in my teens! (I still secretly wish I was the confirmed result of an affair).

I remember meeting a distant cousin once when I was 10 or so, and she asked me if I wanted to study medicine (after I’d rattled off some fact I’d recently read). I told her no, but she replied, “Well, I know you are going to do something special. I can sense that about you.”

That off-handed and potentially insincere comment stuck with me, gentle puffing up my ego. By the time I hit college, I was utterly convinced I could not only accomplish but succeed at anything I “put my mind to.”

During my college career and even as recently as when I was working at the theatre, I tackled projects with a fever that intimidated the hell out of many people. I have a lot of cool things under my belt. But my days of working miracles are most certainly past. I don’t know if it is age, the fibro, or the Cymbalta (or their powers combined), but my magic wand is as limp as a, well, you get the idea.

I still have people tell me things that tend to inflate my Jesus complex from time to time, and my college roommate is my personal cheerleader to keep those delusions alive. But something about after college and my time living in New Orléans, and those delusions started to evaporate.

I was fired up again when I first started seriously studying poetry. But this time the fire didn’t last long. I still want to figure out how to not close the door on an MFA forever, but that is not my first concern in dealing with the aftermath.

Assignment number one today is calling the travel insurance and seeing if there is a chance in hell I can get my $900 for the airline ticket back.

Assignment number two is the write all my appointments in my appointment book and see if I’ve double booked myself.

And that is all I am scheduling, because I want to feel good about what I do accomplish.

In the time I spent revising this, I logged into Moodscope to chart my mood. It is interesting to note that on June 4, I tracked myself at  01% and that is when I wrote that I was not sure I’d found bottom. I definitely went down from there into the minus numbers.

Today’s score?

97% and the top of the mountain is still straight ahead!

Little happy surprises

Today was a day of little, happy surprises, which right now are the only kind I really can handle.

First it was rocks.

Since I have effectively flipped my nights and days, my evenings are now early morning. I wait around until other people are up or shops are open, so I can duck in and get a few things done. This morning I went to Cumberland Concrete with a mop-bucket and a spade, begging for rocks. Since they can’t ring anything up that weighs under 100 lbs., I was given leave to fill my bucket after I politely asked.

I felt a bit like a kid asking to play in the sand. Or like Mary from The Secret Garden. Can I have just a bit of rock…

White and yellow quartz, smooth and wet; they really are pretty.

Next, I stopped off at Surplus City for some 8 penny nails to secure the hanging baskets and got a pair of shiny working pliers to boot. I forget they are there all the time, but if they have what you need, they are super cheap.

Lastly, I stopped in Southern States. The hanging baskets are still on sale, so I got two more as well as a fuchsia tomato cage and 4 more bags of soil. I should be all set to transplant/rescue my rose from my parent’s old garden.

Going so early in the morning really helped with the social anxiety, not to mention those businesses are all relatively local and staffed by local people who have slow, meandering ways. While I used to really find that annoying, I find it very reassuring now for some reason. Some things don’t change, maybe. Or maybe because I was there so early, I thought they thought I was super on the ball. Or that I don’t feel that desperate pressure to be phenomenal that I always felt in classroom or workplace environments.

For example, when I was checking out at Southern States, I got a little confused by the math of my total. I made one of those nervous social laughs and said, “Math isn’t my strong suit.” The checkout lady said, “Me neither.” And rather than feeling my normal sense of competition or drive, I just calmly and easily replied, “Yeah, I’d have to take my shoes off.”

It was an extremely normal, local exchange. It felt comfortable, familiar, intimate. And I felt like I got a zillion things done by stopping at those three stores.

~~~

My next little surprise came after I crashed out and slept the day away.

I’d left the door open in case anyone knocked since I have so much trouble hearing over the fans. But when I awoke and went on the porch to check on Madame, I found a charming little basket nestled down in my new hanging baskets. The basket contained a tea towel and was filled with chocolate chip scones!

I love scones!

First I smiled. Then I spent some time wondering if they contained poison (still having some trouble with paranoid delusions). So I decided to stay up and turn on the computer to see if I could determine who left them on my porch. They were, in fact, from a good local friend I hardly ever get to see but is one of my emergency cat sitters in case of hospitalization.

She said, “I left something for you on your porch inside one of your planters. You don’t have to worry about returning the container. I left a message with your cat  ;-) but I wanted to let you know since it was some scones for you.”

What touched me the most was the unexpected and unasked for nature of the gift coupled with the whimsical presentation. I’ve been happily munching on them off and on for hours.

Luckily Madame must have understood my friend since she didn’t eat them. Madame is a carbs nut.

A few days ago, she surprised me at the door with her latest kill, not a mouse or bird, but a slice of French bread pizza with pepperoni and crawling with ants. She was so proud!

~~~

So that was my day/night. It is 5am now, and my counseling appointment is at 8am.

My plan is to go to my counseling appointment and then retrieve my rose. Then I will spend some time planting and messing about on the porch.

The biggest thing I must do is take out the trash! I don’t want to start “depression hording” again. That is just a slippery, slippery slope.

One question, for anyone reading (*crickets*), what is the best depression pick-me-up you have had? I think a lot depends on timing and just where you are, but I am curious…

It’s decision time…

Many of my friends are worried. I admit there is reason to be.

But even picking up the phone to talk to any of them is a monumental effort. I’m broken.

I have a counseling appointment on Friday, which I think is in 2 days. I really think the time to go into the hospital is unmistakably here. Hell, I was more stable the last time I went in willingly.

But with 4 cats and a garden…no memory of the last time I took my meds…or where my meds are…I don’t know how to prepare or how to ask for help.

I can’t stop crying or spinning off the world…and that’s when I can get out of bed.

I watered the garden today when I got up at 4pm. I filled the cats bowls with food and water. I let them get some air and threw the old newspapers away off the porch. I checked my messages and emails. I ate some crackers.

That is all I can manage. I just need to survive until Friday…

Mental Illness Awareness Month

Mental Illness Awareness Month.

From my favorite Seattle blogger!

Also, I am taking a little blogging break to deal with new med side-effects (tremors, dizziness, and pealing gums so far) and KITTENS (Momma and litter from the shelter to foster)

The role of this blog is…Part II

The word multitasking originated in 1966, referring exclusively to computers and their computations. Automation of tasks to make the human life that much easier. But in 1998, the word started being applied to humans.  On the surface, it might sound like a good thing: do more in less time with less effort.

But really, as a modern concept I think it sucks.

Because we got the do more part, and maybe even the less time part, but the effort feels like it has tripled.

And with my recent run of near-crippling anxiety attacks, I lack the math skills to compute my effort to do even simple tasks. Say good-bye to my days of multitasking.

I don’t want to work full-time, volunteer full-time, and part-time, and be a graduate student, and be creative on deadline, both personally and professionally, all while pretending I’m not desperately lonely and need a social life that does not include an agenda.

My day yesterday was perfect: I woke up naturally around 11am, cuddled with the kitties, met a friend for lunch, played with kittens at The Book Center (10 are ready for adoption), went to Southern States to look at flowers, played with my cats at home, did some light house work, talked to my sister on the phone, and wrote this blog.

No stress, no panic attacks, minimal hallucinations (I’ve started actually keeping track of that, too).

But also no work, no grading, no deadlines, no bullshit.

Which brings me to my point–dun, Dun, DUN–what the heck am I doing talking about all this in a public forum?

First of all, thanks to everyone who posted comments on Part I.

I’ve mulled this over for a while, and I realized this blog has had a bit of a multiple personality disorder (not a current diagnosis of mine). Or rather, I’ve tried to multitask. Maybe it is because I’m lazy. Or confused. I’m confused often. But I blame that on being born in the Year of the Monkey.

The way I see it, I have three reasons for writing a blog:

First–Personal: I am going through a major life shift wherein I am trying to truly deal with my health, all facets of it, in a more mature, responsible way rather than simply running away when it gets too scary or uncomfortable.

To do this effectively, I need to write about it. But I have a difficult time holding myself to personal deadlines (just look at the state of my website, some of those pages have been “Under Construction” for three years). I need to write everyday. That is how I cope best because I am a writer.

I also need personal connection and resources to support myself during this shift. My closest friends live literally hours (if not several time zones) away. And I’m crap at calling (phone anxiety, though my besties are kind enough to call me). Besides, the type of support I need is too much for a single person, or trio of persons, to deal with. And while some of my dearest friends have a pretty good understanding of some of my issues, I really need to connect with people who can say “been there, swallowed that.”

Hence a personal blog is a major priority for me now.

Second–Creative: If you look back at some of my first posts, this blog was intended to be a creative outlet. While I have always written poetry, I originally planned to study creative non-fiction, particularly the personal memoir essay.

This makes sense as an author for me now as well because most of my poetry is pulled, at least is a small way, from events in my life or experience. Even the themes in my fiction can be linked to personal obsessions, which is true for all writers. So writing about things that are superficially personal would be a way to build a platform for my work, laying the foundation for a book later on.

While this has some appeal, I am far too overwhelmed to do this consistently. The energy that goes into churning out a 1,000 word essay of literary quality every week, let alone every day which is my current timetable, is astronomical for me. I am a slow writer and an even slower composer. I feel for now, this option is an impossibility.

Third–Professional: Finally, there is the professional blog. This is where statistics come into play.

The standard advice is to pick a niche you are passionate about (or can at least fake a healthy interest in) and then you blog regularly about it in hope that eventually you get enough hits to attract the interest of advertisers.

Alternately, you can create a following surrounding your small business service to attract customers, with the idea that you give enough advice/service/copy away for free to attract attention and a warm fuzzy feeling (engagement) until some of those hits turn into paying clients (conversion). This is also where most writers get the advice to be writers writing about writing in the hopes of getting writing jobs.

When I think about this, I alternate between feelings of resistance and panic.

I don’t want to!

Not only does that sound deadly dull, I also have to admit that I can’t force myself to read those types of blogs (even when they are written by writers I like with the possible exception go Neil Gaiman). And if I have zero interest in reading them, should I really be adding to the glut? I mean, not all of them are totally spammy. But most of them are hardly original.

And how am I expected to blog about freelance writing in an original way? I guess my post about teaching the kids’ workshop comes close, but realistically, I’m not going to pick up new freelance clients that way.

Most of my freelance writing jobs fall into one of two categories: marketing or manuscript. Those people are looking for people with solid reputations for quality and efficiency, which means they ask around. They don’t troll blogs.

So the roll of this blog is….Personal.

I am going to keep it linked to my author’s page on Facebook, my website, and various other online profiles and what-have-yous.

And if that costs me some freelance clients, so be it. I mean, if they turned down a freelancer in a wheelchair, we’d all think they were assholes, right? So let’s treat mental health issues the same way.

Yes, I have health problems, but I am still a damn good writer.

And very modest, too.

Spring Resolutions

Procrastination just isn’t the right word.

I’ve not updated this blog in over a year. I’ve not even really remembered it. I doubt anyone who was reading then remembers it now either. That’s ok. So why, dear reader, am I bothering to post now?

This past week, I was lucky enough to get a honey of a freelance gig. Reading through Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Australian blogs and doing some direct marketing offers. And while I saw more pictures of how to cook pig intestines than I ever wanted to in my entire life, I got to thinking…

I have a blog. If people can blog about the subtle differences between delicious dead pig insides and unpalatable dead pig insides, maybe I could too. Blog, that is.

But again I was confronted with the same problem. Niche. I don’t really have one.

I tried to get one. In titling this blog Living on the Green Edge, I intended to use that as a jumping off point for discussing the financial difficulties an underemployed, scooter driving academic often found herself in. However, Poverty is apparently a difficult topic to write about when you are trying to survive it and also difficult to get ad placement for (Do YOU need a sturdier cardboard box to live out of??? We have the widest selection of discounted boxes in the Tri-State area! Lowest prices allowed by LAW!!!). Not so much…

I also tried to blog about environmental issues; the name is an obvious indicator. But I really suck at being green.

Example: When I first moved into my current apartment, I decided I was going to recycle. I got bins to place on the porch and everything. I was careful to remove the labels from the jars and cans, and even ran them through the dishwasher to make sure they were clean and wouldn’t start smelling or attracting pests. That was March of 2009. The bin is full, and I’ve never emptied it. I just throw everything away now. When I’m not too depressed to use a trash can, at least.

So I just gave up. It was easier. The past year has been topsy-turvy, as most of my years are, but I feel like lots of things have changed.

New Hair +New Cat = New Me
Feeling a little depressed one day in March, I went to the local shelter and found Madame Mimsy. She is a cuddler and a grumbler. $800+ in vet bills later and both Ashlie Ann and Madame are happy and healthy.

But I don’t want to write just a personal blog. That’s like super indulgent, right? That’s not going to get my writing noticed or launch a career. I need something hip and cool and attention grabbing. I need to platform, platform, platform.

And then I thought…Fuck it.

I want to blog..about myself. Because I LOVE talking about myself. And some people may find that interesting, but if they don’t, that’s ok. Because right now, need to blogI need something that I have to report to that is not a journal that sits on my bedside. I need to get myself to the page, and I need to write whatever I need to write. So I have no idea what my posts will be about. Maybe inspiration will strike. Probably not.

Whatever. Once a week, I am going to try to be here. Focusing on real stream of consciousness writing to get myself back on track. If you want to stick around and see what this ride will be like. That is  awesome. If not…I forgive you!

Namaste

Planting Passion

Passion long suppressed will always burst and grow one day. While this has not yet happened in my “love life,” I do have hopes for another area.

This past week, even during the holiday, I was chained to my desk trying to be productive. I am not a productive person by nature. Eyes wide-open, I stare off into space and think about all sorts of things: lines of poetry I’ve read or have yet to write, items that have shifted from wants to needs on my wish lists written on scraps of paper littering my desk, the particular shade of blue-purple-grey at a point in the sky. My mind wanders, and sometimes so do I, ending up at the window or in another room without realizing I had moved. In any case, that means tasks that should take 20 minutes take me an hour. So while I did finish a number of projects, it took enormous amounts of time.

Quite a bit of that time was spent ghostwriting 30 freelance articles on the crazy mix of heterosexual relationships, martial arts, and container gardening. Before you get an image of a straight ninja needing advice for his windowsill herb garden, let me assure you the topics were separate. By the time I came out of my work-fog Friday morning, I had decided to have an unproductive day. As I let the cat out so she could inspect the porch, I noticed that my own container garden was looking a little worse for wear. Actually, the pansies filling my three railing-boxes were all flat! My garden was shriveling up and ready to die while I was typing planting advice! Some serious garden time became my priority for the day.

Bereft of a watering can, I make due with a sports bottle. The first round of watering went straight through, trickling onto the neighbors porch (and dog). To relieve the stress on the plants, I trimmed off all of the flowers and buds showing color. Pansies produce more flowers and flower longer if you prune them back on a regular basis. I had already added some slow release fertilizer a few weeks ago, so I didn’t need to worry about that, but I did notice some of the lower leaves were wilted beyond help and yellow. I pulled them off as well to promote airflow around the plants’ bases and prevent conditions ripe for mold.

I have been placing trimmings in a spare box I didn’t plant in this year (ran out of funds) in a makeshift compost heap (I also tossed in two bananas that I just could not bear to trash). Eventually, I would like to compost for real, but that has not hovered near enough to the top of the To-Do list as of yet.

Next, I moved on to my long neglected house plants. Luckily for me, spider plants and heart-leafed philodendrons are damn-near foolproof. However, the white crystals forming on the stems, sides of the pots, and creeping across the top of the soil were ominous. Salt build up. Potted plants need periodic deep waterings to flush out excess salts (which also means they need more nutrients added). I had also neglected to transplant my cutting…for a year! So I hauled everything out onto the porch and set about giving some TLC.

I think what made this even more fun was the fact that I was in my nightgown.

I also rescued my beleaguered basil from over-watering. Basil tends to prefer root watering (place a pot with drainage holes in a bowl of water), and I had dumped too much water in last week since I was in a rush. Of course, basil is another easy-care plant as it likes going dry between waterings.

My lettuce is a hopeless case. I also need to diagnose some nutrient deficiencies across the board. For example, why of two surviving borage seedlings, one is gigantic and the other is so tiny. It’s like the one is a nutrient vampire. My only real success was stringing the philodendron up and away from my munching kitty. I told my sister that you would think after it makes her so sick she would stop eating it. Then my sister reminded me that we often rationalize drinking that last glass of wine, knowing we may be worshiping at the porcelain altar. I just can’t imagine the leaves tasting like a fine bottle of Beaujolais.

I love gardening. Envy creeps down my spine when I see other people’s sunny yards. I do have plenty of space, but until now I have not really utilized it. Most of the flowers I really love tend to be sun plants. I also have no patience for growing things from seed, so budget concerns frequently squash my dreams. But I am planning to buy myself some shade loving climber roses (large pot with freestanding pillar) for my birthday this September. And jujitsu classes. After all, I am turning thirty. Time to start flossing and going to the gym and only doing things I love. Or at least that is my plan: Ninja (check), herb garden (check), heterosexual relationship (um, maybe not that one).

*Note: This blog is meant for edutainment purposes only, and to that end, I may occasionally use some literary license. Also, I am wearing my nightgown right now.

101 ways to pass the time during Snowpocalypse/Snowverkill ’10

Snowpocalypse/Snowverkill 2010: a series of significant snowfalls in the Mid-Atlantic region, which have grounded me for over a week. The scooter is snug under its duct tape-patched nylon cover and about three feet of snow, and I have tried to creatively pass the time. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Netflix. The Gods gift to the housebound. For as little as $9 per month, you will have unlimited access to endless supplies of streaming B-movies, random A-list cult classics, and obscure television shows. So whether you want to work your way through the cheese-tastic Xena and Hercules series or indulge in the crack cocaine that is LOST, Netflix is a wise investment for even the snow-free times of year. Caution—the sensual red of the viewer screen can easily seduce your productive life away. Set a timer for safety.

2. Facebook. I think everyone I knew in the region was on Fb this past week. From posting/enjoying nonsense links (Calvin & Hobbes Snowmen) and perfecting crop rotation schedules on Farmville to partaking in communal lamenting/rejoicing over cancellations and stalking old lovers from the other side of the world, Facebook took up large chunks of my raw, non-baked time.

3. Clean out your e-mail Inbox. This is probably the only genuinely productive task I accomplished this entire week. Nevertheless, I am proud to announce that my mired swamp of communication is down to under 100 e-mails and only a handful awaiting reply.

4. Index your music. Tasks like this are the ones that generally slightly improve quality of life but are too tedious to actually sit down and do. However, during times of emergency, or substantial procrastination, they are the perfect activity for making you feel like you are actually accomplishing something worthwhile. I take an obsessive-compulsive pleasure in organizing all the albums and artists, with proper album art, into the appropriate folders on my external hard-drive. I also like to keep track of how many different languages I have in my 14GB collection: 14 and counting.

5. Balance your checkbook. Another worthwhile task; unfortunately, this only took a couple of minutes of creative math. The mysterious $5.10 made another reappearance. How long before you just decide it really is your money and not just an oversight or un-cashed check?

6. Spend quality time with your pet. Ashlie was quite happy I was home with her. She showed her pleasure by sitting on top of me at every opportunity and curling up between my arms as I type. Of course, she does this normally, but she seemed more relaxed this past week. I tried to convince her we should go play in the snow; however, she reminded me she knows where I sleep, so I took the idea off the agenda. We did spend some time on the porch knocking icicles off the skylights and eating last season’s verbena. Crunchy, and if you squint your eyes, the snow looks like powdered sugar.

7. Knit. Well, in theory, I should have finished several of the 20+ projects I have on my needles, but I guess this seemed just a bit too productive. Sorry, everyone, 2008 and 2009 yule presents will be further delayed.

8. Read. If you are a student, this may, unfortunately, be a drudgery, but for those of us who are not chained to mandatory books or teachers buried under white mounds of essays, snow storms are a good time to catch up on some light reading. I am currently reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke, which is enjoyable in a bizarre way but is not really the best stuck-in-your-house-without-any-social-outlet sort of book. “Desperate” isn’t the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind.

9. Clean your house. Yeah, right…

10. Bake-fest. The prerequisite for this step, of course, is having stocked up on needed ingredients before the storm(s) hit. I did not. The thought of going to the market sent chills down my spine. Think about it: the normal after-work rush, on Super Bowl weekend, before a massive, “history-making” snow storm. Not a chance. However, in a stroke of forethought several storms ago, I bought a large jar of Nutella. So I replace this suggestion with “Find out how many things in your cupboard taste even better with Nutella.” If you have never tasted the sweet nectar of the gods that is Nutella, let me assure you that you have not yet lived. Nutella hails from Italia and is made from hazel nuts and chocolate. The recipe came about as a result of government oppression, true story. So in the name of activism and forestalling boredom, I empirically researched the enhancement capabilities of Nutella on a wide variety of things and discovered my current favorite: Pepperidge Farms’ Chessmen.

11. Call your mom (or relative of choice). I mean, I probably don’t call her enough anyway. I think she likes hearing from me even if I am not her favorite child. And she can talk for quite a while about her cats. I think she spoils them rotten to make up for past shortcomings, but they are extremely ungrateful. At least I never peed on her bed. Well, not for many years.

12. Watch your neighbors try to dig out. This kept me entertained for hours. With no curtains, it was like impromptu theater.

13. Have a wine tasting, by yourself. Again, this requires pre-storm preparations. Nothing like watching the snow fall while sipping a glass of red wine by a fire. Unfortunately, all I had was the effin’ snow.

14. Write letters. Who doesn’t like getting something in the mailbox other than bills? I have several friends, including one who is teaching in Ghana, who write to me, rather more faithfully than I reply. So I used the quiet time to catch up on some correspondence. Of course, the mail was not running in the area, so my letters, rent check, water bill, and Netflix disc went out and came back in several times before they actually were taken, each time looking the worse for the wear. My porch gutter is spilling an icy cascade onto my steps, including my mailbox. So if you receive a very smeared envelope with water stains, please don’t be afraid to touch it. It is just melted snow; I promise. However, I make no claims as to what was in the snow before it got to me.

15. Write a self-indulgent blog. Obviously, this is a personal favorite. Who doesn’t like talking about themselves? Plenty of free hosting places exist on the Web, and blogs are supposed to be the new (last several years) trend in writers marketing the hell out of themselves. Decades have passed since the only necessary skill of a writer was, well, writing. Writers must do the work of legions of paid professionals (agents, editors, marketers) yet are only paid for the writing part of the process. If they are lucky. However, like the allure of Nigerian princes, state lotteries, and capitalism, somebody’s father’s cousin’s former roommate won a movie deal, so the cycle perpetuates.

16. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

In the end, I spent more time these last few days having paralyzing panic attacks over the state of the weather than I did being productive. So while I should have a pile of edited poems and essays tucked safety in envelopes waiting for the next time I can catch the elusive mail-person, all I have to show for myself is a neat Inbox and a balanced check register. As the snow melts, I hope so will my anxiety, and next week awaits.

*Note: This blog is meant for edutainment purposes only, and to that end, I may occasionally use some literary license. Furthermore, by reading this notice, you are acknowledging that no legal liability exists for following the aforementioned suggestions, and you are aware you should enjoy yourself at your own risk.


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