Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dramatically Heartwarming Story

I hinted about a possible heart problem in the last entry, didn't I?  That's because I'm dramatic.  I don't like being dramatic - but apparently I am. Dramatic. Let's just build on that, shall we?

Let's say a dramatic-type of a person was driving in her gigantic and enormously conspicuous van with a little ballerina in it, and let's just say that person felt a big old flub flub flub TOTAL FLATLINE flub flub flub flutter in her heart.  She might have gone..."Hmmm...that was interesting....hope that doesn't happen again..." or she might have gone..."Oh Effing GREAT.  Like my life isn't flipping busy enough at the moment what with the ballet rehearsals and the homeschool co-op and the thinking it would be a good idea to have five kids and All That Goes With Them and the tae kwon do classes and the cooking and the cleaning and the shopping and the pets and the I'm having an Honest To God Heart Attack, which on top of being really inconvenient, is also - for some bizarre reason - a tad bit embarassing!!" 

Let's say she decided to act like her heart hadn't stopped and then restarted with a ribcage rattling THA-WHOMP while she was careening down the highway at somewhere between 75 and 80 miles an hour.  Let's say she just headed to a Starbucks to write for 3 hours and suck down lots and lots of coffee.  Let's say the heart stopping and starting became significantly worse, and by the time she got home, her heart was going stark-raving insane.

Let's say she went to bed that night afraid to drift off because it was obvious that if she did she would DIE IN HER SLEEP, thereby possibly traumatizing her husband if he happened to look over at her when he got out of bed in the morning - 50/50 chance of that - otherwise she would traumatize a child or two who found her later, stiff and dark purple with an unattractive line of drool descending her chin, and who would then sit around her corpse begging for oatmeal even though it was apparently AGAINST ALL REASON that she would get up and fix oatmeal in her current condition. 

Let's say she stayed up most of the night because the above-mentioned scenarios were unacceptable.  Let's also say she stayed up most of the night because she'd had too much coffee.  Let's say she also might have stayed up most of the night because of a stuffy nose due to seasonal allergies.  Let's say she might have tried to deal with the stuffy nose with a snort (or two) of Afrin, even though she is deathly afraid of becoming addicted to it.  Because a girl has to breathe, that's why.

Let's say that in the morning - the heart bippity boppity boo business was Much Much Worse.  Let's say she began being Dramatic and telling anyone who'd listen those closest to her that she might be having a heart attack or maybe had already had a heart attack during which her heart has suffered irrepairable damage.  Let's say People began telling her to go to the Emergency Room but let's say she decided she would really rather die at home where at least she could get a load or two going in the wash first, as opposed to dying all useless after doing nothing but filling out form after form with information off of the health insurance card that the receptionist made copies of but apparently the information is only valid if it has also been rewritten illegibly 90 bazillion times by someone dying of a heart attack.  Let's just say she didn't want to do that - so she stayed at home being all dramatic stoic and brave as if she were on a made-for-TV movie. 

Let's say that after four days of this her husband threatened her with divorce, sick with concern, strongly suggested she call a cardiologist.  She didn't want to call a cardiologist because that could only lead to one of two things: 1) she would be deemed crazy because she wasn't dying of a heart attack or 2) she would be told she was dying of a heart attack.  Even though she didn't want to, let's just say she called the cardiologist and downplayed the entire thing  told them about the palpitations and let's just say they strongly suggested she go to the ER but she promised to cling to life until Friday when they could see her in the office. 

Let's say that on Thursday night she shaved her legs and her husband heard the commotion because she doesn't really shave she rips the hair out by its roots with an epilator and he said, "What? You think he's going to put you in the hospital?"  Let's just say that she might not rip her leg hair out by its roots all that often, but she didn't want to compound the ugly hospital gown problem with hairy calves. 

Let's just say that on Friday morning, she ran around the house cleaning it up because the homeschool co-op was still coming over because the show must go on, after all, and let's just say that she noticed she felt a little better when she was up and moving and screaming hysterically at the children trying to wake up the kids to enlist their help with the house, which had become somewhat chaotic during the time that she had taken to her bed with what was surely congestive heart failure or something worse that would require a heart/lung transplant.

Let's just say that when the homeschool co-op arrived, she was hysterically straightening her hair, an act that perplexed her friends since things were in such an obvious state of disarray and she had Virtually No Pulse - but her husband understood that she needed to be pretty for the cardiologist and he just shook his head.  Let's just say she wanted to be taken seriously by the cardiologist and felt like she had a better chance of that with straight hair.  Let's just say that when she doesn't straighten her hair, her seventeen year old son likes to pass through the kitchen and say, "Mornin' Hagrid."

Let's just say that there were several things she was hoping to avoid in the cardiologist's office and the Number One Thing was a freaking stress test.  She didn't want that.  She also didn't want anyone suggesting she might need a heart cath - as she really didn't want anybody inserting a thingy into a leg artery and then FEEDING IT UP THROUGH THE LEG INTO HER F*CKING HEART even if she had hairless legs.  Those two things?  She wished to avoid.  An overnight hospital stay for some pleasant observation, however, didn't sound half bad.  Let's just say that she has never been admitted to a hospital for observation or anything mild that might be possibly moderately relaxing.  She has heard of this happening to Other People but she knows that if she needed brain surgery it would probably be performed as an Outpatient Procedure because some considerate doctor would assume she'd like to be home in time to fix dinner.  Let's just say she's gotten off-track, here.

Let's just say that her husband accompanied her to the doctor's office because she had practically packed an overnight bag in the hopes of in the case of an unfortuante admittance into the hospital for not really very serious observation over the weekend.  Let's just say that when she arrived at the doctor's office - she was forced to fill out lots and lots of forms and write down all the information on the insurance card the receptionist had already made the obligatory copy of.  Then let's say she was forced to listen to Dr. Oz on the wall-mounted television, and let's just say it seriously interfered with her ability to focus on her new Haruki Murakami novel which isn't easy to focus on under the best of circumstances, much less when her heart was stopping and starting and Dr. Oz was talking about heart health, which she obviously DIDN'T HAVE BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T EXERCISE ENOUGH SO THERE.

Let's say she was called in and weighed and let's just say she Really Hates That Part of Going to the Doctor. Then?  An EKG.  It all felt very serious and let's just say she was glad she'd packed a bag and shaved her legs.  Things were so serious she only remotely wondered what brand of electrodes were being stuck on her body - seeing as how she used to actually sell electrodes in a former life when she was much much younger and had no kids and a healthy heart.  Let's say the EKG picked up TWO (aha!!!  i told you!!!) "episodes of palpitation" and she felt the same relief she felt every time she went to the hospital and heard them say she was really pregnant and in labor and not just overweight with gas.  Word: Not Crazy Y'all.  Serious Heart Problems.

Let's just say that the cardiologist came in and he was of Indian ethnicity and therefore soft-spoken and somewhat under-animated.  Let's say he looked at the EKG and then drew a bunch of heart pictures and began talking in the exact same tone that people use with her when they're trying to explain how the DVD player works and let's just say she quit listening after awhile because even with straight hair, a girl can only take so much. Let's just say the cardiologist diagnosed her as having PVC's...premature ventricular contractions...which are not the result of Actual Heart Disease or Anything Serious or even Mildy Serious And Requiring Observation.  Let's just say he wondered if she'd been under any stress and she said she had not and her husband starting choking and pounding himself on the chest as if his freaking heart had stopped (and they say SHE'S dramatic??).  Then he wondered if she had maybe had any stimulants in the way of caffeine or decongestants and she admitted that maybe she had had a little bit of both.  Then he wondered if maybe, when she had the PVC's that rattled her chest and made her head go light and caused her to seriously consider updating her funeral playlist, if MAYBE she had suffered Anxiety about the PVC's and maybe the Anxiety had caused some adrenaline rushes because guess what adrenaline does?  It gives you PVC's. 

Let's say the cardiologist suggested she come back in a month but she said, "Are you kidding me?  I'M STILL DYING OVER HERE RIGHT NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT MY HEART IS STOPPING AND RE-STARTING ITSELF BY PURE LUCK BUDDY..." and so let's say he agreed to see her in two weeks but let's say he Actually Smirked.

Let's say that she went out for Thai food after leaving the cardiologist's office and only felt mildly guilty about it, knowing that the homeschool co-op mamas were, at that very moment, trying to help Jasper sew a pillowcase.  And let's just say that the PVC's quite suddenly, and quite DRAMATICALLY, completely stopped.  And let's just say that since she's quit sucking down coffee while snorting Afrin and freaking out over PVC's....they haven't come back. 

Wouldn't that make a heartwarming story?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nano Nano and I'm Not Really Breaking Up With You

I've been neglecting the blog for NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month).  I don't usually do NaNoWriMo because it intimidates me.  But a very non-intimidating friend is doing it, so I figured I'd go for it, too.  My goal is 2,000 words per day.  I know what you're thinking: I've written sentences on this blog that were more than 2,000 words.  It's a problem - both when I'm speaking and when I'm writing.  But that's another issue for another day.

My ongoing novel-writing saga is getting tiresome.  My routine as an unpublished fiction writer goes something like this:

*Obsessively think about novel for an entire day
*Start a round of negative self-talk that will last for approximately one week
*Sit down to write
*Read over what was written a month ago
*Start second round of negative self-talk while re-writing everything
*Sit down to write
*Get on facebook, instead
*Wallow in guilt and self-pity
*Write anywhere from 1,000 - 13,000 words in one sitting

It hasn't really been working for me. 

Oh! I left out another important part of my routine: Reading endless books and blogs about writing.  Most of these books and blogs offer similar advice (Excuses are in Italics):

*Write a little each day. Too busy having angst to fit in writing everyday. Obsessive worrying, when done properly, takes up a lot of time.
*Don't obsess with editing and re-writing, just keep chugging. Ha ha! Don't obsess - hilarious.  Also, I like to read over what I've written thousands and thousands of times - changing it each time - often making it much worse in the process - kind of like a bad make-up day when you just keep piling it on and end up looking like Hooker Barbie After Botched Plastic Surgery.
*Set up a time to write and stick to it. Have you seen my schedule? It's really full what with all the obsessing and the five kids and the obsessing!  Getting up early to do it is really hard - although I must admit morning is my most creative time of the day.
*Treat it like a job. Panic!
*Never give up. I can't wait for the day when I finally Give. This. Shit. Up.
*Don't despair - writing is a lonely and often depressing state that never gets better, and in fact, gets worse after you publish. Proof that writing is perfect for me and by the way, way to go with the pep talk!

NaNoWriMo is always in November, which is just plain stupid.  NOVEMBER.  The month of Thanksgiving and shopping and getting ready for the holidays and now, thanks to Camille, the month of Nutcracker Rehearsals.  They're killing me. Also?  I have a problem with the whole quantity versus quality aspect of NaNoWriMo.  2,000 words of crap?  No problem - and this blog proves it.  But what's the point of spewing scenes in a novel that you know will be cut just to meet the 2,000 mark?  I could never buy into it.  But for some reason - this year - I committed. Kind of.

Okay, I didn't officially commit.  There is a website where you're supposed to register.  I went there.  I had to create an account.  Part of that process was choosing a username.  I hate choosing a username.  Too much pressure. Your username will be visible to other participants and can be publicly searched so choose carefully!  Ugh.  I agonized.  Should I use something cutesy?  No - and besides,  Ms. Write and all other possible usernames where I could be all kinds of not really very witty incorporating the word write were already taken. I wasted a good 30 minutes on that.  Then I tried Red Hot Writer since I'm the world's biggest Red Hot Chili Peppers fan - but I worried it might be misconstrued as some sort of I'm So Red Hot Sexy thing, which couldn't be further from the truth.  I thought and I thought and I thought in an obsessive writer type of a way - and I wondered if any of the other wanna-be NaNoWriMo participants were sweating over their usernames, and eventually, I gave up.  It isn't like I needed to be a part of The Community, as they say.  I know enough depressed obsessive people already.

So. 2,000 words a day. 

I managed it the first week - and I'm feeling pretty good about the second - which is uncharacteristically cheerful of me.  I still edit and obsess a little...but only for a few hours and then I'm So On It.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I think I might actually have a manuscript at the end - one that needs to be cut by 30% and reduced to shreds by an editor - but the dots will be connected, at least.  That's HUGE for me.  My dots are generally everywhere.  I'm not so much of a plot-pointer so connecting the dots sometimes results in a duck-billed platypus with 3 breasts and a nasty overbite.  Not really what anybody's looking for in the publishing industry - WHICH -  is a mess and a half at the moment, thereby becoming even more attractive to me what with my fear of success and all.

You know what blows, by the way?  Last January (almost a YEAR ago), I went on our anniversary weekend with every intention of finishing this dreadful thing.  And I didn't do it! (Not entirely my fault because All Of This Happened.) And now January is coming up again - taunting and belittling me - but I think I might surprise it by being Almost Kinda Somewhat F*cking Finished!

Also?  According to Everybody? I'm supposed to be setting up a writer's website or blog.  Agents and editors want to know you have a website or blog.  But you have a blog, Sardine Mama! Yes, I know! But they want to see a PROFESSIONAL blog where I don't post pics of my kids and dogs and where I don't poke fun of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin and use the F-word (even with an asterisk) while whining with poor grammar and too many adverbs about why writing sucks so bad(ly).  In short, I need a place to talk about writing like a civilized person.  And this clearly is not the place for that.

I am hoping I can maintain a writer's blog. (I don't want a website - what would I say? Welcome to my webiste! I haven't actually finished a book yet - and I'm not allowed to post pics of my dogs - but check out what I've been reading! I'm forced to say really nice things about it so I don't sound bitter!)  It's all so nonsensical to me.

So what this is all leading up to - is that I think we need to see other people.  I'm not breaking up with you - I'd still like to hang out with you and you know, be friends, but not EXCLUSIVELY, if you catch my drift.  I'll be sure and clue you in when the new blog is up and running - You can "follow me" as long as you agree to pretend that I'm a mature and responsible writer whilst visiting.

In the meantime, you can still find me here, just not as often.  To make sure you come back, I'm promising this in the next post:  Halloween Pictures (ha! pictures of the kids!) and a synopsis of my Visit With The Cardiologist.  For a preview, watch this (*spoiler alert - I DID NOT HAVE A HEART ATTACK, but it was exciting, nonetheless.) :