Susan's Blog

Monday, August 6, 2007


So much for that. I turned down my publisher’s offer as it stands. Not gonna do it. Can’t talk about fun and happiness the way I’ve been feeling. All those cool, happy things I thought I’d discovered? Nah. Not so much. Also, I can’t figure out how to interview all those people and somehow do justice to their stories. How do I write about my process, my thoughts, my journey, from my heart, and then weave in ten other strangers’ stories? I don’t see it. I can’t, can’t, it would be a load of cant. No. I’m in the middle of it all right now — a vortex of tsuris — and when I come though it, I’ll have a lot to say I’m sure, but now? It’s if at first you don’t succeed, cry, cry again.

I counter-proposed a book to them and also sent in my historical fiction, about 1905 Russia. My publisher does historical fiction, too, it turns out. But “only two or three a year, and from established writers.” That’s the Catch-22 of the week. How do you become established? Where does that start?

Feel like the biggest loser since Bill Buckner opened his legs. How can a person like me get a large teenager off to camp on an airplane and then drive around an unknown state, pretending to be an adult? I’m so nervous I feel like puking, but maybe that’s cos I was wrong about fudge.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Meadow

Though it’s been
Over a year since,
I still wish
I hadn’t done it.

Because I think
I feel
I see
A shadow, a ring of dirt, a haze on the soft blue sky; you

Sprouted out of boredom
And ugliness
And nothingness

like a dandelion through old cracked cement, taxi-cab yellow, a slime-green stem

Never mind that it seemed to be some kind of intoxicating, exotic flower

(Or so I thought.)

Like the lily he once bought
me. Overpowering smell of sugar, too tall, sticky, bent, shriveled too

Nearly killed me.

You can (almost) die of sadness and regret. Unless you lie down
under that sky.

Turns out, I didn’t need to know about the store-bought flowers with their garish,
dyed hues
And their crinkly paper.
$9.99 a bunch.

I had a sunny meadow
I have a sunny meadow,
under a hazy blue sky

Saturday, August 4, 2007

You Can Fudge Happiness

Okay, so there’s the light at the end of the tunnel. I see it. It’s so bright it is blinding me. Good. It has now been a week — knock wood — that Nat has been happy and calm. He is still very animated and interested in what others are doing, especially at dinnertime, but not in a way that gets him upset. I sure don’t mind discussing once or thrice who is going to use salt and who is not; that’s just dinnertime conversation! It was just so difficult before when no answer seemed to satisfy him. Or we all had to pretend to use salt on everything just to placate him. But tonight I even said, “Max might use the salt, but sometimes people don’t use salt.” The dreaded, ambiguous “sometimes.” Nat then repeated his desire to see Max use salt, but only once.

On Friday we went to his doc and talked meds, which was a good thing. We came up with a longterm plan for him, which may involve a small dose of an anti-seizure medication. We are going to see if his new, higher level of Risperdal is helping his seratonin, etc. He is still on a fairly low dose of Risp., and I’m glad we don’t have to increase it yet again.

We also came up with a shortterm plan, to help with the difficulty of the airport and the plane ride. We now have Klonipin, which may make him sleepy, but that would be good for all the travel mishegos. I am going to call our airport Monday and talk to someone there about special considerations. For example, even if Nat knows to expect to take his shoes off to go through the x-ray, he will not like it and there is a chance for an outburst at a very bad time and place. I have a note from the doctor, too.

I gotta start packing and figuring out what to take and how much. Very exciting, but also vomit-inducing dread.

What helps that every time is a snippet of fudge. And since I had a lot of anxiety, I had a lot of fudge. That stuff is unbelievably good. Nat and I share an ability to eat infinite amounts of fudge without getting ill. We eat it until it is gone, not until we hurl. Fudge, for me, is the Anti-ralph.

I bought another brick of the stuff last night, because I went to Provincetown with Laura. We went out to dinner, got incredibly sloshed and then we were only a hop, skip, and a jump (especially a skip) from Provincetown, so there we went. I told her I had to get more low-carb taffy and more fudge, the miracle food for Nat and me. Et voila, they had cookie ‘n’ creme fudge, which I bought for Little B, my Oreo fiend.

We also went into Spank the Monkey, or maybe it was Hocus Pocus, and bought me, for the first time, a handful of new navel jewelry: a teensy red die, a little peppermint-like pink and white ball, a purple disc, and a tiny amber rose. The amber rose is to go with my new bellydance costume, which I bought while depressed a couple of days ago. It is gold colored, with bronze and gold beading. I think I will feel completely like Cleopatra in this one (yes, that’s a good thing). I have not received it yet, but soon, soon. A new cossie feels as good as fudge, and is far more flattering.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

In the Thick of It

It’s that little souvenir
of a terrible year
which makes my eyes feel sore.
–The Sundays

This will probably go down in my history as the worst summer in my life. I have been battling my own depression and Nat’s anxiety, as well as dealing with Max’s new teenage attitude of distance. That is not to say that every single day has been bad, not at all; but I have never felt so discouraged for such a long time. I am discouraged about how to help and reach Nat and I am discouraged by my own inability to remain positive and avoid self-destructive behavior. The worse things get, the more worn out I get, and then I am less able to do what I need to do for anyone.

And yet I see that there has been an improvement in Nat. The pre-warn is a very good thing for him, by which I mean a simple reminder of the salient points for the following day. He was happy this morning. Ben, however, has just about had it with him and has been yelling back at him when he starts to obsess. Ben feels like Nat pushes him around. There is alot to balance here; Ben is not allowed to be rude but he certainly can feel however he feels about his brother. So I talked to him for a while last night in the privacy of his room to get a sense of how he’s doing. I tried to point out Nat’s good qualities but Ben does not want to appreciate Nat these days. Still, I think it’s important to remind him of Nat’s overall sweetness, helpfulness, and progress. I have to hope that this helps somehow.

I check in on Max however much he allows. He is building a computer for Ben (it is a surprise) and I am so blown away by this. I am so glad that he is kindhearted and wise. Even though he has his flaws (he is very sedentary and technology-oriented) he is a delight. I love the way he loves Ben. The two of them fit together like a puzzle. I wish they could include Nat more, and I am trying to come up with more things they all three can do together or have in common. Ben’s therapist suggested even going around the dinner table once and telling a joke (or trying). I don’t know. I don’t want Ben to become even more exasperated with Nat. Maybe we can vary it, and each person do their favorite stim, instead. Mine would be either twirling my hair or clicking “get mail” on Precious. Nat’s is probably squeezing words into different shapes and creating a rhythm out of them. Max’s is maybe rolling his dreadlocks; Ben’s got a funny little throat-clearing cough. Ned’s favorite stim? Humming and tapping. It’s my clue that he’s feeling happy.

I have a feeling that when this period in my life is over I am going to have learned a lot. But right now, I’m in the middle of it and just holding on.

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