Mar 31, 2011

Drug-Induced Paranoia

No, I haven't been hitting the reefer.

I titled the post this way because of a facebook conversation I instigated the other day. I'm writing a fantasy novel, and one of my characters is a drug addict, and I want her to have a "bad trip" for the purposes of my plot, and so I solicited opinions from my lotus-eating high school friends as to whether there's a such thing as a "bad marijuana trip."

The feedback I got was, yes, there is a such thing. People who have bad trips tend to experience extreme paranoia, eg, thinking everyone in the room suddenly hates them or has it out for them, feeling like people are doing things on purpose to send them messages/hurt them, etc.

One of the things mentioned by one of my knowledgeable friends was that an underlying mental-health problem, like an anxiety disorder, can sometimes cause this in conjunction with Marijuana, even if there's no overdose.

It is scary, reading these things because I have this happen to me sometimes. I've learned to sense when my thoughts become distorted in this way, and just sort of ride them out, nod and smile in social situations and try to not act weird because of it. But it's not easy.

And it's odd. I realize suddenly, in a way I'd never thought of it before, that this is not a normal thing at all. My friend stated that her dad gave up his favorite drug because he was starting to feel "paranoid" all the time.

I'm wondering to myself, is there a counter-herb, that could do the opposite? I've taken St. Jon's Wort before. I wonder. If Heavenly Father created a plant like Marijuana, which can relax people but can also instigate paranoia if it's overused, then is there something out there that does the opposite. Did Heavenly Father send his children to this earth knowing some would struggle, and also put things on this earth that would help them specifically with those struggles, if they sought it out? (Again... I'm not intending to hit the reefer or start shooting up or anything... it's just some thoughts about the universe I've been having.)

It makes me wonder about myself a little. The thing is, I'm a pretty functional person. And let's face it--everyone has their issues. In fact, perhaps my biggest weakness in the past is not allowing others to see my issues, see my vulnerability because I was too ashamed of it.

Anyway, some deep thoughts. All this makes me want to reach out to the universe and say, "hey. It's a good place I'm living in. People are great, and I'm a good person and people like me." It makes me want to write it on a sticky note (trite as it is) and stick it on the mirror... though I know that, in the moment, not even something like that would really help. Riding it out--making sure you don't damage relationships when a spell hits you--that's all I've found, in my short three decades of life, that really helps.

Anyway. THoughts, insights about things that you tend to struggle with? And ways you've found actually work to combat them?

Things We Say: Proper Terminology

*disclaimer... we are very honest and open in our house about what some would likely consider to be embarrassing topics*

Bella (watching NSG nurse baby Rose: Mom, Rose loves nipples.

NSG: Yup.

Bella: Moms have big nipples, mom.

NSG: Actually, the correct term for it is breasts, Bella. Nipples are just the part at the end where the milk comes from.

Bella: Oh. Mom, I wish I had breasts.

NSG: Someday you will. Your body will change when you get older, and you'll start becoming a woman and not a little girl.

MayMay: Will they be big?

NSG: I don't know. You'll just have to see.

MayMay: Mom, I want mine to be THIS BIG. (Holding her arms straight out in front of her).

NSG: (studiously not laughing) I think that'd probably hurt your back a lot.

(Setting: NSG fam has just said prayers, and are engaging in a little compliment-exchange that we traditionally do after prayers. Earlier in the day, one of the children was disobedient the point of being put in their room during lunchtime, which they had after nap instead.)

MayMay: Mom, I always get sad when people have to miss meals.

NSG: Yup. It's sad.

MayMay: I cry a lot.

Loli: yeah, you get pretty emotional.

NSG: (laughs out loud)

Loli: (Gives NSG a defensive glance) What? I know what it means, so I can say it!

NSG: (Nods, holding back further laughter.) Yes. Yes you can.

Mar 24, 2011

on the writing front

I have decided to dedicate less time to blogging constantly, and instead set aside a day each week to write a new entry, and a couple days each week to check on friends and family and other blogs of interest.

Anyway, it's been a while, I know. I miss all of you physically and also cyberly.

I'm going to dedicate this entry to the stuff that has happened with me and writing, because it's been a lot, all of a sudden, like a gear that starts speeding up as it gets going. In short, things have been overwhelming! But in a good way.

So, as far as novel writing goes, I finished my historical fiction novel about a month ago, including rewrites and revisions. The first 100 pages were picked to pieces by my Orem critique group. It was the first critique group that I'd ever attended. The experience made me see that writers are similarly eccentric people. Even if they look normal, they're weird like me. It's so interesting. I just click with them, you know? Word nerds, who live inside their heads most of the time, who people-watch but aren't usually all that social....

Yes, it was a great experience, feeling like I've found my tribe, through the medium of meeting with those who share my interest. And I got a lot of important feedback. I've realized that it takes two things to improve substantially as a writer:

1) show your work to an impartial group of people who will be kind but also honest, and
2) do it. Every day.

I have started doing my writing in the mornings, before I do anything else, so that I can just get it done and not have it last all morning or afternoon, interrupted by the hundred little tasks I perform for my kids once I venture out of my room in the mornings. My goal is always 1100 words... I don't stop until I've done at least that much, and then I force myself to stop, even if I"m really excited, because then I'm excited all day about my writing, and I wake up excited and it's easy to get going again. I also almost always make sure that when I stop, I am excited, or at least, I have a place to go for the next writing session.

So.... news.

Well, I got a poem published on Wilderness Interface Zone; a blog that supports the community of LDS nature writers and artists. It's a very, very friendly environment to publish in, and so if you're interested in getting your work out there and getting your name out there in the LDS artistic community, it's a good way to start. If you've got poetry or creative non-fiction that is literary and has a theme of nature, you're welcome to submit there. Right now they have the "spring runoff" poetry competition going on. You can submit any poem that has spring as a theme.

I will have two more published on this site in the next while. I'll link here to them when they appear on the site.

I also won Segullah Magazine's short fiction contest, with the first chapter of the historical fiction novel that I just sent off to Deseret (cross your fingers that they'll actually look it over!! I have more hope this time.) I also happened to get an honorable mention in the Segullah spring contests for another of my poems, as well.

Dialogue has asked to republish the poem I already had on Wilderness Interface Zone, in their summer issue which is devoted to themes of nature.

In addition, I was contacted by an editor of an upcoming anthology of LDS poetry, and asked to submit several of my poems. Five have been tentatively accepted and will appear in the anthology. I'm most excited about this one, because I will be appearing alongside a lot of great names (and much greater writing than my own), and there is anticipation that this might be a sort of groundbreaking thing in the LDS community.

So... all this is insane. The only thing that keeps me from feeling really, really inadequate and really, really worried that I might suddenly disappoint people is remembering that I love writing, no matter what, and will keep doing it, no matter what.

Plus I have a killer critique group right now. And a couple of them are award winning poets. Most of them in my group have already been published, and so there is a lot of wisdom in the room, and a lot of concise, accurate feedback which I so badly need right now. I'll have to write about them sometime; they're a really colorful, fun bunch, and we're all working on very different kinds of projects, so it always makes for an interesting Wednesday when I venture down to Ammon for the meetings (yes. A lot of gas money. But as I said last week to the guy who heads it up--worth it.)

So right now I'm just crossing my fingers that Deseret will like my novel, and that I might also do well in Irreantum's contest, where I have also submitted a few poems and another chapter of my novel. (By the way... the submissions window hasn't closed on this yet. If you're a writer, think of submitting something. It's a great way to have something to put in a query letter, and as I said before, gets your name out there.)

Mar 22, 2011

Things We Say: Spiderman

NSG (to Squirt): Is your name....... zuko?
Squirt (grinning): no.
NSG: Is your name....... Aang?
Squirt: No.
NSG: Is your name...... Katara?
Squirt: No.
NSG: is your name..... Azula?
Squirt: No.
NSG:is your name..... cowboy?
Squirt: No.
NSG: is your name..... Indian?
Squirt: No.
NSG: is your name........ Superman?
Squirt: No.
NSG: What's your name, then?
Squirt: Spiderman!
NSG: Oh, wow. Spiderman.
Squirt: yeah. With lots of creepy webs!
Bella: We watched Spiderman before, mom. It was Ew.
Jaws: It had lots of kissing in it, mom.

Mar 17, 2011

Advertising the Local Resources

So, as many of you may or may not be aware, there is a set of mountains in America which are called the Tetons.

Less of you are likely aware that this name, the tetons, has some vague reference to female anatomy.

Still fewer of you know, I am sure, that Teton is a french word that refers directly to breasts, and not in a classy way. In fact, when I typed the word, "teton" into google translator, the mildest of terms that came up was "hooters."

So apparently we have unwittingly allowed one of the most beautiful landmarks in america to be labeled the "big hooter" range. In fact, it's not that hard to imagine why the French explorers named them thus. (top picture).

Which, actually, I'm somewhat OK with. I mean, as you know I'm not really all that hung up about that sort of thing. Breasts are functional anatomical organs that serve several purposes. We had a discussion about this not long ago. I'm a little bit more iffy about referring to them as "hooters" or "jugs"other somewhat crass-ish terms, but there ya are. That's the French for ya.

What I don't understand is how my new corner of the world, which could arguably be labeled "the happier valley;" whose slogan could possibly read: "If you think BYU's the bubble, why don't you come and try BYU-Idaho on for size; we don't even let you wear SHORTS"--

came to be plastered with Hooters.

Some of the signs Skywalker and I have driven by recently:

Teton Oncology

Teton Glass and Distribution

Teton Lakes Golf Course

Teton lanes and bowling (ouch)

Grand Teton Counsel--Boy Scouts of America

Teton River Village

The Teton Grill (restaurant in BYU-Idaho Cafeteria) (I'd like a chicken teton sandwich, please)

Teton cleaning and repair

Teton women's clinic

The Teton-Vu Drive-In (dead serious. Dead serious. Here's a link if you don't believe me.)

The other day we were house hunting. The north-south addresses are kind of funny here; they sort of span a whole bunch of cities. We were looking for a certain listing and drove around and ended up in a place called... yes, that's right.


Skywalker threw his hands up and said, "we are NOT living here."

And I quite agree. What if my kids ever had a french pen-pal?

My one thought is, there are enough people here who've served french speaking missions...and it's a university for crying out loud. Everyone has to know what "tetons" are? So why do they keep naming things after them?

Maybe people here are kinda earthy.

Or maybe out here, they're trying something that BYU-Utah hasn't tried yet, to up the number of students who get married, and help those reluctant RM-but-I-just-want-to-hang-out types. When you think about it, it's a rather ingenious marketing plan.

you know.... when you think about it.