Category Archives: COVID-19

A Most Productive Session

I had a most productive journaling session this morning which has prompted me to want to share. I’m editing out the parts which include top secret novel plot info, ha! I am so excited and have a renewed sense of writing purpose. So much so that I have hired myself to rewrite my comfort novel. I start on Monday. I sure hope I liken my supervisor…

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This is what’s here.

COVID-19 and social unrest and budding fascism and terror and despair.

This is what’s here.

Humans refusing to be silenced, out in the streets like revolutionary times, being the Americans again who founded this country. Americans who are dying of disease and violence and misinformation and distrust of science.

This is what’s here.

What am I going to do with it? Hunkered in my apartment where it’s safe to breathe freely and not through cotton, my little studio apartmentwhere my compromised body is safe. I haven’t been able to write. Not really write. I opened the manuscript folder for my beloved song adult novel with a teenaged girl version of me, the hero of her story. The folder contains drafts of the novel I’ve worked on since 2010 when the story was set in Connecticut, until my dear friend Ricardo suggested I set it in Arizona. He was write. I’ve never been to Connecticut. At the time, I chatted daily in what used to be called iChat, with a friend who lived in Connecticut and I wrote in a world full of snow and scarves and steaming cups of chocolate-infused coffee. When I moved the story to Arizona and created a fictional town there, the world came to life.

Set slightly in the future, {plot points omitted} The novel has been my passion project and my comfort, the one I turn to when my inner teen parts need soothing. I love the story and the characters, especially the guide dog, and my protagonist’s friendship with her best friend Georgie, who inspired her own short story which I rewrote and rewrote with the help of many friends and submitted to an anthology. The story wasn’t write for the publication, but it got compliments and praise from the editors. I’ve held onto it, not feeling right about submitting it again. And now I know why. It wasn’t the right time for that world.

The novel has been beckoning. Blog posts have beckoned. Facebook posts have beckoned. Ideas for essays to send to The Atlantic have beckoned. How Going Blind in Sobriety Helps Me Survive During a Pandemic. Blah blah. I know it would be helpful for some. But I can’t seem to write about reality.

This morning I read my daily Writer Unboxed email and the author talked about how the pandemic is finding its way into people’s works in progress. Feelings of panic and despair injected into scenes and making them stronger. Senses of hope weaving their way into scenes of sadness. My eyes opened wide as I realized what this means for my beloved WIP.

The pandemic changes it entirely. My fictional world is set slightly in the future. Therefore the pandemic has major influence. Panic. Panic for my story. Panic and despair. Oh no. What does this mean. Do I need to let the story go. It will take so much work to go back through it and inject the pandemic and everything it means into my fictional world, loosely based on the reality of our present. Thoughts of defeat wending their way through my synapses.

The obstacle is the way.

Hold on. Wait…my world involves a {plot points omitted}

Hope. Dawning light. This is the perfect time to write this story! I need to start from scratch, yes, but the characters and the world are already here and I can mine my manuscript for scenes and dialogue that I love. This world I created in 2010, a wish-fulfillment world that benefited my protagonist and her blindness in the way that the world as we know it does not benefit myself as a woman who is blind, this world and the the technology that I invented for her is perfectly suited for a post-pandemic world of the future. YES!

Oh YES!

Onward and upward. I will “write like I’m running out of time”.

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Filed under coffeeholic, COVID-19, desert life, fellowship, gratitude, guide dogs, politics, sobriety, writing

Blurry, clear, blurry, clear

***Trigger warning, some content might be upsetting***

I wonder what I was thinking that night fifteen years ago today. Not the surface thoughts, those I think I can recreate with some accuracy. ‘I think I want to sing that Gretchen Wilson song.’ Or ‘I hope he buys another pitcher.’ Or ‘Everyone is watching me as I walk across the bar to the bathroom.’ Those surface, ego thoughts. What I wonder though, is what were the thoughts beneath the noise. Beneath the cigarette smoke and sharp tang of whiskey, the yeasty bubbly beer scent of the bar. What were those trembling thoughts as I wanted to hide beneath the makeup. Don’t look at me. Don’t see me. I’m here with a married man and I’m not a wife. Don’t know me. I’m a ghost.

I wonder what I felt while alone in the bathroom stall. I wonder if I vomited there. The chances are good; I nearly always purged in bars. At home. Make room for more. Fill those voids with booze, with men, with cigarettes. Add a side of nachos and karaoke. What did I think while alone in the bathroom stall, while women primped and preened in the mirrors and gossiped about the guy standing at the bar in the tight jeans and cowboy hat or the bitch at the pool tables in the red heels. What if one of those women was like another woman on another night, who finally left the baby with her mom so she could enjoy a night out with her friends, what if she suffered nights at home while her husband was out with his buddies…and another woman.

Today it’s not hard for me to imagine the underlying pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization running like a program in the background, as yet unidentified by the user. What was I thinking after holding a hand over one eye in order to focus on the lyrics of White Trash Woman on the screen, microphone clutched in my fingers. What forced the intuitive thought–the moment of clarity–which I vocalized to the married man I was with, “Ya know, we should quit drinking and go to a meeting”.

Today I know what I’m thinking. I am grateful I listened.

I hadn’t intended to combine these to anniversaries with the following but they are forever combined.:

Twelve years ago today, a Wednesday, I stared at the golf shop’s sign through the window of the eyeglass place, moving the lenses up and down to compare and contrast. Blurry, clear, blurry, clear. Grandma had urged me to see the eye doctor after my remaining sighted eye had gone all TV-fuzz-like on Monday and landed me in the ER. She would leave me a voicemail the following day, a Thursday, asking me if I still liked my boyfriend after seeing him through my new pair of glasses. That day I would stare at him as my vision slowly faded to gray.

We watched I Am Legend Wednesday night, April 23, 2008. My last sighted movie. Bummer, right? Oh, you liked it? That’s cool. As I write this today, I am isolated like Will Smith’s character. Am I legend? In my own mind sometimes, sure.

The following day , Thursday, April 24, 2008, Instead of answering Gamma’s question, I would spend my three years sober anniversary memorizing my boyfriend’s face in the emergency room. I told him I was going blind and he didn’t want to believe it. Who would? We are still distantly acquainted. I continue to see his face the way it looked that day. We are both frozen in my memory twelve years younger than we are now. I’ve often joked, morbidly some might say, that the way I used to live I never thought I’d see thirty, pause a beat, I went blind at twenty-nine.

Today I am sad. Today I cannot seem to grab on to gratitude the way I usually can around these twin anniversaries, the way I did yesterday. Today I feel the twinge of the self pity I pray for help with daily. I want hugs tomorrow on my fifteen year sobriety anniversary. We’ll celebrate on Zoom. My best friend in Colorado will attend. Silver lining. Today is day thirty-eight of isolation. Just me and my cat, thank God for my cat, in my tiny apartment. Thank God for my tiny apartment, a safe place to shelter, away from others, away from human touch. Away from the man I started dating in January. I’m sad. I’m sad for the millions of people who don’t have the security that my disabilities afford me. I’m sad for the people who have died and for those who loved them. I’m sad for myself and everyone else who’s sad. I’m just sad.

It’s ok to feel feelings today.

Note: Usually I’m much sunnier about my sobriety. Sobriety is freaking awesome and is the foundation of how I’m getting through this isolation one day at a time. If you are struggling with drinking what you feel is too much, even though in-person things are shut down, there is still help out there. You can reach out privately by leaving me a comment and I won’t publish it, or follow the contact link above and I can direct you toward that help.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, anniversary, cats, COVID-19, faith, Gamma, gratitude, humor as coping skill, mental health, My story, on this date, sobriety

…then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind.

Tap tap tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap tap! Ok, that’s me tapping on the inside of your screen. What up? It’s been awhile, right? I think I’m back. At least I want to be back. I am a rider who writes things and those things collect dust in my computer. I remember the days of old, way back in ’09 and a few years after that when I wrote here all the time. I’ve been talking to a few friends about those very years when there were tales of Insert who became Jayden, calls for nouns to spark ideas which became calls for Sparks which became short stories, conversations in the comments, random stories about life as I adjusted to being blind. Some of the happiest times. Then Blogger broke accessibility and I came here
and I’ve been paying way too much money to host all this content that I don’t want to lose but I no longer want to pay so much for so I’ve been looking into ways to not lose my content but also not pay as much and then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind. So here I am. How are you? Like really, how are you?

Since before Corona, I have been trying to find my thing. That thing that we humans need, whatever it is, to feel like we’re contributing to the world. At least I need that thing. After I discovered back in ’10 that writing is something I could still do after going blind, I thought that my dream was to work towards publishing novels and memoirs. I’ve studied the publishing industry, done what I could to teach myself the craft of writing, read books, signed up for seminars and online classes, and finally decided to attempt earning a Bachelor of Art in an online degree program, which failed. Using brain power to access the online learning environment, which is optimized for Windows computers and Jaws when I use a Mac and Voiceover, all while meeting weekly deadlines, proved to be way too much to handle while working to stay healthy with MS. Do you know what is not a bad word? Failure. Trying, really trying something and failing shows me what works and what doesn’t, and committing to anything on other people’s schedules doesn’t work right now.

In December, I began intensive trauma therapy once a week and my therapist utilizes a treatment modality called EMDR. It has been incredibly clarifying! What came out in my last session is that writing on this blog used to bring me great joy. The school experiment failing has reminded me, with therapy, that what worked for me a decade ago is where I’m feeling called now. To my blog. To be able to share my writing with the world, on my own schedule and by my own terms. The blog has been on my mind, and then I decided to send a random tweet and I got a response from one of my long ago readers and friends, Torie. I took that as a sign. I mean, because of this blog I created a character based on her in a scene in a novel that I still work on from time-to-time, that’s what a big role this place used to play in my life. So here we are! I’m hashing out the details of what this will become and for starters, I’m going to get help fixing the colors and fonts and stuff, since my uncle pointed out awhile ago that it’s not very pleasing to the eye, also a new look to better reflect who I am today. I knew that I wanted to post here for anyone who might still be subscribed before I start sharing on the socials, just to get back in touch and check in before the changes happen. I’m considering adding some dreaded ads so that maybe I can supplement my food stamps, ha! I missed blogging! However I also know me, and I know that I tend to run headlong into new projects and then discover that it doesn’t work for me, so who knows. I’ve been feeling called for a long time now to write about facing life’s challenges and the things that I’ve learned about how to do that over the years thanks to recovery from alcohol abuse, and living through MS blinding me. I want to share my courage and tools and right now feels like the exact right time. I began writing this post on the 13th, so hopefully I’ll get into a better and faster habit and keep writing.

We will get through this COVID-19 or Corona virus pandemic, whichever name you like best. We just don’t know what it will look like. None of us knows. But I have faith that the human race as a whole will come together, is coming together, to get through this. While we wait to find out what comes next, how about we do what we can, by putting the oxygen masks on ourselves first and then turning to help whomever needs help?One thing’s for sure, there will be stories! I will be resurrecting the calls for Sparks, absolutle!

So really, how are you?

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Filed under COVID-19, gratitude, in the news, Insert, Jaws, Jayden, sobriety, therapy, Voiceover, writing