Sigh. I guess I get to join the ranks of the aggrieved and super-sensitive. The story we read for class this week was a dystopian future about how people with mental disorders are treated. Once a boy reaches thirteen or a girl gets her period, they get to go to the local mental facility and pick out a “madman” just like we go to shelter and pick out a puppy.
Of course it’s set in California and here is the rationale for doing things this way–“The whole idea is that you take in a madman and that teaches you about Facing The Incomprehensible and Understanding Across Difference, and soon we are one big family.” (Cronin 436)
Oh. It’s all about “understanding diversity”. Well. That makes it all right then. Since you mean well, after all, who cares that you’re penning people with brain disorders up so they can be selected for adoption and treated like animals?
I think the author is trying to mean well. (it’s taken a day and a half to even conceive of that sentence). But as we all know, words have consequences. Particularly when written and published in literary anthologies. And the mental patients read like characters out of a horror movie. It is so stereotypically done it makes me angry just typing about it. And I hate being “that person”. But I couldn’t find any redeeming features in the story what-so-ever. So I don’t know if I’m even going to do the assignment or not.
Mental illness just isn’t like this, you guys. I want equal time to respond. But my little blog doesn’t have nearly the readership this anthology does. And the writing assignment is to NOT react to the content but react to the writing. I can’t seem to do that yet.
So today classes opened in the W’s schedule. I’ve already posted in the discussion threads for this week so I think I am done. I am just waiting for the book to get here that I’m supposed to read for this opening of class. It really makes me ill that I don’t have them all and had to order another one so late.
Found out about another inaugural class member, Allison, that is dropping out. She says it is only for the fall and I hope she does return and finish her thesis. She is so close to finishing and I hate to see her go without doing so. One guy is coming back, Thomas, and I am glad to see that. We have just a pile of new people and we will see what will happen to all of them throughout the next few years, We have two or three that are finishing in December so we will see what happens with them winding up.
I need to turn in my disability plan for this semester, I never did do one for spring but I have a different instructor so I need to do that and make her aware of my difficulty, I need to get in, print that out, and send it back. I don’t anticipate any problems so it will mostly be a formality. But an important one.
I called Social Security yesterday and reported that I was working and turned in my employer information to them. Hopefully that is the end of that. But we should keep receiving benefits because I’m not earning enough for them to stop. I just need to keep doing what I am doing. Because it is working.
Yesterday I took what I have written so far that has been through workshop, read by my professor and commented on, etc. I came up with a little over 100 pages when it needs to be closer to 280. The good thing is I have 100 pages on the meat of the story, starting when I first became really symptomatic through when I ran away to Louisiana.
So I need about 80 pages on my life before hand and 100 on my life afterwards. WIth varying degrees of episodes to talk about, I think I should get to the page count before the thesis year, which I hope to spend refining it.
So we will see. It will be a long process, but I think it will go well. The hope is to have a salable book out of it by the time I finish. I may have a novel as well taking two years of fiction workshop and forms. All I know is that it seems a long time away right now. I’m not quite halfway through the program.
We’re waiting on my mom and dad to pick up the youngest one and spend the better part of a week with them. They’ll come back Sunday. I think it’s going to rain the whole time, but maybe not, Maybe the tropical depression will spin out soon.
So the new site went live with content yesterday and I got almost 100 hits. They almost all came from Facebook; I had linked it to my personal page and a lot of people read it from there. I got a lot of support from people and hope it continues.
Today is the last day of the residency. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned a lot about myself and my writing here and a lot about what I can do with my writing to make it better. I got a lot of validation but also some suggestions from everybody on what to not to do. Some pushback, of course, but I think my reading at the beginning blew the lid off and let other people read controversial, brave things as well.
We are workshopping my final piece today–the dancing one. I really hope to find out what I can do for it and get it out. I submitted more things last night and pulled Hurricane Baby away from someone and gave it to someone else. We will see how all that turns out.
Bob and Terrie have already headed out to go to Williamsburg, I think. He said they were leaving early so that I what I assume. I so hope she does well. I so do. But this is her first real experience being way away and not having us fairly close. I hope she has learned how to behave on the job and how to keep herself from getting into trouble. That’s my wish for her.
So the new site http://www.46reasonswhynot.wordpress.com launched early this morning and had 59 views already, so I am excited for the possibilities for this. Most of them came off of Facebook, which means all my friends were reading it overnight. That’s a little scary. But lovely at the same time. I’m much more confident in my story than I was when I started Day By Day,
I talked with Mary about it yesterday in my mentoring meeting and she reminded me to make it compelling enough for people ot come back to again and again. So I reall yneed to step up my game on the micro essays to do that. That’s going to be a steep learning curve for me redoing the list moment by moment., But it will be fine,
TOday is the next to the last day of residency. I have so enjoyed this time to just create and work. Bob says the girls are sleeping in their new rooms, so that takes a lot of work off of me while I was gone. Hopefully someone has done laundry so I’m not facing a monster lot of work when I get back.
Thanks so much for everyone reading my writing can caring enough to keep coming back. Check out and bookmark the new site as well.
I have never been around people who drink very much. But at all of our social functions people here have been drinking and it’s made me a little uncomfortable. There’s another girl that is sober, too, so that makes me feel less of a freak. But people say the darndest things when they’re a few drinks in.
ANother girl here is freaked out by my writing and said so last night. SHe was much less critical than the other one, but she just kept using the words “wild stuff” and “weird”. I didn’t feel like defending myself last night, I just kind of shrugged and let her go on. But I was told later be someone who was there that they all agreed it was powerful writing even if it was disturbing. And this someone stood up for me and my writing, which made me feel good.
I think I’m up for workshop again today with my piece I want to send to Creative Nonfiction. I’m looking forward to reading it and getting feedback so I can revise it one more time and send it off before the deadline. So we will see how it goes.
I had a conversation with one of the girls in the program yesterday afternoon. We were talking about a news event and I said that a story I had read for workshop that morning was on the very same kind of event and that was spooky, Instead of really continuing that conversation, she turned it to my reading the other night. She told me gently but firmly that she did not appreciate my reading the other night, she thought it was egregiously violent and did not like it at all that I had put it out there because, she said, that kind of thing stuck with her and she didn’t like opening her mind to it. I said well, you wouldn’t like any of what we read this morning in workshop either.
So she asked why I liked to write about that kind of thing. I said I didn’t like it and wished I could write about other things. She asked why I couldn’t. ANd we went around and around the topic never agreeing but never agreeing to disagree either. Now I think she thinks badly of me for my writing such things. 😦
So I’m really going to get into conversations with my mentors about this topic and see if they can suggest ways I can change what I write or if I really need to, if there’s a market for what I do at all. I wonder if we would even be having this conversation if I were a man.