Monday, June 30, 2014

504 DAYS

The title of this post is how many days it has been since I made a blog post. You're silly if you think I'll blog more now. But if you are reading this, and actually keep up with my life and the nonsensical thoughts attached to it, here are a list of occurrences in order which have occurred in the last 504 days:

A. We moved into an apartment and joined homes with my mother-in-law.
B. I landed on a steering committee for UT and started changing the entire clinical model for my work (really big deal because no one ever does that).
C. Moved into a new house built from scratch.
D. Worked more that 60 hours a week for about 6 months.
E. Shut down my private practice.
F. Started 2 new positions at UT.

So there's my excuse. Or reason. But I have learned these things while being on a writing hiatus:

1. Writing is fun.
2. When I quit thinking about what I want to write and just write some pretty cool things come out.
3. Reading is supposed to be fun.
4. I'm not that bad of a writer.
5. I need to give up on the life of being a writer and just write.
6. I'm not that important.
7. I'm not that cool.
8. I'm not unimportant.
9. Everything that I thought was important has changed.
10. Because of that my writing has changed.
11. I'm not sure of what conclusions can be drawn from any of this.

So now I could use some input from you. I have several ideas I have been sitting on for short stories. Which ones would you want to read the most about?

I. A "inner beauty" consultant who cannot get work because they are so good looking
II. A female soldier considering what to do with the man who sexually assaulted her while they are in a combat zone together
III. A French trapper in the early to mid 1700's coming into cultural combat with the Acadians who have settled his swamp

And as an added twist I have started on a new novel about Cajun life. Think tell-all including all the humor and the horrors of being Cajun.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras sure does look different

The clock reads 6:53AM. If I were home in LA and 10 years younger I might actually be working on a buzz right now. Or trying to sleep off the one I just finished. Instead I'm looking at a baby monitor. Now before you think anything, I am not wanting to replace the latter with the former. Not even for a second. But it does show me something. I no longer have the option of walking away if things get hard or are not "fun."

In my single twenties I took for granted that if something wasn't enjoyable, and didn't seem it would become enjoyable in the foreseeable future, I could simply walk away. Boss was annoying me? Quit and find a new one. Friends cramping my style. Go to the next party. But even those two things have changed. I don't think I'll want new friends now because I've found the ones I'm looking for. And I don't think I'll get a new job...well because I'm my boss. But with Lena, taking a break isn't an option. I push on when its hard.

Which is starting to make me look at my writing differently. I've now written 3 and a half novels. My first I quit because I was tired of marketing it and I felt I'd grown past it. My second I just stopped writing because I felt I wasn't doing a good enough job. My third I sent to many publishers, but when I realized the changes I would have to make to create a more readable and likeable novel, I just decided to put it "in my nightstand." Now I have finished Running Out of Road (working title). There is so much work to be done on it and less hours in the day to do it. I had a hard enough time finding the motivation and energy to work on it when I wasn't staff for Lena. I feel myself getting ready to walk away...again.

So what do I differently this time? I kind of need your help on this one. I want to treat my responsibility to writing similarly to how I treat being a father. It's my duty, my role, etc. But I'm having a hard time forming that connection. Any suggestions.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A question

In a training yesterday a statistic popped up which showed that eating disorders happen most often in heterosexual women and gay men. The presenter pointed out how the highest predictor of having an eating disorder is if you are attracted to men. I'm sure most people wonder what this says about our society as I did initially. But then I had a second question.

What does that say about men?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The therapist of my dreams.

I have been waking up in an awesome mood the last few days. When I start reflecting on my dreams I keep remembering things people have said to me in them that are really affirming. It's nothing big. It's just things like "I notice how hard you've been working," or "I like it when you..." A guy could get used to this.

That being said I'm still trying to figure out how dreaming fits in my novel. My comatose character (Shauna) connects to her husband (Jeff) while listening to his "reality" show outside of her "dream." Jeff connects to Shauna in the dreamlike state of running and through his actual dreams. It's this last part that has been tricky for me. I don't want to overdo the scenes in his dreams because I know it can end up disjointed from the book. Also I have read in many a book on writing that dream scenes are a big flat liner for readers. So what do you think? Do you like reading about dreams? If so when do you find them tastefully done? Can you think of examples in books I could look to? Quote them in your responses if you like.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goals for 2013

1. Raise a healthy and well rounded (literally) baby.
2. Keep wife happy (thankfully not a difficult task).
3. Attend the Writer's League of Texas writers conference this summer.
4. Get Running Out of Road into the hands of someone in the book industry. Just about anyone would do. Even the guy who cleans the place after hours.
5. Start on my Cajun tell-all novel
6. Survive the 2 jobs while raising a child and find zen in betwe...sorry I couldn't even type that last part.
7. Find a new office mate for my private practice (preferably happening before the end of the month rather than the end of the year).
8. You know what...what the hell. Find zen in 2013.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it...

REM was ahead of their time with this hit. Two perspectives have crossed my path recently. One is the article entitled I am Adam Lanza's Psychiatrist. The other is my father. In the former the author pleads with us to reconsider our view on mental health, and essentially each other. In the latter, my father discusses how his was a generation which lives, and has acted, in fear.

It's true mental health needs a new look. Despite the fact the nation/world has softened it's view on the field to believe it is no longer quack medicine, the concept that this is as essential as medical care is not spreading quickly enough. Cases in point: Newtown, Colorado Springs, and the innumerable amount of daily suicides which go unmentioned on the daily news (It turns out violence against self far outnumbers violence against others, showing we are more considerate of others lives than our own. But save that for another blog. Got to keep you reading). The bottom line is, we have to stop thinking of ourselves as islands. The lines between our mental health and "it's not my problem" is blurred. We should change how think and act accordingly.

The conversation with my father allowed me new understanding. He never hid from me what it was like to grow up in the shadow of the Vietnam War. The enemy, like the above mentioned line, was somewhat blurry. Sure you were told it was oppression and violation of human rights which were the enemy. But the end result seemed different. Any hippie will tell you that. My father also talked about being raised by parents who'd lived through major wars, watching an unthinkable number of the world' population die violently and mercilessly. Fear of this ambiguous violent death must be paralyzing. It floats in your life, everyday, threatening. It's something I've never known. And when I look at my parent's generation, I begin to see why grandparents, politicians, and judges in that age group still seem to make decisions based on fear. Fear of the unknown beast: of manipulation, being made a fool of, or even death.

And I believe this is where the two perspectives cross. Tomorrow is 12/21. The Mayan calendar ends. Some say it will be the end of the world. Others say it is the end of one cosmic cycle so that the new may begin. I'd rather think its the latter, The world has already changed so much in the last 100 years. We can only narrowly point to some nations and say "they are the enemy." It becomes more obvious how the fate of our "enemies" ends up being the fate of us all. The enemy we wall agree on is terrorism (notice the base word terror). It is no longer a war between things, but a war within things. And it seems we learning how to even combat this. The only way a terrorist wins is through fear. The more articles I read, the less I see us demonizing and the more we seem to try and understand. We seem to be looking inside ourselves and conquering the fear to face a strange, changing world bravely. I'm hoping tomorrow is our big arrival as a species and a planet. I have really high hopes for us.

But just in case I'm kissing my wife and daughter extra today.

What are your thoughts? What are some nagging or even paralyzing fears you'd like to let go of tomorrow?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Got to get gut

Look down. No not that far. Look at the thing that uses your belly button as a hood ornament. If you're like me, the hood ornament hangs a little out there. Maybe it just looks like a flat decal. Or maybe you haven't seen your hood ornament in a while. In any form, that thing, your gut, is one of the smartest things on the planet.

 To be honest, I always find this weird. Where along the way did we stop listening to our gut? When I think back to the time warped town I grew up in I remember teachers and authorities telling us to think more. Was it because I was in a time warped town or because I was young?

Either way I find myself reminding myself and other people to listen to our instincts. Aren't we supposed to do that naturally? What's the point of an instinct if you don't follow it? Why does it take a therapist to remind a person this is what we are supposed to do with our instincts? Maybe we've gotten a little too smart for our own good. Maybe we trust our rational brains just a little too much.

Think about it. As a whole, we are getting smarter. Technology has made leaps and bounds in the past 20 years. What the common 8th grader learns I didn't learn until I was well into high school. We communicate on multiple levels. We can multitask. All of this could serve to make us more evolved. But we've left out whole parts of us which understands without using our thinking brains. So undervalued have our guts become that people are often looked down upon to use them.

What's worse, it seems people no longer even know what it's like to listen to their gut. When I look around, people call obsessive thinking, unresolved emotions, and repressed desires (this last one can be tricky) their gut. While all of those could be part of a "gut" none make a whole gut. So here is my lame attempt to define our gut in hopes that someone tells me I'm an idiot and comes up with a better definition: our gut is the directive given to us in situations where action should be taken when our head, heart, and spirit are completely silent yet act as one.

Wow. That was lamer than I thought. Now I ask you, reader: how would you like a main character to interact with his/her gut? To trust it and always use it? To ignore it? To be oblivious? To actively go against it? I'm curious about the people you want to read about.