Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Darwinism and Depression

It is no secret that I believe in Intelligent Design. Nor that I refer to the Designer as God. So in essence, yes, I am a creationist. There are numberless aspects of these definitions that I could debate and talk about to possibly no end. Those conversations are for another day.

Having been recently reminded of the political implications of Darwinism VS. Intelligent Design, my mind was prevailed upon by a new understanding that in fact, I have bought into some of the more sinister ideals of Darwinism.

If you know me, you know my body has rebelled against it's age and decided it prefers the health equivalent of an 82 year old. I am the epitome of false advertising from the outside looking in.

Recently a change in medications has allowed me more of a middle-aged vigor and I have enjoyed being surgically removed from my bed. It's a wonder that anyone would miss doing dishes and laundry and making dinner. But oh the joy, when I was once again able to function.

It felt good to contribute, to not be a drain or burden on my husband whom for so long has had to do everything. The kids have stopped talking about how they miss the mom I used to be. And exercise is a dream come true.

This last weekend I had a scare that made it seem like these two months of strength were all but over.

How difficult.
How hard.
How depressing.

Depressing, yes.
My definition of depression,

"Are you going to come to my field trip or are you going to be sick that day?" Questions from my kids, wanting me to do things, be with them, play with them and barely having the strength to breathe.
Mom has a headache, mom doesn't feel well, mom's staying home this time. . . mom's always sick.
Dirty laundry guilt, dirty bathrooms guilt, no dinner guilt, not waking up to help kids guilt, not being a supportive wife guilt, being a nothing guilt.

A zombie, a vegetable, a problem.

Because here's why.
If I can't contribute, I have no value. If I can't contribute, other's have to pick up my slack. I am a burden. And under Darwin's law of evolution and natural selection, I deserve to die. The weak and the feeble fall behind the herd and are devoured. For a reason, for the betterment of the community.

I bought into this. The same mentality that brought about the holocaust. It still sweeps countries today with genocide. If you are deemed inferior, you are expendable at best. This Darwin Theory is a handy tool for dictators.

If Darwin is right and I'm just another form of sludge, then I should die. Let the other sludgies be happy and be less burdened. Not like I'll regret being dead because that's all she wrote. One less sludgie in the world.

But if I am a daughter of God, if I have a divine purpose, if all that I know and believe in my faith is true, then I am not what my body can and can't do. If I am to become, as He has asked, like my Savior, then there is something to learn from the crappiest of situations. Things like service and compassion and love.

My challenged situation wasn't all depression, in truth I have a husband who reminded me all the time that I am not my body. And the kids did help a lot. I did feel hope and love and many many times joy.

Yet there were those times that I would succumb to the dark fruits of Godlessness. Not on purpose and obviously not realizing what it meant when I did.

There is a depression I felt that I can directly correlate to the pervasiveness of darwinistic thought.

Hopefully the clarity I have now will not soon dissipate when things get hard again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Writing and Gardening - Because They're Related

It’s taken me years to make my own little Garden of Eden. I grew up where fruits and berries grew spontaneously. Ever heard of Salmon Berries? Most people haven’t. They look just like Blackberries, except of course they’re salmon color. They have a mild sweetness, the upside being you never eat one that makes you pucker.

Over the years I’ve planted two Bing cherry trees. Two pears. A Russian plum. Apricot. A thornless blackberry bush. Raspberries. Last year a blueberry. And I have 4 garden boxes. This doesn’t count my ornamental trees or flowers. Like my goradceous lilac outside my front door.

As you know it takes years for trees to give you a good crop. I still have jars of plum jam from two years ago. Because I live in the Boise area, our weather is much nicer than what my lovely Utah peeps go through. My trees blossom earlier, I’m able to plant earlier. Ha ha except dangit and boo.

The other night my kids were wondering what sort of lunatic gets near to tears when the news of a frost hits her? That would be me. I’m that kind of lunatic. Everything is breaking into full bloom. So I had them wrap some of the trees in old Winnie the Pooh sheets. Others in tarps. Oh yes, redneck aint the half of it.

But my cherry trees are my oldest and dearest loves. And they’re huge. I just couldn’t get a dang tarp over the smallest of the two. So we wrapped a few branches. But not before my daughter nearly had her first hernia at watching her mother stand at the very near toppest of the tree holding a huge tarp during a wind storm.

The part about the writing starts right here. Nature/Life seems to have different ideas and priorities than I do sometimes. I call not fair, but what can you do? It wasn’t too long ago that I made a decision to write a novel. It actually came about because my life really stunk – physically. I was pretty bed-ridden and blah blah blah.

I started with a historical fiction about someone I find fascinating. But I set that aside as I found my stride with YA Contemporary. So I wrote, 180 pages in a few months, or was it longer? Probably longer. I loved the character, the situation, the supporting cast. But I got hit with a hard frost called, “You can’t have all that happen to someone so young.”

So I started over, with her older. But that changes only EVERYTHING. And I’ve gone back and forth about all kinds of things in this new situation. And just recently I changed the MC and another big character. I changed their voices.

I feel like my cherry tree. A little frosted and downtrodden with the whole process. Sometimes close to tears. Sometimes in a panic. The thing is, it would be ridiculous and stupid for me to take a chain saw to the trunk of my trees. It’s just part of the growing process. Even though I want to chainsaw my efforts to write.

So guess what? 60% of my cherry blossoms survived the night. I don’t know how. It hit 27. They were all supposed to turn brown and die.

Seems I still have a lot to learn about hope and faith.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Secrecy of My Politics, and What About Yours?

Are you political? Liberal? Conservative? An independent? Republican? Democrat?

I don't know what I am. I just know there's been a lot going on in the world. And the hypocrisy and irony is driving me crazy.

I try not to talk politics much. I have trust issues. And though I'm capable of loving and adoring people that I vehemently disagree with on certain topics, I don't trust others to do the same for me. But I might be changing that. Maybe.

Nuclear energy. Libya. Healthcare. Public Unions. Afghanistan. Iran. Iraq. Domestic Policies. Public education. I have strong feelings about all of this. I veil some of it in humor. That's how I've dealth with all the hard things in life. Except my husband hears a lot of it. Poor man.

But what do you dare say? And are there things you don't? And why not?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Journal Entry for my Posterity

Ann Dee Ellis posted about journals today on her blog. I commented that I did write in a journal, started when I was 9. But it was all a lie. Except for half the time where I apologized to my journal for neglecting it. Journals are sensitive things. And magical things. They sting you with guilt.

I have written from time to time. Tried to write a few things when my babies were little. I even wrote a few excerpts when Brendan and I were dating. I'm glad I did. Even though I was always worried about what my posterity would be thinking when and if they read them.

Maybe I should've written a journal of apologies. I imagine it would go something like this...

Dear Posterity,

Sorry about the freckled white skin, and no, you will not tan. Just accept that pink and white are your only shades.
I should probably apologize for your want to punch people in the face. I should apologize for that. I really should. Punching people is wrong. But for some reason, punching people is some of my favorite memories. Also, sorry about whatever mental issue that is.
Sorry about being painfully competitive. Eventually you will temper and mature. But until then, kick some serious trash. Take no prisoners. NO ONE should ever beat you in a water fight. Ever.
Also, okay yes, this has to do with violence too. It's just that, well, just try not to land yourself in jail. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers

So here's the straight truth. A year and a half ago I had a small interest in writing. I mean, I've always enjoyed writing. But for publication? Never. I decided I should take a writing class from BYU. My professor was very encouraging and put me into a class at a BYU Writer's Conference.

I had never heard of such a thing. A conference for writers? Was I a writer? Did I want to be a writer? I spent a week in a class with Ann Cannon (A.E.Cannon) and 12 other writers in an advanced novel class. They were so patient with me. They talked about critique groups and the other conferences they had been to.

The conference was loaded with great authors and I even had a chance to meet with an editor from New York. She looked at a few pages I had written and the interview wasn't terrible. Despite my having no idea what I was doing.

I returned again this last June and had another great week in Utah. It's such an odd, but great feeling to be encouraged by people who've published numbers of books.

So here I am, preparing for my return trip to this conference, not just as an attendee but as a participant in it's formation. And I've had the privilege to see some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make it feel like a trip to Disneyland for those who attend.

I hope to see you there.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Writing and Pregnancy

Um, did you know I'm working on a novel? Two actually, but mostly one at the moment. Sometimes it's fun to tell people you're writing a novel and sometimes not. It's like being pregnant with no due date.

"How much longer?"
"Are you almost done?"
"When can I buy it?"
"Are you published yet?"

Part of me says yes, yes, I'm expecting. Isn't it exciting? But then after awhile it feels more like that last month of pregnancy where you're all, "Get this thing out of me." And people start saying, man you look like you could have that thing any day now. Except they say, are you still working on that? Or, aren't you done already?

That's when telling regret starts. Because growing a baby is dang hard work. And that poor baby/book, it gets the worst treatment. Cuz I don't know how to be a pregnant lady or writer yet. (Note to readers, I'm actually quite familiar with being pregnant, but I'm talking about the first time.)

So in the book I'm writing I think, I need more of this. Kind of like how I told my husband, more hot dogs and cheese are needed. At midnight. And then i see another pregnant lady in her cute pregnant aerobic outfit (you people make me sick) jogging down the road and I think, I'm doing this all wrong, because I just read this book and it's excellent and it's nothing like what I'm writing.

Here's the real deal with my first pregnancy. Vomit. A lot of vomit. The feeling hitting me, running to the bathroom and vomiting on the kitchen floor and slipping in my own vomit and sliding in my own vomit and ramming into a door all covered in my own vomit which made me, vomit. And this relates to writing. Yes it does.

I'll be minding my own business, just typing away when a scene will hit me. And I'm suddenly a crazed lunatic. I'm weepy and teary and I don't want to sit there anymore. Or sometimes I crack myself up because let's face it, I'm funny. And there's just too much sarcastic punk in me to not let it slip into my characters.

And it's all a bit of a mess. But you have to write that way. Or alteast I do. The clean up comes later. Sometimes one scene will bring another one out, like slipping in vomit. Other times not. That's called dry heaving writing. I hate that kind.

So now you feel all educated about writing and vomit and you think, why would I ever want to write? Because duh, eventually the baby comes and you think, maybe that was all worth it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Conflict of Interests

My youngest was home with me today. And I'm in a hurry to finish my manuscript.
Is it just me, or does this seem like a conflict? Of course. Because don't you know,
"There's nothing to do in this whole house."

So I thought, okay, I don't really write ALL DAY anyway. Just a few hours on a good writing day.
List of non-boring things we did:

1. Make a miniature of our dog Peanut with a conglomerate of crafty kid things we have. Which included the use of a glue gun. Which means yes, I touched the hot glue a few times trying to stick the little eyes on.

2. Read picture books by Judy Cox and Kristyn Crow. Voices included.

3. Shot each other and the windows and t.v. with nerf guns.

4. Ate food.

After all of this I felt like a good mom. Until there was a 3.4 minute pause in the action wherein I was reminded that, "There's nothing to do. Nothing is fun by myself."

At that point I did what any book writing mom would do, I turned on Scooby Doo and then started to write. But even Scooby Doo is boring if you have no one to tell all the parts to. He's a sports broadcaster in the making. Kid gives a great play by play.

Someday I'll finish.
In the meantime, I'm sharpening my mad nerf gun shooting skills.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Writing the Hard Stuff

So I'm not the best at blogging.

The book I'm currently writing is an emotional one. And one that picks scabs off of past scars. I write for a while and feel great, and then I feel it affecting me. It's pretty hard sometimes, actually. But I know I'm supposed to be writing it.

So what do you do when you feel all emotionally confused? You talk to Carol Lynch Williams, the author of some of the best, hardest books, ever. And you whine and cry and tell her too much personal information. And then she tells you the best advice. Because she's Carol.

First, you need to read her books. Did you? Okay. She said, you can't put it all in one book. Our lives require more than one. Pick one big thing, change it a bit, because you're writing fiction, and then pepper it with smaller events. So simple. And something I can see so very clearly in her writing now that she mentioned that.

I'm not done writing the book, but I have the whole thing in my head. And today, my goal is to write out those events that belong in the book. Seperate from the book. My plot is already mapped, and I have much of the book written. It's in the revision that the possible changes will take place.

I just love formulas. I love patterns. I listen to what other writers have to say, to their advice, to their experiences. It's just that sometimes, one person will say what I need to hear in the only way that will get to me.

Thank you, Carol. And thank you to all my friends and peers who have helped me along this path.