Grass – A Very Short Story

Smoking CannibisThis is an assignment we had in class Tuesday.

WRITING PROMPT: Some people might think it strange that I like…..

Some people might think it strange that I like grass. Yep. That’s what I said.

Maya, a fellow student, said that this isn’t such surprising. After all, I was raised on a ranch. You know, we had horses. Horses love grass. So no. Not surprising that I like grass.

It was May 18, 1980, and I was a year away from graduating, from high school. Today it’s May 22, 2018, and I’m about to graduate again. This time it will be from the university.

You know what binds these two important events together? Grass. Green, green grass. I love grass… for the horses that is.

Grass was so illegal back then. Eighteen years ago the only news events that I recall were the local Carbone Family weed bust and mountain St. Helens here in Washington State blowing up.

Today I find I’m still involved with grass, again. Green, green grass. All grass starts out green, but eventually its able to be used.

Best conversation I ever had was with my son… and grass. Yep grass, green, green grass. He was so mellow. So honest and likable. I love grass.

Horses… kids… grass, green, green grass. Yes, starts out green, but when its ready it changes and it’s ready to give my son and I more chances to have honest, loving chats.

Some might think it strange, that I love grass, yep, I love me some green, green grass.

[This is from a prompt in my Advanced Fiction Writing class at UWT in the spring of 2018, my last quarter before graduating. Not a great bit of writing, but it was done in less than ten minutes and it got a lot of laughter and clapping.]

Bipolar – Holding Out My Hands

I’ve been trying to reach a young woman that I am in the same major in at UWT regarding her mental health. To me, it is obvious that she has Bipolar Disorder or something similar. I’ve been in classes with her for three years now. Wow, that’s the entire time that I’ve been going to school there.

I care about this woman and I want to be able to help her understand what’s happening to her. Very often she feels out of control. Outwardly, she’s very loud and emotional. Her emotions are so strong that she disturbs people around her. I really want to get through to her. Our mutual friend knows both our stories and she knows that I’ve been trying to reach her.

We have a friend in common and the three of us have a sort of writers group. We meet one or two times a week after class. I’ve been listening to her and feeling empathic towards her. It hurts me to see her in so much pain, and so confused.

I’ve told her I have Bipolar 1 since last year. It has seemed like she doesn’t understand what I’m telling her when I try to communicate Bipolar to Bipolar… until today. Today I felt that I finally made some headway with her. Our mutual friend agrees.

There were two important things I really wanted to communicate to her and I think I might have gotten through.

  1. You have to work hard to understand this illness and learn how to deal with it. She’s been freaking out about how much we have to do at school. She wants to know how I control it so I can do my school work. Understand, information and planning help me get through.
  2. You have Bipolar Disorder and it will be with you until you die. This is not an illness that you will be healed from. It’s not like the flu in that it runs its course and then it goes away. It isn’t a cold or even cancer which can go into remission. We have ups and downs. Sometimes we do better than other times. Sometimes we’re paralyzed and unable to even breathe. Understand this, you will never be rid of this illness. It will be with you always. You must learn to live with it, understand it and try to use it. Be prepared. Have a safety net. See what I’m doing? You must learn about this illness. It is a beast and you must be brave and face it down.

She asked how I deal with the school work. She and I have a class together and we are both doing an independent study program one on one with the same professor. This professor is amazing. She has high standards and demands a lot of us.

How do I get it done? She’s been feeling so depressed and having such anxiety that she’s struggling to get anything done at all.

There are no simple answers, no quick fixes. Remember what I said.

  1. Learn to understand the beast. Ignorance only makes it worse.
  2. You will have this until you die. Be prepared to deal with it every day. Don’t try to ignore it. Fight it. Then I added a third thing she could do.
  3. Work to master your mind in every way you can. Try mindfulness. I’m trying it. We need every advantage that we can find.

I’ve been dealing with Bipolar Disorder for a long time. I’ve worked a little and a lot and failed and succeeded. I understand the beast and I know what it wants from me. I’m doing okay. I’m able to reach out and teach a fellow sufferer. She is so young. This is so new to her. I think, I hope, that today I was finally able to reach her. I think she is starting to understand that I’ve walked this path for a long time and I might have ideas on how to not crash, on how not to burn.

So today that’s what I want to say. Reach out to others who you identify with. If you can, try to share your experiences and help another person. If you don’t know anyone you in person that you can reach out to try to find someone online to support. If you read someone’s blog and you know they have Bipolar Disorder too, leave them a comment. Say something nice. Encourage them. Let them know they are not alone.

I will continue to reach out to my young friend. I will continue to hope that I can reach her. I will be vulnerable with her so she can see that I understand and that I can stand with her.

Okay. I’m manic. Is it obvious? Feel the pressured speech? See me going on and on? Yeah. Manic.

Be well.

Bipolar – Hidden Emotions

After months of not really feeling anything accept sever anxiety, my emotions are waking up again. I’m hoping that all the months of counseling have prepared me for my feelings, my moods.

I took a poetry class this last quarter. I had a difficult time writing the poetry because my emotions were packed away in a closet inside my brain. I wrote very clinically, very much cerebral and didn’t feel inspired or moved at all.

I’m enrolled in the disability program at the college and one of the things I get is time and a half for exams. Of course there aren’t exams in poetry, but the first quarter that I had this professor with I’d gone in and went over my disability papers with her and explained about how this was my first year back to college and I that was having a hard time. I took a chance and told her about my having Bipolar. I haven’t really thought it was necessary to tell my other professors what my disability is, but I felt like I was connecting with this professor and I also felt like I would be able to come and her and talk if I needed to.

I talked to her about how my BP was affecting my writing and she suggested I read “Touched with Fire” by Kay Redfield Jamison to see how many artistic people have mental illness (especially Bipolar Disorder). Funny thing was, I have read it. I’ve spent so much time in it that the pages have come off the spine of the book and nearly every page has notes and things underlined in it. It is in such bad shape that I purchased another copy so I could read it again. This is one of those books I bought in paper back and not as an eBook. If I have a book I want to markup I always get it in print. It’s just easier for me to make notes and find things in.

The first thing I encountered in Jamison’s book was a through recounting of all the symptoms having to do with Bipolar Disorder. Having been only anxious and not having mood swings for a few months per se, I was shocked as I remembered all the emotions that are currently hiding behind my medications.

I’m glad that I read what the symptoms are again because of the fact that we’ve lowered my Latuda and I need to be on the watch for symptoms to return. I have to admit, I’m worried now. I forgot how bad it has been for me. I rate on the top of the Bipolar Disorder Type 1, but I’m also high functioning so I’ve been able to hide it from most people. At least I think I have. Who really knows what others think of us when we’re in the midst of an active outburst of violent emotions.

So here I go, with an intentionally lowered mood stabilizer, and me waiting to see if any of my old enemies come sauntering out of the closet. I must remember not to hold my breath.

Bipolar – Trying to Write

nanowrimoI’m attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year (NaNoWriMo). My eldest daughter went to one of the kick off meetings and she learned about a woman who she told me about The woman used her homework (she too was going to college) as her novel (her word count) so she could get the minimum word count every day. My goal is 2,000 words a day. I hope that between homework, this blog, and other random stuff I end up writing, I’ll be able to do it. So far so good. I only need to write a poem today. Well, not exactly a poem, more a sonnet form I write while wondering around campus. I go to the University of Washington at Tacoma. I’m a junior and I’m studying communications.

This (writing) is a huge stress for me. I first started trying to do NaNoWriMo five years ago. I’ve never made it out of the first week. I consider myself a writer so that’s always stuck in my craw. When it comes to making up a story, I just get stuck. I’ve written a few short stories, you know, like fan fiction, but I’ve never written anything longer. Oh I take that back. When I was about 18 or 19 I wrote an entire Star Trek fan fiction novel. That was way back in the days before fan fiction was really a thing.

Do you know what fan fiction is? Fan fiction or fanfiction is about characters or settings from works of original fiction by the creators of say, a TV show, created by fans of that work. An example might be the television show Buffy the Vampire. Fans of Buffy love the show and characters so much that they write original fiction set in the Buffy universe with the characters from the Buffy universe to add to the Buffy universe stories they’d like to see take place. Perhaps they want two characters to fall in love or maybe to fight. Maybe they want to kill a character off or want a different story line to happen. Or maybe they’d like to introduce a new original character of their own to the universe.

It’s easy to see that people who write fan fiction love what they’re doing. I found that writing it gave me an emotional release that I would not have otherwise have had.

Emotional release – Maybe that’s a good reason for me to start writing it again. I’m not sure I’m in love with a television show enough right now to do that. It requires an intimate knowledge of the show (it can also be novel or other form of story) so I’d have to familiarize myself with shows much more than I currently am.

I’m already super busy with school so while I’ve thought about writing one, I just don’t think I have time to write a full blown story. Although, they do have what is called a “one off” where the fan fiction author only writes a short story that can be just a few hundred words and is self-contained… it is just a few paragraphs and usually is something that occurred to the author that they wanted to share but that wasn’t going to be a long story. A “one off”.

If you’re looking for a place to channel your emotional overflow, perhaps you might consider writing some fan fiction. You remember the book/movie “50 Shades of Grey”? Fan fiction. Yeah.

Fan fiction can be for any age or in any genre. It can be happy or filled with angst. If you join a website like fanfiction.net you can classify your story by age group, genre, and type of story. So if you write a story that is G rated, you can rate it G. If you have lots of sex and violence you rate it M for just mature audiences.

Fanfiction.net has these categories: anime/manga, books, categories, cartoons, games, movies, plays/musicals, TV shows, and other misc. things you might think of. Check it out.

When I was married, depressed, at home with a baby and very lonely, I found fan fiction and subsequently spent many hours reading it while my husband, who was a tub boat captain and rarely home, was gone. It got to the point where I was so unhappy with I couldn’t wait to get back into the world of my current favorite fan fiction. It was an easy and free escape. Sometimes I read it on line, but back then (1993 or so) I printed a lot with my dot matrix printer so I could take care of Jessica and still read my stories. It may have saved my sanity for a while.

I highly recommend you check it out. Some is written very well, some not so much. You can even review the stories.

As a momentary escape from your daily stress, depression or whatever I recommend you try it out. You might it helpful. You might actually find yourself wanting to write some.