The other day I got a really great review posted on Amazon from writer Peter Clothier. I was going to quote some parts of it, which I will for promotion sake, but for the love of god and the sake of my blog, I had to post it here in full:
“You’ll find yourself rooting for Carol Es all the way through this hair-raising account of a brutally dysfunctional childhood, a bewildering adolescence of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, and an early adulthood oppressed by the manipulative wiles and practices of the so-called “church” of Scientology. You’ll be rooting for her because, despite all the evils that befall her, she remains herself—perhaps curiously—an innocent. More than that, you’ll be rooting for her because you know that she’s a survivor: she’s writing this book, after all. And because she has the admirable pluck of a survivor. And you’ll be rooting for her because, with her unsparing, caustic sense of the absurdity of it all, she manages to make her journey so thoroughly compelling. (I was about to say “entertaining” but that’s the wrong word. No one is entertained by such a nightmare. Her writing is entertaining, not the story that she tells). Victims are hard to sympathize with when they’re sorry for themselves. Not the case with Carol. If she errs anywhere, it’s with self-blame rather than self-pity; but even that she does with bemused, self-deprecating humor. Oh, and Carol’s wry take on the events of her life is reflected not only in her pithy writing, but also in the dozens of drawings that appear on many of the pages of her book. Known chiefly as a visual artist, Carol makes drawings that divert and compensate for all the horror with their innocence and whimsy. “Shrapnel” is a rewarding—and yes, damnit—an entertaining read!”
Pretty impressive eh? What a boost, and I needed it (because I always need it). Who wouldn’t? Being a “writer” is definitely a roller coaster ride. Or more accurately, a rapid cycling bipolar disorder. I should know. One moment I think what I’m working on is pretty decent. Then the next minute, I know it’s crap.
And am I working on anything? I didn’t think I would be. Here I am, two weeks after the opening and I am finally popping my head out a little. Was I ever exhausted with exhaustion and more exhaustion, postpartum depression and the feeling of never wanting to write or paint again. Luckily, that’s only a temporary feeling, but it didn’t feel temporary at the time. Now I feel confident in just giving myself a long-needed break and that’s not my usual song and dance. I usually beat myself up, so I call that progress.
I even went to the gallery on Saturday and hung around. I got to meet the walker-inners. Nice people. I got a lot of positive feedback on my show (through May 25th). Some big purchase interest as well, but we’ll see. You never know with these things.
By the way, here’s a rock n roll style flyer I felt like making for my show:
I also wound up on this interesting website under recommended exhibits: curator.site.
Okay, so I still want to do a little this and that, but nothing huge or unmanageable. I only hope for opportunities I can take on easily, if any at all! There’s a very slight possibility I will be making a piece for the LA Metro–not that I want to count any chickens before they break out of their shells. If I don’t get picked for this poster project–again, I have absolutely no issue with it. It would only be yet another time I came very close. At least I know I’m frequently being considered, right?
From here out, my calendar is purposely slated for the few people I want to spend my time with. People I’ve put on the back burner long enough. It may be hard to believe, but I’ve had more than 100 emails sitting in my inbox for over a year. It makes me cringe. Gives me panic. I’m not talking spam. I’m talking unanswered conversations stopped dead in their tracks because I got too busy. Seriously. If I had any time at all to write back, I needed it to instead have a good cry, eat food, take a shower, go to the doctor, give a little time to my boyfriend, or pet my dog. Is that so wrong? I wonder if people think I just paint all day and twiddle my thumbs. I wish. I do take naps though. I have to. I have sleep issues. Up at 4:30 am and down at 9:00 pm, then I take a one to three hour nap around 1:pm a couple times a week. It depends how it’s going. Lately, I’m letting myself sleep a few times a week. Longer naps. I need them.
Anyway, I never mean to let emails pile up, and I wasn’t exactly willing to answer them by shooting back a one-liner just to tell them they should keep waiting for a “proper email” either. But this only added to the problem. Instead, all those people in my inbox received nothing but radio silence. Yet, I did this because I felt they deserved an email from me where I could give my undivided attention using well-thought-out words. I didn’t think they needed to be super-long letters or anything; I just wanted to be 100% present, and that happens less and less around here. I never really feel like I’m here. This disassociative state happens frequently to people after leaving cults, or any deeply controlling relationship, or anyone that has experienced a lot of trauma, or to people that have been in wars, have been abused, neglected, abandoned, and more. It’s like an unreality. But I’ve written about all that in my book. It’s one of many subjects in there, yet only a fraction of the whole story.
Since I finished the book last year, it’s been weighing on my mind–all the other stories I left out. Not just the stories I had to scrap, but the unwritten ones too, and even the ones yet to be written that happened in the decade following 2010. There are so many stories.I feel like they are endless. But the book I put together could only be so long, and there was only so much I wanted to string together as straight nonfiction. Nonfiction/memoir is difficult, but I really felt it was necessary for this particular book and in order to make a statement.
I bring this stuff up: disassociative disorder and being 100% present, writing, memoir, short stories,fiction/nonfiction, etc., because I have been writing again lately. I’m not exactly sure what it is yet, but I’m glad for it. Since finishing the book, which was over a year ago now, I’ve either been trying to fix up older short stories, make new ones out of the scrap left behind, or write something new all together. I haven’t been able to get anywhere and thought I wasn’t a writer at all. But during the last week, I’m 30 pages into–something. I couldn’t tell you what it is. Are they a series of essays? Shorts? A book of dark comedic babbling? I don’t know. So far, it’s too long to be a short story, and slightly too short to be a novella. It’s autobiographical, but not absolutely. And it being in first-person can always change too. Who knows.