Conversations with TheHusband on Writing

Dear Internet,

TheHusband is a snob.

So when he asks me what I’ve written lately, and I give him the word count from EPbaB for the day, he turns his nose up at me. “That’s not real writing,” he says. “That’s just your blog!”

This conversation goes back and forth every couple of months, with me defending and him objecting. Finally, it comes out to him, real writing is fiction. Preferably long fiction, a novella or even a novel. Short bits, flash, and other work such as writing a diary online are not “real writing.” But it would count, he says, if I got paid for what I did. (Which is a whole ‘nother entry.)

Writing fiction is hard work. You have to be an exceptional liar, because something you’re creating is false; a lie upon itself. You also have to have the witheral for isolation, tendency for physical solitude, and the ability to create at the drop of a hat. Doing all of this without going insane.

At least that’s my interpretation of it.

For years, when I come up with a story from my past that I was planning on working into a diary piece, he stops me and says it would make good story period. Why not turn that into something else?, he asks. Use it as a jumping off point for a bigger story concept. In the past, for whatever reason, I’ve chosen to ignore him because where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with my writing seemed to be so opposite of where he tries to gently push me.

Something today clicked. I was thinking of something, which leads to another, as it often does, when I recalled an event from my childhood that upon my nearly 30 year removal from the incident, seems quite extraordinary. I was indeed going to write about the incident in its natural form for EPbaB, but something stopped me – the idea that this bit from my childhood would indeed make a grand launch pad into a fictional world. Why attempt to explain what happened and why when time has eroded the more fragile of the concepts of the period? Instead I could create another world where I can fill in the details as they were meant to happen or as I wanted them to happen or as I thought I had remembered them.

In short, make shit up.

This dawning of clarity of how this world works came to me at 4:45PM as I was in the bedroom taking my afternoon pills. When the dust cleared from this acceptance of truth, I checked the clock for the time so I could recall it back to TheHusband for I wanted this moment to be ingrained.

And just like that, the beginning of something came and within an hour, I had slightly over 1200 words (or the equivalent of 43 tweets) committed to paper in some kind of coherent series of events. When I told TheHusband I had committed 1200 words on fiction today, I got a “That’s nice, dear. Is that about two pages?” I huffed and corrected him on the page count.

It was the first time since the beginning of the year I have written anything resembling a fictional story.

A couple of years ago, I purchased Scrivener and last year, I started organizing my work. I have roughly over 40 story sparks, ideas or lines that could be the basis of something, which also includes a couple of ideas that are formatted for novel length. In addition, I have five pieces which are in progress and more than a dozen completed. With the exception of the odd submission here or there, none of this has been shopped around anywhere.

It’s always been painful as I could come up with ideas, I could take notes on these ideas, but getting those notes into a fully formed idea has mostly failed. One thing is for certain, I keep collecting ideas and my tenacity to see them through exists regardless of past experiences.

Another truism that has occurred over the last couple of weeks, as my come down from the drugs has taken place, I’ve started to seriously wonder why I haven’t been using writing as a way of my own escapism from this chaos in my head. Isn’t that what I’ve done before? Why is it so different now? And why wasn’t I exploring a fictional world to give some peace to the conflicts that keep occurring?

I have no answers.

If one thing is for certain from going through my archives in the last year, I am my own worst enemy.


P.S. The one thing I do know, is when I was able to do what I did today, the first thing I wanted to do after telling my husband was to tell you.

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

la princesa de los Ingenios

Dear Internet,

It’s the 272nd day of the year or the end of September, whichever is easier to remember. As I quipped to TheHusband today, my favorite time of year for it’s one of the few months we’re not running our boiler or the central air, ergo the electric and gas bills are down.

And here I bet you thought I was all seriousness and no fun.

I’ve been purposely withdrawing from a semblance of social life as I meter down on the Lithium. I’m currently taking 900mg a day (I started out at 1500mg), and have found that this particular dose is working well for me. At the advice of Dr. H., who suggested if I found a level that worked for me to stay there so I’m heeding his request.

Most of the problematic side-effects from the higher doses have gone, which has been a tremendous amount of relief. As I don’t know how I am going to respond on the lower doses, I thought it best to curtail anything I don’t need to be actively involved in. This includes but was not limited to withdrawing my volunteer work with a few local comic cons happening this fall, my application for a part-time job at a new local comic book store, a few classes I was going to take, sponsored by Grand Rapids recreational department, and a few more things.

If my absence around town before was due to mobility, before that to some sort of depression, this time for a fairly sensible reason: my mental health. Some of the scariest moments this year was going on a new ADHD drug and having it take over my life. When I sampled Adderall and Focalin, I was living in emotional hell and the strain of being “normal” for everyday things took its toll.

I became a sketch of a person who only seemed to exist in novels or on a television show.

This is always the part that never seems to get discussed: the ramifications of going on/off controlled substances and how if done wrong, can fuck with your life in many serious ways. This is the reason why I write about because I want others to know they are not the only ones going through this particular hell. I also noted to my small support circle of those who also were gifted with being Bipolar my tactics and plan and they also agreed what I was doing was sensible.

This entire year has been exhausting. And I feel incredibly vulnerable, tender, and weary of the world at large.

My session with my talking therapist, Dr. P., have been ramping up pretty well. A year into our therapy and I’m finally revealing more about the inner core of me than before. I’m realising more so than ever talk therapy may be one of the few drugs I have left in my arsenal and I don’t want to waste it on discussing stupid things. I need to get rid of the burned husks and lay it bare.

I’m still solidly working on my archives, bouncing through different back-ups to add back in here at EPbaB. TheHusband often reminds me the back-ups I pulled from former SQL tables, still chock full of injected code, can easily be cleaned up by him. I then explained there is something Zen in the grabbing the data I need and cleaning it up myself. It can be so automatic but at the same time, soothing. There is sense of accomplishment to the act his fancy scripts cannot give me.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in 2003, mainly working through the entries where I found my high school sweetheart when I moved back to GR and what happened after. In 2008, he would track me down to my place of work to try to rekindle something, and follow up with the same move in 2011.

Reliving that extremely short period of 2003 has been much more painful than I would have imagined even a decade removed. I was so absolute and sure about our relationship even though he failed me over and over again. I was smart enough in 2008 and again in 2011 to recognize the bridge he was trying to sell me was never, ever going to materialize. It also didn’t help matters after 2011 connection, I found out he was still living with his girlfriend of many years and has a long rap sheet for various offenses. Politically, we’re so far apart it’s laughable and his various social media streams indicate he’s one step away from writing a manifesto while solitary living on the mountain.

In 1989 we were not an ocean apart. By 2003, no matter how much our hearts begged to be joined, our differences outweighed us. By 2008, I had no idea who this man calling on me was for he was not the man I had fallen in love with 20 years prior. By 2011, I was just tired of the ping ponging and the lies.

It is like a bullet has been dodged multiple times. The 17 year old me weeps for the death of someone she had loved, who had died many, many years ago and instead now sees just the shell of a person she used to know.

But it is finding those lost moments of time, which are ripe in their honesty and candor, so appealing as I go through my archives. They remind me I would not be here today without these events happening, the decisions and sometimes the regrets I have chosen. My personal history may not have world changing moments, but there is a richness to the layers of my struggles, pain, and happiness that helped define me as a person and charted the course of my life.

And it helps to remind me, as I come off the drugs, all of that is inside of me. That life, no matter how monochrome it may feel, can always randomly burst into technicolor.


This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: September 28, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.


Dear Internet,


The Lisa Chronicles


  • Hit & Miss
    Hit & Miss showed up randomly on Netflix and we decided to give it a whirl. Chloë Sevigny plays Mia, a pre-op transsexual contract killer who finds out she has a son when the mother dies from cancer, naming Mia guardian. The setup is that Mia, yearning for a better life than the one she grew up with, decides to take on the role of caring not only for her son, but also the rest of her ex-girlfriends’ kids while juggling her day job and romantic interests, as well as all the complications of being true to herself.While the set-up sounds schlocky and alarm bells in terms of handling should be going off, Sevingy surprisingly pulls this off with grace and dignity. The character development was deft and felt honest, and I felt like I could care about these characters, deeply.The show was shot in/around Manchester, UK and theoretically takes place in Manchester and also possibly Leeds, but it could be anywhere UK. Mia’s accent has been likend to that of someone who comes from Irish traveller background (which she hints at as she grew up on the fairgrounds), but her accent keeps dropping in/out; it’s never consistent.The last episode is left wide open for a second season to begin, but SKY tv, one of Britain’s main networks, have announced there will be no second season of Hit & Miss. This is upsetting because there is no closure from the end of season one, which left the viewers with a Mexican standoff between Mia, her son Ryan, and Mia’s boss Eddie. And what happens to Liam?
  • Downton Abbey
    Fall means the return of pumpkin spiced ALL THE THINGS, changing of leaves, and of course the return of my beloved Downton Abbey.For American viewers, Downton Abbey season starts in January on PBS, but I am me and there are reasons why the Internet was invented. This is one of them. I promised ages ago that I would not reveal spoilers anywhere publicly for those without access until January, but I will say season four is shaping up to be as drama filled and nail biting as the previous three.
  • Survivor
    There are only two reality shows I watch, this one and Project Runway. Survivor is more of the influence by TheHusband who loves the strategy and unexpectedness of the show rather character development, so by osmosis, I watch this show too.
  • Sleepy Hollow
    New offering this fall, based on the idea that Ichabod Crane (played by a dreamy Brit, Tom Mison) is not left alone to sleep under a tree for 250 years, but rather he is called awake to help save the world from evil in 2013. The reason? Horsemen from the apocalypse are back, looking to finalize the beginning of the end, witches are also involved, and lawd knows who else.Two episodes in, while not brilliant material, it’s not bad. It doesn’t cater to the obvious and there is some surprisingly good dialogue written. This is definitely on the rotation for weekly viewing.

Weekly watching: Boardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders, The Bridge (US), Project RunwayThe Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, DaVinci’s Demons,  The Vampire Diaries



This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2010, 2003, 1998