daily entry: January 28, 2015

Dear Internet,

Interestingly, the top posts on this site are either HOW TOs (whether about librarianship, packing, or whatever) and raw posts about an uncomfortable subject. With that in mind, and as part of ThePlan, I put together a list of things I need to do everyday, no matter how benign. Some I’ve been lackadaisical on, such as meditation, but others such as a single self-affirmation have been in play since I’ve been here.

One thing I wanted to do during this period was two fold: start a series of rituals I would do everyday to create a stable infrastructure and then journal about my day later. I need to see how I’m keeping time and if I need to either add or remove more structure.

To that end, I decided to keep the journal public, so hopefully these will be daily occurrences. This will not replace my usual written vomit on my feelings, but will supplement them.

  • Morning ritual: Wake up, use the facilities, pop contacts in, take drugs, turn kettle on for tea, figure out breakfast. While the kettle is heating up, fill last nights Bopple and also the humidifier. With tea and breakfast in hand, check email, Facebook, Twitter. Respond as necessary.
  • Today was divorce court day and there was a chance we would not have to go, but turns out we are. Get dressed (black fleece tights, grey skirt, chambray button down, black tshirt over the button down, brown ankle boots). I showered the night before so all I had to do was fluff hair, put on makeup, and clothes.
    • Hilarious story: The fleece tights didn’t stay up the last time I wore them, so I assumed it was because of the fabric of the dress I was wearing and that I was actually wearing underwear beneath them (I typically go commando in tights). Test drove them again around the apartment before leaving for court and they were staying up just fine. Except. Except. They started to fall as I was leaving court and by the time I got home, they were below my ass, taking my skirt with it. Good thing I was wearing a long coat.
  • Head to divorce court, meet lawyer. Turns out the referee agreed we didn’t have to meet but didn’t bother telling anyone, my or TSTBEH’s lawyers. Divorce lawyer and I talk about future steps (mediation, which will be easy peasy since TSTBEH and I are incredibly amicable about this whole process).
  • Head home and depant.
  • The rest of day flowed kind together. I worked on book #2 for awhile, read on marketing and promoting as an indie author; cleaned up and submitted a short story (and submitted a short story the day before as well). Applied for volunteer work at GRAM in their library. Eat lunch and dinner. Watched TV for awhile.
  • I ordered my print proof for my book! YAY!
  • Prepped for bed: refilled humidifier, grab Bopple for the night, take contacts off and wash fash; use the facilities, turn all the lights off, and hit the hay.

The second reason for this daily journal is also to let those I talk to daily via the intertubes is that I’m doing okay. I’m always talking or texting someone whether it is TSTBEH, TheBassist, Krazy Kate, or a host of other people. I don’t feel alone and I definitely don’t feel lonely. Sure I have bouts here and there, but most of that comes from the overwhelming sense of the enormity of the situation.

I lead a quiet life and I don’t miss the drama filled Lisa from July – December.

At all.

(Let us thank the drugs for that one.)

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2011

State of the Lisa Address

Dear Internet,

TSTBEH and TheBassist have been very concerned about my state of well being now that I’m living alone. Others have also expressed concern so it seemed like a good idea to do an update.

I’ve been busy every day with errands since I’ve been here, so I’m getting out of the house. Today is the first day in over a week I don’t have plans or errands to run so I decided that I’m going to couch all day watching Father Brown, and we all know I have a thing for crime solving priests.

I had a meeting with my business accountant on Saturday and he’s suggesting it would be far easier for me to get a co-working space rather than trying to build out a home office (as you’ll see in a moment, there is no space for me to build out a home office). My talking therapist, Dr. P., is encouraging me to not do home workouts but head to the gym. Originally I was going to sign up for yoga at a local place that Bethums have scouted out for me, but I have to go to the Y so I can get walking AND swimming thrown into the mix.

Those two things are on my agenda this week.

Mentally, I’ve been okay. Thursday night I started crying because the enormity of the situation has finally taken its toll. The tears didn’t last long but knowing I was here alone, without two people who care about me the most. I have friends here, close friends, but it’s not the same.

The interesting thing is that I’ve not been getting myself in knots about any of the messes I’ve gotten myself into. And for that, I am grateful.

I saw my GP last week and she’s upped my dosage of Lamictal, so instead of 25mg three times a day, I’m now taking 50mg in the morning and 25mg in the afternoon, and another 25mg in the evening along with 10mg of Abilify. The ability to feel rational and not overwhelmed emotionally has been fabulous. So far, this has been the best bipolar cocktail I’ve ever been on. If this is what “normal” feels like, I’ll take it.

I’ve been on this particular cocktail since November and this is the longest I’ve felt stable. I had some of the cracks starting to show about three weeks ago which signified that the drugs were starting not to work, which is why I went off to see my GP. I have an appointment with a medicating therapist in February to for her to manage my scripts and see about possibly getting on ADHD drugs (again).

Creatively and productively, I’ve been feeling good. When I’m home, I’ve been working on my book(s) almost none stop. I think I’ve calculated I’ve spent 50-60 hours in designing the cover, editing, and more. Working on the print version has taught me a lot about book design and formatting; I have made numerous mistakes getting it just right but instead of getting super frustrated, I kept chugging along. Hence I know the drugs are working.

Last week I had an interview for an entry level IT position for a local corporate company here in GR. This was approved by everyone (TheBassist, TSTBEH, Dr. P.) because it would get me out of the house, interact with humans, and plus make some extra scratch. My budget right now is super tight but this would give me some breathing room.

With my name being dragged in mud due to the lawsuit, in addition to changing my last name, I’m looking at changing careers. It’s been over a decade since I held a pure IT job, so this look like a good entry point and the money isn’t bad.

The first interviewer said this is the first time in his career he’s interviewed a person with a double master’s for the position. No one asked me with my education and background, WHY I applied until it was time to ask questions of the interviewers. Eight candidates are interviewing for three positions.

So the apartment. Here is a tour.

Front of the building.
Front of the building.

The building was built in 1870 and was used as a hospital in the area and pre-dates other hospitals in Grand Rapids. There are five apartments, which are cobbled together from patient rooms. Though my apartment is #2, #10 and #9 are on my doors. The buzzer doesn’t work and I will have to make arrangements for shipping items, but all and all, the front of the building is gorgeous.

newlivingroom-before
Living room from the front door.
newlivingroom-before2
Living room from Kitchen door.
newlivingroom-after
Living room after.
newlivingroom-after2
Living room from the kitchen door.

The apartment is only 600sqft but it’s cozy enough for my needs. All the mouldings, floors, and appointments are original to the house. The transom windows are adorable but the landlord leaves the lights on in the hallway so light is always shining through the living and bed rooms.

The apartment faces north and west, so I don’t get early morning sun. Even when it’s sunny out, I have to keep the lights on at all times.

mantelofminis
Mantel of MINIs. (11 in total.)

Most of the furniture and accoutrements are from Throbbing Manor, what TSTBEH didn’t want or was going to sell to consignment, so it worked out. The couch, bed, and TV were bought specifically for the apartment. When I move out, TSTBEH is going to take some of the furniture (mainly the TV, bed, and possible one or two pieces of furniture) for Throbbing Cabin, which works out for both of us.

Interesting, neither of us miss Throbbing Manor. Nearly four years and we don’t miss it one bit.

newkitchen-before
New kitchen – before.
newkitchen-after
New kitchen – after.

The kitchen is tiny, there is no getting around that bit. The oven temperature gauge doesn’t work (yes, I know. Go buy a manual one) and the stove is a bit sketchy. Thankfully, I am a grazer which means my meals are simple and not overly complicated. If I need something more substantial, I have instant meals (soups, frozen, packet Indian, etc) at my disposal. I was planning on crockpotting meals and freezing them but I haven’t bought a crockpot yet but that is on the list of things to do.

newbedroom-before
New bedroom – before.
newbedroom-after
Bedroom after.
newbedroom-after2
Bedroom after.

The bedroom is basic and does its job. Teddy enjoys it very much.

viewfrombedroom
View of downtown Grand Rapids from my bedroom window.

I’ve started getting into rituals, which after the last seven months, have been a godsend. I get up in the morning, use the bathroom. Contacts get put in; slippers found and slipped on. I turn the kettle on for tea and refill the humidifier so I don’t strangle myself in my sleep from the dry air. Breakfast is procured and then I check email, Facebook, and Twitter.

I plan the rest of my day, which typically includes appointments and errands. I get dressed and do what I need to do; come home and depant. Then I do the household things and once those are done, work. Work on my writing, work on my books, work on myself.

It’s a quiet life. No drama. After the last seven months, it’s a welcome relief.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2011

and with that, it is done

Dear Internet,

My deadline for completing the book for Amazon was January 22 at midnight. I made it with 1.5 hours to spare. It felt like I was back in grad school all over again! But the book is finished and ready for pre-orders.

TLC-Cover-Final
Operators are standing by! Pre-order me now!

From the forward,

Dear Internet,
In May of 1997 I moved, for a boy, to California to gain riches and fame. In July of 1998, having ditched the boy and gained neither riches or fame, I started putting my diary online. I named it The Lisa Chronicles for who better to tell my life story than me? While I didn’t think I was extraordinary, I seemed to continually get into extraordinary circumstances. What I also wanted was the ability to connect to others who were like me: the scared, the frightened, the unsure, the outsiders, and any other group that felt rejected by society. Adding in 1998 I wanted to eat the world, what better way to do that was through the Internet?

What can you expect from the first volume? Love, conflict, obsessions with people, places, and things. Rotating cast of characters and adventures. Sprinkle of song lyrics here and there. Pop culture references galore. Sex. More sex. Profane words and a bipolar girl desperate to connect with a world she did not understand.

While this work has been edited for grammar, clarification, and the obvious typo, it remains largely unchanged from when it first appeared online nearly two decades ago.

And lastly, every word here is true.

xoxo,
Lisa

I have been asked by several people on the process, editing, and WHY I decided to go to Amazon first.

Why Amazon
I’ve been following the self-publishing world for about 10 years (probably longer actually). I wanted to do a chapbook or something along those lines.

  • What persuaded me to go with Kindle (as the first step in the world publishing biz) and ebooks is because:
  • Your book is pubbed immediately across ALL of Amazon’s global sites
  • You can set the price and have control over royalties
  • You have complete control over everything
  • You can use Amazon’s print service, CreateSpace, to make print copies
  • Kindle ebooks is available on all devices via the app, so it’s not necessarily proprietary unlike ibooks or nook. iBook is available on Apple devices only and Nook is now defunct. HOWEVER Kindle ebook format is proprietary while iBook/Nook use non-proprietary ebook formats so you can use any app for those books.
  • Amazon’s reach is bigger
  • It’s super easy to EXCEPT the cover creator. I ended up spending $10 for an image from iStock and following Amazon’s guidelines to make the one that I thought was far better.

Now that it is safely up in Amazon’s cloud, I’m looking into adding it to iBooks and other eBook locations.

So that describes the whys, now for the process.

Process/Editing
Because all of these were journal entries from my online journal, I cut and pasted them into a Word document. I was pleasantly surprised to find the book was 117 pages NOT 50 as I originally thought. 1998 has 51 entries while 1999 has 88, which means the second volume could well go close to or over 200 pages. Yowza.

After the entries were in the Word document, I began the process of creating a style guide for me to follow. This included everything from how to format dates to whether or not I was to use AD or CE when speaking of years to how to format images. I wrote all of this down to refer to as I worked.

While I was working, I also created a separate list of To Do items as the book got nearer to completion, including book bloggers, writing an introduction and so forth.

On the document itself, with a style guide now more or less in place, I started line editing. Line editing, to me, was to read each line out loud to catch missed words or wrong spellings, correct them and also grammar. As you can image, this took forever. I corrected a lot of mistakes but if you go through it again with a fine tooth comb, you’ll find more I’m sure. The reading out loud is an old trick I was taught in grad school since my brain processes faster than I type, so I drop a lot of words.

I did a massive spell check, which took several hours, to correct all common spelling mistakes and to add words not found in Word’s dictionary. I also did a search and replace function to make sure there was consistency across spellings such as cd’s became CDs and so forth. For images, I decided to use tables to place them and decided on a width of each image for singular and multiples. Additionally, I broke each month out like a chapter to make it easier to read.

All in all, I probably spent close to 50-60 hours doing the line editing, proofing, prepping and other work. Now that I have a process of sorts in place, time frame for next volumes will be more based on length of the volume rather than figuring out style guides.

Takeaways
I learned a lot about the process of writing and editing a book, which I’ve more or less outlined above. What was more interesting to me was the comparison between 26 year old Lisa and 42 year old Lisa. I discovered a lot of things about myself that were embarrassing, depressing, enlightening, comedic, and shocking. Some things never change, while others, change was definitely a good thing.

While there are a lot of things about 26 year old Lisa that 42 year old Lisa would never stand for, much of who I am today still shines like a diamond after all these years.

I found that,

  • 26 year old me was a classist, racist, abelist, and other -ists that make me cringe today. I decided not to erase those words because I’m not going to white wash my history.
  • I could clearly see the patterns of mania vs depression in my writing. When I was manic, it was a hot mess of grammar and spelling mistakes, while I was stable or depressed, my writing was a lot more measured.
  • A lot of my problems then (instability, unable to commit, etc) are still prevalent today. Now that I see the triggers and patterns, I can easily work on them where I’ve been struggling before.
  • After reading nearly 118 pages, the startling realization that I’m everyone’s favorite crazy ex-GF smacks me across the brain.

With that, now on to volume two!

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe:  2011