Saturday, March 13, 2010


Hope springs on this rainy day. The kind of hope that is rational. What kind of hope?

That the price of not doing your art is greater than the cost of doing it and not getting recognition. Mondrian-considered the father of modern art-had to paint flowers to earn money because fame eluded him while he was alive.

A friend called me an artist today and itemized scenarios about what could happen:
I could get married before my books are published. I could become a social worker first and be an expert like Kay Redfield Jamison. I could obtain fame through my fiction.

I understood in the quick of the time of this conversation that an artist must create her whole life long things of beauty that give her and hopefully others joy.

In one week I begin a painting.

From here on in I work on my second book. It is 115 pages and next week I will add five pages to the fourth chapter.

Life goes on. It always does.

So you do your art because it makes you happy.

You do not quit. You keep positive.

I do all of this: write and paint and decorate and fashion a look of beauty.

Living well is the best revenge.

Dressing well is the best defense.

It is time to let go and let life.

You must live with the uncertainty.

You must trust that the seeds you plant will bear fruit in due season.

You must do your art.

That is what it comes down to: like the Madonna song you must "Express Yourself." Do the things that give you joy. Live passionate.

One day you might be gone and the world will find:

a notebook or a sketch or a painting or a manuscript.

You keep these things first of all for your own enjoyment.

You do this so that you can recover or that you can live your life.

Recognition is secondary.

Only I covet recognition so that is my downfall. I must strip away this protective cover and remember: I do these things because I must regardless of whether I meet with other people's approval.

No I will not quit. This is my story. I share it with you in the hope that you will be inspired to risk dreaming of a better life.

I hope it is sunny and warm where you are. I hope you are keeping dry.

Will go sign off now and attend to a writing project.


p.s. -

Did I know when I graduated school that just four years later I would become a freelance writer? Did I know when I was diagnosed 23 years ago that this is how my life would turn out? Of course not. So there is always hope even when you can't see the light at the end of the road. Hope springs eternal. The secret is to trust yourself to keep taking action because if you keep taking action you surely will succeed.

Just believe.

Rainy Day Melody

Last night:

I bought a tube of Mat10 Sephora lipstick to replace the old one. I needed the courage to face Dr. Altman. I told him I want to go back to school and I feared employers wouldn't hire me if they found out I had SZ. I said that at some point I would take down my web site.

To this he answered: "You have done remarkable. I wouldn't be so quick to discard that. You are a role model." He said I have time before I decide whether I apply to grad school.

As I rode home I wondered: could I get an MFA instead? We shall see what I do. I have nine years until it's time to make the move.

The caption to the clock tower in the photo for this week's entries in the appointment book reads: Time keeps bending on me here. Such is Tuscany.

In the rest of the world I'm reminded of Julie Morgenstern's comparison of the hours in a day to the contents of a closet. You can fit only so many items of clothing in a closet and there are only so many hours in a day in which to do things.

I've decided to break each day into zones like she suggests and schedule my activities so I can wind down by nine o'clock at night.

Listen: I know others who are getting degrees. All is not lost should I want to go back to school. I do not have to decide now. I realize my life could turn on a dime and things could happen quickly in the next nine years that will give me an idea as to what I'm able to do then.

So leading up to that next era I keep a cool head and keep my eye on the prize: publishing my two books. Everything hinges on publishing those books.

That is all I can do: only what I can do right now to attract a literary agent. I do not have a gimmick however I do have a platform which is what you need to sell a book.

Breaking my time into zones will help me be more productive. You can read Julie Morgenstern's book Time Management From the Inside-Out [the updated version] to get an idea about what she's talking about. I might just check it out of the library to read as a refresher.

I've been in recovery 23 years so I'm in my third decade living with the SZ. As you move along you have to be proactive and shift your focus as new challenges arise. That is what I'm doing now.

It gets better as the years roll along. Keep hopeful. I'm going to keep the faith that when the time comes I will make the right decision about school.

That's about all I have to tell you today.

You see: I can entertain these possibilities because I committed to taking the medication every day as prescribed. I will not take the risk to go off the meds again. That's the way I see it: I can link cause-and-effect when it comes to the things I'm capable of doing.

So I urge you: choose to stay on your meds.

Choose life.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dance of Life

You move through your life treading water at times. One day is not like any other. You sit at the bar at Starbuck's eating a chicken and vegetable wrap with your mind in a tailspin as you stare out the window.

You remember you can't hold your breath waiting for your turn and so you do everything possible to make it your turn soon. You plan only three weeks in advance. You tango with your demons until the song ends. One day the song will end.

Life goes on. As it always does. The memories are dimmer now. You regard them with a kind and distant eye. What could you tell others? Your standards are so high that you don't consider yourself to have recovered until 10 years later when you went to grad school.

Everything leading to this moment was the prelude. You have only this moment. You hope to have other moments that are good too. Only now you cannot plan for the future. One day is all you have. A day that is not always happy as far as days go.


I have decided to make some changes that have been a long time coming.

Changing the nature of Joyful Music while keeping true to its roots is one of the changes I finesse. You cannot remain stuck in an outdated life. I wonder if elements of my natal chart suggest my tendency to be the first to initiate new modes of communication. I have Mercury in Aries. Is that the reason I'm not content to rest on my laurels? I always seek the next big challenge it seems and lead the way for others to follow.

I wonder. What's next? A person's life could turn on a dime. One must keep tune to the new music. She must leave the era before the era leaves her.

It is spring in one week. Hooray spring!

The jeans Mom bought me from Wal Mart are dark railroad stripe jeans so now I have two pairs of this kind of jeans. The khaki pants she gave me I'm not enamored of however I like the railroad stripe pair. You accept that your mother wants to buy you clothes and indulge her this treat though you don't understand it and would rather not encourage her. You do it because she is your mother and she loves you.

The spring beckons. A beautiful time of year. A new season of your life.

You decide you will dress in the new jeans and tango like a wild woman.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Walk the Line


I talk to R. about how to continue in light of my goal of going back to school.

Peers are not paid well as peer advocates and I cannot afford to be linked in an employer's mind as someone who is a peer or else I'll ruin my chances of a professional career where I'm judged on my own merit. This is the reality folks.

I do what I do now because as a writer I need a platform in order to be able to sell my books to a publisher. I'm not going to give up on selling my memoir and the second book. I feel strongly that I deserve to publish these books. I feel that hell-and-heartache stories are given favorable press-and if other people can publish such memoirs why can't I publish mine? So I will not back down and will not give up on my dream of getting published.

The thing is: I'm not some curiosity to be taken out of a cabinet and put on display. I resist having other people tell me "You've done very well for someone who has schizophrenia." This is the truth at the end of the day however it gives me no comfort. I risked global disclosure because that is what I had to do to develop a platform to sell my books. I took this risk because it mattered to me that I couldn't remain silent. So we will see whether this comes back to haunt me in 10 years when I go back to school.

A friend admired me because it seemed to her I could be open and honest and people accepted me anyhow. This is all an illusion I realize because things could change.

I walk the line every day.

I'm not naive. So I talk to this guy tonight to ask him how he thinks I can approach my future goals. I will listen to what he has to say and accept his prognosis. It might turn out that doors are closed for me. I'm reminded that I'm not immune from discrimination. So I will have to be careful because of the tendency of employers to a priori eliminate the competition. I will have to do what it takes to sell myself without a shadow of a doubt raised in their minds.

That is all I can tell you now because I have no hope as I write this.

Wish me good luck because I'll certainly need it.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Well Well Well

This is just to say that this blog is under construction.

I have created a new blog, in which I'm going to take a new turn. Joyful Music will be about the SZ and about living life related to this diagnosis.

The new blog I hope to carry with me into my life as a fiction writer in the future.

Always possibilities beckon. Real life is the crucible for testing ideas.

You must be proactive when change is required and meet the challenge head on.

This is all a testing of some kind. I cannot tell you now that I will definitely go back to school however I want to keep this option open so I will need to shift course in the coming years.

It all starts today.

I've provided a link to my new blog in the links column.

Do surf over and join me if you'd like.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Idea of Spring


A friend suggested I remember that editors placed my memoir in the league of The Bell Jar. So I do that now. I knew by the time I was seven years old I wanted to be a writer. I'm a memoirist second. I trust that my claim to fame is not that I have schizophrenia. I can be famous for other things.

Like my neat streak.

I have another bag of just clothes to send to the Salvation Army.

With spring coming in just over two weeks I'm cleaning house now.

Soon I can replace the comforter with the Asian toile bedspread. I saw a great graphic duvet cover in the CB2 catalog that I wish I could get only I don't have the room to store more bedsheets. It was the Urban Mandala. I liked it though.

Already I'm bored with the pink-and-purple floral comforter.

I'm reminded of an advertisement in a magazine where a fashionably dressed woman wears a gold necklace at a gathering of people around a coffee table.

I feel it is time to move forward and that is why I clean house: I clear out items to bring into my life new things.

Spring will come not a moment too soon. Hopefully the weather will rise into the 50s in March and April round here. I would love for it to be in the 60s in April so I hope for this dream to come true.

My question is: what exactly is a duvet and what does a duvet cover cover? A white comforter underneath? Hmm. One thing I want to do next year: use the crimson throw as an additional layer rather than the beige snuggly my mother gave me.

I don't wear that darn thing I use it as a blanket on the bed on top of the comforter. And since it's been a long cold winter I'm tired already of seeing that snuggly. In two weeks it will be history: I'll store it on the top shelf of one of the closets. Enough already with the snuggly.

Well: tonight it's history I'm not going to wait. I would love to donate the snuggly to the Salvation Army only my mother gave it to me and she inquires as to whether I use it. I will keep it through this season and then in the fall see about chucking it. A beige snuggly is the nadir of fashion. It would be another story if the snuggly were pink or blue. Not beige. That is the absolute absolute end of everything.

Out out it goes. Tonight. I don't care how cheap it cost that's besides the point.

I can always do this next winter: use the throw under the comforter as an extra layer to keep the top of the bed looking colorful. Honest to God not that snuggly. Not another year with the snuggly.

With all due respect to the genius who invented this product. It's just not for me. If you invented the snuggly and are reading this blog [doubtful though] I want to tell you I'm sure you have millions of satisfied customers around the globe or wherever it's sold. Surely some person without heat in their apartment would enjoy the snuggly if I donated it to the Salvation Army. I have gotten good use out of your product in the time I used it. Please don't suggest I buy a replacement. It's a wonderful product you see I'm just a fashion snob.

My mother has one in mint green. She loves it. So there you go.


It's spring in two weeks.

A week later I sign up with Organization by Design for a virtual consultation. The fee for the stylist who comes to your apartment was misquoted and I can't afford her now. So it's back to my original plan: I have seven photos I can e-mail the consultant so she can get an idea about what to tell me. I will have her phone me in the first week in April to go over the suggestions she's come up with for my wardrobe.

This is not frivolous. It matters to me.

At some point I might have to take down this blog and create a new one devoted solely to music and fashion and the other passions of life. Employers Google you to see if they want to call you in for an interview. They use the information they find to rule you out as a candidate. You have to be careful what's out there. I could be denied a job because of this.

When that day comes I will send out one last blog entry here with a link to my new blog before I take this one down to alert loyal readers. Other than that I cannot continue to blog on the Internet in the future.

A friend and I talked about this: how you cannot disclose to employers and organizations you want to do volunteer work for. You're still on shaky ground even though you've been in remission or recovery and even if you've been in remission 18 years like I have you can still be disqualified.

So at some point I take down this blog and replace it with an SZ free blog.

That day might come sometime soon. We shall see what I do and when I do it. Possibly I'll have two blogs going at once right now and then later shut down this one. I'll see.

I'm going to leave you to enjoy your day or night or whatever time it is now.