The cycle of shame.

For those of you who are following my diet journey, scroll down past the asterisks! πŸ™‚ That part starts there. Everything before it is too depressing to read anyway. Oh! And, Emilia, you might want to skip this blog post. πŸ™‚

Okay, so Charlie wrote back to me this morning thusly:

Meg,
We have three competitions happening at the moment with thousands of participants, so it’s very hard to respond immediately to every request that comes in. The feedback from the judges takes time to put together also, which is why it’s typically sent the day after the results are announced. But, I still sent it to you last night ahead of the 624 other writers that participated.

I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling with mental illness and hope you are able to get help for it. I wasn’t trying to make you paranoid, it’s just impossible for me to respond immediately, especially when the request comes at night and the response takes time to put together like feedback from the judges. Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else and I’ll try to respond as soon as possible.

-Charlie

And I wrote back thusly:

Thank you. That’s very kind. I tend to mistrust people when they… well, all the time, really. Now that you seem more human and less cold and uncaring, I’ll take down my sitejabber review. Sorry I went off the deep end. I feared you were sabotaging me.

~Meg

And now I feel really bad and ashamed that I gave into irrational paranoia yet again. I think it was fitting of me to let him know I’m paranoid, because it’s the actual issue. In other words, I’m not claiming to be paranoid to make excuses for myself. I really am that paranoid.

It’s good that he got back to me because I NEED people to tell me when they’re not out to get me. Otherwise, I’ll assume it as fact, even when it isn’t. But the downside is that it leaves me aware of how paranoid I’m capable of being, and there aren’t easy solutions for that.

I’ve been watching these really entertaining commercials for schizhophrenia drugs lately. In one, well, hold on. This ought to be on YouTube. Here it is. The part where Cynthia thinks everyone’s out to get her–I can relate to that part SO FREAKIN’ MUCH. Fabulous commercial. And I normally hate commercials. I could start a whole blog about how much I hate commercials.

Anyway, my paranoia went off the deep end. AGAIN. I feel like I should be able to rein it in better. I guess I reacted badly to not making it to the finals. With all the hellish stuff going on at the forum, it killed me. The main instigator DID make it to the finals, and that makes me feel like life is unjust and I’ve been stabbed in the chest.

Someone asked me to share the judges’ feedback, so let me go find it… For anyone who wants to skip ahead, the short version is that they wanted more relationship and character development.

WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY – {1788} Jeanne’s spiritual connection with Peter was nicely portrayed throughout the piece. For a character who constantly has her guard up, it was refreshing to watch her be so candid with someone else, even in secret.

The chaotic descriptions were well-written, giving the climax plenty of urgency. One of the most potent moments was when Rafael looked right through Jeanne in the cafe. That reaction was completely believable and a stunning image.

{2014} This is a hard-hitting story of a heart-wrenching time in our recent history. Good use of tension and stakes in the story. A good description of the chaos and panic.

{2022} You paced this story nicely, given the amount of dialogue and action you’ve incorporated. I thought especially true starting on page 3, when Jeanne is making her way through the chaotic aftermath of the bombing while also momentarily turning inward, praying to a God she no longer believes in, and talking to her deceased lover, Peter, imploring him to watch out for Ruthie. I thought this contrasted high-intensity action with pockets of relative calm nicely.

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK – {1788} The central relationships would profit from more attention, especially when it comes to making them more individual. For Jeanne and Ruthie, there are probably a few unique characteristics that define their friendship. This is very important because other 9/11 narratives revolve around lost friendships/romances, so Jeanne/Ruthie’s bond needs to be its own distinct relationship. The author could develop them in a number of ways: Ruthie could’ve helped her pass her real estate exam, Ruthie might’ve introduced her to Lamar, they could have silly inside jokes, etc. Every friendship has these individual things that set them apart and the author’s capable of finding them.

The relationship with Lamar/Jeanne was more successful. That said, it wasn’t clear why she gravitated to him after Peter. Did he comfort her after those years of grief? Was he the first guy to support her career? Deepening their bond will enhance their relationship a great deal.

While the author does an admirable job putting the reader in the middle of the tragic day, there’s still room to shape the relationships affected by the day.

“Out of Her Hands” has tons of potential. Once the author develops its two most important relationships, it will be even stronger.

{2014} For me, I wanted more resolution in the story. Did Ruthie make it out? If not, did Peter join her and was there a final message to Jeanne? I wanted to know how she came to the conclusion, exactly, that it was all random? Could Ruthie impart this message to her? How does this knowledge change her? Before she was going back to the newsstand to find Ruthie, so why is she going back now? You mention embracing her own salvation. How is Lamar involved in saving her? I felt I wanted more development here.

{2022} In revision, I think you could flesh out Lamar’s character a little more. He runs the newsstand, which is the assigned location after all. While I understand Jeanne’s reservations about marriage given the trauma she’s experienced, I thought her reaction to his proposal was a little intense. I think you could explore the complexity of their relationship a little more, especially in their interactions later on.

Oh no, I spaced out again. What did I want to blog about? Umm… paranoia… I’ve felt so spaced out lately. It’s partly side effects but also distress, I’d imagine. Life became tragic last night after I got these contest results. My good friend Ash, the psychic, got a new kitty a few weeks ago–her first kitty ever. She loved that kitty. Last night, kitty died. It was devastating. I was ugly crying to the point that my dad tried to pat me on the shoulder, even though he’s not allowed to touch me.

The best way I can explain it is that her kitty was stressed. The kitty’d been abused by its previous owners and hid from Ash at first. But then it was a total kitten lovefest for a few weeks, and then… the kitty was just stressed out from it all, or kitty had an innate illness of some kind. It’s heartbreaking.

I took extra sedatives (it’s allowed) and slept quite soundly until noon. I feel better today and have been trying really hard to be supportive to Ash and to get it together. She’s the first person I would’ve told about the contest results, but I’m glad I didn’t, because then her kitty wound up dying. Obviously, a dead kitty trumps losing a contest. By a multiple of a million.

**********

Oh, I remember what else I wanted to discuss–dieting. Yesterday, as you could imagine, I was a mess. I hadn’t had dinner yet and had no food on hand to cook. So what did I do? I went to the store and bought junk food. But fear not! I got it all from the organic department. I found sugar- and flour-free cookies and barbecue chips. I ate them all, but it was a smallish bag and two cookies. I think it maxed out at 1,300 calories, and it was all I had for dinner.

The beauty of this is that, in the absense of any addictive sugar or flour, I can eat that way when I’m upset without becoming addicted. Which means that today, when I woke up after that bingefest, I was ready to return to eating clean foods again–stuff I cook (I’m trying a new recipe tonight) and Lara bars and nuts and fruits, etc.

Because I don’t mind turning to snack food when I’m that upset. (And who wouldn’t have been upset?) I worry about the addictive nature of it, so if that’s removed (in theory), then I can try hard to stay on track when I’m not an emotional train wreck. If I start eating that snack food every day, then we’ve got problems unless I can narrow it to one cookie a day, for example. But in good news, I’ve got my dad to keep me on a strict budget for groceries, and there won’t be much wiggle room.

So I’ll keep eating clean whenever I’m feeling okay emotionally and energetically. This is the recipe I’ve made several times:

  • One small sweet potato, diced
  • 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 a package of Laura’s lean ground round
  • Grated onions from the spice section of the grocery store
  • Worcestershire sauce (if I can find any that’s sugar-free)

So I sautee the first two ingredients on high heat for seven minutes and add the onions as I go. The Worcestershire sauce can be sprinkled on after the meal is in a bowl to be served. If I can’t find any that’s sugar-free, it won’t be the end of the world.

Here’s how I’m going to modify the recipe tonight: I’m going to try adding diced parsnips. I love parsnips. My dad says I’m the only person in the world who loves them, but there you go. In fact, it’s just occurred to me that I can use them in soups in lieu of carrots, which I don’t like. (I don’t dislike raw carrots, but I hate cooked carrots. Not sure why.) I’ll report back on how the recipe turns out with parsnips. I’m eager to try it! I’ve never sauteed parsnips before. I’ve only made parsnip chips on the George Foreman.

3 thoughts on “The cycle of shame.

  1. The feedback on the story seems pretty balanced.

    I once adopted a guinea pig that had been abused (unintentionally, by a kid with a disability), and she died a coupled days after I brought her home. Too much stress for a little animal heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking about the kitty, too. 😦 So much sadness all around. I agree about the feedback!! I don’t think it should get me down, because there was no way for me to read my readers’ minds and know what they’d want more of, ya know? If I get an agent, he/she can make suggestions before we submit a manuscript to publishers, so I’m looking at it that way!! That makes sense, right?

      Liked by 2 people

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