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Emails to my Therapist:
On God, Sex, Death, Love, Life Changes, Fears, Desires, Writing, and Anything Else on My Mind

Finished Another Draft of a Novel: The Aftermath

June 25, 2018
Dear Nicholas, Once upon a time, when I finished another draft– first, second…fifth…tenth… –of a novel, I would have what I called a post-draft nervous breakdown. The Symptoms It consisted of extreme sensitivity; sounds were too loud and irritations were infuriating. This would last about three days. I likened it to driving a car that […] Read More

Anthony Bourdain

Depression Distorts

June 8, 2018
Dear Nicholas, This is short and troubled. I know I am unqualified to speculate. Still, I have this to say about the suicide of Anthony Bourdain: Even mild depression distorts thinking and causes scalding pain. Given how much he self-medicated for many years, his depression was surely a lot more than mild. In the decisive moment, […] Read More

Inadequacy Dream: Creative Frustration

June 6, 2018
The test assignment, Nicholas, was to write a story sparked by the sight of  a blob of goopy clay on a piece of paper.  In my dream, of creative frustration, I was late for the test but then began my story brilliantly: Miss Coco Luna loved to go to Raleigh to shop. She ate lunch […] Read More

Getting Old: Full of Little Surprises

May 30, 2018
Well, it has happened again, Nicholas. More signs of getting old.  Each time I notice some new change, I go through a series of thoughts: There’s been some mistake. This can’t be right. How do I fix this? What did I do wrong to cause this? I promise I’ll never do it again. This approach […] Read More

Jung and Me: Gnosis, Hypnosis and Writing Novels

May 4, 2018
  Dear Nicholas, Here’s a piece I wrote a while back about Jung and me–Carl Jung being patron saint of most artsy-dreamy people. Given your own work with hypnosis and writing, I thought you might be interested.   To write a novel is to sink repeatedly into a waking dream. A trance experience I had […] Read More

Sabbath day

Sabbath Day Backlash

April 28, 2018
Dear Nicholas, It has been seven weeks now since I began my Sabbath day observance experiment, Sundays of rest, reflection, fun, and no work. Week Three was a revelation: a feeling of timelessness overtook me, an astonishing freedom. These last two weeks, though? Well, I feel I have a deadline to finish every imaginable task […] Read More

unprovoked sadness

Sharp Unprovoked Sadness, Coming and Going

April 14, 2018
Dear Nicholas, This week for a couple of days, I felt sudden onslaughts of seemingly unprovoked sadness, like clouds crossing a mostly clear sky, suddenly arriving, gradually departing. By unprovoked, I mean having no obvious immediate trigger. I told husband Bob about this Thursday night and he said, “Death is sad.” Yes, it is. Nobody […] Read More

team, competition, status anxiety, writing community

Status Anxiety: Win Win Win….?

March 27, 2018
Hi Nicholas, Remember that time you and I had a conversation about my extreme frustration over my book sales figures? I refused to be consoled that they weren’t higher. Financial questions aside, I’ve thought in recent years that my status anxiety had to a significant degree slipped away. But then last night I dreamed I […] Read More

Franc Payne Harry Payne, skiing, fear,

Tolerable Levels of Fear

March 16, 2018
Dear Nicholas, Almost all of my anxiety is about screwing up, causing harm or committing moral error, rather than flying or public speaking or sinister clowns. But there’s one physical activity that does scare me and yet I keep doing it. It gives me an experience of tolerable levels of fear: a sort of set point […] Read More

My Family History: A TV Surprise

March 9, 2018
Dear Nicholas, I was already in a where-did-I-come-from roots-researching mood and then a few weeks ago, TV station WECT in my hometown of Wilmington, NC, aired a bit of my family history that I’m very proud of. A Startling Moment The story popped up and surprised my mother, who, a few days short of 96, […] Read More

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