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Emails to my Therapist

Novel Re-Issue, Drug Withdrawal, Oh My!

It has been a tumultuous week. 

All in the course of the last several days, I've necessarily switched mental health drugs (which is always a storm at sea)  and I've released on Kindle my novel Revelation, which Simon & Schuster published in hardback back in the distant days of 1988 and Banks Channel Books put out in paperback a few years later.

It's a slightly unsettling experience to reread a book by one's younger self.  I'll give you the short version of this experience: I first went through the whole book three times making little changes.  Improvements, I hope.  Or at least bringing it  more into my current voice.  The first time I wrote this novel I was 37; this time I'm 63.  The nature of the changes?  Little language fixes, more to the taste I have now.  Removal of  few words here and there that felt to me melodramatic.  And deleting a few thoughts of the main character's that annoyed me. Obviously, it wasn't what anyone would call a real rewrite.  I wonder if someone else would even notice the changes.  But it was a stirring process for me, in part because I hadn't meant to change a word except for the dated mention of Datsun on the first page, which now reads Jeep. (The novel, BTW, is about mystical experience and liberal religion. A college town minister at a college town sort of church has begun hearing the voice of God, though neither he nor his congregation believe in such happenings.  His situation throws his church, his marriage, his faith and his mental health into some confusion.)

And then the second matter this week: the drug for my touch of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I'd developed an allergic reaction to the previous medication, and so I had to go off it cold turkey.  Lots of metaphors come to mind about this experience; they involve catapults, leaping, sinking, speeding vehicles, howler monkeys who can be heard across miles of jungle.  The short version of this story: I walked into the writers group I've met with on Thursdays for just short of 30 years and immediately burst into violent uncontrollable sobbing.  (I'm tempted to use words here that do hint of melodrama, because it was dramatic)  The group was very sympathetic and consoling — and surprised.  Wasn't like me to do that.  Afterwards, I told my doc of this on the phone.  In shocked tones, he said, "In a meeting?! That's uncharacteristic."  Yes, it was. And I found the experience somewhat relieving; something about the grand scale of it felt better than leaking a few tears or staying composed, as usual, and in control.

So now Revelation is several days old in its cyber-life and it's getting some good traffic.  On its second day, it was #44 in Kindle books dealing with mysticism.  (I don't know how many such books there are, but I did at least see the list of the Top 100.) 

And then last night, I cracked open a brand-new orange plastic pill bottle; I only take a smallish dose, but oh, what a difference a milligram makes.

Now, I'm trying to figure out what my overall point is here in this post.  Well, obviously, one of my points is: please go check out my cyber-novel Revelation and download yourself a very affordable copy and/or make a one-click gift of it to one of your metaphysically inclined friends.

And….here's another thing: uncharacteristically pitching a fit in a meeting was, for me, bold.  Or would have been had I felt the choice was at all under my control.

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  • Julie
    May 3, 2012 at 8:13 am Reply


    Thanks for sharing.  I look forward to reading Revelation in book form (I am one of these Luddites who likes the feel of a book in the hand).  And, as someone who's been there & done that, I'd normally advise tapering off a drug gradually.  However, if you had indeed developed an allergic reaction, then a quick call to the doctor is in order.
    Aren't writing groups wonderful?  I have had bad experiences with them, but am not in one (led by Joyce Allen) that is *such* a good fit.
    Best of luck with the new meds.


    • May 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm Reply

      Yes, Julie, I think writing groups are terrific. I’m in one and I lead two. I also still think print is pretty terrific.

  • aiki
    May 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm Reply

    is cyber the same as Kindle ?  Isn't birthing usually followed by a huge hormonal tsunami ?
    Warmest good wishes on re-birthing this long prodigal child — how do you track those #s for your book ?  aiki

    • May 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm Reply

      Thank you, aiki. I appreciate the warm good wishes. Years ago I had a down few days whenever I finished a draft, but that hasn’t happened in quite a while. I don’t think finishing a book ever gave me a rash. Though I suppose it could happen. And on the cyber question — it just refers to the net/web/cloud world. Kindle is a device sold by Amazon for reading books that are downloaded.

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