Friday, April 29, 2011

Loving Life

So, I'm still trying to figure out exactly the direction this blog should go. I'm not a very linear person and yet I feel like there should be some kind of master plan with regards to how I present myself to the world. Since I haven't come up with how best to do that, I'll continue to post random stuff and see how it goes. In that vein, I thought I'd post what's on my mind today.

I love my life. I feel so good about where I am both personally and professionally. This has not always been the case. Not by a long shot. If you've been reading this blog you know that since I was a child I've suffered from depression. It's been a lifelong struggle and one I'm grateful to say is on an upswing. I can never say I'm "cured" because the thing about chronic depression is that you know it's always waiting for you around some unknown corner, but I have learned to appreciate the time I spend out from under its cloud.

Now is one of those times. I've just finished my novel, Gateway, and it will be available on Amazon in less than two weeks. This gives me both a sense of accomplishment and hope. I have amazing friends. And I really do mean amazing. They have seen me through some dark days. Just as importantly, they have shared some really joyous occasions like my book launch party, as well as nights that started average and ended up epic--like my meeting with Quentin Tarantino last Saturday. I have an amazing family filled with strong women who have overcome so much it boggles the mind. (And there are a couple of amazing men, too.) My mother has taught me what generosity is and I hope I've learned the lesson well. My sister has taught me what it is to find common ground when you love someone.

I could list a hundred other people and things I'm grateful for right now, but that would get a little dull to anyone but me. Just know that if you're suffering right now, there is hope, and if you are on an upswing like I am, cherish every minute.

If anyone you know suffers from depression, or you do yourself, I suggest this book, Prozac Nation. I found it spoke to the inner workings of my depression and because it is prose, is very easy to read.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

There are Definite Advantages to Life in a Mental Institution

First of all, they bring you food. OK, technically I had to walk to the dumbwaiter in the hall, (I love being able to use the word dumbwaiter!) but still, it was pretty convenient.  I could even request vegetarian and they’d do it. Although I was upset the day my menu card said Welsh Rabbit.  Who the hell knew Welsh Rabbit was toast smothered with cheese sauce? Well, I do, thanks to the good folks at Windsor Mental Institution. 

Another advantage was my roommate, Tammy. She was awesome. Older, (16 to my 12—way cool) and she smoked. And she let me smoke. We smoked together.  I’d always wanted to smoke. I used to sneak into my cousins’ basement and smoke the longer butts out of the ashtrays, but now I got whole ones.  Sometimes we shared, but Tammy would say I was getting the filter wet, which always embarrassed me because I was inexperienced and didn’t know how not to.  But other than pointing out my smoking shortcomings, I loved her. We would stay up at night making fun of our psychiatrists, sharing our stories, and lamenting how much we hated the phrase, “Life isn’t fair.” It seemed to both of us that that phrase is only uttered right before someone is about to completely obliterate your needs and fuck you over.  (I still feel that way, by the way.)

I also appreciated the camaraderie of the other “inmates.”  All of the teenagers (I was the youngest—I’ve always been ahead of my time.) were there because of a suicide attempt.  For the first time I had people around me who understood. They didn’t think I was selfish or crazy; they had all been to the place I’d been.  Life was just too painful to keep on with it.

Following in my analgesic vein, Tammy had overdosed on Excedrin. She lay down in her boyfriend’s bed, at his parent’s house for a “nap.” It was only when he could barely wake her that she was rushed to the hospital.  Stomach pumping—gross.  I’m so glad all I did was throw up for three days. The charcoal and tube down the throat sounded unbearable. 

Then there was the guy I had a huge crush on. I don’t remember his name. He’d been in a car accident.  He and some friends had driven off the road and into a lake. He made it, they didn’t.  He tried to correct the oversight with a razorblade.  I never had the guts for that. His poor wrists. I remember the thick white gauze and the pain that I projected onto him. Seriously, that had to hurt, right?

There was a rec room. Tammy and I would put on music and dance. Sometimes crazy, writhing on the floor.  We were both pretty untamed creatures.  I often wonder what happened to her.  Google is silent on the subject.

I realize I’m forgetting the most important advantage of being institutionalized at age twelve.  No parents.  No sister to hate me.  Other than at my occasional shrink appointment, and one random-bitch-fellow-inmate, no one told me I was crazy.  My mom came to visit, but when she got me a day pass, all we did was fight, so she took me back early.  My cousin, Brad came.  Really, he had to, because he was the one who took me to see Grease in the first place, and wasn’t that how I’d gotten into this mess?  Well, not really, and he didn’t know about my Grease epiphany anyway, but still he came. And brought pizza. God, I love that man.  My nut job cohorts were pretty pleased with him too.

I know I’m gilding the lily a bit. I mean, my time at Windsor was anything but a barrel of laughs.  There was Mike, who was a complete dick the day before his shock treatments.  (Yes, seriously.  He got them every three days, and was only bearable to be around right after.)  And there was an abusive doctor that I may or may not tell you about.  Not to mention that being in an insane asylum does little for one’s self esteem.  But at that time of my life, it was a viable option.  Living with my mother wasn’t.  I didn’t know enough to know that living with my father wasn’t, either. 

So, even though I think it was a betrayal to put me there—a “life isn’t fair” annihilation of my needs as a human, and a way to make all of the mess in the family about me, I’m glad I went. I felt saner in the nuthouse.  And how else would I have learned about Welsh Rabbit?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nowhere Backwards

My mother is writing a memoir called Nowhere Backwards, about her childhood spent in a cult. Here is a link to the prologue. I know I'm biased, but I find it very poignant.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Guest Post by Diana Cox

For all those in need of a copyeditor, this is a post by the woman who does Joe Konrath's. She's offering half off her services which is a steal. Click the link below:

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Guest Post by Diana Cox

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More LOST Pics

Evangeline Lily threw the cast and crew the most amazing wrap party anyone could ask for. Started at 5 pm and ended at 8 am the next day.

P.S. The drinks were free and I was very drunk. Don't judge me.

My future husband, Josh Halloway

Evie is so sweet and knows how to throw a party

The handsome Terry O'Quinn

The man behind the madness, Carlton Cuse

Last Days of LOST

So, I thought I'd do a quick post with some pics from the set of the final episode of LOST. I worked on seasons 5 & 6 of the show and had a great time being paid to live back in my hometown of Kailua, Hawaii. My friend, Heather, flew out for the wrap party and on her first night in town we went to the set and watched (until 4 am!)  as the final scenes of this iconic show were shot. 

Heather and me with a "skellie"
My boss "pulling the plug" 

The tunnel the leads to "the light"
Model of the tunnels

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gateway, Chapters 1-4


In the end, only the Voice remained.
I told you it would be better this way…
I was drifting, floating on something too silky to be water. It was warm, and it penetrated the deepest parts of me. 
The Voice was right. It was always right. Everything finally felt soft. My sharpest edges were being worn away, melting into oblivion. I felt like candle wax before it cooled; nothing to do but let the remaining drops of consciousness slide down— 
Pain. Where did that come from? How could I feel pain when I didn't have a body anymore?
My throat. It was my throat, being stabbed, or— 
Shh… let it go. Let all the pain go. Rest easy…
For a moment I was comforted, the gentle motion of the not quite water lulling me, pulling me back to safety.
But I was heaving. Huge, uncontrollable spasms. And then I was vomiting, although that word isn’t strong enough. I was erupting. The contents of my stomach spewed from my mouth, my nose. The wetness hit my chest, then my belly, and finally dribbled down my chin. My mouth tasted of charcoal. The warmth receded. The peace went with it.  And I knew.

Chapter 1

My throat burned. My stomach ached. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I tried to remember how good I had felt. The sensation of floating, of being complete, wanting for nothing. For a moment I was back there and felt my lips twitch into the tiniest bit of a smile. But if I were really there I wouldn’t even remember I had a mouth, and the realization brought the pain crashing back.
My eyelids heavy, I fought to open them. The light was too bright and I squeezed my eyes against its harsh intrusion.
“She’s awake! Nurse—she’s awake!”
My mother sprang toward me and clutched my hand, her eyes wild with worry.
“Ember, honey, you’re OK. You’re in the hospital. You had an accident and… "
I stopped hearing her. I didn’t want to process the relief on my mother’s face when I was so disappointed. I receded back, if not into the comfort of oblivion, then at least into an inky blackness.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Party!

So, I'm having a party tomorrow night to celebrate the completion of my YA novel, Gateway. It's an Urban Fantasy set in Los Angeles. I'm really excited about it and am looking forward to getting some feedback from friends and bloggers alike. You can scope out the cover, and soon I'll be posting the first two chapters.