Today is August 28, 2017. I am alive and well.

The words! I collected them in all shapes and sizes, and hung them like bangles in my mind.   Hortense Calisher

Words are like shoes on the hooves of a horse, created by a blacksmith, marking the earth as she gallops, the earth a ready piece of paper.

Sentences propel me forward. I walk a mile with the word love on the tip of my tongue. I love the way the sun circles my chin. I love the way light lets me see the little Shih Tzu ten yards in front of me. Love mixes with my saliva creating a wet kiss. I kiss the cheek of my friend than wipe at it with my index finger leaving only a bit of residue. When it dries I kiss my friend again!

The word God rests in my palm, relayed to the bark of a tree I touch. I imagine gnomes in the trunk tunneling beneath the roots mining for ore. I shake Christy’s hand. God rests between us. God rests inside us. God brushes my ankle like a lizard looking for shade beneath my pant cuff.

Words are bees. They can produce honey or sting.

They make names and reference points. My friend Pat lives with two cats, TIkka and Lily, in a one bedroom condo below a Spanish tile roof. The three of them watch the moon from the patio, steady in the sky, winking in response to their stare.

Even if wordless words will still attach to me. A person says of me, “she toppled to her left landing on the grass a foot away from the picnic table.” Words later will feed me potato salad and slices of cheese.

I am glad for the scratch marks produced by my pen and the Times New Roman that marches across my monitor as I punch the letters of my keyboard creating, yes, words, sixty six words a minute.

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Today is August 28, 2017. I am alive and well.

The words! I collected them in all shapes and sizes, and hung them like bangles in my mind.   Hortense Calisher

Words are like shoes on the hooves of a horse, crafted by a blacksmith, marking the earth as she gallops, the earth a ready piece of paper.

Sentences propel me forward. I walk a mile with the word love on the tip of my tongue. I love the way the sun circles my chin. I love the way light lets me see the little Shih Tzu ten yards in front of me. Love mixes with my saliva creating a wet kiss. I kiss the cheek of a friend than wipe at it with my index finger leaving only a bit of residue. I will kiss her again when it dries!

The word God rests in my palm, relayed to the bark of a tree I touch. I imagine gnomes in the trunk tunneling beneath the roots mining for ore. I shake Christy’s hand. God rests between us. God rests inside us. God brushes my ankle like a lizard looking for shade beneath my pant cuff.

Words are bees. They can produce honey or sting.

They make names and reference points. My friend Pat lives with two cats, Tikka and Lily, in a one bedroom condo below a Spanish tiled roof. The three of them watch the moon from the patio, steady in the sky, winking in response to their stare.

Even wordless words still attach to me. A person says of me, “she toppled to her left, landing on the grass a foot away from the picnic table.” Words will later feed me potato salad and slices of cheese.

I am glad for the scratch marks produced by my pen and for the Times New Roman that marches across my monitor as I punch the letters on my key board creating, yes, words, sixty six words a minute.

Today is August 21, 2017. I am alive and well.

It takes far less courage to kill yourself than it takes to make yourself wake up one more time.   Judith Rossner

I have spent days finding life particularly hard for no good reason. I trip on the curb of a sidewalk in front of a beauty parlor. One of the manicurists sees this and comes to offer a hand. She picks up the magazines I have dropped and my keys, than reaches for me. I don’t take her hand for fear of pulling her over with me, both of us landing hard on the sidewalk.

An invisible hand offering to pull me up each morning is always there. Most of the time I actually take it. The grip is strong. I don’t fall back against my pillows but instead place my feet on the floor and stand. I turn on a light. My little area in this world brightens. My cats walk figure eights around me and between my feet. I am able to feed them kibbles for breakfast.

I use to wake but not wake, if that makes sense. My body would motor around the house heavy with depression. It hurt to move. It hurt to talk on the phone. It hurt to sit at the table with my grandmother with whom I lived. Magically, this changed.

I have attempted suicide many times in my life. My last attempt was 20 years ago. I remember it clearly. My grandmother found me unconscious in the living room after I overdosed on Ativan and called 911. I woke up in the ICU a day later to the stare of an East Indian doctor. She was young. I guess mid-thirties. Petite of stature. Probably, 5′ 4″ and a hundred pounds. She took my hand and told me I had much to do in this lifetime, that my life was important. I said nothing but let her face imprint itself on my heart.

I’m no longer the cactus who refuses to bend in storms, refuses to let go the thorns. Instead, I’m a bush who waves in the wind and allows herself to be pruned.

I can’t say that I wake up happy all the time, but I do wake. Eventually, it occurs to me that I’m living in love. That my life is charmed and blessed. I’m a 6′ tall woman with no weight on my shoulders. My stride is wide. My gaze no longer haunted. I roam around in my day a free spirit. The ball and chain that I use to be attached to sits quietly in a corner of my bedroom as a reminder that movement has not always come easy to me. But now I do wake. I do walk with my breath a steady in and out.

Today is August 14, 2017. I am alive and well.

Wearing makeup is an apology for our actual faces.  Cynthia Heimel

This quote struck me as hilarious. I’m not certain why. And then, I had to decide if I agreed with it or not.

Coincidently (which I don’t really believe in coincidences), I read an article in Glamour magazine today while walking on the treadmill at the gym that was about wearing makeup to the gym. The article targeted the population of people who judge those women who wear makeup as being vain. This population often thinks it’s bad or sad that women are moved to do so. In all honesty, I fell into that category until the article changed my mind.

The article stressed feeling good about the self in all situations. It stated that the women who wore makeup to the gym felt prettier for having done so, thus trained harder. It would have never occurred to me to think of it that way.

Cosmeticians even make makeup that is specifically for the gym; makeup that allows the skin to breathe, not clogging pours. Then of course, there is water proof mascara for those who sweat a great deal.

So, do I agree that “makeup is an apology for our actual faces?” I am saddened that the standard of beauty for women seems to include makeup. It would be nice to see models bare their skin occasionally. I have tremendous respect for Alicia Keyes, the singer, who decided to not wear makeup. That said, I consider makeup an art. It’s not to apologize but it is too alter.

From my own experience, I needed to give up makeup for a period of time. Between the ages of 16-18, I wore a lot of makeup because I modeled. I was so brain washed to think that makeup was necessary that I couldn’t go to the grocery store at five in the morning without it. I stopped wearing it so I could return to myself.

Today, I don’t wear any because I don’t want to take the time to apply it. I don’t want the extra expense. I want to be able to rub my eyes and scratch my face and not leave makeup on the shoulder of anyone I hug.

Joy to those who wear makeup and joy to those who don’t. I just hope that those who do wear makeup are at peace with their actual face.

Today is August 7, 2017. I am alive and well.

If a mind is just a few pounds of blood, dream, and electric, how does it manage to contemplate itself, worry about its soul, do time-and-motion studies, admire the shy hooves of a goat, know it will die, enjoy all the grand and lesser mayhems of the heart.

Diane Ackerman

I contemplate my mind frequently. It is an engine attached to the caboose of my heart. When mind and heart are in sync, beauty happens. For me to think my mind is special is amazing for I have schizophrenia. I am at peace with this. I wouldn’t change it as it has given me bursts of creativity. Yes I have rough patches, grass browns when needing water, but they pass and I’m left in wonderment.

I believe my soul wants to live in real time. My conscience floods my soul with magic. I believe in the power of soul to ignite hours each day. A candle not gathering dust. A wick waiting to be lit. I don’t worry that my soul will become polluted and I’ll end up in hell. I don’t know that I believe in judgment day.

I’m not certain what “do time-and-motion studies” means. Does it mean we follow a clock? Recently, the library I work at flooded. I was moved to a branch while repairs are being made. I let the boss at my new location know it was really important for me to get my same hours. Time matters. Fortunately, she accommodated me. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, yes?

I feel time move. Especially recently in respect to my age. There’s a gentleman I want to ask out but he’s twenty years my junior. He was an infant when I had my first real kiss!

The line “admire the shy hooves of a goat” is beautiful. I admire the swift feet of my cats, the way my friend sips coffee, the sun entering my windshield. Often, small things vibrate like the pigtails of a toddler.

Of course my mind knows it will die someday. My brain will shut off. My heart will stop beating. My feet and hands will be still. I use to want to speed this process up. I have attempted suicide at least nine times, three of them ending in my waking in ICU. Not wanting to die anymore is an act of God. I value my life and hope to give something back.

“Enjoy all the grand and lesser mayhems of the heart” of which there are many. I’ll leave you to meditate on this. Thanks for your readership.

Kristina

Today is July 31, 2017. I am alive and well.

I found god in myself/and I loved her/I loved her fiercely.   Ntozake Shange

This quote jumped out at me. The passion of this statement is like a toddler commenting on the smell of flowers for the first time. The passion is as great as the passion a homeless woman experiences as she bathes for the first time in weeks.

I have found god in me. The god in me is a small light that blazes in the creases of clouds. The god in me pushes me into the world when I fear Harm is waiting for me around the next corner. Harm is alive, just waiting for me to trip over my shoe laces, landing in his outstretched arms before realizing there are no laces in my shoes. I will not trip, at least not today. God has my back.

I refer to god as he although I have no problem with others who think god is she. One of my best friends prays to mother goddess and is not shy about letting people  know that. At the close of AA meetings, we always say the lord’s prayer which begins “our father.” My friend passionately and with purpose loudly says “our mother.” Sometimes I want to cover her mouth because I don’t want people judging her. I’m certain she would say “judge on,” not allowing people to get under her skin.

“I loved her fiercely.” I do love god fiercely. I also love words fiercely. My cats, fiercely. My friends, fiercely. Fiercely is such a perfect word. It exudes strength and purposefulness. It fires me up not allowing me to wade in dark water but rather coast on a paddle board.

“Cosmic imagination.” That is what William Blake referred to as god. I join him in this. God is cosmic imagination that pierces me from within leaving me passionate about this life I have been blessed with.

Today is July 24, 2017. I am alive and well.

So, I need your help. I have to date received 20 rejections from agents regarding my second book, Emma. I rewrote the query in the hope of making it stronger. Below is my new version. I would love it if I could get a yay or nay from you; nay you wouldn’t read the book based on the query, or yay, you would. Thanking you ahead of time. me

Emma, the Giraffe at the End of the Hall follows my book Mind Without a Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia. Kirkus review called Mind Without a Home “inventive, jaggedly lyrical, and disturbing.”

Emma is my continued journey away from the crippling effects of schizophrenia. Unlike years ago, I am addicted to life. Life shows up in good form and in bad. The dark isn’t a terrible thing; it’s simply a moment without batteries. My mind is treating me well; dust stops at my ears. I am moving like a swan in sneakers without webbed feet. I am a little beetle surfing the air on a green leaf.

I make a home outside the psychiatric hospital with a lover, Guy, and two Shih Tzus. Seven years go by, and I remain hospital free.

I lose the lover and dogs without losing my mind. Guy was good to me for as long as he could be.

The book comes at a time when people with mental illness are targeted in the media after  hellacious acts on their part. The percentage of those challenged with mental illness committing a crime is really low. My account lets people know that someone living with schizophrenia can be a sane and productive member of society with no tendency toward violent behavior.

The book is imagistic, metaphorical, not always lucid but lucid in its own way; the hat covers my grandmother’s head allowing the air to slide along her nose. I still hear voices no one else hears. I still think things like there is a plate in my head that I need to dial into. And the other realities still exist.

Today, I am comfortable single with many friends to be responsible to. I am loved beyond the edge of language. A great sense of peace occupies my days.

I would be happy to send you more, or the entire manuscript, to help you decide if it is for you.

That is the end of the query. Someone told me I needed to drop one of these two sentences,”I am moving like a swan in sneakers without webbed feet” or “I am a beetle surfing the air on a green leaf.” Which one do you think I should cut out?

Again, thank you for your help.

Kristina