Backyard Feeder

Backyard Feeder
photo taken through porch screen

Friday, December 03, 2010

Why We Stay With a Bipolar Spouse

We stay because there is always that potential. There is always the possibility that the next med change will bring him back to the one we fell in love with. We stay because sometimes we see that man and sometimes he even sticks around for a while. We stay because we believe in love, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. We stay because we know what we want and we know that we will never have that same relationship with anyone else and even if we will never have it with him again, we are willing to take that chance. We stay because where there is life there is hope and we have hope.

I second guess myself regularly. I stayed through physical and emotional abuse. I stayed through terrifying psychotic manic episodes and months of living with a zombie. I stayed because I knew that the body-snatchers might return my husband and I didn’t want to miss it. And slowly. With lots of bumps in the road. With ups and downs that would make an astronaut ill. With one medication, then another, new doses, new medications, so slowly that it was physically painful, he emerged from the darkness and like a child learning to walk, he became human again, then disappeared, then emerged, and still…he is back and he wants to share our life and raise our children and be my partner and even though it isn’t always easy and he isn’t always reachable, he keeps struggling and I keep struggling and we are more together than apart.

If I had given up early in the marriage, no one would have blamed me or found fault, but I always knew that I would rather stay and fight than give up. I would rather have him sick than someone else healthy, though having him healthy would be almost too much to even hope for. I have grown stronger and wiser, more patient and tolerant through our struggle and I am thankful for that—if only I could have gained that with less pain, but that isn’t the way it works.

I can’t say if it is worth the effort for you to stay in your relationship or if leaving would be best for you. I can only say that doing the insane thing with an insane person was right for me—so far. Twenty-five years and counting.

Bonnie Rice

Author of Love Has Its Ups and Downs

Wife to Troy, BP1

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Should be Given, What Sold?

Someone just paid $10 for my ebook yesterday. I find it incredible that people are willing to pay for what I write. I have been paid for writing before, but it has always been a website or magazine publisher--not a real person.

I think I'm figuring out what my procrastination is about. What if I publish the book in paperback and nobody buys it? What if it isn't worth the price? What if it's worth the price, but nobody knows it exists? Can I handle the rejection? If just one person reads the book and is helped, isn't that worth the risk? We're not talking about printing 1,000 copies--well I am, but not right away. We're talking about print-on-demand, the no-financial-risk form of book publishing.

I set the ebook up as a sort of trial run. It doesn't cost anything, doesn't require proof copies, no WORD to pdf glitches.I wanted to know if anyone would actually find it and want to pay money for it. It's been up for almost a month now--not terribly wrong in real time, an eternity online, and I've had over 50 people download at least part of the book, nearly 20 went on to get the whole book. Lots of free copies, but that's actually a good thing. Two people chose their own price and bought a copy for real money. I'm guessing that with my forum posts and people who have read the book telling others, that this will keep happening.

I do like the idea that if someone needs the information and doesn't have the money, that they can download the book free and not feel like they are stealing or anything. I think I may be better able to justify selling the paperback copies--which cost real money to produce--as long as there is a free alternative.

I still wonder why I feel vaguely guilty about accepting money for something that is helping people, but I think that as long as I am not limiting my helping to people who are willing and able to pay I can probably justify it to myself.

I hate being the designated sane one--it is SO NOT ME.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ready to Retire? A Ramble.

A woman that I work with came back from vacation yesterday and told me that she had a very nice vacation, but that she was ready to come back, not ready to retire, because she missed coming to work. I almost wish I felt that way about work.

I've been ready to "retire" since I started the job. Maybe we just don't see work or retirement the same way, but I'm ready to be on my own all day. I want to be able to work on my writing. I have at three books waiting to be finished and more to be started. I have this blog that I've been neglecting. My website was lost when the free host changed their format--so I'm rebuilding that from the ground up and paying for the domain and the hosting to be sure it doesn't get deleted again. I have way too much to do to have time to miss work.

I might miss some of the people, but there's no law that says I can't drop in from time to time--I work at Walgreens and my husband is on lots of medication, so going back to shop and see everyone isn't a problem.

Of course, I have a long time before I can actually retire. I suppose if the books sell well I could "quit my day job" to focus on the writing, but the combination of an unsteady income and an unstable husband (and overspending is his most destructive symptom) is just too frightening for me.

I have to be the stable one, the consistent breadwinner, the one who calmly sits down and works it all out. I have to be strong.

Next month we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and I am still grieving over the dreams that I had way back then--of being a full-time wife and mother and growing my writing career as the children needed less care over the years. The children are almost all grown up but I am working full-time to pay the bills and struggling to make sense of our life. This is not what I imagined at all. And it's not my fault. I didn't do anything to deserve this. It's not anyone's fault. There was this terrible disorder that stole away my husband so he's not all there all the time and it hurts.

Will I get my life back when I retire? Will that make things seem just a bit more normal? I'm ready to retire--it's just not ready for me.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Publishers' Block

My book is written, edited, and ready to print, but I just have the feeling that I'm missing something or that when I get the book published there will be some problem that I haven't thought about.

I've thought about everything. I've thought about not selling a single copy after the proof--and I'm not sure that would be so terrible or even possible. I know people are asking to buy a copy, so if the orders just trickle in, I can leave the book available as long as I want and as long as it keeps selling. Not a problem.

I have thought about finding errors in the book after it is printed, but I have so many people reading through it for me that I seriously doubt there will be anything substantial found. And if there is, I just don't promote the book and redo it as a second edition as soon as possible.

I have thought about being exposed as a fraud--because I can't always follow my own advice--and I realize that the book will have to get some serious publicity for that to even become an issue and all things considered, that might be a good thing.

Maybe I just don't want to admit that the book isn't in print because I don't have the $15 for the proof copy that I'll have to order to be sure everything is perfect, but I suspect I'd have found the cash if that were the only problem.

I keep asking people who have written books, "How do you know when the book is ready to be published?" and I really haven't been given a good answer.

So I started reading, I tried looking at books about writing and publishing, but they had nothing about how to tell when a book is ready. I guess that's always been a decision for the publisher or editor before self-publishing became a viable option.

I started reading again, books that jump out from my collection or from the thrift store, books by James Redfield, books by Chaim Potok, books that seem to have nothing to do with writing and publishing. And I get some interesting advice.

I read that knowledge that isn't shared is worthless, that if I have all of this experience and research done, it needs to be given to people who can use it. I read that I need to do what I was put on earth to do, whatever that might be, in order to feel worthwhile. I read that when you wait for everything else to fall into place, you can wait forever, but that if you put yourself out there, everything else will fall into place.

I'd been told that writing the book, that putting that first paragraph on paper and getting started, that keeping at it until the work was completed, that getting all of the words on paper in a satisfactory form was the hard part, but I'm already starting another book. Compared to finishing, starting is easy. Setting up an outline, filling in the paragraphs, giving a message, it doesn't phase me a bit. I will probably havet the other book on my website before I have my website fully set up. I just hope I can get one book in print before I am struggling to get the second into print.

Sometimes I wonder, who IS the crazy one in this house? Sometimes I'm sure it's me.