As I sat at dinner with my mother, I took out my new moleskin pocket notebook--a birthday gift from my mother-in-law. On a piece of light yellow lined paper, I wrote down my name and phone number as well as the name of my blog. I intended to give it to the actress before she left, and I planned on asking her to call me. I had some ideas for publicizing her play and I was interested in talking with her about how to write a one-woman show. It's something I've always wanted to do and with the success of selling my memoir under my belt, I felt it was time.
I walked over to her table and handed her the page. When she looked at it and saw that the name of my blog is Bipolar Wellness Writer, she said, "Why is your blog about that?"
"Because I'm bipolar," I answered, "but I write about it in a funny way," I quickly added, in case mentioning the illness made her uncomfortable. "I know it would work as a one-woman show."
Tears came to her eyes although she was smiling. "Black humor," she said.
"Eighteen years ago, my sister lost her fight with bipolar disorder."
"I'm so sorry," I said.
She wiped the tears from her eyes. We chatted a bit more, and promised to get in touch with each other when I return from a brief vacation (we're leaving tomorrow).
As I pushed my mother's wheel chair out of the restaurant, I shook my head. I never discuss my illness with strangers. I haven't mentioned my book in years because I was so devastated by my agent's inability to sell it. And now that I've recently begun to have some level of success again, I was stunned to find that the one person I talked to--had a bipolar relative. Who better to understand what the illness is like? Who better to "play me" in my one-woman show?
"Thank you God," I whispered, looking upward. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate it." Besides my husband and son, perhaps God was the only one who knew that last Christmas I had shredded more than 100 file folders of research, which filled 8 large black plastic trash bags. In the depths of yet another depression, I had decided I was deluding myself into thinking that I could ever write another book and it was time to give up--once and for all.
Here I was four months later, writing a new blog, working on two new book ideas, and thinking about writing a one-woman show. The amazing part of this illness is how things can shift from month to month, day to day. That night when I fell asleep, I dreamed I was sitting in a large auditorium. The actress I'd met at dinner was performing my play. The audience was laughing with delight. My husband nudged me.
"What?" I asked, suddenly awake.
"You're laughing out loud," he mumbled. "I can't sleep."
"It's the sound of the crowd," I whispered as I went back to bed.