Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Life Mirroring Art (Part II)

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.

I nodded.

"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.

8 comments:

marja said...

Don't ever give up on your dream. It's a good one - a valuable one that would do a lot of good for many people.

Syd said...

Susan,

It was no accident that I stumbled upon this blog. I'm beginning to feel as if we are kindred spirits. I hear my own thoughts when reading your wonderful posts. I too am a writer. I've been sitting on a book that I finished over a year ago and just haven't had the motivation to put it out there. You've inspired me to do just that.

By all means, follow your heart's desire to write that one-woman play. I agree with Marja that it will be a blessing to so many.

"Dootz" said...

Fellow bipolar writer here, saying hello from the opposite coast. Thanks for the blog.

You sound healthy, and that makes me happy.

********
http://surfcountry.blogspot.com/

BamaGal said...

writing I don't get ---unfortunately I get Bipolar all too well---I have just found this blog but will definitely make it one of my regulars---

Never give up on your dream---make positive use of the good times so you cane get through the bad with ease...

best of luck to all of you---you give others hope when they have none...

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

Thank you for making me laugh out loud (when your husband nudged you).

It is amazing sometimes when life makes some miraculous connections.

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Rob,
Thanks for all your comments tonight. I've spent the last few days a bit worried about an "irregular mammogram," which I'm having to repeat on Wednesday. And now, with Spike so sick, it's been a truly tough day.

All your positive comments made me smile, and I so appreciate them!

Susan

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

You're really trying to make me cry, aren't you?

I was quite tired last night and had no intention of writing let alone reading and writing. Now, I'm truly glad that I did.

It's moments like these when it's hard to fathom that there isn't something larger than ourselves in the grand scheme of things.

My thoughts are with you.

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Rob,
I agree. Somewhere in this "virtual world," your comments came at just the right time!

Susan