Monday, October 29, 2012

Spooky week

My training schedule looks frightening this week. Actually, if the weather were like summer, I might feel better about tackling a few of these longer runs. I'm less motivated to run long when the trails are a muddy mess. It would help too if my foot didn't feel like electric eels were having a party in there. My doctor appointment isn't until the 15th, so I have to manage as well as I can until then. Let's hope tape and determination can get me through these next few weeks. 1st run done today. Relief. Of course, if people knew that long to me is an hour, it might make them realize the schedule isn't anything outrageous. It's more that I'm worried about my foot and my energy lately. My eye is still twitching. Perhaps for Wednesday's celebrations I could go as a mental patient or the chief inspector in the Pink Panther.

In more terrifying news, the frankenstorm aside, the store where I work is participating in the Downtown Boulder Munchkin Masquerade on Wednesday. What a horror fest. A million kids and their parents go door to door to all the businesses on the Pearl Street Mall, grabbing candy as they go. Yes, many of the kids are cute, and, generally speaking, people are well behaved. Unfortunately, there are always a few bullies, usually adults, who act in ways that make my stomach turn: taking more than their fair share, butting in line or shoving the little ones aside to get to the Hershey's Miniatures first. Two years ago, a parent stuck her grubby hand in the bowl of candy I was holding and snatched quite a few goodies that were meant for the kids. When I confronted her, she said something about getting candy for kids who weren't there. Then she rushed off with no intention of continuing to Trick or Treat for these phantom children. Say hello to the 10 kids you have, liar. I might have believed her story more if she hadn't been unwrapping a piece as she rushed away in her witch costume. When I was little, Halloween didn't work like that.

These days, and I'm sure this happens more in Boulder than anywhere else, kids have become more picky about the kind of candy they receive. While true gluten allergies are rare, everyone in Boulder claims to be gluten intolerant, even the youngsters. While I would never say, "Here kid; have a Kit Kat. Live dangerously," and toss some candy into his bag, I am annoyed that people expect me to look at labels. Isn't that the parents' job? A few years ago, some lady told her kid to ask me for gluten-free candy. With thousands of pieces purchased to put in the basket I was holding, I wasn't about to go searching for one. I shrugged my shoulders, lowered the basket full of candy to his level and told him he could take a look. By the way, all you vegans out there who are claiming this recipe is so much better for you than anything else, because it doesn't contain gelatine, look closely at the amount of sugar and other sweeteners (and not much else) in it:
Candy Corn
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup organic corn syrup agave nectar, or honey
5 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup powdered soy milk
a pinch of salt
Red & yellow food coloring

I think candy in small quantities is fine, but don't pretend that these little treats are all that much better than a fucking pixie stick.

Ooooo a bit of a tangent here: I tried some Picky Bars and have to say that I really like them! They sit really well on my sometimes fussy tummy. 

Boulder has changed. I was born and grew up here. When I was a kid, my friends and I went around the neighborhood and didn't have to worry about anyone sticking a razor blade in a Tootsie Roll, because the loot was given out by familiar people. Our parents went through the candy we got anyway and threw out anything that looked even remotely suspicious. A wrapper that wasn't perfectly in place caused alarm, and into the trash can that potentially lethal piece went. I suppose the Munchkin event is to provide a safer place for kids to parade in costume. Somehow all it does for me is confirm what a creepy holiday Halloween has become. I say this wishing it still had at least a little something to do with festivals of the dead and the harvest. Today it's all about consumption and being slutty. Yes, Halloween, the perfect excuse for women to dress like sluts and then complain when we all get treated like objects in society. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people showing skin. I do have a big problem with costumes that look like something Fascinations would sell designed for little girls. I have to wonder what parent thinks it's OK for his or her daughter to dress up as a chamber maid, but it happens. People spend more and more (several billion dollars this year) each year on Halloween costumes, which seems strange as less material is used every year. But enough complaining about the holiday. If people think that slutting up Mr. Potato Head is a good thing, there's not a whole lot I can do about it. Damn though, even ghost costumes have gone wrong:

I forgot to go into my asking for needs to be met topic. That will have to wait. 

Wednesday will be a double dose of scary, as American Horror Story will be on again. It's really a great show, but I hate that I freak myself out watching it.

I hope everyone on the East Coast stays safe in the wild storm. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just because

I really hate winter. I should move somewhere warm. I'm depressed not just because of the weather though; my foot is bothering me again. It felt so good after the cortisone shot, but now it's sore and feeling weird. I might have to get those lumpy, undissolved stitches out and see if that makes a difference. In the meantime, I'm just going to tape it well and hope for the best.

Some videos to distract me today:

and of course:

The last one is to show why I have fallen in love with Muse all over again. This song will soon be as annoyingly over played as that Gotye song. Well, maybe not quite over played, but you should still enjoy this one while it's fresh:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Twitchy eye

I read somewhere that quinine can help reduce eye twitching. Of course, the amount in tonic water isn't therapeutic enough to encourage me to start drinking Mind Erasers on a nightly basis, but it's tempting. Really though, I should figure out a way to get more shut eye and manage my time better. I think the occasional eye twitch, in my case, is due to disrupted sleep and stress. It definitely occurs only on days on which I'm tired.

Several years ago, I told the guy I was dating at the time to shoot me if I ever ended up being one of those ladies who's 100 years old, dyes her hair jet black and wears bright red lipstick, not just on her lips but well around the outer edge of them as well. Secretly there's a part of me that thinks it would be sort of cool to attempt to hang on to youth, even when it's obvious that the salad days are long gone. However, I admire more those who age gracefully. That said, I fight it. My hair is not its natural color, and sometimes I get sick of making the effort. The gray hairs scare me though. I think some of it has to do with missing so much of my life when I was sick. I feel too young to look this old, and, wow, it is crazy how much hair color affects how old one looks. Many years ago, I felt much too old and looked like crap despite my naturally dark brown hair. I'm sometimes tempted to dye my hair entirely gray in a rebellious move. Then I can get excited as the brown creeps its way back in streaks on my head.

I wish I could be more like my mom who had salt and pepper hair by the time she was 40. Dyeing her hair never crossed her mind. She rocked the look, though, and has always been beautiful. It's really dumb, because I should be happy that I have hair at all! I lost so much of it with the anorexia. When I looked in the mirror when I was at my worst, I found thinning hair and bald spots on my head. With the anorexia, it's not that I stopped caring about my appearance; it's more that the illness became more important than looking good. I couldn't control it, much like a meth addict can't help using even when sores start appearing on the body and teeth start rotting. At the time, I felt like I couldn't do anything about my hair falling out, especially when the most obvious cure was eating more food. Even when I was getting better, my hair remained thin. I worried the balding spots would never sprout hair again, but, eventually, with the addition of some good supplements and an improved diet, things got better.

We live in a society obsessed with youth and beauty. I'm a product of that, so while there's a part of me that wants to be brave enough to say, "Screw it. No more dyeing my hair!" there's another part equally invested in covering up the gray. When will I draw the line? I'm not sure. A friend of mine shaved her head and let her hair grow back naturally. Her hair is almost all white, and she looks fabulous. Another lady I know is in her 60's and dyes her hair. She looks good too. Apparently, Kate Moss thinks gray on anyone is fashionable, but just because she streaked her hair with gray dye doesn't mean everyone thinks it looks good. I'm afraid I'd just look old.

What's interesting is that, without question, I find guys look better with natural hair. For some reason, I can't get used to a guy who dyes his hair, unless he uses some wild color, and it's meant to be a statement. It's very sexy when men avoid coloring their locks though. People may assume it was George Clooney who made the salt and pepper look popular, but there are plenty of hot guys who are graying.

Well, if anyone doesn't like it if I eventually do decide to forget the coloring, there's that oh so special saying about all cats being gray in the dark.  :/

I think in my next post, I might address people not being able to ask for what they need or want. I bring it up, because I have a very difficult time doing it. Right now, I need to rest my tweaky eye and try to decide if I can handle another episode of American Horror Story. Yeah, you know I can't miss it. I assume I'll spend another few days sprinting past the basement stairs and flipping on all the lights on my way to my bedroom.

Speaking of horror stories, I had a terrible encounter the other day. On the other hand, because of it I found the key to running fast:

Step one- Place a humongous spider in the middle of the trail
Step two- While jumping over said spider, realize that the thing is alive and not your imagination
Step three- Land on the other side of the terrifying critter and watch those times DrrrrrrrrrrrrrrOP!

I speak from experience, yes. Holy crap that spider I saw on Tuesday was CRAZY BIG! It was really insane. And.....AAAKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!

Now there's more horror. I just looked outside, and
 it's snowing. I need to move somewhere warm.  :(

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I decided I need a change. After several people nagged me to go on, I considered joining the e-dating scene and even started to create an account. It's just not me though, and I bailed before getting in too deep. For some reason, I can't bring myself to complete a profile, unless  I did it as a joke and filled it with all kinds of cynicism and sarcasm. Ultimately, that's not the kind of change I need. I do agree that I need to stop going down the same road with guys. My pattern of  jumping into these non-relationships that threaten to develop but never will needs to be broken. These situations don't make me feel good about myself. Maybe I'm not cut out for relationships, but I'm getting the strong urge to pull the plug on any daydreams anyway and focus on more important, real things: my writing, running, work and helping others. I'm fine with that. I guess in many ways, I always have been.

Changing the subject quickly...

World records, especially of the Guinness variety, weird me out a little. I always wonder what makes someone think of attempting to accomplish these types of achievements. The one with the guy kicking himself in the head is one of the most confusing to me, as is the one with the man who put the most spoons on his body. There are plenty of other odd records, some like the largest gathering of people dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, that involve many people and some, like the longest unicycle ride on beer bottles, completed by a single person. Naturally, the guy who ran a marathon in flip flops made me scratch my head. What's scary is that he's fast. He ran a 2:46. Given all that's wrong with my foot, getting through my longest run since the surgery (anything over an hour is long at this point) was a HUGE deal yesterday, but I was running with tape around the injury and my feet were stuffed into heavy-duty training shoes. I can't even begin to imagine running even half that far in flimsy shoes. Running barefoot would probably be easier! It's bizarre.

I have to face the fact that last week was a bit of a struggle to complete in terms of my training schedule. The long run I did was long, well, for me. I guess with a bit of a limp, the longer stuff is more difficult. I feel it more. It might be that I'm also not as fit as I would like to be. Running 1 hour 30 minutes seemed REALLY long though. The last 20 minutes were though, and I think I was whining a bit, even though I had slowed to a jog. Maybe the 30-minute tempo stuff in the middle made it harder, but I think I'm still not quite back on my feet fully. I'm getting close though. The down side of this dehydration episode, in addition to just being really, really sick for a week and a half, is that all of a sudden I'm terrified to race again. I wish I could find a low key mountain race somewhere close. Despite my worries, I'd like to attempt something in the next few weeks.

Sigh. Time to work on a proposal for a project I'm very excited about and will share soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Oh please!

Some guy on facebook is ripping on Jack White, claiming he's no good because he "steals" the styles of other people. That's like claiming any contemporary painter is shit, because he borrows from the past. You can't paint in the style of an impressionist, because that's STEALING! Apparently he's not familiar with Picasso's idea that "good artists copy; great artists steal." Does he mean that in order to be any good in music or art, one has to come up with an entirely new genre? Good luck with that. Meanwhile, this same guy posts a video of himself doing a COVER of an already over played song on youtube. Oh, that's original.

Wait, if a band makes a song its own, it kind of is original. However, merely singing someone else's song isn't exactly doing that, facebook guy. Think Gary Jules. His version of Mad World is truly artistic and pretty damn amazing. I won't go into the controversial issues with Led Zeppelin. Were they the first samplers, or did the members of the band flat out steal material? Either way, they remain one of the most popular bands around. I'll add that I can't help but like the music they made, even if they were a little shady about not giving proper credit.

Here's a good example of "when the cover is better":

As far as Jack white, the guy has madd skillz. I would easily put him in the top 10 guitar players of all time. Mr White doesn't just play guitar though; he plays anything and everything. He could probably squeeze beautiful sounds out of a potato.

Some people took issue with his move when he killed the middleman when his label, Third Man Records, hosted an ebay auction of the first reissue album by The White Stripes. Hey wait, isn't this what musicians have been wanting: no middleman? I prefer the way Radiohead handled things with the release of their In Rainbows album, but Jack did nothing wrong. People will pay outrageous amounts for rare or limited edition music anyway, so why not let the people who created the music benefit more? My point is that Jack has his hands in many projects, and he's changing the way music is distributed. Did you know that Jack White even acts? Obviously, music is his real passion. Anyone can see that. The bottom line is that he's fucking talented. I don't care what styles he "steals", borrows or imitates. The guy's a genius.

Speaking of putting a twist on something..this is funny. I snagged it from Horse Junkies United:

And since I'm off topic anyway, here's another video for your enjoyment, a clip from one of my favorite films, The Return of the Nina. Zack is a really cool guy, and an incredible athlete too:

Wow, I'm a bit all over the place tonight. Oh well. 

I hate to admit that I did have nightmares after watching American Horror Story. I can't help it. Jessica Lange is a phenomenal actress, and she's pretty scary in the new season. The opener certainly delivered. Even Adam Levine held his own in his acting d├ębut. I do miss some of the missing actors from last season, but the new season promises to be great. Fucking hell- now I'll be freaking out from now until the end of November!

And lastly: YAY! that people are finally getting a clue about what a twit Madonna is. What a brilliant move to bring out the guns and violence in a state in which huge tragedies have occurred. I guess she's too self centered to think about how her actions might affect others. Ick.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Love your body day

I'm posting a picture of one of the love your body campaign posters featuring images of beautiful women, knowing full well that men often struggle with body image and should love their bodies too. I didn't find out until today that it's love your body day. I wish I had known earlier, because I like the concept behind the celebration: moving away from advertising that tries to make people feel inadequate. I would have put together a more well thought out post had I known. The campaign is geared toward woman, who are often more unsatisfied with their bodies then men, but we are all bombarded with negative advertising and forced to believe that only buying a certain product will make us attractive, desirable and successful. Today is a good day to pledge to appreciate your body now and in the days to come.

I haven't had a clear enough head to write much. I wanted to add a quick note to thank those of you who have reposted info about my book. I really appreciate it. It looks like a few online magazines might eventually do some reviews, which is fantastic and very exciting. I mentioned before that getting Training On Empty out there has been a LONG process. Hopefully it will help those who might be struggling.

Oddly enough, I am not allowed to mention my book on any eating disorder forums, except on facebook. I can't even post in the book section. I'm not sure why there is a book section in this one forum, unless it's strictly for the use of the moderators. There doesn't seem to be a ton of traffic in there anyway, but it's still the very group I'm trying so desperately to reach. On the other hand, the eating disorder recovery groups on facebook are a different story and totally cool about people posting info about books.

I have found that even as much as I have recovered, I can so relate to some of the issues brought up in these recovery groups. During the beginning stages of my attempt to get well, I had to completely remove myself from anyone and anything related to eating issues. I couldn't go to support groups or read about anyone else struggling without being triggered in some way. It's good to be in a place now where I feel like I can offer something and not be afraid of slipping.

I'm going to cut this a bit short. I want to catch the season premiere of American Horror Story, even though I know it will completely freak me out and probably cause me to have nightmares. I scare so easily it's stupid, yet I can't resist that show.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rising from the dead

I'm finally feeling a little bit better after a shitty week last week. I guess the dehydration thing was more severe than I thought. Well, coming home from urgent care and crawling into bed with my clothes and down coat still on should have given me the first clue that I was pretty unwell. I didn't think it would take so long to be feeling OK again, and I'm still not quite 100 percent yet. I am going to try a run though. I did a few walk/jogs at the end of last week. So much for riding that nice little breakthrough wave after the shootout. Oh well. Back to focusing on just getting out the door.

I got caught up reading the debates and comments floating around regarding Christian Hesch's admission that he used EPO. I love that he tries to make it seem like less of a crime by stating that he only used it outside of racing, as if that's so much better. Crazy. I'm glad I was oblivious to drug use in my early days of running. It wasn't until I was in college that I even heard about anyone using. My team at CU briefly had an assistant track coach who had a bit of a moustache on her very angular face, and she also had very well defined muscles. I thought nothing of it until some of the other girls started speculating. Wow, I was naive. But I'm glad I didn't know there were people cheating before that. I think I might have felt discouraged. Knowing how I was back then, I would have also tried to make a point of promoting running drug free, but there's no doubt I would have been disappointed to know that some people I admired (Mary Decker, for one) were using.

I know now that even sub-elite runners run dirty, but I was really surprised to hear someone make a comment about a high school runner publicly contemplating using. Again, when I was in high school, those kinds of thoughts never crossed my mind. I have made plenty of comments about running being a different sport now, but I generally meant in terms of better equipment, improved training methods and more information about nutrition available. I'll admit that I'm a little bit in shock the more I hear about the kinds of people who admit to having tried or know someone who has tried performance enhancing substances. I even met a lady years ago who ran a few ultras at the sub-elite level and suddenly jumped to the elite level after meeting her 2nd husband, a guy from South Africa. A few people I know told me they saw things. I guess because I didn't actually witness it, any use of performance enhancing substances is not really confirmed other than her ex stating that he knew for certain that she had started using, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit to know all the rumors were true. I guess running really is a different sport.  :/

My head is spinning lately. I'm going to keep this short. I can't seem to string together a decent sentence lately. I don't know if it's not being fully well yet or other things going on in my brain, but I need to get back to writing more coherently soon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Here is a small excerpt from Training on Empty. It's from one of the chapters toward the end of the book.

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” – Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator


Like many anorexics, I developed little checks to reassure myself I was okay, i.e. thin enough for the day. My basic check was to wrap my hand around my upper arm to make sure my middle finger would touch my thumb. At one point, my check was to feel my hip bones, something I did continually throughout the day, even though I knew it was impossible to gain enough weight to change that drastically in a few hours. These were rituals that, over time, became habit. There were also lies and rationalizations that constantly fell from my lips. They weren’t outright intentional lies; “I ate earlier” didn’t seem like lying. I just didn’t tell anyone how much earlier it was when I last ate, and a “huge lunch” is all relative. My dedication to being honest was unintentionally waning and the line between reality and fantasy became more blurred in my head.
Looking back, I can see how I fooled myself in order to hang on to my eating disorder. I wanted to justify what I was doing, so that I didn't come off as sick to others. I rationalized and tried to explain away my quirky behaviors, hoping those around me wouldn't think I was anorexic. I don't think I was very convincing, but I continued trying to hide my disorder. Being on the other side of the illness, I now understand how frustrating it is to hear someone try to explain her strange behavior that doesn't support health with bizarre and irrational excuses.
When I see anorexic people today, I can detect rather quickly how far into the disease they are without taking great notice of their actual body weight. It’s one of those “anorexics can’t fool other anorexics” phenomena that occur once anorexia has been experienced on any level. It’s obvious when the anorexic is visibly thin, but there are other indicators. Aside from the little checks they do, I can see the illness in the eyes. Anorexics have a certain look. If it’s severe, the look is vacant. If the person is recovering, the look is pained and deep.
By the time I had my first seizure, I was completely lost. I had recently given most of my possessions away, thinking the end was near. I could feel myself slipping further and further away from the world around me. Consumed by obsessive-compulsive behavior, it was a struggle to make it through the day. It seemed that the thinner I got, the worse the OCD symptoms became. It got so that picking out an apple at the grocery store was an impossible task. I felt like Persephone seeking out prettier and prettier flowers in the fields. Each time I would settle on an apple I thought might be okay, I’d think maybe there was a better one. Only very rarely could I actually choose one that was acceptable. Finding the right one actually had little to do with size, shape or ripeness, it just had to “feel” right.
I’m sad to say that even after my first seizure, I wasn’t ready to make an effort to get well. It would have been difficult even if I had been ready, because my finances were pretty well exhausted. Any treatment facility was out of the question. Besides, I felt I was losing the fight. Being healthy takes balls. Claiming the right to life and having radical trust in the universe is not for the weak. Embracing self-worth and self-wisdom takes an enormous amount of sheer strength and faith. I don’t mean that in the typical religious sense, but faith nonetheless. Simply put, being human takes energy.
Because I had become so sick, I no longer felt like a woman. Even in high school, when I was so thin, I had a sense of my femininity. However, once I become so terribly emaciated, I felt asexual and made little effort to dress or care for myself except for basic hygiene. It was more important to me to remain thin than to evolve as a person, even though on some level I wanted to be well. The worst part during all of this was that I could feel my mind losing ground. Up until that point in my life, my mind had always been razor-sharp and overactive. Thoughts flooded my brain and creativity oozed from my very being. All of a sudden, I was living in a haze and experiencing things in slow motion. Then, horror of all horrors, I felt my thoughts escape the bounds of my own control.
As hard as I tried to focus my mind by reading or concentrating, I just couldn’t. What I didn't know is that my serum sodium level was dangerously low; I had diluted my electrolytes through excessive water intake, and this condition – called hyponatremia – was causing my brain to short-circuit. Complete and utter panic grabbed me to my very soul and I knew something terrible was happening. Instead of calmness and nice white lights near-death survivors often claim to experience, I came face to face with paralysis, blackness and complete loss of control. After the seizures would pass, I would remember bits and pieces of the events leading up to the seizure itself; the tingle in my back, the repetitive thought that was stuck on replay, and the screaming that came from my mouth but seemed so far away.
Each visit to the hospital was expensive. The ambulance ride alone was close to $1,000 per trip. My insurance company had dropped me after my second hospital stay, so my parents footed the bill. After I was told the seizures were not exactly life-threatening, I wore a small necklace with a sign attached to it that read, “in case of seizure, please do not call an ambulance.” After two trips, my parents couldn’t afford to pay for another ride for me.
When I woke up one night to severe chest pain and shortness of breath, I thought for sure that was it. My mom and I took a cab to the hospital, where the doctors told her not to expect me to make it through the night. I begged them to find room for me at an eating-disorders treatment facility. Their response was, “Sorry, they’re full.” I looked at my mom and asked, “How sick do I have to be?”  Clearly I was going to have to figure this out on my own. The real question was: Did I even want to get well?

Rough day

I spent a good part of the day in urgent care yesterday. After getting through a run and heading to work, I started to feel a bit wonky. I've been struggling with some minor stomach pains and other issues the last week or so, but I thought I had turned a corner. Then, out of the blue, I felt like I was going to pass out while working. My co-worker insisted on driving me to urgent care, and I'm glad she did.  

It turns out I was dehydrated. I was annoyed when the doctor asked me about my history, bringing up my eating disorder. The implication was clear that he assumed I had been throwing up, and that really upset me. I insisted that it wasn't the case. Um, I'm sick, not bulimic, but with an eating disorder in my past, I get those kinds of accusations a lot. It doesn't matter that I have a fever, havn't thrown up, haven't been to the doctor in forever or have had some tummy problems since my last race; all that matters is that anorexia is in my medical history. That's all the doctors tend to see, and all kinds of assumptions are made based on that. 

I also got pissed off when some idiot at the store cut me off after I got my prescriptions. Nothing like having to drive yourself to the pharmacy after almost passing out and spending the day strapped to an IV. Because I was feeling so weak and nauseated, I was sticking close to the counter while heading toward the exit. Actually, I was following the natural flow of traffic, people heading out on the right, and people who were entering hugging the left side. I really don't understand it, but this fucking lady decided that she wanted to go from the left side to the right, cutting me off in the process. I was forced to stop with her trying to squeeze between me and the counter with her fucking hand basket. I had to stagger out to the left side to get around her. Now, there was an entire wide walkway on the left, so I just don't get why she would do something like that. It was some kind of power trip or something, but when I'm really, really sick, I have little patience for that kind of crap. I was not at all kind with my sarcastic choice of words to her. I probably should have let it go and realized that she has a severe problem, but I wasn't feeling well enough to catch myself. 

So, after all this excitement with getting my book out there and with my running coming along too, I'm now stuck in bed for who knows how long. Well, the only good thing about being sick is getting to eat cookies for breakfast. It seems that cookies are the only thing my stomach can handle this morning besides ginger ale. 

Sigh. This is a bummer. At least I'm on the mend though. Yesterday was the worst part of it, and now I just have to ride it out until I'm back on my feet. For now, it's back to bed for me. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting it published

I was so excited about finishing the manuscript and getting it uploaded to smashwords yesterday that I skipped over writing a real blog post about it. Before I get into it, let me say that I decided to publish on Smashwords, because it's easy to download material from that site. E-readers aren't even necessary, so if you don't have a reading device, you can download the book in HTML format using your computer. I believe that in the free sample, Lorraine Moller's foreword is visible.

I also have to blurt out that my neighbor just won the Nobel Prize in physics. How crazy cool is that?!?

Back to my original post...

This has been a long, long process, taking over six years to complete. It was with the help of many people that I was able to finish this project. I'm sure I could have put my story out there in the early stages, but without people helping me and pushing me as a writer, it wouldn't have been complete. I needed the time to grow and recover from my illness more, so that I could offer what I learned to others. I hope this doesn't seem like a super sappy post, but there are a few people I want to thank publicly, even though they are also mentioned in the acknowledgements.

I mention Diane Israel, Bobby McGee and Lorraine Moller quite a bit in this blog, but there were other people who played an integral part in getting Training on Empty published.

When I first wrote my manuscript, it was more like a little novelette, no more than 25,000 words. I submitted it to an agent who said that she liked it. Seeing that there was an important message there, she told me to rewrite it and make it longer. It had to be at least twice as long. I wasn't really a writer at the time, but I knew I had something important to say. There's a saying about stories happening only to those who can tell them, but I believe we all have stories to tell. We just tell them in different ways. My agent suggested that, rather than go chronologically, I should start at a dramatic point in my life and work around that. She also encouraged me to take a more global approach to the whole book. It took me a year to gather interviews and rework the story to make it better. I thought I was done, but it was still in the early stages. It would take a few more years of rewriting and editing before it was finished. Quite a few people read early versions and offered suggestions that were all very much appreciated. It is a very different book now.

My first big change after the initial rewrite came when I was introduced to Julie Threlkeld (, a fellow blogger and runner who offered to edit parts of my manuscript. She was the first person who really helped me get a better sense of what was lacking. Julie has a way with words, so her suggestions were crucial in making my story richer and more complete. Sometimes when writing, I forget that brushing over tiny details will leave the reader confused. I've tried to remember that not everyone is in my head. Julie's comments and advice made me realize that I had a long way to go before I could consider myself a writer, but she encouraged me to keep at it. I think people could see that there was a story that needed to be shared. It needed work though.

This quote from Stephen King's book On Writing, which I have not yet read, comes to mind when thinking about editors:

"The editor is always right." The corollary is that no writer will take all of this or her editor’s advice; for all have sinned and fallen short of editorial perfection. Put another way, to write is human, to edit is divine."

It was actually Kevin Beck ( who introduced me to Julie. He also took the time to give my final draft the last revisions it needed. Most writers know that it takes great editing to make a written piece the best it can be. I suppose it's similar to a painter having her art framed. A frame can make or break a painting. The thing about writing is that sometimes in getting the story out, it's difficult to concentrate on proper grammar and structure, so editors read through and catch these mistakes. I have laughed at the little errors I've made when going over what I've written with fresh eyes or when an editor points out a slip a typical third grader would make. I have stubbornly fought with my editors, knowing full well which words were better or more accurate. Clearly I need to work on having less attachments to my work. In some cases, it was a struggle to change things that obviously needed changing. Unlike my artist friend who is fearless with his work and can boldly alter a piece that looks nearly flawless to me, attacking it with new colors on his brush, I guard my work and hesitate with each correction.

The other night, I was fussing about keeping a passage in my words, knowing it was better if I took my editor's advice. I started to get in a huff about it, but the more we argued, the more I realized how silly I was being. After a bit of embarrassment at my stubbornness, understanding that I was arguing simply to have it my way, I agreed it needed changing. The crazy thing was that it was a minor revision, and I was determined to have control, until I started laughing about what an ass I was being and relented. As I have stated more than a few times, letting go isn't always easy for me. I don't envy my editors.

I'm forever grateful to these two editors and the others who helped push me in my writing career. Ultimately, this book was published, because I believe that it has the potential to help those who struggle with addiction, body image issues or eating disorders. Sometimes with athletes, the line between being compulsive and being dedicated is a fine one. The more we can teach young girls and boys self-acceptance and self-confidence, the better the chance that these issues will be avoided or addressed early.

Thank you to those of you who have already purchased Training on Empty.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Training on Empty

It has been a long process, but my book is finally available. My agent and I decided to publish it as an ebook while still shopping it around to publishers. I will have more to say about it later, but here is the link:

What is up with that?

I'm being awfully quiet lately. One might assume I'm plotting something, something big.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Random things

I confess that I only listened to a small portion of the debate. From the critiques I read and heard on the radio and also from the postings on facebook, it sounds like I didn't miss much, just some distortions and skewed facts. This review seems to sum the event up nicely.

Speaking of distortions, I haven't heard this in a long time:

A big congratulations to Lorraine Moller, who was inducted into the Boulder Sports Hall of Fame. Apparently, my former high school coach was also inducted for his climbing achievements. I hope that Melody Fairchild will eventually be inducted, but I don't know how these things work.

My tummy has been a mess since the Shootout. I had so much fun running the race, and I even had a solid workout Tuesday. However, I'm feeling pretty low today, and my poor insides are still in some kind of ultimate battle. I think I'm over the worst of it, but this has been an unpleasant experience. Now I seem to have a bit of a fever with it. I probably got a little run down after being drained for four days.

Is anyone else sick of hearing people say, "I'm done!" or "I'm over it!" These sayings are worse when the person who blurts them out really isn't over anything and continues to bring the issues up over and over. What does it really mean? Maybe it translates as "I'm frustrated and angry," but it doesn't seem to mean anyone is over anything.

I've been having strange dreams lately. I'm sure there's all kinds of meaning behind them, but I'm not getting any big, life-altering messages from them. Well, there were one or two that related to relationship stuff. The meaning behind those is usually more obvious, even in a dream state. A few of my friends are trying to persuade me to go on I'm horribly opposed to it, but I can't give a solid reason why. I guess I just don't want to, so I make grand efforts to change the subject when anyone mentions it. I don't even know if I want to be in a relationship at this point, though there are nice things about being in one. Maybe it's more that I don't know what kind of relationship I want right now. I'm not good with these things, and my pattern has been to be with either those who are unavailable or those who ultimately don't want to be in a relationship or both. I've also been told or it has been implied that I'm not relationship material, which might be true. I'm  the first to admit that I'm moody and overly sensitive, but fuck that. How many people (not just women) aren't? In the past, I've been good at being the one some guy is fucking until something better comes along, but ...I'm over it. No, really, I am! God I hate this stuff.

The new season of American Horror Story starts this month. It's awful how easily I scare, and equally terrible that I can't resist that show. I've been known to freak myself out so badly doing laundry in the basement that after finishing the washing, I'm forced to sprint up the stairs before anything creepy can eat me.

I don't really have much to say at the moment, but I will have some big news relating to my manuscript soon. Stay tuned! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lady Gaga opens up about her eating disorder

Well, not really, but she does mention it, and POOF! she's better and wants all her fans to know.

When it comes to Lady Gaga's sudden leap into the body acceptance arena, I tend to think a bit like Sandy Doyle, blogger for The Guardian, who acknowledges that these publicity stunts are less about the people struggling and more about selling merchandise or an image. I can't always put my finger on why the actions of a person don't sit well with me, but there's something about this Gaga character that rubs me the wrong way and has since I first heard about her. A friend of mine and I once got into a 30-minute debate about the singer when he claimed that she's a true artist. I explained that she's more of a gimmick creator. Yes, she has talent. There's no doubt about that. She's no Fiona Apple, but she can sing, and I won't deny that she's a musician. Let me be clear too that what she does is smart. There's no argument there.

I have to say that there's a part of me that wants to jump up and yell, "Yes! This is awesome!" when it comes to a woman standing up for herself. I recognize that it is a good thing that the pop star has taken a stand against the criticism she has experienced with her alleged weight gain. Anyone who advocates for health over image, even if it's temporary, is doing something right, and I applaud her for that. Is it a new image or really shedding an image though? I have always been of the mind set that getting people to open up and talk about something that can tend to be a taboo topic is a step in the right direction. Diane Israel and I mention this quite often when we have given speeches about eating disorders. It's true that it is a very brave move for someone in the spotlight to confess to having struggled with an eating disorder, and embracing and promoting recovery the way Lady Gaga seems to be doing is all kinds of great.

That said, there are some things that she's doing with this whole body revolution campaign that I question. First of all, any time someone calls her or his fans "little monsters," "my lovelies," "my minions" "bitches" or "you suckheads," even if said or written with the intention of being cute, it comes off as arrogant and condescending. I'll note that I don't think she ever called anyone a suckhead. That was another blogger I know. I'm put off by those who feel the need to raise themselves above everyone else. Also, suggesting that her fans post pictures of themselves, so that comments can be made is a risky move, especially for many who are easily triggered by images of others. We're a sensitive lot, and anyone who has struggled should be aware of that. Those of us who have had issues can be quick to criticize, mostly our own bodies, so while I get what she was attempting to do, Lady Gaga may have missed the boat by commenting on images of her fans. Hell, my blog is a recovery-style blog, and I'm aware that even that can be triggering for people. Sensitivity is clearly lacking in her approach. Instead of posting images, why not have fans write what accomplishments they have achieved, what they like about themselves or why not have them tell about a goal they reached relating to their struggles? There's something that comes off as obviously contrived in what she's doing.

Yes, and how many little monsters would die to have this nearly flawless shape? 

Apparently, all the eating disorder organizations are fully backing Lady Gaga. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I guess raising awareness is the ultimate goal. Perhaps I'm uncomfortable with this approach, in part, because those of us who also have messages are not being heard. Because she's already in the spotlight, all this star has to do is open her mouth and millions of people will quickly get the details on whatever cause she decides to back. Well, at this point, all I can say is that if her new mission helps even one person out there struggling, I'm all for it. So in the end, I really will stand up and shout, YOU GO GIRL!" I just hope the rest of us with messages will also be heard one day.