Sunday, January 15, 2012


I have a difficulties managing my time.  I have so many things, human and not, pulling at me.  I feel sometimes like that rag on the rope in the middle of a game of tug of war.  I am pulled left, then right.  I hover for a bit as each team struggles for traction and then the jostling begins again.

I had such great plans four years ago when I wrote my novel.  I was going to find an agent who loved it and it would become an instant bestseller.  I would be able to walk into my local Boarders and see my name on the shelf besides Jodi Picoult and JK Rowling. However, getting a book published it not all that easy, and after a lot of time, stamps, manila envelopes and rejection letters, I put my novel in a drawer (with a back up in my safety deposit box) and succumed to the pull of the other parts of my life.

In the meantime I started working on a memior.  I was a 36 year old medical student with a husband, two children, a dog and a mortgage.  I thought my struggles balancing my academic experiences with being a wife and mother made for an interesting story.  And it is.  However, again life interviened and I lost momentum.  The memior is about 3/4 finished.  The rest should be easy and, if I could get it published, there could be a sequel of my days in residency. 

I really don't know what is keeping me from my writing.  I mean afterall, I only have a full time medical practice, three grandchildren who I adore, and a desire to travel before I get too old and decrepit to go.  There is also the rejection which is a difficult thing for me to handle.  I think part of the reason I stopped writing was the cool reception my novel and my memior received at the last writer's conference. 

But this is a new year and a new world.  I am going to look into the various options for epublishing my novel.  My Borders store is gone with a lot of other brick-and-mortar stores.  I believe that epublishing is the way of the future.  I love my Kindle.  I am also going to explore self-publishing because I still dream of seeing my name on the cover of a book. 

I am going to finish my memior.  This is going to take some sacrifice.  I am going to have to give up the hours I am wasting on Facebook.  I am going to have to use my free time more thoughtfully and not give into the push and pull of life.  So the new year starts here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Winter of our Discontent

Discontent is a Pacific Northwest winter—grey and chill. The sun barely rises over the horizon. On dark and gloomy days, it seems to never appear at all. Those days are without hope of light and warmth. I have often felt my life would lie in that dank fog forever, moss covered and mildew ravaged.

If you Google the word discontent there is a picture of me. My mother said I could always find the fly in the ointment. Therapists have said I have low grade depression. I think of myself as the human equivalent of AA Milne’s Eeyore. I can always see the bad in any situation.

I have found happiness to be a fleeting thing. There is a chemical rush, a steady flow of serotonin and norepinephrin coursing through the brain making everything vividly colored and dazzling. A new love, a new possession, a trip to a new place, or a career change can do it, but when the rush is over there is nothing left in its place but discontent.

It is not like I enjoy my negativity. All my life I have been looking for something positive and uplifting. The problem is that I haven’t been able to pinpoint what that something is, so the search has been frustrating, leading to many deadends and disappointments. I have sought faith, only to become disenchanted with religion. I have sought my passion for medicine only to be stymied in my ability to provide it by bureaucracy. I have tried on relationships, only to find imperfections in the people I love.

Not that I have had many relationships. Men are visual creatures and I was not born possessed of beauty. I was teased and bullied over my lack of looks and my mother, the one person who should have thought me beautiful, found fault with me at every turn. Because I believed I was unattractive and unlovable, I made poor decisions. Instead of valuing my assets, I ignored them. I became a quiet, grey mouse relegated to lurking in corners and grabbing at whatever tidbits would fall within my reach. I was not content with the scraps, but I didn’t think myself worthy of better.

When I left for college I thought I would meet men who would value my brains since I was not disposed of beauty. By my senior year I was fast becoming an old maid. I hadn’t dated in four years of college. And then Tom came along.

My mother didn’t like him. One night she asked why I was wasting my time with him. I answered her honestly; there was no one else to waste time with. So in the end I married him. I was unhappy for over 30 years. The relationship was unrewarding. He took credit for everything I did, including going to medical school. I was supposed to make him look good, while in the privacy of our home he treated me as dispassionately as he did the furniture. I told myself to be content with the neglect of my husband because he was incapable of giving more. I subjected myself to a life of grey, dull discontent. For years I made excuses for him, while quietly hating him. Then one day I had enough. I could no longer be content with his coldness. I moved out.

I have a new home, which I chose, surrounded by my books and music. I have given up chasing after happiness. I no long desire its ups and downs. Today I am only seeking contentment. I want to be comfortable within my own skin.

I am still working on finding the positives in life rather than being overcome by the negatives. I may still be that quiet grey mouse but that is an asset rather than a liability. I do not have to settle for tidbits. I know I am capable of getting what I want. Someday I hope to be able to look in the mirror and see my true self. I my only desire is to move away from the cold, bleak winter of discontent. I want to see the beautiful reds and golds of the autumn of my life and enjoy their beauty in peace.