The last three weeks…not so much. I’ve cancelled going to shows, going to a board meeting (some secretary I’ve been), and had to force myself to go to work, because I need to pay rent. Spending sleepless nights lying perfectly still, yet feeling my abdomen being wrung like a soaked towel. My gynecologist assured me that my endometriosis was under control. Which made the pain I was having more unbearable. I had known what was causing the pain, and now I didn’t anymore. What he said then was that many women who have endometriosis also develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The constant pushing and pulling by the endo lesions in the lower body wreak havoc on the lower intestine, which reacts with…irritation. So, I was referred to a gastroenterologist. That was in November. I called my gynecologist’s office in February to ask if my referral had gone through – it had. So then I called the gastroenterologist – they’re behind, but I was promised they’d call me to schedule an appointment in a couple of weeks. It’s now 23 March. I will rant elsewhere about Canada and Alberta’s public health care systems being gutted by our increasingly conservative governments. What I’m concerned about today is that, six years after being diagnosed with endo, thirteen years after realizing something was wrong with me, it’s not over. I haven’t tried cutting down on any specific foods yet, because – unlike what advertisers would have us believe – each person can have different triggers. That’s if IBS is what I have; I don’t even know yet. I thought last week, perhaps, raw spinach was a culprit. But I had some this past weekend, and I was fine. It’s not likely gluten, because I haven’t made any particular effort to cut out bread, pasta, or soup using gluten as thickener. And some days I’m good. Others, NOT. This Saturday, 28 March, is the EndoMarch at the Alberta Legislature, when all we “Endo Warriors” band together and tell the world that there is an insidious illness in 1 out of 8 women on earth, which has zero outward symptoms, but causes infertility, consistent muscle spasms and aches, depression, and OTHER illnesses, like IBS. And no one knows where it comes from, or how to stop it. Today, this second, I feel normal. Tomorrow? In twenty minutes? In five? … I don’t know.
I can’t do it in 24 hours, because I work until 5 pm.
Yes, the 2nd Annual Writeathon begins at noon tomorrow! Last year’s was…bonkers. Fellow writers made velcro out of their beards and resorted to lacing of warm drinks (and then just tossing the mix altogether and drinking straight out of the mickey). Oh, and we all did some writing and raised some (a crapload) of money to keep Alberta Playwrights Network ticking.
I haven’t been flogging the Writeathon at all. With this two months ago, and flareups of this, I’ve been lying low. Now, however, I’m going to write out the beast that is endometriosis and kick it across the room. I am re-writing It Started With an Allergy from beginning to end, and one way or another, I’m performing it (me!) at next summer’s Edmonton Fringe. If you’d like to see it, feel free to visit HERE.
I’ll see you when I come down from the caffeine high.
I actually have PLAY NEWS.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s The Ugly Princess!!
AND HERE’S THE CAST
I’m a wee bit excited.
Since I’ve blogged about my endometriosis, and I had a minor revelation this weekend, it may be time to talk about my clinical depression. Yes, I’m a bag of laughs.
Once again, I have no idea how long I’d officially been depressed. I was diagnosed by my GP in 2001, and took citalopram and went to counselling for about eighteen months. This past fall, I noticed the symptoms creeping back – I was irritable all the time, headaches, insomnia…sudden crying. Now I’m taking escitalopram.
It helps. Most days, I feel normal – for a given value of “normal”, being a playwright and so on. I’ve previously had acquaintances question whether I should be taking meds. Given the choice between wishing this, or endo, on my worst enemy, I’d choose neither.
I take the escitalopram once a day, and like most medication, the idea is to take it at the same time every day, so the body has a consistent supply. Shortly after I started this one, I set myself a reminder on my phone to take it after dinner – I was forgetting in the mornings, and would sometimes miss it in the evenings if I was going out. And on the odd bad day, if I missed taking it, I felt as rotten as when I wasn’t taking it at all.
This past Friday, our executive director of APN, Trevor, was in Edmonton. I got home from work, had a quick dinner, and went to the meet-up. We talked shop from 7 till 10. Before driving home, I checked my phone, and realized I had missed taking my meds. It was fairly late, I felt fine, so I figured this one day would be okay. I got home and went to bed.
Then yesterday, Saturday, I got up, and went straight to writing. I’ve had an idea for a screenplay (uh huh) percolating, and this year’s deadline for Praxis’ Screenwriting Lab is 30 June. I wrote 35 pages yesterday. I was so excited about what I’d written, I was buzzing. I went out to get a taco salad for dinner, and when I got in and looked at my clock…I was late in taking my meds again! Two days in a row wouldn’t be good, so I took it right then.
I have never missed taking my meds two days in a row. I was perplexed by that. And it still wasn’t until I’d had a mini-facial with my volcanic face-mud from Iceland, and falling asleep with my cat under my arm, that it dawned on me: I had forgotten about taking my meds because I didn’t just feel fine. I felt happy.
I don’t like having to remember what happy feels like.
Okay, I’M having gelato. You can have whatever you want.
The intrepid executive director of Alberta Playwrights Network is going to be in Edmonton for Wordshed this weekend, and Friday night, June 20, a bunch of we playwrights are getting together at Block 1912 on Whyte Ave. I’ll be there, and if you’re cool, so will you.
In the great sea of the internet, anyway.
This is what happened on Twitter today:
I have been waiting to see this film since last July. I tweeted this musing randomly (what else is Twitter but random musing?) on my lunch break from my day job. And get a reply from what I incredulously assumed was a spambot, or a fan who tweets under Mr Wheatley’s name. But on looking at the profile of @mr_wheatley (followed by Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss, among others), and looking at the website…
It could be Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s staff, managing their blog, who look for any mention of their films. BUT WHO CARES?
So, yeah. Tonight, I have an APN phone meeting, and then I need to renew some artist memberships — because I’m a card-carrying artist. And then, instead of doing dishes OR watching A Field in England, I’m going to write. Because Mr and Mrs Wheatley told me to!
For various reasons, I haven’t been writing lately. I have a new(ish) day job, which I go in to early and sometimes stay late at…and occasionally, it’s going into the weekends. I’m enjoying it. It’s a lot of responsibility, and at 39, I’m beginning to feel like an… adult. I’ve rearranged a number of other things in my life, and that’s making me feel more adult as well (Note: NOT “grownup”). I have been genuinely busy, and when I get home, I’m content to have dinner and do laundry and go to bed. All of this has kept me off Twitter, and the web…and from going to shows recently. And…I’m finding I don’t miss any of those things.
Yet I’m also feeling very cut off.
I’ve signed up for the upcoming Playwrights Circle myself, to work on The Ugly Princess, and I’m entering Marathon/Sprint (from Skirts Afire last year) into the Act One program of APN. It seems odd to me that I feel I need to force myself to make time to write – after all, if I need to do that, maybe I don’t want to. I do want to, however, but I had another scary moment this week…the thought entered my head: “what’s the point?”
My wonderful Take a Bite director Amy had agreed to direct The Ugly Princess at the Edmonton Fringe this year…should we get in, which we didn’t. I (briefly) entertained the idea of doing a BYOV anyway – which I swore I would never do again – because the idea of going a year without a show was galling. But in the end it just didn’t pan out. I think “what’s the point?” snowballed from “not enough audience cares for what you write – no one is interested in doing your shows themselves…if people aren’t interested in what you do… you can’t force them.”
I convinced myself I don’t have time to write just now anyway – which I don’t. But it makes me feel hollow that I don’t. Even if no one watches, even if no one else wants to produce my work…I still have ideas and I still want to write them.
Right before I left for Scotland ten (yikes) years ago, I ran across a book of Charles Bukowski’s poetry, Sifting Through the Madness for the Word the Line the Way. The very first poem was titled: “So you want to be a writer?” It was harsh. And honest. Even though I was leaving the country with only a backpack, I spent $40 on that book and brought it with me for that one poem. The basic idea I got from it was: “will you do it anyway? If no one listens, if you’re never published, if you die with this never being heard, will you write anyway?”
Yes. So, I am still a writer. Just writing that makes me feel a bit less hollow.