Go Ask Alice (a personal PS)

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I first read Go Ask Alice at age 12 and it was so powerful that it’s stayed with me. It was one of my favorite books back then and reading it again at 37, it was still powerful but it was also nostalgic. I remember once I read it back then wanting all of my friends to read it, too. It felt important. And honestly I still believe every teen girl should read it. What an awesome book.

I love to write in the margins as I read. I fully intend to share this book someday with my daughter so this time I wrote notes to her in the margins. Every time “Alice” wished she had someone to talk to, I wrote a little note reminding my daughter that she can always talk to me. And each time “Alice” failed and felt badly about herself, I wrote a note telling my daughter that I will always love her no matter what.

Go Ask Alice: An awesome YA novel (if you ask me)

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Go Ask Alice is the “diary” of an “anonymous” teenage girl whose life, documented from age 15 to 17, is dominated by her downward spiral into drug addiction. Published in 1971, this realistic, young adult problem novel remains one of the most popular YA books of all time.

Although the book was originally marketed as the true diary of an actual teenage girl, it has since been revealed to be a work of fiction. It opens: Go Ask Alice is based on the actual diary of a fifteen-year-old drug user. It is not a definitive statement on the middle-class, teenage drug world. It does not offer any solutions. It is, however, a highly personal and specific chronicle. As such, we hope it will provide insights into the increasingly complicated world in which we live. Names, dates, places and certain events have been changed in accordance with the wishes of those concerned. ~ The Editors

Like many teen girls, the protagonist confides her inner most thoughts and secrets to her diary. In terms of craft, since the story is written in first person and in diary form, “Alice” is presented to us as her life unfolds naturally, with observations both dramatic and insignificant. She speaks directly to the reader and her relaxed, sometimes exaggerated, adolescent tone makes her experiences, while at times foreign to many readers, seem authentic, truthful and realistic.

The protagonist’s language plays a big part in her authenticity. It stayed consistently teen-like from the very first page when she writes: “I thought I’d literally and completely die with happiness” all the way to her final entry two years later when she writes: “Diaries are great when you’re young. In fact, you’ve saved my sanity a hundred, thousand, million times.”

The protagonist’s name is never actually revealed in the book. According to Wikipedia, it is believed that Go Ask Alice got its name from the 1967 Jefferson Airplane song White Rabbit which includes the lyrics: “Go ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall.” Grace Slick, one of the band’s lead singers, wrote the song after noticing possible drug references in Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (AKA: Alice in Wonderland), first published in 1865. The connection is spelled out for us on page 36 of Go Ask Alice, when in Alice’s July 14th entry, she writes: “I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Maybe Lewis G. Carroll was on drugs, too.”

Though the byline says “Anonymous,” the US Copyright Office lists Beatrice Sparks as the sole author, although her name is found nowhere on the book itself. According to Wikipedia, “Beatrice Sparks (1917–2012) was an American therapist and Mormon youth counselor who was known for producing books purporting to be the ‘real diaries’ of troubled teenagers.”

In Wild Ink: How to Write Fiction for Young Adults, Victoria Handley identifies and defines the following common characteristics of YA literature: Age of Protagonist, Coming of Age, Passion, Honesty, Independence, Wild Exploration and Breakdown/Breakthrough. There is no question that Go Ask Alice contains each of these qualities, or that the story itself as well as its messages are clearly driven by Alice’s wild exploration and her breakdowns/breakthroughs.

The protagonist predominantly explores the world of drugs and through a string of breakdowns the reader is able to see the damage the drugs are doing to her mentally and physically. On page 163, after she vowed again to never touch drugs, while babysitting Alice eats some chocolate covered peanuts which we learn later were laced with acid. After going into a fit of rage, she is locked in a closet where she self-mutilates. She is hospitalized and later institutionalized. She writes: “The whole ends of my fingers have been torn off and two nails have been pulled out completely and the others torn down almost in half.” In addition to the physical breakdown, she is experiencing a mental breakdown, as well: “The worms are eating away at my female parts first. They have almost entirely eaten away at my vagina and my breasts and now they are working their way to my mouth and throat. I wish the doctors and nurses would let my soul die, but they are still experimenting with trying to reunite the body and the spirit.”

Alice’s breakthroughs are few and far between but her intentions to stop doing drugs are made clear multiple times in the novel. Sadly, each time she succumbs to her addiction.

On page 14 of In Writing and Selling the YA Novel, K.L. Going writes: “Writing for teens isn’t easy. It’s a balancing act—weighing what’s relevant with what’s timeless—but if you can do this, you can succeed in any genre.”

Go Ask Alice was published in 1971 and some of references in the book suggest a timeline from 1968 until 1970, yet today’s teens are still reaching for it, reading it and talking to their friends about it. With well over a million copies in print, it has become a classic piece of YA literature. It addresses difficult themes and it successfully makes its points. This powerful realistic faux-diary of a teenager’s struggle with the seductive and often fatal world of drugs and addiction tells the truth about drugs in an authentic, never preachy voice. The book is influential and it challenges the conceptions of YA literature by tackling powerful young adult themes, like drug addiction and sex, without bothering to sugar coat consequences. Drugs and sex have always been and will always be hot topics for teens and will probably always be considered taboo topics by many adults. Through its no-holds-barred, realistic depiction of one teen’s journey into drug addiction and sex, Go Ask Alice has advanced the field of YA lit.

On page 531 of Literature for Adolescents—Pap or Protein? Frank G. Jennings writes: “Here are young people, trembling on the threshold of adulthood. They want to know what it is like to hope and fail, to suffer, to die, to love wastefully. They want to have spelled out some of the awful consequences of going against society’s grain. They want to dare greatly.”

I first read Go Ask Alice as an eighth grader attending a Catholic elementary school in inner city Philadelphia. My best friend Nicole talked it up and then finally lent me her copy when she was finished with it. I remember being anxious to get my hands on it. To me, it was exciting and scandalous, since the book was not available in our school’s library and I knew the content was pretty much off limits for someone my age. While my parents weren’t typically the types to censor my reading, I assumed they wouldn’t approve if they knew so I snuck around to read it.

On page 42 of Writing & Selling the YA Novel, Going writes: “W.H. Auden said, ‘Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.’”

I remember being blown away by this young girl’s diary, which at the time I truly believed to be real. I related to Alice’s desire to fit in and her issues with her body. Most teenage girls would. I was captivated by her firsthand account of how she first got introduced to drugs and sex and how both spiraled out of control until she was addicted to various drugs and having casual sex with complete strangers. Alice’s experiences fascinated and scared me.

When Alice is sober, she writes almost every day about her life and her goals but when she’s on drugs, there are large gaps between entries and many entries are undated. Alice goes from writing about normal teen girl things like friendships and boys to documenting in a broken matter-of-fact way her recollection of being raped and how good the drugs made her feel.

In addition to being a cautionary tale about the evils of drugs, Go Ask Alice is also a book about loneliness, depression, fitting in and finding one’s place in the world. As Alice’s family moved around, young Alice started at a new school in the middle of the year and she struggled to make and keep friends. Like many young adults, she felt insecure and struggled with her weight and appearance. She perceived her siblings to be more attractive and popular and because of this she believed her parents loved them more. She felt alone and like an outcast at school and at home. In multiple entries, Alice writes: “I wish I had someone to talk to.”

Whether or not teens can relate to Alice’s world and circumstances, most are able to relate to her mindset and her emotions. At twelve, I was curious about drugs and sex. While I hadn’t yet done either, some of my friends had and I was aware that I could if I’d wanted to. Living in the city, in a densely populated neighborhood, I certainly had access if I’d wanted to try either. But, unlike Alice, I knew I had people to talk to. I could talk to my parents—though like many teens in my situation, I didn’t always take advantage of that and more often than not I got my information from my friends. Still I knew I was loved and that my family was there for me if and when I needed them. But even with a good family and friends, there were still plenty of times when I felt alone, lonely and different, and when I struggled to fit in just like Alice. Every teen feels this way and some of the things that happened to Alice could happen to anyone.

This book made a huge impact on me as an adolescent. I remember how I felt when Alice’s life began to unravel and how scared I was for her when she ran away. I was so happy when her parents welcomed her back only to be devastated again when she wound up institutionalized. I believed her when she vowed to never touch drugs again in her final journal entry. And I cried when I read the epilogue and learned she died from an overdose three weeks later.

Because of its explicit drug and sex references, Go Ask Alice has been banned from many school libraries. According to Wikipedia: “The American Library Association listed Go Ask Alice as number 23 on its list of the 100 most frequently challenged books of the 1990s. The book was number 8 on the most challenged list in 2001 and up to number 6 in 2003. The dispute over the book’s authorship does not seem to have played any role in these censorship battles.”

This is a book that has the ability to make a difference with young readers. Even though it was written in the 1960s and much of the language and plot reflects those times, the protagonist’s story is still relevant today.
Addiction, drugs, sex, rebellion and fitting in are timeless young adult topics. And while I understand some parents may not want their teens to read it because of its mature themes and language, teenagers are who need to read Go Ask Alice.

Twelve-year-old me read this book and was totally freaked out! I did not want to be like Alice. Reading it again at 37, the book still affected me. Sure, I’m an adult now and as such my perspective is entirely different. But I still cried for Alice. And now, I can look back over my life and see how her story influenced me. I definitely had Alice in the back of my mind when I encountered similar situations in my teen years to those she faced in the book, and I proceeded with caution. Seeing what happened to her positively influenced me to walk a different path.

Even though I believed the book to be a real diary written by a real girl back when I first read it, I’m not sure it would’ve been any less impactful had I known it had actually been written by an adult. Rereading the story as an adult I still found Alice’s voice authentic and even knowing what I know now, that the book was written by Beatrice Sparks, I still pictured a young girl in my head. The protagonist, whether or not she was based on a real person, still felt real to me and her thoughts and actions grabbed and kept my attention. On page 59 of Writing & Selling the YA Novel, Going writes: “Active characters are endlessly fascinating because we’re always wondering what they’ll do next. It’s easy to feel as though we know them well, and when a reader feels like they know a character in the same way they know a real person, they’ll invest in loving him, hating him, rooting for him, or laughing with him. Active characters shape the plot through the choices they make, and their desires create mirrored desires in the audience.”

Like most teens, Alice knows she shouldn’t do drugs. But once she tries them she immediately wants more and she becomes increasingly more curious about different drugs. As her appetite grows, so does her addiction. Soon she goes from dabbling to dealing. Not only can the reader see the effects of drugs through Alice’s deterioration as the book progresses but after each drug relapse she goes on and on about the dangers of drugs and promises herself each time that this time will be her last. But the addiction overpowers her and the drugs win every time.

On page 53 of Writing & Selling the YA Novel, Going writes: “Watching what a character does or does not do can reveal what she wants and help create a fuller sense of who she is both physically and emotionally. This is especially true when we reveal the reasons behind her actions.” After a string of horrific experiences, Alice reveals her desire to become a social worker and someday counsel kids about the evils of drugs. She wants to do better but the drugs are too powerful and her addiction to them keeps sucking her back in.

Above all else, Go Ask Alice is an effective cautionary tale. Rather than lecture the reader about the perils of addiction, it draws our attention to the protagonist and through her internal dialogue, her thoughts, feelings, actions and experiences, it screams: “Don’t do drugs!”

On page 52 of Writing & Selling the YA Novel, Going writes: “In Nancy Lamb’s The Writer’s Guide to Crafting stories for Children, she writes: ‘What happens to characters—how they suffer and celebrate, how they meet challenges, overcome obstacles and find redemption—is the heart and soul and spirit of story.’”

Alice’s battle with drugs and her journey through addiction, saturated with repeated mistakes and painful suffering, made her a sympathetic and, at times, frustrating character. She knew what she was doing was wrong and yet she just couldn’t seem to stay straight long enough to save herself. Still Alice’s most redeeming quality was her desire to overcome her own addictions so that she could someday become a social worker and help others to avoid making the mistakes she’d made. In a heartbreaking twist, Alice never actually reaches that goal.

When I look back at my youth and think about some of the choices I made and the lessons I learned from reading Go Ask Alice, I truly believe, in some profound way, Alice fulfilled her destiny to help others. Her story certainly helped me.

Works Cited:
Anonymous. Go Ask Alice. Simon Pulse. New York. Print. 1971.
Going, K.L. Writing & Selling the YA Novel. Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books. 2008.
Handley, Victoria. Wild Ink: How to Write Fiction for Young Adults. Prufrock Press. 2010.
Jennings. Frank., Literature for Adolescents–Pap or Protein? Source: The English Journal, Vol. 45, No. 9. (526-531). National Council of Teachers of English. 1956.
Wikipedia. Web site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Sparks
Wikipedia. Web site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Ask_Alice

My Darling Niki

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I chose to write a poem for my creative response to the novel A Pale View of the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro.

I really enjoyed the novel but with all that happened in between the lines, it was a challenge for me to fully process the whole story, both what was said and unsaid. I wound up reading the novel twice (and listening to the audio book once) to fully wrap my head around it.

When I’m feeling highly emotional or confused, I like to write poetry to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. Since poetry can be somewhat nonlinear and ambiguous, writing it helps me draw my focus both inward and outward simultaneously. By that I mean I can sort of feel the topic in a less structured or organized start-to-finish type way but more so in an all-around big picture type way before diving deeper into the nitty-gritty of it.

For this project, poetry helped me process my feelings about the heavy themes (i.e.: murder, depression, abuse, war, loss, destruction, death…). I lean toward light humor when I write so tackling something so dark was interesting for me. Creating a poem allowed me to work my way through the darkness. It also helped me process what Ishuguro wrote and what he didn’t write. The novel itself was nonlinear, like poetry, and it quickly became addictively confusing and, at times, I struggled to fully understand it. I think that was Ishuguro’s intention because just when I thought I grasped what was happening, something would change. For example, at one point the tense and POV shifted entirely and that caused me to lose my footing. Prior to that I thought one thing (that Etsuko was telling a story about an old friend, Sachiko) and after I thought something different entirely (that Etsuko and Sachico are the same person). At that point I knew I had to reread the novel to make sure I didn’t misunderstand entirely what had happened and to catch whatever else I was sure I’d missed. So much was left unwritten and unrevealed in the story that poetry allowed me to work comfortably through the confusion and ambiguity until I eventually arrived at the heart of what I think actually happened. It also gave me the opportunity to fully process the many feelings the author and his story gave me.

The poem is titled “My Darling Niki” and my intention was to write it from the main protagonist Etsuko’s point of view as though she was processing her feelings and writing to her only surviving daughter, Niki. I used elements from the novel itself to pull it together.

My Darling Niki:
It’s so strange
How the brain
Triggers dreams
Tramples truth

Grief does strange things to the mind

When the bomb fell
Hope exploded
Life imploded
My thoughts shifted

Split entirely in two

There was nothing left
In that wretched place
But pain breeding pain
And death breeding death

Helpless… hopeless… less and less

No one left to love me
No place for children so
I chose death to end their
Suffering and my own

I wasn’t the only one.

But fate had other plans
With blood still on my hands
I got another chance
To be a good mother

But it was too late for her

Your sister witnessed death
I looked up and saw her
Standing, waiting her turn
But her gaze changed my mind

Those eyes looked into my soul

I wished they wouldn’t have
For she suffered slowly
Like kittens left to starve
When drowning’s more humane

I knew she’d never be happy

I vaguely recall a
Time when I was happy
When I lied to myself
Waiting for a better life

I met your father, then I

We decided to start over
Leave pain and death behind
One world for another
But they followed me here

We thought our love would fix it

I ran off and played house
When I should’ve saved her
The rope around her neck
Was the one I gave her

New life suggests new hope but

We blamed her for the pain
When it wasn’t her fault
She’s a victim, like you,
Like me, products of war

With infinite destruction

The dead have it easy
Those who remain are left
To pick up the pieces
Or hide them behind doors

Your sister’s Purgatory

My Love, it’s a riddle
You’ll never comprehend
For there are two of me
And too many of you

Too many secrets to hide

I have the answers to
The questions you won’t ask
Hidden deep but instead
You request a postcard

Of a place you’ve never been

A picture for a friend?
You say you’re proud of me
Now how can you be proud
When you don’t know the truth

And you won’t let me tell you?

If I told you my truth
Would you even hear me?
If you could see my soul
Would you follow her lead?

Could you ever forgive me?

The nightmares never stop
Lifeless child on a swing
Body dangling from a bridge
Noose tied around her neck

Madness sets in to save me

Memories loop my mind
Dreams and lies intertwine
Make me confess, repent,
Absolve me of my sins!

Unconditional love is

What I took from them
And gave to you but
If you knew the truth
Would you hate me, too?

More so than I hate myself?

My darling Niki,
I’ve lost it all
But somehow you’re
Still here with me

Doesn’t that mean something?

Please don’t leave
Me alone
In this house
With nothing

But a pale view of the hills.

Ms. Hempel Chronicles

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In the first chapter of Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, we meet our young protagonist, Beatrice Hempel. Ms. Hempel is a middle school teacher but by her own self-proclamation not a very good one.

The chapter is titled “Talents” and it takes place during a school talent show. This setting is very clever because it gives Bynum an organic opportunity to introduce characters one by one as they appear on stage. Also, by showing us the talents of the students and faculty, we also learn, by comparison, that Ms. Hempel, as she admits to a student, has zero talents herself.   

Ms. Hempel is an interesting character, made up of many positive and negative qualities, though it seems she is only aware of the negative ones. That is the thing that really grabbed my attention as a reader. Her self-awareness and defeatist personality quirks are not simply part of her charm and likeability but it’s obvious they also serve as a sort of foreshadowing for things to come.  

Ms. Hempel does not believe herself to be a good teacher. When one of her students described her as an “affable” teacher, Ms. Hempel “was moved, but knew that affable, while a vocabulary word, was not synonymous with good.” At one point, we learn that she became a teacher because of “tremendous opportunities for leisure and the satisfaction of doing something generous and worthwhile.” But after a few years teaching seventh graders she started to think of teaching as an “infection” as she realized “her students now inhabited her dreams, her privacy, her language.” Her decision to become a teacher, she believes was a “mistake” and she feels that in becoming a teacher she lost what was left of her “potential” and any talents she may have had.

Awkwardly self-aware (she worries about her teeth when smiling at parents and about her panty hose rolling down beneath her dress), insecure (she was happy sitting in a dark auditorium because it meant no one was watching her), lazy (she gives pop quizzes because they’re easy to grade), insecure (she bribes her students with chocolate) and immature (she wonders if she should laugh when students fart) are just some of her negative qualities. Ms. Hempel also seems depressed and lonely, and she even gets inappropriately excited when a popular male student touches her hand. At the same time, she loves her students and knows so much about each and every one of them. With so much depth, Ms. Hempel is more like a real person than a character.

I can already tell I’ll be able to use this book as a lesson on character creation and introduction. In chapter one, we’ve already met Ms. Hempel as well as numerous students and faculty members. Bynum does an exceptional job at smoothly introducing these characters and providing all the necessary detail about them both physically and emotionally without making it feel force-fed. She makes it seem so easy but as an aspiring novelist I know this is no small accomplishment. It takes knowing your characters truly and deeply, and it also takes patience. These are good lessons for a writing student like me.

Even with all the detail, descriptions and depth of characters, the story remains an easy read and the pace is fast and fluid. It’s told from an omnipotent point of view, something I personally tend to often dislike. But in this case it really worked for me. This all-knowing narrator tells Ms. Hempel’s story in such an engaging way that it made me feel like the story was being told directly to me, like I was a teacher or other faculty member, standing around the water cooler in the faculty break room listening to gossip about another teacher, Ms. Hempel. In that way, I felt like I, too, was part of the story.

I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Hempel’s story.

Blocked Blogger


As I’ve mentioned before, I use my blog mainly when I have writer’s block in my novels. I absolutely love blogging. It’s a great creative outlet and it serves as the ideal distraction to jump start my literary engine. Usually I blog for a few minutes, hit post and then I am able to write for hours in one of my novels.

But recently, I haven’t been a very good blogger. If I so much as think about blogging, I get blocked. Or I get a few words down on a particular blog entry and then I almost immediately get smacked in the face with inspiration for whichever novel I’m immersed in at the moment.

Fortunately, I’ve been writing up a storm in my manuscripts, both new and revised! That has been awesome. Unfortunately, I’ve been neglecting my blog. Not so awesome.

I have dozens of blogs started and just sitting in my draft folder waiting to be finished. I promise to finish each of them eventually and blog again (hopefully very soon) when the inspiration strikes.

In the meantime… Sorry.

But I must go where the inspiration takes me.

Write on!!


Take the Poem’s Advice

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Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time inside my head. I’m currently revising two novels and writing a third, while trying to simultaneously work through some real life stuff. There are days when I write and write and other days when I can’t seem to assemble a sentence or write a single word. I know I can do it but there are times when I question even the most obvious things.

Don’t worry. I’m still my optimistic self. But I’m only human.

A friend of mine posted this poem on Facebook. I have no idea who wrote it but I can certainly relate. And today I needed to read it.

I’m reposting it because I thought some of you might need it too.

Don’t Quit:

When things go wrong, as  they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile,  but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest, if you  must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its  twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns, And many a  failure turns about, When he might have won had he stuck it out; Don’t  give up though the pace seems slow– You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer  than, It seems to a faint and faltering man, Often the struggler has  given up, When he might have captured the victor’s cup, And he learned  too late when the night slipped down, How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned  inside out– The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, And you never can  tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far, So stick to  the fight when you’re hardest hit– It’s when things seem worst that you  must not quit.

– Author  unknown

(Thank you to Shelley Anderson for posting this today!)


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I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again… Writer’s block sucks.

I probably shouldn’t complain considering it’s been a while since my last bout with block. In fact, I started this blog to combat writer’s block but then haven’t had it since. Maybe the blog is more effective than I’d imagined.

Or maybe writer’s block doesn’t just happen. Maybe something or multiple somethings cause it. Not quite as obvious as a cold sore or a bad case of the runs, maybe the culprit is not something as simple as a kiss or a day-old bean burrito. But something had to happen to activate the block.

If I can figure out exactly what triggered this particular block, will I have a better chance of defeating it? Or possibly avoiding it next time?

I don’t know.

But not-knowing has never stopped me from obsessing. Instead, it brings out my super obsessive control freaky side. Ha! I bet you didn’t even know I had a freaky side. Well I do. And that side of me will happily accept responsibility for my own writer’s block (and pretty much anything else for that matter) if it means I can control it, overcome it, accomplish it, destroy it!!

OK… So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I somehow unintentionally caused my own block. Perhaps I did something or simply adjusted my routine and, in doing so, possibly sparked the block through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. Several things have recently transpired. It would be hard to pinpoint just one thing. And I refuse to bore or horrify you with all of it. Besides, I need to save some of it for future blogs.

But I’ll share one biggie from each side of the spectrum…

On the fortunate side, I had family in town last week. Yep, the Zanes invaded Iowa. My mom, dad and brother flew in from Philly for 8 days of family, fun and (for them) extreme culture shock. We had a great time celebrating my daughter’s 2nd birthday, discovering new things in Iowa together and hanging out. Having a houseful of people was stressful at times but mostly it was fun.

But while they were here I didn’t write (almost) at all. I took a mental vacay. While my husband swears I needed it, I’m not 100% sure. But I definitely needed them here. I’d missed them so much (and now that they’re gone, I miss them more). So if their visit caused part of my block, well then I’ll anxiously look forward to being blocked again in the (hopefully near) future.

On the less fortunate side, an agent rejected me. She did so in the nicest “it’s not you, it’s me” way possible. But still. It’s not that I think I caused the rejection or could have done anything to prevent it. I am simply not the writer she wanted me to be. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer. But I may have handled it poorly. I got overly emotional and maybe even a bit depressed. I typically handle rejection better than I am doing right now. The funny (not ha-ha but interesting) part is that I didn’t even really want her. I’m not trying to sound like the bitter x-boyfriend who announces that factoid after being dumped. Really, I’m not. She’s great, amazing actually. I couldn’t and wouldn’t say a bad thing about her. And don’t get me wrong. I would have jumped at the opportunity of being represented by her and I certainly wouldn’t have kicked her out of my proverbial (for lack of a better word) agent-author bed for eating crackers… But she wasn’t (and still isn’t) my first choice.

My first choice agent is still considering me… and my writing samples… hopefully. Well, at least, I have no reason (knock on wood) to think otherwise. I want to believe that she hasn’t secretly stopped considering me. But what if she’s one of those people who break up simply by halting communication? No calls. No texts. No emails. Nothing. Not even a fax. Just the assumption that she fell off the face of the earth. I did that once (not fall off the face of the earth, but break up with someone in that manner… don’t judge me!). This paranoia isn’t helping my blockage. It’s just that, in my humble opinion, she would be my perfect agent. We bonded immediately and had a solid rapport. But I promise not to stalk her (even) if she dumps me (I might cry, but I will not stalk!).

I think I’m just nervous. I’ve gotten myself all worked up worrying that this recent rejection might spark other rejections. I guess I’m concerned that the other agent (let’s call her #42 and not for the reason you might think). So #42 was the first agent who I loved at first chat, who made me laugh, who spoke to my inner nerd, who seemed ~ and still seems ~ so perfect and who I met at the same conference as the agent who sent me the Dear John letter. What if #42 feels the same way as agento-rejecto? What is she rejects me too?

Well I’ll eventually get over it.

I know it’s not doing me any good to think negatively and worrying never helps either. The only thing that ever helps is action. But what action should I take?

The little fat kid inside of me wants to stuff his face with Cool Ranch Doritos, but that’s not the kind of action that will help. The pissy pissed off angsty teen in me is picking fights. That’s no good… for me or for you. The neurotic workaholic adult in me is running an extra mile on the treadmill and trying to write through the pain. That helps more but I’m still blocked.

What I need is a writing enema or a chunk of writer’s Ex-lax, if only there was such a thing!! One of you good-at-math-and-science types should invent that!

In the meantime, I’ve taken all of my own advice and none of it has helped. I’ve walked away, then came back and tried to restart my engine. I tried to push through it. When that didn’t work, I took a nap. I woke up and meditated. I worked out feverishly. I played with my daughter. We went swimming. I did some yoga. I went for a long walk… then a drive… then went shopping (just groceries, but still). I came back and tried again to write through the pain some more. Nothing. I took a shower (always a good move!), watched some TV (an hour of Judge Judy never hurts… but didn’t help either), cooked dinner for my family (I made a very healthy stuffed peppers that involved an actual recipe!). I ate. I sulked. I’m still blocked. What the $#&!

Ugh! What should I do next?

Seriously, tell me what to do and I’ll do it.

Tonight I’m going to make and then drink a whole pot of coffee (please don’t tell my nephrologist) and write, write, write… well, I guess I’m actually writing right now… hmm… maybe I’m not as blocked as I thought…

OK, gotta go!! See ya later.