Bartender, Make It A Double

I don’t get manic very often, not much more than some anxiety mixed with creative juice and maybe a dash of compulsive spending.  But every once in a while, the crazy meter jumps into The Red Zone and the cocktail gets shaken, not stirred.  It always has a sweet flavor at first, so it’s not until I’m into my third or fourth Highball that I start to realize I’m in trouble.

I’ve spent the last three days hunched over a notebook at Haven from the time I got out of water aerobics (around 9:30) until the place closed (6:00), and then kept working at home.  I decided I needed to straighten out the massive genealogy I created for the world in my story, Callinda.  The planet was colonized by fifteen couples from Earth, and I thought it would be a good idea to follow the family lines down through six generations.  That’s thousands of pairings.  When I first made the genealogy, I was in another manic phase (funny how this project keeps intriguing my craziness).  I didn’t repeat the families from one branch to another.  Say, Thaddeus Gibson married Elizabeth Jones.  I recorded the family under the Gibson line and made a note in the Jones line to go check under Gibson.  I thought I was being efficient.  But once the manic buzz wore off, I’d created a monster.  Complicated, unorganized, sometimes the lines tracked and sometimes they didn’t.  Sometimes I mixed up generations.

So this huge project that I thought would help me write the story just became a giant flag stuck in the Country of Wacky.  And it’s not like I need that information anyway.  What I really need are maps, and lists of government officials, and the names of cities.  If there’s any family information that’s at all relevant, it’s who’s in charge of the family lines at the time of the story, not all that other gnat’s ass detail.

But, here I am, hung-over from my biannual manic bender, with an even bigger mess than when I started.  I’ve lost three days in this nutty blackout.  My neck is frozen and my hand spasms from all the teeny writing.  But, I just can’t leave it alone.  I’ve untangled the chaos, and I feel like I need to finish it.  But, I could just stop.  I could put it all away and get on with my life.  But, then I think I’ve done all this work, all this charting, all this cross-referencing.  I need to have something to show for it.  But, it’s irrelevant to the story, which is the ultimate goal.  But… But…

Here’s the good news.  I didn’t hurt anyone or myself.  I didn’t charge my credit card to the limit or empty my bank account.  I didn’t eat myself into a stupor or run to the Kwik Star barefoot.  I didn’t jump into my truck in my nightgown and barrel down the highway.  I didn’t have sex with inappropriate men.  These are all things I’ve done while under the manic influence.  Instead, I scribbled in a notebook while my brain pickled in its own Special Sauce.  Not bad, as far as binges go.  Now, if I could just get this funky taste out of my mouth…

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Blue
    May 21, 2011 @ 07:39:38

    Great post and writing. In a documentary about the cartoonist, R. Crumb, one of his brothers had what was termed, Hypergraphia. He wrote for endless hours, filling numerous journals. I’ve read that among other conditions that are ascribed to Van Gogh, a type of Hypergraphia and Temporal Lobe Seizures contributed to his most productive times. 19 paintings in one year. Your book sounds rich and lush, I hope you use and keep some of the genealogies, readers might be interested.
    J. Blue


  2. Kitty
    May 21, 2011 @ 09:17:33

    OMG, girlfriend, you have such a way with words, these being two of my favorites in this piece: “…a giant flag stuck in the Country of Wacky.” and “…while my brain pickled in its own Special Sauce.” Having been to the Country of Wacky myself, I understand it’s allure and the lousy way you feel when you wake up and say, “Shit, I HAVE been here before and I didn’t like it the last time!” Maybe just hold onto the geneology for the next time you jump into The Red Zone, because then it will look really cool to you! And as you said, there are a lot of things you didn’t do this time that you’re really grateful to have missed.

    Please remember that your Bipolar Bad Ass Training might be the reason things went better this time around. It wasn’t just an accident that all you did was write like a mad woman. You trained for these, so your body would remember and kick in and hole* you when you needed it.


    • Sandy Sue
      May 21, 2011 @ 16:23:07

      Thanks, Miss Kitty. And I *do* think it’s the BadAssness that’s gotten me through this spate without doing big damage. At least that’s my story until someone proves me wrong.


  3. Kitty
    May 21, 2011 @ 09:18:17

    *I meant HOLD you when you needed it. Dang.


  4. Josh
    May 21, 2011 @ 10:48:39

    I am so proud of you for avoiding all of the danger zones you could have gone into, despite what was going on in your mind. Good for you!!! I think it shows really progress and hope for everyone who reads this post. You are very special!

    Josh… 🙂


  5. Sherry
    May 21, 2011 @ 20:50:45

    I, like “Kitty”, just love your wordage. You create wonderful images with your words. Keep up the good work.


  6. Jess
    May 23, 2011 @ 10:20:01

    I’m glad you’re okay, Sandy Sue, and that this manic episode was relatively calm in terms of unsafe behavior. I hope you’re able to sort out your geneology, and I wish you luck on the continued process of your book!

    Take care,


    • Sandy Sue
      May 23, 2011 @ 11:00:17

      Thanks so much, Jess. Aside from the manic dips into inconsequential minutia, I’m happy with the book. The first few chapters are posted in the “D Cups” section of my Heaving Bosoms category.


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