Monday, November 26, 2007

TO WRITE: An Old Friend. . .
During a Thanksgiving trip to my state of origin, Wisconsin, last week, my husband and I had lunch with one of my dearest old friends. Julie and I have known each other since we were in the sixth grade. We walked to school together, since we lived only a block apart, played in the high school band and orchestra together, roomed together for a year in college, and traveled together to Europe. Although we're half a continent away from each other now, we still manage to keep in touch with email, birthday cards, and a visit every now and then.

The three of us talked incessantly and laughed loudly during our entire couple of hours together, as though we'd been apart a few days, rather than a year and a half. And it occurred to me that perhaps the reason this relationship has stood the test of time is not so much the history we have in common, but the way we interact. Each of us questions the other intensely, and we are all good listeners. We genuinely care what goes on in the life and the mind of each other. We spent time brainstorming ways for Julie's new business idea to get off the ground, but my husband got to tell of his latest work adventures too; I got to discuss my writing and we all lamented the slowness of our pending adoption.

While some old friendships have, of course, faded over the years, I feel blessed to have several of these rewarding relationships that have matured over time. They bring joy and a sense of solidity to my life -- these friends are people I have chosen to have relationships with, and our shared history provides comfort and a sense of place.

Play with this. . .
Write continuously for 20 minutes about an old friend -- whether or not you are still in contact. Was it your first-grade jump-roping partner? Your high school best buddy or prom date?

Describe your relationship as it was then, and what you gained from it. If you still know the person, how has the relationship changed and how has it remained the same? If you no longer have contact, consider whether he or she is someone you'd like to look up and talk with.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Dear readers and writers,

I thank you all for your patience as this blog has been on hiatus for several weeks. My happy news is that the manuscript for my book, Writing through the Darkness: Easing Your Depression with Paper and Pen, is done! It took quite a few long days and long nights near the end to finish it, but now it's out of my hands, except for reviewing a copy edit. It will be published in June by Ten Speed Press.

The other really wonderful news is that I did not become sick, in mind or body, during these stressful weeks. I don't know why, but I do believe that the personal writing I did during breaks from the book writing was a big help in managing my depression. Hopefully your writing is sustaining you as well, and some new writing ideas from me will help stimulate us all.

I'm grateful for you all. Happy Thanksgiving!


And, in the meantime, some news...

NEW WEBSITE TO CHECK OUT: is the site of John McManamy, a writer who focuses on bipolar research. I get his twice-monthly online newsletter, where he describes cutting-edge science in a way understandable by all. You can subscribe for free on his site, as well as checking into several other interesting features. I recommend it, whether you're living with bipolar or depression.

NEW WRITING OPPORTUNITY: is the site for the magazine bp (that's "bipolar"). I subscribe to the paper version of the magazine, and recommend it, as long as you're willing to look past some ads for psych meds. On the site, you will also find several opportunities to write and have your words published in various ways. A regular feature asks you to offer your opinion on a current topic. Move quickly: if you write in now about what you are thankful for, you may make it into their 11/21 online Thanksgiving edition. While you're at the site, you can also sign up for their Hope & Harmony Headlines email list. AND...

DEPRESSION MAGAZINE TO DEBUT SOON: According to, a new magazine for coping with depression and anxiety, esperanza, is coming soon. You can sign up for the premiere edition there too.