She’s always writing.

… and maybe you don’t care.  That’s fine too. 🙂

But if you want to know and understand me, you’d have to read my creative work.  I invite you to click a link below!

Drops of Jupiter, Revisited | Do you know the Train song?  These jottings take place in the years before the song.

Valuing the Arts | Flash fiction satire.

Nine Names | Flash fiction I wrote to help myself sort through “The Problem of Susan.”

Date a Girl Who Writes | An essay I wrote as a companion essay to Rosemarie Urquico’s brilliant “Date a Girl Who Reads.”

Seeing Saturn | An excerpt from my work-in-progress.

Rooster | A short story about holding on and letting go during those crazy college years.

The Call | A poem inspired by jealousy and a friend’s phone call.

Madam, Meet Adam | A short story about Adam meeting Eve for the very first time.

Susan of Narnia | This poem also helped me to explore “The Problem of Susan.”

Which Education? | A poem … kinda fan fiction … about my own story.

Why Christians Should Write | Some thoughts on the matter.

Gala at Death | A poem about the death of my poems.

What I Want to Say | A poem from college, recently revised.

On the Shore | A poem about the disciples seeing Christ after His resurrection.

Grace Beneath the Line | Creative non-fiction I wrote for my senior capstone in undergrad.

Edmund | A poem about Edmund Pevensie, my favorite character from the Narnia series.

The Colors | Jottings about my favorite colors.

writer girl3

Half-Mast | Speculative fiction set in the distant future.  Satire.

Why Write? | Thoughts on why I love writing.

Brought to You by the Letter V | Jottings on letters.

Invitation | A poem I wrote in college about a summer love/fall heartbreak.

Scenery Matters | A brief poem inspired by the accompanying photo.

Tall, Dark, and Handsome | A poem about a boy.

Castle | A short poem about Cair Paravel in ruins.

Knit | A poem about my bestie.

Her Life in Red | Flash fiction.

i ♥ e.e. cummings

Edward Estlin Cummings is a genius, and he wrote this poem:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

sun bday

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today’s topic is

TOP TEN BOOK COVERS OF BOOKS I’VE READ.

So … since I’m not really someone who especially minds the book covers,* I’m going to do this a little differently.

Two parts.

One, book covers that I have loved.

coverscollage

Two, book covers that are brilliant in every edition: C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy.**

silentcollage1 silentcollage2perelandracollage1 perelandracollage2hideouscollage1 hideouscollage2

 

*Interestingly, I do care about illustrations.  And fan art.  A lot.

**Gosh, don’t these covers just make you think, What in the world are these books about?

There’s so much more to OCD than hand-washing …

washing handsIf you use Google Images and search “OCD,” what you end up with is a lot of photos of lame OCD jokes and of soapy hands.  It reminds me just how little the world really knows and understands obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Heck, before my own diagnosis, I myself pretty much thought of it as “that disease where you wash your hands a lot or have to tap the doorknob over and over.”  Insightful, Jackie.

While it’s true that contamination obsessions are a prevalent theme among OCD sufferers (I read somewhere that about 60% of OCD cases deal in this arena), that’s not the only obsessive theme.*  And even hand-washing is often misunderstood.  People just don’t understand that there are persistent, unwanted, intrusive thoughts that are driving the hand-washing or other compulsions.  Compulsions are a response to what I personally think is the darker half of the disorder: the obsessions.

* Other common obsessive-compulsive themes include a need for order or symmetry, hoarding, checking, sexual obsessions (including HOCD, in which a straight person obsesses about being gay, or a gay person obsesses about being straight), religion/morality/scrupulosity (my OCD world!), and aggressive thoughts around harming others or one’s self.  OCD is probably bigger, wider, and scarier than most people ever imagined.

 

Side Effects: Blocking

As I pursued the right cocktail of medication to help treat my obsessive-compulsive disorder, I encountered my fair share of side effects.  My vision would black out.  I had jello-legs.  Dizziness in spades.  Rapid weight gain.  Tremors.  Drymouth.  Lethargy.  Excessive sweating.  Lactation (yes, really).

But perhaps the most frustrating side effect was the blocking.

Blocking is a form of stuttering– but probably different from what you’d imagine.  It’s not the usual “t-t-t-t-today, junior!” where repetition features heavily.  It’s where your mouth physically stops from saying a word or syllable.

I found this description online, emphasis mine:

Blocking is not usually present in normal dysfluency and, as such, it is a principal indicator of stuttering. Blocking typically occurs when two articulators come together with excessive force, e.g. when the two lips come together to form the consonant sound ‘b’, as in the words bookboy and Bob. Rather than parting the two articulators rapidly and easily, the speaker is unable to release the contact between them and a great deal of tension may build up. In severe cases a speaker may be unable to release a blocked sound for around 5-10 seconds. Owing to the adverse effects on the person’s breathing – because the person is typically holding their breath during a block – talking can become quite exhausting. In addition, the sense of fatigue when speaking can be exacerbated by the increased muscle tension around the head and neck area and in the chest.

I’ll try my best to explain what would happen to me.  In the middle of speaking, my tongue (especially the base of it) would seize, and I would be physically incapable of saying the word for several seconds.  My mind has always worked faster than my mouth, but this was out of control.

The words were there but unable to come out of my mouth.

Not gonna lie, I’m a good speaker.  I’m articulate, and I can hold an audience’s attention.  For my job, I do a fair amount of public speaking– presentations at churches, schools, etc.– and it’s an area in which I feel confident.

All of that was stolen from me with the blocking.

stutterI was suddenly terrified of speaking opportunities, felt silly even in one-on-one appointments when I couldn’t just SAY. WHAT. I. WANTED. TO. SAY.  It felt like one more thing OCD was stealing from me– not just my public speaking ability, but my confidence.  I was so frustrated and shed a lot of tears around this time.

Thankfully, my brilliant psychiatrist knew what was causing the blocking (for me it was a too-high dose of Risperdal), and once he reduced it (I now only take half a milligram daily!), the blocking went away.

At a writing conference Q&A, a man in the crowd asked several questions, and his phrases were filled with blocking.  It was even on the same letters as me– b’s and p’s, those darn plosives!– and as he spoke, I could almost feel my tongue freeze inside my mouth, feeling like a thick, inoperative muscle– a weapon against me instead of for.

Best of the Web: Jackie’s Picks, Part II

For your enjoyment and edification, here’s what I’ve loved on the World Wide Web lately:

You Don’t Have to Be Good by Addie Zierman | “In the end, the Gospel story is a shattering of all the formulas.”  This blog post is an anthem for those redeemed by grace.  Addie, in her lyrical prose, reminds believers of Truths we forget far too often.

Become a Christian, Become Instantly Perfect? by Josh Pratt | Christian-turned-agnostic-turned-Christian explores the idea that Christians are supposedly to somehow be perfect when Christianity itself recognizes man’s depravity.

To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud by Steve Wiens | “The constant demands, the needs, and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.”  I thought this was a wonderful, funny, honest post about parenting.  I loved it, and I’m not even a parent!!

Starting Over, a Fox9 exclusive | My best friend told me about this news segment, and I’m so glad I watched it!  It’s the story of two Minnesotans caught in the claws of addiction who found redemption and one another.  Lovely!

It Matters Whom You Marry by RVD | This post is not new, but it was new to me, and I love it!  I work with so many young people, high school and college students, who need to wrangle the hormones for ten minutes and read this post.

My Wedding Hair by Emma Rathbone | This is a freakin’ hilarious piece that showed up on The New Yorker.

Caine’s Arcade | This short video about a 9-year-old making a cardboard arcade made me tear up about 6 times.  It’s absolutely brilliant.

computer

Valuing the Arts, flash fiction

The woman spoke softly to the man whose fingertips were stained blue.  “Will you tell me about your painting?” she asked.

He blushed a little, unused to the questions of “outsiders,” but shyly revealed, “You know that long stretch on the horizon where the water and sky meet?  Fascinates me.  Haven’t been to the shore since I first came here, but I can still remember.”

At a desk facing a window, a girl was writing in a notebook.  The woman hesitated, unsure if it would be unwise to disturb her.  She crept closer and read over her shoulder.  A poem.  About love and pine trees and summer skies.  The woman looked up, distracted by a performance of some kind happening in the room across the hall.  Through the windows she could see them singing and dancing.  She’d forgotten.

french hornBut here in this room, in the far corner, a girl played a mournful tune on a French horn.  It stirred the air in this place.  For a moment, it almost made the woman want to cry.  But then she laughed a little to herself and said, “Definitely time to go.”  She retreated back across the room and dropped her visitor badge in the small basket at the check-in counter.

“So whaddidya think?” snarled the guard before pressing a button to open the locked metal doors at the entrance.  “You’d have thought those affected would’ve all died out by now, but they haul in more of ‘em every month or so.”

“It’s sad,” said the woman, then pushed open the doors of the asylum.