Andrew Solomon’s ‘The Noonday Demon-An Atlas of Depression,’ which won a National Book Award in 2003.  Hadn’t read anything self-helpish in awhile, but the dense Grey Cloud has been with me for a month or so, and I thought it might help, and assumed it would be well written.

Sarah Manguso’s ‘The Guardians’ is a memoir about her grief process after her friend dies unexpectedly.  Since I’m kind of a student of Grief I thought it would be interesting and informative.  It appears to be.  We shall see.

Yesterday I got a book that the author contacted me about on Twitter and I was so disappointed.  I thought it was nonfiction and it was not.  I’m not wanting to read it but hopefully I will pick it up.

So, on to a little reading!


Lady Lazarus


I found a sad poem by Sylvia Plath today.  She was so very depressed.  How adroitly she transfers pain to page.

I found it here.

Lady Lazarus

by Sylvia Plath
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it--

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?--

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot--
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart--
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash--
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--

A cake of soap, 
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

23-29 October 1962

All I needed to do was get a shower, get groceries, and get dog food. It took hours to motivate. In fact, I’ve been doing an extraordinary number of crossword puzzles and word games.  I find USA Today puzzles are much easier than Thinks.com.  So, mindless crosswords at that!

I’ve also been reading a book by Lowell Cauffiel.  It’s called Forever and Five Days.  It’s about 2 seriously messed up women who were aides at a nursing home and murdered some of their patients by suffocating them.  I’m trying to figure out which of the two women is more dangerous, or are they just a deadly combo?  One of them had her first parole hearing in 2005.  The other is in prison forever.

I wonder if reading so much true crime depresses me a little.  It could be my job.  I love it,  but it’s so busy I feel exhausted when I get off.  In case I haven’t mentioned, it’s at an assisted living facility as an activities assistant.  I really love it.  I like the busy-ness of it also.  I lead residents in exercises, do crafts, take them on outings to eat or for entertainment, and a bunch of other stuff.  I also make all the wreaths and silk flower arrangements for the facility–something I love, but have little time for!

Oh, worrying about money depresses me, although it doesn’t make me manage it better.  It’s been a long time since my hubby has worked full time.  He hasn’t worked at all since before Christmas, save some tax returns he did.  I’m not complaining, just stating a fact.  He was ill a lot, and had a hard time keeping a job, or feeling confident in his abilities, so it’s been a long climb back up.

Eldest is doing great at school.  He’s a sophomore, and he’s coming home this weekend.  Youngest had a busy few weeks.  SAT’s on the 12th, Marathon Dance (28 hours, $160,684!!) the next weekend, and the following Wed. he went to Nashville with the chorus.  He had a great time with all of those activities.

Today was my day off, and I should have gone into my other job, but it was really hard to get going, and I had 3 other major priorities.  I’ll telecommute some this evening, and go in later in the week.  I have no desire to write poetry, or even read it.  I made a few greeting cards yesterday and today, and sent a few notes.

Blah, blah, blah!

The weekend was wonderful.  My VCU Rams are going to the Final Four.  Now I do love me some March Madness, and this is the best, maddest March ever.  Friday and Sunday I cheered my team on at the local eatery/watering hole.  I live in the suburbs, and for once, I was happy about that.  Instead of moshing and having beer sprayed all over me downtown, I was in a crowded, but not too crowded bar full of middle aged folks just like me screaming like hell!  That was lots of fun.  Note, both places are named the same and owned by the same person, just in different sections of #RVA.

Okay, I think we need a little Twain to cheer us up.

The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities, we will then be a happy and a virtuous people.
– “The Enemy Conquered; or, Love Triumphant”

I don’t believe in happiness as much as in contentment.  The older I get, the more contentment I feel.  I think it comes with wisdom.  I don’t ever want to stop learning, though. — Me.

Here’s a picture of Elsie, btw.  She became afraid when I was yelling and screaming during the #VCU game(s), which is why I ended up at the bar.

Mumma, why are you screaming?



How I will feel from day to day.

If the gray mass will overtake me before I get going,

or just pull my energies back and make my heart dull.

I’m exploiting the times I’m free of it!

We have many stresses now,

just like everyone else.

I can survive stress without being depressed!

can’t i?

I feel small, tight.

I know I will survive and be stronger.

Catcher in the Rye


I’ve thought some more about Holden Caulfield.  I don’t have a good memory for detail, but I remember feeling very relieved there was someone else who felt the way I did at 16.  By then depression had wrapped its ugly, gray, cloying fog around my skull, and I didn’t know what it was, or why I wanted to die, or anything.  Who knows anything at 16?  However, here was a guy who actually felt the way I did.  I know I wrote yesterday that Salinger didn’t get into the thoughts and feelings of some of his characters, but I see now that isn’t true.  He did evoke feeling in me.  Depression is a selfish disease.  All you think about is yourself, and it’s so easy to isolate yourself from others.  Or at least to compartmentalize it, so your friends may not see it, if you are an extrovert like myself.  I think depression is especially difficult for introverts, because then it is especially isolating. 

I wish I’d felt I had the freedom to act out the way Holden Caulfield did.  I was too afraid, though.  I’d have been in major trouble and I was quite terrified of authority.

So, I guess Salinger did give me a gift–the gift of knowing I wasn’t the only person who felt so bad they really wanted to not exist.  I’m thankful for all of the tools that exist now that didn’t then to help with this.  However, when you’re ‘in it’, those tools may as well not be there.

Well, back to my merry morning!