Monthly Archives: May 2012

Writing a Novel is Like Running a Marathon

“I’m going to make it.”  That was my mantra during the first marathon I ran.  I felt unequal to the task, and yet I knew the course and the hills and the pain in my own body would not stop me.  Even if it killed me, I would cross that finish line.

The same mantra got me through writing a novel.  At 2:33 p.m., May 22, 2012, I typed “The End” on the last page of Ripple, my first novel.  Don’t get me wrong: I still need to do edits and deal with the business aspect of publishing it, but all of that is comparable to getting my beaten body back to the car and home after the race has ended.  And believe me, that is not an easy task.

For example, my fourth marathon took place in the mountains that surround Harper’s Ferry and the Antietam battlefield.  The day I ran that, I had bronchitis (hey I am a runner which means I am a lunatic) and the temperature was 43 degrees.  And it was raining.  At the finish line, I stood there in the rain and waited a half an hour for my husband to finish.  My man took one look at me as I stood there shivering from head to toe, and escorted me to the medical tent to be treated for hypothermia.  And then we walked a mile, and caught a bus to the car.  From there, we drove 90 minutes back home.

Like birthing a novel, running a marathon is an odyssey of pain and guts and determination.  One step follows another like one page piles on the pages before it.  When I run marathons, I must overcome my own weaknesses; indeed, I must forge strength from the fear and pain that chews away at me.  When I wrote Ripple, I had to stare down my own history of abuse and addiction and continue creating a story that in so many ways was rooted in my pain and troubled past.

When I run marathons, I fed off the crowds of strangers and friends who lines the streets.  As I have written Ripple, I have shared my struggles with the followers on my blog and Facebook page.  Their support has propelled me to the finish line.

To train for the marathons, I relied on the love and support of my family and my family. I relied on love. I also relied on God to carry me.

Throughout the writing process, I have had the great fortune to work with, laugh with, and even cry with my writing partner, Renée Schuls-Jacobson.  I wrote many passages with her on the other line, listening, adding, and improving the words I suggested.  When I called in despair, and asked, “Does this suck,” she promised me it didn’t.  If I wrote a “disaster chapter,” she was honest with me, but like a running buddy, rode shotgun with me and helped me fix it.

Toward the end of Ripple, I almost fell apart as I penned an especially graphic abuse scene.  It brought my demons back.  I had reached “The Wall,” which is what marathoners call it when the lactic acid builds up in their muscles at around the 21-mile mark.  I wanted to quit because writing the scene made me want to start drinking again.  She listened to me.  And then the best writing buddy in the world pushed me to keep moving.  And I did.

The best thing about writing Ripple, aside from finishing it, has been the friends I’ve made along the way.  Thank you so much, all of you.  And most of all, thank you Renée.  I love you.  And you’ll finish the 26.2 miles soon.  I promise.




Questioning Faith

I don’t talk or write much about religion because it confuses me.  I am not an atheist or an agnostic.  I am not a Catholic or a Methodist.  I am not a Baptist or a Buddhist.  But I do believe in God.  I try to be true to my beliefs, whatever they are on a given day.

In my tentatively titled, upcoming novel, Ripple, one of my main characters is a mother whose daughter was raped.  After she takes matters into her own hands, Helen contemplates how to talk to God about what she has done:

Helen didn’t know what to say to God so she said the Lord’s Prayer.  She didn’t feel like it made sense to ask for God’s forgiveness.  She had done what a mother must do.  And if that meant she was going to Hell, she was willing to pay her debt.

Ripple

Helen is a high-powered big firm lawyer, with a $20 million book of clients.  At the pinnacle of the legal profession, she is not in the least bit in touch with her emotions.  Even though she does go to church, she has drifted away from God and when she needs Him most, she has no idea what to say.

As I constructed Helen in my head, I tried to imagine how a rational woman almost devoid of emotion would express her feelings, and often, her inner dialogue sounds like that of a confused teenager.  Most of the time, however, she sounds heartless.  Except when her daughter is hurt.

Even the most rational of mothers feels strong emotions about their children.  Helen drops to her knees, both figuratively and literally, when she realizes that her daughter’s world is crumbling.  Helen’s well-honed rational mind has no power to fix what is broken.  She must be guided by her emotions.  She is bereft.  She feels empty and frightened and alone.

Helen is not based on me, but she does what I have done in my moments of desperation.  She begs, beseeches, and cries out to God.  She takes comfort in knowing that He is still there, always listening, never leaving her side.

Of course, Helen does not abandon her rational side.  Even as she prays, she muses about the meaning and existence of Hell:

Hell.  I don’t really want to live there for eternity.  Is there even a Hell?  Does it make sense, really?  I love how Dante describes it.

And Helen doesn’t spend much time praying or even contemplating religion, even in her time of greatest need.

Helen told herself to stop worrying about hell and get a grip.

After all, she has things to do and a life to live.

What does this mean about my own religion?  Like Helen, I have a finely-crafted rational mind.  Unlike Helen, I feel and base my actions more on feelings than on thoughts.  I am not a stranger to prayer or to God, but organized religion puts me off.  I have seen visions of God and of angels; I have battled demons and I do believe in the power of evil.  But even as I fear evil, I believe that good will prevail. God is good.  In the end, He wins out over evil.

In my next book, I will explore the battle between good and evil, light and darkness, and Heaven and Hell in much more depth.  Perhaps by then, I will have more of my own religion figured out.  One thing I am certain of is that God doesn’t mind all of the questions I ask.  To paraphrase the late and great G. K. Chesterton, the woman that questions and still believes in Him has a faith that is all the stronger.

Do you come by faith easily?  I’ve been having on ongoing dialogue with the lovely Deb Bryan, and would love to continue this discussion with more of you. That is, of course, if you feel comfortable talking about it. I can promise you one thing: any discussion or debate here will be undertaken with love and respect. With that in mind, what are your thoughts and feelings?




Anger Has Benefits

Over the last 24 hours, a dear friend and I have been having a deep talk from one coast to the other about conflict.  To read Deb Bryan’s take on why conflict is good, please swing by her blog, The Monster in Your Closet, today.  But wait!  Before you dash off, I’d like to add my own perspective on how conflict is good, if handled in a healthy way.

I like to argue and debate, and I always have.  As a child, I raised my hand too damn much in class.  Perhaps that is why I went on to pace in front of the jury box and roll out legal arguments before judges as a young lawyer.  My husband and I met in law school, and our idea of a hot date night is to debate penumbras, perpetuities and possibilities.  To an outsider, we may appear as Bickering Bickerstaffs, but we can separate a rational and pleasant difference of opinion from a personal attack.

Speaking of personal attacks, I cannot tolerate them.  Epithets and insults trigger memories of an abusive childhood, but this post isn’t about my childhood.  It is about the universal need all humans have to express disagreement and anger in a healthy way.

That brings me to the first rule of engagement: never, ever be cruel.  Be honest.  Get angry.  But never be cruel.

Expressing anger without resorting to cruelty or personal attacks is necessary for developing character and strength.

 Anger, when harnessed, serves as the impetus for growth and positive transformation.  It can make us champions for change.

The second rule of engagement relates to constructive criticism.

Often, we help each other become better people by offering constructive criticism in a loving way.  I am blessed with strong friends who care about me enough to let me know when I have made a mistake, and to suggest a different course.  Sometimes a critical word from a friend hurts like hell, but disapproval expressed with respect has made me both a better writer and a better woman.

The third rule of engagement is to argue in private, without making a public kerfuffle.  I’ve violated this rule before, especially in writing.  Just a few weeks ago, I argued with a dear friend in a dramatic and obnoxious way on my Facebook Page, and regretted it immediately.  We made up, but the ironic thing is that we solved things offline, out of the public eye.  In the future, when I get upset, I will pick up the phone and keep the dissent out of the limelight.  It’s just better that way.

The fourth rule of engagement is a corollary of the third rule: do not pile on.  As a child, whenever my mom would upbraid me, my father and my brother would climb aboard the yelling train.  And that felt like hell.  If someone argues in front of you, try to stay out of the fray; if, on the other hand, you are one of the contestants, do not seek or accept alliances.  Supporting allies is great, until it starts a world war.

What do I mean?  Recall, if you will, how World War I started.

For those of you bored by history, skip to the next paragraph.  World War 1 began after Serbian nationalists assassinated the Archduke Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.  This event led the Austro-Hungarian government to declare war against the Serbians.  Germany supported its ally, Austro-Hungary.  Russia supported Serbia.  Germany therefore declared war on Russia and on their ally, France.  Great Britain, France’s ally, declared war against Germany that same day.

The fifth and final rule of engagement is don’t seek to have the last word, unless it is to say, “I love you.”

You cannot create harmony if you insist on always receiving a perfect apology or having the last word.  If someone tries to end an argument, set aside your anger and your pride.  Make peace.  You will be happier.  And the world will be a little better.

Peace and love to you always.  And now I must run.  If you have a few minutes, please tell me your own views on conflict.  What are your rules of engagement?




Back from Hell: A Guest Post by Outlaw Mama

My friends, I am honored to introduce a guest blogger today.  Christie Tate blogs at Outlaw Mama from her home base in Chicago.  She is an attorney, legal writing instructor, and mother of a 2-year-old daughter and a 15-month-old son.  She is grateful for enough peace in her relationship with food to be able to obsess about other things, like her children getting into preschool or whether to go back to work full-time.  

Christie’s post, “Back from Hell,” left me breathless and on the verge of tears.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.  Without further ado, here is Outlaw Mama.

On Saturdays in the fall when there is a home game at Texas A&M University, there are usually only two of the 40,000 enrolled students who are at the library.  During college, there was a good chance I was one of them.  My roommate Annie and I knew that if we studied during the football games and completed our terribly pressing undergraduate work, we could party with clear consciences at night.

In October 1992, I remember studying in the library with Annie when the Aggie football team was hosting the Baylor Bears.  I peered over my history text book and saw Annie studying for her accounting mid-term exam.  The deafening roar of the crowd gathered in the football stadium punctuated our studies; the building shook when either team scored a touchdown.

I thought Annie was absorbed enough in her studying that I could slip away. “I’ll be right back,” I said.  I didn’t say where I was going.  I couldn’t.  How could I tell Annie that I was going to run back to our dorm room .5 miles away from the library to stuff two bags of chocolate candy into my mouth and immediately throw them back up?  My plan was to return to my seat next to my textbook in about 20 minutes and simply pretend that I had just made a phone call or looked for a book in the stacks.

That’s how my first semester as a sophomore in college went.  I slipped away more and more to binge and purge.  I had an arsenal of excuses that allowed me a chance to steal away from whatever crowd I was with to go and find food and throw it up.  That fall, the horrible cycle of lying, binging, purging and pretending was started to spiral out of control, just like the food that I watched vanish down the toilet almost every day.

Texas A&M had a peculiar claim to fame that I had come to appreciate: “We have one of the largest dining halls in the Free World.”  As a young bulimic, access to the gigantic dining hall, Sbisa, felt like a huge stroke of luck.  I could easily eat lunch with Annie and then sneak back in later, anonymously, to gorge myself on pizza, ice cream, hamburgers, cereal, and desserts.  When I went to the dining hall by myself to binge, I went to the west side where all of the foreign exchange students sat. No one I ever knew saw me; no one spoke English at the tables where I sat and binged.

It was getting harder to keep up with my insatiable need to binge and purge.  It was also getting more violent.  One weekend after a sickening mix of starving and binging on food and drinking too much Zima, I fainted in the shower while trying to vomit up a donut.  I wasn’t upset about the fainting; I was upset about how many calories were in the donut and whether I had gotten them all out before I fainted.

What was going to happen to me? I was 19 years old.  I went on dates with boys that seemed nice enough, but all I could concentrate on when they held my hand or tried to get to know me was when I could go home and eat.  I made straight A’s my first year in college, but I was starting to lose my ambition in the haze of sugar and fat and vomit.  I had so many secrets and so many cravings, both of which were metastasizing and taking over my life.

The night before I found my way to 12-step recovery for my raging eating disorder reads like a script from a bad movie on the WB Network.  I had a date with a fraternity guy who I thought was totally hot, but he drank too much and his grabbing hands scared me.  To combat the fear, I drank too much and after midnight, I just wanted to go home and eat myself into oblivion.  I found my way back to my dorm and, right outside my door was a huge industrial gray trashcan.  When I looked inside the trashcan, I saw a half-eaten pizza.  I took the pizza out of the trash, carried it down the hall to the common area, dusted it off and started to eat it.  I no longer cared who saw me or what anyone thought of me. I had only one message in my head: “Eat. Eat. Eat.”

Annie found me that night eating pizza I scavenged out of the trash.  She knew that something was really wrong and that I was very sick.  We didn’t know the words for what I was doing, but we both knew that I had to get some help.  My secrets started to spill out.

The next morning, I went to my first 12-step meeting for people who suffer from eating disorders.  I had seen commercials in the 1970’s for the group, but assumed it was for fat people.  Or old ladies. Or suburban moms.  Or rural grandmothers.  Or weirdos.  I didn’t think it was for a little sorority girl who was nice enough, but had a weird obsession and compulsion around food.

I walked into the room in the little church basement and saw seven people sitting in the circle.  They welcomed me.  They said they understood what it was like to be out of control with food.  I didn’t say a word.  Not then.  It would take a while to unfurl my story for the group and to understand how I would fit into this world of recovery from addiction.  It’s been a few 24-hours since I binged on food from the trashcan or snuck away from loved ones to purge.  I never forget those dark days of isolation, secrets and obsession.  I believe I would have perished from my eating disorder had I not found recovery.  I believe if I forget where I came from I may be doomed to revisit that darkness.  So I write this to remember.

Readers, how do you react to reading Christie’s story?  What sort of Hell did you or are you running from?  We love to hear from you.  Don’t be shy!




8 Going On 28

I stride toward the elementary school’s front door and set my jaw.  I am wearing my usual jeans and blue oxford button down shirt.   Blue, gray and orange trail running shoes complete my outfit.  I’ve rehearsed all of my lines.  I will meet with the speech therapist and decline further services.  I will not whine or beg or complain.

“My daughter has had services for 5 years and I appreciate all that you’ve done for her, but she feels like a nerd when you pull her out of class.  Yes, I am sure.  Thank you so much for everything.”

She’s 8 gone on 28.  Then she is 8 again and I’m so confused.  I want to hold her tight and promise her, with all of my might, that it is all going to be alright.

My daughter, age 7

My image reflects back at me from the long, tall windows that line the lunchroom to my right and the office on my left.  I try not to pay attention to how I look because lately I have been feeling self-conscious.  Runners should be thin and I don’t think I look thin.  Instead, I gaze through the lunchroom windows and try not to gulp.

One year ago, a boy had said unspeakably inappropriate things to my little girl in that lunchroom and I’d gone into school to talk about it with her teacher.  With a helpless shrug, she had murmured, “I have no control over the lunchroom.   It’s not within my jurisdiction.”  We did not let this Lord of the Flies mentality stand; instead, we requested that my daughter switch to a teacher that did not shrug at bullies.  This whole incident, however, had shaken me to my core.

She’s 8 gone on 28.  Then she is 8 again and I’m so confused.  I want to hold her tight and promise her, with all of my might, that it is all going to be alright.

Last night, we were walking in the woods and Madeline whispered, “Gary and Joey told Lizzie that she sits at the loser table at lunch.”

I scowled as she continued, “And they tell me that too, because I always sit at that table.”

My scowl turned into a howl, “That is UNACCEPTABLE.”

Words strung into sentences and when I was finished, my bespectacled daughter remonstrated, “But Gary can’t help it Mom.  He’s popular.”

Photo by Ann Nguyen

So as I pass my daughter in the hallway, I wink at her and promise to swing by the lunchroom after meeting with her speech therapist.  A look that mixes anxiety with hope and unconditional love passes over her visage like a summer thunderstorm.  Then I pull her teacher aside and explain the “loser table” matter to her, and she nods with a sage, somewhat ironic, controlled expression of discontent.  I know she will take care of it, so I square my shoulders and rehearse my lines and walk into the speech therapist’s office.

She’s 8 gone on 28.  Then she is 8 again and I’m so confused.  I want to hold her tight and promise her, with all of my might, that it is all going to be alright. 

I am in the meeting now, and I deliver my lines right.  It’s hard.  I don’t do well in these situations, which is crazy weird for an ex-trial attorney, but the truth is, I deplore confrontations, so I usually avoid them.  It turns out that her speech therapy was going to end anyway, with just a few more classroom observations.  She will suffer through no more special pullouts that breed a sense of inferiority.

I keep my promise.  I amble down to the lunchroom and find my little 8-year old sitting with four other 8-year old girls at the “loser table.”  I do not glare at Gary and Joey.  They are children too, and at some point they will find the light or fall into the darkness.  No matter.

I sit beside my daughter and she pulls her hands up to her head and pushes her hair behind both ears and a question forms in the crease between her wide-set eyes.  This will turn into a vertical thinking wrinkle by the time she turns 28 and someone will love her vertical thinking wrinkle as much as my husband loves my three horizontal thinking wrinkles.  I don’t hear her question, so I lean toward her and ask her, “What did you say?”  She draws close to me and hugs me tight with all her might and I know it is going to be alright.

Do you identify with this conflicting need to hold on and let go, dear reader? She is my only daughter, and my eldest child of three.




Holy Moments

I finish the scene that has been torturing me for over a week and push my leather chair back.  My back is tight and so are my hamstrings.  I ran 20 miles on Sunday and it is Tuesday now, a second rest day granted as a concession to middle age.  I chuckle as my left knee clicks as I head downstairs.  My friend Sam, also a middle-aged runner, told me that the word for the clicking, creaking, cracking sound is crepitus, which sounds an awful lot like decrepitude.  We both laughed about this, because it’s best to laugh about things you cannot change and aging is one of those things.

I look out the window.  It is drizzling, not pouring, so I grab my bright red running jacket and push the white garage button.  The door groans as it rises and I check the front porch to see if the UPS guy has delivered my two new pairs of Brooks running shoes.  Nothing is on the porch except the spice plants so I pull on my hood and zip up my jacket.

Last night, we walked as a family to the pond near our house to fish with a troop of Cub Scouts.  My husband, the Cub Scout troop leader, cast fishing lines and so did I, and the kids wandered around and fished sticks and algae but no fish out of the water.  Madeline and I got bored after she tangled her line around a rose bush and so we walked home.  Madeline whispered to me, “I tangled it up really bad on purpose.”

I giggled and asked her why. “I felt sorry for Jim.  His line was tangled too and he’s been waiting for Dad to help him.  So I got mine really tangled and messed up–I knew Dad would come over.”  I put my arm around my compassionate little girl and grinned.  “Don’t tell Dad, okay?”  She asked me, as she hugged me back.

Have your children ever done any secret acts of solidarity?




Why you Should Not Run Promotions on Facebook: Upcoming IPO

You see promotions all the time on Facebook.  Leave a comment on this status update and you might win a box of widgets.  Upload a photo of your pet lizard to our page and receive a box of crickets (yes, folks, lizards LOVE to eat crickets—just make sure the blasted things don’t leap out of the cage).  “Like” this post . . . .

I, for one, do not believe you should run promotions on Facebook.  You may wonder why.

By connecting us, Facebook has created something of value.  Over the last few years, Facebook has built a $3 billion-a-year advertising business by convincing major corporations like Ford, Kia and Procter and Gamble to pay for page space.  In turn, Facebook helps these companies generate buzz for their products.

Although still recovering from my stint as a big firm lawyer, I read the Wall Street Journal every day.  On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, the Journal ran an article titled,  The Big Doubt Over Facebook.”  According to this article, $1 million buys Ford 125 million views or user impressions.  The same investment on American Idol would buy only 2 30-second ads.

Photo Credit: AutoGuide.com

Ford researched how social media campaigns boost sales.  By using Facebook instead of TV ads during the Super Bowl, Ford increased shopping activity for their 2011 Explorer by 104% instead of the customary 14% increase that follows a Super Bowl television campaign.  Ford makes a strong business case for Facebook advertising.

The big question investors face as the planned May 18th IPO approaches relates to valuing Facebook.  Is Facebook worth the $86 billion valuation it is seeking?  After all, Facebook has 900 million users.  It stands to reason that Facebook’s reach will result in a profitable advertising business—right?  Honestly, no one knows.  I will wager, however, that this question keeps Mark Zuckerberg awake at night.  After all, a recent Forbes article values his net worth post-IPO at $15.5 billion.

Forbes Image: Mark Zuckerberg

A lot of money is at issue here.  Facebook stands to gain or lose billions of dollars as a result of which ads its users view.  And Facebook alone controls how advertisements run on its pages.

Oh no, you cry: free speech!  When you are on someone else’s website, you must play by the website owner’s rules.  We play in Facebook’s sandbox for free.  In that sandbox, we are part of the greatest conversation the world has known.  Facebook has created tools to facilitate this conversation and it has cost the company a lot of time and money to develop these tools.  I know I have benefited immensely from the friends I have made and the thoughts we have shared.

In exchange for this, I know I am part of Facebook’s product.  Advertisers pay Facebook for a chance at catching its users’ attention.  Promotions run by a page divert that attention and dilute Facebook’s product. When you created your account or your Facebook Pages, you clicked “okay” after you skimmed your user agreement. In return, we agree not to do certain things.  Anna Gervai has written a helpful article on these rules as they relate to running promotions.  Personally, I have decided not to try to navigate these rules.  Instead, I will continue to participate in this great conversation.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?




Running on Empty

I’ve learned a lot of important driving lessons over the years. Some of them might seem pretty obvious, but I have a history of learning the hard way. For example, I realized I made a poor decision driving my Subaru for the first time (before I received my driver’s permit) when I drove the car into the front yard. A few months later, I found out how important it is to yank up the parking brake when coming to a stop at the top of a steep hill when the same black Subaru slammed into Dad’s beloved cherry tree. And finally, I learned to ignore the man-child thwacking the rear window with a cherry Twizzler only after the out-of-town police car flashed his lights and handed me my hundredth speeding ticket. That was the last ticket I received. I think.

As slow as I have been on the uptake while behind the wheel of a vehicle, I am even slower at learning how to navigate the churning waters of social media. I have spent a lot of time developing my online persona via Facebook and Twitter; Once my book is published, I hope that social media will help me to sell my book. For the moment, however, social media wraps a web around me that sometimes makes it hard for me to breathe.

To read the rest of this post, please visit me over at my virtual writing partner’s home: Renée Schuls-Jacobson’s “Teachers and Twits.”




Seizures are No Joke

Good morning my friends.   I hope you will bear with me and listen for a minute or two.  A joke about seizures caught my eye this morning, and it touched a sensitive place inside me.  I have a seizure disorder. Please do not pity me. It is a diagnosis and sometimes a grim one; however, it sure as hell is not a death sentence. To be honest, those of us with epilepsy do have shorter life spans but while alive, I LIVE.

I do not sit around worrying when the next grand mal is going to hit.  I cram as much living as I can into my life.  I swim, just not alone in the ocean.  I run marathons–nine, soon to be ten.  I bore three beautiful children, despite the risks, and they arrived without the genetic defects that anti-seizure drugs sometimes cause; indeed, my daughter survived the two grand mal seizures I suffered while pregnant without sustaining any damage.

I drive . . . but not at night.  And I write.  It is true that I lost my vocabulary bank when one grand mal lit up my temporal lobe, but I rebuilt most of it.  And while I never regained my map section, I navigate with a laugh and a lot of circular reasoning.

When I read stuff that equates a seizure to an emotional reaction, or uses the analogy of having a seizure to tell a joke, it upsets me.  Hearing bad news does not cause seizures.  An epileptic is not a spaz; she does not wig out and then convulse on the floor when she gets over-excited or emotional.

In a normal brain, millions of specialized nerve cells, called neurons, transmit electrical impulses.  These impulses communicate with other areas of the brain and help us function. When these impulses misfire, a seizure occurs. Or as I explained to my children, sometimes an electrical storm goes off in my brain.  Lightning flashes.  Thunder rolls.  Usually, the seizures last for a few minutes.  If a seizure goes on for more than five minutes, I am in Status epilepticus (SE).  This is a life-threatening condition in which the brain is in a state of persistent seizure.  Watch the clock.  Pick up the phone.  Call 911.  And pray.  At that point, the brain is destroying itself and Mom might die.

Friends, there is nothing funny about having a seizure.  When I hear seizure jokes, it reminds me of my own mortality, which I can handle most days.  Hell, I remember it each night when I say my prayers and thank God for watching over me while I sleep.  What I cannot handle is feeling that you think I somehow can corral these neurons that zip around inside my brain.  I take my meds every day, try to get enough sleep, avoid bright flashing lights and alcohol, but beyond that, I cannot reduce the chance that another seizure will strike.  It is not within my volition.

Don’t feel sorry for me.  But please don’t make fun of me either.   And if you would like to learn more about seizures, please visit: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/.

What words upset you?  What jokes hit a nerve?




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