July 2008
            I hadn’t touched Anti-Fat in months. The bones were there: It needed a few more scenes, additional development of two characters, and I hated the ending.
            Keep submitting, promoting, emailing, selling, prostituting to make sure this book ends up in someone else’s hands besides my own and VF’s. Write, write, write.
            I opened the file, rolled my head around in a circle. The right side of my neck was sore. Writing was the easy part. Landing a literary agent and consequently selling a book to a publisher? A drastically different, degrading, years-long experience, growing rapidly into to a monster tyrant of a 6-year-old. I’d been writing for seven years and trying to sell my first book, Twenty Something and Blonde, for five. I was done.
            My pill bottles stood strong on my kitchen counter.
            The rundown:
            • 100 mg of Zoloft (anti-depressant).
            • 250 mg of Clozapine (anti-psychotic—now called the less monstrous term of “mood stabilizer”).
            • 400 mg of Lamotrigine (again “mood stabilizer”).
            • .5 to 1 mg of Xanax
            • 5 mg of Ambien, as needed at bedtime.
            I opened two other projects I started last year—“projects” because I didn’t know how they would end up. Then, there was last of my Blonde series, Thirty Blonde, and finally, Soulcrusher. Two more novels. Jesus.
            I looked up bipolar disorder: Racing thoughts, hopelessness, mood swings, anxiety, low self-esteem, argumentative, judgmental, and some suicidal stuff. Ah yes, my very own house of horrors.
            Before I clicked the X in the upper right-hand corner and pushed away from my desk, I checked Kohl’s, Wells Fargo, and Denny’s websites for job openings. I can always call my mother.

Jack: U doing ok?
Me: I'm ok babe. How are you?
Jack: I'm hanging in there.
Me: do u want to talk later? I'm going into my office now.
Jack: Have to work. Thank u though
Me: staying busy is good. I hate that you're upset
Jack: I hate that I made u upset
Me: its not your fault. I'm ok. Don't worry about me. It helps talking to u
Me: (later) Why don't you come over to watch a movie. Unless it would be too weird for u. It would take your mind off things! I know u work late tonite...

            I don’t remember what he said.

July 5
            Walking into the Shack, the evening colors ahead dimmed the skies with red, topping a beachy white: a Mark Rothko painting.
            “It feels like a Bloody Mary night.” VF wasn’t enamored or hindered by my sobriety. I agreed, drinking vicariously through her throat as I adjusted my ass on a stool. Owner waved from a safe and solid eight seats away. Too Tan suggested a Virgin Mary. Her 14-ingredient concoction apparently won an award last year (at the Bloody Mary Battle!), and when I took a sip I knew why. Sublimely delicious. I slurped and watched her make two rum and Diet Cokes. She smiled at me.
            The virtually non-existent sting of awkwardness upon seeing B6 didn’t result in any dangerous reaction, but the not drinking helped. I probably wouldn’t fuck B6 again. Whatever. Bars and nightlife provided fun whether Charlie Sheened or sober (sober = designated driver). My clearheaded powers expanded if a new B happened to walk by whatever throne I sat on, laughing with my friends or smoking outside. If my capriciousness and nuance intrigued a B, it guaranteed at least a month of dates. A hospital seemed worse than jail, so staying yards away from alcohol took much less effort than wits kept when I inhaled vodka and limes.