Yes, I'm back! S.A.D.(seasonal affective disorder) has been defeated and I'm on that manic high that people with bipolar disorder don't want to give up and will often refuse to take medication for because they are willing to risk suicidal depression just to experience this...I don't know if you are familiar with stream of consciousness, but you are about to experience one long train of thought...before I continue, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, here's a definition: read it and get ready for a roller coaster ride (those of you who are prone to nausea, light-headedness, or who fear heights might want to skip this email and read those I send you after I come down weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) -
"The term “stream of consciousness” was first used in psychology, to convey what was taken to be the flow of conscious experience, of what William James called “mind stuff”, in the brain. The term was introduced in James’s The Principles of Psychology (1890) to denote the continuous flow of thoughts, feelings and impressions which, he believed, is what makes up our inner lives. James was aware of the complexity of this “stream”. It does not consist of a single stream of consecutive items; many items may coexist" (John Mepham, Kingston University).
I realize I'm probably borderline bi-polar - either that or I really am as crazy as I sometime think I am - because since I've been an adult, I have had this mania from time to time in which I was so "high" mentally, spiritually, and emotionally that I literally went through life at warp speed for a time, writing like crazy, drinking copious amounts of wine in my mispent youth, and engaging in sexual promiscuity during my late twenties (briefly before being celibate for nearly eleven years) and early forties ( for two-and-a-half years! I attribute these sexcapades to my confused hormones that didn't seem to be aware that I am unable to have children and were on a mission to give me every chance to become a mother); and when I look back, these manic periods usually followed winters and the ensuing S.A.D. and the illness that resulted at the end of February or the first of March: well, I didn't get ill and probably would have been on this "high" a week ago when my friend Lori's prayer was answered and she emailed me the 'cure' that was revealed to her for what ailed me (which I immediately accepted and initiated - taking Vitamin D, getting out in the sunshine and fresh air, and finding a way in my sorry state to praise God by going to my favorite Psalms and, as Rolita directed, repeating the two verses I most cherish from the 91st Psalms, 1&2, twelve times) and it would have worked but I was attacked - and I do mean attacked - by allergies that caused my nose to run constantly and my head to throb, then went into my chest causing me to cough up vile, yellow mucuous, and, finally, resulted in me having red, puss-filled sores under my nose from blowing it so much; but when I had a similar attack last fall, I ended up with a giant sinus infection that sent me weak-kneed and nearly crawling to my doctor because I had a hard time standing up (I was that sick) and taking antibiotics for a week...now, I probably sound like a crazy Christian, but I believe all these little germs, bacteria, and viruses that attack us are demons - how else would thousands of angels fit on the head of a pin unless they were microscopic and, remember, demons were once angels...all that's evil, that makes us sick or causes us grief and pain comes from Satan, I believe...the good bacteria that's in all our bodies are the angels God sends to fight those demons!...look, I know this sounds bizarre coming from someone who has a minor in biology and social sciences, but I believe God is the supreme scientist, something I was taught by this wonderful woman named Sylvia Pennington, who is now deceased and who I only heard once at OSU when she came there to discuss biblical interpretations and posited that God not only has an all-knowing mind, but a logical one, as well...that makes sense to me seeing the science that is involved in the mechanizations of the universe...the only reason many scientists don't believe in God (some do, particularly many astronomers who have seen the far reaches of the universe), but rather science, I believe, is because science hasn't caught up to God yet...when it does, if it ever does, I think science will be practiced in churches, synagogues, buddhist temples, and mosques and scientists will be the new priests, summoning us all to worship at the altar and lifting up praises to the First Scientist...I addressed this email to God because I wanted to make a point about talking to God...looking up God's email address, I shunned the ones given by those who took themselves a little too seriously (especially one in Westerville, Ohio, the area where I lived when I was in Columbus) and decided to use the one given out by someone with a little sense of humor, albeit, slightly irreverent, because I think God accepts irreverence, understanding that humans use it as a defense mechanism...O.K., so what do I do with this manic energy...I already went to the hotel lobby, two steps from my room, made a waffle and ate it and two "sausage?" patties from one of those microwave sausage biscuit duos and had a cup of coffee and was back in my room in 19 minutes with a cup of coffee...walked from the door across the room to the computer table in six strides, pausing long enough to get the three French Vanilla creamers I've been hoarding and a packet of Splenda and dropping the napkin and box of Mini Frosted Shredded Wheat cereal with one hand in one swift motion while carrying a hot cup of coffe with the other hand (when not manic, had I not put down the cup of coffee and done each of the other tasks carefully, I'd have spilled the coffee because my borderline dyslexia makes me do the opposite of what I intend to do unless I'm focused, so I would have tried to pick up the creamer and Splenda with the hand I had the coffee in had I not focused); then back across the room to get tissue for my nose with the red, puss-filled patch underneath, and back to the computer...I usually keep my hotel room uncharacteristically neat (I'm a terrible housekeeper, one of the many reasons I don't want to get married) not because I want to but because I have to so I can keep my belongings organized and make packing up to leave easier; however, since I've been in the S.A.D. mode, I've noticed each time I come here, my hotel room has taken on the more familiar persona of my house: books, papers, clothes everywhere, everything in disarray... a real mess, but I know when I get off the computer, I'll be cleaning this room up and it will be as neat as a pin in about ten minutes (unfortunately, this doesn't always happen at home when I'm manic, instead of cleaning, I write)...I've already been writing like a maniac (maniac comes from the word 'mania' so I guess I am as crazy as I think I am!) since I stopped working fulltime last year, so if mania affects my writing, I may finish a novel by morning!...seriously, I do have an outline for another curriculum guide and I could write it this weekend, but I received "word" in prayer to hold off on writing it because it gives too much information about my new "revolutionary" day hab model and I don't want to publish that information just yet - first, I have to get the day hab up and running before I share this concept...so, I could write a novel or an epic poem or a play or a book of short stories or re-write the one act plays I lost when my other laptop crashed or a musical or another curriculum guide with activities that I outlined yesterday or I could...do almost anything right now...mania is not just a "high," I think it's a spiritual state those with bi-polar go into temporarily because Satan is so twisted, he sends those he seeks to destroy by their own hand soaring before bringing them down to that place where death is the only out...I lived in that place as a teenager, there were no highs...it wasn't a sad place, necessarily, just a dark place...I would be a "goth" today if I were a teen because I was fascinated by death and the "undead" (vampires) then, reading Bram Stoker's Dracula over and over until I knew every plot twist, character, and much of the dialog from memory and convincingly told my younger siblings that I was a vampire...later, studying adolescent psychology, I learned that teens actually lose their minds due to hormonal changes, which explained a lot...so, as an adult, I thought everything would be o.k. because I no longer was deeply depressed and suicidal, but I would get these episodes of mania that resulted in me talking at light speed, doing fifty things at once (I actually worked eight hours a day, then volunteered another eight at night and on the weekends in a theatre for nearly two years) until I burned out like a candle...I left my teaching career after two years of teaching all day and doing theatre all night...my life was pretty much the same way last year when I worked seven days a week, which I'd done for six years, since The Sojourner's Truth was first published (and six years before that when I was doing theatrical productions with Da Coloured Gurlz and six years before that when I was singing with SPECTRUM - for a couple of years, I was singing and acting and working fulltime- whew!)), but last year was different because I worked a lot harder as a supervisor than I ever did as a behavior specialist, SBH teacher, or a habilitation specialist; so leaving both jobs was really a matter of survival for me...mania can kill you!... actually, the only time I actually enjoyed being manic was in my early forties when my alter ego "LOVEhandles" was in charge of my life (I'm also borderline Multiple Personality Disorder or whatever they're calling it these days!) - as LOVEhandles, I placed a provocative ad in The Detroit News seeking male companionship and got nearly 500 responses, including two from vice cops who thought I was a 'pro' since my ad seemed to promise sex; it didn't really, it just talked about fulfilling men's fantasies of being with a large women (I guess that was promising sex, now that I think about it - what can I say: I was named after my father's mother who was a 'pro' and who my father despised, yet named me for, then would never call me by my first name!)...a lot of men in the Detroit area had that fantasy and I met about twenty men of nearly every ethnicity (no Asians, but Hispanic, German, Arab, Polish, Russian, French, Irish, English, India, Pakistani, Jewish, and, of course, African-American), age (from early 20s to mid-60s), profession (doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, computer experts, students, construction workers, an EMT, accountants, bankers, a process server, dentists, you name it), and interest (including heterosexual cross-dressers)...most were just first dates and didn't go any farther, but I did have 'affairs' with three of the guys I met: one German-Polish engineer, one Jewish process server, and one 27 year old black stud muffin...although I am reallly a one-man woman and have never had much luck juggling two or more men, I did it for almost a year, then my young stud insisted I give up the other two who were getting on my nerves because they were so clingy (my engineer was even making hints about settling down), so I kicked them to the curb and let youngblood show his true colors; turns out his best friend was dating an older woman who'd turned him into a gigolo, showering him with gifts and money and he expected the same from me...that ended that relationship because, as I told the vice cops, I don't charge for sex - and I don't get charged for it either (I actually met an incredibly handsome Hindu from India who has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and had a contract with a well-known Toledo company who made me a proposition that didn't involve sex - well, not actual sex because he had a fiancee he'd been promised to in an arranged marriage contract in India and he could not have sex until he married her - when he decided to move to San Francisco where he started his own company: he wanted to buy me a row house where he'd set up a state-of-the-art computer system for me to write if I'd let him come over once a week and performed duties as a dominatrix (no sex, just dressing provocatively and barking orders at him - I know, weird); I told him there are people who get paid to things like that and I'm not one of them (I used to fear I was destined to become my father's mother and turn into 'a whore for hire' because he'd given me her name, and I have endeavored not to realize that fear); oddly, I was not seuxally active until I was 23, when I had my first 'affair,' while I working on my master's at Wichita State; I was an 'intern' teacher, meaning I went to school several days during the week and actually worked in schools the rest of the time, as well as did "community service"...I was on campus one day (our professors came out to our base school the other days) and would have lunch with a professor from the Black Studies Department, a beautiful young woman a few years older than me who complained about her filandering husband, swearing she'd never marry another black man...meanwhile, having never had consentual sex (I was the victim of acquaintance rape when I was sixteen while out of my grandmother's sight one summer when I lived and worked with my uncle in Houston who was the supervisor of housekeeping in a medical building where I cleaned office and was dumb enough to sneak a 23year-old guy who buffed the floors into the locked medical offices I cleaned so we could 'make out'...of course, he tried to go farther and I always said 'no,' but one time he didn't stop and I got the shock of my life because I had no idea that sex involved penetration...a voodoo woman who kept putting hexes on my uncle that he laughed at so me leave the office and told my uncle that 'something happened to me,' but I would not admit it because I knew my grandmother would make a federal case of it due to what happened a few years earlier when I was in eighth grade...I had a huge crush on one of my classmate's older brothers and was always smiling at him when he would walk by with his friends...well, one of them thought I was smiling at him...he lived across the street from the school and my grandmother and I were always half an hour early - she'd go to her sixth grade classroom and I'd go to the junior high building to my homeroom...one day, this guy "BeBe" (not his real nickname) came in and attempted to rape me, but stopped when one of my classmates, a girl named Sylvia I'd thrown into a wall in the girl's restroom when we were in fifth grade because she kept picking on me came in and saw what was happening and ran and got my grandmother...of course, BeBe left and went to his own homeroom, but my grandmother went and got him and dragged him to the principal's office in front of the whole school where he was beaten with a board and screamed so loudly everyone could hear him...after that, people would tease me by calling me BeBe, especially a boy in my class named Louis, who I beat up one day, knocking him down and banging his head on the sidewalk...so, not wanting to go through that again, I never said anything, although my grandmother 'knew' and I wasn't allowed to go back to Houston to work again, but I had residual effects and in the 'date rape culture' that persisted in both Texas and Oklahoma, the two states where I did my undergraduate studies, I beat the crap out of every college student, G.I., or any other many who tried to rape me (I'm going to write about those guys one day - I gave one a concusssion!)...anyway, I finally consented to having sex with this handsome older guy who a former roommate fixed me up with when I moved out of our apartment into a duplex near the school (all of the interns were supposed to live in the community, but only two of us did)...she was white and, although she dated men of different nationalities, she didn't date black men and like me, she was a big, beautiful woman, which this guy was attracted to, it turned out...so, we got together and it was lust at first sight...he told me his name was 'Ted' and after a few encounters asked me if I knew the Black History professor I had lunch with every week...I was suspicious, so I asked her about him and she said his name sounded familiar...now, the chair of her department was a good friend of mind and directed the theatre company, One People, I was in...I kind of had a crush on him, but he was married, so off limits...anyway, our 'affair' ended after about six months since it was just about sex a little more, but he did tell me he had not been totally honest with me and told me where he actually worked, for the Post Office (not really, but I don't want to say where he really works in case his wife should see this on my blog some day)...anyway, I was having lunch with my professor friend and she mentioned that her husband worked at the Post Office...I asked her to describe him, then she told me his name was 'Tad'...it was the same guy!...I'd had an affair with a married man...I was really angry and hoped I'd see him again and have a chance to tell him what I thought of him, but I never did...I did see her on an infomercial after I moved to Ohio that she was hosting...my friends all marveled that he had the nerve to get involved with someone who knew his wife, but I think that was a turn-on for that snake...later, having done the unthinkable, having an affair with a married man, I knowingly had a very brief affair with an Ethiopian grad student whose wife was still in Africa, but it was unsatisfying in every since of the word, mostly I think because I could never resolve myself to sleeping with someone else's husband...I have a friend whose husband made passes at me a while back and I refused to 'bite' and I'm so glad i did because I can look her in the eye without any guilt...I've never understood how women can betray other women this way and not seem to be bothered by it...there are many married men I find attractive and would love to date if they were single, but even if I don't know their wives, I respect them and refuse to disrespect another woman's marriage again...I was talked into getting involved with someone who was married once who told me the marriage was 'open' and it was, but the 'openness,' as usally happens I found out in 'open' marriages was one-sided: the husband was the only one allowed to have affairs, although the wife was allowed to in 'theory,' when she actually had one, they ended up getting a divorce...my twenties were full of sexual drama, so I took a break from sex in my thirties and hung out with gay men, then that hormonal surge took over in my early forties and I turned into LOVEhandles and was a very bad girl!- well, for a couple of years, anyway...no drama, no complications, just fun and games...however, my sexcapades ended when my best friend, who was the co-chair of the Toledo AIDS Task Force, asked me to be on the task force, along with a gay male friend, then when we showed up, she introduced him as the representative of the black, gay male population and me as representative of the black at-risk female population...at risk? for what? AIDS....whoa!...talk about facing reality...that plus starting peri-menopause (you guys don't want to know the details, believe me, all the women over forty know and those of you who don't, you soon will and for all that they say about menopause, peri-menopause is MUCH worse; it's just not something you can talk about publicly as easily as you can mention a hot flash or irritable mood...if men went through this, the retirement age would be moved up to forty; if men and women's body functions were reversed, I also believe they'd have a week off each month, a three-year maternity leave, and the government would pay homemakers for serving their country!)...I hate sexism as much as I do racism...did anyone see the picture of the White House with a watermelon patch in the front yard that some mayor of a city in California was using as a screen saver claiming he didn't know this was a racial stereotypes?...yet, people got upset about Eric Holder saying we are a nation of cowards when it comes to talking about race...why else woud Klan members wear hoods, people like Imus, that New York Post cartoonist, and the California mayor not own up to their racism if they're not cowards?...one of the reasons I'm so open about my past experiences (well, most of them, anyway; believe it or not, I do have a couple of things I keep secret, not because I want to - they are just things I haven't resolved quite yet, therefore, cannot share) is because I have to be honest and open up in order to write and to act...when one is not authentic, it shows up onstage and on paper; my role model for this kind of bare-it-all honesty is my brother, James, who's first play, "Our Young Black Men Are Dying and Nobody Seems to Care" started out as a suicide note; in the play, James exposes himself, completely, giving all the raw emotions and deep abiding pain that he's suffered voice...I love my siblings, every single one of them, including the one whose calls I've blocked from my phone...Ruth, who is scheming and conniving to try to come to Columbus to live with my mother, who lives with my sister DE'brar, who Ruth has hated since the day she was born and took Ruth's place as the baby girl, at least she's always acted as if she's hated our baby sister...I have finallly forgiven Ruth for her email rantings sent to many of you when I was asking for your prayers of support for James...I was incensed, not because of what she said, as evil and untrue as most of it was, but because of her motive: to divert attention from James who was in the fight of his life, to her...so, she came up with a story that was supposed to get the kind of sympathy James was getting...remember when I told you she moved out of her rent-controlled apartment due to the neighbors putting wires in the wall and sending rays to drive her crazy, none of which was mentioned in the email she sent out to my email lists, which is why I now "BCC" my lists, then she told my mother who she calls sometimes half a dozen times a day, that she was living in her van and that men would rape her while she was asleep (translation, she was having consentual sex with men which in her warped mind is always rape) and even went to the doctor to make sure she wasn't pregnant, and occasionally lived with a friend who she'd fall out with, then moved to a shelter after she claimed she called the police because she had nowhere to go and Mom told her to go to a shelter; there, she said everyone was talking about her...anyway, turns out she never left her apartment...all of this was a ploy to get my mother to make DE'brar let Ruth live in her house, which is where my mother lives...this can't happen for two reasons: number one, Ruth has no respect for DE'brar and would not respect her in her own home and number two, my mother is at peace and lives in a state of constant joy and contentment and none of us wants that to change, except maybe Ruth...she can't help it, if she came to Columubus, it would be like the serpent in the Garden because she would disrupt the lives of all four of my family members that live there, create havoc in their friends' lives, have everyone in Columbus wanting her to leave after a few months and be ready to move to Toledo to do the same thing here: I will stop her in Findlay if she tries to come this way because the last time I let Ruth come stay with me, my roommate at the time, Dana, who was a nursing student at Wichita State and the German fiance of my Hispanic friend, Joe, was ready to move out of our apartment after Ruth was there for a week; I had to ask her to leave, not knowing she was pregnant and had run away from home because our parents had always been clear about us not getting pregnant while in school (she was a senior and only six weeks away from graduation and later returned and took two tests to graduate, only missing one question - she's really a genius); while in Wichita, she went to the Lutheran Social Services and made arrangements to have an abortion...I personally refuse to take a stand on this issue since I can't have children, but I don't think I would have an aboriton, although I don't know since I've never faced that particular circumstance; however, I thank God that Ruth never had a child...I didn't want to have children because I'm afraid I'd mimick the child-rearing style I was exposed to most, my grandmother's, and never wanted to inflict that kind of verbal abuse on anyone else plus I'm just not maternal...I did consider adopting some children and homeschooling, but I was looking at the whole thing from an educational perspective, not as a parent...however, I do love children; Ruth hates them - the only partner she was ever with for any length of time was a beautiful Jewish woman (in spirit, I never met her in person, but she had to be a saint to live with Ruth!) who artificially inseminated herself with the sperm of a black male so she and Ruth could have a bi-racial child...they broke up because Ruth was jealous of the attention her partner gave the baby: the woman is the most narcissistic person I have ever known and I've known a lot of narcissists because I've worked with actors for over thirty years plus I have borderline Narcisssistic Behavior Disorder (many artists do because we are so self-absorbed with our craft and with our thoughts and constant self-examination)...so, my sister, who really is losing it, has started to unravel and forgets occasionally that she told Mom she's homeless and mentions her landlord or something about her apartment, then in the next conversation, she'll talk about living in the shelter...she's also tried to enlist Joseph and James to help her get DE'brar to let her live in her house, but the one person in Columbus she hasn't talked to directly is DE'brar; she's left her long, rambling voice mails, but she won't talk to her...I love Ruth, I love the beautiful music she's written and the way she plays instruments, but I can truly say without any reservation, if I never see my sister again, I will be o.k....I pray for her and I will continue to try to understand the mental illness that has gripped her mind and turned her into someone so contemptuous of those who love her most, but I don't want to be around her for any reason...I do want to be around the rest of my siblings, not that we don't all have our issues, but we all have one thing in common: our love for our mother and our family...I miss John, so I hope he gets to visit us this year like he wants to and that I get to go to California before "the big one" (earthquake) takes it off the map in September 2010 (the latest prophecy from a number of religious prophets)...the rest of that prophecy is that when the country becomes vulnerable, Russia will attack the east coast and China will attack the west coast of the United States; people have actually had visions of Americans being transported to concentration camps in boxcars and people being shot down in the street for resisting...supposedly the safe places to go are in the middle of the country to Missouri and Kansas (the state I moved from when I came to Ohio 25 years ago!); then another prophet had a vision of Wichita being hit with a nuclear bomb - I had a similar 'feeling' years ago that Wichita was going to be destroyed, prompting me to order extra copies of my transcript from Wichita State...however, the thing I believe about prophecies and visions and predictions is that they show 'possibilities' and 'probabilities,' not 'actualities' and inevitabilities'...meaning, this can all be changed...and how can it be changed?...through prayer, of course....actually, not just prayer: fasting and praying...these are the two most powerful weapons we have on earth, which practiced while reading scripture arms us for any battle with evil...maybe that's what I'll do while I'm riding high...I have actually been on the verge of this high since I left fulltime employment last year because I would just stop at times and realize that I was happy and that joy was a state I was living in for the first time in a long time...then winter came and brought S.A.D. and my joy diminished (it didn't completely go away, I just lost touch with it because had I not had a little joy in my life, I'd have a fierce upper respiratory infection right now that would end up as bronchitis, what I used to get at the end of winter from 1993)...but even in the midst of despair, sometimes there's hope...I'll never forget 16 years ago, the first week of March when I was sick after going through a particularly bad case of S.A.D., I became so ill, I had a fever that made me delirious and bed-ridden for a week...during the worst part of that week, when my fever was up to about 103 degrees, I had a vision...now, I NEVER see things or hear things; whatever powers I have are all through my feelings - I felt the presence of the demons that possessed my friend, Russell's brother, who later told Russell that the reason he kept standing by me was because the demons were quiet in my presence (God and I had a long talk about that one and I was disturbed about it until I remembered that when my mother visited John and he took her to a friend's house where they were channeling spirits, he was asked to take her and leave because the spirits wouldn't come while she was there and later my mother told me that there were two women in our rural community in central Texas - the setting for my novel - who were "possessed" and would strip and do vile and disgusting things and who would only calm down when my grandmother came to 'heal' them - she and this phenomenon are also mentioned in the novel- I realized then that this power over demons is a generational blessing just as the depression, which is a personal demonic attack, in my opinion, is a generational curse probably designed to destroy us since we have the power to destroy the demons that are part of our DNA when we evoke the name of Jesus)...anyway, I did have a vision during my delirium for three consecutive nights; I watched tens of thousands of clouds move rapidly past my bedroom window and finally it registered that they were angels and they were a sign from God that I was going to be all right...I might add, just before the vision, I placed that ad in The Detroit News, so don't go thinking I'm all "holier than thou" because I'm not...I showed someone my "pin-up" shot recently after I re-ordered the Dimensions magazine in which it was published along with my article about being "smart and sexy" because my ex-boyfriend refuses to return the only copy I had; and she said, "You did that before you were saved," and I said, "No, I did it afterwards and God and I talked about it" because I wrestle with being a single Christian and what to do about my sexuality all the time...another generational curse my family has is sexual addiction and we've all wrestled with it, each of us in his/her own ways, but I usually go through long, long, long periods of celibacy - not because I'm good, but because sex for me is like alcohol to an alcoholic: one drink is too many and a thousand is not enough; which is why I became promiscuous 16 years ago after having a heavenly vision...no, I'm nowhere near holy, but I am a Christian: a very imperfect one and God and I have an understanding that when menopause is over, all bets are off on the celibacy - look out!... but I'll try to do things according to his will, meaning if I have to legitimize sex (get married), I will, as much as I personally don't believe in marriage (for me)...I'll probably draw up a partnership agreement and have a "holy union" (a religious ceremony with no marriage license) because I think marriage as defined by the state leaves to many loopholes...now, they could be wrong about post-menopausal sex drive (I sure hope so because God knows I do not need to be married to anyone - I'll need to borrow Michelle Obama's "Black Widow" dress - the black one with the red markings - she wore Election Night because I think given the opportunity, I would literally devour any man who was unfortuante enough to live with me; sorry, guys, but ya'll get on my last nerve and I keep attracting all these men who want to be 'punished' and, although I am a latent dominatrix, I really don't want to go there and neither does any man who thinks he wants me to because if I go there, it will take me to depths I never want to go to: I met this guy from New York once who wanted me to come there and put on some black leggings and a bustier and go to this club called The Dungeon where he said men lie on the floor naked and beg women with my ASSets to beat them for large amounts of money - I couldn't do it because I'd still be there whipping men's behinds FOR FREE!)...but with all these women in their sixties getting AIDS, I think there may be some truth to that post-menopausal hormonal surge...whatever happens, God and I will be talking and I'll be sharing our conversations with you because I plan to find a way to stay just shy of mania and at that place I was last summer and fall...in the secret place of the Most High...the thing about being there is you don't realize that's where you are because it feels so familiar, so natural, so real, you don't think of it as a special place because it's not...I didn't think about why I had so much joy and peace, I just enjoyed having it, although I knew it all came from God...that much I knew...I also knew I was abiding under God's shadow...that's why verse 2 of Psalms 91 talks about God being the place of refuge and a fortress because that's what happens when you live (dwell) in that place of peace and joy and stand (abide) under God's shadow...it's not this mania that is nothing more than a chemical reaction caused by the same microscopic demons that cause you to be depressed; mania is artificial joy that though spiritual (we are dealing with powers and principalities that are in the spiritual, as well as the physical) is not real joy; it's the same 'high' you get from taking amphetamines (I know because I used to take diet pills and wash them down with a fifth of cheap wine when I was in my second undergraduate college - the one in Oklahoma, not the one in Texas where I was a model student labeled as a 'militant' - and wanted to stay up all night cramming for an exam or writing my column for the college newspaper - some of those columns I wrote when I was "high" make Rev. Jeremiah Wright look conservative!) or smoking a joint (something else I tried in college, although I could never inhale except by contact- I am physically unable to suck smoke down my throat, which is why I never learned to smoke cigarettes, although I did try!)...I'm feeling the same way I did then now, except my heart is not pounding in my chest like it did when I took those diet pills and I'm not getting sleepy or hungry for sweets like I did when I got those contact marijuana highs...so, I know this is artificial and won't last, but when it's over I'll already be back in that secret place (not 'secret' because it's unaccessible but because the way there is so discreet and ethereal, you can't explain how you got there, you just go) where I'll dwell, abiding under God's protection...of course, winter will return again and with it, S.A.D., but this time, I'll be taking Vitamin D, getting out in the sun and fresh air (even if it's frigid outside), and reading verses 1&2 of Psalms 91 twelve times every day; I don't think S.A.D. will be able to interrupt my joy and peace again...I've already broken the cycle of illness that always followed it, nearly killing me 16 years ago until God sent angels to remind me that I was protected and I haven't been sick after having S.A.D. since except for some minor problems like having an allergy flare-up this year, but no fever, no infections, no visits to the doctor...next winter, I'll be ready for S.A.D., armed and read and will I beat it? - of course, the answer can only be YES! (This begins and ends with the word "yes" in homage to James Joyce, who writes a 'stream of consciousness' monologue for one of the characters in his novel, Ulyssess that also begins and ends with the word "yes" and has no punctuation...I did use some - it's the English major in me, I guess!)