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Aww, Alison -- what an awful thing! I'm so sorry, but thank God no one was hurt.

My suggestions are going to sound a little New-Agey, so I apologize, but this is what worked for me.

First, take care of the physical stuff. Even if you weren't outwardly injured, you suffered a major shock, and had huge amounts of adrenaline dumped into your system. It takes a while to work itself out, and while it does it can cause muscle spasms and headaches, and make you sick to your stomach. You can speed the process along by going to an acupuncturist or a cranio-sacral therapist -- tell them exactly what happened, and they can help flush the adrenaline out of your system. In the meantime (awful advice, but...), try not to drink caffeine or alcohol, and drink as much water as you can.

Second, you need to assert some feeling of control over your life. Redecorate a room you spend a lot of time in, or go spend a day learning something completely new. Plant a garden or take your daughter to one of those make-your-own pottery places. Go to a shooting range and shoot pretty designs in the targets. Cook something from scratch out of Julia Child.

And then get a really, really good night's sleep. Or two, or three, or five. You'll be your own self again, and this is all material.

Hang in there...


Jeeze, I don't know, because I'm not a certified psychologist...but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

If you have time - if you're not being pressured, you might want to take a short vacation. Reaffirm life by going to the beach or movies or doing something with your family. In other words, think about something else. could write about the accident. Which you just kind of did, but get into it like you're describing it for a book. I know it turns into slow motion. You could write it in your point of view or from the POV of a fictional character.

Or...I just underwent a half hour of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) because I have always feared speaking in front of people, and as an author, I don't get to get out of doing that. I know a guy, if you want me to connect you up with him. The NLP would be over the phone (speaker phone) before you go to sleep, and it is a very light form of hypnosis.

I'll find out Sunday if it works, but I did feel an incredible warm glow and happiness after he worked with me.

Give yourself time. Do what Clair siggested and work on another project. When your brain is ready your mind will start drifting back to the book as you wallpaper the garage.

Just don't worry about it. You're most likely suffering a bit of PTSD. It will get better.

In the meantime, tell all those people who have made a difference in your life, no matter how small, what they mean to you.

I speak from experience.

If the weather's nice, go sit outside and work. I swear, sunshine is better than most drugs or self help books.

And if you're able, I would also take several bottles of Dos Equis with you and remind yourself that you are the Most Interesting Woman in the World.

Just don't spill the Dos Equis on anyone important. ;)

I say use it. The only thing that ever helps me work through difficult points in my life is to write about them. Transfer those feelings of fear and hopelessness into a short story or part of the new outline or something like that. It will help you realize that no situation is truly hopeless for a writer. Everything is grist.

Wow. Glad you're okay, Alison.

Different people process that sort of experience in different ways, and at different rates. But you've started writing about it, which may help bring you more of a feeling of being in control.

Good luck!

Just give it some time, Alison. It'll come back. And hell, you can write a book in a month. We know you can.

Sounds like the perfect opening scene for a novel.

Glad to hear you're okay. My prayers are with you, Alison.


Stacey might have a good idea there: write it out.

Other good ideas include doing something else that's as nearly as adrenalin producing. By that, I do NOT mean doing doughnuts on the Interstate, but engage in something memorable, a walk to the top of a mountain, a road trip to someplace new.

Fly to Paris. Right now. Don't even think of reading the rest of this comment. Just go.

Think of that accident as somethign in your rear-view mirror, and that it's receding in the distance. That's how I think about approaching something unpleasant; that in a few days, it will be over and something else will come.

I wasn't even going to post about this, but I'm glad I did. Thanks so much to everybody for your great advice -- not to mention your concern. I'm very touched and even a little teary. Good thing you don't have to look at me. (And Jeff and Jake -- how honored would I be to spill an alcoholic beverage on The Most Interesting Man in the World!)

Rescue Remedy. Seriously. Takes the shock away. I had a similar experience last December. It's really jarring to the mind, the system, everything.

I hope you feel better soon!

Alison, I've had a life-threatening wreck and one break-in when I was stalked in my house, so I know exactly what you mean. (Luckily, these were years apart.)

The hopelessness is actually a very useful, handy tool to observe as a writer, when you think about it. It's that coming face-to-face and realizing that we're still going to be grouchy, cranky, dumb human beings which is sort of mind-boggling. One of the culprits of feeling like you're "supposed to" be feeling differently is the MOW, and movies like you mentioned. They aren't realistic responses; they are artificial sweetener. As a writer, you've just been handed a real gift: you've seen the abyss. It's scary as fucking hell, and we're mortal and there ain't a damned thing we can do about that, and there are all sorts of issues we have to think about when we start recognizing that fact... but at the same time, we live minute-by-minute. There's no way to hold that life-awe 24/7, and it's unrealistic to expect that of ourselves.

What I'd suggest, having gone through it, is that you're not looking at the whole picture here. Yes, there is hopelessness because it can all end abruptly. But look at what really happened: you spun out and crashed and you were okay. You learned that you can go through something really horrible and come out of the other end. You learned something about yourself and how you handled a crisis and you learned things you may like and other things you may not. These things are gifts. They don't feel like them right now, but I promise you, they are gifts.

My suggestion is going to be different: take a few days to feel really downright bitchy about everything humanly possible. Make it a point to think, at every single moment, "but this could all go away, so why care?" Because you know what will happen? You'll start having that internal argument with yourself and you'll start numbering or listing the reasons why you do care (when you get tired of yourself being cranky) and you'll find that balance again.

I don't think you're ready to do something new creatively. I think you need to get sick and tired of thinking about this first, which will happen sooner than you realize. If you ignore it or try to suppress it, it's going to hang around longer.

email me and we can talk, if you want.

Toni - I think that's great advice.

I once had a writing teacher who told me: If you get a rejection (or a thousand of them) make yourself grieve. She said do it for at least an hour, and every time my mind wanted to shy away and get on to something else, bring it back and go over the pain and the insult and just not let it go. After a while, the mind REALLY doesn't want to be there. Your natural optimism, your life force, will want to take over. I know this is on a much smaller scale, but it always made sense to me. And it worked.

I'm sorry to hear about your car but pleased to hear that no one was hurt. Here's a simple thing for you: sit down and make a list of every single positive thing you can think of in your life.

Note that by "simple," I don't mean "easy." But the act of listing out those things for which you're grateful tends to force one to focus on them (we do that when we're listing things), and that can act as a genuine emotional purgative.

I've heard it's also how prayer and confession work, as well.

So start small:

1. The color red.
2. My favorite red dress.

Or big:

1. My family.
2. My health.

Work that list until she bucks ya. And when you're feeling shaken all over again go and add more stuff to it. I once put down that I was glad that the hair rock band Poison had broken up again (it was a "really reaching" kind of day).

Anyway, try it. Hope it helps.

All the Best-

It does help, Brian. It all helps. You guys all go at the top of my "to be thankful for" list. But, wait. Poison broke up AGAIN? Guess I missed the "reunion."...

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