Monday, December 27, 2010

New Post in a long while

It's been a while since I've written in my blog, but I wanted to get one more entry in before the new year. A lot has changed in my life since I last wrote. I am about 3/4 of the way through getting the rough draft done of Belle Starr. I have fallen off the the weight wagon, but I have even more incentive to get back on because I was proposed to Christmas Day by my boyfriend, now fiance. 
I never ever wanted to become one of those girls. "I gotta lose weight before the wedding!" It's a hard line to walk because, yes of course I want to feel and look good on my wedding day. But I don't want to do it for anyone else but me. Is that possible now that two people are becoming one, I don't know, entity together? It's not just about him or just about me anymore, it's US. That's a concept I've still got to get used to.   
We're looking at houses and I start my job at the college at the end of January, so I think 2011 is going to be a great year for us both. It's like a whole world of adult-hood that seems so foreign to me, a level I've never reached before and it makes me feel like my life isn't really my life.
So much of my life has been spent alone: from eating alone at recess in grade school to living in the Big City in an apartment, going to grad school with no support and nothing to come home to. And now that's changed and it's weird to think that life has gone, that chapter closed, and something else is in its place. But I've never forgotten for a moment who that girl was, and I feel like forgetting her would diminish the pain and loneliness she went through for a decade before meeting someone who put an end to that. And then I started thinking about the circle of life thing, how this is another turn of the wheel, and I'm stepping into a new level. Doesn't mean I'm changed fundamentally as a person, but it DOES change a person. And I'm so ready for good news, and good changes. 
So I'm going to think about what I want to do and where I want to go with this blog, my relationship with food, my fiance, my body and my writing and not necessarily all in that order. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

What day is this?

I don't know what day this is diet wise, because I admit I've totally fallen off the diet wagon when it comes to excercize: I haven't excercized in about four days, and I can totally feel the effects of it, it really makes me feel different. I feel slower, less flexible and more sluggish. I've gotta get back on that bike. The good news is that I haven't fallen off the writing wagon, and that's really important. I'm writing an average of 2,000 words a day, although most of the time its more than that, and sometimes up to 3500 or more. The novel I chose to work with for a month is my Belle Starr novel, and I'm learning a lot about what its like to live with one main character, and its different than writing different things on different days. Although a bit of the other characters that I'm not working on will drift up to me as I go through my daily routine--they'll comment on something I think, say or feel and I'll have to write that down, so I'll work on some of their stories when I'm not with Belle. I am seriously going to have a real novel-sized book at the end of the month (which will need LOTS of editing and rewriting after Nov. 30th, but that's part of the process.) It's the first NaNoWriMo that is going to actually work! 

Monday, November 1, 2010


Of course, writers and literary people know that today is NANOWRIMO, and I don't need to really expand on that, google it if you don't know. The goal, essentially is to write a novel in a month, again, following the Stephen King Model, who writes that you can indeed finish a novel in a month. I read something tonight that I think is particularly relevant:
Even though the goal is 50,000 words, it's important to remember that writing is a craft, an art form, and we'd do well to remember that. 
I've been doing really well with my 3500 words a day (...the's just say it's a LONG way to San Francisco. I'm sure I'll get there, eventually...) for the past 3 days, no reason not to continue. My novel? Well I think it's going to be really cool, I'm really excited about it, but keeping it a secret. For now...

Friday, October 29, 2010


Is a hangover good enough excuse not to excercize? I know it isn't for writing...bleh...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time to Start Showing Results!

Today's report is that I'm pretty much on track with both writing and excercizing. I'm having girl issues at the moment, so I rode the bike for 1/2 hour yesterday and 25 minutes today. I'm doing so much better at recovering writing a certain amount of words per day, here is a sample of Wednesday's work. wednesday is poetry. Today's poetry theme was ophelia.

You melted to him a small rustle of wings

In a dream I shall feel through splendid cities white ophelia floating;
her sweet madness floats very slowly;
covered with the! star which is melting away!

In the wine of daylight dark lilacs.
- green casket flecked with gold, stars spring in the moss.
In a slumbering alder in each soft corner.
- sighing around her and the gaudy lotus tree.

You melted to him, a small rustle of wings
snow of rose petals at times she rouses
the great dreaming swan flower-flesh perfumed;

I no longer felt myself, i have seen maelstroms eternal,
stronger than alcohol lightnings and the yellow-blue awakenings
dawns are heartbreaking, i hung there
 Copyright Carissa A. Boak, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 14

Twenty miles last week, 15 this week--this is on average because I think I mentioned that the mile/speed/calorie counter doesn't work. In total since I've started 65 miles from Ely to San Franscisco. Today I work on my Storyville novel, long overdue for 3500 words. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 8

Ever since I started the bike my body is looking better and better, and although I've got a long way to go, figuratively and literally, I'm beginning to look and feel better about my progress. The only problem is, the last time I wrote was Monday and it is now Saturday and now I'm going to have to write furiously to keep up to the weight I lost. When I first began this diet, it was the other way around: I wrote a lot to help distract me from feeling hungry, and now I slacked off with that (bad writer, no cookie!) and have a lot of catching up to do. 
I did 10 miles on the bike yesterday so so far I've ridden 30 miles in three days. That really doesn't seem very far at all. The destination I've picked is San Francisco. It's about 8 hours or so from here. Carson City/Reno is about 5 hours, and I remember when we went to Lake Tahoe (first time for both of us) and Zepher's Cove at sunset it was near the beginning of our relationship and we walked on the beach and it was beautiful and peaceful. Of course I was thinking of different B-movies from the 50's that have been shot there, like "The Creeping Terror". I'm such a romantic! And speaking of romantic, I'll be writing on "Heiress of Shadows" today and hopefully be making some progress. I rotate projects on different days of the week because I have so many ideas, but "Heiress" is one of my favorites. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 6-the stephen king diet, lol!

Finally, I can see results on the scale, and I almost cried, I was so happy! I have lost 3 pounds! I can see that's about normal for a week's worth of diet/excercize, I just wish I would lose more faster. I guess a lot people wish that, but still it's something, it's a success and even though I'm not at the place that I wish I was, it's still progress.
And speaking of progress, for the last 2 days I've let the writing slide by so I was hoping to get back on track with that today.
I also started incorporating something in my routine that I think kind of goes with the theme of using writing and everything as a backdrop to this diet-weight loss plan. In one of Stephen King's newest collections, 'Just After Sunset', he writes a story I think is simply titled 'Excercize Bike', where a man, in an attempt to lose weight after his doctor tells him his cholesterol is too high, buys and uses an excercize bike. This being a Stephen King story, you know there's a journey ahead for the man who can travel long distances on a stationary bike. The interesting part is that
a) you can begin a story with a very simple premise: a man trying to lose weight via an excercize bike. It takes the 'what if?' principle that writers every use to begin a story, to continue the story, to end the story. In this case, 'what if?' this bike took this man on a journey? 'What would happen if..." 
b) the bike actually takes him somewhere. When you are on an excercize bike, sometimes you tend to zone out, or at least I do, as your body does the work sometimes your mind wanders. the guy tracks his miles on the bike on a map, trying to reach a certain destination he's found while his mind sort of leaves his body.
So I decided that I'm going to try something like that. I want to pick a destination first, I'm not sure where I'm going to 'ride' to yet. I'm having trouble trying to find a table where I can look up how many miles I've ridden on the bike right now. You'd think it'd be right out there, but no. The bike we have is kinda old and the screen on it doesn't work and doesn't tell you miles or calories. Gonna go look.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 3 (written on Day 4)

I feel better and my clothes already seem to fit better, even though its only been a couple of days and according to the scale i haven't lost any weight at all, so I'm wondering how much of dieting is really psychological, how much of dieting is really in your head. It's hard to want to stick with it when you push yourself and go hungry and do everything you're supposed to do and don't see any result physically but I physically feel better, so what's going on? 
Day 2 and 3's word count was 1,000 words each. Again, with pushing myself to do it. All the writing mentors I've met with, on the page and in real life, have always said 'Just show up at the page and do it'. Just show up at the page. that's what I've been doing and it seems to be working too, to an extent although I'm not writing the 3000 words a day I want to be writing. sometimes I have to push myself for just a couple hundred words, but it seems to be about pushing blocks out of the way first, pushing those few blocks of words out of the way to get the rest of the story stream to flow out of my head and into the story I'm writing. and yesterday, when I was writing on 'Dream Warrior', I did get the feeling that other writers and mentors have talked about and that was the feeling of channeling, as if I were having a vision (yeah, the so-called 'mystical' part of writing) and simply transcribed it as the character moved her way through her section of story I was writing down. I just have to keep going and see what's uncovered. it's not unlike excavating, like how an archeologist must feel. I know some exotic treasure is laying beneath it's surface: the exotic and exciting treasure of my body, the sparkling colors of buried gem-stories which have been buried so long under the dirt and shit I've shoveled over them over the years. 
Like in 'The Artist's Way', why do we willingly, even eagerly sabotage ourselves? Why do we internalize all the bad things people tell us about ourselves? Why shovel dirt over treasure? Or in the case of some of the other choices I've made in my life, particularly in relationships: Why cast pearls before swine? It's like hiding yourself from yourself and that makes no sense so why do we do it? 
It takes a lot of time, much longer than a couple of days to undo damage and negative thinking and self-sabotage.  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day Two--Stream of Consciousness Ramble

It’s just the first day but I already feel remarkably lighter and different. I remember what I read about diets like these and how they’re called crash diets for a reason. But I do feel different, and I just hope that I can keep this going for the next 13 days. I really want to see what I look like after I lose 20 pounds. I’m shrinking my stomach. I feel almost religious and like I'm undertaking something holy.  I want the body back that I remember. I look in the mirror and I want to cry. I never thought I’d ever let things get this bad. But I have seriously packed on the pound.  Right now I’m staving off hunger by drinking water. I’m feeling ‘empty’ but not lightheaded. I think when you start feeling hungry it means you’re burning up your body fat. Losing 60 pounds. 3500 words. Yeah that part is the tricky part, way more challenging than the staving off of hunger. That part is challenging, the keeping hunger away part, but the writing of the 3500 words seems like a huge, excuse me, bite of something maybe more than I can chew. If I can discipline myself to stave off the hunger and discipline myself to eat only this soup, then I can discipline myself to write as much as possible.
I started taking notes on The Artist’s Way, and thinking about the class that I’m going to be teaching in the Spring. The Artist’s Way is something that I usually try to go through about once a year, but there’s something about my life up here that makes me feel slow, like I’m moving through molasses. I know that’s not an uncommon thing for blocked stuck or otherwise glued up writers. That’s the best way I can describe how it feels, glued up. It’s not that I’m completely blocked, I’m not, I’ve written a lot and made progress on my different projects, but it’s not the kind of progress I should be making with my kind of abilities and discipline, and I know I have those things. Maybe even some talent too. Okay, I KNOW I’m talented, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be doing this at all and it would all off it everything be a huge waste of time for me.
So, the matter becomes what is holding me back? 
I thought I was lonely in grad school, I didn’t know what lonely was until after I graduated.
It’s surprising that I didn’t overeat then, although I know I did my fair share of comfort eating, I didn’t gain an obscene amount of weight like I did when I moved up here to be with Brian. I was okay at a reasonable 130-135 pounds.
It’s just that now I’m really uncomfortable. I’m uncomfortable and I hate the way I look. I really like my curves, but not the way they look now. I always thought I had a kind of healthy body image. But what I see in the mirror isn’t healthy. It’s fat, plain and simple and fat. It’s not about body acceptance or gaining society approval, it’s the plain simple and unvarnished fact that I have plumpness where there wasn’t before, and rolls where there wasn’t before. I have a roundness in my belly where I can actually comfortably fit my hand underneath this—what way to describe it—this BALL that has appeared where my relatively flat-ish stomach used to be. It really does look like I’m pregnant. I’m doing it because I’m uncomfortable and I cry when I look in the mirror and that should be reason enough. Because my stomach never used to stick out like this. Because my ass never used to stick out so much. I mean it was always big, but not like this. I look disproportionate. My boobs are huge and they look small compared to my stomach. My bras don’t fit anymore and neither do a lot of my clothes except for some of the never ones I bought in Elko a couple of weeks ago. When I put on one of my bras, it doesn’t cover the whole breast, like at all, and parts of my boob squeeze out the other side. I mean, that’s just gross.  Will I seem like a totally calorie obsessed neurotic? Will I sound like the very thing I want the most NOT to sound like? Is this really a good way to lose weight and become a better writer? I mean, stranger things have been tried, haven’t they?
And just because my first day went sort of well, at least not bad, doesn’t mean I won’t have moments of weakness, or defeat. I understand that. But having a new body and new perspective on life are both still really worthy goals worth having.
Plus what I’ve learned that helps me is that this diet is kind of like a fast, so I looked up fasting from a Yoga perspective and I’m trying to learn some more about that as I’m going along. People fast for a variety of different reasons, some political some personal (and yes, we should all know that the personal is political.) Fasting is a kind of meditation. Writing is a kind of mediation. It should all be a kind of spiritual undertaking, spiritual enhancement. That’s a worthy goal, in my opinion and that’s something I can at least try to do. It’s a path, and we’ll see where this one goes. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

First Post Day One

I never wanted to be one of those girls who obsesses about calories or tries to live up to some impossible standard projected by magazines, movies and TV. But today I'm starting a diet, because I need to, and I thought if I did it in a different way, in a way that fed my mind and heart as well as helped my body become more healthy, then I should go for it. This is a documentation of my experience, and I don't know if anyone will read it, but that's okay. It's for me. 
The diet that I'm following is a variation on the Sacred Heart diet, where you eat a specially prepared soup for 1-2 weeks (I'm going for 2). Yes, I realize it's a crash diet, yes, I've heard all the negative things about both the Sacred Heart/Cabbage Soup diet as well as the dangers of crash dieting. But as a calorie reduction diet, the goal is to lose up to 10 pounds in one week. Supposedly this works, I'm going to try it and see.
I am currently about 60 pounds overweight at 180 pounds, the heaviest I've ever been in my entire life, and my goal is to get down to 120 pounds. The Sacred Heart diet is 2 weeks on the diet, 1 week off, 2 weeks on and so on until the desired amount of weight is off. I've read that at first the weight being lost is water weight, and some people gain back all the weight or more once they're off the diet. With eating healthy on the weeks I'm not on the diet, I should be okay. 
The other part of the diet is the writing part. I am a writer. I write freelance part time, and hold a Master's Degree in Playwrighting. It's spelled correctly, despite what the little red underline says.('Wright' indicates a craftsman-or craftsperson-as in a shipwright, someone who crafts something into existence.) I've had plays produced in different places, I've won awards, but I'm not published. As my wise old professor told me in grad school, a writer writes. I've been slacking in that department since my graduation in 2007, something that happens a lot once the structure of school is gone and that pressure to write is gone. 
This blog is entitled 3500 words per pound because one pound of body weight, in calories, is equal to approximately 3500 calories. Some say 3600, I'm going with 3500 because that seems to be the general consensus. 3500 words is what I should be writing PER DAY. On average. I was actually doing well with this writing goal during school, but have sort of failed to maintain that. I still write everyday, just not that kind of quantity anymore and I want to change that. Also its roughly the amount of words you should be writing, according to Stephen King's memoir 'On Writing'. And since Stephen King is America's most prolific (and successful) writer in our history, in my opinion, and is also not taken as seriously in academic circles as I believe he should, I agree with that. It's what my professors said in school, and Mr. King seems to pretty much have a handle on writing so it seems like a worthy goal. 
So today is the first day. I've already had the first bowl of soup and I've started this blog, and well just take it from here and see how it goes. 

Not there yet, but a little closer than yesterday

3500 WORDS PER POUND WEEK 9 (I THINK) WRITING So, how’s the writing going? Not that great, but I did just rewrite a chapter of the WIP I’v...