NOTEBOOK: Writer in Residence?

NOTEBOOK: Writer in Residence?

Today, for the first time ever, I’m actually contemplating the actual prospect of doing a writer-in-residence gig as part of a “career development” thing.

The publisher who rejected the memoir have nonetheless been great supporters of my writing and have been suggesting that I apply for a career development grant. One thing that I could potentially do with such a thing would be to do one of these writer-in-residence gigs. I was thinking Varuna, mainly because I hear it’s extremely good.

There are reasons I’ve never looked into them previously. One is that you generally have to do them on your own. It wouldn’t be the sort of thing where I could do the writer thing and Michelle could have a holiday. The thought of being away from her for an extended period bothers me, and yes, I am just that needy.

Then there’s the food. I gather that at these things you get fed, and you don’t get a lot of input into what you get fed. This is a deal-breaker for me. I would want a very great deal of input into what and when I get fed. In fact I would want to be left to my own devices to feed myself. I have, as anyone who’s read my memoir posts would know, severe food issues. Even if I could just about deal with the prospect of life without Michelle because Facetime, the thought of all the stress and fuss and anxiety and having to EXPLAIN ABOUT THE FOOD wears me out. I hate always having to explain about the food.

But all that aside, I’m sure it would be fabulous.



I’m still enjoying our quiet holiday long weekend. Mostly I’ve been studying the hell out of the Korean language course you can get in the Duolingo app for iPad. Between yesterday and today I think I’ve logged at least ten hours.

But that dedicated focus allows other parts of the brain to meander and chew things over. Among other things, I’m thinking about rewriting Chapter 28 of the novel. Since I suspended work on it–even before then–I’ve been thinking about why I lost momentum, other than just simple fatigue. One reason I’m thinking about is possible story issues. So I want to go back to the most recent complete chapter and do it again from scratch. Possibly others, too. Something might be a bit out of whack. When I think about the book, there are parts that strike me as quite okay, and others that make me go hmm. So that tells me I need to have a closer look.

Am also increasingly thinking about changing the book’s title from GOOD INTENTIONS to STATIC. Have not made any decisions yet, and may not change it. The title as it is does reflect the basic idea of the book, but also feels a bit clunky. Whereas the idea of static, as in TV static as a metaphor for various things has taken on a significant degree of meaning in the story, including as the title of Grown-Up Rob’s own memoir.

I won’t be getting to that anytime soon, most likely. This week coming up is set aside for the beginning of work on implementing the suggestions offered by the publisher in her rejection letter. They are the sort of clear, straightforward suggestions that should be relatively easy to do (one, for example, is a suggestion to move one chapter from where it is somewhere in the middle and make it the first chapter).

More later.

NOTEBOOK: Melancholy

NOTEBOOK: Melancholy

I told you my book got rejected on Thursday, and that was fine. And it was. I had a Plan B already in place, and I got that going right away. The whole day went by without any moping, even though that was the designated Official Day of Moping. I have always allowed myself, following a manuscript rejection, one day of downtime for wallowing in what has always on previous occasions been a simmering stew of disappointment, bitterness, sadness, and a dollop of, “okay, that’s it, I’m quitting this stupid business for real this time!”

But this time I planned ahead to try to avoid all this, and it felt, on the day, like I’d done a great job. I felt fine. Better than fine. I’d been feeling very anxious and stressed about the fate of this most personal of my books. It was getting to me. I was jumpy whenever the phone rang, and I had taken to checking the missed-calls log when I got home after being out all afternoon. The phone ringing at all got me all excited. And I’m someone who, usually, hates the phone. I would get rid of it of I could.

Yes, I was disappointed with the final result. I wanted to sell the book very badly. But I did imagine it might be a long campaign. I did think it might be a tricky product for the market.

But I was fine, as I said.

Today, Saturday night, I’m feeling less fine. Am feeling quite melancholy. Not bitter by any means, nor even remotely angry. But definitely melancholy. I had been really hoping to sell it to that publisher. That would have been lovely.

But we’ll go on from here. I’ll be fine. I’m not exactly sitting fully dressed in the shower crying my guts out. For one thing, I found out I can write a coherent book again. That knowledge, to me, is worth the whole adventure. My brain works. I had been dreading a private message from the publisher very soon after I’d sent the manuscript, requesting a private meeting, where she’d quietly suggest that “this one” is really not quite fully baked just yet, that it needs rather a lot more work, or perhaps its author needs rather a lot more work. That’s what I’d been dreading, but no such message came.

My doctor will be pleased.

NOTEBOOK: Holiday Weekend

NOTEBOOK: Holiday Weekend

Michelle’s got a few days off work, so we’re attempting to make the most of it. This means it will be pretty quiet here, too, but I’ll try to keep it ticking over.

Today, for example, I can report that I’ve written to a new literary agent recommended to me by my former one, asking if she can help me sell my memoir. I know this new agent is terrifically good at what she does; she represents a number of fellow authors who all seem to have great careers, which is a good sign. I remember, long ago, the very first agent I had, a woman in the US, whom I engaged to help me with the contracts for my first books. I’d never heard of the authors or books in her website’s gallery of works she’d represented. If I’d had a clue at the time, I would have taken this as the Bad Sign that it was, and found someone else. All kinds of things might have been different.

Meanwhile, to finish, my favourite joke:

A horse walks into a bar.

The bartender says, “Oh, why the long face?”

I love this joke. Always makes me laugh!

NOTEBOOK: My Memoir Was Rejected And I Could Dance

NOTEBOOK: My Memoir Was Rejected And I Could Dance

My memoir was rejected and I could dance. It was the best rejection letter I’ve ever received, a big long page of the most wonderful guidance, suggestions, apologies, love and good wishes from a publisher who has long supported and promoted my work. The sort of rejection letter which leaves you just shy of the elation you would feel if she had said yes.

I have a Plan B already sorted, worry not. Plan C, too, and so on.

But the reason I feel as if I could dance is that I feel so relaxed now. I’ve been very tense this whole time. Part of that has been the issues I talked about yesterday: did I have an eating disorder? Was I risking my life with my weight-loss efforts? Was I seriously in trouble? etc.

And the other big thing was about the memoir book: I wrote it in a white-hot fury earlier this year in just two months. It felt, at the time, like a gift from benevolent Greek gods, a lightning bolt straight between the eyes and expressed through my hands directly into the iPad. It felt, in short, much too good to be true. I have worried, ever since finishing it, and sending it off to the publisher, that it was a “product of sickness”. I wondered if I’d written it while manic, or maybe hypomanic. Because when in those sorts of states your critical judgement is the first thing to go. You write reams of any old bollocks, but you thinks it’s allll geeeeeeenius daaaaahliiiing!

This marvellous letter from the publisher was also the first feedback I’d had on the manuscript from an outside reader–a beta reader, almost!–and she made it very clear: it’s a good book. It’s not a product of sickness. I was in my right mind. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is, after what I’ve been through, to have evidence that my mind works properly again. It’s a bit like when you’ve had abdominal surgery, and you finally have a dump: everything is working properly again and you can go home!

She encourages me to fix up a few specific points (detailed instructions included), and encourages me to send it on its way out into the wider world. I might have an Official Day of Moping first, though.

I am also now wondering if there are literary agents who specialise, or at least who handle, creative nonfiction or memoir?

NOTEBOOK: Suspending Work on Novel Project

NOTEBOOK: Suspending Work on Novel Project

While I’m thinking about small and large changes I can easily make to improve my situation, it occurred to me that one source of stress is right here in front of me: the insistence (coming from a certain department in my own head) that I work on the novel every day.

I’ve given it a red-hot go, but I want to hit the pause button before I reach a point of such fed-up burn-out that I want to toss the whole thing into the fireplace. As it stands I still like it, and I want to see it finished. I just don’t want to feel that nagging daily pressure any more. And who knows, without this nagging daily pressure I might actually produce the odd bit of work for it!

I’m reminded of one of the most surprising creative things that ever happened to me. It was a long time ago, in the 2000’s. I tried to write a sequel to my novel, ECLIPSE, called UMBRA, but while I produced a complete draft, it was pretty bad, sadly. I laboured mightily trying to figure out how to make it work. I tried all kinds of things. But you know what they say about polishing a turd. (Yes, you can indeed roll it in glitter, but there remains the smell, sadly.) I worked on this thing every day for months, and it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.

Then I went to see my psychiatrist for a regular appointment. I told him about the trouble I was having with this book. I told him it was so frustrating I wanted to just quit work on the whole thing and abandon the project, but that I didn’t think I could do it. It felt like I would be wrong to bail on it, before I’d found a solution, like I was somehow required to find a way to fix this godawful turd of a book.

But my doctor (same guy I saw today) cut through the cobwebs once again. He said, “so quit! What would be so bad about quitting?”

And all at once, because this advice came from someone outside my head, I could see clearly that it was the right choice. What would be so bad about abandoning a bad project?

So I junked the whole thing, complete draft and all.

It was fabulous! So liberating!

I felt like a character in a musical!

But that wasn’t the best part.

The best part was what happened next.

Which was this: the very next day I got the complete, entire, all-one-piece idea for TIME MACHINES REPAIRED WHILE-U-WAIT.

All I needed was a way to hide a body in a time machine, and a way to stop cops with time machines from catching murderers in the act, and that took four months to sort out, but the guts of it arrived all at once.

But I had to let go of the crappy book in order to get the good one.

I’m not letting go ENTIRELY of GOOD INTENTIONS. I’m just putting it over here. I want to see how it comes out. I have ideas percolating. It’s all complicated, which I like. But I find myself yelling at myself when I don’t write a whole chapter every day like I had been doing. Who needs that? Not me. I want, fundamentally, at the cellular level, for my writing to be fun again. Back when I started keeping this journal, when I was writing my RANDOM ACCESS MEMOIR book, writing was TONS of fun. I loved it so much I couldn’t stop. But maybe I also did it so much I got a bit burned out. Maybe the feeling I’ve got now is straightforward exhaustion/fatigue, rather than depression. Maybe I’m just knackered after a very intense time at the keyboard.

Wish me luck!

NOTEBOOK: No Eating Disorder For You

NOTEBOOK: No Eating Disorder For You

My psychiatrist today told me that not only do I not have an eating disorder, I am also not really all that unwell, in fact. What I am is a person undergoing massive weight-loss who is very close to his goal after almost five years of constant heavy-duty slog.

He says that people who do this kind of thing often display exactly the kind of weird, obsessional, thought-patterns, the same sorts of anxieties about food, scales, kilojoule-related maths, dieting, weight-loss, and all the other things that I find consuming my entire brain all day long. He says it’s not at all unusual for this to happen to such people.

He says I do not–repeat, do not–have an eating disorder.

He says, in fact, that I’m doing “fantastically well!” With two thumbs up! He’s proud of me. And he should be. It was him, my psychiatrist, who put me on this program almost five years ago, not my GP. At the time I don’t think he imagined it would go this well. I know I certainly didn’t. I know I didn’t imagine it would consume my entire life, but it has. Everything is about my weight, which is both good and much less good, even bad.

I said in my post yesterday that my mum is terribly worried about me. I told my doctor about her concerns. He says I should be fine. I said I’m planning to see my GP for a thorough physical check-up, and to go and see that therapist/nutritionist to see how she can help me add things to my low-food regime without making the weight come galloping back. My greatest fear now, within sight of the finish, is to find the weight coming back. I had a taste of that earlier this year, when I ended up back at 127.1, “the Peak of Madness”, in full-on panic, which led to my desperate invention of the “low-food diet”. I’m not keen to repeat that experience.

My doctor says he thinks I’m fine. He thinks the depression I’ve been feeling is very likely stress from various things going on in my life (family stuff, plus stuff in the news), as well as the considerable stress from the weight-loss effort itself, and possibly some poor nutrition. That I am, in fact, just plain knackered, and that sounds entirely believable. I feel tired and run-down.

He doesn’t think it’s related to the Topamax, as I had feared. At the moment I’m taking three tablets, but starting next week I will likely go back to four.

The main thing about today is that my doctor reassured me that I’m fine. That I’m doing well. That the good job I think I’ve been doing is in fact an actual good job. I had been afraid of anything up to and including going back into hospital, of new medication trials, of that whole catastrophe starting up again. What if my mum was right? What if I was jeopardising my health in the name of a dangerous goal? Was I right in pursuing this goal, when there was Michelle to consider? Wasn’t I just being a selfish prick, in fact? Surely I had gone far enough! Why did everything have to be about me all the time? Couldn’t I just bloody relax for once in my bloody life?

Yes, it’s always such fun in my old head!

But this is why I love my doctor. He’s the guy who notices what’s playing on the turntable in my head, and drags the tone arm across the record with a satisfying scraping squeal, and says, “That’s about enough of that!” and smashes that record.

Because I’m doing all right. I’m losing a ton of weight. It messes with your head. You can get help for that. It’s okay. You’ll be fine.

NOTEBOOK: Food Issues

NOTEBOOK: Food Issues

My mum is gravely concerned for my health and even my safety. She visited today, in the course of bringing over some food for out dog, Freckle. Mum and I were talking about Things and Stuff, and in amongst all that she wondered, would it be so bad if I were to quit my weight-loss campaign where I am now?

Where I am now is 111.8 kilograms. When I started in December 2012 I was 165.5 kg. I’ve lost more than 54 kg, more than some people’s entire body weight. When I see photos from that period or before I feel embarrassed and even angry, disgusted with myself. All I see is my former hugeness. The space I took up. The gigantic shirts, the clown-sized pants. I remember having to go the specialist Kingsize Menswear store to buy clothes, and how I always felt humiliated. The staff were always excellent, but as soon as the measuring tape came out, as soon as they started going through the racks of immense clothes of the requested sort, it always felt like a living death.

I have long since been able to go back to shopping in regular stores. My skin hangs on me, loose and empty. My face has lost so much size that my glasses keep falling off. I have a terror of them falling into the toilet.

I certainly could wind up the project here. 54 kilograms is a great achievement, no question. I am damned proud of it–especially as that has been achieved despite the weight-gain side-effects of different psychiatric medications.

My goal has always been 100 kg, just 11 kg from here. At the current rate of descent, I could possibly get there before Christmas. In fact, I could possibly go under 100 kg before Christmas.

All of which is the stuff of astonishment and pride and discipline.

But such things can also be the stuff of obsession, and even actual illness.

In order to lose weight at the moment, against the sheer force of weight-gain from my medications, I have to eat very sparingly. Trial and error has shown that I can eat no more than about 3500-4000 kilojoules per day. More than that and weight starts to come back. The daily average kilojoule intake for a human is 8700 kilojoules. Most of my success at weight-loss is due in part to not much eating, but mostly to serious, sustained fasting. Each day I fast for upwards of 22 hours. It means I am just about always hungry. I’m hungry right now, as I write this at 8:45pm. I have a Food Window from about noon to 1 or 2pm in which I can eat, and that’s it until the next day.

You’re thinking, Good God, Adrian, eat something! Your mum is right to be worried!

Yes, she is. She is absolutely right. I’m well aware of it. I’m worried, too.

My problem is I’m not sure what to do about it.

My problem is I know I am extremely messed up inside when it comes to food and eating. I have food/eating “issues” dating back to my earliest memories. I am worried that in the course of all the struggle and sacrifice necessary for this weight-loss program over the years I’ve given myself an eating disorder. I can’t tell you how tangled up I am in my head about food and eating. Maybe I’ll write a book about it one day.

But I’ve always been a fat guy. Ever since I was a little kid. I was a fat baby. My parents have pictures of me from when I was little, and there I am, fat little bub. I’ve only come close to not being fat on one other occasion, in the late 1980s, when I walked a lot.

I don’t want to stop. Not within sight, as it were, of the goal.

But I am extremely worried that I’m sick. That I’m malnourished from all the 3500-kilojoule dieting, and not getting enough nutrition. The fatigue, exhaustion, and depression that I’m experiencing lately could very well be just “dude, eat something!”

But the thought of “eating something” fills me with worry, because it might trigger weight-gain. With everything I eat/drink I study the box to see what the “kilojoule damage” is going to be, to see “whether I can afford it”. My head is always full of kilojoule math, thinking about numbers.

My mum says I look just fine as I am.

When she leaves tonight, she makes a special point of saying, “I love you,” as you would, say, to a drug addict, someone in thrall to something dark and powerful, and to which they might lose their life. My mum is deathly worried for me. She and I have argued many times over the past few years about my weight-loss, but today was the first time I heard that tone, that worry that she was going to lose me to the dark side. It shook me up. It made me write this.

I’m going to see my GP and get a complete check-up done, full blood-picture, everything, to find out how I am doing.

Some time back my psychologist gave me a card referring me to a woman who is as much a therapist as a nutritionist, and who is familiar with people who have complex/weird food/eating issues. It might be just about time to activate that.

I’m seeing my psychiatrist tomorrow. Ostensibly to talk about Topamax, but maybe about all this other stuff. Experience tells me that in the short time I get with him I won’t have time for everything. But I can ask about eating disorders, for example. How would I know if I had one?

I truly hate being fat. I hate the way it (for me at least) always feels to me like the physical manifestation of all the misery and nastiness swirling around in my head. As if it’s all just swimming around there just under the skin. I want to deprive it of space to do that. I want to cut it off.

In December 2012 I set out to maybe lose a bit of weight. I didn’t seriously expect it would work, but when I shifted five kilos, I was stunned, and became a believer. Maybe that was my problem. I became a zealot–a fanatic! Maybe that’s why I find it so hard to let go. Maybe. I do find it hard to let go, though.

What I didn’t expect was that a diet would turn into this huge life-and-death struggle. That my mum would speak to me as if she were worried about the influence of a Master Vampire in my life. That I would come to feel anxious about the effect on the scales tomorrow of a piece of fruit eaten today. That I would come to wonder, as a 54-year-old man, whether I have an eating disorder more typically associated with extremely thin teenage girls.

There will most likely be an update to this story tomorrow!

NOTEBOOK: Embracing Your Inner Space Alien

NOTEBOOK: Embracing Your Inner Space Alien

Tonight I am no better than I was yesterday, which is to say, still pretty much a nasty stain on the couch you can’t quite shift. However, Michelle has twisted space and time and organised me an early appointment with my doctor for this coming Wednesday (rather than on the 18th, which would have been an awfully long time to wait). So things will start to happen soon, at least.

Feeling lousy or not, I am still trying my best to get some writing done every day. Of all my Recovery KPI’s, this is the one that means the most to me. Of the original five, I’m still able to do Some Writing, at least one Korean Lesson, and my Odd Jobs (clean kitchen, make bed, usually). I haven’t done any Book Reading or Thinking Walks since last week. 3/5 is pretty decent, but I feel the absence of those two I’m not doing.

Anyway, yes, writing is a deeply meaningful thing for me. It’s important to try to do some every day, both as a thing in itself, and as an investigation into the question of, Can you actually write every day? In the world of writers, this is quite a divisive issue. There are people who insist that you write every single day (except maybe Christmas, maybe–Stephen King is like this); but there are other people who say writing every day is too much, is coercive, is too demanding when you have a family, when you have a job (though be apprised that Elmore Leonard kept a yellow legal pad in his desk drawer at his day job so he could write while at work and nobody was watching), and simply because Stuff gets in the way. Writing every day is too much to expect, these people say.

In the many years I’ve been a writer I’ve been all of these. But the best I’d previously managed of the everyday writing caper was 80 days, when I was writing ETERNITY LEAVE, the third Spider Webb novel, in 2015.

I am currently in a writing every day streak that I’ve had going since 19 May, and is probably up around 100 days now. At first it was easy. Now it is hard. Now I am not well. I hope to be well again soon. I hope I get my liquid writing powers back, when it just pours out of me, no trouble at all. Now it’s nothing but trouble. There’s friction. There’s a burning sensation. There’s a weird smell. Something is wrong. But regardless of smells and sensations, I’m going to keep going, dragging myself on hands and knees through the desert towards the oasis I only think is there on the horizon, because I want to see how long I can keep doing it. Because I’m just a bit nuts this way.

All of which is just me clearing my throat before saying: tonight I made a start on Chapter 29, in which the young amnesiac static-filled Robbie, in a present-day psych hospital, embraces his inner space alien, at the behest of Dr Bateman-Graham, his new psychologist.



I write these words tonight a few months after finishing work on the main body of my memoir, RANDOM ACCESS MEMOIR. I didn’t include everything I could remember about my life, but I did try to include everything about my life which also touched on my mental illness in some way as well. I was amazed at how much material this generated. When I was still in the early stages, I remember thinking I’d be lucky if I had even as much as 30K of material. Maybe I’d be better off just writing a juicy memoir essay for a magazine, I thought.

The thing is, though, I did think I was done, not just in terms of the book itself, but in terms of myself. I went through the ordeal of three hospitalisations last year as my doctors and I tried to find a bearable, successful combination of medications for me to replace the terrible ones I’d been on. At great length, it seemed like we finally found a good combination, with Nortriptyline as the main load-bearing drug supported by others. I started feeling a lot better. They sent me home for he third time, and this time I stayed home. In a week it will be eight months since I left hospital.

The trouble with Nortriptyline, though, is that while it works extremely well, the price you pay for that is weight-gain and increased appetite.

I have managed, these past months, to find an eating and fasting pattern that enables me to lose weight consistently despite the Nortriptyline. This has been helped by a drug my doctor put me on called Topamax, an anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant drug that has weight-loss as a noted side-effect in about 20% of patients, all in the interest of helping me counter the weight effects of Nortriptyline. His point of view is that the Nortriptyline has been working very well, and he is extremely reluctant to change it. He remembers how awful last year was. He doesn’t want to put me through that again.

I wrote RANDOM ACCESS MEMOIR in a white-hot flash in two short months, with no breaks, in June and July this year. I was writing all the time, all day. And I had time for other things. Some of the chapters of the book mention how very well I felt at the time.

In fact, I felt so well that towards the end of writing the memoir I started writing, just for fun, a novel as well! For about ten days I was doing both books at once, and it was fine. It was all flowing out of me in a way I had never experienced before in my life. I felt wonderful. I was pretty sure I wasn’t in a manic phase, too, which concerned me. My sleep was untroubled, and I could sit down and concentrate without difficulty, too. I could be calm. In a manic state, all of those things are lost. When manic, you bounce around, unable to focus, to rest, to sleep, or do anything important to you. You’re exhausted but you can’t stop. You get agitated and angry, everything bothers you, and it’s a horrible way to live your life.

So there I was, writing two books at once, experiencing “Peak Bedford” operating at hitherto unknown efficiency. It was amazing.

But there’s a catch. My doctor kept increasing the Topamax. I’m now on four tablets, 200 mg. I think I’d been on just 100 mg when in this earlier good period, though it’s also possible I was either only on one tablet or had yet to start. I will check my records, and update this piece when I know for sure.

For some weeks I’ve noticed my mood and productivity declining, in step with the increases in Topamax dosage. As it’s gone up, I’ve gone down. And I’ve gone way down. Today I asked Michelle to try and find me an early (emergency) appointment to see my psychiatrist so I can talk about this. My writing has dropped away. I’m lucky if I can do 500 words a day now, and I rarely want to write. It used to be that I had rediscovered my eagerness to write. I couldn’t stop. I would produce thousands of words each day. It was amazing! Now it haunts me, nagging me, knowing that I should be writing.

I sit on the couch like a stain, the way I used to, before I went into hospital. I feel like a man with half a brain. I feel like the character in “Flowers for Algernon”, by Daniel Keyes, a man of limited brain power who is given experimental breakthrough surgery that transforms him into a genius–but only briefly. Soon he begins to decline back to his former simplicity, and then he dies. I don’t think I’m about to die, but I do feel like I’ve lost a good deal of brain power. I don’t feel like a man who could work effortlessly on two book projects at once anymore, as well as all kinds of other activities.

I feel as if I’ve lost something precious, something that meant something to me. For years I felt like the last potato in the bottom of a 10 kg bag of potatoes, at the back of the cupboard. Then suddenly I was alive, and I could sing and dance, but only for a while, it seems.

The way I feel right now, I could imagine myself back in hospital, after all this. I feel dreadful, like I’m grieving something lost. It’s frustrating as hell. I’ve come all this way, and experienced such improvement. I’m hoping it is just that I’m taking too much Topamax (noted side-effect: depression, among other things), but who knows? It may be that I’m not eating enough, too, which would be a really serious problem.

I do believe whatever it is will get sorted out, and I’ll get my mojo back somehow. But right this minute on a cold Sunday night as I lay in bed, it feels like mojo is a toy I could only have on loan, for a while. It’s something too nice for a boy like you. You don’t deserve it. And yes, it does feel that way, that it’s a question of who deserves what.

This is also why I resist tidy endings. They satisfy, and feel good, indeed, when done really well they feel as if they heal you deep inside. But life is often not like that. Even as some things do reach a tidy closure, other things sprawl like upended bags of dirty laundry. Tonight, I am one of those bags of dirty laundry.