#Whole30 #Writing Log: Day 20

Free Fiction Has Come from the Wilds (3)

Even though this day’s not even half over, I just had to write now because I ticked a victory against anxiety this morning!

Hmm. Maybe I should call this the “Climbing Anxiety.”


We woke up to another messy snow, but thankfully Dane County’s trying to keep all the kids in school. Whew! This winter’s already given us twice as much snow as the 2017-2018 winter season, so it’s nice to know that the schools aren’t going to shut down just because yet another couple powdery inches have fallen. Bo left before dawn at 6am, and I worked on getting the kids up and ready for school.

6:30 news: There are reports of an accident near the intersection of the interstate and highway___


Hang on, Jean.

He’s an extremely careful driver.

He just had the car in for a tune-up.

He’s been driving this route for years now. He knows how the truckers behave.

He’s driven through worse snow than this, too.

If you don’t hear from him in 2 hours, check his work.

For now, focus on the kids.

I simmered down. Got the kids ready. Kept drinking water and muttering to myself about what I wanted to accomplish today, what I should discuss with the teachers at the PT conferences tomorrow. Made sure the phone was nearby at all times, just in case.

I did NOT have a panic attack.

My chest hurt, yes, and I had to do lots of deep breathing, but I didn’t get dizzy or develop tunnel vision or have a racing heart.

Ten minutes to eight: Bo’s at work, safe and sound. Roads were fine for most of the way.

I said a prayer of thanks and saw the boys off to school. I got ready to text him a quick grocery list, especially keen for him to find a tea I saw recommended for handling anxiety. But then I saw a winter weather advisory on my phone: freezing rain was coming through the county today starting at midday and going on and off into the evening.

Bo would be driving in that.

He shouldn’t be stopping at a store, Jean.

But every time I drive in snow–

Shut that noise. You CAN get there and back before the freezing rain comes.

You’ve driven in way worse crap and lived to tell the tale.

You have to face this, Jean.

It’s now or never.

(Sorry, that BOW BOW noise did actually enter my head at the moment. Better than “Final Countdown,” I suppose.)

I get in the car. There’s coffee, water, bad radio, old Christian rock I discovered in a binder from…college?…smelly lip balm.


I go it slow and steady towards the interstate. Few cars both going around me, because the hilly country roads are just too damn risky for fast passes. Whatever accident had occurred had already been cleared. I get onto the interstate without sliding.

And fifteen miles later, I’m off the interstate into the hipster town with the hoidy toidy grocery store.

I made it!

It took smearing balm all over the skin under my nose, lots of talking at the radio, and interrogating myself if I actually stole that music from the Christian book store where I worked twenty years ago or legitimately bought it, but I got there.

The hoidy toidy grocery didn’t have the tea I was hoping for, but they did have another from the article that was strongly recommended. I grabbed it, another container of @#^!&$$ almond milk, and some grapes to reward myself for making it this far. I graciously accepted compliments from the cashiers for my Harry Potter hat, and returned to the car.

Time to do it all again.

Me: I got this far. I can do it again.

Damn right you can. You’re halfway there!

(Okay, I openly admit this song only came to me while writing right now and it was too perfect not to use. Who knew Bon Jovi would provide the soundtrack of my day?)

Not  one dizzy spell the whole drive home. The worst spell was actually just the last miles to town, where a semi decided to tail my ass on a road covered with windblown snow. But rather than freak out, my old-school driver-self took over, and I just kept it slow and avoided braking unless absolutely necessary.

And lo and behold, I’m home.

Driving’s always going to be a potential trigger for an attack. I accept that. But this morning I proved to myself that I CAN drive despite the weather and despite the fear.

That’s a win if I ever knew one.


Oh! Before I forget: for those of you who’ve read my novel, I’ve been asked to read an excerpt during my keynote. Any recommendations of a bit–ideally without too many cuss words?

And if you haven’t read my novel yet, you can snatch it up for 99 pennies. Or, you can just check out my free fiction here or here. It’s all good, I think. 🙂

Free Fiction Has Come from the Wilds (2)

Write on, read on, and share on, my friends!



28 thoughts on “#Whole30 #Writing Log: Day 20

  1. Oh go you! Huge congratulations on driving through the snow – I’m a complete wuss after I spun out twice. SO impressed that you managed it without triggering a panic attack! I hope the tea works and I LOVE the HP hat! I need to get one for my grandson:).

    As for the extract – it’s a no-brainer. The bit on the bus when Charlotte realises everything is hinky. It’s awesome…

    Liked by 2 people

      • I think a spin out finishes you. I did it once years back on black ice. Swerved all over the road, went into a ditch, drove along a fence, spun back onto the road, pulled over, got out checked the car and then went on driving, WITHOUT thinking. My passenger, work mate, was ashen. I think he thought…who is this woman?. BUT ever since, I see a bit of ice or snow and I remember that moment and it is years ago now. We also used to live in a very difficult place when it was snowy. Either way to our house was pretty impassable so that really put me off. So hats off.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! Yes, my spin-outs were both ends of the spectrum: I went too fast on a road not totally plowed and lost control on a turn, ending up in a bunch of gathered snow on a ditch. The other time was when I was only going 20 miles an hour or slower on a road in town, hit ice that made me do a 180 and skid along the curb to a halt. That latter episode freaked me out more than the first because even though I was taking it super slow and not messing with the steering, I STILL spun out. Damn ice. xxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the super slow is scarier, cos you are doing everything NOT to skid. One of these times on that back road to where we lived, like that it was a new car and also like that you had to have enough speed to get round this bend on the slope, on a 30 mph country road, which was pretty impossible. Anyway I didn’t have enough, I was not going that fast and the car still slid and skidded back down the road. I had Eilis in it . She was 3, but I knew we would be okay. The car slithered to a halt, inches from this fence, which had it gone through would have next skidded into a ditch complete with shallow burn and been ruined. Like that, I found that incident worse. Someone we knew they wrote their car off at that spot the next day and they were not going fast either. It was exactly what had happened to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh God, Shey, the angels were with you that day! I’m pretty sure I would just never drive again. Something like that would be f’ing trauma, it would. But you’re right–going super slow can sometimes make you so rigid that you don’t have enough speed to just coast over the slick spots to find grip again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You just don’t have any control. And it is worse being slow. cos you inch along with your heart in your mouth quite honestly for what seems like FOREVER. And that does no good cos you know you might still skid. Once we came bck from Glencoe , it’s a 3 hour drive and it took us 7 and a half cos we came back through the worst snow storm that had been here in god knows how many years. It brought Central Scotland to a standstill. Lol you have no idea of the sights we saw that day and the things we did either keeping that car on the road . We did have a shovel cos when we left home it was a bit threatening. Anyway, when we finally got out of the gridlock in Perth, having organised a snow digging team… yeah, we drove home from Perth to Newport on Tay on a sheet of uneven ice at five miles an hour. Even at that the car was weaving everywhere. The other side of the dual carriageway was backed up with stranded motorists the whole way. We were one of the cars still going. Honestly it was nerve wracking. Telling you now I just won’t drive in the snow any more. x

        Liked by 1 person

      • And no one, I say NO ONE, could blame you for that. This sounds like a bad ice storm that coated the highways back when Bo and I were dating, and we were just this line of cars caravaning at 15-20 miles an hour because no one dared to go any faster with so many slip-offs on the road.
        But for all my griping about snow and ice, I still wouldn’t want to live in a warmer clime. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hurrah! I drink a lot of that tea! 😊 I will mention something g else that has changed my life (yes, cliche!). Meditation or quiet space. Whatever you want to call it. My day isn’t calm and productive if I don’t start out with meditation. It brings clarity and a calm efficiency to my work. I’ve seen it work in many people’s lives in high-stress situations. I teach yoga at the state women’s prison. Meditation and prayer, that’s what gets me through. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • How lovely! I agree that prayer’s a must. Oddly, reading blogs is like my meditation. Before the sun rises, before everyone wakes up, I love a quiet hour with my coffee and reading other people’s work. It’s a way to connect to writing without making my brain work on writing right away. If I can’t do that in a morning, my whoooole day is off.

      Liked by 1 person

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