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#72211 - 01/14/05 11:13 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Hi everyone--

I woke up today to such an outpouring of love and support. Many of you e-mailed me privately. Thank you all for your concern and kind words.

The following is an edited version of my response to a personal e-mail Dotsie sent me this morning. I am sharing these very private thoughts in the hopes that my honesty will help someone out there. Clarifications and additions to the original note are in brackets.


Thank you so much for your concern. . . . Mike comes home either tomorrow or Sunday. He's not sure which yet. I'm still not clear whether I'm allergic to chocolate, or whether I had some sort of attack related to this virus I've been struggling with since Christmas.

I've had very little sleep. I'm still quite weepy. I might go back to bed in a few minutes. But I woke up this morning, looked out my window at the trees swaying in the wind, listened to the rain falling on my roof, and felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude. I almost always wake up with a feeling of gratitude in my heart, but this morning is different.

I was given a very special gift last night. It's exactly like you said: This was no ordinary occurrence. And as you so wisely, helpfully, suggested, I need to take the time to reflect on why this happened when I was alone, why I felt so alone.

I'm not religious per se. I wasn't brought up in a particular faith. We didn't go to church. But my parents transmitted to me their belief in God, a deep respect for human life, and a sense of wonder for the mystery of it all. . . . For 30-something years, I've been taking time each day to meditate and pray. To connect, as my friend Nancy says. . . . The whole time I was writing my book, my prayer, my faith, was a lifeline. But lately--the last six months or so--I've been working so hard to get the word out about my book that I think I've gotten away from prayer, from gratitude. I've been giving it lip service [in reading this over, I see I'm being way too unkind to myself--"lip service" is too strong a phrase], but I haven't really been taking the time to be thankful, to connect with my God-self.

Whereas writing is a very solitary activity that lends itself to reflection, promoting is a very outward-directed activity. My e-mail box is overflowing. My phone sometimes rings off the hook. People come to my house to interview me. I travel for speaking engagements.

I'm loving my life. I'm happier than I have ever been. I am so humbled and thankful. But I think I need to slow down. To breathe. To trust. This is embarrassing for me to admit to you, but I think a part of me feels that if I don't make my maximum effort every day, my [bestseller] dream won't come true. [To clarify: From the beginning, like many authors, I've dreamed of my book becoming a New York Times bestseller, not to glorify myself or to make a lot of money, but as a signifier that people all over the country are reading it.] That statement betrays an inherent lack of trust in God, a lack of trust that I am being taken care of, that my dreams are sacred and larger than myself. I keep telling people that my effort IS my prayer, but I can see this morning that my practice and my faith needs to be deepened.

Thank you for giving me this chance to write through my feelings, Dotsie, and to be there to listen.

#72212 - 01/15/05 08:47 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
DJ Offline

Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 1149
Loc: Ohio
What a frightening episode you had! You're so lucky you survived it.

It does sound exactly like anaphylactic shock -- an allergic reaction to something you ingested. You might want to look at all the ingredients listed on the chocolate -- it might have been the chocolate but it might have been something else.

Usually there's a warning before such a severe reaction -- like maybe the previous time you ate this food, you experienced something like asthma perhaps, or stinging in your throat, etc.

I've had food sensitivities/ allergies and once experienced my throat closing after eating pistachios, but my episode wasn't anywhere as severe as yours.

A family around here lost a 15-year-old son a few years ago, to a peanut allergy. His dad brought chocolates home from work, and the son put one in his mouth, realized there was peanut in it and spit it out, but still he went into shock almost immediately. They got him to the emergency room within about 15 minutes but he died. Some people are so sensitive that even something that's been in a machine with the food they're allergic to could put them into shock.

[ January 15, 2005, 12:49 AM: Message edited by: DJ ]

#72213 - 01/15/05 10:08 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
DJ— Thanks for the input. And, yes, come to think of it, there was a little warning sign—a tickle in my throat.

The bottom line: How cool to have a dress rehearsal for death. [Cool]

I woke up this morning to a beautiful, sunny day. (I slept eight hours!) All week it’s been gloomy. First snow, which I love. Then rain. Then a dense fog. But today it’s crisp and clear. Glorious. Think I’ll take a walk at the beach later with my mom. (Long Island Sound is only a mile from my house, and my mom lives a mile in the opposite direction.)

After I posted yesterday morning, I spent the remainder of the day reading over my journals from the past two years. For those of you who keep a journal, I highly recommend doing this. Julia Cameron suggests in her book The Artist’s Way that journal writers re-read their entries every three months. I’ve done this in the past, but haven’t taken the time lately. Instead, when I write something in my journal that I particularly like, I type it up and save it on my computer. (My journal itself is written in longhand.) As I was reading, I laughed and cried and was amazed to discover that not one day had gone by where I didn’t express gratitude. Not one. But whereas the entries from the first year, during which time I was still writing and selling the book, contained many references to trust, the second year contained far fewer. So of all the heart-on-my-sleeve, hot-off-the-press comments I shared yesterday, the one about trust rings particularly true in hindsight.

My journal-reading experience, though, has left me with a concern. Because I consider my journals private, I don’t censor myself at all as I’m writing. These journals contain not only my observations of my exterior life, but reflections on my interior life as well. In other words, I use my journal as my therapist. I work out all my “issues” on the page. This means that I’m occasionally putting on paper thoughts about my loved ones—my husband, my children, my brother, my mom—that I would be horrified for them to read. The issue isn't that I'm worried what they'll think of me for saying such things. I trust that my family knows and loves me for who I am. In many cases, I have even talked with them about the very issues I've first articulated on the page, and we've worked them out together. But I don't want to leave them with hurt feelings.

Believe it or not, in the few minutes the other night where I wasn’t breathing and thought I very well might die, I flashed on my journals. No time for a complete thought. Just an “uh oh!” I don’t want to destroy my work—I mine my journal for flecks of gold that I use in my writing. I also don’t want to start censoring myself. But on the other hand, I really don’t want anyone reading them after I die. Am I being silly?

#72214 - 01/15/05 11:25 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
chickadee Offline

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 3910
Loc: Alabama
Prill, did you make an appointment to see a Dr. about your episode? I feel for you having to go through that alone. I wouldn't just pass it off as an allergic reaction, I'd get a Dr's opinion.

I never gave much thought to my journals after I'm gone.I wouldn't be here to explain some entries and I could see where the reader would become confused and get the wrong message. My journal is my "guts on paper" at the time, so to speak.
Hmmm...A journal vault...If there's no such place, maybe I need to create one. Sounds like a great business idea...seriously.

#72215 - 01/16/05 01:28 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut

Great idea! A journal vault. I love it. The only problem would be figuring out when to send our journals to storage. I mean, despite that little tickle I got in my throat a split second before I stopped being able to breathe, we don't always have much warning before it's our time to go.

As I said, maybe I'm silly to worry at all. I mean, would my husband or kids really WANT to read thousands of pages of my barely legible handwriting? Especially when most of what I'm saying is pretty banal. There are gems there to be sure, but they're buried pretty deep.

And, yup, I'm going to go see a doc. Chocolate is not just one of my favorite treats; it's one of my major food groups! I'm not willing to let it go without a fight. [Big Grin]

#72216 - 01/16/05 02:16 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
chickadee Offline

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 3910
Loc: Alabama
I am going to put each one in a large brown envelope as I am finished with them, label it journal # ?, and the last will/testament says send to "Journal Vault" One time fee - check enclosed [Big Grin]
Glad you're going to see a Doc.

#72217 - 01/16/05 03:15 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Perfect! I think you've got yourself a new business opportunity, girl! "If you build it, they will come"--at least I will. [Wink]

#72218 - 01/16/05 03:39 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Dotsie Offline

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
A dear friend of mine and I discussed this journal issue several years ago. We shared where our journals were and decided we were to get each other's journals after we died and toss 'em. [Big Grin] We need to address this again because we were half joking/half serious.

Another friend and I were discussing journals and ended up having a laughing attack. Here's why: my journal sits in a basket in our kitchen with my Bible, prayer folder, and a few other things. I don't believe a soul has ever cracked it. [Eek!] Everyone is so wrapped up in their own lives they probably don't realize it exists...which I think is healthy, but so funny. [Big Grin] If my husband or children had their journals sitting in the kitchen I'm afraid I'd have to peek. Am I nosey, or what? [Eek!]

#72219 - 01/16/05 06:32 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Sherri Offline

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1177
Loc: Decatur, Illinois
The poem is wonderful, you inspiring words a huge benefit to me, thanks for sharing all your wonderful stories.

My writing came about cause I always used to do extra credit reports, I loved researching them and writing them, and I actually wrote letters! Everyone told me I was the best letter writer they knew. Dad wanted to be a writer, I wrote until I was 15, then at 50 decided I was going to go for it. So glad I did! Now at 55 I have some major goals planned for this year.

1)Publish in Glimmer Train or By-Line magazine,
2)Sign a book contract for my wip "Bitter Water"
3)Find a publishing house that will print my book of poems after I get my rights back.

Big goals for me, and now I have said them, confessed them to everyone, and now I need to be held accountable!!


#72220 - 01/16/05 08:53 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Evie Offline

Registered: 08/27/03
Posts: 791
Loc: Nipigon, Ontario Canada
Prill - wow, so glad you are still here [Smile] thanks for opening your heart and sharing your insights from your experience.

Dotsie - I'm like you - my journal is right on my desk, out in the open. As far as I know [Wink] nobody every looks at it. But, if my kids had journals and left them lying around - I'd be sorely tempted to read them!!!

Sometimes I have difficulty writing in my journal, because I'm afraid it will be read and so I have trouble being entirely clear or honest with my journal - anyone else have that problem? or are you all really good at pouring your hearts out on paper and silencing the inner censor???

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