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Friday, November 14, 2014

Pimped OUT

Hey, all.

So, fast forward to life now. What have you been doing with your free time? I've been [redacted], and [redacted] and [unintelligible]. So, whew! As you can see, YIKES! But today I'm here for an announcement of two kinds. I almost wrote "kids" and that would have been weird.

NUMERO UNO: My dear, friend Sharon has just launched her new website and not only is she super talented, crazy sweet, and thoughtful, but also amazeballs at editing, critiquing, and basically any kind of polishing per your manuscripts and such. She is so awesome, in fact, that she is giving away your choice here:

  • A critique/line edits for the 1st 250 words of a picture book
  • Critique/line edits for the 1st seven pages of a novel
  • OR...
  • A query critique/line edits
She's so generous with her time and talent, all I'm asking you to do for an entry is to leave a comment telling me what the H-E-Double Hockey Stick you've been up to since last we spoke/wrote/mimed. That's it. 

Also, you can check check chiggity check out her site HERE and actually hire and pay her and stuff.

Oh, and announcement #2: I've launched the same kind of site but with a few tweaks. It's not a competing site, as it's all the same goodies I've been working on for ten years. But now...NOW (!!!)...I have a real website to go with it. I still endorse Sharon and all she does and maybe we can even tag team with my ghostwriting + her line editing or something of the sort and offer a combo discount (wink wink).

But if you're looking for more of the writing end, check me out, yo. I'll offer a free query critique for anyone who shares this post and brags to me about it (so I can keep track), via email. If ya don't know it, leave the link in the comments. I'm not sure how many of you even need either of these services anymore as it seems the vast majority of you have gotten agents and sold books, but, ya know, pass it on.

Yay! Because we're all in this together, right? 


Candyland. OUT.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Smells Like Child Spirit

I don't know if it's a game day or not, but who cares. Team spirit is a 24/7 hustle, yo.

Go, Baggles. You are loved by one cool unique 8yo in OH 
(even though we've never seen a single Baggle game, like ever).

Wishing you a spirited week.

<3 C.Land.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When You or a Loved One Loses Your/His/Her Sh!t (Free Printable)

Have you or a loved one lost your/his/her sh!t lately?

No, I'm not talking about keys or wallets or phones (hint: if you have kids, look in the trash, freezer, and toilet...things I know from experience). I'm talking about the real stuff. The stuff that's hard to talk about because maybe you don't know how or maybe you don't want to because it's, you know, EFFING HARD.

However, there will be a time when you run into someone who has recently lost her sh!t (aka me), and you do one of four things:

a) Avoid me. Yes, this happened. A-holes.

b) Say hello, insert awkward silence, then leave.

c) Pretend you haven't read anything that's happened. GUYS. I track my stats, quite thoroughly, actually. I KNOW WHO READS MY POSTS. I know when, where, how, and who, down to what you're wearing when you're reading via the creepy cameras I've planted in your laptop. Not really that, but for all you paranoid types, just have to stir the pot. It is true I track my stats, though. So, if you want to read, pretend like you didn't, and avoid me or never mention any of the content, it's cool. Just know I'll probably create a blog post about you + devote a chapter or three to you in my next book.

d) You are overly concerned with how I am doing to the point of it making me feel even crazier. No, I am not going to kill myself. Beat Bobby Flay is on tonight. No, I will not break down and cry if you ask how things are going. That's what group therapy is for. No, I will not "go postal on your ass" if one little thing triggers an emotional tsunami from the depths of my soul. I'm way too tired + passive aggressive for that. Point is, I'm on my way to "okay." Yes, it's a hard time right now, but I'm not a plague and I can still catch a That's what she said moment faster than you.

Let me tell you, in the last three weeks, I've learned a lot about not only myself, but you. The general concensus seems to be that...drum roll, please...


And you know something? It's okay. "But, Candyland," you'll say. "Is it really okay or will you secretly hold onto this forever + smile to my face but stick push pins in a doll that looks like me before bed every night?"

Hmm...does that really work? No, really. IT'S OKAY. If you don't know what to do or say or react to someone like me, this delicate flower, raw, vulnerable, ready to snap (<---this is not an accurate representation of my current character, FYI), I get it. And because of the misconceptions I think most of you carry, Imma break it down. Printable conversation cards are below. USE THEM.

Fact #1: Crazy people are still people. Treat them as such.

Fact #2: Don't label crazy people crazy. We hate that.

Fact #3: Not everyone who has a breakdown is ready to fall a part with every interaction thereafter.

Fact #4: Working through the pain is exhausting + may make us grumpy. It's not about you.

Fact #5: If a crazy person is having a good day, don't assume everything is all better. But let them have that good day.

Fact #6: Likewise, if a crazy person is having a bad day, don't assume they are suicidal. This reinforces the crazy.

Fact #7: We do like hugs. But we like space, too. We are complicated right now.

Fact #8: When in doubt, do the truffle shuffle.

The bottom line: Lighten up. More of us in this world have lost our sh!t than you think, while less of us have said sh!t together. Be a sh!t advocate and be there for people who have lost theirs. It's not complicated, unless you make it.

Still feeling stuck? Free, printable conversation cards for those times you need them, below.



Candyland. OUT.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Crazy Diaries: Count Your Blessings + Your Lattes

Eight lamps.

Who needs this much light in the middle of the day when a big, bay window is glaring between us? One lamp, one of the bigger, gaudier lamps, is dressed in gold spun silk that shimmers against the bulb's florescent rays, dimming the room just enough to make me feel "calm."

I don't feel calm.

She makes solid eye contact, urging me to hear her words, to let them sink into me like melted butter. She's afraid I don't hear her, makes me repeat things back, asks me to sign things saying I understand the words.

I understand.

But I'm stuck on this room.

Seven crosses hang on the wall. Five chairs, one couch surround us. Twenty-two board games are stacked on the wooden bookshelf along the back wall. Nine plants, real and fake, are strategically placed and where they are not, pictures of plants and crosses are. The irony stings.

She takes exactly seven minutes to read through the file from the last visit. The sound of flapping papers echo, blowing a gentle breeze in my direction. She spends the next forty-six minutes explaining how crazy I am (crazier than I thought, actually), what my treatment plan will be, and how completely and utterly exhausting it will be.

I already know this.

Tired of this level hasn't happened since my oldest was a newborn. The kind of tired that dictates the day's schedule, tells me how miserable I'll be, makes me count down the hours until bedtime (too many). I guzzle another latte because instead of taking a drag or chugging a 40 oz., this is what heals me, or ails me, maybe. What's the difference anymore?

I re-focus to her. She's pointing her pen at me. Repeat things back, sign the things she wants me to sign, and let the words sink into me like butter. Her eye contact breaks me, forces me to count something else. The drawings taped to the wall. Three. The rings on her finger. Two. The books on the table. Eight.

I'm listening, I swear.

She notices my hands clawing at each other, something I do when anxious, and hands me a worry stone. Five minutes and I've rubbed the skin on my thumb raw. She says it's better than skin on skin, to break me of my habits. I agree, though, I don't know what better means and honestly, I'm stuck on the phrase skin on skin and refrain from my usual kind of joke. This is only one of my many issues.

She leaves to print more forms, the grey ones with the detailed plans, and as her heels clank down the hall, I calculate how much crazy costs in my head. Forget that offspring numero uno needs a trip to the dentist before her teeth rot and fall out. She can get dentures. Forget that I need to replace my scratched glasses lenses so I can, you know, see. Who needs sight? Forget that the car is long overdue for an oil change. I can run.

Forget that we're operating on a near poverty level just to keep our heads above water while I go through this period of my life known as "Candyland is Ruining Everything." Forget all of those variables and let me just break it down to the basics. No math needed because I realize now, the numbers are bigger than I can count.

Counseling Sessions: 2-5 visits/week through February!
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for PTSD 1-2 visits/week!
Grief Support Group once a week!
Gas money!
Missed work pay!
Ridiculous latte addiction, through the roof (a girl's gotta "eat")!
Lost friends who don't know how to talk to me anymore!
Avoiding people + public spaces as much as possible!
Stray cats keep finding me (this cannot be a coincidence)!

I added exclamation points to make things sound happier, more exciting, less expensive. But the truth is, holy 2nd and 3rd jobs, Batman. Being insane costs more than we make in a year. Might I mention, when all of this first happened, the place I wanted to go, needed to go in the immediate, was an inpatient facility. One of the few around. But my insurance isn't covered by them, meaning a 3-5 day stay, at a place I should have been at, at a time I really needed it, would have costed somewhere around $10,000, out of pocket.

The moral? Don't have a breakdown unless you can afford to. 

She marches back into the office, this lady whose name I still don't remember, and plants down in the chair that spins, swiveling around to the laptop that rests on a stand-up food tray. She punches things into the computer, things about me, and spins around with that hard glare again. My attention, you've got it. I'm paying you, remember?

"The good news is," she says, "there is hope."
My eyes perk up and I straighten my posture. "If I didn't already have hope, I wouldn't be here."
She smiles. "Then you're already on your way."

Seven minutes left in my hour, "time's up," she says, and with a long sigh, I agree. The hard work hasn't happened yet. I have not been cleansed. And yet, as the rain pours on my drive home, cleansing the car, I can't help but see the light through the clouds. Between the dark spaces where the light pours through, however small and insignificant it may be.

It's there.

Just like me.


Candyland. OUT.

P.S. Want to catch up? Read HERE + HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Unless Your Name Is Lenny, Today Is Not For You

Ohmygosh. I didn't forget to do this, I just forgot WHAT DAY IT IS.

My marbles went somewhere but I haven't seen them in a hot minute. Anyway, sweet, baby Bert, it's someone special's 15th birthday and words can't even begin to describe how grateful I am to have met him.

Pop quiz, hotshots.

The birthday boy is:

a) Who I named my son after
b) The reason I became a bone marrow donor
c) One of the only people I will talk to on the phone

If you guessed a, you are correct. Sullivan Matthew Leonard Ganger.
If you guessed b, you are correct. If you need it, I gots it, if we's a match.
If you guessed c, you are correct. He's that special.
If you guessed d, you have more issues than me.

In case don't know by now, it's Lenny Lee's birthday and man...I miss this kid SO. MUCH.

Stop by his blog and wish him a happy birthday because as most of you know, he has ALL so another year is definitely another reason to celebrate.

Love bubbles and hearts, Lenny.



CandylovesLenny. OUT.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Time For Reflection. I Mean Deflection + Misdirection.

Life is m-effing weird.

Between THIS and THIS, I have to say, a few of you are pretty awesome and deserve extra Bert screams and a lot of you really suck ballz and should be handcuffed to Miley Cyrus for a week.

I could go on and on and on about how this chapter of my life is a really huge warning to anyone who realizes they are in a desperate state + conjures enough courage and humbleness to ask for help before there is no next time. Because in the end, it's a sonofabitch crap shoot. Maybe you'll read the words, heed the warnings, reach out to me, or others around you who are suffering in silence, too, or, maybe you'll read the words, pretend you didn't, and have a great life without a second thought about the points I'm trying to make here. I have found the latter to be more prevalent and that's really, really sad. Not just for me, but for any poor kid, teen, or adult going through the same emotions I know too well.

It's clear now why so many people drink themselves to death (or drugs or collect ceramic puppies or whatever pushes you into your dark place the fastest). It's the easiest way to get people to pay an-effing-ttention, and even then...crap shoot, remember? And just future ref, agents and others, I'm documenting everything about this mental health experiment gone awry because WHY NOT capitalize on my cray? <--I ain't no dummy.

One "professional" actually told me to Google coping skills, then took my money like a cheap hooker (but she wasn't cheap). On a Tuesday! In broad daylight! I can't help but laugh. Probably because I'm crazy now and if I don't laugh I'll collect more ceramic puppies! I could go on and on and on about this. I could. You know I could. But really, who cares? I've lost interest so you must be bored out of your mind! I'll go back to hiding away in my cold, dark house (that's the way I like it) where I'll post things like this instead:

You're welcome.

And just so you know, my cat hates long walks on the beach,Grumpy Cat, and all of humanity. Those are noodles, not worms.


Candyland. OUT.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Can't Run Away From You

It's been 5 days since I lost myself.

Thanks to those of you who have checked in on me. I'm doing great! I "found" myself and figured out all the answers to dealing with everything. I can breathe! And it's all because I decided to just be happy! That's it! No drugs or intensive therapy needed. Just a smile and a skip in my step.


I wish I could say that that but honestly, I'm more broken than 5 days ago. A well has opened up inside my heart and it's flooding, drowning me. I mentioned feeling like something snapped in my brain, something changed on Sunday. I was right. A trigger went off, opened decades of darkness, and Thursday, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

You're not going to know the details, the reasons, behind this diagnosis (because I want to sell my memoir, currently on sub, and I'd rather you buy that instead of reading this for free!). All that matters is I have put my soul on display here not only so I can the help I need, but so all of you can, too.

Do NOT be ashamed, friends.

October 5-11th is Mental Illness Awareness Week and National Depression Screening Day is Thursday, October 9th. If you're unsure as to whether you need help or not, if it's serious enough to go through all the motions, I beg of you to start with this anonymous online screening where, at the end, you'll be referred to a clinic offering full evaluations. With the messages I've received, there are so many of you hurting, ashamed, embarrassed, afraid, holding it all in. I am screaming at the top of my lungs for you to say something, to do something because what you're dealing with can be fixed. I tell you these things because I so desperately need to believe them for myself. Without hope, there is nothing.

Taking an online assessment won't solve all your problems but it's a start. In fact, just doing anything to take action is the hardest part. Trust me.

Insert reason number FIVE people don't reach out for help when they need it. If you're just joining us, please go back and read THIS POST before moving on.

A) You finally decide to ask for help and you go to someone who can't really help you. She tells you to take a bath when stressed, to eat when hungry, and to go to the hospital when feeling suicidal. You leave, still, with no coping skills to use immediately. You feel worse than before and consider throwing in the towel. Oh, and her next appointment isn't for 3 weeks. Good luck with that.

B) So, after sobbing for what feels like forever, you peel yourself off the floor, call FIVE other places, and they don't accept your insurance and/or the first appointment isn't for at least 2+ weeks. Oh, but if you're really that sad, you should what? GO TO THE HOSPITAL!

I. Can't. Even.

This is everything wrong with the mental health system in a nutshell. I have been through an exhausting war this week and the battle hasn't even begun. I have yet to actually tackle all these wounds that are paralyzing me in my daily life. And what about the next trigger? Will it be my last? As I listen to my children's laughter, this scares me to my core. I want to get better, to feel like I'm not being pulled under with no air left to breathe.

And somewhere in me, I know it's now or never.

To those of YOU suffering, if I can go through the humiliation of posting all of my experiences, put myself out there despite the shame and [mostly] fear of no one giving a rat's behind, YOU can reach out for help, too. Please take advantage of the screenings offered in your area in the next week, or sooner, and get the party started. I will be with you every step of the way. Not really. But somewhere inside of you. That's what he said (I'm still me).

Please share this with everyone you know. It might save a life.


Candyland. OUT.
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Love is the movement. Rescue is possible.