Monday, October 25, 2010


There should be an expression for herxing similar to ‘when it rains it pours’. Something along the lines of ‘when it herxes, it berserkses.’ (Well, that could use some improvement.)

I don’t know about anybody else, but the herbal Lyme killers give me the worst herx reaction. From Samento I get a splitting headache, ditto for Graperfruit Seed Extract, with an added bonus of vomiting.

I discovered this last phenomenon two weeks ago. I was having some insomnia, as I often do, and my naturopath suggested I increase my GSE from three to four pills per day. It worked beautifully—I slept soundly for four nights, and on the fifth I woke up at 3am with a devastating headache: like little goblins had put steel bands around my head and were tightening them every ten seconds. Plus the god-awful nausea and subsequent hurling.

Needless to say, I stopped taking all GSE for about five days, then added it back in to my pill boxes when I felt I needed it. Of course I did need it; it's part of my current treatment plan.

Well, as Dr. Ross said in my last appointment with him, “you are your own best Petri dish.” (Thanks, Dr. Ross. I've always longed to be called a Petri dish!) Meaning, I can go to him or my naturopath Nesreen all I like, but in the end I need to find out what works for me by putting it into my body.

Unfortunately, it’s this trial and error method that works best. So it was that I added GSE back into my anti-Lyme mix, first one, then two, then three little brown pills per day. At three I was back up to my original, non-herx-inducing dose, mind you. And that day the die-off headache started again. Once it starts, in my experience, it just keeps going on its own schedule, no matter how fast you stop taking whatever pill it was that set it off.

That was this past Friday, the first day of a weekend-long class on how to find a publisher or literary agent, and how to market a book once it's published. I’d signed up six weeks ago and had paid $269 for it.

As the Mexicans say, ni modo. Or, as the Americans say, screw it. I went anyway.

It was all quite bearable on Friday evening, when the headache was in its nascent stages. On Saturday, however, I was operating on four hours of sleep and in addition to the crushing headache I had a jittery sort of feeling, as if the goblins had now got a hold of my molecules and were ripping them apart at break-neck speed. (Well, at least I wasn’t vomiting.)

The weekend actually marked a turning point for me. Until now, I have always put the the well-being of my body first. As I got out of bed on Saturday, I considered staying home. The added strain of being in class wasn’t going to help me get over the herx, I knew. From a health-care point of view, it would have been better to meditate, do yoga and take a good, long nap in the afternoon.

But screw yoga. I decided the class was way more important. Yes, I felt so trampled by 5pm on Saturday I could barely see straight, but I held it together for the duration of the class, and the class turned out to be invaluable.

(This was Alice Acheson's class. Take it if you are a writer.)

By Sunday I was feeling only slightly trampled by elephants, and I was quite a bit more articulate during class. Now that it’s Monday I feel as if almost all my molecules have been sewn back together again. So herxes come and herxes go, but I’m still not planning on taking Grapefruit Seed Extract for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I recently described my internet foibles while attempting to submit a short work of fiction to the super hip magazine McSweeney's. Well, all's well that ends well. No, it didn't get accepted at McSweeney's, but another literary magazine, Chiron Review, will publish it in their December issue. An older writer tells me this a first-rate magazine, but like so many literary publications, to the most of us the name means little.

Since this is a print publication, not available on the internet, I will post the full story, "Vampire Snippets" on this blog in a few weeks. I think round about Halloween will be a good time for it.

Meanwhile, posts to the blog have been scarce. This is because I am concentrating on the second draft of my memoir. As I edit the first draft, I am amazed at what I remembered. I put myself into a time-warp trance while I wrote the thing. Now the memories often read as someone else's-- did all those things with all those vivid details really happen to me? Alas, there are volumes of it, and so much of it just isn't going to make the final cut.

The whole thing reminds me of journalism. The first draft is like one long interview I did with my memory, now for the second draft I need to sort through the raw material of the transcript for the good parts, and streamline it all and make it into something perhaps interesting to read.


The Poet read at a bookstore on Capitol Hill this week. It was a pretty big reading, with many poets from the local press who publishes them. So "The Stranger", one Seattle's alternative weeklies, wrote the thing up on their blog. And The Poet, my poet, was the star of the review. Here's the closing paragraph (with his name changed so he can keep his anonymity on this blog):

"And for those who do not yet know: [Naomi's boyfriend, The Poet] is the shit. If you're looking for good local poetry, you should definitely seek out his new book. [The Poet] read a couple of short poems, and then closed out the night by reading a long poem by the late Harvey Goldner, the much-beloved Bard of Belltown. [The Poet] passed the poem around the room, and a number of the readers took a turn at a few stanzas. It was a touching impromptu tribute to a great talent, and a lovely close to the proceedings."