Thursday, November 15, 2018

It's a good day to be me

So, I have a new diagnosis, and one that isn’t entirely surprising to me.

No, we won’t start there.

Fuck this.

Today, I have had my first really real good day in weeks. But, like all days, it’s had its bleak moments. There’s never a day without some shade. But shade isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means the light is shining from a different angle. I just need to reframe how I’m looking at things, try a different angle.

I started a new medication last night. I didn’t expect anything; meds take time to take effect, after all. It put me to sleep within 45 minutes of taking it, and I woke up feeling refreshed and awake and not groggy and hung over. I slept 7.5 hours, only waking once, and while I know I had dreams, I don’t remember them, but I seem to feel like they were pleasant.

Tonight, I’m still good, but the length of the day is wearing on me. I have hope, though, that tomorrow will be just as good.

I’m keeping track of where I’m at with meds, increases, decreases, new meds, discontinuations… I know my doctor has it all in his computer, but the hard data doesn’t include the feelings behind the reasons for the changes. So, I keep my own record.

I’m taking a break from my NaNoWriMo project. It was causing me far too much emotional distress to continue with it right now. I’ll either write blog posts or start on something fictional to finish out the last half of the month. I’m behind by a few days at this point; I’ve never been this far behind before in all the years I’ve been participating. I guess there’s a first time for everything. It’s kind of amazing how just putting words to paper can afflict our minds in the most devastating manner. I want to finish this project, more than anything, but my mental health is priority number one. I can’t let it drag me down as far as it had, so I either need to approach it very carefully, which is difficult at best, or just set it aside until I can actually maneuver through it safely without setting off any mental landmines.

I do not know if either will ever actually happen.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

I am actually a rational adult

For those of you who have read my blog in the past few months, you might remember The Notebook Theory. My notebooks of late have been of less than good quality, but every day, I pick up whatever pages I can, I stuff them in the covers of that notebook, and I trudge through until the next day.

Every day, I wake up with a glimmer of hope that today, I will find a beautiful notebook beside me to work with. And every day, I’m disappointed. I have had one decent one and two or three okay ones in the last 2-3 weeks, and I’m not sure what I was classify today’s as. It’s got some loose pages, but they’re not quite falling out yet. The cover is kinda flimsy and feels like it my come off soon, but the paper is smooth enough that I don’t mind writing on it.

I guess you could say it’s a well-loved notebook.

NaNoWriMo started 10 days ago. As usual, I am participating, but I’m doing so quietly this year. I’m writing a story I’ve been trying to write for years, but never could. It’s deeply personal, it’s my first real attempt at non-fiction, and it’s tearing me apart… I thought I would feel guilt writing this. But I don’t. I just feel an overwhelming sadness and grief for things I thought I had mourned years ago, and for things I didn’t know I was or would be mourning in the first place.

The thing about non-fiction – for me – is that I have to pull from memory. My memory is sketchy at best, and I don’t like to rely on it for accurate information. With fiction, I can refer back to previous chapters – was this character a blonde? Were her eyes green or brown? What was the name of that town again? All of the information is readily available in black and white on the computer. With non-fiction, and in particular one based on memories, there is a lot more room for inaccuracies and missed details. Important details.

I HATE feeling like I’m telling a lie. If I am not confident in an answer, nine times out of ten I will let someone else respond first, or I will say something like, “I’m not sure, but I think…”
And when I get it wrong… I feel like shit. I feel like I’ve lied and disappointed the other person greatly. Especially when they come back to let me know I was wrong.

I swear I am actually a rational adult.

I just have some… quirks.

That’s the polite way to say it, right?

You may or may not have noticed, but I now have SIGNED PAPERBACK COPIES of my books available for sale on my website! Check them out under the books button at!
In the next week, I am going to have some bath products up for sale, too – bath bombs and shower steamers for sure, at least. That is the plan, anyway. Keep your eyes peeled!

Back to NaNoWriMo… 2018 is my 8th year participating. I won’t let it be my first year losing. I’ve switched gears once in the story already, and have taken breaks from writing  more than a couple hundred words the last few days, but I’m not really behind yet. I’ve got less than 900 words to write in 3.5 hours. I can do that in half an hour if I put my mind to it.

Writing is a release for me. I’ve been writing since I was in the sixth grade and was barely 12 years old. I have my first story in its original handwritten format, and I transcribed it onto the computer a few years ago. It’s pretty terrible in its current iteration, but 12-year-old me wrote a 13,181 word novella. One day, I will polish it up like the hidden gem I think it could be.
So having said all that, having this story take everything out of me has been unusual and actually a little bit scary.

And now I’m blathering. I’ll back to wordvomiting my non-fiction for a while. Thanks for reading me, folks. I appreciate each and every one of you more than you know.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Influence and the Constitution

Today is a very exciting day for me. I took a break from any significant amount of fiction writing the last few months, but I have been doing some editing. I am pleased to announce that book one of a series that already has three books written is available for purchase on Amazon!

Influence is a tale set nearly 300 years from now, in a future I don't think is too far off-base from what we might potentially be heading towards.

Marshall Strickland is the self-declared Majaristo of Springland, otherwise known as the remains of the United States after the Third World War.

Lydia Butler is the star of the show. She will take you through her journey from the Academy where she spent her entire life to meeting Majaristo Strickland and what follows.

Influence: Book One of the Marshall Law Series will keep your interest from start to finish.

For other countries, go to your local Amazon website and search 'Alison Insco' and look for Influence. And hey, feel free to check out my other books while you're there!

In the next day or two, the book should also be available on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and through a variety of other retailers.

Also in the next day or two, some supplementary material relevant to the story will be available for purchase - specifically the Constitution of Springland. It's not a necessary purchase to enjoy or understand the series; it's just something I enjoyed putting together, and thought people might want to check out.

Have a great week, everybody!

Saturday, October 13, 2018


With an influx of people on social media deciding lately that it's OK to comment negatively on someone's looks, this poem I wrote almost exactly 19 years ago came to mind, particularly the last half dozen or so lines.

We are the wayward people
the loners
the different
the strange
We roam around in packs or singles
among clones
Where we're from is seldom answered
Who we are is unanswerable
You cannot truly know us
before being us
Each is different from the norm
and the others
Each is unique in some little way
We all retain our sense of self
flying one day
lazing the next.
If you encounter us,
remember the words:
"Judge not lest ye be judged,"
Judging of any kind is not accepted
by the judged
and condemned
and abused
We can fight back.
© 10/09/99 Alison Insco

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


I stumbled across a poem I wrote almost 18 years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest son, and wanted to share it with my readers.

I keep strange bedfellows.
Words are my lovers.
Words embrace me,
and yet they push me away.
They are my terror,
and they are my passion.
Weeping, crying,
softly wetting the sheets with
the salt of my soul…
I want to be a vampire…
I want to be a child…
I want to be everything,
and yet I am nothing.
The music plays in the harmony of the words.
They have a rhythm,
a cadence,
a tone,
a way of running away with themselves,
never letting you catch up to them until it’s too late,
and they’ve been spoken
So many ways to say the simple things,
yet no way at all.
What is it that dreams are made of?
Thoughts are images,
images are bred from words.
Words nullify me.
I want to own the words
I want to use the words
I want the words to lay with me,
caress me,
be me…
It’s late…
I sleep poorly alone,
but there is nobody here.
Everyone who has ever lain with me has succumbed
to the words.
The evil
One word
holds such perfect beauty
within its letters
and yet I see ugliness
everything I detest
is held all at once
within a word
a name
a sound
a song
a poem
a story
a blurb
What is the difference
between now and forever?
What is the meaning
of love gone sour?
Can hate and love exist in the same place?
Aberration of nature,
describable only by words.
Something doesn’t cut it.
Something won’t give.
I can’t tell you what it is.
I can’t explain it to you.
Words betray me
and my tongue.
I’m left incapable of communication
without words.
And I can’t write a poem without words,
so instead I write a poem about words,
and wish words didn’t exist…

Copyright © 02/26/01

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Universe?

Tell me if I'm losing it
But I think that the universe was written for the two of us
I'm not that young, but I'm new to this
Burying my problems at Vesuvius
Ain’t nothing that could ruin us
In a time where everyone's quitting
Oh they're huddled together, hurting and never committing
We are growing intertwined molecularly
We are trying for forever, no end or beginning
I don't wanna breathe or eat unless you are with me
I could be your sea breeze, weather permitting
I know I'm the worst sometimes

Worst Girl by Amy Shark

The Universe was waiting for us to meet. Everything up to this point in each of our lives was carefully orchestrated by whatever it is that takes care of these things, from birth through childhood, awkward teen years, kids and marriages, separation and divorce, until that night.

And then everything shifted.

I never expected to meet anyone. I mean, I hoped I would, but my expectations were quite low as to anything coming of any of the conversations I would have that night. I logged into POF, of all places, and swiped left and right and up and waited for people to message me. 95% of the messages I received started with, "Hey sexy," which was, curiously enough, not a turn on.

Then I got the most polite, charming, and sincere-sounding first message I've ever received in all of my years using online dating sites. I wish I had taken a screenshot. It made my night, and I made sure to let him know. We messaged back and forth for a while, and then we both went to sleep, him promising to message me the next day.

And he did, first thing in the morning. We exchanged phone numbers later that day, and not a day has gone by without a text (or kiss) good morning since. I can't imagine my life without him in it now that he's here.

I'm not used to this whole 'love' thing. I'm not used to wanting to be with someone so much that it hurts. I'm not used to any of this. I don't remember any of my previous relationships feeling like this.

I've written stories about soulmates in the past, but I was never sure if I actually believed in them. The longer I'm with him, the more I'm convinced we are soulmates, or made from the same stardust, or are connected somehow, or maybe all three...

All I know for sure is that I adore him, am madly in love with him, in fact, and don't want to find out what life would be like without him now that I know what it's like with him.

And I ask you 'cause I wanna to know
Not because I'm psycho
Just because I care a lot
And I touch you the way I do
'Cause I'm falling in love with you
And I don't do this every day

Psycho by Amy Shark

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Notebook Theory

There are a lot of different ways to describe what it's like to live with a chronic illness, and the spoon theory is one that's gone around the internet quite a bit. I find it doesn't quite work for me, however, so I've come up with my own theory.

Being a writer, my first instinct was to refer to notebooks.

So, imagine that each day, you are given a small notebook. It has 24 pages in it. Each page has 60 lines on it. You get one line per minute of the day. Your job with the notebook is to detail how you spent each and every minute of that day.

Your notebook quality varies from day to day. Some days, it's a gorgeous leather-bound journal, well-made to the point of near indestructibility. Other days, it's a simple spiral notebook that may or may not have missing pages. And on yet other days, it's a cheap glue-bound notepad from the dollar store that has pages that fall out at the slightest touch.

How do you detail what happened on those missing pages?

Let's go back a moment. How, I'm sure you're asking, does detailing every minute of your day have anything to do with living with a chronic illness?

I'm glad you asked.

The quality of the notebook is what determines the quality of your day. The better the quality of your notebook, the less your illness(es) will impact your day. There is a major caveat, however. The more you take advantage of the better quality notebooks, the more likely you are to receive one that is falling apart the next day.

So, back to the question - How do you detail what happened on those missing pages?

The short answer is: To the best of your ability. Some people gather up the missing pages and tuck them into the notebook haphazardly. Translated to real life, this would be a chaotic and hectic but not terrible day. Basically an average day with a chronic illness, if none of the pages actually go missing.

Sometimes you can't find all of the pages, or some have become unusable. The best option is as above - gather what you can and tuck it into the notebook. The real life counterpart would be a bad day with regard to the chronic illness.

When you are given a notebook that is incomplete to begin with, and pages go missing due to the poor quality of said notebook, these are the days that the chronic illness is at its most debilitating. Chances of getting these are higher when you've already gotten one, or when you've recently received a really nice notebook.

What kind of notebook are you using today?