I hate the word #BiPolar. It’s ugly, an overused throwaway word.‬ #I’mAWhatever

I couldn’t resist responding to the lovely Carol Adriana Estrella‘s post on Facebook this morning.

“Doing a small survey:
What are your first thoughts when you hear the word “bipolar”. Being that is an illness, I see it used around A LOT as an adjective or a subject.”

Visit the very hip and informative blog Is Ok Not To Be Ok to view some of the varied responses (including my abridged one).

Carol explains, “I did a very informal survey today asking people what were the first thoughts that came to their mind when they heard the word: bipolar. I got an incredibly array of answers from the usual (and often not funny) jokes, to what a harsh reality is to live as a bipolar individual.”

Thank you, Carol Adriana Estrella for starting the conversation today.

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I hate the word, “bipolar.” It’s ugly, an overused throwaway word. Call me whatever. I’m a ‪#‎Whatever‬ if you must. Jackie works too.

The forward from GEORGIA PINE explains how strongly I feel about the word(s), “BiPolar Disorder.”

“Perspective

I wrote The Vast Landscape, the prequel to Georgia Pine at a dark, scary time in my life. Harrison, the brash heroine, was someone tangible I could cling to. She gave me reason to get up, to go on, to fight, a much-needed respite from what was happening in my real, everyday life. I made the conscious decision not to write about manic depression, the disease that has disrupted every neuron firing through my beautiful, chaotic mind. Bipolar Disorder, the label I detest, is en Vogue. It appears in trendy bestsellers, Oscar winning films and sensationalized television. It’s glamorized, modernized, made to look cool. Trust me, it is not. Mental Illness is the train wreck, the ugly, cruel, exhaustive, intangible, and solitary battle. It does not discriminate among rich, poor, smart, stupid; it brings grown men to their knees, ripping whole families apart. Writing The Vast Landscape freed me to live my dreams on the page. Harrison is I, I am she, mixed together so deeply the lines disappear. The outlines blur, intentionally. Was The Vast Landscape reality or fantasy? That is for the reader to decide. We are all disabled, broken parts, lost individuals, trying to find our way. Truth is what you know, here and happening now. There is only love and love is the bravest character of all. Harrison is the voice in our heads, asking the important questions. Where do I fit? Why am I here? Will I love, be loved? We are born with a fixed expiration date, yet we carry on, walking this earth the best we can until we’re pixie dust. Cherished, kept alive in memory and yellow parchment, we become precarious, aged photographs in a cardboard box. Lives touch, intersect in the most unpredictable yet meaningful ways. The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.
The story continues in… Georgia Pine.”

Excerpt From: Jacqueline Cioffa. “Georgia Pine.” iBooks.

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"I learn love from her everyday." Jacqueline Cioffa

“All she wants is to be close, eat, cars rides and chase things. I learn love from her everyday.”#Lupita ❤

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My life is a barrage of pills, moods, malaise, emptiness, haze, mania, depression that stagnates my spirit, anxiety ping-ponging against my brain fighting an illness I cannot see. The willful fighter, deep-thinking me and misfiring neurons I cannot comprehend. There is no recovery from a serious mental illness, there is only finding ways to cope, reasons to get-up to battle and exist one more day.

I can’t just ‘pull it together,’ no matter how deep the desire or the will.

It’s generational. The genetic jackpot I won, but did not enter.

I. was. born. this. way.

I. was. born. this. way.

I won’t win, there is no winning, no contests, no rules. There is only luck and time before I am gone away.

I am not misguided, I understand exactly what I am up against. Well, sorta. I understand each day gets a little harder, the thoughts a little louder, the light a little dimmer and the physical discomforts heavier.

My words, while I can still see them and get them out are not to be misunderstood or misconstrued. This life, my life has been beautiful in more ways than I can write.

The memories help me stay.

The spirit animal kissing away my tears, snuggling so close I feel her beating heart against my skin is never too far away. She keeps me present and accountable.

Smiling from the heart is the rarity, and this dog makes me smile. Multiple times a day. She understands my crazy, the sorrow and spectacular. She loves me anyway.

No matter the color or mood.

cool like that

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I love this. Because inside these words says a whole lot about me.

And because I did not make it. Someone I respect and admire did.

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Because she’s cool like that, I’m cool like that.

True gray with primary colors whirling all around

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I wasn’t going to write a sappy. I wasn’t. But, I jumped. 

My father was and always will be the great love of my life. It’s been seven years, the 5th of May. I know the date I was there beside him. My mom, too. I can’t speak for my brothers, nieces or anyone who had the good fortune to meet him. He taught me everything I know about kindness, loyalty, humor, respect, family and faith. His faith was unnerving, never wavering for one second. I was a hellion, a wild child and my dad never judged. He watched and waited to pick up the pieces. There are too many stories. One I remember vividly. I was 18, spoiled brat, came home drunk, puking my guts out. I don’t even drink anymore. My father cleaned me up, put me to bed and slept on the floor beside me. I can still feel him near, even if I can’t see him.

“Take care of your mother, be a good girl. I love you with my whole heart.”

Okay dad, I’ll try. Although I’m not sure I’m doing a bang up job. Her and I, we fight. Argue. A lot. Rarely agree on anything. I’d like to wring her neck. This woman, the person I call mom I aim to please. She wanted a cordless vacuum for Mother’s Day, not a fancy car, Dior or diamonds. Something useful with a purpose. That’s all. I’d be so lucky and well-adjusted to be more like her. The original, fearless warrior.

I’ve experienced the love of a father like mine, and a mother. Together, they made our family complete. Wherever you are Choff, I hope you’re winning and smirking that devilish grin. The heavens and the orbs are in your favor. It’s your time.

I have to go right on living. It’s rudimentary. Five-year old mathematics, numbers you live a whole life by.

I think they stink. Crap odds. I have to stay anyway, a while longer. I guess. The canvas resets to a stark sterile dove white, a color choice off a paint swatch. The happy, unhappy complicated family colors muted and wiped clean with the stroke of a paint brush. Obliterated by a sixty dollar gallon of paint.

I close my eyes and trust I will see them, the shade memories. I trust they were indeed real, trust they will remain to guide and comfort the remaining journey.

Putrid acid green, Pepto-Bismol pink, sherbet orange and garish gold marble swirls alive in the brain.

Life lived in increments and numbers. The numbers they never lie.

I hang crystal prisms in the bedroom window to capture the sunbeams washing over my face, remembering the weight and light of a kind of pure and selfless love.

It wasn’t perfect, I’m not deluded I know that.

Life was solid, a true gray with primary colors whirling all around.

And that, you can build upon.

Six feet of dock stretches out over a flat, refreshing cool body of water with no threat of jagged rocks, seaweed, or prey absolutely nothing that could hurt you.

With each breath we count, constantly weighing the risks, odds and numbers.

Me, I love to swim. I need to remember that more often.

Inside every jump right before you hit the water lives the dream and infinite possibility.

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Jellybeans and Bed Sheets

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From: Jacqueline Cioffa <choff777@aol.com>
Subject: jelly beans and bed sheets
Date: April 10, 2007 7:39:59 AM EDT
To: Jacqueline Cioffa <choff777@aol.com>

I wrote Jellybeans and Bed Sheets some time ago.

Time didn’t pause for me but the memories I still own.

Jellybeans and Bed Sheets

by Jacqueline Cioffa

Miami, the beach sand sun moon and stars. There is something about being in a tropical place, how the wind blows just right sweeping and swooshing your problems away. They disappear drifting magically out to sea. None of us knew just how special that time and living in that house would be. The house was white stucco, cool to the touch but so very warm inside. There was a fish pond and orchids dripping from the front porch. Crickets lived outside your window lulling you to sleep. Sweet jasmine and magnolia buds filled your senses and eased your worries, heightening your dreams.

We’d meet each morning around the coffee table to chat about our ridiculous mishaps and adventures from the previous night. Me, my bestie and partner in crime and the hipster Madame of this fabulous house. Rehashing the evening’s antics and plain old gossip over cafe con leche. There was usually some man drama, we were single and living it.

Except for the guys sharing the space. They were the older and wiser, they despised our escapades craving for sleep. Especially M, the obstinate French fitness guru who demanded clean living and regimen. Rice and chicken, early to bed.  At 8:00 o’clock not 8:01 he’d start the bitch and moan mantra, “go to bed.”

Nagging relentlessly until we caved or snuck out. For my BFF and I our days were filled responsibly with modeling gigs, lists and appointments but the Miami nights were saved for raucous. We took full advantage. Moe’s our usual hangout served the sweetest margaritas with an outside patio and flickering white lights under the sway of palm trees. Shooting the shit sipping a frozen drink was 100 proof worry free. The rugged, hard-to-look at owner would place the sacred sombrero on the most deserving head. There was little rhyme or reason behind the crowning of the red velour tassel contraption. We had our fair share of drunken nights with a sombrero dancing on our heads. It was stupid fun.

We half-smile now; because life is so drastically different. Back then living was void of anything heavier than ten pounds. Today there are tweens (well one), rescue dogs, blind dogs, aches, illnesses, misplaced dreams, mortgages and the mundane. For a short time, a blip really there was only sun and beach and smoothies and peaceful co-existence in an inviting pretty white house by the beach.

We clumsily made our way back to that house in the wee hours of the night (early morning), the mystic dwelling that knew our names welcoming us back. We swung open the front door and bam. Busted. The door was rigged, it had an alarm that chimed every time it opened and closed. DING DING DING DING DING DING. We whipped off our heels and tippy toed to our room trying not to squeal and fell sloppily into bed.

This night, this one night was different. When we laid down there was immediate screaming and belly roars out of our mouths. No matter how hard we tried; we couldn’t contain it. We howled so loud waking the house. We didn’t care because it was fucking hysterical. It was unforgettable. There were jellybeans under the sheets.  Completely unexpected, it felt like lying on firm and squishy, sloppy drunken pebbles. It was jellybean sweet, familiar. The boys put jellybeans under the goddamn sheets. Payback is, beautiful.

When I’m down, having a particularly crap day I call my BFF to reminisce about the pure bliss moments, precious blips.

We moved out and on, time didn’t stop. M died. Cancer. Fucking cancer ravaged his glorious sun-kissed, twelve pack body and mind greedily snatching him up. Time didn’t stop, how cruel. We left that house and our Miami by the shore and the sand under the stars, sun and smiling moon.

Revisiting the past only briefly, I see his face and hear his gruff voice.

“Go to bed, connasse.” I learned many things.

In that house by the sea lives my heart happy memories and him. He’s there, healthy, happy, strong, regimented and bronzed getting the last laugh.

Yes in that home we are together, carefree and alive surrounded by orchids, easy breath and a chill breeze.

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Sometimes I paint the walls the same hue trying to recapture the warmth of that house, cool to the touch.

 

Indigo Blue – Jacqueline Cioffa

Indigo Blue – Jacqueline Cioffa

Indigo Blue _ Jacqueline Cioffa

THE VAST LANDSCAPE is not a paper book it’s her sacred, dirty little secret, twisted truths, and sweet, silent, young girl, hope-filled, pajama party whisper. The pretty, stubborn, fire red know-it-all, chaotic, poignant, gut-wrenching mess. 50,000 rambling words, the love letter to  her beautiful, chaotic, messy, best-self. A birth, a rebirth, and relentless, acid reflux regurgitating and redemptive truth. The restorative, calm sea breeze breath, choppy, stormy inhale, and liberating, tsunami exhale one only understands from the monumental fuck-ups; bleeding ink, blotched heartache and bliss.

GEORGIA PINE

GEORGIA PINE is the middle, the suspense, the mysterious, excruciating reality of the tedious, ad nauseam average, all too ordinary humdrum life that happens somewhere inside the suffocated, stalled, desperate breath of regret. The horrible understanding that your parents will fact die, you will indeed follow, and there is more pain in this one life than imagined. It’s the death that becomes her. The realization that she does not have enough time or too much to fix all the unfixable.

EVERGREEN… is she becoming, too bad, like it or not

BUBBLING UP

EverGreen

EVERGREEN is no longer about she. It’s not about her misguided, silly idealistic, hair-brained notions, rusted,  and busted waterlogged, overflowing, broken down pipe-dreams. Stupid girl, it never was. Nature belongs to the knotty pine, cedar smell abysses, etching and grooves on the tree trunks, and the brief, momentary spin-cycles revisited. The old woman stares longingly, sorrowful, pitifully into her puddle of tears, gazing down at her swollen, purple-veined, unsightly, knuckle-busted, hands  of delusion that held all the love and regret, too tight, curled inside arthritic fingers. She, is me, fifty years too far in front, saying hello and taunting good-bye from a solitary, soiled, piss-soaked, lonesome vacant room. She sits idle waiting on death while gazing out the long forgotten, paint-chipped, fragmented, wood rotted, unkempt windowpane.

Whittling, whittling, whittling away the wee hours, she cries herself to sleep. No one hears her tears.

THE VAST LANDSCAPE isn’t some, alien, Scifi, green screen infused Trilogy, it’s down and dirty, life start to finish.

If given the choice, how would she choose this do over life again?

If given the choice would she ask for a break, request a small respite favor, the tiniest morsel of less bird crumbs.

Hey man, he tells her, take it easy this time around.

She scribbles just a tiny, nothing, paper-dream request.

In utero.

She maps out a blueprint plan, timed and marked with an indigo-blue sharpie, disappearing, invisible ink, blotted, slippery, shit for brains, dried out pen.

Right here, right now, right or wrong from her very first breath.

Into whose arms she fell willingly.

Choose well, he goads, the God’s and the heavens.

Choose well, girl.

Choose love, not hell for fuck’s sake.

How could she possibly get it wrong?

Love hurts, he scolds.

Next time she pick smarter, richer, better.

Next time.

Who’s she kidding, there’s no next time.

There’s only this next to nothing, everything, sunny, stormy day.

And, her?

This girl, she’d choose the very same.

To live, to live, and to live through hell and back.

Do it again, and again.

Until she breaks.

Not quite, he whispers, not quite beautifully broken.

Let’s rock, roll and a break, sweet child of mine.

Do over, die over a million times.

Get on with it, dreaming, feeling and breathing.

This crazy, messed up thing called living.

She twitches in the her sagged, stretched and marked, itchy skin. 

Forever impatient, forever stubborn, forever.

Black Irish.

Unpredictable.

To live, breathe and exist inside the riff of a high pitched, blues blowing, screaming, guitar picking, melodic indigo blues.

To dance, wet, nude, and arms outstretched, swaying under the midnight, beautiful, dark blues sky, howling at the moon.

The stormier the weather the better, the light always comes back ’round.

for the love of a dog

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Wouldn’t it be lovely if kindness, loyalty and showers of affection were our biggest faults?

Wouldn’t it though?

It would be awfully, awfully nice.

It is lovely in the company of my shadow.

The spirit animal who teaches me patiently and without judgement

the crazy curious inexplicable mystery that is uncomplicated love.

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For one glorious moment I forget, all the exhausting complicated human parts.

I’m free. On the walk.

I don’t care how I look on the outside,

neither does she.

Unknown

Coming in Hot

BOOK REVIEWS-5

A gorgeous 5 Star Review that describes in detail the beauty and complexity that is “Georgia Pine” The perfect synopsis, with a Kristin Hannah and Penny Vincenzi mention. This book’s author is in excellent company.

“Georgia Pine” – love the name, love the character, love the novel!

“For those of you who fell in love with Harry in “The Vast Landscape” and wanted the saga to continue, Jacqueline Cioffa has answered your call with her new novel, “Georgia Pine”. It continues the story of Harrison, Zack and their daughter Addie and her 4 girls – each one uniquely searching for her own happiness. Interwoven into this is the story of the narrator, who, after an accident that has left her permanently physically disabled, is able to escape her broken body into the vast landscape of her imagination. And in so doing unwittingly inspires a reader, who is walking a tightrope between living and dying, to opt for hope. Another great read from Ms. Cioffa! She continues to top my list, along with Kristin Hannah and Penny Vincenzi.”

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T270L88

http://pennyvincenzi.com

http://kristinhannah.com/content/index.php

what's your story?

I believe in white sage, riptides, po’ boys, voudon magic, second lining,’ the sea, sun, stars and moon.

Apparently, Georgia Pine does too.

Ripe with tragedy, joy, an overwhelming sense of responsibility and the inexplicable ties that bind. Interwoven parallel stories and human connections, GEORGIA PINE celebrates the bizarre and the amazing, the triumphant resilience of the human spirit. #TheVastLandscapeSequel #amazon

©canva.com

http://www.amazon.com/GEORGIA-PINE-Jacqueline-Cioffa-ebook/dp/B00T270L88

#TheVastLandscapeSequel

http://www.amazon.com/THE-VAST-LANDSCAPE-Jacqueline-Cioffa-ebook/dp/B00H3P51LS

Actual, Extraordinary Women Turning Me On

“And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That’s what I think is revolutionary, and evolutionary, and it’s what’s turning me on.” – Maggie Gyllenhaal

Right on Maggie for sharing the win, for reconfirming the complexities of women are the dimensions that shine, lighting from the inside. I have always known that beauty is most beautiful when raw and exposed.

Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson speaks from the heart and the gut, searing honesty exposing grief, pain, abuse and ultimately love set free in truth. A collection of brave, bold essays unafraid to take us into the dark. The light finds its way into the deepest crevices, caverns of life’s experiences. Ms. Thompson is an extraordinary, actual woman. Those are the best kind.

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“This is a book about fracture. About the experiences that make up a life. About the pieces of me.

Delving into naked emotion is a terrifying proposition. Digging into our souls to look for answers that may not be there is a ledge most of us avoid.

And yet, here I am.”
Rachel Thompson, Broken Pieces

http://rachelintheoc.com

Strive for authenticity, self- pride, accomplishment and accolades will follow.

I shine the light on Rachel Thompson, using her voice to speak uncomfortable truths.

Actual women are evolutionary, extraordinary, revolutionary. There is room for us all.

Right on, Ms. Gyllenhaal. I’m with you.