Susan O'Doherty

Susan O'Doherty, Ph.D. (http://www.susanodohertyauthor.com/) is a writer and clinical psychologist who specializes in the creative process. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Mama, Ph.D. She is the author of Getting Unstuck without Coming Unglued: A Woman's Guide to Unblocking Creativity (Seal, 2007). Her popular advice column for writers, "The Doctor is In," appears each Friday on Buzz, Balls & Hype.

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January 20, 2013
I had been feeling achy and draggy for longer than I could remember. I had a chronic headache, too. I thought of these as flu-like symptoms, but not the flu, because I don't get the flu. I almost never even get a cold. I have what I sometimes refer to as "autoimmune surplus syndrome, or ASS": my system gobbles up every virus or germ that comes its way, and when it has nothing left to feast on, it turns on itself, like the Ouroboros, the serpent that eats its own tail. I worry about being devoured from within, but not about what is flying around in the air. I figured that feeling lousy was the price I had to pay for overloading myself with work, classes, and active vacations at my age.
January 13, 2013
Last Friday, Ben called me at work. I answered with some trepidation, because 1) he knows not to call me during supervision hours unless it is an emergency, and 2) he never calls, only texts.
January 6, 2013
Our family spent the week between Christmas and New Year's traveling, as we try to do every year. This is partly because, since my mother died, we have no family nearby, and so have no fixed celebration ritual, and partly because it is cheaper to travel when no one else wants to.
December 16, 2012
When The Dark Knight Rises came out, an improv classmate mentioned having heard that Christian Bale's costume was so elaborate he had to be sealed into it at the beginning of each filming day, necessitating a catheter until the costume was removed. "That's why I'm sticking with improv," another classmate observed. "I'm Batman because I say I am."   I was reminded of this exchange the other evening, when a friend and I amused ourselves while waiting for a performance to begin by compiling a list of reasons we prefer improv to "legitimate" theater:
December 9, 2012
Ben handed in his application to the BFA program at his college last week. It was a demanding process, involving writing, arranging, performing and recording three original compositions and performing and recording a classical piece, as well as a written essay and a resume of pertinent experience.
December 2, 2012
I am taking five classes this semester, in musical theater, improvisation and musical improvisation. I am learning important skills and concepts in all of them. However, I am also working and participating in a musical improv group that practices for two hours a week, and I was recently cast in a staged reading of a new play, with a tight rehearsal schedule. I am exhausted.
November 25, 2012
I am writing from Raleigh, NC, where we are visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and two of my three nephews (the third is stationed overseas). My oldest nephew's fiancée is here, too. We have been talking, laughing, and eating nonstop. I am having a thoroughly enjoyable time. I am crazy about everyone in this family.
November 18, 2012
Nadia Taha has two interesting articles on the economic price of parenting in The New York Times this week. Her thoughts have evoked emotional responses, both in the comments to the second article and in blog comments.
November 11, 2012
Over the past week, as we attempt to return to normal after Sandy, the term that recurs most often in conversation with friends and colleagues is "9/11," as in, "Remember after 9/11, when we..." or "People were more eager to volunteer after 9/11."
November 4, 2012
Our Brooklyn neighborhood fared relatively well this week. We lost a lot of trees, phone and Internet signals were sporadic, and we didn't have subway service for several days, but we were basically okay. Several of our friends were not so lucky; they spent days without electricity, heat or hot water — some without running water at all — and started to worry about extended hunger, thirst and sewage problems. For some, the issues are ongoing.

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