Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Estrogen - a Potent, Heady Neurochemical Mix!

Still have a head cold, but the symptoms are less troublesome, my energy and mental focus are better, and just in time. I've just edited (re-edited; re-edited and re-written for the nth time) a few short, but absolutely crucial paragraphs in early Chapter 7.

Yesterday was fine. I cruised along; slammed through creating a raw index for Part I, and now feel - with raw indices done for the first half of this book - that that task will be somewhat under control.

So I turned my attention to inserting the edits that I'd written into margins of the "interior page layout proofs." The Ded/Ack/Intro, all went fast. A few checks back and forth on things, but overall smooth, easy, went well. Part I (Chapters 1-5) similarly fast. Even Part 6, which starts to get a bit "meaty." (The Hero's Quest, and the Heroine's as Well - actually a bit of a complex subject.)

Put in the first few edits from Chapter 7, and had to call things off to get a minimal number of life-maintenance chores done. By the time I was back, the cold symptoms had taken over in terms of low-energy and a nasty, snippy mood - the best thing was to go to bed, which I did.

This morning, back to where I left off at a really crucial, tricky, delicate part of Chapter 7.

Here's where I digress, if only for a moment. Unveiling is really about five books in one. I sure didn't plan it that way. This is what evolved over the last two years, and I'm as surprised as you are.

Part II is where a whole book-unto-itself starts. Actually, two books; Chapter 6 (the Hero's and the Heroine's Quests) really can spin off into its own book, and probably will someday. But the heart and core of Part II is Chapter 7, which deals with archetypes. Specifically, feminine archetypes.

Tricky stuff, because some really neat, surprising, and ultra-valuable things emerged over the course of the last two years of work. One of them had to do with a number of different archetypal systems that I was able to correlate, and make a whole lot of pragmatic, common sense in doing so.

The other was the correlation of one of our archetypal modes, the Mother mode, with recent understanding of our neurochemistry.

My first major reference on this topic was, God(dess) bless her, Dr. Louann Brizendine's book, The Female Brain.

This is basically a good book. (About 1M other readers agree with me, across multiple languages given the translations that have been done.) It has two really good things going for it:
1) It's about the right topic (us, our brains, our neurochemistry), and
2) It's a fairly easy read. Light, comfortable, conversational and breezy.

The thing that it doesn't quite have going for it - which I found only during my last major revision - was that it is not super-well-regarded by the author's peers.

One reason for this came to light when I - almost by chance - started to look at the roles of two neurochemicals, dopamine and oxytocin, more closely. Dr. Brizendine's book (which I still recommend, by the way, not all of us want to dive into academic literature, or even good texts), is a little too loose on how these two neurochemicals interact. Maybe because it is, by now, six years old - a near-lifetime in the realm of brain research. But also, it is written to be light. And the dopamine/oxytocin/estrogen mix in our brains is really not a "light" subject.

So I did a lot more digging around, came up with some stellar additional references, revised my thinking about how we can personally "manage our brain chemicals," and finally - as of half an hour ago - finished rewriting a couple of delicate but essential little paragraphs.

Damn, this is good stuff. And it's not just me; I'm not just being self-congratulatory here. But if I were to come across this chapter, written by someone else, I would be so thrilled, and be having such a life-changing, eye-opening, oh-my-God(dess)-this-really-is-it! experience that it would blow my mind out of my body for weeks.

The best way that I can describe it is that I've been "obedient." I've listened to an inner muse, to guidance, and gotten the inspirations - and then been really patient in the researching, the writing, the editing, and the re-editing and the re-writing.

It's taken a whole lot longer than I ever thought.

And you know what? It will have been worth the effort.

And it's really, really close now.

This little bit in Chapter 7 - the whole oxytocin/dopamine/estrogen shuffle - really had to be worked out in some detail, to write even a couple of decent overview paragraphs. And you'll have this in your hands, so very, very soon.

Hallelujah! We can see it coming!

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