Writing my way into the merry-go-round oblivion

January 13, 2017


Friday, the 13th. A writing day. All day. Buried in cybernetic space, capturing words and ideas like butterflies to the net, I emerged this evening disoriented. Have I been gone all day? Did I leave the house?
 
When I used to write papers in college, I’d experience that world spin standing still feeling, like just getting off the ferociously spinning playground merry go round where obstreperous middle school boys spin captives sick or flying. I’d spread papers out over the long, royal blue shag carpet of my apartment floor in the days before personal computers (gulp). I wouldn’t even get out of my pajamas for an entire weekend. Just staring at endless scribbled words. That was when I could write in nearly legible cursive penmanship.
 
I’d shuffle papers, pages and pages of written approaches, starts and stops, fits of penetrating insight overlaid with banal truths and just plain shitty prose. I turned and tossed the visions of literary geniuses and abstruse philosophical stalwarts of literary theory over and over in my head, never coming to a conclusion, never quite figuring it out.
 
But the stretch, though painful, felt like progress, growth and expansion. I felt my brain swell with inflammation and information. It hurt so good. I hated it. Loved and hated it.
 
The struggle is not the same now. I read better, comprehend more. Though merely a comp. lit major, I can write a short white paper section on patient warming techniques in the operating room through radiation, convection and conduction devices, condensing thermodynamics, biology and quantum physics into 750 words, like I did today. Before that I wrote about patient engagement strategies in healthcare, and after that I wrote about 5 superfoods for longevity.
 
No, the struggle is not so much in comprehension anymore as in attention span and endurance. I mean it’s all fascinating and boring at the same time. The process, the mechanics–blind fingertips smashing keys. But the flow–the lost time in some other realm–that’s what keeps me coming back for more.
 

Image: Rusted-playground-merry-go-round/pixabay

Being writerly me: Ten for Today

October 10, 2016
 
This week I am the writer. Most weeks I’m more the teacher than the writer, and a bit of a dabbler in word pretties on the side. And every day I’m the mom.
 
But this week, I am working like a writer: writing, procrastinating, struggling, and mostly feeling insecure. I’ve been badgered by contract bosses breathing down my neck. “Is there a draft yet?” “Take your time (I gave you a week and it’s about 3 days in), but let me know when you have a draft.” And then, “How about now? Now? What about now?” Fuck, I’m trying to work!
 
So yesterday I sent my draft–twice. Once by message on the writing platform and once by invitation to Google docs. Nothing. Hurry up and wait.
 
But it didn’t take long before I got not one but five requests to view the doc. How big is this organization? I guess I never ask the important questions when I interview. They ask me if I can write, and I say I can. End of story.
 
What you want me to write, I can write it. For two days, I have been writing about robots and other godsends in upcoming AI applications. Health care will continue to automate for decades, delegating jobs to bots–therapy chat bots, vitals chat bots, and take two aspirins and call me in the morning chat bots. Amazing.
 
And then there’s IBM’s super duper Watson, kicking ass on Jeopardy when he’s not diagnosing disease and prescribing medicine. Watson will find the cure for cancer. Makes the post human age moniker I go by more real each passing year.
 
Today was rah rah cheerleading day for how wonderful corporations want their worker bees to beam good health and cheer–and not just for monetary reasons. That one was a hard sell–especially adding a little soft wit and snarkiness to make it less dull.
 
Tomorrow I’m the editor.

 
pixabay: dog writer

Writing to Know Me

writer

I, like many, write to grow myself and grow knowledge not only of all that’s out there but also of all that’s on my mind.

Novelist Judith Guest in the Foreword to Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones writes: “It is easy to lose sight of the fact that writers do not write to impart knowledge to others; rather, they write to inform themselves.”

That may seem egocentric, but isn’t that all that anyone can be? I read writing advice daily: write for others, give readers something to chew on; enrich them. Well I, for one, know that I may never sit down to write with my readers’ benefit in mind. That I could not do. I would write not one word (and did not for decades) with so much burden, so much expectation.

Besides, it’s presumptuous to believe I have anything to offer my reader–knowledge, advice, tips, beauty–beyond my human experience. I offer one person’s view of one person’s observations.

After I have sent something out there–to be read–then, that is when I send my hopes and wishes that someone somewhere finds something in my words, something worth the time spent reading them. But if I wrote with that same desire, that my recollections reach a reader, I would not write for fear of disappointing.

Anyone out there? (sound of crickets)

Horror and Music

  

 

 
You want horror? I’ll give you horror.
 
You want music? How about a dirge?

How about the feeling of feeling nothing?

Not fear or love or even boredom. Not feeling.

How horrible would that be? Or maybe not.

How about brain tumors and skin cancer?

Who doubts rectal cancer’s horror, rotting from

the inside out, reeking inverted guts exposed?

What about bloat, the Great Dane disease,

their intestines twist-knotting them to death?

And perfect lovers meeting at the worst time,

both stuck inextricably in others’ lifeless lives?

Shattered happiness is horror, potential lost,

Losing a child or a loved one’s murder, terror.

How do you recover from sending your child 

off to school just to find her dead, shot up by

a murderer festering in a room, a closed door

emerging for a brief fatal foray out of alienation?

I cannot write any greater horror. Unimaginable.

How to write horror stories worse than the real?

Controlled horror in letters would play us God.

We can manage and shape–to know the ending. 

To know: Coping with horror is to make it. Write.  

Are All Writer’s Introverts?

  
I googled that question today after teaching two classes, writing a few blog posts, counseling a student, and editing an article. Facing the prospects of a shift at a retail job to finish off the day’s work schedule, I am on the verge of collapsing into the couch and burying my head deep under the pillows.

People exhaust me. I am clearly an introvert, and I have never taken a test to prove it. I know it. However, whenever I confess to this most trendy of trends…”You know you’re an introvert if…” being an introvert, people are amazed. “But you’re a teacher and seem so social.” Both are true. I am a pleasant person, courteous at least, in the company of others and am certainly a teacher. I love teaching. But neither of those facts make me less of an introvert.

I hate to be the living clich√©, but I believe most writers are introverts, living inside of texts, which are quieter and less demanding. People require attention, not only of the mind but of all the senses. They must be heard, seen, sensed, smelled and sometimes…touched. It’s all too much by the end of the day.

While I am among the masses, however, I do not feel sapped of energy. It’s when I hit the quiet of the late afternoon, sitting in the sun’s windowed reflection under the ticking of the clock punctuating my solitude among the table and chairs, tablecloth and armoire of my kitchen/dining area that the absolute exhaustion–a bone weariness of the mind and spirit–overwhelms me.

 

An aphid burrowing into the cells 

homing the pulp of me, crawling 

the synapses ablaze with centipedal

feet by the hundreds across attention

span and heat of the moment glee of

questions answered and asked, again

ticking off to-do’s of the do-nothings

but ply, ply, ply; it’s my trade, my cue,

my plight, but in the end, husked,

devoured, twisted, torn and teeth-

marked, me, hollow, me, cocooned

in respite of the dark, silent sap of

the dead thickening thinned linings

undressed, undermined and stripped

swollen, aching in whispering dawn.

 
credit: laurensapala.com