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One of the problems with being a sub-par blogger is that it takes a few minutes to access that part of your memory that stores your login information for your blog.

Oops. Lots of stuff crowding out the logins these days. Thank God for my password manager.

I suppose, if anyone has any interest, I should give you the briefest of brief rundowns on life here in Moxland.

Spawn has entered eighth grade. Eighth grade, people! This kid is nearly as tall as me, with a foot a full shoe size bigger than mine. Safe to say I’ll be called Shorty here before too long. This is the last year for us at our K-8 grade school, and then it’s off to the fraught world of private Catholic high school. I don’t know whether to be excited or afraid.

I continue to work, part-time, writing for a tech company. Most writers will tell you that they enjoy what they do, and I will tell you the same thing… except for the writing part. The reading and the research, the brainstorming, the outlining, the meetings with your creative team – all of that, I love. The actual process of putting words down in noun-verb order… yeah. Painful. Some days it’s like pulling teeth. And yet I will tell you without reservation that I LOVE IT.

My parents continue to get old and older. They need me more than I am comfortable with admitting. It seems incredibly ass-backwards to be the care giver instead of the care receiver. Right now my responsibilities include carting one or the other of them to some doctor’s appointment, surgery, or outpatient procedure. And I have also become the chief gardener at their house, since physically they are limited to the tasks they can still perform. I think I’ve planted more perennials and roses and tomato plants at their house than have at mine.

Moxland zoo count stands at six cats, one dog, one gerbil, one turtle, and four fish. We have adopted a policy of attrition for the cats.

I seem to spend a lot of time in the car, going hither and yon. People tell me that this sort of thing is pretty typical for persons in my position.

All in all, I am in a place that is neither happy nor miserable. Which is to say pretty normal.

However, the main reason I blew the dust off this blog is to put this tidbit of information out there for those of you who may stumble across this blog. Grammarly, a software company  that produces grammar-checking software (which I use for my job) has taken up the cause of literacy, and as such has set up a pretty sweet deal for those bloggers out there who would join in the good fight. I say “sweet deal” like there’s some remuneration involved, but alas, no. No money will cross your palm. Money, however, will cross the palms of the good folks who operate these literacy programs:

Fostering greater literacy is the “sweet deal” I’m talking about – think about it: greater literacy means more people to read blogs. Wouldn’t you enjoy more people reading your blog?

If you want to know a bit more about this program, go here to see what it’s all about.

 

– Mox

 

 

Not dead yet.

Funny how a for-fun blog will get shuttled to the wayside in favor of a paying gig.

Just wanted to reassure all and sundry that I am still on this side of the grass.

– Mox

Looking forward.

So I have come to a decision as of recently, one that won’t be put into action for *at least* ten years, probably more like 20.

Of course this decision hinges on a number of factors, the major ones being Spawn graduating from college and beginning a life separate from my husband and myself, and my parents no longer needing me.  And me retaining some semblance of health.  But I have a dream.

This dream is known as Retirement and while I am not anxious to be on the downward slope toward Eternity, retirement will be (I hope) a welcome state of being.

My husband assures me we will be able to retire, and I have my doubts about that, but for the sake of this dream I have allowed myself to reach this decision.

I have decided that I will become an artist in my retirement years.

I’m not even sure I will be a serious artist.  My current vision involves living a Bohemian lifestyle, throwing a lot of brightly colored paint around, and cutting my hair super short and coloring it some crazy color.

See also:  Mid-life crisis.

Those who know me know that I am more a Talbots kind of gal, raised with manners and sensible shoes, without an alternative bone in my body.   I have a sense of decorum, I can set a table properly for a dinner party, and I write thank you notes.  I live in a small town in the Upper South, where no one wears white shoes after Labor Day, and my politics are reserved for the voting booth.  In short, I am what is known as A Good Girl.

Once I get Spawn raised to Adulthood and I do not need to explain myself to my mother – the gloves are off.

I can hardly wait to become the person who will inspire eye-rolling in the adult version of Spawn.  Lord knows I am inspiring eye-rolling in the pre-teen version, and it’s not near as much fun as I anticipate the later version will be.  It’s entirely possible a suggestion will be made that I have my marbles checked.  I won’t care then, and I don’t care now.

All I know is, it’s good to have a goal.

 

– Mox

Pernicious.

Well.

Sometimes the answers are quite simple, aren’t they?

So, after my last post, where I simultaneously feared for and got excited about my ebbing sanity, I did manage to get something written.  It’s not complete, not by a long shot.  And my deep blue funk really had nothing to do with it. I just had a few rather beautiful turns of phrase rattling around in my head while I stood in the shower one night, and I made a point of writing them down.

So there’s that.  I don’t know where it’s going, but at least it’s out of my head and in a file on my laptop.

I recently came to the conclusion that I’m never going to get any writing done unless I actually sit down and do it, whether I feel inspired or not.  Back in my salad days I could count on the muse to show up pretty regularly, but my salad days were all about me and I had so few responsibilities.  So I’ve made something of a semi-commitment to finding the time, even if it’s just half an hour, to writing something.  Of course the commitment is classified as “semi” because I have good intentions but also a whale of a schedule.  Baby steps, folks.

Still, I haven’t been able to shake my apathy. I’ve been feeling very much a drudge these days, what with the constant errand-running and schedule-juggling and general household-managing.  I’m tired, folks.

I had my annual physical checkup this week and — in addition to getting an arm-numbing Tetanus/Pertussis booster shot — I got the first of a series of B12 shots.  After having B12 numbers on the low side for a number of years, I am now depleted.  This is known as Pernicious Anemia.

I do not recommend Googling any medical condition.  But I did.  I found a majority of the symptoms that have plagued me all summer, the ones I chalked up to burning the candle at both ends and possibly the beginnings of a larger problem (read: heart) as well as some pretty dire consequences for not taking care of the problem.  If Dr. Google’s aim is to scare the beejeezus out of people, he’s doing a great job.

Oddly enough, once I had the problem identified and a course of action plotted, I allowed myself to finally – after five months – give in to it.  To admit I was tired and apathetic and dragging and allow myself to sit still and wallow in my tiredness.  I didn’t feel the need to push through it any longer.

My doctor tells me that after four weeks of B12 shots I should feel markedly better.  And I’ll have to keep taking these shots from now until Kingdom Come.  Fortunately with age and maturity I have made peace with the practice of needles going into my tender skin, though I would prefer it in my (ahem) fleshy hip rather than my bony arm.

2013 has just not been my year.

 

– Mox

Picking a scab.

My Grandmother, my mom’s mom, was a large woman.  And a short woman, which contributed to her largeness.  She had all kinds of theories about why she was so large, including the one about being made to eat everything on her plate at every meal.  Which makes sense when you consider that she was a young girl when the Depression hit, and every morsel of food counted.  And I sort of buy into that theory, because what you do as a child has a tendency to stick with you as an adult.  You eat everything you can because that’s what you’ve always done.

My mother, who is fortunate enough to at least have some height on her frame, is a large woman, too.  The reasons my mother is heavy are fairly easy to pinpoint – genetics, poor food choices, lack of exercise.  And she eats when she’s dealing with her emotions.  Good day?  Let’s get ice cream!  Frustrated?  Have some cobbler.

I recognize this tendency in myself, too.  While my mother never rewarded me with food (for I am not a dog), I was witness to the kitchen capers that came about as her way to deal.  I try really hard to not repeat this because she’s fat, and she’s unhappy that she’s fat, and so she eats because she’s unhappy.  I don’t want that future for myself.  Adding to the complexity of this tendency is that I really like wine.  I’ve been known to have a conversation with myself about how early is too early for a glass of wine.  Alcohol at 9am isn’t a good idea, even though a lot of the world’s best literature was conceived in a bottle.  It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.  It doesn’t end well, is what I’m saying.

I have a theory about it, of course.  It’s like picking a scab – you know better than to do it, that it’s just going to prolong the healing process, and maybe leave a scar to boot – but you do it anyway because at least it’s something to do.

We don’t do a great job of sitting quietly with our emotions.  Our emotions scare us, particularly the ones that are on the darker end of the scale.  And our emotions are reactions to things that are going on in our lives, and a lot of that stuff we’ve got no control over.  So we eat, or we sleep, or we drink, or we shop, or we do any of a number of things that have become our medication of choice.

They say that recognition of a problem is half the battle.  I’m not so sure.  I think it may be a battle in and of itself.

 

– Mox

The answer to the question.

So I’ve had a couple of questions put to me in the past couple of months that I answered fairly definitively at the time, and yet my mind keeps circling back to them.

My doctor (nurse practitioner):  “Do you think you’re depressed?”

Me:  “I don’t think so.  I mean, I think I would feel kind of blue, or something, right?”

And that’s sort of eaten at me.  I mean, I went to see her for what I hoped wasn’t a heart/lung issue and really thought were panic attacks (pounding heart, shortness of breath, etc) and she gave me a little something to try and that’s been pretty solid.  So, yay (I guess) for panic attacks.

But I’m finding that things that I used to get pleasure in, I don’t have a whole lot of feeling for any longer.  Which if I remember correctly, is one of the symptoms presented by one of those interminable commercials on TV for depression drugs.

So there’s that.

***

My husband:  “Are you happy?”

Me:  “What, like in general?  In life?  Yeah, I guess so.  Well, except for feeling like I’m trapped here in this godforsaken podunk town.  But yeah.”

And we went on our merry little way.  But in the back of my mind, I’m asking, where the hell did that question come from?  And is the answer really “no”?

And there’s that.

***

If you do the research you’ll find that the vast majority of people in the writing business — heck, in any creative field — have some sort of misfire in their wiring.  The successful and celebrated ones don’t get described as “happy-go-lucky” or “nicest person ever.”  There’s a reason the brooding artist is a stereotype.  It may be romantic to some, but that faulty wiring, whatever form it takes, is the reason for bloodletting via creative field of choice.

So again I return to the two questions that have been poking at me since the day they were asked.  And I wonder if I answered them honestly or if I just said whatever I was “supposed” to say.

And I also wonder that if the yeses are nos and the nos are yesses, does that mean I have finally begun to achieve tortured soul status, that I might actually be on to something here?

And does that make me happy?  Which negates it all, anyway.

Clearly, overthinking is a talent of mine.

 

– Mox

Which is unlikely to happen.

So.

I had a post all written (well, half written) (kind of a toss-off) (ok, I hadn’t thought it completely through) about my fears and the realizations I was coming to as a result of examining said fears.

But it’s funny how things work themselves out.

Which is to say that I have lots of fears, still.  Basic stuff, like disasters and Armageddon and such.  But perhaps the deepest fear, the most personal one, is that I don’t have the reservoir that I have long assumed I have – you know, the one that says “I will write a book.”

How many people in America, at this very moment, are laboring on a book?  Plenty, I’m sure.  Boggles the mind.

I had been reviewing the contents of my head recently and despairing at the state of my wellspring, which 20 years (or so) ago was flowing pretty well.  I suppose I always knew that my life would take this path, that the wellspring would suffer from the slings and arrows of “real” life, in which there are marriages and jobs and mortgages and children and all that other stuff that everyone’s life contains.  It’s hard to pay attention to ideas that bob to the surface when you’re in the throes of living — so much so that sometimes the ideas sink to the bottom, having never bobbed up at all.  And I had noticed that.  That nothing was coming to me.

I’d started to believe that my “creative” years were behind me, that there were no more stories in the depths of the wellspring — that, my friends, was plenty distressing and pretty painful.

Maybe it’s a side effect of being paid to write business copy.  Which I am SO not complaining about, because this is the first job I’ve ever had in which that is my entire job description.  It’s a little like a dream come true.  The title on my cube, under my name, is “Wordsmith” — how awesome is that?  But I’d like to grow these meager hours of part-time work so that I can make my car payment with a few shekels left over, and I’ve been trying without much success to find other sources of cash.

And then it dawned on me that maybe I have all this free time on my hands to (besides the summertime mom gig) refocus on my writing.

Which then looped back on itself for the umpteenth time, regarding that pesky dried-up wellspring.

So you see where this was going.  Nowhere.  Crazytown.

And then I had a dream.

MLK jokes aside, I am not much of a dream-type person.  I go to bed and I’m in such a deep sleep that I don’t recall my dreams.  But I’ve had some recall-able dreams here lately, which is unusual for me, and while I can trace the origins for most of them, one stuck out.  It sort of came out of nowhere.  And I pondered it, wondering what to make of it.  It seemed pretty obvious to me that it was the germ of a story, but there wasn’t enough content to see where it needed to go next.

But!  Wellspring, y’all!

And then this morning on my way to my parents’ house to drop Spawn off for the day, an old story muscled its’ way into my consciousness.  It’s a story that I started (YEARS ago) and then set aside because it wasn’t going anywhere.  And truthfully I’m not too sure where the actual saved file resides, though I can remember details of the story and could probably recreate it pretty accurately.  And a little while later I remembered the dream, and the two things sort of fit together.  Not perfectly, of course, but well enough that I got pretty excited.

BOOM!  Wellspring!

Just the fact that I’ve reconnected with that part of my creativity should be enough momentum to carry me forward.  At least for a little ways.

Now to sit down at the typewriter and bleed.

 

 

–Mox

 

 

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