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Two. Thousand. Words.

Every once in a while the universe sends me a message. Nothing big like where did the dinosaurs go or why are we so fascinated with the Kardashians, but just a gentle nudge to set me on a path. Things happen or don’t happen, and I’m left to sort out what that means (or doesn’t) and draw a few conclusions from it. Often I wake up with a snippet of a dream, like the time I dreamed about my former boss and asked him if he regretted anything he did in the course of his cancer treatment. (He didn’t, because “it bought me more time.”) The universe apparently thought I needed to know that. And I guess I did, because it changed the way I felt about the unfairness of his too-early death. (I still think it’s unfair, for the record. But he got to wring out more time, so it goes into the Win column.)

This morning, I was rudely dragged from sleep by my alarm (sidebar: I do not like waking up in the dark. I miss summer.) with one thought on repeat: two thousand words.

In case you’re wondering, two thousand words is a lot. Well, it is for me, because I’m not one of those prolific writers. You know the ones, the ones who can just do a stream-of-consciousness thing and write down all the words in their head and then come back and straighten it out later. Unfortunately I am too anal for that. If a narrative starts to go off the rails I stop, backtrack, and correct it, editing as I go. I’ve done it at least nine times so far in this post.

One of the bits of feedback I got from my many writers’ workshops in college was that I needed to “let go” with my words, just let them all out and let the story go wherever it wanted. I never really understood that back then, but I understand it now – not that understanding it would make any difference in the way I write. I wish I could do that, “let go” of all the words and let them spill out on paper like a letter from a madman. I wish I could learn to stop editing as I go. Would it make me a better writer?

But the universe apparently wants me to spill ink in the amount of two thousand words a day.

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to carve out some time for writing, such as getting up earlier and spending a little time with my laptop. I haven’t done it yet. I value my sleep. I also know that the somnambulate state could likely be fertile ground. Would it engender two thousand words’ worth?

Dreams are a funny thing. Most of mine disappear the moment I wake up. Only a precious few stay with me. Sometimes it’s only the refrain, as this morning: two thousand words.

Here are 496 of them.

— Mox

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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

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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

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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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