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




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.


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.







I’m going to do a little something new and different here.  I tend to live in this space as if it were my whole world, and that means that my whole world is abnormally small from that perspective.  But today I’m going to do something I’ve never done here (at least not in recent memory, my memory really isn’t all that reliable).

I’m going to link to a post from another blog.

Here it is:  http://allietown.blogspot.com/2013/03/end-word-please.html

The reason I haven’t ever done this sort of thing is that it would blow my cover.  I am purposely anonymous and want to keep it that way.  But this is worth viewing.

I have a passing acquaintance with the person who wrote this, in a second-hand kind of way, and while my own child has nowhere near the issues her child has, I can so relate.

I know what it’s like to suspect that “something” about your child isn’t quite right.

I know what it’s like to think “maybe it’s this,” “maybe it’s that” and seek out experts in this or that field.

I know what it’s like to have to sit and listen to a doctor tell you things that confirm your thinking and yet you don’t want to hear.

I know what it’s like to have your spirit wither with this new knowledge.

I know what it’s like to make the decision whether to accept or reject what you’ve been told.

I know what it’s like to be pea green with envy when others from your/your child’s peer group brag about their kids’ accomplishments.

I know what it’s like to become a researching maniac, a tester, a tryer, an adopter, a label-reader, a crusader for that one bit of Rosetta Stone that will readjust the skewed world you live in.

I know what it’s like to love your child with a fierceness that surprises you, to take great offense at anyone who doesn’t see how amazing your kid is.

I know what it’s like to feel defeated, even on the most ordinary of days.

I know what it’s like.

And while I know all of this, what I can’t begin to know is why others can be so cruel.  For most people it takes a watershed moment, something that resets your vision by affecting your life in the most personal of ways, before that cruelty falls away.  Count me guilty.

Why is it that cruelty comes so easily to mankind?  Why don’t love and understanding rise to the top instead?

Are we so afraid of being viewed as weak that we strong-arm our way through life, glossing over our compassion for others?  It’s not a question of eat or be eaten in most cases, so why do we hit first and ask questions later?  Why are we so harsh towards the things we don’t understand?

I must say that by far the best thing about being in my 40’s is the clarity that comes with each passing year.  I better understand the phrase “the folly of youth.”

It’s one thing to be young and foolish.  It’s quite another to be old and foolish.  You really don’t have much of an excuse beyond willful ignorance, and that’s not all that excusable.

One thing’s certain:  regardless of where you fall on the disability parenting spectrum, the slings and arrows of others’ cruelty sting just the same across the board.  Doesn’t matter if your child is severely handicapped or mildly challenged.  It all hurts.

It. All. Hurts.


— Mox





So I have this recurring fantasy.

Said fantasy does not include piles of money or Channing Tatum, although I may exercise my option for that fantasy on another day.

No, said fantasy is more in keeping with the rich interior life of Yours Truly, The Closet Hermit.  I admit it, I prefer my own company probably just a little too much.  Particularly when the weather is cold.  I’m not a lot of company these days.

But I digress.  Central to my fantasy is this:


This, dear friends, is a caretaker’s cottage, located on an estate just one street over from my home.  The cottage is situated in an orchard well beyond the main house, and it is empty, empty, empty.

I don’t know when the last humans occupied it.  I’m pretty sure it’s occupied by a host of non-human creatures, mice and snakes and such.  And I’m pretty sure the rooms are tiny and unkempt, and probably full of junk.  The man who owns the estate is something of a collector.

I walk my dog along the lane that skirts the edge of the estate (such a grand term for it, when really it’s been reduced over the years to a bit acreage and a cluster of buildings) and I allow myself the freedom to fantasize about that little cottage.  I daydream about what it would be like to have it as a workspace.  I visualize a table in the sunshine, in front of a window, where I could set up my computer and write the next Great American Novel.  I visualize an easel set up where I would be able to get back to painting.  I visualize a table and shelves where I could stash my crafting stuff.

In short, I fantasize about having a little space all to myself, where all my stuff could exist peacefully in the chaotic format it tends to assume, and no one would touch anything and everything would be right where I left it.

I suppose most women, if they are wives and mothers, have similar fantasies.  Just to have a space for themselves that no one can intrude upon.  For me, the best part about it would be the absence of distraction that is endemic to writing, which I am beginning to miss.  (Not that I don’t write every day I’m at work… there’s only so much tech talk you can research and regurgitate before you start feeling a little cold about it.)  I haven’t felt this way about my writing in a long time and I’m a little afraid of it but at the same time a little excited about it too.  It’s been a long, long time since I felt that slow burn.  I haven’t had an idea hit me yet, but when I do I hope it’s a good one.

— Mox