Sunday, January 31, 2016

Notes at 2:00 AM (Got Sleep?)

Drug induced sleep means I wake up in 5 hours.  I need to ask my doctor what I am supposed to be getting out of taking a muscle relaxer for spasticity.  I don’t know which is worse, being unable to fall asleep because of spasticity or taking the medication, not sleeping soundly and waking up with spasticity anyway.

Once I am awake and my brain can tell I am paying attention, whatever is really bothering me gets air time.  This particular morning work decisions are moderating the conversation.

I work for a great company that does really well by its employees.  As a single mother of five, my children and I survived their growing up years primarily on my income.  I have had great benefits and career opportunity.  Although I have not “achieved” in ways that bring accolades and notoriety, starting out as an administrative assistant and becoming an IT professional is not such a shabby accomplishment.  This will be my 19th year with the company.

I would like to wind down a bit as I head into the home stretch towards retirement.  I would love to work a shorter week.  The financial impact of doing that would reduce my ability to save aggressively these last couple of years.  The longer I can work full time the better off I will be later but lately it has become more challenging to make it through the week.  By Friday I am wiped out physically and cognitively.  

So anyway, what am I going to do right now about being awake?  Read?  Maybe I should get up and go downstairs.  Or not.  Hungry.  No eating, too early.  No backlit screens.  Book.  Sleep will come.    

two days later....

Why am I awake again at this hour?  I cannot blame it on the muscle relaxer this time.  What was the first thing I became aware of as consciousness returned?  My left foot jumping about under the covers.  Pain.  Muscle twinges in random places.  Why am I hungry?  I ate a late dinner.  At 8:00 PM I finished off two small chicken thighs and some steamed cauliflower.  Maybe I need a drink of water.  

The vertigo has been back the last several days.  It makes me feel queasy and as if I am about to fall over.  A proprioception issue?  I have been quite clumsy this week.  Banging up my hands.  Dropping things at the grocery store twice the same trip.  Luckily the one that fell to the floor was a plastic bottle.

It has been raining all night.  The sound of the water running through the gutters and tapping softly on the roof is like music.  Soothing.  Peaceful.  There are moments of beauty and spaces of gratitude in most everything.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Just Keep Swimming

How to finish the book.  It seems close to being done sometimes.  My fatigue in the evening drains me of incentive.  Weekends are my only respite since I have a day job to sustain throughout the week.  I must keep trying.  

Annie Dillard claims a book often takes years to complete.  I know there are themes everywhere, enough for more than one good story.

Writing comes from my core being which, with fragments of childhood persona lingering, is constantly changing year after year.  Reading the draft after a lengthy absence reflects evidence of the shifts in perspective that time can bring.  I wonder if painters feel the same way.  Does a painting remain a work that is satisfactory years later?  

Does the writer become the voice that endures, or is it the story that lives?  Would Maya Angelou look back at her early work and wince?  Before her death she had written so many wonderful stories that seemed to simply need telling.  It wasn’t necessary to add any moralizations or philosophical insights.  Each story told itself.

Whatever else I do, being creative satisfies a deep longing to bring a version of truth into being.  Whether or not another living being reads anything I write, although that is desirable, doesn’t really matter.  I will write anyway and trust that if I just keep swimming the next moments will be there.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What's A Writer To Do?

Happy New Year!  I’ve been writing a book.  A memoir, if you’re asking me what sort of book it is.  Someone once told me that everyone has at least one story to tell but I believe that within the one story there are hundreds or maybe thousands of stories.  That is encouraging to me.  There is no lack of material.  The familiar places you and I visit have seen us clearly.

I don’t know what the vast majority of readers want to read these days.  The initial offering of reading material online is typically short and usually provocative.  When I look through the popular reading lists, it seems there is a vast world of literature and book publishing out there.  I wonder where I might fit in with all that or if I would want to.

When I was still in high school, I had wanted to become a journalist but as I began to look around at the media, I was discouraged.  There seemed to be so much hype necessary for stories to be heard and I was not, I am still not, a hype kind of person.  I do like the short essay or column form and columnists do not need to tow the line of sensationalism.  It helps to have some notoriety in the social-sphere, particularly if you have a cause or a philosophy to promote.  I might have a few of these I can pull out of hiding.

I share my writing in blog form and even submit an essay here or there.  What is important to me is that my voice is authentic.  I am happy to always be finding my voice, because I know the living of years brings change.  I would want a reader to “hear” me as my words are read.

Whether or not I finish the bigger work of a memoir, I have come to be completely in love with the part of me that writes.  I will always create with words.  This has been my outlet since I was a little girl.  It didn’t matter then if anyone read what I wrote.  Now it matters more.