I believe the great ones, Plato, Lao Tze, Buddha, Christ, Paul and the great Hebrew prophets are not remembered for negation or denial. Not that it is necessary to be remembered but there is one purpose in writing I can see, beyond simply doing it interestingly. It is the duty of the writer to lift up, to extend, to encourage. If the written word has contributed anything at all to our developing species and our half developed culture, it is this: Great writing has been a staff to lean on, a mother to consult, a wisdom to pick up stumbling folly, a strength in weakness and a courage to support sick cowardice. And how any negative or despairing approach can pretend to be literature I do not know. It is true that we are weak and sick and ugly and quarrelsome but if that is all we ever were, we would milleniums ago have disappeared from the face of the earth, and a few remnants of fossilized jaw bones, a few teeth in strata of limestone would be the only mark our species would have left on the earth.      

 —John Steinbeck


About 6:30

You arrived back home late yesterday, about 6:30, pushing through with the force of will to make it to your own driveway, into your own back door. Five days on the road, but it’s enough of a break that it feels like forever. Feels like your own house is a stranger, a cat that wanders around a corner to stare at you with wary, accusing eyes.

The sink is full of dishes, the baskets are full of clothes. New boxes have sprung up next to the old ones, and feels like there’s so much flotsam and jetsam that you have to wade through ankle deep. The mailbox is overflowing, and electronic messages wait for attention. Nothing went anywhere, and the world didn’t stop moving.

You let the kids stay up and play as you rattle about the house, not making eye contact with anything. It feels like you should be doing something, but you know that once you start pulling on any single string, the web of what needs to be done will start closing in around. You finally hustle the kids off to bed. There’s a baffling brief burst of boisterous energy that surprises even them, and then they’re asleep as their heads hit the pillows, finally taking a chance to relax, to breathe.

And then it’s your turn to stumble off, find your warm dark room and drop into the blankets, and that’s the moment, when your head finds its own personal pillow, that’s when the house wraps it’s soft heavy arms around, and becomes once again your home. The cat leaps onto the bed and curls up behind your knees as you lie on your slide, warmth generated where you two touch that is more than the sum of either of you. You’ve been forgiven. Just don’t do it again.

blogs, Writing

Short Circuits and Stumbling Blocks

I hit a stumbling block with the piece I was trying to write about the first year of living with my diagnosis. While for the most part, the experience has been positive, I started pushing back at myself when it felt like, to me, that I was focusing on the positive at the expense of the negative. But writing about the negative caused me to pull up short, as if I were uncertain whether or not I could share the negative on the blog.

I’ve been kicking this around for five months now, but I haven’t given up on it, which tells me that it’s something that I want to write. I think that maybe it’s bigger than I thought it was, and maybe I need to break it down into some smaller chunks.

It’s just frustrating when you finally put a good chunk of effort into something that’s been hanging out for so long, only to have it short circuit in your hand.


Working on Voice

Something that I’ve always struggled with regarding my blog is the voice. What voice is appropriate, to whom am I writing, how formal or informal should the writing be: these questions paralyze a lot of blog posts before they ever get posted.

Anyway, I’m working on something difficult but something I want to express, especially here at the end of the year, a time of reflection. So there might be some fractured posts as I try to figure out how to get it down.

But as a pre-New Year’s resolution, I’m trying to post to the blog at least daily. Hopefully working on posts each day will help me find that elusive voice.


Comic Idea

Me (sitting at my computer): I haven’t left the house today.

Me: I haven’t left the house this week.

Me: I can’t remember the last time I left the house.

Me: …

Me (raises both arms in triumph)