For a show-off, I sure chickened out.
I was supposed to share something I wrote with other writers, but… I just couldn’t, not in the face of those others having shared prose quite superior to my stream-of-conscious scribbles. There’s more to this true story, but for the purposes of my point – the well running dry – and the confidentiality of the type of writing this meeting required, I’ll just say, I surprised myself stupid.
An analogy helps. Imagine being thrust in a consortium of experts in a field you’re unfamiliar with, Math for English majors, Architecture for dummies, American Idol in the Philharmonic, an audition room full of pencil-thin models and you’ve just come in sweaty from a Curves work-out.
People tell me I can write well. They’ve been moved to tears, to writing me back, lured into the delusion that I’m something special, a beautiful and deep woman worthy of knowing and loving. And yet, not quite moved enough to pay me handsomely for it, on a bi-weekly basis in the sum total of between $35,000 to $100,000 a year salary. And definitely not quite qualified to compete against other writers locally, nationally. Judging by the decided lack of awards on my mantle, just some McDonalds Kids Meal toys from The Incredibles franchise, my writing isn’t that big a deal.
These were some thoughts that ran through my brain matter, as I sat there stuffing my face with the brushetta and salmon spread I brought as a snack for the real artists in attendance, who didn’t have to brag about their works in progress via consecutive e-mails for two weeks prior, like I had. As I listened, face staring down a pile of purple grapes on a tray, one of the artists shared her work in progress humbly, apologizing at first for its incompleteness. Her effortless grasp of the simplicity of the complex language, the depth of understanding in touching human emotion, in her plea for spiritual rebirth, her beautiful voice…reduced me to ashes.
Did I mention our assignments had to edify God?
(saved) in five seconds
I hate and I love
And I need and I want
So much, so much
You touched me
And I didn’t feel a thing
If I didn’t hate you and love you
And need and want you
So much, so much
See your soul
Instead of mine
So much, so much
Take a picture. They’ll never read it.
I used to pour out really bad attempts at Sylvia Plath. Really bad, but at least, prolific. Somewhere along the line, after David and shortly before Robb, the bad poetry dried up. Maybe I wrote too much commentary, essay, news and gossip of soaps’ underworld, maybe I ran out of knights to secretly yearn after and caught the happy bug, maybe I finally got sick and tired of trying to be so tragic so tritely, or, I dunno. I think the lyrics are gone for good, though, leave that to the experts.
Odd that night. I usually don’t mind opening myself up like a series of books. Painfully autobiographical. Victorian leanings. Poetic poseur. Excess bravado. Mouthy child.
I get like that, I suppose, every other lunar year. This one’s been just as odd as my one night of reticence and shame. California switches weather patterns with Washington, winter hits the East Coast hard and early, Florida chills down to the 40s after several days of 70s.
Typically, Seattle’s local news spin doctors have found it nearly impossible to report on the uncharacteristically sunny and warm winter days on end through February into March, without a certain smug smirk of satisfaction. Despite the natural fact of droughts from such little annual rainfall, threatening livestock and farm produce, these sun worshippers pay half-hearted homage, homework and drudgery, but it’s easy to tell they don’t care if Seattle and parts beyond dry up into the Sahara.
The most heinous of them all can be found on KOMO-TV, which now airs not one, not two, but four news shows in a day. There’s the one-to-two-hour (it’s hard to tell sometimes) morning news program before and during Good Morning, America, the one-hour news teaser before soaps, there’s the one-hour “News First” Entertainment Tonight style filler on at the same time as NBC’s Oprah, then there’s the actual local news, another hour. All four local news shows could probably be condensed to 40 minutes, minus commercials and the constant folksy editorializing. My husband Eddie thinks it’s cheaper for the local affiliate here to air local talent (that’s what they are, they’re certainly not reporters) than a syndicated or nationally recognized hit show. Pretty soon, I expect KOMO-TV Channel 4 to air nothing but the smiling, shiny, happy, sun-tanned faces of Dan Lewis, Kathi Goertzen, Steve Pool, Eric Johnson, Connie Thompson, Todd Johnson, Ken Schram (‘kay, he’d be scowling, but still sitting there with his coffee like he’s Beretta) … blah-de-blah … in their own public telethon to make Seattle residents feel good and to raise money for Seattle’s worthy causes (what’s that? The organization to make life a living hell for Republicans?).
When I wake up in the morning to a window full of dark clouds, rumbling thunder and sheets of rain, I wake up a contented, free woman. I know then that I don’t have to play with the kids outside, breathe in any fresh air, dig in the dirt and weeds, or DO IMPORTANT THINGS. I can play hooky from my life, lie back down, bury my head in the pillow, and veg out.
I can also pretend I know what I’m doing and write to my heart’s content. It’s odd how my IBS-D, my constant stomach eating itself unless I’m stuffing my face 24/7 with carbos, my restless dissatisfaction with early retirement in the suburbs just vanish when I’m lost in a cacophony of words pouring out of my head onto the virtual page.
The Windows Media Player must be on full blast, preferably something dark, disturbing and subversive (Halleluiah Man by Love & Money, perhaps). A large mug of steaming hot Kona coffee with cream and sugar to the right of my laptop. A friggin’ thunderstorm of Noah’s Ark proportions just outside my window pounding, threatening to crack glass behind me.
It’s better than sex. It’s almost better than a marathon of the TV Food Network’s best of Everyday Italian (I want Giada to cook for me in front of my deathbed).
So what if the genius of writing while inspired with the rain is… all in
"cubbyhole[s ic]" archives
"General Hospital News and Gossip"