Category Archives: Writing

Has It Really Been Six Months?

Six months since I updated this site? Whatever is wrong with me! So now it’s February 9th, 2020. My weather app shows that at this moment, 3:15 pm, it’s “Cold, dark, overcast, and super lame.” Oh, and 35°. Each day around this time, one of my camera apps sends me an encouraging message that it’s time to go outside and take a picture.

As if!

As if I’m going to put on my coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and boots just so I can make some stupid app happy. It’s  so much easier to turn off notifications from that pesky bugger.

Our house is heated with steam heat via radiators, and that means it’s very dry inside. I know the old trick of putting bowls full or water on top or the radiators to increase the humidity, but then the windows (1) fog up with condensation and then (20) freeze over at night. Then on top of everything else, my room is the warmest room in the house—so much so that even in the winter I leave my window open a couple of inches so I don’t roast.

Wintertime Blues, SAD, and Chronic Depression

I’m dealing with all three. So far I’m handling it quite well, but there are occasional days when one or more of them get to me. Interestingly, the worst days are the ones that all but force me to my writing desk. They’re the days when writing ceases to be an activity and instead becomes a necessity, and urgency, a need. And so in order to keep my sanity, I obey.

That’s why I’m writing this entry. Well, that and my guilt about not having done sooner.  And you know what? It works! I’m smiling, and the fact that we’ve been inundated by a snowstorm doesn’t bother me.

For the first time in days I’ve accomplished something other than doing laundry, shopping for groceries, and cleaning the bathroom.

And I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow, knowing that this mood will hold at least until then, and I know that I’ll be writing here again tomorrow as well—even if its just to prove to myself that I can do it!

See you then!

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Filed under Catching Up, depression, Despair, Hope, Writing

Tea Fuels My Writing…

And My Writing Fuels My Tea

Pretty nifty, the way that works out, wouldn’t you say?

As usual, I was out of bed by 8 this morning, and my first cup of tea was brewing by 8:10, and gone by 8:20, as I breezed through the morning news and weather.

No change in either: we’re still gonna get another 14 to 20 inches, and Trump is still the worst president in history.

But as Arlo said in Alice’s Restaurant, “That’s not what I come to talk to you about.”*

I’ve come once again to speak of the wonders of tea. The aches and pains of growing old. Childhood memories. Grandchildren. Everything that falls under the heading of “SSDD.”**

My writing is a reflection of my life in this regard: I rarely know what I’m doing when I begin each day, and I rarely know what I’m going to write when I fire up my writing tool.

A friend told me yesterday, “You know that part of your brain that says ‘better think about this before you blurt it out’? Yeah. I was born without that part.”

To which I replied, “I know what you mean; I like to be just as surprised as everybody else by what comes out of my mouth.”

And I’m pretty sure that explains why I’ll never be famous for writing The Great American Novel.™

I wonder: is it possible to age out of one genre and into another? Have I lost the spark or desire or whatever impetus pushes writers to write fiction? Am I condemned to writing memoirs and op-eds for the rest of my life?

When I was in elementary school back in the ‘50s, I was “fidgety,” “disruptive,” “smart, but doesn’t apply herself.” (The same was true in college, which is probably why I never graduated.)

What in the ‘50s was a character defect is now recognized as ADHD, or as mine has settled into, ADD. It’s the same thing, but without the hyperactivity.

Like so many other things from my childhood, what was once a problem or a hindrance has matured into an asset: my mind makes connections instantly, where other people have to ponder for a while.

But honesty compels me to admit that ADD can be a pain in the ass, too: sometimes ideas come so fast that they’re gone before I can write them down.

It makes me a lousy editor of my own works; there have been far too many times when I’ve sat down to edit a first draft only to look at it from another angle and end up rewriting it into something other than what it was originally.

This story is an excellent example. I started with the intention of how my consumption of tea and my writing are connected, but after 3 or 4 rewrites it bears no resemblance to the original.

Except for the graphic at the top of the page, nothing remains of the original.

But isn’t that a perfect example of what William Faulkner said?

In this case, the character took so many twists and turns along the road that I was barely able to follow him, much less catch up to him.

But then again, isn’t that what writing’s all about? Getting out of the way and letting the story tell itself?


*Hear it on YouTube
**Same Shit, Different Day

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Filed under Tea, Writing

Another Day of Writing

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

This is another day I don’t feel like writing. I’m tired, my arthritis is acting up, and I don’t want to do anything.

It’s 12° outside, at 10 a.m. I’ve had breakfast and my first cup of tea. I’ve spent 10 minutes ranting and raving about not having any cigarettes — it’s been over a week — and I’ve finally run out of excuses.

So I’m forcing myself to write. It might not be any good, and I might delete it as soon as it’s done, but as the old saying goes, “A writer writes.”

Even when she doesn’t feel like it. Even when she’s only doing it because she’s run out of excuses not to write.

“A writer writes.”

Yes, yes: I’ve read it so many times before. But this time I’ve taken it to heart and actually acted on it.

I started this piece at around 8:30, and I’ve been editing it, rewriting it, massaging it since then.

So here I am, 2 and a half hours into this piece, and I’m finally at peace with it.

Writing is a craft, a discipline, and one that demands constant practice. It’s like an exercise as well, in that the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Today is the day I’m forcing myself to write, despite myself.

Today I can finally call myself a writer.

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How I Handle My ADD

It ain’t ADHD, by the Way

(Originally published on Medium)

Photo by pina messina on Unsplash

Attention Deficit Disorder. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

There’s a fine line between the two. I used to have the latter, but it matured into the former. And much like my depression, it’s been a lifelong companion.

Consider: I have pictures of me as a child of 3. I am connected to my mother by a chest harness and a leash.

Before you start screaming “Child abuse!” you need to understand it was the only way she could keep me safe, short of keeping me in a stroller. Put me on the ground and I’d take off running.

That phase — the ADHD — lasted until I was about 7. “Your child can’t sit still in class.” “Your child is so fidgety that it distracts the rest of the class.”

Fortunately, I outgrew the hyperactivity. Or rather it matured into something else: ADD.

My mind still made lightning-quick connections between random thoughts and ideas.

It still does.

There are medications now that we didn’t have in the 1950s. And I can’t say how grateful I am for that. Not that we have them, but that we didn’t have them back then.

My Creativity is Dependent on My ADD

I enjoy having ADD. It’s part of who I am. I appreciate the way my mind zips from thought to thought, making connections which at first seem random but in the end come together and make perfect sense.

A professor at uni once told me, “ It’s amazing to see your mind at work. It’s like a lightning bolt, zipping from cloud to cloud. But eventually it hits its target. All in about 3 seconds.”

That’s Why I Write

My ideas come faster than I can write them down. Writing forces meeting to focus on one idea long enough to commit it to the screen.

Since I know that what I’ve written is probably incoherent to anyone else, I set it aside for a time. Then I go back and massage it until it makes sense, until it’s right.

Consider: since I started writing this piece, I’ve gone back and changed the title at least 3 times. I’ve edited the story so many times I can’t remember how many. And I’ll keep editing, massaging, until it’s RIGHT.

And that’s a benefit of ADD, and how I cope with it.

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Filed under memories, mental health, Writing

Conversing via Texting Sucks

Why I Hate it

My ex communicates with me mostly by text. Her daughter is the same. I remember sitting across from them in a restaurant while they texted back and forth. To each other. Sitting side by side. It used to drive me crazy. Well, crazier than I already was. Communication is so much more than just words. It is facial expressions, tone of voice. Visual and audible cues mean so much more than mere words can express. Those cues, those subtleties, are lost when texting. Even the ability to write a decent letter can convey more emotional content than can a text message. Face-to-face conversations are rich with content, both spoken and unspoken. The smile that comes to your face when I say something that amuses you, or the arching of your eyebrows when I ask a probing question.

All of that is lost in texting.

Texting definitely is a great tool. It has its place. It’s perfect for reminding your spouse to pick up a dozen eggs on the way home from work. Asking Nana what time she’ll be arriving to visit the kids this Saturday morning. And yes, there are grandparents who are technologically hip; I’m one of them. But when it comes to meaningful communication, call me. After all, that’s why mobile phones were created in the first place. Better yet, stop by for a cup of tea and a long conversation.
Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash
I’ll even spring for the cookies!

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Filed under Communication, Frustration, rants, Writing