January 15, 2018

the white pages

A friend recently read this blog and said he was glad that I've sidled up to whatever the equivalent of a blank sheet of paper is for me and started writing in earnest.  He said I have a voice he recognizes.

The ideas have been coming like a meteor shower for over a month.  I've but needed to reach out and grab one any time I felt.  Fire sparks kindling the bones.  Fire sparks raining in my head.  Hypomania.


My best childhood friend had an uncle, her father's twin, who would visit them every couple of years from Texas.  He would be passing through on business.  But he wouldn't write or phone them up first.  He would just come in through the back door into the kitchen and go over to the refrigerator, help himself to some cold cuts and a few Reese's Cups and a glass of lemonade, and pull up to the dining table with his plate and glass.  They'd come running to find out what the commotion was, and there would be Uncle Jack, and a frenzied reunion of hugs and everyone talking at the same time filled that little kitchen.


Hypomania is my Uncle Jack now.  I spent a long time tearfully frightened of it, freaking out any time the slightest sign of a swing fluttered by.  But I've come to trust my meds and I've seen that what it mainly brings, besides some regrettable irritability, is creativity.  It doesn't write or call.  It just walks in the back door and sits down.


Saturday night, the depression came back.

I had to go to the grocery store today.


Depression doesn't call or knock, either.  And the ideas have been extinguished, have dried up.  Gone.


I have to face this part, the first time that writing is a struggle instead of being as easy and natural as exhaling.  I am doing the one thing that helps, which is to stay busy around the house and do projects like deep-cleaning closets and selling off old computer parts and cleaning grout with an old toothbrush, something, anything.  But I'm supposed to be writing.

You don't have anything worthwhile to say.


Nobody cares.


You're stupid for writing.


You're wasting your time.


You're worthless.


Stay away from everybody.  Go to an empty room.  They shouldn't have to be around you.


Jenny Lawson says depression lies.  I believe her.  But this is the only thing I can squeeze out right now, the only thing I can grasp and put to paper.


Word.  New document.  Blank document.  Times New Roman.  12 point.  No, wait.  Courier New, because everyone hates it but me.  One inch from the left, one inch from the top, blinking cursor.  Stare.  Wait.  Stare.


How can a bunch of 1s and 0s mock me to my core?


You're just software.  If I wait long enough for the storm to pass, I can cover you in black shapes and you will be obliterated.  You're paper.  A fire spark will come and burn you away. 

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