Monday, March 19, 2012

Like We Used To in the Early Days....Well, Well, Darlin'.

Many would argue that the soundtrack to my life right now should be a permanent loop of "Too Much Time on My Hands." In fact, when I told my mother what I was doing yesterday afternoon, she actually said, "Killing time?" No, quite the opposite, actually.

True, it was a slow weekend for this swinging single gal, apart from all the blog-o-riffic fun I had compiling data and reading comments on Friday night to the "Might as Well Jump..." post, and apart from Saturday, when I went to church (and sang a hymn written to the tune of "Danny Boy," you know, because that's how Lutherans attempt to celebrate St. Patrick's Day), complimented my minister on his suave new hair cut, and went out to an awesome dinner with my sponsor and my mom, my sponsor enthusiastically saying, "That's the second time I've seen Annie EAT! FOOD!" She was off to further celebrate her Irish-dom and I came home to do the usual Saturday night ritual when there's no band and no Luke, and my other girlfriends aren't available. I took my wad o'pills, laughed reading the "Contemporary Faith" insert in my church bulletin on "Drugs!", watched some clips from "The Passion of the Christ" and collapsed eventually, only to awaken at 7:00 am with another beautiful day ahead.

My much-adored but sometimes-snippy, cherubic, yet foul-mouthed 12-year old decided to make his own blog this weekend at his Dad's house. What was the first blog? A simple "Hi." His second post? Title: "Subway Doesn't Deliver to Hell." The brief but OUCH! content? An apparent quote from me, which I don't remember, "I have to pay the Subway guy," under which he wrote, "My mom. Yes, the crazy mom. The one with the tattoos and rings. Weirdo." When I asked him about the Subway quote, he said it was something I said while I was intoxicated with NyQuil and all my other medications. He asked me if I remembered it and I told him that honestly, I didn't. Fair is fair. I blog about him all the time; he can blog about me without abandon. That doesn't mean without consequence. So watch it, Son of The Offbeat Drummer. I'm all about nurturing his writing and encouraging his independence, so despite being overtly called out as a weirdo, which is actually true, I say "Go for it."

My weekdays aren't full of slack. It takes a lot of maintenance to be Me, both mentally and physically, especially with major surgery a week away. Most mornings, I'm up before dawn, even when I don't have to take Luke to school. I wake up with music in my head, ideas in my head, writing in my head, and if I'm particularly hypomanic, a load of organization that may or may not get accomplished on any given day. If my brain somehow off-kilters itself chemically and I land in a depressive episode, nothing gets done except the bare essentials and I leave my pajamas on all day, lucky to shower. If I'm having GI issues, there's really no point in the day other than to manage trips to the bathroom.

I have to get a hair cut and get my eyebrows threaded, which is the extent of my beauty regiment pre-surgically...more medical appointments for clearance, the head shrinker shit to straighten out...the Cherub to take care of, bird food to buy so my parakeet doesn't die, Vegetarian Wednesday, laundry, packing, oh, the list goes on and on and will have to halt abruptly for an undetermined time come March 26th.

Yesterday, I took a "Me Day." Luke wasn't due home until 6pm, and for once, I could go outside and not be cold. I got a decent sunburn, though I kept sunscreen on my tattoos to keep them from fading. The rest of me is yeah, kinda red. I was sick of the computer and being indoors, but wanted to write, because I had a particular idea in my mind that I wanted to see blossom. (Something apart from all the juvenile, cat and mouse bullshit that's overtaken my blog since I left my job. Yesterday, all you got out of me were clips of Jesus. Too bad. It was the Sabbath--the day of rest. And note: I didn't take the Lord's name in vain once in that post. Astonishing.)

Going outside to write meant that I had to have the requisite items for this particular project: a pen, a notebook, a can of La Croix, smokes, my phone and my only thesaurus book, which is so old, it says "Revised and Updated for the 1990's!"

I only half-jokingly took a picture of the tattered, oft-used in college book and uploaded it to Facebook, with a caption that suggested to my friends that if anyone was thinking of a 40th birthday present for me that didn't say "over the hill," I could use a paper thesaurus compiled during THIS century. I'm so used to, when needed, having it at my fingertips on my computer that I took the beauty of the thesaurus for granted. When I'm on a roll writing here on the blog, big words come to me easily, though I've been known to refer to a computerized thesaurus on occasion. When I purposely try to confound, I have no trouble. Yet when I'm looking for the perfect synonym or antonym for a certain word, I have to look up a variety of choices and choose the most eloquent. (Hell, though, today I *made up* a word and stuck it in my writing.)

Why would I need eloquent words today? Because I did something I honestly hadn't done in 17 years, since I graduated from Knox College in 1995. An old-school writing exercise, one I hadn't practiced since I was a very young woman. I sat down and wrote a poem for a friend. From scratch. By hand.

Poetry was my writing concentration in college, not prose, play writing or fiction. We didn't typically, in the early years, type our poetry ideas out on computers or even typewriters. We wrote them by hand, edited them by hand and handed them in. I don't believe I started printing poems out on a computer until junior or senior year.

And as I sat outside, I had no backspace key, no delete button. There was no cutting or pasting. I had to draw arrows up and down if I wanted a line or a verse plopped somewhere else in the poem. I had to use grammatical markings to correct myself after reading the initial product. There was a lot of scratching out with tiny corrections or changes on the paper. It was a brutal, cathartic, fruitful exercise of which I was proud when I finally went back to the computer to type out to email the poem to a few close friends for critiquing or reading before I give the final draft to the person for whom the poem is intended.

My mom read the poem and didn't get it at all. She doesn't like poetry and doesn't really understand it. Another friend said it was very interesting and understood the metaphors. Kate simply said "superb" but she and I need to talk about it critically before I give it to my friend. Super Juls read it and we were mostly simpatico in our thinking, though I explained a few things more from my perspective as the author. She was on-target about the poem having no resolution at the end, which is true of the relationship between the muse and myself.

After I saw it on paper, I honestly didn't think it turned out like donkey shit. Rusty, needs a paint job, but better than drinking off a goat's dick, a frightening visual!

What was my purpose in writing a poem? I was trying to get a message through to someone I love. If I couldn't get through to him through music or my prose, I reverted back to the last method of expressing myself (without speaking directly to his face) that I knew of--writing poetry. I don't know if he's avoiding the obvious, or needs time to sort things out, or has just been really busy, but I was growing increasingly frustrated at his radio silence as of late. I cast self-doubt to sea and came up with an idea based off something he may or may not have said to me once in the past. Something I could've sworn I heard him say a couple of years ago. I could have been totally wrong and making the whole thing up, but I rolled with the idea anyway. Hey, when you have a good metaphor to work with, you fucking take what you can get.

Normally when I'm trying to send a message or tell someone close to me how I feel about them, I make them a CD of music that all says what I'm trying to convey, much like some of my other musically-inclined friends, like my ex-husband and my best male friend, both of whom are equally on par with me in the CD-making counterculture. And hell, one of them actually writes his own songs! For me!

With the last CD I made for my friend, I took the time to write out a long email explaining why I chose each of the 18 songs, what they were about (since, as I've said before, no one listens to lyrics anymore), and what they meant between that friend and myself. He enjoyed it quite a lot, and appreciated the time and effort I took in explaining, though it's taken him what feels like forever to get through the emailed details and talk to me about it. He said on the phone, the last time we spoke, that I was a master, a professional CD-maker. That it was a rare gift that I could pull, at the drop of a hat, songs in the library of my mind to come up with the perfect tune.

I admitted that every CD I've ever made for him had some sort of meaning behind it, but that this last one was particularly special. How it turned into such, I'm not even acutely aware. I swore to him I wasn't going to blog the song diary and I won't, for it's deeply personal. He's used to getting CD's from friends who just want him to hear cool music he might enjoy. He's not used to receiving things dedicated solely to him. So I think he was, overall, a little flabbergasted and didn't know what else to say while we were talking.

I'm bringing the poem to my therapist this morning, and I won't post it publicly until after it's been critiqued by my best friend, and certainly read by the friend who was my muse. Suffice it to say it's about a guy who leaves his Christmas lights up on his house all-year-round, which I may or may not have heard him say. My therapist will be none too pleased that I didn't do my cognitive behavioral therapy worksheets since our last meeting, but this exercise was far more valuable to me, as a writer and thinker, than jotting down and giving percentiles to the emotions I was feeling at given moments when I was feeling anxiety or if PTSD was bothering me. Today at therapy, we're going to do things my way and that'll have to be good enough.

Completing an entire original poem in what took about an hour and a half, not having done so in so long, felt very, very good, as did the warm sunshine on my typically-freezing body. Once the sun had disappeared from the patio and I got goosebumps again, I went inside to type the poem out on the computer. I quickly emailed it off to my select few friends and by that time, it was getting close to Luke's arrival, when he showed me the fog machine he'd built by hand and brain over the weekend, using dry ice, with his dad.

My son and I are both wicked creative, though we express it in different ways. Right now, he's building machines and contraptions and doing experiments, so he's more like a budding scientist. He had a rough draft of a report on Shakespeare he wanted me to read last night, which I did, and wanted to take a pen and edit with vigor, though he wouldn't allow me to. He said, "Mom, it's just a FIRST DRAFT." I said, "Well, it needs work," and I explained why and where it could use a little tweaking. It was too late in the evening for him to think clearly enough to re-write any of the draft and I was so done manically writing for the day that I had to turn the lights out and put my brain to rest for a few hours, though Luke woke me up in the middle of the night crying for me to stop snoring.

Sorry, Luke. We'll be sleeping in separate rooms in a few weeks for good. Until then, I'll buy you some earplugs.

So thus was my quiet Sunday. Kickin' it way old school. I hope my friend enjoys the poem and I think he'll intellectually get it. I plan on giving it to him tomorrow, which fills me with nerves, but I'm confident that I've done right by him via the metaphors I chose. As the Flaming Lips say, "It's potential has arrived."

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