Inspire. April.


Adventures in Writing

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”

Winston Churchill

Colored pencil sketch with top and bottom borders. There is a green feather quill that has the ink flowing into the lower word.
It says: It's a good day to Write.

Let’s try that again. The entire essay is gone. No recovering it, and we’re off to the races again. It won’t be as witty or a breathtaking example of fine writing, but it is what it is.

I woke up this morning with a ton of stuff on my mind, and in my mind, and my mind would not settle down. I thought of a great story to write about the holidays, but it would also make a great blog post, and it might be a good memoir essay for the prompt of “details, details” that I’ve been struggling with, but it was also a good piece of family history, and it was probably prompted by a conversation I had with a friend about the balancing of Passover and Easter. As an aside, I happened to look at a calendar, and next year Easter is March 31, and Passover is near the end of April, so that should cause less balancing and juggling and stress, but of course, we’ll see how it goes. The best laid plans and all.

The thoughts and memories were coming fast and furious, one thing after the other, and I tried to filter out other unrelated memories that happened in the same space I was writing about. I had twenty minutes before I had to leave, and I could use that time to get it down before it was gone forever. I’ll remember it, I told myself. No, you won’t. You never do. And to make matters worse in my head, I knew that NO ONE in the history of writing remembers when they say they’ll remember and will jot the thought down later. No. One.

You know it’s true.

I also knew I couldn’t hand-write it; no way could I write fast enough to get it all out in the time allotted by circumstance, but if I could get dressed and get to my computer, I’d be able to use that twenty minutes productively. I half-dressed in the bathroom, ignoring my normal routine and doing things in the order that I approached them, dressed a little more in the bedroom, grabbed my stuff, and realized that I needed to take my medicine. I sat back down on the bed, took a sip of water to get my throat used to the idea of swallowing and tossed the medicine in my mouth. Unfortunately, my throat was feeling nauseous because my brain would not shut off, even for the five minutes it would take. My busy mind was yelling at my throat to swallow, and my stomach was responding with, ‘if you send that down here, I’m sending it right back up; choose wisely.’  I swallowed only the water, hoping not to choke on it, which I did not. Another try, and everything went down reluctantly.

I still needed to sit still for a minute or so to quell the queasiness due to *gestures around at the previous paragraphs*.

I scrambled down the stairs, which means I walked only a little bit faster, but still gingerly; I didn’t want to fall again as was becoming my regrettable habit.

Did I mention that I had a doctor’s appointment, which is an hour away due to traffic, AND I needed to drive my son to school, which fortunately is more or less on the way to the doctor, this morning?

Now, this is pretty much where I was when I lost everything, so as a reminder to myself and all of you: BACK UP YOUR WORK AS YOU WRITE.

SAVE that sucker!

Returning to this morning: I turn on my computer, pack my bag, finish getting dressed.

I signed into my computer. Put on my flannel shirt, and brush my hair.

(I meant to put my shoes on at this point, but I did not. Not a fatal miscalculation though.)

I started typing. It starts coming out, all of it. Details, and more details, then a tangent or two, a childhood memory that may or may not be relevant – it’s all there on the page. I keep typing. I know my husband knows this is serious. He works at home, and he’s moving from his office to the kitchen, getting his breakfast ready. He says nothing, which is unusual for him, and I silently appreciate it.

I keep typing.

My son comes out, looking at his watch. He won’t be late at all, but he’s up earlier than he needs to be and I’m making him wait. He’s going in early, I’m his only ride, but I know I’m out of time.

I jot down a few keywords so I can get back to it later:




And one more thing that I can’t remember at the moment. Kids’ table! It was kids’ table!

I save it.

I email it to myself so I can work on it on my Kindle while I’m out.

I click all the buttons to put the computer to sleep. While it was doing that, I bound into the living room, put my sneakers on, tying them quickly. I look at my son, guiltily saying, “I’m ready, I’m ready.”

I go back to the computer, close the lid, grab my notebook/binder, and my purse, and we are out the door. Ten minutes after I wanted to be, but neither of us would be late. Not sure what my expectation for my blood pressure will be, but here we are.

I forgot my water cup. I look at my son. He doesn’t want to go back inside. I don’t want to go back inside.

We leave without it, and I buy a Diet Coke from McDonald’s with his breakfast. I don’t have breakfast before a doctor’s appointment.

I drop him off.

I miss my exit on the highway because this mind swirl will not leave me alone, but up until this point, the drive has been uneventful. I do the turnaround, avoid the prospective speed traps, line up with the college traffic, and I get to the doctor fifteen minutes early. I sign into the Wi-Fi and relax. Now the fun begins.

As a postscript, after my physical, I stay in the parking lot deciding what to do about eating. Starbucks? Cracker Barrel? Home?

I had almost decided on home when the phone rings and it’s the doctor that I had just left.

I look at the office door from my car while I’m talking to the nurse.

When they drew my blood, the needle stuck the nurse. Would I mind coming back for an HIV and Hep B&C blood test? My biggest concern is co-pay – we’re in the deductible portion of health insurance and I can’t afford blood work. There is no charge for this. I tell them I’m in the area and I’ll come right back. I did not tell them that I was still in their parking lot playing a video game. Of course, I’ll come back. Did you know that people refuse? I wouldn’t want the stress it would give the nurse, waiting for each of her own tests if I didn’t come back. Another postscript, my veins suck. Like ridiculously suck. I usually get drawn in the hand, which was done earlier. Twice. Three times is the charm, I guess.

What a long day, and it won’t be over until I finish that essay about Passover. Then, maybe my mind will stop whirling and let me rest tonight. I won’t hold my breath.

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