Oh, is it today already?

I have alerts setup in my Google calendar to remind my swiss cheese brain of various important events – momentous occasions like birthdays and holidays, and stuff that I’d easily forget, like what day and time my next PT appointment is. Within that mix are reminders to update the several blogs I post to (this one, my photo blog, Captured Light, and a blog of random bits of fiction, Two Buddhaas in Conversation).The photo blog and the fiction blog are pretty easy – I have good backlogs of photographs and fictions to draw from. But this one, where I actually have to think, never fails to cause me consternation.

Some days it seems I can think of nothing to say. Not so much brain-freeze as blankness. Those days I follow the advice of some great writer. (Mark Twain? Thomas Wolfe? Ernest Hemingway?) Even the quote itself is available in myriad permutations – “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed,” or “You just sit at your typewriter until little drops of blood appear on your forehead,” or “All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”

Whoever said it, or whatever the actual quote is, the fact remains that somedays, I can’t even find a vein to open. Other days, it seems there is so much blood flowing (to prolong the metaphor) that I can’t contain it all into one sensible stream. So many things to write about – fear of the uncertain future, seemingly random muscle pain, weird unidentifyable symptoms, is this just a cold or is it TB, the questionable benefits of physical therapy, anger, fatigue (lassitude, ennui, weariness…), the wonderful kindness of strangers, the love I am so privileged to receive from my wife every day… you get the idea. Sometimes the end of the day comes and I lament the fact that I have spent it mostly just staring out the window (and some days I stare out the window and don’t lament it at all), some days I realize that I actually had a list of Very Important Things to get to, and I didn’t manage to get to a single one. (My wife tells me that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.) I find scraps of paper on my desk with lists of things to write about.

And here I am, wasting what little strength I have in my fingers writing…what? What is this I am writing? Surely there was something I meant to say, some place I was heading this morning. I am variously distracted by Sheila Chandra’s mesmerizing chants on Spotify, or the beautiful forest view out my window. I find myself lying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep, writing brilliant stories and blog posts in my head, only to find that in the morning I can’t remember a word.

Well, anyway. This morning’s writing session is pretty well shot. At the very least, I offer a glimpse into the workings – or lack thereof – of my little mind. Maybe you’ll worry about my sanity (I certainly do!) or maybe you’ll be able to relate to my scatterbrain. They (who?) say that the power of the press belongs to them that own presses. These days, we all own our own little presses. Sometimes we find important things to say, sometimes we just ramble aimlessly.

Now, where did I put that list of Important Things to write about?


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

2 thoughts on “Oh, is it today already?”

  1. Well, first of all – I don’t think you have to worry about your sanity. You sound perfectly sane to me. As for swiss cheese brain, I do wonder if your meds for the MS contribute to that (like chemo and other cancer meds can cause “chemo fog” or “chemo brain”).

    And writing can be hard – especially when you are writing about yourself and things you are experiencing and learning to cope with. So far, the cancer experience is so new to me that I have found plenty of topics for my blog…but I know that will not always be the case. For one…I expect to get into a treatment rut where not much new happens for a relatively long period. And secondly, it would not surprise me to find I develop some of that chemo fog that makes it harder to concentrate on things like that. We shall see.

    Whatever you write here though, Steve, I always find very interesting and informative and I appreciate your efforts.

  2. I’ve seen the quote in so many variations, too. I thought it was Hemingway. Thanks for sharing this. I definitely can relate to your frustrations and disorientation which, sadly, I experience quite often.

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