Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writer's Block and Its Detritus

NOTE TO THE READERSHIP:  After finding the dusty draft, just published, on conquering writer's block, I searched to see if I'd ever written myself out of that box before. Lo and Behold! Back on 10 January 2010, a more somber moi tried to scribble her way free of that writing snare. Just as self-centered and focused on pity as most of my posts, I don't get the feeling of resounding success that came from the "Cats Trump Writer's Block" posting.  There's a lesson there.  You should be getting a vibrating-cum-annoying-ring text message on your smarty-panted phone about now... and with every Pity Party Post published herein.  Yes, there was an app for that!  If you adjust your "Settings," you might be able to avoid future text alerts for depressing REPOSTS!

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Oh, my dahlink readers, I am so sick.

At least, this is a common, plebeian, ordinary sort of sick, as opposed to my usual krapola of unheard of neurological disorders and infectious disease firsts, auto-immune oddities and literally rotting bones.

You know that steroids weaken the immune system, right? That cheers me whenever I get some infectious process -- because when acutely ill, the first thing I am supposed to do is DOUBLE MY STEROIDS. Gee, let's take MORE immune-suppressing drug, especially now that the germs are attacking!

Okay, so here is the deal.

I have writer's block, I think. Plenty to say, that's not the issue. Hyper-awareness of my own worth is more the cause. When you know just exactly how little you matter, there's no point to yapping on and on.

Still, writing is invigorating and good for me. And, to be brought low by gunked-up stinky yellow mucus AND silence would be just too much to bear. Especially that "silence" part.

So I am going to continue this here post, this ode to bodaceous blogging, as a Live Blogging Event. Anything goes. The ridiculous shall be honored. No spell checks allowed.

No erasures, no deletions. Above all? NO CAVEATS. No breathy declarations of what-i-really-meant-to-say.

Here we go. Keep your fingers crossed in hope that, by the end of this process, I will have regained some sense of writerly purpose.

More and more, I am keeping the Boob Tube on, even when I am not watching it. This is typical, I believe, of people who feel lonely. Still, when I turn it off, I relish the silence and fuss at myself about the ridiculous waste of energy, and the pollution of noise and idiocy.

One of my Brother-Units was overly generous at Christmas time, and I used his excessive generosity to purchase a Wii system, with the Fit program and balance board, plus extra remotes and whatcha-ma-callits. I used it with great fun until New Year's Eve when the virus first made its concerted attack.

Shortly before Xmas, we turned the dining room into a library. Don't argue or fret, just accept it. Dining room? Now a library. Okay?

So we have a tiny old t.v. stashed in the new reading room, that no one likes to watch. In the bedroom, we have the main viewing machine, but Fred, especially, wants to replace it with a fancy-schmancy new one. The one in the bedroom is to be moved into the library (the tiny one already in there? I dunno its fate.).

The thinking behind these genius moves is that "We can Wii" better in there, since the center of the room is free. "Wii"ing in the bedroom, in addition to sounding like an odd excretory process, is a cramped endeavor.

I believe that fixing this situation will be my goal for today. This will entail sending The Fred to make the television purchase, slightly reworking the library layout, dealing with wires and connections and Semi-Technical Schtuff.

By the end of the day, The Library will have been humbled to the status of Room-With-A-Few-Books.

And maybe I can play a little Wii Tennis tonight. I confess that just playing tennis as a video game brings back most excellent memories.

My legs are on fire. The right foot is completely messed up, burning and twisting, bringing me down, pissing me off. In a nostalgic move, the shooting electrical charge that I associate with my first year or so with CRPS, is back, and the end point of the surge? You guessed it: all the way down the leg into the foot, culminating in fireworks within the spacious confines of my BIG TOE.

That first year (or so!), Fred was often treated to my loud hacking yells -- in the middle of watching a movie, eating dinner, deep sleep. Even though I knew that the sudden electrocutions of my feet were coming, anticipation did nothing to keep me from screaming with pain. I tried and tried to maintain silence, to not give a hint of distress, fear, or frustration. Most of the time, I failed. The instances of success were marked by an inability to breathe and palms gouged-- from digging nails, a failed fist. And here I am, nine years later, back at it -- a regular screech owl, talons sharp and at the ready.

I wake myself up, screaming.

Of course, I also occasionally wake up laughing my ass off.

In addition, I am often shaken back to consciousness by the weight of Dobby, Our Little Idiot, perched on my chest, a worried look on his face. It happens whenever I am so audacious as to put my arms under the quilt -- something I have been prone to do during this incredible cold snap. This triggers some large anxiety in him -- does he think I am being eaten by the quilt? Death by textile? [Dobby has a "thing" for threads, materials, weavings, tapestry and affects his evaluations so seriously that I can imagine him as a bent tailor, absentmindedly rubbing some fine cloth in between his index finger and thumb.]

It is unfortunate, though, this need to rescue me from my quilt.

I have just the one quilt that I am able to tolerate over my body. I sleep on top of another [lesser] quilt, and cover everything but my legs with this worn, beloved, rubbed-soft cotton handmade wonder... It is full of holes, stained [despite being washed twice a week] by coffee and, thanks to the seven major shoulder surgeries between August 2008
and April 2009, considerable blotches of betadine and -- sorry -- blood. It's as sanitary as can be... but is looking fairly sad.

I have tried other things and it is either a problem with weight or softness -- too much weight on this CRPS-afflicted body, and the pain levels and burning get out of control -- too little softness and the irritation to the skin also increases the burning sensations that are the hallmark of CRPS-type pain.

I miss getting between the sheets, though! Just like I miss shoes -- oh, God how i miss shoes!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well, it looks like the television scenario will extend into the weekend, as Fred is getting a slow start, and I don't feel like irking him with request upon request.

Over on Twitter (another universe, Twitter!), I am shocked by the frequency with which I see folks writing these exact words in response to the current humanitarian crisis in Haiti: "What about the people who need help in our own country?" It's my least favorite form of argumentation, if it even qualifies as such. The only thing I know to say -- though I would never take up the argument on Twitter -- is "well, we are not talking about those people right now..." There's not a reasoned response to be made to people who are looking for a fight or who wish to use others purely as something to stand on. And I mean that almost literally and with near good intentions.

Into my head just popped: chowder. Specifically, fish chowder. I watched a recent episode of Chef Bobby Flay's Throwdown show -- about Manhattan Fish Chowder, meaning simply that is has a tomato base. What can I say? I feel catholic on Friday. It sounds like dinner to me.

Cooking has become something I very much enjoy, even as the mechanics of getting it done have become complicated. We foresee a day when I won't be able to do it any longer -- mostly because of my hands and their unpredictability, as well as the situation with my shoulders. Ah... but until then? I am becoming quite the cook. I've always loved it, but as I have needed to concentrate and think my way through the process more and more -- imagine! I got better at it! Go figure.

I've decided to perform penance (get this catholic shit out of my head! out! out!) for my sinful thoughts about Fred's persistent participation in Wednesday night suppers over at the Existentialist Congregation -- yes, the place being run by Militant Lesbians. This penance has taken the form of making the dish he takes to these weekly potlucks. This week, they got to feast on my carrots. It's my own "recipe," though I don't write anything down -- I think this is actually a common presentation for carrots, though The Fredster ooohs-and-ahhhs like it is something special. Cooking for 10 people, I used 15 whole carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds. A bias cut would be fine, too. Just cut the suckers up however you want. The more surface area, the more of the sauce you will taste... Then steam them until just soft. I make my own curry "powders," as I am very picky about spices... Sometimes, they are the only thing over which I have quality control. Why? Oh... I would have to go into the intricacies of getting out of the house, going shopping, etcetera. hmmm. You know what? I *started* a post a few weeks back, like the very day I was getting sick. It remains a draft. I will tack it onto the end of this post -- this post that is rapidly spiralling out of control.

Back to the hot topic of carrots. Where was I? Ah, curry. Cumin, cardamom, mustard, cayenne, coriander, and turmeric -- best if all are in "whole" form, then toasted and ground, in proportions of your choice, as needed. I add other spices according to my mood, mostly. Chipotle. Cinnamon. Fennel.

I suspect that I use spices as a form of sexual sublimation. Exotic, passionate, rich, intense. And so forth. Ahem. Cough. Titter.

Peppers. Nutmeg. Various peppers. Fenugreek. Cloves. Saffron.

Find what you like. For these easy carrots, you want to complement their sweetness and the citrus that you will also be adding. In other words, it won't be the star of the show, so keep it out of the "smoky" range and more in the Arena of Simple.

So... to the carrots directly, or in a separate pot if you are kinda timid, start adding your curry, then some butter. Then salt (sea salt, kosher). Finally, add the zest of one large navel orange, as well as about a quarter cup of its juice. Serve immediately or in the time it takes to fly across town to your pseudo-religious Wednesday night Christian-bashing session. Cough. Ahem. Titter... Cloves. Garlic. Chiles...

The stock market, in its infinite wisdom, has taken back all the goodness it gave just last week. Pow! Boff! Bam!

Incredibly, I need to rest now. And I am soaked again from the fever breaking -- for which I am grateful. I am just tired of washing up and changing my clothes several times a day! Before I lay down under my previously mentioned quilt, I will start a load of laundry. Added incentive is the fact that Marmy Fluffy Butt decided to mark my softest hoodie, the little beyatch.

So has slapping all these words down managed to break through the walls of my writing block? I don't know. It doesn't feel particularly liberating, but then that could be due to a mounting sense of frenzy and fatigue -- a simultaneous combination that is soul-wearying.

As promised, and without prejudging whether it really "goes" or not with what I wanted to say about "control" of cooking ingredients.... here is the kernel of a post that never made it. I haven't altered a word of it, which may come back to haunt moi, eh? I also have no idea why that particular YouTube vid was tacked onto the end, although I remember thinking that I loved this child, and wanted her energy and happiness:

okie-dokie, so we are sick as dogs... although, where the meaning of that comes from, i dunno. dogs are not, by nature, "sick."


this virus is cruel. i woke feeling pretty doggone (who let the dogs out?) good. no coughing. temp 98.4 (no shit!) just an aching head, with pesky swollen glands. for me? a big nada. no problem. gonna coast through the day, get some work done, mebbe write a little, do my wii, face cleaning the bathroom (procastination issue).

i was looking forward to showing off for fred. "how do you feeeeeellll, ffffred, dahlink?"

"moi? moi? i feel fuh-fuh-fine, ffffred!"

while waiting for fred to wake up, i did morning chores, and began to lag. yes, the energy did flag, and i, i began to fade. i was, in short, diminished.

sorry. i was briefly channeling t. s. eliot.

or yeats.

it's so hard to tell, anymore. i grow old.

eating the peach is not gonna be my issue. no, i think that monster slinking toward jerusalem is gonna get moi.

hey, i bought a new toothbrush the other day! wait, i didn't tell you i went out, did i? well, i did. grocery shopping. and i had an emotional meltdown right in the middle of the damned store. see... i hadn't left the house in 29 days. that's right. TWENTY-NINE FREAKING DAYS. that's how high my pain level has been, how miserable my legs, how very, very bad it has been. oh, poor moi {peeking to see if you pity moi, yet...}!

anyway, i had been begging to go to the store for days, but fred didn't put together my eagerness with the notion of going-to-the-store as a FUN activity. so when we entered said establishment and he announced, "let's split up, we'll get done faster"?
i started to boohoo. can you believe it? how retarded am i, and increasingly so, with increasing frequency?

poor man. in his mind, i go out whenever he does (pretty much daily, and at least twice a week for social engagements. he had not counted the passing of TWENTY-NINE FREAKING DAYS, nor did he really register the number of DIY amputations of my legs that i had undergone in fits of desperation at the increasingly increasing pain. he *cannot*, of course, and i don't want him to follow the bouncing ball of my suffering, anyway, poor soul. i've ruined his life enough, don't you think?

oh, hell, where was i? did i tell you i am spiking a way high, a mile high fever?

the toothbrush. oh, yeah. so we were in the market, en train de faire le marché, when i remembered i needed a new one. i pop a few wheelies and race down the toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, and sundries aisle. fred is tearing after me, the shopping cart careening this way and that... he sees me stop in front of the pitiable selection of plaque-scrapers, and calls out: "wait! we have a supply of new toothbrushes at home!"

now... i don't know exactly why that sent me over the edge, but it did. i had not been out of the house for... well, you know. do you get how hard it is to run a household by sending a guy with adhd to do the necessary errands? have you tried making a detailed grocery list when you are only able to go to the store yourself but a couple o'times a year? i am a very visual person. back in the day (i.e., before crps, before avn, before ai, and so on)? i just took a mental stroll down the aisles, pictured what was there, made my lists in almost perfect synchronicity with the actual order of the products. i made a killer list, detailed but simple, a list on which even the most shopping-challenged could rely.

no more. oh no. now i am liable to hand my sweet man something along the order of:

apples, if they are under $1.39 a pound. and fresh. also, please don't buy them if the skin is even slightly loosened from the inner fruit. you know what i mean. like they'd been stored in a cold bin for too long. we're looking for très fresh.

keep an eye out for endive. gots to have my endive.

toilet paper

lowfat plain yogurt (7)
drain cleaner

get yourself something for snacking
ham bone

celery seed for me, ground celery seed for you
italian roast whole coffee beans for me; columbian blend for you; when will we go to farmer's market to get ethiopian beans, hmmm?

white onions, yellow onions, please don't buy pre-bagged

READERSHIP!  How fitting that this video "does not exist"!  It's Karma for all the narcissism displayed above.  I shall reincarnate as a worm.

© 2015 L. Ryan

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