Spotted this scrap of poetry on Twitter today, and it’s perfect and I don’t want to lose it.
you’re trembling, but he reaches over and
he touches you, like a prayer for which no words exist,
— Richard Siken bot (@sikenpoems) July 25, 2017
It’s probably no secret that I’ve been feeling very frustrated with life for a while now. Part of the problem is that I feel like the Universe is constantly pushing back, putting roadblocks in my way whenever it looks like I might start making progress. Either something goes wrong or there’s some delay or setback, like the world is saying “Not now; not yet. Be patient.” And I’m really, really tired of being patient. I’m not very good at it, I suppose.
There’s an old saying that good things come to those who wait, but it doesn’t feel that way. There’s always more waiting to do. And there never seem to be enough good things to justify the wait.
A few months ago, Dad asked me if I was still writing. I think he was trying to distract me from the whole world-on-fire situation, but it didn’t work: I immediately started crying. (I’ve been more than a little depressed, obviously.) I have not been writing. At all. The only writing I’ve done was at retreat last summer, when I finished a story I started at retreat the summer before. (The sections I read at retreat got positive reviews. I sent it to one very competitive market at the end of April. It got summarily rejected. And that’s that, for the moment, anyway.)
I go on retreat again at the end of the month. I have no idea what, if anything, I’ll work on. I haven’t been able to look at the novel. It’s too big, too hard, too much. Maybe I’ll work on an essay about my health. Maybe I’ll write fluffy fan-fic just to find joy in writing again. Maybe I won’t write anything and will just read and sleep. But I’m going, if for nothing else but to see my friends and spend a week in nature and away from life stress, work stress, and news. Because how can you create when the world’s on fire?
So… I haven’t blogged in a while. A very long while, as it turns out. I blame depression, anxiety, health issues (both mine and family members), the world being on fire, and other problems/issues that have been sucking up my energy and generally making life very, very difficult.
Most of this I just can’t talk about. At least, not right now. The work stuff and one of the personal situations I doubt I’ll ever talk about online — work because it’s not appropriate, and personal because that situation isn’t something I want to talk about publicly. (Friends can DM me on Twitter or FB if they want more details.)
The one thing I will say is that one of my aunts is dying of cancer and will probably be gone by the end of the month. Her condition has deteriorated rapidly since they did a procedure to put radiation directly into her liver. And we found out last week that the cancer didn’t originate in the liver but in the pancreas. (That’s basically a death sentence.) So the procedure only weakened her and made her condition worse. I should add that this is the aunt who took us in for weeks after Hurricane Katrina — so there are lots of complicated memories and emotions tied up with thoughts of her. It still feels kind of unreal, probably since we haven’t seen her since Christmas. Dad went to see her a few weeks ago, but only he and his youngest sister went; my cousin felt like her mom wasn’t up to seeing many people, and she could only manage a very short visit (less than an hour). I’ve accepted that I won’t see her again, and I think I’m okay with that. I don’t know that I want to see her in her current condition, and I know we wouldn’t be able to have any conversation that would mean anything. I wish our last visit had gone better — I was too depressed to interact with her in any meaningful way — but she was a saint, so hopefully she understands.
I thought 2017 would be better than 2016. Clearly, I thought wrong.
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