A week or so ago I published that long string of loosely connected thoughts describing my own version of anxiety plagued insomnia. I said I was going to use it as a brainstorming platform to put together a real poem. I had been looking into poetry formats trying to understand things like rhythm and meter, and thought it might be interesting and challenging to try and write poetry that followed some set structure. I have to admit I only marginally understood what I was reading, and began to get really lost on the stressed syllable stuff. I know it’s not all that hard, but I have trouble reading about it. If I could actually hear it conversation I have no doubt it would be clear to me. I said I would share the poem here when it was done. Over the last week I have come to understand that it will never be done so I will share in today’s form. Continue reading
I have seen others do this and have always found it interesting. Saturday night I was again thrust into the misery of insomnia. It didn’t last as long as those endless nights in July, but it was accompanied by repeated cyclic anxiety attacks. It was uncomfortable and I found myself wishing I could find a way to explain what it felt like. I began to narrate a stream of consciousness in my head, and the following day I sat down to capture the feelings and sensations of a restless night.
What follows is grammatical gibberish. Is it free form poetry? I have used this as a baseline to begin writing an actual poem. I have never written a poem with actual rhythm or meter. I thought I would give it a try. If it actually gets finished I will share it here if folks promise to be gentle. So here it is, a collage of thought and feeling… Continue reading
Back in the spring some folks may remember I made a brief detour into some lighter writing. I chronicled my budding love affair with the Mocha Latte and bemoaned the difficulties of getting a good one when you live in the middle of nowhere. It was a short lived experiment that got side tracked by my personal need to get back on topic, and the general time demands of my summertime commitments. Now as summer winds down my thoughts have again wandered towards creating a new web space that allows me to show a different, and preferably less serious, side. Part of my motivation with the coffee stories was to show that I am much more than a mental problem. Most of us live much deeper lives than we show in these blogs, and I wanted to prove that there was more to me than Klonopin withdrawal and anxiety attacks. I would still like to drop the occasional post here that shows the larger “me”, and I would endeavor to make them less serious than this morning political rant, but I also want a different space to try something new.
There are many aspects of my life that I could use, but I don’t know if they would be interesting to share. I used to like the idea of a commentary on current events, I even started a short lived blog on this vein, but something like this requires an unbelievable amount of research and time. I think I need something that I can write from the heart. Something that may have the occasional researched piece, but that mostly comes from my own experience. I have tossed around a couple ideas, but I seem to be settling around one. About a year and a half ago I took over the meal preparation duties. I surprised myself by really enjoying it, but a lot of the experimentation and fun have been ruined by a new focus on weight loss. Weight loss and my traditional home cooking didn’t work out very well. I hope to begin experimenting with some healthier alternatives this fall, and have been wondering if a cooking Dad trying to find healthier alternatives might make for interesting reading. A bigger question is whether I could stick with it or see it evolve over time. I guess the point of this post is to ask for input. What do you think?
Off and on over the years I have day dreamed of getting paid to write. I enjoy writing though I often lack inspiration. Back in my darkest days I wrote a little bit. It was all as dark as my mood and I never shared it with anyone until I found it by accident one day and posted it here and here. I played around with short fiction stories recently, but as a father, husband, and middle class worker bee there is little time for following my own pursuits. Truthfully the stuff I wrote wasn’t all that good anyway. My stuff always lacks the descriptive details, the things that convey the setting and mood in a way that actually puts the reader into the story. It is all mechanical and matter of fact, no real pizazz. I was once employed as a technical writer and I was good at that. I actually redesigned the entire menu of written reports my company provided its customers. They were concise, to the point, easily navigated, and well received. That remains my biggest accomplishment in writing.
This summer while on the water working with my father I was struck with a rare lightning bolt of inspiration for a magazine article. I had an idea but as is the norm, particularly in the summer, I had no time until today. Today I was off. It is the last day of my vacation and by accident became a day I had all to myself. I finally sat down and wrote. The topic and whatnot isn’t important, but what is is that I got the ideas all on paper. I had taken the time to outline the project a couple weeks ago and I have been thinking about it since late in the spring so it was pretty much written in my head which made actually giving a physical form much easier. Two hours, 1200 words, and draft one is complete. It’s a ways from actually being done, but the ideas are all out on paper. I have no idea the submission guidelines to the publications I have in mind so I will go search those out next and modify the content if required. I am somewhat concerned that it may be a little long for what they would use it for, but I think I can shave it down if I have to.
I think this is a really good idea. I really think it will sell in the market I have in mind, and I am pretty excited to have actually started down the path. It was nice to write with purpose. To actually have an idea and put something together that could be useful to others. I know I am a long way for done, but it has been a good day.
Yesterday I shared a piece of writing from back in college that was written before I was in an active battle with depression and anxiety. It showed that I was allowing my mind to spend time is some dark places back before depression was running my life, and that I have been struggling with making the “right” decision for years. Last night I was reading through a Word document in which I had brainstormed on “paper” before I wrote that essay. I was thinking that maybe I should post these raw thoughts when I came to the bottom of the screen and found a poem. Now to be clear I am no poet or even fan of poetry for that matter. I have stumbled across some that I enjoyed, Robert Frost The Road Not Taken comes directly to mind, but mostly I just don’t “get” poetry. This poem, and I use the term loosely, does give another window into where my brain was as I approached graduation and the reality of what that would mean began to sink in.
Its strength is immeasurable growing stronger with
every puppet that falls in line. It forces conformity
from all it can, and destroys all that it cannot.
It sucks the energy from everything around it
destroying what is unique with its unyielding power
forcing its will upon all.
What is its plan for me? Will it bury me with its
fantastic power? Can I be who I want to be? or
just another puppet on a string?
In my last blog entry I spoke about living with an ever present feeling of loss. I struggle each day with having lost control of the direction of my life, and having lost my self. These feelings are of course a huge part of the depression I fight with. In one of my original entries I mentioned that it felt like the depression and anxiety came crashing down out of nowhere, but hindsight had shown me that it had been there bubbling under the surface.
I have had little time to read or write this week, but I have had time to again be faced with the concept of loss, and continually being forced to make decisions that are “right” even if they aren’t right for me. In seems my life has become a series of choosing the poison that is going to kill me the slowest (I mean this figuratively). Its like a presidential election where most of us hold our nose and vote for who we hope will do the least damage, except these decisions have a more direct effect on the direction of my life and my mood.
I was flipping through some writing I had managed to save from when I was in college. Below I have added a short reflection I wrote when I was a junior in college. It wasn’t an assignment it was simply designed to help me organize the chaos in my brain. I don’t think anybody has ever seen it. This was written before I was actively fighting depression though I was probably already well on my way down. Its theme is difficult decisions. It shows how I struggled with them even back then before I really had to make any. I knew this was coming…
The Power of The Sea
It can be interesting sometimes to consider the strength of the sea. The power of the ocean has carved beautiful coastlines and destroyed entire cities, but its power is not contained solely in its physical strength. The sea’s power can also be measured in its impact on a man’s soul. Its draw is undeniable and once a man feels the spray in his face and the taste of salt permeates his lips he will never again be the same. To the individual the psychological power of the sea far outweighs its physical strength.
The draw of the sea is like that of a magnet, once the polarities are aligned its power is unquestionable. A man with the sea in his veins cannot be happy forever on land. The motion of the sea becomes necessary for sleep and the smell of salt as important as air. A sailor kept from the sea will slowly die inside.
In contrast with the sailors yearning for the freedom of the ocean lie the shackles of land. Life on the ocean and the taste of salt on ones lips does not readily mix with the expectations of those that have never been rocked to sleep by the gentle roll of a boats steady motion, and cannot be understood by those who have never felt the freedom born of the self reliance required to live far from the sight of land.
Striking a balance in this conflict is difficult. Responsibility once acquired is not easily shed, and it is after all the very chains of responsibility that while slowly killing the sailor’s spirit make any hope of journey on the sea possible.
The sailors lot is one of sacrifice. If the sailor is lucky his affair with his one true love will not cost him the love of those around him, but often he will be asked to choose and the choices are hard. Will he be standing on a rolling deck alone staring at the horizon thinking of loves lost while awaiting his next landfall, or will he be standing on the shore staring at the same sea thinking of another love lost and only dreaming about those same landfalls while he slowly dies inside?