In it's stead, I found an interesting scrap of writing from 2001, way beginning of December, just two months after 9/11 and very less than six months before my stroke. It's ironic because it also speaks about "the manuscript," and the piece also has a bit of a different "voice" that I have now, something I struggle with now because since the stroke I've always felt that there's a "before" and "after" me. It's something I've only just begun to talk about in my therapy sessions, and it's something I'm quite possibly still very angry about. And, yet, when I read this piece I still heard little snippets of the "me" that I think is still "there."
The other fun part is that "all my girls" are featured in the piece, and Carol was the only one who was adult and moved out of the house at the time, and Ruth was a newborn. Rebekah and Sara were still living at home. Alice was in elementary school. If one also reads very delicately between the lines there is also the essence of a relationship I'm trying on for size but I already know it's ultimately not going to work out. So interesting to see it all captured right there. And also what's captured is my stoic, stubborn solitude-inal isolating nature of my beastliness (so busted! ... the part of "me" that has not changed one bit!).
[photo credit: also 2001- me and mrs. beasley back in the day, when nearly 40 was the new practically 8 years old at best).
THE WRITING:Random Journaling Crapola from early Decemberish 2001 a.k.a "oh what one can find on a hard drive."
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER?
.....it's fucking cold, hardly past ten degrees.
Pretty much keeps me off the walking path. No good
can come from walking when it's this cold, expanding
the lungs, for what???? to be cryo'd in the process.
I DON'T FUCKING THINK SO! Time to check out gym
membership, exercise within four walls, four different walls, anyways.
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT MY WORK?
I can't seem to start the day without finishing off
the previous night's "incoming!" emergency room
trauma notes, whether I'm scheduled to work or not!
Waiting for me at the moment is a 22-year-old woman with
"right upper quadrant pain" ... a very common ailment,
sending millions to the emergency room.
Isn't "right upper quadrant pain" a heartache? Oops, wait, the
heart is leftward or more towards middle, stands
like a fist, pounds like one too.
I know, because I have one ... a heart ... and that same dull ache,
like I swallowed a bolus of food, but forgot to chew it first.
Love the ER, gotta love the ER. It's as if the
trauma notes are mine, all mine!!! and I want the stories
before anyone else gets to them. Greedy me.
My line count mounts to the ceiling. I forget some days I'm
getting paid for listening to all this fun, which
I'm in my "groove" and glad of that.
However, burnout is sure to follow, as is per the usual
in the medical crazy-ass game.
I haven't been this hard-wired into work since September 11th
when freaks bombed the world and half of our staff went
motionless in response, clinging to CNN while medical
their desks because they couldn’t see their TVs.
For my part, I worked endless-endless-endless shifts
until my eyes, ears and brain bled.
I am never in the "red" and never get the
reminder-get-off-your-ass emails from supervisors or
account managers. I couldn't take one of those.
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT THE GIRLS?
Ali is still gone for a few days yet. She sounded happy
when last we chatted, slight stressed, questions about home.
Has seen some movies, but not "The Majestic," so we can
see it together when she gets home.
Carol is stressing a bit, living their place, and the
hospital (couldn't pump milk yesterday, very
frustrated) trying to thrive in Milwaukee with
James. I WILL see them tomorrow. They are celebrating
their one-year anniversary today, one year of knowing
each other (can they really “know each other”).
And what has transpired in just this one
year... meeting last year ever so briefly at Xmas,
making a connection, then running their relationship,
long distance (wyoming to Wisconsin), by phone and letter
until April of this past year, then a few dates
proper, but not until Carol turned 18 in May, then
moving in and making Baby Ruth. What was their
hurry to be so grown up so fast? Mom at 19.
Grand Baby Ruth breathes on her own, mostly, but still
sets off the alarms sometimes during feedings. I will get
action shots tomorrow as Mommy Carol is allowed to
pull that baby out of her glass bed whenever she
wishes. The nurses love the princess baby.
Bekah and Sara are just now stirring, time soon to
pack up and get the hell out of Dodge. They are
making toast and peanut butter now. I think that's
the first time anyone has used the kitchen in days.
Last night I froze the rest of the spiraled ham and
some other stuff. Will make soup later. I ate some
fritos and went to bed. The house continues to empty out.
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT BOOKS?
I wrote one, a novella. This year I'll write
another, perhaps larger, will go beyond the first person and
stretch my abilities to capture life to the page and
yet allow it to live and breathe there. I'll send
the existing novella packing to whoever wants to look at
it, and force it down the throats of a few others
who think they don't. At this point, it's a game of
chance and postage.
But this afternoon I'm dusting the books I own and
putting them back to their rightly shelved manors,
to mind their manners. There was a method once to my book
madness. I am very nearly there again. The front room/library/office
echoes a bit. When Sara and Beks got home last night,
they were mad at first at the downsizing, and Sara actually
thought I had moved a wall. Maybe I did ... so to speak.
There's another book, duly written, inscribed in my
heart, the story of two people, and I will laboriously
move each chapter of it to disk this week, back it up,
steel copies here and there and everywhere, bury one
in the yard, plant a tree atop it, tape one to my
chest, etc. etc., swallow another whole, insert
another to the back of my skull, my own hard drive.
Beyond that, I don’t’ think it’s going to work.
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT POETRY?
I love it to death. I haven't counted lately, maybe
my poetry now numbers beyond 200. I passed 100 a
long while back. A wicked verse is building in my head
right now ... it has the word "hymen" and "cerclage"
in it. I'm not sure yet if it will work out. We'll
see. Right now it's tight to my brain and I'm
trying to work it loose. It's virginal, stubborn, like a
Catholic girl, but I intend to rip it loose and
destroy it to the page, make it bleed.
I know, doesn't make sense, or only to me. But this
year, these words are going to take me somewhere, by
scholarship, by hook or crook, east coast conference
or southwest, mark my words ... or I am nothing but
a sinner against my true self, and that I cannot be.
My soul cries freedom, and someone out there waits to
hear from me, can help, can further my cause. I
have only to find them or want to be found in return.
NOW ... SHALL WE TALK ABOUT ME?
Who am I, I alone, wandering the planet, but not
wandering, not really, because it's too fucking cold
and that leaves me "grounded," but I'm not idle as I
work this delicious bit at the desk, and then ready
a paper trail to go build a fire, then shop
a food order keeping in mind everyone's pending trips
away from home this week. Then I'll go eat dinner
with friends and their kids with real live lasagna,
"Eat Anne EAT!, a real meal, come on!" ...
Okay, I will. "Stay and watch a movie!
Come on, what else do you have to do?"
“Okay,no I don't feel like it, well maybe, not sure ...”
but more than likely I'll go home again, home again,
this dark cold house, sooner rather than later. The
windows will have frosted in my absence and it will be
like unlocking the door to a cave, this my safe
I am here alone, and perhaps some late night
emergency room notes will keep me busy, pad the
lines/invoicing/pay further for heading into
holiday weeks, then workout, CD supreme/noise,
warm the bed, sleep on my stupid little bone-weary or
lonely?!?! head, miss something, or stubbornly miss nothing
and nobody or body, and try to understand this life
I live so farremoved, moonlight spilling into the room
and lyrics dancing madness in my head, Soma and
melatonin whisking me away to the land of spine realignment.
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT TOMORROW?
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT THE NEW YEAR? … (or not ...)
Walking for Cover
Moon glow, nearly full, brimming, spilling over, providing a warm wash this frigid, crisp night, yet mocking me, taunting, the world a double bed.
I walk alone, treading the marshlands yet another twilight hour, bent marsh grass underfoot, felled to side-lying, woven under a thick white blanket.
I feel the urge to jump, bouncing on this straw mattress, tall but small, unbundled, I fall onto the dry grass cot, under the winter sky and rest. (poetry also from dec 2001)
THE FOURTH PIECE OF ART OUT OF THIRTY: