Involuntary Rest

Over the last couple months of 2013, I pressed hard to finish 3 projects while juggling family commitments back in Montana. I wanted to ensure I met my goal to get Letters to Zell off to an agent in 2013 and I met that goal with mere hours to spare. I also had a fellowship application and a chapbook to finish. December was filled with very long days. Not wanting to take time away from my family who’d traveled from Europe, I spend my late nights writing eschewing sleep. I’ll take a little break when I get home, I said. Famous last words.

When I arrived back in Seattle on the 7th, I did so needing both a root canal and treatment for a herniated disk. I have no idea if any one event or several put me in such a state, however, my dear sweet Adam carted me off to the requisite doctors the following day. Almost three weeks later, I’m writing what is one of the longer missives I’ve managed in that same time frame. The ruptured disk has manifested itself as shoulder, tricep, elbow, and hand pain, culminating in the numbness of my first three fingers. Fortunately it is treatable and I will eventually be fine, however, the pain is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and watching my life grind to a halt has been difficult to say the least. I am the sort of person who goes 100 mph all the time except when I’m sleeping. Now I can neither sleep nor go at any useful speed.

I’m trying to take advantage of the quiet to catch up on the things that often get neglected — reading, seeing films, even brainstorming — but there’s a heavy blanket of guilt and fear that I’m letting things slide out of control while I’m unable to work for more than a half hour at a time. It’s yet another example of the roadblocks life can throw in the way of our art and our plans. Finding a creative way around them, however, has always yielded rewards for me. I hope this situation is no different. I’ll certainly emerge better read, well rested, and with a greater understanding of pain and how the body works. In the meantime, if you have any book or film recommendations while I’m convalescing, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

During all of this nonsense, two pieces have gone out to meet the world. First, my lyric essay “36” is up at Punchnel’s. I wrote it on my birthday last June and though it resonated with some, it did manage to offend at least one of my former college classmates. Second, Flash Fiction Chronicles asked me to write a bit about worldbuilding in speculative flash. A tricky subject that could easily run more words than a flash piece itself, I had a lot of fun writing the piece and I hope there’s some useful ways to look at tips you may or may not have heard already.

Now back to the ice packs and heating pads. xo

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