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...SO, how are things? Things are good? It's a lot quieter around here. I've been looking in the window every month or so, not stepping inside, perfectly content with enjoying what was around me Out There. Wondering if everyone else had the same idea. Wondering if they left for the same reasons, or worse reasons, or better reasons. (Hopefully better). Did you too decide that writing was not distracting you they way you'd like? That it seemed a futile effort? Did you too return, when that inexplicable melancholy descended, and the only thing you could think to do was write?
DEAR READER, please know that I am in no mood to be melodramatic. It is merely that I have reached a life goal and have not yet managed to process it, nor its implications for future goals. You see, I have returned Home, I have Established Myself and am generally happy except for those times when I'm not, which apparently is just Normal Life 101. How mature of me, for recognizing the appropriate feeling and expressing it in a very pragmatic 100 words.
Everything's old! I found a grey hair! No one understands me!
*Slams bedroom door, turns Miley up to 11*
Much like all of my past 100 words, I choose not to write daily, instead just purge a day or two at the end, letting only the surviving memories of the month make it to the page. To wit, the notable ones:
*Using my house key for my office, and vice-versa, then noting the irony, then wondering if I can make that "100 words Profound" (No. The answer is no.)
*I had more, but I've forgotten them.
*They were awesome, let's just take my word for it.
*Oh look, Law and Order is on. The song of my people.
It has come to my attention recently that My Original Thoughts (TM) are in fact merely repressed memories and encounters that have emerged, repackaged as Mine. I am unsure whether to feel disheartened, or amused, that I can pull such randomness from my dank subconscious nether regions.
I recently discovered an old computer game online that I was obsessed with as a kid. It was essentially the Game of Life but snarkier. In between turns, the game updates the player's weekend activities. "You stayed in all weekend and read
Nurse's Turn to Cry
I have mistakenly cribbed this title in several creative encounters.
In college I took a creative writing class as an elective. I wrote a bunch of terrible dystopian shit which I thought was good and deep only because I got to let my id go wild and pass it off as "art".
There were real English majors and other people Who Had Real Business Being in the Class, but I strutted in, pre-med-major-as-liberal-arts-dilettante.
One girl was legit. She wrote about the end of a lesbian affair, it was real, and flawless, and most importantly it was far from cliche. She was the metric to be measured by.
The most haunting part of her short story was how the narrator's fingers created shadows on the belly of her lover. I've tried many times (over the years, and even here), to do better, to capture what she had, and ultimately failing hard, at least by the standards set by my memory.
That's OK, I suppose. What's the self-help motto? "Be yourself, everyone else is taken?" Why was I trying to "do her"? She's probably fresh off her Iowa Writers MFA (did I get that right? is that a thing?), toiling in a studio apartment rat hole, writing fantastic literature.
"Fingers Creating Shadows Over A Lover's Belly, Part I: The Force Awakens" by 100words Authoress Ro.
I was laying on the floor of my studio rathole apartment, reading "Timothy's Turn To Cry" (a classic, by D.S. Montgomery). My lesbian lover had the window shades open , and I lay in the sun like a cat, sucking up the warmth of the sun, all of it, all of the warmth, so that no one else could have it.
My lesbian lover came over, and danced her fingers over my belly. "Get your fucking fingers off me, I'm trying to read," I said.
So i know it's possible to be good at two things but I'm not sure it's possible for
to be good at two things. I've strived for years to be professionally adequate, I can't imagine how long it would take me to be adequate at something else.
This brings me to physician writers. No. You do not get to be awesome writers and work 80 hour weeks doing neurosurgery. (I'm looking at you, Atul Gawande and Abraham Verghese.)
Sometimes, when I read their work, and their writing is so brilliant it disgusts me, I like to pretend they neglect their families.
, you say,
everything takes practice. Dr. Verghese himself has kept journals for life, even when he was sleep deprived and post-call.
To which I say,
excuse me, who are you and why are you in my house?
Look, I get it. If I had started writing instead of starting that SVU marathon roughly ten years ago, I too could be physician/poet laureate or physician/dog trainer or whatever other fantasy second career I want.
I'm so glad that at my mature age I can recognize my own short comings, and then blame them on someone else.
We need to talk about David Bowie. I'm going to miss his individuality, is the short version.
The long version is that the talking heads (talking disembodied voices?) on the radio today said that the reason we all miss him is because we listen to the songs of our youth for comfort, and when your musical heroes start to die, it brings your own mortality in to the frame, reminding you that though you listen to the music to feel timeless, you are not.
I think that's too pedestrian. Not everything is about your stupid mortality. He made
A while ago I mentioned a memory of youth in which a hair clip was accidentally dropped into a toilet, and some popular girls who were good at batting their eyelashes convinced some popular boys to fish it out, because
I had rolled my eyes at the time, but DEAR READER, there is nothing like the horror of being home alone, 20 years later, and dropping a hair clip into the toilet, realizing something cosmic has brought you to the crossroads of What You Think You'd Do and What You'd Really Do.
I fished it out with a wire hanger, but not after gagging.
"Fingers Creating Shadows Over A Lover's Belly, Part II: Fingerier and Shadowier" by 100words Authoress Ro
There I was, in a spaceship on a cold metal slab. I took note of the accommodations, as they were better than that of my shitty dystopian home planet.
A humanoid stood in the corner. He smoked a cigarette. I'm sure this is the first I've ever seen him, this mysterious Puffing Male.
Above me were lights, and the hands of the alien surgeon lingered over me, casting elongated shadows across my belly. It gave me a warm, content feeling, the source of which I could not discern.
In times of writer's block I remind myself that not everything I write needs to be breathless (alas, something I also do no believe I have reached the threshold for). There are Herman Melvilles and there are V.C. Andrewses. There are Mary Shelleys and there are Stephanie Myerses. They can co-exist and they can serve distinct purposes. (No one wants to eat healthy *all* the time.)
My attention span for entries has now devolved into breaking it up into two separate topics per entry in a misguided attempt to make 100 words less painful. The Couch to 100k program.
We need to talk about David Bowie again. I feel as if I can't properly articulate his impact in words. And I feel a bit like a poseur, having not grown up during his heyday and not being able to name his deep tracks. (A well-versed musician friend of mine was able to scientifically break down why his music was so innovative, and why it tweaks the brain. I'm too illiterate to understand even the broad strokes of Music Theory, but his points appeared sound. Like a song at a particular part? That's because the G went sharp. Or flat?)
But I digress. Do I have to be a Master Student in a person, a song, a book, a movie, because it happens to make me tingle? (DEAR READER, you don't even to want to know the deep tracks that make me tingle.)
There are tons of online graduate school-level journalistic dissertations on the impact of Bowie and his incarnations. I think they've covered it all, and I don't want to add to the background din with a "he was so, like, cool."
His essence is just ineffable. I'll leave it at that.
"Fingers Creating Shadows Over A Lover's Belly, Part III: A Novella" by 100words Authoress Ro
DEAR READER, twas a fortnight from when I last saw my mistress, our hearts betrothed, for a love that which dare not speak aloud.
"Fingers Creating Shadows Over A Lover's Belly, Part IV: A Novella, Part I" by 100words Authoress Ro
Twilight had descended and the moon created a light that burned brighter than a whale's oil lamp, both of which threw shadows across our shame.
"Look, 'tis a common wood hare!" she exclaimed. I giggled as if half-seas over.
So. Mid month January. We meet at last (both in the 100words world and the real world). A whole lot of nothingness before and a whole lot of nothingness after (both in the 100words world and the real world).
So. The end of January. We meet at last mid-January (in the 100words realm.) How was the month? Anything exciting? No? Because you don't remember or truly nothing happened?
I just realized why all those physician writers are successful. Because they don't divorce themselves from their work when they write. They are one in the same.
Their best writing, their most brutal, floral, intense writing is rooted deeply in their work.* I doubt Dr. [insert any primary physician/writer] could pull off a Game of Thrones.** (***)
Everyone else, though, we live very colorful, if silent, lives on the other side of HIPAA.
*Again, the evolving theme this month seems to be, "you do you"
**Verghese did eventually write a fiction novel that was well-received, but I hear it doesn't stray much from the type of non-ficition he writes; as I have not read it I cannot comment.
*** Man I love the asterisk, second only to the double asterisk.
"Distal Phalanges Creating Shadows Over A Significant Other's Lower Abdominal Quadrant, Part V: A Dopamine-Induced Compendium" by 100words Authoress Ro
It was after midnight in the On-Call room when she hoisted up her scrubs to show me her umbilicus (she is an Outie).
"Here," she said, "I think I have a mass. The differential is wide open. I need you to tell me it's not an adenocarcinoma. Or an abscess. Or an ectopic."
Of course, it was none of these, but for reassurance I laid her down, and as my fingers hovered I noticed the dim light created a shadow monster.
I don't want to write. I want to crawl into bed. Maybe go to sleep. Maybe watch Community or something equally comfort food-y. Maybe go get a snack.
They say it's important to go to the gym even when you don't feel like it, even if while you're there, you end up half-assing your work out.
I should go to the gym, and write my 100 words there. That way, I can half-ass both but still check off the "done it" box, as opposed to whole-assing the gym and half-assing 100words at home.
I was watching Jeopardy! tonight* for the first time in a long time with my mom. It was the college version, and I not only didn't know 90% of the answers, but many answers I have never, ever even heard of. Ever. Not once in college or beyond. I felt very stupid. The final question was 19th century books, and I got the answer: Darwin's Origin of THE Species... OH WAIT, a contestant from Pitt said the same, and her answer was not accepted. Did anyone else know it was "The Origin of Species"?
*It's February. Who am I kidding?
"Hey," my mom said, "it's just like that time you wrote that essay in college and said 'for all intensive purposes'... I didn't know that that wasn't correct, either!"
She bespoke my secret shame: writing with borrowed bravado. I am that douche speeding on the highway, in the red Corvette, passing the Hondas and the Pontiacs, swerving in and out of lanes. I am also that same driver that the Honda passes three miles down the road, as I idle on the side, awaiting my ticket from the trooper behind me.
(Joke's on you, Honda, I'm just gonna fake cry)
In a particularly long streak of social aversion I told my friend I wanted to work from home. "I could get so much done, if no one were around to distract me," I said.
"Bitch, you made me hide your ethernet cable in college during finals week because you were getting distracted."
I still maintain that I could get a lot done. For instance, in between some actual homework today, I managed to find "Top Ten Underrated, Underground Hip Hop Artists" and the 1990 online fully functional version of The Oregon Trail. (Select people died of dysentery.)
Without broadcast tv*, the role of Background Noise has fallen to A. Silence, or B. Podcasts. NPR* has some fantastic podcasts for when Regular NPR is just a little too depressing. "Pop Culture Happy Hour" scratches a certain itch for me, and one of the contributors is a (if my memory serves me) a comic book reviewer for their regular website. And all I can think is, A. How did he get that job, and B. How can I get that job?**
*How HIPSTER of me
**Well, not THAT job but something equally made-up sounding. "Professional Internet Surfer"?
Jesus Christ January is a long ass month. Are you tired yet, 100worders and wordees? Have you run out of things to talk about?
I mean, like I TOTALLY haven't, I was just wondering, you know, if you like, had, and you know, what like you would do, like hypothetically, if you had run out of things to say, and if so, what does that mean not only for 100 words, but also like cosmically, like is there purpose now, have you said everything that's already been said? Have you repackaged it or have your mistakenly cribbed it?
It has occurred to me that maybe physical exercise may get the juices going (but it's cold and there are wolves*, and I may have created the most perfect ration of fluffy bed to fluffy bedding.)
When used to run, I had a very elaborate fiction narrative set to a full electronic album, something I would build on in my head each time I hit the gym.
*Actual, conscious decision to subversively quote The Simpsons, and not an unintentional crib that has been so sublimated into my waking life that the true origin is obscured and misidentified as an Original Though.
miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu
"Miu miu miu: Miu miu miu, Part VI", by 100words Authoress Ro
"Miu Miu," miu miu. Miu miu miu miu miu miu ,miu miu miu miu miu miu ; miu miu miu miu miu miu miu .
Miu miu miu miu miu miu , miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu. Miu, miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu.
"Miu," miu miu miu, miu. Miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu.
Miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu miu , miu miu miu....
"Fingers Creating Shadows Over A Lover's Belly, Part VII: That's So Meta!" by 100words Authoress Ro
It's five o'clock, and I'm trying to use what's left of sun setting to make shadows on my own belly. My lover is downstairs studying, but I can make this happen, goddamnit. If you want to do it right, you have to do it yourself.
Do I make shadow animals? Do I just dangle them over my stomach, looking at the stupid shadows and wondering why I'm doing this, this is a shitty shadow rabbit, she was a shitty college author, and so am I.
there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow there is no shadow
DEAR READER, should we do this again next month? Possible unresolved issues from this month:
1. Will there ever be the perfect Shadow vignette? Or will it be the equivalent of Moby Dick, something to be chased, and never caught*?
2. Miu: is it French for Mew?
3. If an Original Though occurs in any of these batches and no one is around to read it, does it matter that it's not really original?
4. Who are you and where are my pants?
*I never read the book, is that the gist of it? No? Well fuck me.
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