Let Me Take You To Funky Town

4 Apr

It had to happen eventually. I’ve been riding pretty high on this writing thing. Every week, I told myself, I would write 1,000 words. I would get them written and published without fail. I set my deadline: Monday before noon. It’s been about six months now and I’ve achieved my goal every week. Copious pats on the back for me.

Then, this week rolled around and shoved me right into the writer’s block wall. I’m not really surprised. I kind of felt it coming early in the week. “What will I write about,” I asked myself. “Hell if I know,” I told myself. “Maybe I’ll write about what goes on inside my brain,” I thought, then realized there wasn’t enough going on to fill 1,000 words. There wasn’t enough going on to fill the back of a Target receipt.

I’ve gotten to Saturday and wondered what I would write for Monday many times. I’ve always come up with something. Maybe not what I originally intended, or how I originally intended, but generally, Saturday ends with me set on Monday’s topic. Not this week. At the end of the day on Saturday all I knew was that “Camelot,” the new series on Starz, looks like it might be good, though Joseph Fiennes looks really silly bald.

This week, though, it was Sunday night and I still didn’t know what to write. It became our dinner table conversation.

“What should I write about?” I asked.

“Write about me and my friends,” my daughter said.

“Did it already.”

“Pets!,” she said. “Write about pets.”

“Done,” I said.

Not to be deterred, she said, “Houses. Write about houses and how they protect you.”

“I try to write about funny things.”

“Oh,” she said. “It has to be funny?” That ruled out houses in her mind though I had considered writing about how I coped with a portion of Spring Break by allowing her to string yarn all over the house.

“Write about condoms,” my son said.

“I have,” I told him. “You came up in it.”

He offered suggestions for a number of truly obscene things about which I could write. I informed him that my mother’s cousin reads my blogs. He shut up.

I turned to my husband, who had said nothing throughout the children’s suggest-o-rama, though I did see him hide his head in his hands over one or two of our son’s suggestions. He looked at me and without saying a word, I knew that he knew the problem.

“I’m in a funk,” I said, “and it’s not very funny to write about being depressed.”

The conversation turned to lethargy, which is a fancy word for feeling so tired that you just want to stay in bed forever even though you aren’t really tired and you know you’re not tired but somehow getting out of bed just seems impossible. I mentioned that antidepressants can actually give some depressed people the energy they need to off themselves. I am already on antidepressants so there’re no worries about that here.

My neighbor calls our house “The Fun House.” I know she means that I don’t care if the kids paint or build a blanket fortress in the family room or tie the house up with yarn. But, to me, it’s a pretty good description of the atmosphere in our house. Things are a little wonky, often outrageous, definitely not normal and that’s fine by us. So, I laughed full and loud when my son described how I could commit suicide without leaving the bed by having our cat nap on my face.

While I’m in no danger of taking the feline express to the afterlife, I am most decidedly down. I’m sure its primary cause is the whole morbidly underemployed thing and the now-due student loans that are part of my economy-induced nightmare. There are also a number of other factors inhibiting my ability to maintain my generally cheerful-ish demeanor.

First, there’s my health. You know how people will go on about the problems they are having in their lives and you don’t know what to say and so eventually you wind up saying something lame like “Well, at least you have your health”? Well, I don’t have my health. Now it’s not like I’m really, really sick. I don’t need a benefit for me. (Wait . . .a benefit might help pay off those loans.) No, I’m not gravely ill. I have a nagging respiratory infection of some sort with one of those coughs that doesn’t bother you until someone makes you laugh and then you wind up hacking up a chunk of lung. And a toothache. I have never had a toothache in my life. Now I have a toothache. And a pulled groin muscle. What the heck is that about? I’m not a linebacker. How do I rate a groin pull?

Ordinarily, I’d be running and laughing to cope with my troubles. Can’t run, because I’m still resting and rehabbing the offending muscle. Can’t laugh without paroxysmal coughing.  I thought I might garden away the blues, so I decided to clean out the garden beds. Seeing all those little green and purple shoots sticking through the soil would surely improve my mood.

Gardening didn’t improve my mood at all. On the contrary. with every dead grass whacked back and every dried-up leaf pulled, I was more and more convinced that it was time to move into a nice little townhouse. It was sounding better and better in my mind until I got to the selling the house we already own part. Then I got to the packing up everything we have part and the part where the movers somehow misplace the box containing all of my shoes. I went inside for a cup of tea. The garden beds looked better, but my pity party continued.

With laughing, running and gardening put out to pasture, all that was left was reading. Usually, reading helps me relax. Lately, though, reading is just making me feel terrible. It started with “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss. I am thoroughly enjoying the story and its imaginative setting. There are just enough fantasy elements to remove the story from reality but not so much as to overwhelm the narrative. It is, in short, wholly imaginative and beautifully crafted. And it makes me feel completely inadequate as a writer. When I tell my husband this, he tells me I am being ridiculous and that, if I were a full-time writer who started full-time writing when I was in my twenties and who had someone to take care of everything else, I would be writing wholly imaginative, beautifully crafted fiction.

He’s right, of course. I am a mom, a wife, a teacher, a dog trainer, a cat wrangler, a gardener, a runner and a writer who somehow managed to write more than 1,000 words despite a week-long bout of the blues.

3 Responses to “Let Me Take You To Funky Town”

  1. acleansurface April 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    I can relate. Financial troubles, funks, lack of humor…all of that.
    You managed to make depression and bad health entertaining, though. Good work.


  1. Snide Reply - September 26, 2011

    […] I still hate liver, read crap and get jealous, too. But, I haven’t taken a serious trip to Funky Town in a while. My son is ok with “Spithead” and no one has puked around here lately. My kids are […]

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