This post is brought to you by cigarettes, the sticks I cannot kick. I was tobacco free for 30 days, and coincidentally, was a non-functional wreck for the same amount of time. This is the first thing I’ve written in a month. I’m a loser, I’m a failure, but I can’t hide it from you. Besides, I know you can probably smell it on my clothes.
I was going to apologize for my absence, but I’ve implemented a “no remorse” policy when it comes to blogging. Instead, I’ll just say “howdy do.” Howdy do. It’s good to be back. Well, I’m not really back back, I’ve just stopped in for a moment to tell you a few things, then I’ve got to get busy with a couple of projects. As usual, life has been amazing and crazy and ever-changing, with a few scatterings of sadness here and there.
You’ve been in my heart and on my mind a lot lately. I’m coming upon the fifth anniversary of this blog. Nearly a million people have visited this site. Almost a bazillion spammers have stopped by to hawk discount Viagra. I’ve written something like 380 posts. My best day brought almost two thousand visitors, my worst (during those times of temporary blog abandonment) probably dragged in about 20. Or eight.
Last night, I was talking to Amadeus about how when and why I started blogging. Five years ago, I was at home on a medical leave of absence from work, wading deep in the muck of fibromyalgia. I was in pain to the point that I could barely walk. I was angry and depressed and it seemed that everyone I met wanted to tell me the sad saga of a of friend or relative who had fibro too. I wanted happy stories, uplifting ones, but overwhelmingly, the tales were despairing ones of wheelchairs and pain meds and disability checks.
I blogged my way through it all. I charted my journey. Every doctor visit, every prescription, TENS units, Lidocaine patches, the shots in my spine, the painful, foggy shit sandwich that my life had become. People wrote and shared their stories, their anger and anguish. We laughed and cried and bitched. My little corner of the blogosphere was becoming a loving one, and a hopeful one. There was some sort of magic taking place. I started feeling stronger. I determined that I wasn’t going to let this little demon define who I was. Somewhere in all of this I began another blog, this one. In time, the other blog, FibomyOWgia, gradually faded away as this one took over. This blog became my focus. It was and is my haven.
There’s a link between stress and depression and fibromyalgia. This is where I visited when I needed a place to write, to create, to dream and decompress. It got me through fibro and into remission, I swear it.
So here I am, five years later, relaying it all to Amadeus. The woman he married fishes and pitches tents and climbs stairs with the best of them. She writes and tells stories and dances like Elaine on Seinfeld. I don’t think he’d recognize the chick who started this blog.
I credit you for a lot of this. Oh no! I feel a song coming on!
I was reminiscing about all of this because in a few weeks, I’m doing a presentation about personal blogging. I’ll be talking to local folk about the wonders of WordPress. It’s a humongous honor to have been chosen for this. I’m thrilled and nervous and (being a ham and half) completely jumping beaning for joy at the opportunity to talk to new bloggers about you and me and the loveliness of the entire blog experience. Oh, you have no idea. Of course, I’m freaking out, but this is also where I run to freak out. So, here I am. And there you have it.
A lot’s been happening in my writing world, despite the fact that, until this very moment, my brain’s been frozen like a bag of peas and I’ve been unable to write a word. But I’ve been doing some readings at a local bookstore. I’ve joined a writer’s workshop and thoughts of self-publishing have been a-churning.
Amadeus’ sister-in-law came to town, and Saturday morning, we scattered his brother’s ashes into a lake that he loved. Tears and rose petals floated on the water, and as they drifted away, I was struck by how much more I feel a sense of a person’s presence when they’re ash than when they’re underground. My father was cremated, and the act of pouring his physical body out into the world, unconfined by a box with shovelfuls of dirt piled on top, seemed as though we were both setting him free and returning him to the universe. When my time is at hand, I definitely want to be flame broiled, fire-roasted and scattered in the Buffalo River, with tiny traces of me carried by a breeze.
Here’s a bit of delicious ear candy, just for you. A friend recently shared this link, a short video about Donnie and Joe Emerson, and their 1979 album, Dreamin’ Wild. There are a few tracks on YouTube, and I keep going back and listening to them. I want this CD! I would have had a huge crush on Donnie back in high school, had I known he’d existed. But it’s not just the album that amazes, it’s the sweet little story behind it. Hurry and listen, before the YouTube gods strike it with lightning and turn it to dust.
Around here, worlds are changing rapidly. My daughter has joined the Air National Guard and will be leaving for boot camp any day now. She’ll be gone for seven months, and will be leaving the Grandpea in the care of her baby daddy. Amadeus and I are designated back ups, along with a small circle of other Pea-loving adults. I couldn’t do what she’s doing, but she’s made of tougher material than her mommy. Her view is that she’s sowing seeds for her daughter’s future, and she’s willing to pay the price. I miss her already– her beautiful face, her hardheadedness, her pretty little voice.
Honestly though, all I really want to write about these days is my son. My son, my son, my enigmatic, brilliant, wonderful son. I can’t yet– the things he’s going through are all too close to the bone– so I’m consoling myself by writing about anything but what’s pressing on my mind the most. His struggles fill my heart and my tear ducts. I look for tiny threads of motherly influence to hold on to, but my children remind me (often) that they’re adults now and I have to let them go. So I release the threads and secretly I cry. I stay on standby and try to act tough and semi-detached and nonchalant. I worry from a distance. Though my eldest may be twenty-six, when I look at him I see a four-year-old boy in a Ninja Turtle costume, and I probably always will. It feels horrendous and helpless, this realization that sometimes, as a parent, all you can really do is cross your fingers, sit back, and put your faith in Turtle Power.
My sister and her husband are coming to visit. This afternoon! For four days! Hoorah!
I’ve got to go soon, but I want to leave you on an up note, so I’ll relay the following story, which an old-timer told my husband last night. It’s not funny, but it’s funny.
Deep in the Missouri mountains there was once a bar known as Loafer’s Corner. One of the bar’s regulars was a grizzled old coon hunter, a surly guy with an evil temper. One black night, he became particularly drunk and belligerent and was removed from the premises on accounta bad behavior. When the bar closed, the man returned, armed with a live raccoon. He set this raccoon on fire and threw it through the window. The flaming raccoon ran around in a panic, darting here and there, spreading flames wherever he ran, and apparently, he ran a lot that evening. The bar burned to the ground, the man went to jail and everyone lived happily ever after. Except the raccoon.
I hope you have the most fantastic week.
P.S. Phil Canon, author of the blog Chime, recently honored me a Beautiful Blog award!! Phil has a gorgeous, mood-melding way with words, and this is quite an accolade. Thank you Phil!