Come Swim with Me in a Sea of Narcotics

Hi. I hope I got your attention. I wanted to remind you how the strength of your title can grab your reader.

I initially thought of this subject when reading some “Freshly Pressed” blogs yesterday. I came across this post:

“I Sold My Fat Jeans on eBay and Now I Want Them Back”

I read that title and immediately started cackling (which made my dog look at me weird, jump off my bed, army crawl under the bed and hide there for two hours). Anyway, what a brilliant title! It certainly caught my attention. I read the post which is a very well-written piece about a woman’s struggle with weight-loss. She hooked me and I was glad she did because it was a very relatable article. And, seriously, that title is amazing.

Let’s go back to the title of my post. It kind of sounds like it could be the title of a song, or perhaps an invitation. I apologize profusely if you believed that I actually have a sea of narcotics and was asking you, kind reader, to join me for a swim. Sadly, I do not own said sea. However, I will tell you how I came up with that title. Next week I’m having pretty major surgery to repair some strictures in my digestive tract caused by my Crohn’s Disease. I’m not jumping for joy to have this done, but I can’t wait to feel “normal” again. While meeting with my surgeon today he told me I looked worried. I told him that I was worried about the pain after surgery.

(There have been studies done on how redheads generally need more anesthesia and pain meds than non-gingers. Something to do with our DNA. No, I don’t get it either.)

I don’t know if my hair is the culprit, but I am not a wuss and have fought through awful pain at various times during most of my adolescent and adult life. But, in the past, specifically 20 years ago when I  had my last surgery, my doctor denied me stronger doses of morphine and other pain medicine. He actually said, “This should be a high enough dosage for someone your size.” It’s very frustrating when you feel like no one is listening to you or believes the level of pain you’re in and won’t help you out to dull that pain. I wasn’t asking to take a wheelbarrow full of morph home with me, I just wanted to feel semi-comfortable after being cut open. I told my surgeon that I was afraid that would be the case nest week.

He looked at me and said, “Stop. I don’t want you to worry about this anymore. Pain therapy has come a long way in 20 years. And we will have you swimming in a sea of narcotics.”

Of course this had me laughing (luckily my dog wasn’t there to give me strange looks) and I was relieved that I wouldn’t be denied. I mean, during my day-to-day life I am not drugged up, but I feel that after enduring a major surgery I should be allowed to dive in, float, swim and sink to the bottom of that sea of narcotics. It may end up being the best week of my life!

It’s also funny what inspires us to write, isn’t it? I suppose I could have used that title to write a poem about swimming in narcotics; perhaps I will be better equipped to do that after next week.

Keep creating! 🙂

What Jack Kerouac Says

“Beliefs and Techniques for Modern Prose”

  1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
  2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
  3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
  4. Be in love with yr life
  5. Something that you feel will find its own form
  6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
  7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
  8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
  10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
  11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
  12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
  13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
  14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
  15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
  16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
  17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
  18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
  19. Accept loss forever
  20. Believe in the holy contour of life
  21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
  22. Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
  24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
  25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
  26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
  27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
  28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
  29. You’re a Genius all the time
  30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

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Get Inspired!

We must remember that there are only…

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3 COLORS – Picasso, Rembrandt and Matisse created masterpieces with them.

7 NOTES – Beethoven, Bach and Vivaldi used them to compose beautiful music.

10 DIGITS – Einstein, Hawking, and Tesla used them to discover hidden mysteries.

26 LETTERS – Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Twain used them to unleash imagination.

What will you CREATE today?

The Case of the Missing Letters

Does anyone else miss the dying art of letter writing?

I certainly do. Of course, technology is great. I wonder how I got through college without an iPad, iPhone and iPod. That was 20 years ago and the Internet was just getting started. It was minimalist to say the least, and not in that sexy, stripped-down way. It was list servers and email, which I rarely checked since the nearest computer with an Internet connection was halfway across campus. And besides, only about 2 people were emailing me at best and only on rare occasion.

I admit I do enjoy the efficiency of texting. Sometimes you just have a quick question or need to let someone know something and you may not want to call them because you don’t have time for a long conversation. Texts are remarkable that way.

However, texts are taking the place of emails, as we’ve become too lazy to write lengthy discourse. Twitter doesn’t help either. It can be cute and funny and stress-relieving to shoot off 140 characters about a song or a book or a joke or how you’re feeling about your asshole neighbor, etc. Obviously that’s different from texting since it’s to a world-wide audience, and I wonder if the few followers I do have even read my truncated spiels.

So, about those letters. I love paper. I love pens. I love putting pen to paper. I love the feel of paper in my hand, the smell of it. “Back in the day,” letters were all we had. In elementary school I penned quite a few unsent love letters to my crushes, imploring them that if they only got to know me they would be enraptured immediately (: . I wrote plenty of notes (the nonromantic word for letters) to my friends where we would write back and forth on the same paper (texting without technology!). Of course, all was done cloak and dagger style as teachers loved nothing more than to see a student squirm if he or she confiscated a note and read it aloud or, as one male teacher liked to do, pin notes on his bulletin board.

As I grew older, letters were exchanged with my more literate/romantic boyfriends (ones that did not like writing letters were put aside in the “just a date” or “friends” category). There wasn’t a vast line-up of serious suitors, but a few who I were in love with that thrilled me with their confessions of love for me on paper. And since my feelings were there but awkward or difficult for me to communicate in speech, writing a letter to my love was the best way to handle that.

And, sorry, but scrolling through texts or searching through emails or Facebook messages has zero percent of the romance of opening up a letter and reading the words that were written – by hand- has.

People – fictional and real – fascinate me. More than that, people in love really captivate me. Two writers that I’m obsessed with are Anais Nin and Henry Miller. Another example of soulmates (see post below), they were friends who loved the written word and were in many ways each other’s muse. So, of course, I am endeared with A Literate Passion: Letters of Anais Nin & Henry Miller. At first their discourse is an exchange of constructive criticism and encouragement about each other’s writing. We get to see their relationship evolve from admiration to a passionate life-long love affair, cooling to a friendship in their older years. Of course, it helps that the people writing the letters write beautiful prose and both know how to write a highly articulate turn of phrase.

How about this excerpt from one of Miller’s letters to Nin:

August 14, 1932

Anais:

Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes—you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous. Everything I do and say and think relates back to the marriage. I saw you as the mistress of your home, a Moor with a heavy face, a negress with a white body, eyes all over your skin, woman, woman, woman. I can’t see how I can go on living away from you—these intermissions are death. How did it seem to you when Hugo came back? Was I still there? I can’t picture you moving about with him as you did with me. Legs closed. Frailty. Sweet, treacherous acquiescence. Bird docility. You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old—you are a thousand years old. 

[…]

I say this is a wild dream—but it is this dream I want to realize. Life and literature combined, love the dynamo, you with your chameleon’s soul giving me a thousand loves, being anchored always in no matter what storm, home wherever we are. In the mornings, continuing where we left off. Resurrection after resurrection. You asserting yourself, getting the rich varied life you desire; and the more you assert yourself the more you want me, need me. Your voice getting hoarser, deeper, your eyes blacker, your blood thicker, your body fuller. A voluptuous servility and tyrannical necessity. More cruel now than before—consciously, wilfully cruel. The insatiable delight of experience.

HVM

Absolutely captivating.

Not only are letters themselves a treasure, but something about the waiting is sensual. Currently, sending a letter through the post usually takes about 2 – 3 days (which seems like a lifetime to some because of the speed of technology). 100 or 200 years ago, the wait could have been agony; sending a heated letter to your lover about how desperate you were for his or her love and then having to wait… It had to make receiving the response even sweeter.

I’d like to bring the tradition of the letter back. Hopefully I get a response.