pull out some hope for me

Yesterday, my body punished me.

I had a conference to go to Wednesday, about an hour away from my house. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, to sit in my car for two hours. Since it was mostly on country roads, I did have to shift a little more than usual (I drive a manual, which let me tell you is super fun when you’ve got tendonitis in one hand and can’t use it), but it was nothing extraordinary. I figured I would be just fine.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

Yesterday was definitely a bad pain day. Everything hurt. Everything. It was one of those days that made it hard to be positive, that made me tremble at the audacity
of making plans for the future that included anything more than huddling on the couch in my pajamas, eating comfort food and watching any TV show or movie that didn’t ask me to think about what I was seeing.

I don’t know what about Wednesday knocked me so hard on my ass or why it was so very difficult to just push through. I spent the day yesterday on the verge of tears, counting down the seconds until I could come home. It was bad enough that I popped a Darvocet before I went to bed, hoping it would at least let me muddle through today with a little more grace.

Today, I wouldn’t say I feel wonderful, but compared to the grumpy, crotchety old lady I was yesterday, I am feeling pretty OK. Sure, I feel a little bit loopy and on the verge of nauseated from the pain pill, but today I can participate in my own life, again. I can finish putting up Halloween decorations, clean my apartment, type up a story (one-handed, but still faster than the average bear). I could walk down to my local coffee shop and get a delicious iced latte. I can dream about the future. And if I have to feel vaguely unsettled, well, that’s a worthwhile trade-off.

I was reading through the archives on Lindsay’s blog and she said something to the effect of, “Chronic illness can only take from you what you let it.” Well, amen, girl. I’m not going to let it take anything else. That and another verse sent to my inbox the other day just changed my perspective right around.

God will let you laugh again; you’ll raise the roof with shouts of joy. Job 8:21

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to brighten your day

My cat, Remy, has hit upon a new game she likes to play. After we shut her up in the office for the night (since she has a rather unhealthy tendency to chew on wires) but before we head into our room to go to sleep, she’ll stick her tail out under the door in the hopes that one of us (OK, me) will try to grab at it. When we (I) do, her little paws will shoot out and try to play with our hands.

It’s quite adorable, actually.

So, the other day, I decided to set my camera down while she was doing it, and this is the result. It certainly brightened my evening when I saw it. Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold

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I came across this today in one of my newsletters, a hangover from my college days when I took a media ethics course and wound up signing up for a daily reminder of what’s going on in the PR world. Most of the time, I find little to interest me, but “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” — and some of the other writing workshop articles — makes me glad I never dropped my subscription.

The profile, written by Gay Talese and published in Esquire magazine in April 1966, is a great example of New Journalism, of how to blend a straightforward newsy writing style with a more creative, descriptive approach.

I have to admit that, despite the 40 plus years of difference in when Talese wrote this article and my writing today, it really speaks to me. There is little attribution because Talese was there for many of these encounters. His powers of description are incredible and really made me feel as if I was there, with Frank Sinatra in the winter of ’65, getting angry at twentysomethings in a bar for not showing proper respect and not dressing immaculately, as did Sinatra himself.

I think this style of writing blends two styles of writing very well: the Hemingway-esque straightforward, no extra words approach and the creative writing, Austen or Dickens approach of loads of description, pages crammed with adjectives and adverbs.

It was serendipitous, really, for me to find this article yesterday, when my friend Courtney wrote a blog about the difficulty she’s having blending the English lit and the straight news styles of writing. I don’t know if this will help her, but eventually, she’ll find her own way. Good writers know there’s no shame in learning from those who came before you.