Thursday, April 5, 2012

300 Words or Less: Answer in the Question


Today’s 300 Thursday is a long-overdue response to TangledLou’s question posed here. Though to clarify, where she asks about “Loss,” for some reason I input “Pain.” I don’t know why? Perhaps the answer is in the question. 

So for the last week I’ve been ruminating on variations of this thought: “What do I have to write about pain?” Here’s my 249-word reply:


link to original here
Open Wounds

The bloody wound in my leg was a crater, just below my knee, a large piece of playground gravel the meteor.

“If you’d changed into pants without holes, like I’d told you to, it wouldn’t be as bad.” 

I knew she was right. That was a different kind of hurt. 

But the real pain didn’t begin until, sitting with my pants rolled up in the empty bathtub, Mother started dribbling a half-water/half-hydrogen peroxide solution into the raw hole. Twice a day, doctor’s orders.

If it’d been a quick thing – “Close your eyes. There. Done.” – that’d be one thing. No, this was a drawn out deal. One cup? Two? How does one measure out the pain of liquid fire, a searing that keeps burning long after the plastic pitcher is empty?

“Open your scriptures,” she told me. “Where were we?” My tiny finger traced the words as I read staccato, hardly able to breathe.

But now my leg is fine. Hair won’t grow where the skin grew over, lumpy and purplish-white. Almost silver in some spots. But it’s fine.

And I’ve since been stuck at a “5” for eight hours, water broken and body leaking. All pain’s relative to that now. Even labor, though, I have a hard time talking about in detail. Too recent.

This other thing that happened nine years ago? The first time I found out about…well, that’s too recent too. The pain too big.

Let’s talk about the crater from my childhood. I can do that.

  
Uh. Ahem. Apparently I’m still working through a few things. Anyone else out there dealing with grief? Loss of body, mind, loved ones, dreams? Here’s one of the links I’ve recently been checking out for some advice on that. Do you have some good links and/or thoughts on fingering out the knots of loss?


Total pages logged as of today: 183 but visit my Deadline Updates page for more info

Moment of Magic today:


When I first heard this drifting up from Pandora, I was in a painful place, drawing my diary desperately on the back of a huge bookshelf with black Sharpies. I couldn't find the words to write out what was going on. I tried journaling, but words didn't fit. I couldn't find a canvas big enough. This song helped me feel less desperate, if only for a few minutes, and I love that even now it still makes me breathe a little easier. What songs help you?
  

12 comments:

  1. I love this. It's so raw and aching. It's funny because you equated loss and pain, you wrote about pain, but the loss seeps through all around. I want to collect all of these and make an anthology. This is just beautiful. Thank you for taking me up on the challenge. You were one of the brave few who did.

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    1. Of course I'd take you up on it, I love a good writing challenge when I have some time to do it, and I apologize for getting stuck in my head for longer than I anticipated. Upside to that is that I'm hashing out some things I didn't have the courage to do before -- I was just letting them hover there behind me. So thank you for the challenge, for more than just the writing exercise :)

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  2. I think in sharing your take on the exercise/prompt, you've helped me figure out exactly why I have been hesitant to do so. There is so much tied up in the four letters of "loss" and so much in my past (recent and distant) that I'm afraid to look closely at--especially in the semi-public space of the blog, but everywhere else really. It is hard for me to imagine getting that word down to a manageable size.

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    1. Aye, I think TangledLou's suggestion of 250 words or less was the key for me, here, or I would never have attempted this. Manageable size? When it comes to loss I think there's no such thing, so such a small word-count made it more easy to approach. Small bites, and then I can back away again.

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  3. There is so much pain inside so many losses in my life. I don't think that I could really articulate them. I found an old journal three days ago from one of the loss-periods. Even just reading through it was a bit hard. Still think about passages I wrote in there as I drive to work. I had to shred the journal. Part of the cleansing to ease/erase the memories? Or part of my downsizing for my move? Not sure which one.

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    1. Maybe it was both, and maybe it was good to be able to physically do something with them, physically get rid of them so you can move on with your move. Thanks for sharing this. You may not know how to articulate the pain, but showing your reaction to revisiting the journal was heartbreaking, and beautiful in its own way. I'm sorry you've felt so many losses, a.eye.

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  4. Oh, I love it. It inspires me to want to sit and write as well. But it's much much easier not to! Your focus on the childhood crater brought up memories and images for me and your hints of other more painful losses tickled background memories in my brain that I'm quite happy are in the background!

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    1. I agree with the whole background bit -- I'm not loving all the experiences I've had, but I'm grateful they've made me the person I am today, and I'm glad they're past experiences rather than present.

      You should definitely write down your niggling of thoughts, even if they are just pieces of the memories and images. If nothing else, they are conversation starters for a time when you have more time to write.

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  5. LOVE this....and the "green" retreat of the blog format..yup

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the great feedback, Brenda, both about the post and the format. Very much appreciated.

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