Wednesday, October 3, 2012


This last moon was particularly hard on the earth people. Us, grounded, soil-smelling creatures suddenly uprooted, moving like the tides until our feet dangled inches above the floorboards, swaying into a moody petulance. The moon challenges us to face crisis without our crutches.


I am constructed of crutches. Weakness for all things vice. But now, I just drink coffee, cuss to myself, take a handful of candy every few days, shop for antique fortune-telling teacups and old carnival signs. I write on a blog. The crutches of recovery, I suppose. I ask my sister to ground me, to check my chakras, align them with gemstones. But I keep floating up, looking at knots in the tops of trees, waving to a plague of grackles that swoop low like the finger of an ancient god. The last few months, I simply could not keep things straight. There are abandoned kid drawings all over my floor, laundry piling up. I cannot return phone calls. Emails starred and unanswered. My heart races. And the way I used to regard myself, competent and responsible, feels like a house of tarot cards. All my fortunes fall to the floor, and I have to stare at the empty remains of my foundation.

I take a talisman deck from inside an old vase. I pull the card that reads, "protection from your mind turning against your body." And I stare at the sketch of a belt pulled taut against a skeleton.

My mind turns against my body daily. My friend says that given ten minutes alone after an awkward conversation with a co-worker, he can go from fine to quitting his job, moving out of state, and drinking again. Alcoholism makes death by slow, distilled suicide an option some days. I admit that I am prone to that type of thinking, but instead of acting it out, I write about it, construct a story from it, write an unhappier ending, or, even more surreal, a happier one.

I didn't feel depressed until I stopped writing. Maybe it was there in the spaciness, the ungrounding. But it comes to me in a flash as I stare at the card. Even the art couldn't make up for the not-writing, and this is the crisis the moon throws at me. A crumb of doubt about my writing and how it affects my ego. I took a blog break. I thought with my blog break, I should take a break on writing wholesale. No journal notes, no short stories. Just me being a stay-at-home mother. Being present.

Yet, in a matter of days, without writing, I felt defeated and crazy. Within two weeks, I had sent a resume to an anonymous email for a job as a secretary, even though I knew I would have to pay more in childcare than it would pay me. And besides, I have never even been a secretary. It didn't matter. I just wanted an escape from the dialogue in my brain, the constant story without a book.

When I stop writing, I go crazy. I turn inward and feel out of sorts. I plan to become a dairy farmer in Iowa. Other days, when I think no one is looking, I fantasize about walking away with just the clothes on my back, a mystery unsolved. That could be a novel, I think. Actually, I think that already is a novel.

My crutch may be writing, but it is a crutch without liver damage and lung disease. Writing is a scalpel and my brain is the fetal pig dissected, pinned open, a heart lying next to a notebook. Writing puts it into perspective. Instead of hug it out, I write it out. With two weeks of not writing, I saw my life set out in front of me a long series of things never written. Characters taking on lives of their own. The stories in my head are constantly dancing, arguing, fighting, fucking, snapping photographs, remembering, until they turn inward and wage a deep, unrelenting war in there, oozing out of my dreams, and twisted bedtime yarns for the children.

Writing can be a kind of mythical Ancient Greek torture. Write, write, write, no one reads, then I write more. In fact, the less people read, the more I want to write, just to change their mind. Write. Write. Not write. Go crazy. Write again. With more zeal, more mystical shit, more bells, more whistles. But write, dammit. Until there is nothing left to say.


When she withholds love, 
I want to smother her with kisses, 
cover her with flowers and tea 
and read her my writing again and again.

She didn't really love me, I think.
But that was never really the point.


  1. It's an affliction of Al-Anoners, too, sister. As an aside, thinking about crazy brain, my husband was just (finally diagnosed with ADHD, and we learned that addiction is a very common self-treatment for that disorder. It explains so much for my husband, thinking back of his life, even early childhood, before alcoholism and addiction took hold. Now he takes a drug to treat the ADHD, and reports, like so many do, that he feels calm in a way even alcohol and drugs never really made him.

  2. This is such a good post...but don't stop writing. The universe craves your unique, beautiful voice!

  3. I love your words... They help my craziness because I can't always come up with words to explain them and your words help me look at myself.

  4. This post has me thinking a lot about crutches versus callings. I guess I think that writing is one of your callings, and that not doing it means not nurturing an important part of who you are. I could wish that your calling was an easier one, but (rather selfishly) I don't. I am grateful for everything you write, but sometimes especially for the struggles you share.

    I hope the next few months are gentler and more benign, that balance and grounding come a little more easily.

  5. Yes, Erica


    And you are called, Still Life Angie.

    No doubt about it,



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