Panorama of San Bernardino

Friday, October 16, 2015

Writing Las Vegas

I can write anywhere. To prove that point, I am writing while sitting on a bathroom floor at five am in a hotel room in Vegas.  The door is closed lest I wake my slumbering husband.  I feel like crap. The medical issues I thought were in remission from two years ago are back full force.  I am trying to be subtle here. My goal is not to gross you out dear reader. It's just to let you know that I am in physical pain. Actual pain that makes me grind my teeth together.  The only things that help are sleeping and a healthy lifestyle.

But I'm in Vegas. Where smoke and slot machines ruled me last night. Work has been hectic. I'm coaching mock trial. I have too much on my plate. It's all an excuse for why I needed to decompress. Pouring money into a slot machine while sipping on a Coors Lite is the only way I know how. Blame my father. I come from a long line of gamblers and drinkers on my paternal side.

Do I seem as if I am not self aware of how I sound? Don't worry, I'm fully aware of my justifications. I'm a lawyer as well as a writer and can smell bullshit a mile away.

In my head, I'm calling bullshit on myself.

Now I'm lying on the tile in the bathroom floor stretched out looking up and pecking at the keys of my phone to write this. This is ridiculous. Akin to my clients writing in tiny scribble in pencil. But it's all I know how to do well. When I write, something is let loose in my brain and something else is quieted. My brain rarely stops spinning unless I am engrossed in something. And writing (and reading for that matter) engrosses me to no end.

I often wish I was the kind of person who didn't need this.  It is a cross of sorts. It's as if I am not really feeling anything unless I am writing it down. And I know that can't be healthy. But I know no other way.

Yet, I suppose it is also a blessing that I have this release.  What would I do if I couldn't write it all down? Would my life have any meaning? It must be that writing is my attempt to give my life perspective and form. In shaping my experiences, even when those experiences are as banal as sitting at a slot machine in Vegas cigarette in hand, I give substance to the nothingness.

And that is something. Right?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Unhappy Birthday

Are birthdays supposed to be a happy day? Well today is my birthday and I am feeling a bit melancholy.  I am thinking of everything I haven't done this year. No book. No baby.  Those are the two things that stick in my chest. There's a rock there right now. A stone that hinders my breathing no matter how much I will it to go away.

Funny thing is, I don't think sadness is always a bad thing. At least for me, sadness can be motivating and inspirational. Some of my best stories were written with tears streaming down my face so fast I couldn't catch them. In fact, I used to cry quite often, deep heaving sobs that acted like a catharsis. It may be a bad omen that I feel like I can't cry anymore. Perhaps, I am wrung dry by it all.

I am going to date myself now. I am forty-four, born in 1971. I grew up in Ontario, California in the era of free range parenting. My childhood wasn't perfect. But, it gave me much story making fodder and I would not change it for the world. I have a twin Jackie who (obviously) also turned forty-four today. I am childless but not loveless. I have much love from friends and family. I am blessed in so many ways. I know this.

I represent the mentally ill and feel a special empathy for them. When I visited the state hospital the other day, it made me realize how glad I was to be able to leave.  My husband joked that I better get out quick or they would keep me there. I quipped back that I felt oddly at home there because I grew up with crazy.

My dogs are my kids. I love them so much that it hurts. And it also hurts to admit that I talk to them out loud when we are walking in the mornings. To others, I must seem like the eccentric lady who thinks her dogs can understand what she is saying (I actually believe they do in their own way), but in reality I am just an (almost) middle aged lady whose affection must go somewhere.

This morning, when I walked outside to write this, I looked up into the sky and it was filled with stars and a bright white, gleaming crescent of a moon. It made me hopeful. As if the stars and the moon were put there for me to see this morning. I stared up into the sky for at least a full minute. Searching for something.