I’m not crazy. I’m just a little unwell. I know, right now you can’t tell. Matchbox 20
Dear Russell & Friends,
My oldest son and I joke that the best thing for writer’s block is to write about it. Perhaps that’s why the musician strums and plunks, the sculptor abstracts, and the poet zooms into the mundane. One week ago I took the first two pills of a z-pack, the five day course of needless antibiotic that I sometimes retreat to after several days of sore throat, low grade fevers, and general crumminess. Whether it was placebo effect, anti-inflammatory property or response to a true bacterial bronchitis I do not know. I do know that the rest of the week felt progressively better. And that I was able to take two hour naps with vivid, forgotten dreams. Unwell. Why can’t I be thankful in the interregnum? Why must illness remind me of health? I can’t be alone.
This season has been more of intake and thought than output. I’ve read more, written more in my journal, and prayed more on long runs that I hadn’t been capable of in some time. I lost two colleagues in sudden death. In career, in family, in calling I’ve been asking that classic middle-age question: what do I want to be, who do I want to be, when I grow up?
One concept that came back to me was you. This is only my second foray into digital life. The first was a blog called The Breakfast Table that neither Russell nor I can find even with the internet wayback machine. I abandoned that blog as the cognitive load of corresponding with strangers was more than I could handle. What is different ten years later? I have not Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. There is just a friend who no longer believes, his family who may, and many people like him. There is just my family and me who do believe, and a deep desire to find the intersection. I need something that will last past fifty even though I am more aware than most that I may not. You see, I’m an oncologist. I have more experience than many with those who live with an awareness of the end. And more recently with those who live life fully with no idea that today’s dawn is their last.
First rule of writer’s block rambling? Keep it less than
500 513 words. So, what? I’m reading Francis Schaeffer, Thomas Paine, Isaiah and Leo Tolstoy. I’m thinking of the 2,000 people who follow this blog and the 6 people who joined Charity Miles. I’m thinking of why this effort matters to me and why it is okay to pause and grow and even to decay. I’m thinking of fifty and how not to fail. I’m thinking of a book called failure at fifty that I’ve been writing in my head. All chapters start with an “f” word of more than four letters. I need help with one for career. More soon, I hope. Just a little unwell.
Pascal – – 1:16
photo credit: Russell, his telescope & the 2015 blood moon