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Take a hike

I love myself, I hate myself, I love myself, I hate myself ... Every day is like that game little girls play with daisies, except I don't need the flower. I know as soon my fingers hit the keyboard, whether or not I will love myself.

If I make it through the first sentence without stopping -- without hitting the backspace -- it will be a good day. Unfortunately I haven't had one in quite some time. There's no predicting exactly. I can guesstimate. If I'm not feeling well; if I'm spread too thin; if I eat too much; my concentration and thus my writing will suffer.

I wish it was so easy to spot a good day -- then I could replicate it. But I don't know what happens on those rare occasions that my brain and fingers work together. When they do it's magic. When they don't I hate the world and everything in it -- Grrawr!

I try to keep track of things on good days -- where I was sitting; what I was wearing; what I ate; what time I woke up; what time I went to bed the night before; how many cups of coffee I drank; what music I listened to; and so on. The secret is -- there is no secret. Good days come and go with lots of bad days in between.

I'm pretty sure that locking myself in my bedroom -- going straight from work to my little yellow chair to sit and stew and swear at the Heavens for not inspiring me -- is counterproductive. It feels like a race against time. I know I should take a walk or go to the gym or visit a friend, but I look at the clock and my brain does the math -- I have this many minutes to write and every minute I spend doing something else that doesn't result in writing will be lost FOREVER. A month might pass and my friends will call, "We haven't heard from you in a while ..."

So I went to Seattle -- reluctantly -- to see a play with my parents on Sunday. It was sunny for a change, and the sidewalks were crowded with stragglers from the Pride Parade and people out window shopping with heavy bags and bouquets wrapped in pink and yellow parchment. Everyone had dug out their shorts and sunglasses and bright, plastic flip flops to celebrate the first dry day of summer.

I was dawdling a few steps behind my parents, and a homeless woman approached me and smiled gently. She was several inches shorter than me with dark skin and light eyes, and her cheeks were round and dimpled.

She stared at me sleepily and murmured something I was clearly meant to hear, because her eyes never left me. She stood there smiling, waiting for an answer.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't hear you."

"Are you enjoying your time outside your stable?"

Am I enjoying my time outside my stable -- I let the words flap around in my head for a moment. Did I hear her correctly? What did she mean? I was dressed brightly in a Madras-plaid sundress and an orange cardigan. Perhaps I looked like a carousel.

"Are you enjoying your time outside your stable?" She asked a little louder than before.

"Yes," I answered. "Yes I am."

She bowed her head slightly and winked as though we shared a secret.

"Me too."

She waved "goodnight" and walked away.

Something about her touched me. She wasn't a crazy homeless lady; she was telling me something important. That's what it felt like, but I couldn't solve the riddle. I thought about her all of the way home from Seattle and again at bedtime; I thought about her at work. What the Hell was she telling me? I was sitting in my yellow chair pounding my keyboard angrily in the poorly-lit bedroom when it hit me -- I was back in my stable.

I know I should get out more. Maybe I will.


  1. What a surreal moment. I almost expected the old woman to offer you a poison apple next. Was it a riddle? An insult? Neither or both? Divine wisdom me thinks. She got you (and your readers) thinking at least, and I completely agree... everyone should "Get out more!"

  2. And that is why you are a weiter. You discern an obscure message most of us would be oblivious to from a stranger most of us would ignore who may be a wise seer .


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