Wednesday, October 20, 2010

General Washington

To state the obvious, I’ve been writing a lot less the past few weeks. The ear infection wore me out. Yeah, I was wiped out by the infection, but the damned thing ate me alive. And I morphed again. This time into an appetizing quivering lump of fleshy Jell-O. (Wow. I’ve even grossed myself out. The latter is plain repugnant. Like a huge hunk of aspic.) I was petrified. I still am petrified, but much more functional than I was which was not at all. My currently unsolvable dilemma scares the crap out of me. The “currently unsolvable” is a tip of the hat to my wonderful biochemist friend who says that science is closing in on an answer to my problem. (Of having way too few working alveoli.) Me, I’m not so optimistic. And if it takes the scientific community ten years (if so soon), can I hang (oops, poor word choice!) in there?

My dilemma scares the crap out of me. I read somewhere it took Michael J. Fox seven years to accept his Parkinson’s Disease. I have four years to go to before I can join the Zen Disabled Club. Until then, I go down or more down, anxious or uncontrollably anxious, and/or paralyzed and panicked.

I started this blog for a mess of reasons. Since Since When is “done.” (If any one-literary agent or publisher (ha!) really wants it, it’s far from done and the process of sending out queries to agents is not like writing. It is awful drudgery, that shit is. So voilà, my writing outlet.

But a public outlet? I guess after being so fucking frightened to speak, I wanted to strip down nude for the whole world to see. (No waxing, no retouching.) If I could expose even more of myself I would. I’m not sure why, but I feel compelled to do so. (Yeah, I’m sure you all thought I’ve been holding back, haven’t you?)

The blog gives me the opportunity to write about whatever the fuck I want. I can tell everyone all the nastiness involving my illness. My idiot doctors and caregivers. My fears. My suicidal thoughts. (Last week I was definitely testing the waters- getting my toes wet. Not literally. That I did eons ago. Got that out of my system, but the real deal is always hovering about in the background. We are each aware of each other and made actual eye contact last week. We haven’t actually spoken in a long time.)

I also thought this was a way of having a conversation. I may be having a conversation. With myself. A conversation I’m letting everyone who feels like it to listen to. But I don’t want to have yet another stinking conversation with myself. I’ve been doing that my entire life; while it does have its charms, writing them out would be a grand waste of time.

Hey, I have my Grant bio to finish. Grant Memoirs have been read. Read them if you love the intricacies of battles. If not, knowing the incredible poignant story about why he wrote them when he did is more that enough. I wrote about that in some old blog post. Though I can’t remember which one, because my short-term memory stinks. But FYI, this bio confirms, that Grant, besides being the best military figure of the nineteenth century, was also a great man. His huge flaw (not when he commanded armies in the civil war) was that he was too trusting and was easily swindled. A businessman he was not. I can think of worse.

Norman Mailer would publish a book Conversations With Myself. He kind of already did: Advertisements to Myself which I found unreadable though it was cool that my professor is mentioned (who assigned it) in two spots in the book. But how my nice professor (Bob Lucid. Is it even possible to come up with a better name?) could be buddies with Norman Mailer is one of Life’s Mysteries. (Stick with The Naked and the Dead and you can’t go wrong. My mother liked The Executioner’s Song, bless her heart. I’m sure it’s beautifully written. Not for me right now…I don’t think…)

I think Facebook has been a bust. (For the most part. Sadly, it’s not going to replace my old sand box. NYC. The Earth.) My expectations were too great, because I need it or something like it so terribly much. With those requirements, of course it must fail. There are highlights:

I’ve found a few old friends. Danny. Sharon, my Sha. (!!!) I feel I’ve known Rich forever. I love him madly. And then there’s Bob. The diamond in the rough who is rough no more, whom we sadly missed so many moons ago. But he’s here now. And Donna. My god, Donna’s back. (!!!)

Just a small housekeeping detail. The hormones have taken a break from their trip around the universe and have taken refuge once more in my body to, I imagine, have 40,000,000 light years check, change oil, before heading out again. Bob, to keep the Fantastic Voyage image front and center, I wonder if Raquel Welch has taken residence in my body and has anti-bodies plastered over her breasts. Chip loved that image as a kid, and I don’t think he likes it any less now. (I think it’s pretty hot come to think of it.)

I have been stalling to get to the crux of this post. (There is a crux to this post. We’re there now.) I think I wanted a conversation. Facebook just skates along the surface of everything. It is rare to find anything personal on FB. I think I need connection.

What was it, in 1776, when the south has walked out of the Continental Congress. "It’s no use John.” The rest follow them out. Leaving John Adams and the clerk Thomson, Adams asks where Thomson stands on independency. “I stand with the General.” And Thomson reads from George Washington’s latest letter to Congress, “I have been in expectation of receiving a reply on the subject of my last fifteen dispatches. Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody care?" (Everything about that movie brings me to tears. Yes, even before I first became ill.) I guess I, too, stand with the general.

Postcript: You realize when I talk about FB being a bust is not a commentary on any of you I met, became, reacquainted with (Colleen) through that medium. I appreciate each and everyone one of you. I see that you all take the time to read my posts. My (teary) thanks to you for your patience with me while I stumble about. You help me. I need you.


  1. Thanks, Fran! And back at ya. That has been truly a highlight of FB for me, reconnecting with you and getting to know you so much more than in college. An all-around great thing.
    Been keeping up with the blog, just FYI, even if quietly and from afar.
    As for FB, a thought: post a link to your blog entries as you post them? Might reach more people > more replies, conversation > more connection.

  2. Fran, I'm reading your blog regularly too. Is "Since When" the book you've written, as well? I'm a fan.... Best, Susan