Some writers get writer’s block. I get writer’s overwhelmedness.
It’s not nearly as poetic sounding as writer’s block, but it is just as effective at stymying the flow of words.
This morning, for instance. I woke up an hour ago.
I talked briefly to the woman I love. We got married a year and a couple of months ago, but we’ve lived in two households, her in Massachusetts where she had work, and me here in Vermont where I have work. We’ve been a migratory couple but this past week she started a new job in Vermont and suddenly, we are together every day, every night, like a regular married couple. It’s been amazing and wonderful and a fresh reminder of why I wanted to marry her. And now that she is away for a night, the house is oddly quiet, and me, this introvert’s introvert, misses her. How is that? There’s an essay in that somewhere.
I had a hard time getting going this morning. The woman I love thinks I may be moving towards a round of harder depression. She’s like an early warning system for such things because she is so sensitive to it. Me? I just cruise along, riding the waves until I realize I have been struggling a week or two. I’m used to it. But she sees the movement sooner than I. She’s good that way. Having someone in my life who is that attuned to me is life changing. Her presence has reduced the waves up and down to and from my darker places. I can more easily do the things I need to do to stay in a good place with her in my life. An essay there too.
It’s yard sale weekend in my little village of West Pawlet, Vermont. As I drove to my favorite diner, I could seen people setting up their tables. Up here, every town seems to have a yard sale weekend, where everyone who ever thought of doing a yard sale does it on the same day. There will be crowds of scavengers and this miraculous exchange of trash and treasures will go on throughout the day. A story there for sure.
It was a wonderful, cool night last night, dropping down into the forties, thirty degrees cooler than it’s been for days. It will only hit the seventies as a high, again, thirty degrees cooler. The cooler air is miraculous and refreshing. As I drove to the diner, I had the windows down. The air was clear. It made me think of how much I have come to love Vermont, with its (normally cooler air. It made me think of my nine-year journey here, and how it’s changed me, and how my time here has helped me recover myself. It is, to me, a miracle story, and I feel flushed again and again with gratitude. I could write for pages on it all.
It was cool last night, and I was able to finally cut off the window air conditioners that have run incessantly the past few days. I opened the doors for a few minutes before I left and heard the birds. I have missed them. I drove to the diner and settled in. There are about four or five groups here talking as they have breakfast. Here in the corner where I write most days, snippets of their conversations reach me. I suspect at least a couple of them would me mortified at what I hear. In time, as I get to work, it all just becomes noise. And I find myself thinking about the noise in our lives, and how it clutters our lives sometimes and keeps us from the peace we seek and the kinds of thoughts that help us become our best selves. A good essay there for sure.
There is music playing at my favorite diner. The owner (and chief cook) loves music. He’s put in a Bose sound system, far better than you’ll find in most diners, and he plays music from the era I grew up in. Some days I come in and he is singing with the stereo. Some days, when he does that, I join in and we harmonize, remembering the music of our youth. Why does that music, the sounds we grew up with, resonate with us all our lives? Worth writing about, that.
I have in front of me a good cup of coffee. I’ve been drinking it slowly, but an hour in, I am on my third cup. Savoring each one. I had a meat lover’s omelet. It’s not on the menu, but the cook and owner of the diner makes if for me when I ask. The heart attack special, full of bacon, ham, multiple sausages. It is rich with flavor and I savor it too. Not just because it is delicious (and it is!), but because savoring, consciously savoring, is part of my toolkit against depression. There’s power in slowing down that helps every aspect of my life. A good thing to write about, I think.
But I won’t end up writing about any of these things. There’s too much. I get overwhelmed by it all. So many thoughts. So many emotions. I don’t know how most people handle it all every day. Hour after hour through the day. It’s like an assault on the brain and the emotions. I spend much of my trying to focus through the noise. I have become skilled at it, but I wish I had the ability so many have of doing this naturally. I have to work at it. I wasn’t like this my whole life. Why am I now? What happened? Something to explore.
There have been other things too. I spent time before I left for the diner with my stub-tailed cat and it occurred to me that writing about me and cats would be a good essay. The light was miraculous this morning. soft and gentle as the cooler temperatures, and I found myself thinking about light, and it’s power to shape images and mood. I was barefoot before I left the house. I love being barefoot. Maybe I could write about that as well.
On and on and on.
And I’ve only been awake for about an hour.
Have a great day. Find some peace. Enjoy the noise. It’s all around us. Enjoy it, but don’t let it take over. It can, you know.