The problem with writing when you’re anxious or a little depressed is that everything ends up being about death – your own death, your spouse’s, your kids’, your dogs’, the death of the great American city, Death Be Not Proud, you get the idea. It’s depressing.
I considered submitting something for an essay contest. The topic was ‘the happiest day of your life.’ Oddly, I remember the happiest day of my life but it lacks drama and angst so I don’t think I could write convincingly about it.
My Happiest Day
It was a hot summer day on Lake Superior. All of our children were staying with us in our old house on the beach. I’d reluctantly come in from swimming to start dinner and, as I was chopping onions, my younger son ran into the house yelling, “Mom, why did you leave? Come back swimming.” And I put down my knife and walked back out to the beach into the water and swam along the shore with him and the other kids and our dog until the sun almost set and my husband was waving to us from the porch, “It’s time to come in for dinner.” And when I came in, Kathy Mattea was singing “Love Travels” on the stereo.
I found myself wishing the prompt was saddest day or most regrettable day. I want to start a post talking about how cocktail hour seems to be starting earlier every afternoon and how investing in Two-Buck Chuck has been my frugal move of the month. But even with all my little snarls of turmoil, I am a Strawberry Shortcake in the world of agony writing. I am nobody’s victim except, occasionally, my own. I can’t hold a candle to true despair. Mine is hobby suffering. It’s temporal and temporary.
I have friends who are experts at suffering. They allude to the physicality of it, the aches and pains, the lack of appetite. “Why are you not hungry?” I ask. “Because I am grieving,” comes the incredulous response. Me? I am not grieving. I have avoided grieving. But I am afraid of grieving and that itself is putting me in this strange, onion-like place. There are layers to all of this and I don’t want to peel any of them away.