So, about today…

So, I’m not really sure what to do, or what to say today. It’s.. Definitely weird. And I don’t know if it’s quite hitting me in the way it should or will…

That being said, I’ve decided for whatever reason to re-post the writing whatever it is thing I wrote about my mom. Originally posted in a rough form on my blog 3 years ago, and published in the Spring 2013 Obscura. I’m thankful that my mom did get to read this, in full, in it’s published form and I was able to hide the fact that it was about her from her.

(This is NOT the final proofread corrected published copy, so all you editor types can have a fun side game to play.)

Special thanks to everyone who helped push me to make this and make it better, Carolina, who read it first in it’s rawest state, Elyse Marsh for forcing me to actually use it. Alex for his encouragement. Lauren for fighting for it (and for always fighting for me). And of course my best best friend Sorcha, for everything.

Writer’s Block
By
Kevin Peterson

You do realize you actually need to write something now, don’t you?
I hear the words echoing in my brain, since they were told to me. Constantly. Unending. Write something? Sure, I can do that. Of course I can. I love to do that. I write all the time.
Except, when I don’t. When I can’t. The second it’s for something important I freeze up. Freeze up, put it off, ignore it. Leave it until, either “inspiration” comes, or the deadline buzz comes in and saves me. But, what if there is no deadline? What if it’s not really that important? What if it’s so important that it NEEDS to be done? Well, then, I’ll probably end up putting it off, finding an excuse and never finishing it.
Because, here’s the thing, if there’s no deadline, or no ACTUAL deadline, no ticking countdown clock above my desk (I really should get one of those, or maybe I really shouldn’t), I’m never going to allow my indecisive brain to take it seriously. Or rather, my indecisive brain, will never allow me to take it seriously.
My next step is to go for outside help, It NEEDS to be done, so I’m going to tell EVERYONE in my support system. I’m going to make them badger me, and bug me, until I irritatedly throw my hands in the air and yell FINE! I need to tell all of them, because if I leave it up to one, or just two, well, they’ve got lives outside of keeping me from wandering off (brain-wise, or actually wandering off, it’s known to happen), and simply being my friend (God bless them if they sign on for a close friend position) is enough of a headache by itself, I mean, do you see all the parentheticals? That’s how I am ALL the time, but with talking.I also fear that I have to rotate between friends, otherwise someone is bound to bet burned out by my, well me-ness.
So, my first suggestion comes back:
“Kevin needs to write about glitter, hugs, unicorns and rainbows.” I have pretty serious friends, you guys.
I began to think about this. I could possibly work with this. I could…..

….I had to stop here. Life gets in the way. Things change. Life happens. The usual. You know how it goes.
I’m now sitting ER, waiting room with my mom. Waiting. It’s really not that uncommon of a place for me to be, oddly (frighteningly?) I’ve gotten fairly used to it. I spent my whole life waiting (I practically grew up in?) in hospital waiting rooms, ERs, various doctors offices, clinics, and.. well, you get the idea. That’s what happens when your mom is sick. Not sick all the time, sick just one time, sick that, affected her, and by default me, as well as my entire family, for the rest of, well, everything.

It’s now 9:45. I pull out my always with me Moleskine notebook. Because, it’s the only way I know how to be a hipster writer. I try to concentrate, get back on writing. Get back to where I left off. I ask for a suggestion of what to write about, this time to get my mind off of where I am.
From the same person:
“Write a Princess story, so it can be animated.”

Most people would be offended. I’m hardly offended. I’m well known as being the princess guy, although really, it’s more than that, I’m the DISNEY GUY, the Disney Animation guy, but that’s a story for another day. For this particular friend, all of the princess and Disney and everything else came imbedded in the DNA of our friendship, so these types of conversations are normal.

I think about the suggestion given to me. I think about it for a while. My mind wanders. I think about the uncomfortable chair I’m sitting in. I listen in to a woman bellowing at her children. Her Children. Restless. Climbing over their seats. Climbing over her.

“Why do we have to be here, still?” The boy asks.
“Because, WE”RE FAMILY, THAT”S WHAT WE DO!” She roars back.

The little girl drops her Blue DS with a thud.

My head goes down, back to my notes. I change my own subject in my mind. Why would anybody want me to write about what would certainly be an awkward princess with social anxiety issues? Well, possibly, maybe. I give it a try:

Ugh. Sun. I do NOT need this today.
“Rise and shine, duckling, we’ve got a busy day ahead of us!”
Handmaiden! Gluh! I threw the pillow back over my face, “Tell them I died!”
“Yes, dear.” Her cheery voice dropping rapidly to stern, “I’m sure that will go over wonderfully.”

Something like that, I suppose? Or better. I can’t guarantee better. It’s an interesting start. Perhaps for a later time. As much as I love the whimsically magical fiction stuff, I feel I’m much better at the interpersonal, introspective, personal stuff, I think. I’d need to find a real “hook” to really draw me in, to give me something to latch on to in the writing.

Something personal.

I’m not in the headspace to do this right now. I write this and I sit and I look around this very very backed up ER. I don’t see any, ‘Noah Wylie’ (John Carter, just seems inappropriate now…) type emergencies, but what do I know.
We’ve been here an hour? More? I lost track at this point.

I’m getting pretty good at trying to figure out the plot-lines of the USA Dramas silently playing on the television mounted to the wall beyond me. It took me a far too long to to realize that I was watching a completely different series, than before. I’m calling this one, “Aging B-List Character Actors and Hottie-Milfs.” I don’t feel bad at my lack of creative title making. There’s a dude from Gilmore Girls on it. Hey, that’s cool.
I find myself more interested in the fact that there’s a hashtag logo in the corner of the screen, meaning as I assume, they are trying to entice people to “tweet” about this series on Twitter, and mark each tweet with a hashtag, in order to tack them. Interesting idea, I guess.
I have a Twitter. I choose not to update my Twitter. I feel weird posting about where I am, in this situation. I do let one of my friends know. I met her because of Twitter. It’s almost the same thing.

I’m starting to get antsy, myself. I leave the waiting room to go find coffee. I find a “Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Coffee Machine,” I’m not really sure how I feel about this.
I go back and I sit. And I notice and I wonder, how many days, how much of my time have I spent in waiting rooms? Medical offices.

Sometime later I’ll have a conversation with my friend:
“You’d think with all of this time spent in all of these medical places, I’d have the desire to go into a field of some sort, or at least, have the desire to learn more about this.”
“No,” she tells me, “Why would you?”

Of course it makes sense, visits like this, days like this, have occupied so much of my life, of my time, why would I want it to take up more my headspace?

The waiting room is filled lost souls and hopeless cases. I try to not look, because I find it depresses me. Honestly, this is one of the least worrisome times I’ve waited with her. I can think of a million worse times, but I won’t. I shouldn’t. And I won’t. For the same reason I won’t make eye contact with the woman, who has one arm. Or the very old man in the wheelchair, whose face is bleeding.

They finally call us to the back. It’s probably close to 1 AM now. We get an observation room. I get a nametag. It says “Kevin.” We sit. There is more waiting. My ex-sister-in-law works here, not in the ER, but in the regular hospital, ironically, she works in the Neurology Department, which is the area of the hospital my mom and I frequent most often in the daylight hours. She isn’t working tonight..
I tell my mom.
“Oh, that’s too bad,” she says, “She was really nice last time.”

There is more waiting.

“It’s probably ok for you if you got a new girlfriend,” my mom tells me. “But, I understand If you don’t feel like you want one yet.”

“uhm. yes… Thank you.. I’ll see what I can do,” was my reply. My mother has a tendency of attempting to set me up with nurses and such.

The first doctor comes in. She’s a med -student, from France. With a very thick accent. I find her adorable. My mother asks her about her lab coat, which hospital she came from. She tells us she’s been in the country for a week and she understands English very well, but people have a hard time with her accent.
Don’t worry about it, I think to myself, it’s fascinating, and you’re adorable. I choose not to say that part out loud. I pick up a slight antagonistic animosity between the French Student and the seasoned Blonde Nurse. The nurse’s tone is sharper with her, it’s subtle but noticeable, well, I notice it.
The one thing that does seem to be lost in translation is my mother’s sense of humor, her dry sarcasm is lost on her. Lost on all the other Doctors, too, apparently. Either that, or they’re politely ignoring it. Something I’m very familiar with. I tell her it isn’t helpful when she tells the Doctor she thought she was on a beach in Bermuda.

Doctors always seem perplexed by mom’s condition.
“Are you still receiving cancer treatments here?”
“No, not for a long time, like 17 years”
“Why does she see a Neurologist here, then?”
“Because, the radiation treatments 17 years ago”
“Wait? Seventeen years? OH….”
And on and on, it’s the same with every doctor, every nurse, ever specialist, every time.
Now it’s closing in on Four AM. My First notebook is filled, but filled with what, I don’t know
My phone has long ago died. It doesn’t really matter. Anyone who I would talk to is long asleep. Those I chose to tell. I honestly didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t want people to think I was fishing for sympathy. It’s also the reason why I don’t really tell people about my Mom, most of the time, anyway. I deliberately decided against telling specific people about tonight. I don’t want them to worry. It’s my burden to carry, and it always has been. I know I’m going to catch hell for it from some people (I did).
My phone died. It doesn’t matter. I’d run out of Facebook updates (or Tweets, whatever) saying, “It feels like I’ve been here my whole life,” or something like that. I would never post that. It goes against my not letting people know issue. It seems like I’m reaching for attention. I don’t want anyone to find out, not even my family, and not that way, have them worry, overreact, or somehow find a way to make me feel bad for this (believe me, I spent most of the time here running the ways it could possibly be my fault through my brain, chalk it up to Catholic Guilt, I suppose).
My phone died. It doesn’t matter. My eyes are blurring too badly, I can’t even concentrate on anything . I’m starting to fall asleep.

“Can you please get him some coffee? It’s no use if you guys fix me just for him to fall asleep driving me home.” I hear my mom tell the nurse. They’ve decided to release her.

My Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Coffee is long gone.

In a weird way, it’s the most quality time I spent with my mom in a long time. Time we don’t really get to spend together anymore. And in a strange way it’s a very familiar, routine, nostalgic, sentimental even, and strangely comfortable. As odd as that seems.

It’s close to 5AM when I finally get home. I look over to my computer, sitting open, the first draft of this is sitting there, untouched from when I left, incomplete, vague,waiting for me to write the next line, waiting for me to write…

Something.

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