A reader of one of my blogs asked me what I do to prepare to write, how do I get in the mood, how do think up a piece ahead of time. I didn’t know what to tell him. All I do is start typing on the keyboard and the writing just happens. It’s never planned or thought out, I never sit down and think about what I’m going to write. It just gushes out. Everything you see is first draft as is, though sometimes I go back and tighten a sentence or two, but that’s pretty rare. The piece comes to a structurally logical conclusion, I hit post and forget about it. That is my writing method. The writing thing switches on and then switches off again. There’s almost no thinking on my part involved. It does its little thing in its corner of my brain and leaves the rest of me alone. If I Iet it run riot it gets too obtrusive and fucks shit up. But I let it out once a day or so. Two or three times a day and it sets off my epilepsy. So I leave it on a very short leash. A few hundred words at most. Hit the on switch, let it run for an hour or so and hit the off switch. That way both me and the hole in my brain where writing happens are happy. The hole gets to gush words, and I get to ignore it.
So I decided not to tell the guy anything.
Had the brilliant idea of taking the nighttime dose of my seizure drugs earlier and it’s totally messed up my sleep cycle. Apparently when you hit sixty your body rejects any change just out of spite. Get off my lawn, it’s yelling at me. Probably a Trump supporter, too.
Anyway, going to bed again. I think it just woke me up to watch Fox And Friends.
A pair of very dear friends, unbeknownst to each other, both pressed on me the idea that these little Facebook and Twitter utterances of mine ought to be preserved. So, after lots of hesitation, I scoured my social media postings for things that qualify as pieces and transferred them to my blog and posterity. Dozens of them. All day long into the night. That was the first writerly thing I’ve done since the grocery freak-outs of this past early Autumn. And tonite, yinging my writer’s yang, I feel thoroughly epileptic. A big spazz. I hate it. It’s been months. Lesson learned: I can still write, but it in little dollops and forgotten again. Fuck this writer shit, I prefer being functional, without the feeling–and you can feel it–of neurons afire with way too much electrochemical energy, whirring and buzzing and snapping. To think I used to tap into this, making myself just epileptic enough to get into the spazzy groove. I used to dig that. The epileptic muse. Now it’s a drag. And if I keep writing this, it’ll just get worse. Creativity can be some weird shit.
Napped. I hate napping. I wake up nauseous. Some fucked up epilepsy annoyance. Not actually nauseous, either. If I accidentally dozed off before dinner I learned to eat nauseated knowing it was just a neurological illusion. Anyway, here comes dinner.
Too much writing on Facebook and my mind is gelatinous trying to work this new smartphone. The air drifts about listlessly in the fan stream like it died days ago and is just waiting to be buried. To be reduced to ashes and scattered in the wind. But there is no wind. Somewhere there are breezes and rumors of breezes. Here there is just stale air and mental fog. The smart phone twitches. My massive digits manuever like elephants across the keyboard, creating a new language of typos. I don’t need any of this stuff. Outside is a whole universe, I can see it out the window. Here are just apps, meaningless, useless apps. I touch one, it lets out an irritating finch like tweep and asks me an inane question. There is no fuck you button. The fog settles in, the fingers go numb and the view out the window is suddenly Van Gogh, and I stop typing to watch it in epileptic silence.
Not being able to write anymore is so strange. Stories still unreel in my head continuously, as always, sentences piling atop one another, everything I hear and see and touch turning into words, but when I put my fingers to the keys I can’t write more than a sentence or two or three before the fog rolls in, and the numbness, and the rumble of electric storms in the background. It’s like having a head full of music and no hands. A bebop of words trapped in my skull. I sit at my desk, surrounded by reference books and notes and ideas, and I stare at them like the ruins of some dead civilization, my own personal civilization, gone forever. The epileptic fog rolls in, the mind slows, and I retreat to the couch in a haze and stare.
Man, writing is triggering epilepsy now. This is just perfect. Not rolling around the carpet epilepsy, but the slow smoldering kind that if left unchecked begins send electro-chemical sparks in all directions, till eventually the brain looks like southern California on a Santa Ana weekend, brushfires everywhere. Even comments in Facebook are a problem if they go beyond just a couple words. And posts like this, sheesh. I think I have only blogged once in two weeks, maybe twice. Afraid to push my brain into a sizzling overload, memories and skills and personality shorting out. Been there. It can go on for months.
Really intense writing has always been a trigger, and I use to play around with my meds to keep the muse going–but suddenly this month it is any writing at all. And when I go without writing, I can feel the epilepsy fade to normal background levels. The problem is that once things become triggers, they rarely untrigger. You spend your epileptic life removing and avoiding the things that set you off. I always figured writing would go eventually, as the hole in my brain–the focus, in the parlance–is in the frontal lobe near where writing is handled. Writing, language, etc. Eventually the dinged neurons in the focal point would become over sensitized. Seizure activity spreads from there up into the temporal lobe where all the fun stuff is.
Yeah, I can feel the symptoms, symptoms like storm clouds on the horizon, just from writing this. I guess it’s time to hang up my writing shoes.