{the power of the written word; a short story fragment}

I wish there were a way to convey the feel of my journal across the internet.

About a week ago, I was having wild thoughts. And usually, I just let them filter through my head, blending into one another, but for some reason, this journal came into my head. I rescued it from a box and paged through the small smattering of visual journal entries I'd done in it back when it was new. Now, two years later, the cover is creased and the signatures holding the old entries is loose.

But the paper is smooth and plentiful. Actually, the book feels heavier than it looks and is a solid, flexible weight in my hands. I even looped the rubber band around it, remembering -- and this is silly, I think -- the journal in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, how there were all sorts of bits shoved in-between the pages, the entire thing held together by a thin rubber band.

Mine has a make-and-take card in it, and sometimes, my ID.

I've been attached to this thing. It goes with me everywhere, and I can be found writing in it while out to dinner or at lectures or curled up in bed at 3am. While I've been a visual journaler for years, I haven't kept a strictly written diary of sorts for at least five years. The whole thing makes me feel like a girl from the turn of the century, one who wears beautiful dresses and lounges under trees to pen her thoughts. I write about creativity, my day, how I haven't been sleeping. I think about books I've read and quotes I've seen and issues I'm dealing with.

The process has been magical.

Sometimes, I can even be found paging through it, smiling at all the words. There are sketches of ideas and random doodles and notes and stories on these pages. I know I've been a long proponent of keeping a single journal, but for now, I am happy keeping a written journal and working out my journaling visually on loose pieces of canvas. For now, this is my happy balance.

I also wanted to share the following. It's a fragment, a beginning, of a short story I've had in my soul for years but never wrote down. This was written at 3am while in the throws of one of my plaguing RLS (restless leg syndrome)/FMS sleepless nights, and is the story of a Fibromite. I let my brother read it when I saw him over the weekend, and was amazed at how reading this little bit has helped him to understand me so much more.

(as of yet untitled story...)

This, she thinks, is my own private hell.

The chairs are padded, but just barely; she casts her eyes around the room, at the old people who sit uncomfortably with her in the waiting room. They seem as miserable as her. A woman fans herself with last month’s In Style, the loose skin on her arms wobbling in the air.

Melinda turns a page in the Newsweek in her lap, aching to appear worldly to an audience of stand-in authority. Words blur together around a photo of jumping flames, and she sees a similarity between herself and the figure standing inside the inferno. Kindred spirits, she thinks, tracing the outline with her finger. It is impossible to tell if the person is running to or from the fire. For now, they are at a standstill for all eternity in four colors.

Behind sliding glass windows, the assistants answer phones and enter records. They, too, are older. As are the nurses. It makes Melinda self-conscious, being the youngest, and makes her wonder: if she’s here at 25, where will she go at 60?

Newsweek has lost her attention. She shifts, attempting to fall into a more bearable position for her legs and back but finds each new one worse than before.

An electronic bell chimes as a man comes through the door, shuffling along with a silver walker. The clock clicks ten minutes past her appointment.

And all the eyes, wondering how she fits into their geriatric puzzle.

~ ~ ~

After the icy chill of the doctor’s office, the blazing summer heat is positively suffocating, and Melinda cranks up the A/C in her car as soon as she climbs in. As the car begins to cool, she leans her head back and closes her eyes, allowing the cooling air to blow noisily on her face.

This is no way to live, she tells herself. But what alternative is there?

Sufficiently cooled, she leans forward and back out of the parking space, heads towards the pharmacy armed with three scripts — two refills, one new. She used to get hopeful when her doctor prescribed new meds. “Just to see if they help,” he always says, but years of push and pull and handfuls of pills that do nothing but give her bad side-effects has made her doubtful, cynical. A glimmer of hope exists somewhere, but it is buried so deep inside, its tune is only a whisper on the edge of her hearing.

All she wants to do is go home. The injections make her heart beat fast and head swim, though only for two days or so. But right now, she feels tired right down to her bones; they feel as hollow as a bird’s but no lighter. A bed, book, and pillow is what she needs to remain afloat as the medicine kicks in and eases the wild waves of pain crashing violently against her very core.