Sunday, September 12, 2010

And Zen I Wrote...

I've never experienced jealousy, but I have experienced abandonment.

I have one golden rule when it comes to friendships: My friends are allowed to have other friends. Shared or exclusive, there is a life beyond “Kat,” and those I cherish are welcomed to pursue as many relationships of support and love, business and success, passion, fame and excitement as their hearts can hold.

What I can't tolerate is “trading up.”

If a friendship also results in lucrative creativity, that's wonderful. It's a blessing if several such relationships can do the same. Go forth! Create! Be successful! But how sad when ambition overcomes the heart, and the more successful pairing “wins” while the other friendships are abandoned.

Well, my butt has been left in the dust, on the side of the road, before. I had dared to hope, however, that wisdom would replace “smarts” in the minds of my friends and students as they matured. It ain't necessarily so. Pity.

Therefore, I am picking myself up, dusting off my ample arse, and wandering off to a solo writing career. But it's not easy.

As a writer, I have always loved an interesting turn of phrase, or a new and different way to convey a human emotion or characteristic. Once I compared someone's “frozen visage” to Lot's wife after she turned toward Gomorrah.

And then I thought...”Turning Towards Gomorrah” - not a bad title for a book. Trouble is – no text. I'm sure I'm not the first writer to put the cart before the horse, but how do you go about developing the back story for the title? How do you retro fit a book?

Some friends suggested meditation. Think of nothing, and the ideas will come. Zen and “mindlessness” will open the portals to a world of inspiration. There are countless tomes on the subject, torrents of words describing the process.

Not to sound a negative note, but if the main thrust of the exercise is to hunker down on a zafu and think of nothing, why does it take 500 pages of text to get there? None-the-less, I gave it a try. I sat – and got nothing. Either my creative self was dumb as a box of rocks that day, or I was already an “Ascended Master.”

I found the process more distracting than liberating. The idea is to think of nothing – ABSOLUTELY nothing. I sat, and said to myself ,“Think of nothing...think of nothing... I am thinking of nothing. Hey..wait..I'm thinking of thinking of nothing. Is that the same thing?...Now I'm debating myself about thinking about thinking about nothing! Stop it!. OK...ok..I'm back to thinking nothing... nothing... nothing...Crap! Now I'm thinking nothing in short hand!..”


Ultimately, there must have been some little success on a subconscious level. I came up with the idea of using “Turning Towards Gomorrah” as the title for my next blank book. (Blank book – get it? OK, I heard that groan. Stop it!)

Meanwhile, I did have one productive thought. Sage Woman magazine has a future theme of “Weaving the Web.” For a year, four of us have been involved in attempting that very thing, working with the elements and each other. The project ends in October, and I've kept every email, and detail. It would make a dandy article.

For anyone else, involved in the project, who may also have a passion to publish, I call dibs!

You've hitched your wagon to other stars.
Go write an article with them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mechanical Leech, Anyone?

Yes, it's been an exciting two weeks here at the Clark household. Continuing with my saga of the never ending ulcer, we have moved on to a new device: the wound vac.
If only they had this gizmo at the time of the Inquisition, what confessions they would have gleaned! Forget pig skin grafts, human tissue grafts and various and sundry ointments, this is a subtle machine of torture.
First, you must clean the wound. Then, you cut a piece of black foam (provided with torture kit) to the size of the wound. Next, tape down the foam to the foot with “drapes”. If you've ever had an IV, this is the super sticky sheet of tape used to hold the needle in place.
Next, cut a wee hole in the drape and attach the end of the tubing into the foam. This end has a terminus that looks like a suction cup. This prevents the tubing end from going TOO far into the foam – or your foot.

Then, drape that down as well. The other end of the tubing is attached to a cannister, which is then attached to the vacuum machine. Turn it on, and you're in business. The vac will remove seepage and put “negative pressure” on the wound to help granulate and heal.
Like I need more negative pressure.
Meanwhile, you are attached to 6 yards of tubing (in case you wish to - eventually – hang yourself), and forced to carry around a 4 lb machine in a handy carrying case. (They even had illustrations showing the various ways this albatross can be toted through your life: around your waste, held like a briefcase, on the shoulder, or as a cross body. How stylist! And what an impression you'll make at your next business meeting: “Good to see you again!. Please ignore the machine on my hip, sucking bloody seepage into a container!”)
In my case, I have to snake the tubing up my leg while wearing a CRO. Just ducky.

Tubing, machine, and handy carrying case

Tube running down into CRO. Ouch!
The first three days went OK. Then, I went back to the doctor's office to change the dressing and tubing. That's when we discovered that the foot didn't smell right. Back on the antibiotics I went. Dressing changed, new tubing applied, new cannister attached, turned the thing on – and it made a noise it never made before.
We checked over everything, and it all looked good – except for “the noise”, a slight little glug sound that wasn't there for the last 3 days. The doctor said to just ignore it.
Hello? Do you know me? I have OCD. “The noise” wasn't just going to be ignored. It didn't belong. It was all I could hear. It haunted my dreams.
Then, the pressure gage on the vacuum started going erratic. I though the battery was low. Recharging helped – but things still didn't seem right...and there was the noise. The noise.....
Finally, on Friday night, I turned in. The vacuum was recharging happily under my bed, 6 yards of tubing gave me the ability to move my leg comfortably. I slept.
At 3am, the devil's hour, the world exploded in alarms, buzzing and sounds not made since a nuclear reactor went critical. While Rufus barked and tried to protect me from the noises under the bed, I retrieved the vacuum, donned my glasses, and check it out via flashlight.
Everything looked good. It was recharged, it seemed happy, but the alarms wouldn't stop. I decided to check the tubing for kinks. I felt down the length from the cannister all the way to the end...which was no where near my foot.
The tubing had broken completely off. There was no way to re-attach. Sadly, I shut off the wound vac, circled up 6 yards of tubing, removed the dressings, drapes and foam, bandaged the foot and when to bed.
Imagine, I won't be dragging the vac throughout my Labor Day weekend. Shucks!
(Sigh). Oh, I know they will re-attach and start over on Tuesday. I know I will once more buggy lug a torture device through the coming days. Hopefully, it does some good. If not, I'm going to take the risk and go for the bone surgery that will allow the doctors to sew up the ulcer.

I'll have to make that decision before the good doctors decide to use stappado to keep me off my feet.

I ran into a fellow Wiccan elder yesterday. She looked at me and said “The Goddess is trying to teach you patience.”

It's going to be a long haul, folks. Oy.