Yesterday I woke up and finally reckoned with the fact that I probably have a UTI. If you don’t know what that is, you are lucky.
I drove to a nearby town to locate an urgent care center. It was Saturday, a holiday weekend, and even the urgent care centers in this part of Virginia were closed.
Except for the CVS clinic. Let me tell you, I am now a big fan. There I found a nurse practitioner who told me even though they generally take walk-ins, they were fully booked with appointments that day. I wasn’t surprised. It’s the weekend, there’s COVID flying around, and lots of people are not masking.
I feel as if I’m re-learning how to write. Or maybe finally learning how to write. Or maybe that’s what it is to be a writer–to cycle through the re-learning how to do this art for every project you have, every major life change, every significant emotional shift or growth or loss you experience.
When I began writing my memoir Terrible Daughter, about how I became estranged from my parents, I was married, had two dogs, lived in the heart of Boston, and spent most of the winter at a small apartment in Florida. In the years since then, I got divorced, my dog died, my ex kept the other dog–the loss of which I still feel keenly–had to leave my home in Boston, sold the Florida place, and moved to Maryland. And I earned an MFA.
I don’t even know where to start with last night. I’m in Virginia, a fellow at an artists residency, where sometimes we share what we’re working on. Visual artists have open studios, composers play either live or recorded original music, and writers have readings. Last night, I read from my memoir-in-progress, Terrible Daughter, sharing the stage with another writer.
It went really well! I truly enjoy reading my work for an audience. It was gratifying to hear that people enjoyed it. If you’re a writer and the open-mic thing scares you, take the leap and try it anyway. It’s okay to be scared. This is the only way writers can get immediate feedback and engagement with their craft. And the writing doesn’t have to be perfect or even polished to be a good read.
Well. Sometimes I feel the Universe does not, in fact, want me to write. Too bad, Universe!
Here’s the short version: two days ago, while hanging out at the pool and right after I’d finished my previous blog post about wine and working and wine, I became suddenly nauseated and lightheaded. Two wonderful fellow residents helped me get into the shade and even fetched me an apple. I walked back to my studio, took a shower, and fell into bed.
I’ve spent the last 48 hours alternately eating and napping, wondering if the heat, direct sunlight, and low blood-sugar knocked me out. I can’t believe how much day-sleeping I’ve done. So I had accomplished no work since my last blog post. Boo.
Woke up at 3 am with a raging tension headache–radiating from the back of my neck down into my shoulders. Or vice versa. It was brutal. And I still have it. Go away, headache! Don’t you know who I am? I’m Very Important and I have Very Important things to do!
So I took it easy today and worked on being okay with taking it easy today. It’s my first day of this residency. Of course I want to work and make myself feel good about working and workity work write write. I’m a writer and stuff with stuff to get done!
Tomorrow I’m traveling to an east coast writing retreat where I was granted an eighteen day fellowship. I’m excited to go, and it almost feels weird, because nothing fun has really happened in the last year and a half. Two birthdays in quarantine, conferences moved online, no travel just for enjoyment. I miss the world.
I was awarded a fellowship here once before. I spent the entire month of January 2020 working on my memoir, hanging out with writers in all genres, with visual artists working in multiple mediums, with composers making all kinds of music. Nothing to me is so generative and downright comforting as hanging out with my tribe. We all get it. Art is everything and art is really hard and it’s the best.