I, like half the country, woke yesterday feeling deep sorrow, feeling as I did the day John Kennedy was assassinated. Frightened by the intensity of my sorrow, I reached for my bottle of xanax, a drug I take when needed to control one of the effects of MS: an exaggerated response to sound, movement, and stress.
And then I picked up the play I am working on and got to work. In my worst times, sick with MS and sick with the loss of my life partner, the only thing that steadied me was writng, letting loose my grip on myself to join the world and characters of a story I was writing, exchanging ego consciousness for character consciousness. But I was editing the play inside the house and although the TV screen was dark, it had brought me the bad news. I picked up my laptop and went outside to write. At the same time, yesterday I was doing laundry and from time to time I had to go back in the house to transfer clothes from the washer to the drier. The inside was not sunny like the outside, not warm. I stepped into shadows and the coolness of airconditioning and the sadness returned. I worked quickly in the laundry room and ran out to the sun’s warmth and the heat rising from the deck around the small pool.
Today I woke well before dawn from a pleasant dream into a frightening reality. Today I am thinking less about Hillary and more about Trump and I am scared. I traded deep sadness for high anxiety. Words and phrases flashed, like emergency lights on the road where a terrible car accident has occurred and in an instant changes the life of someone forever. Today, again I took a xanax pill and have written emails to friends and am now here, sending words out into the ethers to anyone who might find friendship with what I say.
Why have I continued to write all these years when five books have had only modest success, not earning enough to support me? It is because writing takes me out of time and myself to a world and people I have created from my imagination where some of us find peace of mind. It is for me the quiet place where whispering voices or shouts of joy from others catch my attention and for a while I forget myself, my sorrows and my fears.