The Poison that Stole My Creativity

Greetings!  Please forgive any typing errors or crazy sentences, and for some of you, I believe you may see two font sizes here. I guess that’s the difference between typing on my phone and typing on the computer. I shall try to fix this the next time I get on the computer. LOL!. It has taken me several days to write this, and I may not have edited it well. And most of all, please forgive the length. I am good for writing lengthy blogs, but this one may take the cake due to the subject matter.

Okay. I thought maybe I was losing my mind. I thought maybe I was depressed. Then I thought that – once again- I had writer’s block. It’s been so bad, as you can see, I have neglected my blog for almost a year. I couldn’t even right a blog!

I’m on the fence when it comes to writer’s block.  I’m not really sure if I believe in the concept. Or maybe I just don’t have a deep enough understanding of writer’s block. Maybe because there are several definitions of writers block, each according to each individual writer’s perspective.

I believe that writer’s block can be caused by one or many things. Often procrastination, sometimes illness,  most often distractions from life. Those distractions are ones we actually allow.  We need to take time to write, don’t we? Record that block time in your datebook; stick to it.

I have projects on the table, things I’ve been working on for months, even years. A book that was filling up with poetry, and so many other things. Even an editing project or two.

I was in the midst of writing – attempting to write – Chicago Down when I realized that I can’t. I just can’t. Nothing’s changed in my head. I can see it, feel it, hear it, taste it. But it won’t come out. It just will not travel from my brain through my arms and hands onto the page (or the computer screen as it were).

I did not notice it at first. It came on so slowly. And then just one day it hit hard. I stopped. It reminded me of when a bird flies into a clean, clear glass window. How he just slams into it and then drops to the ground and flutters around down there. Sometimes he doesn’t recover. That seemed to be me.

I was…still am…unable to control my own creative mind and thought processes. I begged my Muse desperately for help. Believe it or not, I even talked to the long-dead Al Capone. Asking him for inspiration. Literally speaking scenarios aloud or picturing them in my head and asking him what should I write? What would you write? What should I do? The truth is, I didn’t really need those answers. I could see it just like always. What I was asking for was a way to take that film out of my head and put it on the page like I have for the last 35 years! I was asking Al, and Muse, how to write it out on the page, not actually what to write, but how to write it…onto the page! Get it?

Every time I write fiction lately it reads more like a newspaper article than a fictional story. Thankfully I’ve not had too many problems with poetry. No matter what type of poetry or how long or short the piece. That could be because of the rhyming words. Maybe? *Shrug* Your guess is as good as mine.

For months I contemplated why my ocean was drained of writing powers. Where are my mermaids, unicorns and flying fish?

I tried to do everything to get it back. Whatever “it” is. I call it writer’s block, but the problem is, I have no problem imagining things the way I have for the last three decades! I just cannot get my arms, fingers and brain to communicate with each other. It’s sort of like…say…you can see a word in your head and you can hear yourself or someone else pronounce it, but when you go to speak it, you’re mute. That’s me. That’s how I feel right now. I’m creatively mute. I can see it, but can’t speak it…or write it out, as it were.

I spoke with fellow writers about it. Talked to other artists. I set blocks of time for writing where I just sat in front of my computer and did nothing. Or typed aimless sentences because that seemed to work for me and others in the past.

To fuel my creativity, I looked up real facts on the internet; looked at newspaper articles, etc, and would copy and paste them into the timeline of the novel so that I could rewrite them in my own words. Adding things in between like fake situations and circumstances.

Wow. That didn’t work. It looked horrible. Sounded horrible.

Then one day at the physician’s office, I was complaining about all sorts of things. The poor doc! Then she said to me, it’s your beta blocker. I was like, what? Now this was some time ago. Deep in my heart I felt it was the medication. Fast forward, I tried another medication and it made me almost lose my mind. I actually would sort of black out, and it seemed like I woke up in another place. Sometimes it would take me several seconds to get my bearings. I don’t like that, and I certainly don’t like the idea of that happening to me on an interstate by a toll booth during rush times.

So, doc put me back on my original beta blocker. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. That’s how I look at it. There’s really not many other medications that I can try. So, now, with some professional help, I am working to break through the barrier that the beta blocker has built.

The doc said that I can absolutely break through it. She said it’s sort of like when people have a brain injury, or stroke, or some kind of mental trauma in their lives that happened to them, and they have to relearn things, or regain memories. She said I have to break through; I can break through, and the brain will react similarly to when people’s brains forge new pathways after a physical or mental trauma.

So I had to dig through boxes to find some writer workbooks I purchased in the past. I bought them with interest, but then found a project and never really worked with them, so I have great books now to use to help me out. Ms. Professional Nut-curer told me to utilize the lessons. And to read, read, read fiction, especially smaller novella-type books. She said to read shorter novels and short stories so that I don’t lose interest in the middle of a story. The beta blocker is also causing a sort of attention deficit, but only where reading and writing (anything at all) is concerned and I need to stick to shorter stories for now. She said if I read a few pages and my Noodle is urging me to stop and go eat ice cream or play on Facebook, I must overcome and read one more page. But, I do need to stop when I cannot recall what I just read on the extra pages, or can’t decipher the meaning behind the scenes if there is one.

I am fighting this. Unfortunately for me, I am terribly sensitive to medications. I have rarely taken them in my life for this reason. One of the results is my high tolerance to pain being that over-the-counter meds like Naproxen or Ibuprofen is about all I can tolerate. Also, I’ve been a very low user of penicillin and other antibiotics, hence my high positive response to them. Only these last 3-4 years have I been a avid user of antibiotics due to a chronic condition that causes colon infections and powerful antibiotics are often needed. Anyway, let me put it this way… if a medication side affect is dizziness or sleepiness, etc…look out. I’ll be passed out somewhere before you know it.

I take a beta blocker for a rapid heart beat with no known cause, at this time. One day around New Year’s Day, 2016, I was drinking a wine product. I had about 4 ounces in a glass. I drank most of it over a period of 30 minutes. My heart rate increased quickly, stayed high for a couple of days along with my blood pressure, and I ended up in a hospital emergency room where I stay for three nights. I never drank a wine product again…because I can’t.

As an update, my heart and all it’s parts are perfectly healthy. In fact, the doc that did the angiogram said that if he had not seen me…he would’ve thought I was 10 years younger than my age…I was actually 46. He said I have a very healthy heart, my arteries are free of plaque, etc. Later that year, October, I had a Doppler on my legs. Thoroughly on the right leg. The person who performed it stated the same thing about my leg arteries. They both encouraged me to take caution and care for my healthy heart and arteries…literally telling me how lucky I am. I believe them.

Getting back to the beta blocker story. I am now working through the block(er) with the suggested mental and creative exercises. Also using meditation when I can. And of course, I just keep on trying to write my stories. I keep on trying even if it means I just stare at the last sentence I wrote three weeks earlier, or even just blinking my eyes at a blank MS Word page. Or staring at a photo of Al Capone, or of a river at dawn, or of my favorite place – a beach of South Padre Island.

I find it so hard to believe that such a low dose of this medication has had such a negative impact upon my creativity and though processes. But, alas, here it is. And it does other things as well…like give me the skin creepy-crawlies, and cause odd dreams, and sometimes nightmares.

I just want to encourage you all to take a look at your medications if you think you have become different because of one of them or a combination of meds. And, try to do something about it before taking one medication leads you to take another medication to relieve you of a side effect of another. Sometimes doctors and pharmacists do not realize it’s your medications. Never, ever feel afraid or too intimidated to tell them that you do feel it’s your med. That almost happened to me. Doc thought I’d need sleeping pills or an anti-depressant, etc.

My sleeplessness is caused from the pill building up in my system. My depression is caused from my inability to do the one thing in this world that relieves my stress and tension. The one thing that I’m good at. The only thing that I’m good at. I thought, at one point, I was becoming useless and worthless. How odd that we label ourselves in such ways.

We are thinking I should take the medication in a time-released option. I may try it.

A friend of mine was on several medications. A family member of his complained to me that my friend’s behavior was very odd. I inquired about medications he was on. When he told me what they were, I named two and said those should not be taken together. It just so happened that they were prescribed by two different doctors and my friend did not tell the docs truthfully what he was being prescribed by the other. Turns out that I was correct and his medications were changed. I’m glad because they were clashing something terrible.

Just be careful of your meds. The doc doesn’t always know best. But you do. If a negative effects persist for more than a couple weeks, call the doctor. But if the effect is too overbearing, do not wait for several days to go by as it can ruin you. We all know it takes time sometimes for a negative side effect to work itself out. But don’t let it set you on fire. Speaking of fire. I was prescribed a steroid for inflammation, and even though I had read the possible side effects, I didn’t realize one was telling me to stop taking it. I continued through the whole prescription. I now have permanent high blood pressure brought on by the prolonged use of the steroid because I did not recognize my discomfort as a side effect. I never had high BP in my life not brought about an illness or condition. My usual BP was always normal. Not anymore. Now I take blood pressure medication and my BP may never again be normal…all because of the side effects of another medication. Sadly, a medication I probably didn’t need.

So for those of you who have been waiting for a book after the New Year, it may not happen. But do not give up on me, or be disappointed in me…I will come back. I just hate it when promises are broken. I hate it when people are broken too. Please forgive me for that. It’s been out of my hands. But I will make a come back. Me and my Noodle…and Muse, and Al Capone.

As always, thank you for reading.

~Wanda

I AM MAGIC…

… and that’s why they will never be me.

I think it’s ridiculous…actually, it’s awful, how some people try to stop other people from being individuals. From being who they are. From doing what they must to bring fillment into their life.

People who question the choices of others who are deciphering life’s passages, really have no life of their own. Or they’re just damn right jealous. Listen, if you say you want to buy a new car, and you have a job and are credit worthy, you should be able to buy a new car. And no one, and I mean no one!…especially if you are an adult, should put in their 2 cents. They shouldn’t tell you whether or not you should buy a car. If it’s a mistake, it’s your mistake to make and all others need to shut their damn mouths.

If you want a Dodge and everyone else tells you you should buy a Ford, buy that damn Dodge. And if you want a yellow car, and everybody else is telling you should get a black or white car, buy the yellow one.

Never ever let other people deter you from your goal. Do not let them project their wants, or likes and dislikes on to you. Do what makes you happy.

Of course, like everything else, there should be a limit to this. Let’s stick to buying cars, making trips around the world, starting new jobs, or finding a new place to live. Or whether you want a dog or cat. Now when you’re out to do harm to others, or yourself, that’s when you should heed the opinions of others, and look at them as valued. Let’s live legally. We’ll all be happier that way.

I find that when trying to make life’s decisions, the naysayers get in the way. And they say things like, “Well I would never do that. I’d rather have this over that.” Well guess what God damn it, go and get it!…and leave me the hell alone. Leave all of us the hell alone. There’s some people too afraid to make a leap; to make a huge decision. They do not want to adult…Hell, no. They just freeze! And then, right when your ready to jump into the deep end, here they come with their negativity and fears…often, it’s fear of your success… of you finding happiness, or whatever it is that you seek. They fear your courage. Because they don’t have it. And they don’t want to find it. They want to, maybe unconsciously, deter you from seeking happiness altogether, much less finding it.

Too many people in the world are just sitting back floating. While many of us like to float, I prefer to float…in a swimming pool. Or in a boat on a lake. Just don’t float through what’s left of your life. If you are doing this, and you are depressed, maybe that’s why you are depressed. People can get depressed because they are being held back by their own ho-humming. There is no one responsible for your life but you. And only you! If you feel people are holding you down or are responsible for your situation, you should take a look at what you are missing. Is it education? Experience? A good attitude? Perseverance? Gumption? Hmm…I wonder. Shuck off those weights and step across that threshold that you, yourself, built to keep you in line. To keep you from living.

So what do you think? That you’re too poor, too rich, red-haired, too old, etc., to do this or that? No, you’re not. You’re just a stick-in-the-mud. Am I right? Take a good look at you. Are you a stick? If you are not a stick, but a human, jump out of the mud. As for me, I’m out…

I’m out, because I am magic…and they can never be me.

Thank you for reading. As you can see, my blog is once again alive. And I will start posting again. I’ve been through some trying times this last couple years. I was at a bad place, fighting many demons, most of my own creation. I have felt nothing but numbness and bitterness. Filling with rage. But I was not always like that. Where did I go? Even the things I love doing the most like writing and reading have suffered. The things that used to bring me happiness only caused me more pain, because I could not do them. I could not participate. And when I looked in the mirror, I saw the action behind me, but I was frozen. Like a stick in the mud. This has been going on for so long, I thought that, every now and then, I had gotten my head above water. That I was free. I even wrote blogs and Facebook posts about it. But I was just a fool. Now I have truly overcome. I have, indeed, crawled out of the mud.

I am magic. And they can never be me.

-Wanda

I’M BACK!

Greetings, All,

It seemed as if I disappeared, didn’t it? I did, but I found myself in a closet sucking on a pacifier and drooling. Eh. It wasn’t the first time that I’ve found myself hiding from my responsibilities. I once found myself hiding in an ocean wave off of the coast of Texas complaining to Poseidon of the ills of being mortal.

When I was about eleven years-old, I looked for myself for hours on a hot August day in Central Texas. I was in the woods talking to a mound of fire ants about the dangers of talking to strangers. Odd, isn’t it, what and who a child can befriend without judgment?

Then there was that time down in Marion, Illinois… Never mind. Well, okay, and that time in West Virginia when I lost myself in a staring contest with a yellow spider. That really was about the only time that I was glad that I found myself.

Hahahahaha…

In truth, this is not the first time that I’ve played the disappearing act, shucking my obligations as writer of blogs. Or poetry. Or fiction. Or Memoirs. Pfft. I’m a pro.

I especially tend to start my shucking around the time a set of characters starts dishing the heat. I have a problem with fire, you see. And I really don’t like being told what to do. I’m in such a predicament as we speak. Er, or type and read. Whatever.

So I’ve been hiding from my characters again. Just as I finished an outline for Chicago Down, complete with a little tear-jerker moment that I can’t wait to add to the manuscript, I fled the scene like dirty cop on a wild horse. Oh…what? You liked that descriptive sentence? Me too!

Anyway, this blog was not only to let you know that I am back, but also to amuse you a bit. Be happy. Ride wild horses. Or drink Wild Turkey. Whatever floats your holey canoe.

Thanks for reading!

Oh P.S.: If you’re a lady local to the Chicago area, especially the Southwest area suburbs, check out my Events page, I’ll be doing an book signing on June 3, 2017, in Joliet, IL, at a ladies-only event.

https://wandasparyla.com/upcoming-events?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

Why Does My Briefcase Matter?

WHY DOES MY BRIEFCASE MATTER?: A Question of Class.

So. Here’s something regarding the subject of discrimination, prejudice or judgement that you won’t see every day. 

Why do some people regard me differently when I carry a briefcase (aka: my laptop in a laptop case) to work and back? 

You might be wondering why I am bringing this up? Well because there’s been so much in the news about different types of discrimination or prejudice and how one person allegedly views another for various, and sometimes odd, reasons.

I wear blue jeans and tennis shoes to work everyday. I usually just wear a colored pullover shirt…like a t-shirt, and often wear logo t-shirts on Fridays.

For the particular position I have now, I do not dress up. I do not wear slacks. I do not wear dresses or skirts. I do not wear dress shoes. And I very rarely wear makeup – mostly because in the summer my building is too damn hot to cake that shit up on my face.

Despite that I dress this way, people seemingly treat me differently when I carry a laptop. For instance, on the days that I carry a laptop/briefcase, some people waiting for, or in the elevator, wearing dresses and suits who also carry briefcases, or laptop cases, and other such bags used to carry paperwork and files, look at me and smile or make small talk. Especially men! On the days that I don’t carry said case, and might just carry my bag with my lunch in it or other personal items, they ignore me. Now why is that?

I’ll tell you why that is. It’s called class division or separation. And when they ignore me, it’s quiet discrimination. For some reason, humans eye each other trying to glean information about one another. Said info is often incorrect. We view each other in particular ways. We focus on something, something that we believe defines a person and we run with it. On the days I have a briefcase or laptop case, I am important. I’m as important as the lawyers on the upper floors. Or the people who work on that floor where that very important person’s office is located – despite the fact that we all work for that main important guy. Then on the days I don’t carry a case, the same type of people don’t regard me at all, and don’t want to. Why does my laptop, or the carrying case, define me?

It’s some kind of trigger, you see. To see someone carry this type case, such as a laptop case, briefcase, or a document bag says to some people that you are well educated, employed, well paid, and that you are of a higher class than people that don’t carry these types of things. And if you have to carry these things while in a suit, you’re even higher class than the others who don’t wear suits.

I find a problem with this since I know many people that go to work everyday empty handed, wearing blue jeans, holey t-shirts and flip-flops, and they get paid double…even triple…what I do. And I know plenty of people who run off to work everyday with a case, such as a briefcase, and get paid less than I do and they have to buy their suits at places where clothes are so costly that I wouldn’t buy a pair of socks there. Oh, the vanity. We must keep up appearances.

I’m a writer. A self-published author. And I’m broke. My briefcase, or laptop case means nothing when it comes to my class status. Yes, I have a higher education. Yes, I have an okay paying public-service job. But I am really nobody outside of what I author. And my briefcase will never make me somebody.

I know that perhaps this is an odd thing for me to notice. And maybe an even stranger thing for me to blog about. But it’s bothered me for some time, so much that I felt I had to talk about it. 

Briefcase, laptop case, document case: An old-time class divider seen through new eyes.

Thanks for reading.