An Unfiltered Crank in the Study

I’m struggling with everything right now and when I’m struggling, I can get a little grumpy. I’m still working the microresolutions from the last couple of months, putting in time every day on the novel, and trying to make better choices despite the winter discontent creeping in. But occasionally, I need to poke a few vent holes and let the steam escape.


When I hear people be passionate about whatever they’re passionate about, I wonder what is wrong with me. Why don’t I have fiery rhetoric? Why is everything I say automatically followed by brakes (is this right? is this necessary? is this helpful?). I used to admire people who lacked self-consciousness, who burst canstockphoto14157022forth with whatever emotion they had on the tips of their tongues. It seemed like fearlessness. But that has all changed.

Now that blurting has become a socially acceptable, nay encouraged, form of communication, it’s just irritating – from a President with Twitter diarrhea and an incomprehensible syntax, to the digital lynch mob of ideological purity, intent on destroying people’s careers and lives, choosing the “difference without distinction” approach to all offenses, no matter how minor or grievous.

Is it irony to wonder on a blog, if people talk too much and listen too little?


canstockphoto27854960.jpgI just read about Life Time Fitness choosing not to show cable news channels in its gyms saying that cable news was not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Amen. Immediately people were crying censorship and that the gym was interfering with their time management. Ohforchrissake. News reports stream out of every technological orifice in our society. In waiting rooms, restaurants, on our computers, our phones, even at the gas pump. Take a breather, do your workout, the world will still be turning out shitty sound bites after you walk out the door.


canstockphoto28277727Holiday cards have become postcard versions of Facebook – a collage of pictures of all the prettiest moments during the year. We get more of these each year, replacing cards that have actual handwritten notes. Just text us with a link next year, so that we can continue to know as little about you as possible, except for your dental work and where you vacationed. I’m thinking about taking pictures when our family has the flu, when our drains in the basement back up, and the last pile of cat barf I had to clean up. People will take us off their list right quick.


canstockphoto24846599After I drink my kombucha-snail slime smoothie, do my Freezer Cold Yogilates, spend an hour saying inane positive things to myself in the mirror (I am a stable genius, I am a stable genius), buff my skin back to my seventeen year old self, organize my spice rack by geographical location of their fair trade markets, Feng Shui my house so that everything faces whichever direction cultural appropriation comes from, and strap on all the devices to monitor just how much of a lazy shit I will be today, I need a nap.

Sometimes when you’re bone tired of trying to improve yourself, don’t you just want to find a self-help guru and tell them to fuck right off?


We’ve had a few atypical days weather-wise here. Last night, I went walking in spring-like temps. I live in a suburb where a lot of streets do not have sidewalks and where the lighting is sparse. Having spent more of my life as a single woman than not, I think through worst-case scenarios. I pay attention to the shadows in the dark, remind myself of pressure points, jiu-jitsu moves, and make sure I know what direction I’d run in.

These days, I’m more concerned about being picked off by an errant driver than running into a criminal with perfect timing. I think getting hit by a car is one of the more ignominious ways to die. To prevent that, I dress up like a damned Christmas tree just to go on a walk. LED lights on a vest with option of blinking when I really want to look like a construction site.

canstockphoto17889074Then last night happened. I passed a man walking his dog with bright blue lights flashing all over his doggy coat and a woman with a vest where two vertical lines of red lights cascaded up and down her front, like she was a human landing strip. Perhaps we’ve just created a more ridiculous way to be found dead.


So what do you do when the dark mood descends? I have a couple of different approaches. Eat until I fall into a carb-induced coma or workout in a manner that suggests I’m preparing for a death match. Today it’s a workout in the hopes that I can follow it up with some heavy duty writing. If you’re a moody person like me, I find it helps to write the dark scenes when I’m feeling grim, to use the emotions already floating about in my head. Afterwards, I feel spent, but marginally better.

Do you find yourself writing according to mood?

42 Comments on “An Unfiltered Crank in the Study

  1. You sure made me smile. I identified especially with the Life Time Fitness decision not to show cable news in gyms. I don’t have a TV and spend a lot of time avoiding TV news, which is endlessly repetitive and a real vibe-suck.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Anger works well for me too. Perhaps it’s the best possible way of channelling it – if it gets the words out…! Besides, you are not simply having a rant. There is structure, rhythm, humour, sharp observation. In all, I think it’s a case of use whatever you can. It’s also just occurred to me that if we are operating under a flow of heartfelt emotion, then we are overriding the deadly internal critic.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. For someone who’s cranky, you’re very funny. You know, I’ve never thought about whether I write according to my mood. I think I’m just so grateful when the words flow, no matter what mood I may have been in before I sat down at my computer, I end up really happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pretty sure humor prevents homicides. At least in my world.

      I think if I can leverage a mood into a particular kind of writing, it’s useful. I suppose I try to turn a weakness into a strength. It doesn’t always work, of course. And I agree with you, I am generally happier after I’ve written something as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I write a weekly humorous column for a newspaper so regardless of my mood I must think funny.
    It’s actually not too hard and it usually improves my mood.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now that was a quarter cup of curry powder BOO YAH. Thank you! Thanks for kind of yanking my hair on that one. I write according to mood, yes, I kind of rely on it. Or I guess I write “according to feeling” which sounds stupid, but it’s true, and probably stupid as a result. But let’s not over-think things here. I really like that image of the lit-up vest at night and that stream, there. Many of them, most of them, all of them, the more I wax and comment in your white box here. OK, bye. Ciao!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bill. I have been trying to beef up my writing practice by learning how to write in spite of whatever mood I’m in, but those feelings impact the writing no matter what I do. I figure if that happens, it’s best to take advantage of it and work on a chapter or scene that requires that kind of energy. It’s slow-damn-going, though!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Michelle, such a great, great, great post! I relate to it all – especially the Christmas Card one. I’ve thought about taking a picture of all of the alcohol in my house and maybe some condoms for effect and making a card “from my family to yours” because honestly, what is this?


    • Now that would be a funny Christmas postcard to get! I just don’t understand the point, either. Quite a few of these people I haven’t seen in decades, but every year this picture shows up. I guess it’s proof of life or something. “Happy holidays! We’re not dead yet!”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely write according to my mood. When I read what I’ve written and I’m sure it is flat, I know it’s because I was feeling the same way.

    I think you’re smart to dress like a Christmas tree when you walk. There are an awful lot of people who drive who should have their license revoked.


    • Definitely agree about the drivers. Astonished at the number of people I see texting while driving. Hate to think that I’ll be knocked off because someone felt a consuming need to type “LOL”.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about mood writing and how professional writers (those with deadlines) can’t afford to be so indulgent. I might need to buckle down a bit!


  7. Easy to lose perspective … I put mine down somewhere and can’t for the life of me find it … er, them! Peter Ackroyd’s biography of Dickens is my latest distraction, his technique was to bash on regardless in the hope that something would come up – like Micawber, modelled on his own father! As for self-help gurus, Dickens would probably advise us to help ourselves. And be as original as he was.


  8. Absolutely spot on! I think it’s a waste to not use your mood to its advantage – if you’re feeling joyful and whimsical, write a whimsical scene! If you’re feeling dark, write a moody scene! If you’re slightly tipsy… well, write anything! πŸ™‚
    Great post, you have a new follower! πŸ™‚


  9. The Smoothie reference gave me cold chills … whew. I am try to get back writing again. It’s been nearly three years since my Sweetheart passed and I am finally getting the itch to get back into the routine that enable me to accomplish even a meager amount of work … Enjoyed this post to no end. g


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