A Writer’s Lament

This is my writer’s place of last resort. It is how I hope to find the way back to my voice. So I write.

I will write through a migraine.

I will write even though I do not know what I have to say.

I will write in spite of the toxic air outside my window.

I will write even though it seems as if the world has gone mad.

I will write knowing that people will believe anything if it suits what they already believe.

I will write even though I am afraid that this is the only place I will ever be read.

I will write at peak loneliness when I’ve been communicating nonstop from this little weird virtual island I call my desk.

I will write while asking myself is it worth it?

I will write even though it has all been said before.

I will write even if I don’t see anything changing for the better.

I will write when I may not have the skill or the insight or a goal.

I will write the evidence of my existence.

I will write a momentary spark, a word into the universe.

Because I know you’re out there writing too.

Or painting, or singing, or dancing.

I write because this word, with your dance and their song, is a counterweight to all that weighs on us.

Survival is bereft of meaning.

The meaning is ours to write, to yawp into the universe, in the hope that it echoes back to us.

You are not alone.

Hello my fellow humans. Feeling like absolute shit here. It’s okay. It was bound to happen. The struggle is real, but not insurmountable. I wanted to tell you that I am thinking of you. I am hoping that whatever challenges you are overcoming, swimming, drowning in, that you are not alone and that this is the time when we need to reach out to each other and say Hey, whatcha got goin’ on there? Drop me a note and tell me how you are dealing with floods, fires, viruses, all the other things humans have to deal with…

Here’s a little assessment I wrote on myself:

Anxieties: kid’s illness, menopausal miseries, failure to make progress as a writer, ambivalence about my MFA program, pandemic, wildfire smoke, drought, empty nesting next year.

Current joys: coffee and quiet time in the morning before everyone gets up, surprise cake from a friend, My Dad Wrote a Porno Podcast, Zoom conversations with friends, ripe cherries, naps.

Best Advice I’m Following at the Moment: Take frequent breaks from computer work – rest your eyes and get up and move.

What are your biggest worries?

What has given you great joy/comfort/laughter?

What’s your best advice at the moment for others?

29 thoughts on “A Writer’s Lament

  1. I’m sorry I’m not very good with conversations.
    Poetry is where I find my enjoyment. So I thought I would share one I wrote.
    I want to see a better me,
    but the mirror never lies.
    The only change I ever see,
    is what age takes in time.
    I want to see the laughter,
    I know I’ve seen before.
    The only laughter I ever see,
    are the memories that show no more.
    I want to see the love in me,
    that use to chase my fears.
    The only love I ever see,
    show now in my tears.
    I want to see a better me,
    but the mirror I think may lie.
    The mirror can never see,
    what truly lies inside.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing that lovely poem. Really feeling “The only change I ever see, is what age takes in time.” Ouch!
      It’s good that you know exactly what works for you in terms of self-expression. It’s a great reminder that there is more than one way to communicate with each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Gail's Blog and commented:
    The Green Study is a blog I always look forward to reading because it amazes me that I often find words expressing my thoughts better than I can verbalize them.
    Today I was thinking that I should try writing prompts to spur more creative writing. Though I write every day for clients, I don’t write enough for myself.
    So, I’ll use the questions in The Green Study post as my prompts for today.
    What are your biggest worries?
    As someone who has never ceased to worry even in the best of times, this is a tough question. My biggest worry reflects what I focus on the most, i.e., physical and financial health. Both will inevitably change regardless of the discipline I exercise daily. How long will these health factors remain strong, and how will I cope as they diminish over the years to come?
    What has given you great joy/comfort/laughter?
    My granddaughter’s Facetime calls when she just wants to say Hi.
    My grandson’s smile of newly emerging teeth.
    Walks under the warm sun and the cool breeze as I pass the cornstalks grow a little higher each day.
    A day with no commitments, open to possibilities and spontaneity.
    What’s your best advice at the moment of others?
    Don’t take negativity to heart, and don’t take positivity for granted.


    1. Thanks for the re-blog and for sharing your thoughts. I, too, am someone who will worry away a sunny, clear sky. Bring on those clouds! I’m trying to notice and laugh a bit at my anxieties – it makes them a bit friendlier and less oppressive. There’s a great bit by Maria Bamford about how her family plays Joy Whack-a-mole (https://youtu.be/R_KcNl9cBgw) and I think about that every time I counter some bit of positivity with my anxieties.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so lucky. The pandemic has hardly affected me. The world’s woes, though I am aware of them, are not personally affecting me – so far! I hardly dare be so smug. I know this could change in a heart-beat. But for now all is well, and I focus on what’s right in front of me. Here now. It keeps me sane, and relatively happy, and ultimately it’s all I have. If I find myself getting into a snit I ask myself if there is anything actually wrong, right here, right now is there anything wrong? Usually the answer is no, and the that nasty little gollum of a mind crawls back under the rock it came from. It doesn’t get much traction these days.
    Best advice: Let it be easy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Alison. I’m glad you responded with this. Not every experience right now is one of handwringing anxiety and I think it’s important for anxious people like me to see that. How can we ever imagine a different way of seeing things unless we see the possibilities? I think I’ve always been waiting for the other shoe to drop and it’s not a good way to live – a constant state of low-grade anxiety, all for the pleasure of being able to say “I told you so” when things go awry. The practice for me these days is two-fold: 1) perspective – knowing that my situation is not so bad and 2) giving as much weight to positive experiences as I do to the negative. It’s a challenge for the depression-inclined, but challenges enliven me a bit! Glad you’re doing well.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One of the other things I do, and have done for years, is not watch/listen to the news. I get a few headlines now and then but that’s about it. It’s a conscious choice to not be immersed in the world’s woes via the “nightly news” (which has become the 24/7 news). Highly recommend going on a self-imposed diet from the news. You’ll be amazed what a difference it will make, and how little you really needed to know all that shit.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A migraine can sometimes be ended by a brain freeze, apparently. Try a too cold smoothie?
    Thanks for being out there and sharing it. I need the company. I am on and off despondent about my own writing of fiction, and I have been envious of your MFA program. Silly me. Long ago I noticed that everybody always wants someone else’s hair (curly, straight, dark, red, etc).
    Your writing is lovely. Keep up the good work. We all adore you, and truly need the mirror you hold up.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is pretty funny what one is willing to do for pain relief. I purchased what is essentially an ice wrap hat. I look like I can either cast a spell or be a third-tier Marvel hero. It delivers a nice one-two punch, knocking down a hot flash and making my head feel either better or acceptably numb.
      The MFA thing should not have surprised me. When you grasp for something that you think will make you better or somehow change your life, you find out that the common denominator is still you. There is nothing life-shattering except reading books you hate and writing long essays about craft (high school English writ large) – I require an attitude adjustment! I’m learning to lean into anti-racist pedagogy and pushing to make some changes or raise awareness in the program. That, it turns out, is more inspiring to me than the actual course study!
      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Michelle, so nice to ‘see’ you again. Thank you for articulating what so many of us experience, with empathy, compassion, and love. Your words validate and soothe me, as I hope they do you, as well. Things are not awesome around here either, hence my own hiatus from blogging for now. Real and not insurmountable is pretty accurate. My mantras these days include, “One day, one moment, one breath at a time;” “You’ got this,” and “Are we okay right this minute?” Sometimes “WHAT is up with THAT???” makes an appearance. Thankfully, –gracefully– I have the support and resources I need. The only way out is through, and I’ got my headlamp, picks, shovels, and crew. It’s what I wish for us all. May your path open up and reward you for the journey! –Cathy


    1. Hi Cathy – so nice to hear from you as well! I really like that question: “Are we okay right this minute?” and have decided to post it in very large font on my bulletin board. It’s great for pulling you back into the moment, cultivating self-awareness, and grounding a person. I keep asking myself: “Is this helpful?”, but it’s always a resounding “No!” and sometimes the awareness just stops there.
      I’m glad that you have the support and resources that you need. I do as well, but sometimes I forget. We’ve been so long in what feels like a state of suspended animation, that it’s hard to get out of mental ruts. Remembering to connect with the many wise people out there is important – and you’re one of them. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What are your biggest worries? Hate crime — getting punched in the face or physically attacked because of the way I look.

    What has given you great joy/comfort/laughter? Reading blogs.

    What’s your best advice at the moment for others? Get the Covid vaccine and wear a high quality face mask in crowded outdoor settings and indoor public places.

    You didn’t ask but I wanna let you know I think your previous post is publish-worthy. If just needs a decent editor to make it less intensely personal and more open to the reading public. I would pitch it to The Cut. That’s the publication I thought of when I read it. Another place where it might fit is Spirituality & Health magazine.

    This might not be the sort of writing you want published but sometimes people are better at reflective essays than fiction. Anyway, I’m not in the publishing biz. I just think I have good taste and I really loved your previous post. More people oughta see it.


    1. As I mentioned to Alison above, getting perspective is key – that you have to fear physical assault because of appearance is something I don’t have to worry about and I’m so sorry you carry that on your shoulders. It seems like the world is rumbling, just itching for a fight over any slight thing, no matter how false or superficial. Even I, who likes to pretend to some sort of circumspect wisdom, find myself enraged on a fairly regular basis and I worry about that energy being added to the angry miasma. It’s something I struggle with – it’s hard to take in the news and not feel nearly impotent rage.
      Thanks, too, for your encouragement about the last post. I’ll really think about it. I think some of my hesitancy in seeking a wider audience is related to the perpetual noisiness of so many opinions everywhere. Not sure there needs to be another one out there! I’m assuming you have good taste, too. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. This really shows each of us we are NOT alone when all this news is hitting us in the face!
    Gardening is my solution! I figure if the world is trying to kill off humans (or the more likely that humans are doing it to ourselves) then the world will survive without us and plants will continue on. There will be a new reset to balance. Thanks for you honest insights.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gardening is often my go-to as well, although when it hits the peak bug-and-heat portion of the season, I start wishing for a good killing frost. I haven’t been out much this week, because the air quality warnings have been at their worst due to the wildfires in Ontario and Manitoba (and now in MN). Hazy, thick skies. It looks like it will be receding after today and I’m going to wander out into the mess I call a garden and commune with the bees. That always helps!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. What are your biggest worries?
    Lying autocrats (biggest worry)
    What has given you great joy/comfort/laughter?
    Pictures of grandchildren in another state – so far away we have not met the one year old
    What’s your best advice at the moment for others?
    Keep your head down

    Comments via my husband


    1. Those are some good ones. So sorry you’ve not met the new grandkid yet. I know a lot of people are experiencing that particular sorrow. I’m not sure about keeping my head down – I worry about being a silent enabler, so linking up with organizations that have experienced activists and learning how to leverage my particular skill set to stop voter suppression, etc. is working. But it really depends on you personal situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Biggest worry: my country descending into oligarchic autocracy.
    Greatest current joy: eating farmers’ market produce! Watching my grandson (9 months old) do the same!
    Best advice: find a furry friend to pet to stoke your endorphins and take you outside of your head.


    1. I love summer produce. Looking forward to my tomatoes, if they survive this drought period – even the rain barrels are drying up.
      I miss my furry friends. In between the kid’s illness and the pandemic, we also mourned the loss of both our older cats. However, I’ve seen 4 pets in the last 20 years into old age and I needed a break from the cleaning and high maintenance of taking care of older pets. Someday, though. I spend way too much time watching animal videos!


  10. Hi, Michelle – Since you asked…
    Biggest worries? The health of our planet. The bee balm that blooms every summer in our backyard usually has hundreds of bees—at any time from morn to night—busily harvesting pollen. This year, I haven’t seen more than five bees at a time on the plants. I’m hopeful that other pollen sources are attracting them so they’ve made reservations elsewhere, but I suspect the bees have fallen victim to the heat, smoke, and drought. I’m also worried about the wildfires north, south, and east of us, and the air that’s burning my throat and eyes and preventing me from my daily walks. And the fact that so many humans are ignoring the signs of danger that become more evident every day. We are an arrogant species. It will probably doom us.
    Great joy/comfort/laughter? Books. Books for pure escape and entertainment, and books that teach me and remind me of the magic we can construct through language. Also, connecting with nature.
    What’s your best advice at the moment for others? Take just one step. When you feel the solid ground beneath you, take another step and then another. Don’t compare your progress with anybody else’s or with your own expectations of yourself. Just do what you can. And be extra gentle with yourself and others—we’re all in uncharted territory and just doing the best we can (except for those few who are deliberately doing the worst they can…).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Donna, you’re a woman after my own heart. I can’t be outside at the moment due to wildfire particulates in the air, but soon. I will tell you that my giant St. John’s Wort bush wiggled and bounced all through spring – absolutely loaded with gigantic bumble bees. Wasp activity has been high as have the birds and I’ve been seeing monarchs and swallowtails, but you’re absolutely right, we humans are either arrogant and/or complacent. It will damn us. Until then, plant the milkweed, leave the trees, fill your lawn with pollinators, and vote the idiots out of office who don’t fully support climate change emergency measures. What else can we do?
      Feet on the ground is a good start and Cathy, above asked a good question as well: “Are we okay right this minute?” Sometimes, when the world is on fire (figuratively and literally) we have to pull ourselves back into the moment. Anxious people are not always the most effective and I remind myself of that daily. Can’t do the work, if I’m paralyzed by fear or helplessness.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like Cathy’s question and will try to remember to ask it when I start catastrophizing. Glad to hear the bees are prevalent in MN. I will choose to believe that they are just vacationing elsewhere and not MIA.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Biggest worry..how to avoid ever ending up in a nursing home.

    Greatest comforts, pleasure…
    My garden and home, my attempt at painting, quality food and my friends and very few family that I have left.

    My advice..don’t worry about the future…you can’t change the big picture, so live for each day and treasure the small things. Don’t expect too much.


    1. “Don’t expect too much.” is a good recipe for pleasant surprises. As for the nursing home, my goal is to put it off as long as possible, but for my only child’s sake, I remain open to the eventuality. My grandmother just passed away at 94. I loved her, but her physical care and cognitive decline nearly crushed my mother, who took care of her 24/7 in her home. On the upside, by the time I’m ready to go into a home, the planet will have reached the Soylent Green stage of things.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. you can write but never write everything that’s in your head. you then begin to write for the love of writing, for the tension eased, for easing reader’s tension too and for everything worth writing for…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello Michelle,
    I am finally back in the blogging mode (so to say, still not an english native speaker).
    I hope you are better. I had migraine often when I was younger. I live vegetarian now and this helps a lot.

    I started my blog in English. I wrote in German for the last years.

    Current joys: listen to all the small adventures of my niece and nephew (it is their first year of school) chocolate
    Best Advice: Be kind to yourself and know that there is often a solution for problems that you think bigger than they are.

    What are your biggest worries? I need to change my job ( My heard-of-hearing get so worse than I can not work in Costumerservice on the phone long-therm). My family getting Corona.

    What has given you great joy/comfort/laughter? My niece telling me, that it is one of her happiest days because it is shared with me.

    What’s your best advice at the moment for others? Be kind to yourself and know that there is often a solution for problems that you think bigger than they are.


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