Thursday, July 30, 2009

Perspective is All

Everything is fine, for those who have written to inquire; the gap in posts was caused by a combination of the overheating computer, waiting for feedback on the draft chapter, and just flat out taking a few days totally off. We’ve enjoyed it. We went adventuring and we also had some quiet time reading and visiting on the balcony. It’s been good. In our adventuring, we found a new restaurant recently started by a couple whose first restaurant we used to enjoy, and where for a number of years running (until they closed) we celebrated our anniversary. We’ll be going there for dinner tonight and are anticipating it with some pleasure. We think this will be our anniversary dinner this year. One of the nice things about finding them is that I recognized their names from a sign and was able to connect it without difficulty to the earlier restaurant. After all the memory problems I’ve been having (and thank you, Kate, for the reassurance!), that was a nice moment.

The memory holes that have opened up, whether through a combination of stack overflow, aging or surgery, are real enough. Like so many other aspects of this adventure, learning to roll with it with humor seems to be the key. What’s not there is not there, and a combination of coping mechanisms and acceptance are required. Last night, falling asleep, a great opening sentence for a post came to me. I said it out loud several times, hoping to remember it. That was hopeless, and a really great sentence is lost. Next time, I’ll try another method of securing the thought.

Other changes in before-and-after for me are in the way my thinking works and in the total loss of any hysteresis in my energy. There. I’ve done it. I’ve always wanted to use the word hysteresis in writing. What I mean is that I no longer have graceful transitions when I’m getting tired. I’m fine, and then I’m completely out of steam and have to sleep, Right Now. This is something I’m learning to manage, slowly. The stamina challenges are real and to be accepted.

As for the way I think, the multi-tasking that has always been a feature of my creativity, however irritating it’s been to others, and I know it has been, is much diminished. I cannot work at all with music in the background anymore. This has actually been emerging for some years, which I’m guessing is another one of the tumor symptoms we didn’t notice or understand at the time; my life is a good deal more silent now than it ever has been. Beyond that, if one big project, like working on the chapter is underway, the other stuff that used to progress alongside now suffers a great deal. Witness, for example, the shorter and sparser posts since I’ve actually been writing. I still do better with alternating things to think about, but the number of projects that can be sustained at once is dramatically diminished from what’s always been the baseline. What works best right now seems to be to have a major, thinking, project, and then a set of logistical tasks to keep moving so that I can switch off while the back of my head mulls over whatever the roadblock is in the major project. Slowly, I’m learning to work with the new circuitry in my head. It’s not even an overstatement to claim that it’s all happening with a little patience and moderate grace. The recent blog posts about interruptions to thinking time in creative work are interesting, if you have the time to browse a bit. While you’re at it, the “hat fail” picture is fun. I feel bad that I don’t remember what site first pointed me to it. Apologies for that.

Using Jill’s clue, we found our cool plant and learned about it. It is a bromeliad, as she suggested: Tillandsia Cyanea. This plant been a wonderful thing to watch, and of course its color scheme matches perfectly my preferences and the locale. We don’t have a Costco at home, but will keep our eyes out for a cousin of this one to have at home, to remind us of this place and this summer out of time.

Back to work. Thanks for the caring and the notes of concern. All is summery, slow and easy.

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