A listlessness has taken root in my life. My days blend together, and I don’t seem to get a whole lot done. Numerous projects are set out on my craft room table begging for my attention, but I lack the gumption to dive in. I have bags, pouches, and jewelry to make, but no inspiration with which to do so. More than that—the passion to craft has drifted away, at least for the time being.
To tell you the truth, I’d rather be reading or writing. The question to read or not to read is not a valid question for me. Reading will always be the answer, although I do have to temper my time reading to ensure I don’t get a headache.
I strive to read at least one book a week, and I write something every day: a blog post, social posting, my current manuscript, or just a personal journal entry. Maybe I put out enough energy through my words that my creative juices for the other things I enjoy doing have been swept by the wayside.
One of these days, I know the stacks of colorful fabric stashed in an old, white dresser with open drawer space and the many trimmings and pre-cut pieces of fabric will call to me. And I will listen and create. I’ll sort through my array of stashed beads in numerous fishing tackle boxes, find something to catch my eye, and design a new piece of jewelry.
Here’s a sample of my current writing project: my seventh historical fiction novel, On Bur Oak Ridge…
We’re better at looking back than forward. Since such is the case, our eyes would be better placed at the base of our heads. I see nothing when I gaze into the future. It appears like the purple haze of the distant hills—without definition, lacking firm, clean, and distinctive lines. In a word—smudged.
The ironic truth is that “smudged” could explain my appearance. Life has taken an eraser to the right side of my face. Melted, waxy patches of pink skin shine in the lamplight from my temple to my neck. The skin around my right eye hides the small world of greenish-blue color—the window to my soul.
I know what people see through this broken window—a monster. I tilt my head and run the tips of my fingers over the corded texture of my skin. From this viewpoint, I could play the part of Dr. Frankenstein’s creation. My fingers explore lower until they reach the hollow of my neck, where the music once lived. But no longer. The notes have died. I sigh, reliving a memory of grief for what I’ve lost.
My hand falls. With the stare of the dead, I look back at myself in the cracked bureau mirror. The crack in the glass runs diagonal across my face from temple to jaw, bringing a visual division to my deformity. I puff out air from my nostrils with a resignation I am getting used to. Bit by bit I’ve buried who I used to be. That grave leaves me uncertain of who I will become.
What is left for me?
Next to nothing. I have the flowers and little else.
You’ve made friends, my conscience tells me. Yes, I have. I should be grateful instead of mourning the past.
For the first time in years, I will leave behind the walls of my strange shelter: the asylum. Tomorrow I board a train to visit Mabel, my friend. I’ll wear a mourning veil in public so people won’t gawk or reel back in revulsion at the naked sight of my face. The worst is when the children cry, then I become a nightmare to some poor little soul. I hate that: adding to another’s fear. We all bear enough.
My lungs command a deep breath, and I reach to turn down the lamp. The future comes tomorrow whether I am ready or not.
“Ready or not!” The words stab me in the throat, and I feel as if I’m being basted with a sharp needle. Those were Lonny’s last words. My eyes roll shut, and I see the flash of white, the brown curly head, the grin before he turned, the crash of the poles, like the blast of a mighty horn. I wanted to scream, but my voice caught in my throat, choking me. My mouth hung open, but all that came out was silence.
I breathe: in and out slowly, like the doctor taught me. The visions recede.
My eyes open. The room has been thrown under a dark caul, and I realize I must have turned down the wick of the kerosene lamp. Now my face looks ghostly in the silver-backed glass. I move to the bed, jump in, and tuck the covers up to my chin, praying I won’t dream of Lonny.
Please, God. Not tonight.
Thank you for reading my thoughts and this portion of my current WIP. What have you been reading or working on during this time of staying at home?