Goodo and hell morning. It’s not Thursday—it’s Friday, November 19th, 2021—but this is an edition of my weekly blog post. I did not write anything at all yesterday, neither blog post nor new fiction nor letters nor emails nor notes to self nor any other kind of writing. I was lying in bed pretty much all day (getting up to obtain meals and to use the bathroom—which, interestingly, doesn’t have a bathtub, just a shower, a sink, and a euphemism, yet we call it a bathroom). Despite having gotten nicely into a walking routine over the last several weeks—which seemed to be doing good for my back and other joints—somehow, at the beginning of this week, or the end of the last, something triggered a significant exacerbation. I’ve had pain and stiffness not just in my back but markedly so in my hips and shoulders, wrists and hands, ankles, knees, and so on. I wondered if I’d started to develop polymyalgia rheumatica, frankly, given the symptoms.
It’s interesting to note that something called polymyalgia* entails such prominent arthralgia**. But nomenclature isn’t always accurate, even in medicine; it’s often riddled with historical artifacts. Take the source of the word “vaccination”, for instance. How many people know that its origin comes from exposing people to Vaccinia (related to smallpox and formerly thought to be cowpox but apparently more like horsepox***) to engender immunologic protection against Variola, aka Smallpox?
So, anyway, I didn’t write my usual weekly blog post on Thursday this week, and I suppose I could’ve just given the whole thing a miss, but I figured I’d try to be better late than never if I could. I’m more motivated to write this blog than I am to write my new fiction, anyway, which is a bit sad to me, though I doubt I shall hear any wailing and gnashing of teeth from the general public. Also, it’s just barely possible that I won’t be writing a blog post next week (though I think I usually do) on Thanksgiving. It will probably be shorter than usual, anyway. So, it would be a shame to leave this space blank, intentionally or otherwise.
This is not to say that I haven’t been working on Outlaw’s Mind. I have. Even when I’ve had trouble getting going in the morning, and I putter around rereading and—this week at least—spending about twenty minutes each morning lying on the floor to try to ease my back a bit, I still have written eight hundred to fourteen hundred words each on the days I’ve written, which is to say Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I’m just not feeling the same drive and motivation for writing that I normally feel.
I wonder if that ambivalence is because this story has been interrupted more than once. Part of me wants to put it back on the back burner and just start to write something new that I haven’t started before. But then, of course, that would mean that there would be yet another interruption in Outlaw’s Mind, and it might never get written. This is not exactly an epic tragedy, obviously—there are many stories waiting in my head that have not yet been, and may never be, written. But it would be a minor shame. Had I but world enough and time—or particularly, had I but a time unmarred by chronic pain with exacerbations and free from chronic depression, or at least with all those things under reasonable control—I could write more and faster even than I already do.
And if wishes were horses, we’d all be neck deep in horseshit.
Anyway, that’s nearly it for this week, I’m afraid. I apologize for the lateness and for the less-than-optimal post that this is. It’s a day late and, though not a dollar short, I feel it’s not up to my usual standards. I’m back at the office, but I am still far from physically comfortable, and that takes its toll. I hope you’ll all understand.
In the meantime, though, in America we have Thanksgiving coming up next week, and I hope most of you are looking forward to a nice meal with family if you’re able. Though, of course, be careful if you travel, and do your best not to contribute to a new wave of Covid-19, as well as flu and other respiratory viruses—they all tend to have significant upticks here in the US after Thanksgiving, since it’s the biggest travel holiday of the year.
Please, everyone, have a good time with those you love. And do something, if you’re able, for people who are alone. Even if it seems that’s the way they want to be, it’s worth checking if they need anything.
But for goodness’ sake, don’t tell them that they ought to be thankful and appreciative and not feel too bad, perhaps because other people have it “worse”. That doesn’t help anybody; it’s just self-serving crap designed to absolve the speaker of any need to be compassionate. There’s presumably only one person on Earth at any given time about whom it couldn’t be said that there are those who have it worse****. What good does it do anyone to be told that, at this moment, they aren’t that person, by someone else who also isn’t that person and isn’t doing anything to make a difference for that person or for anyone else? If you can’t say anything useful and/or nice, don’t say nothin’ at all. Silence is preferable to insulting, counterproductive stupidity.
*Which refers to muscle pain.
**Which refers to joint pain.
***So many farm animal poxes! Chicken pox, by the way, is Varicella. Imagine if our inoculation process had started with chicken pox. We might refer to the process as varicellation.
****I think we can safely assume that the title changes hands rapidly and often, since such a person probably has a foreshortened lifespan.