Invisible Ink

Every other Monday for five years, rain or shine, I posted a Jalapenos story.  I wrote comedies about dogs and tragedies about people.  High or low, I wrote—136 stories in all.  Then, at holiday season last year, life overwhelmed our home.  My wife’s cancer returned after a decade’s remission and we spent Christmas frightened and vulnerable.  This summer, my wife’s mother died and she found that becoming an orphan, at any stage in life, brings desolation. My cataract surgery, from which any improvement would have been celebrated, failed to reveal any new and wondrous sights.  Indeed, with the insidious advance of RP, I see less now than then.

My writing has been one victim of the emotional onslaught.   It wasn’t the writer’s block where I took up the pen but nothing came of it.  Rather, I had no desire to pick up the pen at all.  I especially didn’t want to write about blindness or the triumph of the human spirit, for I felt not in the least triumphant.

I coped by regressing.  I stopped reading good books and started binging on the empty calories of sports and Netflix, which entertained but did not nourish.  Stress breeds odd behaviors—I quit winding the clocks and gluing that little thing that’s always falling off that bigger thing.  I quit untying the knots in my shoelaces.  “Does it matter?” became my burning existential question.

I needed a solution but faced the dilemma: Do I think my way into better acts or act my way into better thoughts? With minimal exertion, I picked up a good book and found food for thought. I turned that fuel into my own words and, in doing so, found a therapy that works: write through it.  Writing turns out to be my relief, my release from what’s pent up.  Maybe it’s my best, maybe it’s my only way to get “through” this—one word at a time.

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5 Responses to Invisible Ink

  1. bethfinke says:

    We all could use a little therapy now and then. Glad you eventually found yours. So what’s the book called?


  2. Judi Farrell-Booth says:

    Good to see you coming back again and so very sorry for all the losses between the two of you. Even tho you have each other together the losses pile up and seem to grow before they recede. My thoughts are with you and hope that the new season of cool breezes brings refreshing head clearing and enthusiasm for the next chapter, whatever it brings. Best wishes to your lovely wife; hope her health is looking up again. Yes, we daughters only have one mother and, when she’s gone, it’s now us at the top. A whole new view from here.

  3. clark94901 says:

    Jeff, hope you are at exit end of this tunnel. There will be others ahead, but at least there is fresh air and changing seasons with their new scents, and there is always your dog…

  4. Kent Flodin says:

    … or, one song at a time. Today I have been singing “Only God Can Save Us Now” and “Burning the Ballroom Down”.

  5. Jeff, your writing is therapeutic for all of us and not only stories about blindness. When you reflect on your human traits, the good, the bad and the funny, we can all find our own reflection in your words. And even if you keep writing for your own selfish reasons – like staying sane, all the better for us too! Take care, Stella

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