Tag: anxiety

Want to Hear a New Poem on the Anxiety of Sunday Night?

So fellow poet and blogger, Scott Carroll (I hate to blow his cover, but he’s had poetry published in ZZYZZVA) wrote a poem about traffic called Topanga Canyon.  He dedicated the poem to me, knowing that I spent a lot of time in traffic when I was working at the rehab center and teaching creative writing.  That drive was horrible, but Scott and I understand that even in the middle of traffic, lined up like a bunch of tuna in tin cans, there is a way to find something poetic, something meaningful.

When I was dealing with that traffic, I would dread Sunday night.  I know, it’s weird, you think I would dread being at work or in traffic, but on the eve of the week ahead, I would have these terrible bouts of anxiety, thinking about the traffic — would it take me three hours to get to work? would there be an accident? would I be the one in the accident? — and I began to hate Sunday.  I enjoyed work, but I hated the drive.  Honestly, I wasn’t happy.  So I wrote a poem one Sunday night.  Clink on the link below to hear an audio version of me reading it:

Before the Week Ahead

It’s funny, though, and hard to describe, exactly, what I would like to say about traffic.  And I hope the poem does that.  The rest of the day, I’m going to enjoy being alive.  I’m going to go on a run.  I’m going to drink a tad bit of rum — we ran out of wine.  And I’m going to enjoy my family — Heron and my dog.  I hope you, too, are finding a way to enjoy the night, the day, the approaching retired space shuttle, the city you call home.

The Monkey Mind — Reminding Myself About Patience & Anxiety

Today was a strange day for freelancing.  I don’t know how to exactly describe it, but I was actually busy, and I didn’t have time to work on my memoir.  I hate when I can’t work on my book.  It’s frustrating.  It feels like I cheated myself.   Well, in regards to the book, I was told to read “Monkey Mind” by Daniel Smith.  It’s another memoir, and it is in the vein of Augusten Burroughs.   The most obvious reason being that the memoirs are set in Massachusetts, and they both deal with issues of mental illness — specifically anxiety in Monkey Mind.

It’s funny, because Smith points out that anxiety is something that we all deal, but everyone deals with in one way or the other.  Anxiety is almost as individual as our fingerprints.  For example, Smith’s anxiety, so far, seems to be about his life slipping out of control, one event at a time.  But it’s obviously much more deeply rooted.  And I look forward to the rest of the book.  He has a hard time walking down the freedom trail in Boston.

But anxiety, well, it’s something I deal with too.  Right now the biggest anxiety I’m dealing with is my writing career.  Will someone like my writing?  Will an editor accept my pitch?  Once they accept my pitch, will they hate my writing?  Will I receive the check before rent is due?  These questions can barrel out of control.  I can fly down a cliff and find myself churning and churning in a widening gyre of self-deprecation and insecurity.

That’s the thing though.  In order to really make freelancing work, a life as a writer, I have to continue to learn to manage this anxiety.  Not having the security of a full-time job is sort of freaky.  At any moment, you can be tossed aside like yesterday’s trash — or maybe a more relevant metaphor is recycling, except I wouldn’t be reused.  So, yeah, trash is still the best.  But part of it is learning, as always, to accept things are out of my control.  So how in the world do I handle that?

Well, I just got back from a run.  I’ve blogged about this before.  But I also have Heron and my dog, Hendrix.  They’re remarkable.  Then there is Long Beach.  Then there is Los Angeles County.  Then there is the entire state of California and the Western United States and the entire country and the small little blue orb floating through an infinite and beautiful galaxy.  And I can spend my nights standing on the cliffs in Belmont Shore, staring at the port, the Queen Mary, the tiny, sliver of a moon resting just about the ancient ship’s smoke stacks.  The orange glow in the background.  The silver metallic ocean.  The sky.  I am temporary, unfortunately, but so are my problems.

So back to Daniel Smith.  The whole book is about dealing with anxiety, and one thing I’m sure of, it’s a life-long practice.  Maybe this post is just about reminding myself about patience.

Should have some new pieces coming out this week.  I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.