Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day 3.14.15...

Happy Pi Day, bl'eaders! In celebration, I have a story and a poem.

So a few weeks ago, Molly asked me if I liked black and white movies, and I told her two of my favorite films ever are black and white, The Following, by Nolan; and Pi, by Aronovsky. 

"There's a movie called PIE!?"

"Yeah, only it's Pi like in math, P-I."

She wanted to know what Pi is. I found it very hard to explain, though I told her about pi times radius squared but she was still looking at me like I was speaking Greek. {pause for collective groan}

I gave Shane the task, and he brought out three plates, a measuring tape, and a calculator. When she understood, which she did and which makes my think she's a goddamn certified genius, she immediately sat down and wrote this poem. Shane's and my jaws hit the floor and I declared her the newest incarnation of the Buddha. 

I loved that she grokked the quasi-mystical nature of the irrational number. I love the poem and will treasure it forever.

I give you The Pi Poem:

Pi, like a constant wave that rides away
   like wind into space.
It rides away like daisies on a cool spring
   day in a grassy field.
Oh, Pi, tell us the way of life.
Oh Pi, how do you constantly spin into
   space, all alone.
How did you begin?

- Molly Evans, age 8-nearly-9

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Working Versus Innate Talent

Sometimes we see a blog post so compelling, so relevant to our tribe that we immediately pop that link on TwitterFaceTumblBook with hyperbolic punctuation and MANY CAPITALIZED WORDS. 

More rarely, we find a treasure that necessitates an entire blog post of our own because it speaks to us such that we gotta speak back.

Oh my Gorgeous Metaphorical Gods, this post! This wonderful, insightful, brilliant goddamn post! This is an article I wish I could have read in grade school. This is an article I'm going to paraphrase and pass the age-edited wisdom to my child. (She doesn't mind the cussin'. She is my baby after all.)

If you're a writer of any kind, you should be reading Chuck Wendig. He drops the mic like a boss on the regular and is a font of writerly advice in the most practical and usable ways. (The fact that his language is all snappy snark and peppered with yummy curses further endears him to my own filthy fucking heart.)

His recent post speaks to the billshit idea of talent. He relates having been labeled not only talented but gifted at a young age and the burden of that word. To this day, this day on which I'm a year and a month-ish away from being forty goddamn adult years old, that word gifted puts a stone of dread in my belly.

He says we can't—no one can—live up to the ideal of talent or gifted. He is so right it slapped me in my smartass face.

He talks about work. A revelation, I know. I won't regurgitate his every point but it's a bitingly insightful piece about the utter bullshit that the idea of talent/giftedness is. 

He explains, and I feel I maybe ought to here as well, that it's not about "Oh, I am so Burdened With Glorious Purpose!* Woe to me, the Gifted One looking down on you masses of normals." It's not that. It's a bar set in a spaceless height and no matter what you achieve, it magically raises so that you're never, ever worthy.**

So fuck it, right? In my head I started failing to reach my potential (because I wasn't perfect) as a kid, so by the time I finished junior high school, I'd settled firmly into the lazy-hazy idea that I'd skate by until someday my genius would magically manifest and I'd wake up with art in the Guggenheim or the NY Times Bestsellers List. Because: talented.

And so I very giftedly took eleven years to earn a four year art degree and worked retail and secretarial jobs for all the years that my body functioned. Hmm.

My fear now, the coldest and sweating one, is that Bird will react to her intelligence the way I did. It's been a long road through my thirties to reprogram my brain not to see my life as wasted potential.

I try hard to praise the work she puts in—I'd heard a while back that it'll instill some semblance of a work ethic in a kid if you don't say "Hey, there!, genius offspring! Aced math, because you're brilliant!" It's better to tell her you're so very proud of the work she did to earn that A+.

It's pretty mind-blowing what I learn from guiding my Birdy.

For consistent brain expansion and creative mental treats, do check out Wendig's blog. It's a jewel in the oft-beautiful setting of our interweb. 

Go now darlings and unleash that rapier wit and vorpal sword of creativity. Go practice and practice and work and work! And don't forget to take breaks for tea of coffee or wine or beer. Then work more!

*See, Mama Bones can get a Loki quote into ANY post.

**Bonus (if vague and highly nerdy) Thor reference! w00t! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Emerging from My Latest Crazy

Top of the mornin' to you, bl'eaders. Or bottom of the morning? It's 3:30am as I begin writing. (I crashed somewhere around 7pm while the family was dog-piled in bed around me and I'd had to take a Coma Pill.* We were watching E.T., after seeing Gremlins on Sunday. I suddenly got on a kick of trying to share 80s childhood magic with Bird. She preferred Gremlins, stating that it was awesome-scary and her great shriek of delight when she first saw Gizmo caused temporary deafness all across our hollow.

In my drugged sleep haze, I had a very sweet sex dream about Billy from GremlIns, though his hair was a bit more stylish and he was my age. Very pretty boy, that one. Also there were butterflies the size of eagles which were incredibly gorgeous as long as they didn't come near enough for me to see their evil insect faces and bodies. It's a legit phobia, and I am not proud. 

But at least I didn't bang a cute childlike alien.

So my drugs wore off cold at 3:00 and my muscles are behaving now but my nerves and bones are not, so I took a Percocet and ate an apple because an empty stomach is not my friend when I take those fuckers. They also keep me awake, so I'm not looking for any more sleep to happen this morning.

You may notice that after a blogging absence I tend to emerge with a story about the colorful way in which I was temporarily crazy. The thing is, the chemistry of my body is rivaled only by its surrealist structure.

I met with my pain specialist on the 12th, and we discussed switching me to tramodol (Ultram) for pain. It's a schedule IV medication rather than II, thus safer. I used to get it injected and my dad-in-law mentioned taking it orally, so it jogged my memory and I asked about switching.

I started taking it immediately and it was helping with the pain pretty well. It wasn't quite as effective as the Percocet but it was close enough to manage. I was heading into Hell Week, so when I got crazy cranked up and anxious I assumed it was just a bad PMDD month.

Then it persisted into my period when usually little goddess fairies sing and sweet blissful peace enfolds me with relief. 

Instead I was doubleplus ungood and crying hysterically every single second I was alone. 

I looked up side effects of the Ultram and found that while it's an opioid too, it binds to different receptors than Percocet and Vicodin and the like. It also affects seratonin and norepinephrine.

That's when I noticed this flavor of crazy felt familiar: I'd tried a couple of antidepressants that act on both seratonin and norepinephrine (rather than a straight up SSRI) before, and stopped them because suicidal ideation and losing ten pounds in a week is a solid reason to 86 a drug. 

I saw the doctor again last week and he agreed that batshit crazy is not a preferred medical outcome. I'm back on my good old loopy narcotics and holding steady at regular Heidi levels of mild crazypants.

I learned some new fucked up information about changing drug laws. My doc and I chat a lot because a) I talk a lot with everyone who'll listen and b) I'm deeply fascinated with medicine and he indulges me. There's a tangle of legal fuckery coming down that requires its own post, though.

I'm going to read a while now, nestled up with the Birdy as long as my eyeballs allow, since my glasses are in Shane's room and if I go in there he startles something awful.

There will be more writing soon, darlings, and a drawing that says "O Winter, you are ever so delicately lovely. Please consider this a loving and reverent Fuck Off."

Until then, stoned virtual hugs to you and piping-hot, yfresh sanity for me.


*the only muscle relaxer that does jack shit for me invariably puts me to sleep, and then I wake with fewer spasms. Spoonie life is a process. A process of 'meh' and so many cost v. reward exchanges.

{Image courtesy Wikipedia with Snapseed manipulation.}