Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Remember when I made things?

Tiny Oil pastel, circa 1998, found in the artist's closet

Oil on canvas paper, 2013 (with glare), made during an art class my roommate teaches and which I did not pay for.

I'm trying, dipping my shy little toes back into the pool of creativity. Can't say my orange is that creative, but it's loosening up the joints.

I had a friend basically yell at me because he saw my robot and toaster from last fall. He thought it was just a cute avatar, didn't know I'd painted it.

 Acrylic on canvas, 2013, baby shower gift for friend who teaches math

Then it went like this:

Unnamed friend: You should write a story about those guys.
JoBiv: I am, in fits and starts. Still working out a plot or two.
Unnamed friend: I could find you an artist to work out a few boards with you.
JoBiv: Yeah, that'd be nice. Painting in the buttons every time gets tedious.
Unnamed friend: Umm... are you saying YOU painted that?
JoBiv: Yep.
Unnamed friend: (Lecture on wasted talent, blah blah, "I never knew you were an artist" blah blah, "You HAVE to work on this story!" blah blah.)
JoBiv: Wow. I mean, thanks.

Of course, I look at this little piece and say, "The robot's sitting in the wrong place, and his femurs are too long and his tibias are too short. The table looks like it's made out of spongecake. The value of the gray robot and the blue background are much too similar. There should be a dot after the zero, because calculators don't work like that," etc.

Regardless, I bought a sketchpad, a cheap one. I dug out all my old art stuff and made it visible in my room. I'm staring at all of it now, and it seems dimly possible that I may be creative. Soon?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Status variabilis

Tell me how this melody can break out of white noise. How can an entire chorus stop a busy station in its... um... tracks?

My psychiatrist bought a used copy of the Carmina Burana and knew I'd be amused that he found it far more colorful than he'd expected. He also took a Lactaid in front of me, added milk to his coffee, looked at the expiration date on the little carton and read aloud "July 3, 2013." He looked into his mug. "Well, it didn't curdle." I'm in good hands.

He told me that the "Echay Grahtoom" is his favorite track. I resisted a lecture on Germanic pronunciation of Latin texts. Not that he would have minded; the man's a nerd of the first class, but by then my brain had corrected him and moved halfway through the piece at a nice gallop. Iamiam cedant tristia! Sadness has ended! Spring has come again!

I still get excited when I see those first green shoots of crocus and tulip and daffodil. I still feel my heart thudding in my chest when I hear a beautiful melody spun out of thin air. I have to believe in change, at least in a cycle, that sometimes plunges me under but will eventually raise me up again. Maybe my "up" is still below the surface, I don't know. I have to hope I'll be able to poke a finger through to the sunlight, that that will be enough.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Too soon?

Things that maybe one should never joke about:

1. Suicidal ideation
2. ECT treatment
3. Psychiatric inpatient stays

Well fuzz that shiz, I'm crossin' the line, people!

(If you haven't seen Mary and Max, perhaps you should. It has chocolate and insanity and poo-colored birth marks. Need I say more?)

I have been assured by many, nearly all, that Electroconvulsive Therapy has come a long way since, say, The Bell Jar (although it isn't portrayed terribly negatively in that novel). I will not be lobotomized, will not have my memory wiped, will not be communicating with aliens, etc. I have better chances of having SOME benefit, whether it's infinitesimal or not, than having any kind of bad reaction.

The doc asked me lots of nosy questions, most of which I couldn't quite pinpoint for him. Dates, admissions, prescriptions, attempts... I spend so much time batting all of those things away. They exist together in a kind of gnatty buzzing cloud that follows me around, the kind that makes me constantly fearful that I'll swallow a piece of it or breathe it in or have something get stuck under my eyelid. Gross. Bat, bat, batting away.

My patient psychiatrist is taking my latest dip a tad personally. "What's the point of me if I don't make you feel better?" he asked. I shrugged. He told me I usually laugh at his bad jokes. I told him I laugh at the good ones and he didn't have any this time. He took this as evidence that my sense of humor is still intact.

But there's another reason to live: so my psychiatrist will not see himself as a failure. I like the dude. How was he to know not to take me on? That I'm impervious to treatment, apparently? How could I make him believe that, but then how would that belief alter his sense of adequacy and effectiveness? How do I, Hippocratically, do no harm (and why do I adopt this as an oath)?

All of this aside, and sensing that this cloud is ever descending, I will try to be cognizant of others while I'm slipping away from myself. I will, perhaps, send postcards from the hospital. "Shocked to hear from me?" Or how about, "Thinking of you... and guess what Freud thinks about THAT." Or, perhaps the meanest of all, "Wish you were here!"

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Monologue (Dialogue)

I am capable of creativity. But only in sputters and starts. 
I have some natural talent. But I'm mediocre at best.
I have ideas to share still. But nobody wants to hear them.
My sadness isn't me. But it continually consumes me.
I'm blessed in ways others aren't. And I squander my blessings daily.
I can use resources to get help. But others deserve them more.
My family feels they still need me. But they don't know how poisonous I am.
Keep looking at their faces. They'd be better off without me.
Keep looking at their faces. I'll only continue to hurt them.
Keep looking at their dear faces. The little ones are young, they'll forget me.
Keep looking anyway.
Keep looking.