Monday, May 21, 2012

"ARE YOU CONTEMPTUOUS?"


The passiflora are in bloom tonight, their scent filling the evening air. There is a school of thought that the flower's dried petals, steeped in hot water, make a good sedative tea. We'll have to pass, for now.

Tonight, the soothing — and its third cousin, thoughtfulness — comes from three words: "Are you contemptuous?"

The Hendrixesque question from a friend came after they read a couple recent blog posts. And it surprised me because that wasn't what I was trying to evoke at all. Contempt is not a feeling I have for anyone in my world right now (save for me, but meh, nothing new).

But the question made me re-read what I had written, made me think about the tone of my voice and how it's interpreted. It was the first time in a week of frenetic typing / writing that I stopped to think about the fact that my writing voice is still muddled, it isn't as clear as it used to be, and what I think I'm saying doesn't always translate.

Which in turn led to this realization: at least I have a writing voice, something I couldn't muster just a month ago. Better overmodulated now than silent forever. With enough practice I might be able to get it back to near-normal conditions, the way it was before my personal Tōhoku.

A friend said something a couple weeks ago about using this stroke as an inspiration to write, and while that wasn't quite right, it was ballpark correct. There are similarities between the writing and the CVA. When it comes to both I don't want to remain diminished, so I'm busting ass on the separate fronts — walking more than I should and doing more isometrics than necessary; cutting open the metaphoric wrist several times a day and letting it drip onto the keyboard. Both are messy exercises. Both leave me with frequent frustration and occasional fits of anger.

(Joy of joys: the practices dovetail in one area. Part of occupational therapy is regaining my mad typing skeels.)

When I fall short during physical exercise I can look stupid all by myself. When I falter while publishing a blog, the eyeballs of friends and strangers get to watch. Most of the time I don't realize when I'm speaking with a thick tongue, when strong determination comes across as contempt for another.

So when three words — are you contemptuous? — cut through the clutter and cause me to focus, I'm grateful for the rhetorical device. It makes me think, and thinking is a balm to the banshees — the worried and paranoid and defensive voices ricocheting in my head.

There's no need to shout over them tonight. No contempt. Just calm. Om.

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