Tapping the Creativity

Well. This “writing every day” stuff is hard. <whine>

I still don’t feel “creative” many days. I’m not sure what it is. Language– that could be it. In finding my voice, I’m discovering it’s not what I’d like it to be. I imagine that will come with time. Some time in the last ten years, my brain turned to mush. I let it happen. I had short bursts now and then, fleeting moments of choosing to nurture my intelligence, but those passed, all too quickly. I may know a lot of useless facts, but I can’t express them in words. Maybe the language part of my brain died.

Or maybe my cold is getting worse, or I’m in a hormonal snit…today is another “can’t focus on anything” day. Too many of those is not a good thing.

I actually Googled “creative writing.” I wanted to see the definition, research it, just as I do with anything else. Perhaps if I read enough, learn enough, I can pull it out.

I saw a quote this morning: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour

So let’s see if that happens.

There are a couple of other posts I have begun; they are sitting here, in the “Drafts” folder. Eventually I will finish, refine, and publish them. And then you’ll be blown away. Ha!

Right now, I have “mommy brain.” (gag)

My theory on this is when my children were developing inside my body, the umbilicus passed them my brain cells along with the nutrients, antibodies, and everything else I ingested. Then, when the placenta detached and I pushed it out (and wasn’t that the most disgusting thing ever?) those brain cells were permanently gone.

At first I didn’t notice, or didn’t care: I was too sleep-deprived, too focused on nursing, on his diapers, on my physical pain and health, on just trying to get a few minutes of sleep. Later, I rather relished the fact that I didn’t have to be “on” anymore; letting go of my responsibilities and constant need to learn, to think, to be in control of everything, was kind of nice.

I learned how to prop a paperback on my son while he nursed, so I could continue reading. (This was in the days before the popularity of audiobooks and e-readers). I told myself that was good enough.

Eventually, I missed it. The learning. Feeling like an expert in something. My husband began traveling, and having no friends who were also stay-at-home-moms, I turned to the Internet for companionship. I discovered message boards. I made some wonderful friends. I discovered there were new things over which I could obsess: how long to nurse, playgroups, cloth diapers, his latest rash, child development.

Child development.

For example, by 24 months, a child should be putting two words together. My son’s friend asked for milk one day in our gym class: “Milk, mommy.” Wow, my son was only asking for “milk.” But he could recite the alphabet, and name body parts, and had an extensive vocabulary, and you could understand every syllable he pronounced. So he was fine.

Just fine.

Later, he developed this adorable habit of speaking in questions. He’d ask, “Do you want some milk?” instead of asking for milk. It was so cute. We laughed. He knew songs by heart. So of course he was speaking in sentences.

But not really.

Thus began a duality of sorts: where half my brain was working, and trying oh so hard to catch up, to make a difference, but the other half was so deep in denial it wasn’t listening.  Eventually, there was no choice. By then a mother of two children, I was dealing with a newborn and the growing fear and certainty that I was going to have a new topic, or group of topics, over which to obsess.

They all came at once: Echolalia. Speech delays. OK, those were expected, and we took them in stride. Cognitive delays. Developmental delays. Fine-motor delays. Sensory Processing Disorder. Well…all right. Those explained a lot, actually. But the blows kept coming.

Physical delays. Motor-planning impairment. Oh, that was a dark day. I was not expecting all of that. I got into the car after that evaluation and cried, my head on the steering wheel, both kids fussing in the backseat. I couldn’t even drive right home, it took me time to process that one.

Autism. No, not autism, we were told not to think about that. But months later: yes, autism. By then, we knew. It wasn’t a huge surprise. I still cried again.

My focus narrowed: I had to become an expert on something brand-new. And so while the one side of the brain had a lot of learning to do, the other tried harder and harder to escape. I alternate between reading about nutrition, about neuroscience, behavior, occupational therapy, ideas to encourage children in sports, how to treat ADHD through behavior, how to treat ADHD through diet, how to treat ADHD with meds. ADHD med side effects. Alternate ADHD meds. How to deal with the med side effects.

Meanwhile, the other side was rebelling: let’s start running. Let’s learn to swim and ride a bike again and do triathlons. Let’s obsess about how to get faster, how to get smaller, what’s wrong with this, what’s wrong with that. Maybe that side split off, too: because most of the time I want to shut out all of that and curl up with a good book. I may not seem to be doing anything, but at any one time my mind is going in many different directions, and there I sit, serenely, hoping I can keep it together, my mind diving deeper and deeper into the world of the book.

So no, I don’t want to read the latest “book club favorite” where a baby dies, or a mother dies, or anyone dies. I don’t want to read anything that will make me cry. I just want to read my light, fluffy escapism. And maybe write a little myself.

Sigh. So now it physically hurts my brain to try to yank it back out of that quagmire, to pull it up, to pull it all together. But I have to. Because I want to.

That was interesting. I did not expect to write so much today. I certainly didn’t expect to write about that.

I suppose this is working, after all.

It bears repeating: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour


About Kerrie Strong

Years ago, I chose to suppress my creative side in favor of a career (or two, or three) in science. This blog is filled with exercises intended to reverse the atrophy of my right brain. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.
This entry was posted in Autism, My Life, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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