This is my brain, not even on drugs

March 12, 2013 stephhwilliams 3 Comments

"This is Your Brain" Anti-Drug Ad from 1980s (Partnership for a Drug Free America)
“This is Your Brain” Anti-Drug Ad from 1980s (Partnership for a Drug Free America)

Well, only legal ones, I swear.

I’ve been joking a lot lately that I’ve developed ADD, that I can’t seem to focus on any one thing. I’ve even taken to counting backwards from 100 at night to force my brain to shut down. I usually make it to about 85 before my mind starts wandering off.

I can remember a time when I was uber-productive; marking things off of a to-do list was my specialty. And now I’m sitting here while Michael Jackson sings in my head over a scene of folks dressed Egyptian-style walking through a regal setting. And now, the Bangles. Sheesh.

What was I saying? Ah, yes, focus.

Part of my problem, at the moment at least, is my upcoming trip to London. It’s hard to focus on anything for very long knowing I’m days away from a trip that’s been planned for 6 months and talked about for twice as long.

But traveling raises issues – kids, animals, students, nerves. The kids and the animals are being left in the very capable hands of daddy, with the help of mema. And my students (all online courses this semester) have been forewarned of my upcoming incommunicado status. But still, I’m a worrier by nature. I worked with this girl once who regularly reminded me that worrying is a sin. So sometimes I worry about being a worrier. It’s a vicious cycle.

Then there’s the stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with the trip but regularly takes up space in my brain. Like one book I’ve been “writing” for several years now. I use quotes around writing because most of it occurs in my head when I’m trying to go to sleep. I told Bryan recently that it’s as if I have all these players in my head who hide in the dark recesses of my mind during the day, but as soon as I’m lying in the dark, they all jump out from their corners and crevices to party. Great, I’ve got vampire playthings in my head. He just looked at me like I was crazy (and perhaps with a little pity). Really, it shouldn’t be news.

Notes that were taped to the wall when I began the BIG Project in June 2012
Notes that were taped to the wall when I began the BIG Project in June 2012

But even the vampire playthings can’t get me past this one bump that makes the whole story fall apart – a certain character’s motivation that just doesn’t jive yet. Sometimes I feel like the answer is so close … like the playthings really are just playing with me … conniving little suckers (no pun intended).

Or the other book, the Big Project I wrote about before, that hasn’t been in process as long as the first one but felt more promising from the start. That is, until we took all the notes down from the wall. Because apparently I need constant visual reminders to motivate me to write, and/or stay on task, and/or remember what I was doing in the first place. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

Ad for Pool Pocket Billards (Ezjoy)

At night, when I could be writing, putting those playthings to good use, I lay in bed playing mindless games on my table: like bubble shoot or jewel star. Just when I think I’m done with one, I find another (or in the case of bubble shoot, start all over again). There’s one I’m playing now that always has these ads for another game that I think “Gosh, could their ads be more sexist?!” Of course, if it were three smokin’ hot guys, that’d be different. So I’m the one who’s sexist. Hmph, who knew? I really need to stop wasting my life.

And my mom has cancer. I don’t know how bad. I was told they’re going to do a scan, then likely surgery, then make a decision about chemotherapy thereafter. I haven’t even really told anyone about this. The few people I’ve talked to – my cousin, Bryan – ask if I’m ok. Well, yeah, of course.  I mean, I feel bad for her and I want her to be okay but … Many people, maybe even most, if they found out their moms had cancer, they’d be devastated. I know a lot of people who are close to their mothers, talk to them every day, about everything. I hope I maintain that kind of relationship with my kids as they grow older, but that’s not what I have with my mom. I tried to for a long time, but she’s never tried. It’s easier to talk to a stranger than it is to her. So, in many ways, I lost her a long time ago. Who knows, maybe that’s why I’m a little crazy.

New Coke (circa 1985), #2 on's list of 50 Worst Inventions
New Coke (

I mean, isn’t that what we do now, blame our failings on our parents? Or maybe I just don’t sleep well because of all the caffeine I drink. Lord knows it’s A.LOT. I’ve even wondered if I’ll have good Coca-cola in London. Seriously, in 1996, I would have bet money that the New Coke that had failed in the U.S. had all been shipped overseas; I didn’t have a good soda for a whole week that time.

Yeah, because this is what I need to be worried about right now: soda. Not my mom. Or my kids. Or traveling. Or writing. Or just what we’re eating for dinner. Ooh, that reminds me, I think I was boiling water … oops.

3 People reacted on this

  1. hi stephanie…I think your methods and the way you need to do things is just fine and i do sense you have humor in you …I can see it…your goofiness and humor is what attracts me to your writing…it is written from someone who is real

    1. Thank you, Linda. I am goofy! Though I don’t let that cat out of the bag too often … but it seeps through in my writing … it is the real me. Glad you enjoy my writing. Makes me happy to know people “get” me. 🙂

  2. […] process of handwriting invokes creative processes in one’s brain. And it’s really true for me. I’ve tried to explain before how I’m really a “thinker” because I’m always writing in my …. The Writer’s Circle page on Facebook shared this pic […]

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