Where? I am.

I will start by telling you where I am.  People, who know I am writing a book, often ask.  Well.  How far along are you?  How many pages have you written?  I can tell my answers leave them silently wondering.  So, today is just a progress report.  I know it seems weird that I need to begin my discourse on writer’s block with a progress report on my book.  I wish it was easier to explain.

***  ***  ***

You see.  The problem is that my book is embedded in my daily journal.  Every day, a new page.  Here is how I now organize them.

I have a Journal folder.  Journal is broken down by years.  Years are broken into months.  And months, into days.  Days are pages.  All things, else, are folders:
















            2014-08-04:  This is the name of today’s page.  August 4th.

I find this particular YYYY-MM-DD format highly intuitive, because, the alphabetical is chronological.  No need to look for things.  My memories are embedded in time.  It’s easier to remember what I wrote by recalling what I was dealing with, when I thunk that thought.  And, it is easier to scan my work if it is sorted chronologically.  It synchronizes my eyes with my brain.

But, mind the zeros.  The zeros are necessary to retain order.  This would not work if I had named the 2nd as 2014-08-2.  Because, I would have a crisis brewing by the 10th.

My journal is all digital now.  But, I have volumes of spiral bound notebooks dating before 2011.  That year, writing by hand became difficult.

2011 is mixed between paper and digital.  It is the year my symptoms grew loud.  My new book actually starts around January of 2013.

Because, by then, I had received a diagnosis, and had the better part of a year to come to terms with what was happening to me physically.  By 2013, I was ready to move beyond it, as a subject for my journal.  I had accepted my new situation.  By the time 2013 was new, I wanted to write the book I had started, before my symptoms came, to occupy my thoughts.  But, that unfinished, old book, and those motivations, seemed too distant.

Elaborating on yesterday’s post.

While I retain the ability to think about my story, during this latest episode of symptoms, the willingness to write is diminished.

I can think about my story. I can have new insights. But it is still a challenge, in this state, to find the energy to develop the narrative.

That’s what I’m trying to overcome, right now. That is why I’m posting these brief thoughts.

Traction overcomes inertia.

Now, this is progress!

After I woke, I napped for three hours on the couch.  I am in that exhaustive phase, where pain is something in which I am immersed.

But, I vaporized some Blue Dream.  And, with it, and the extra sleep, I am alright.

There is something noteworthy in this experience.  Although I am dealing with the pain and the fatigue, I haven’t lost sight of my narrative.  This is my first experience of being knocked back, by my symptoms, but not out.  In the past, this is where I would have forgotten everything I was thinking.  In the past, my remaining strength would have bounced me between the couch, and my bed.

Today is different.  Today, I can still think about my book in a way that moves it forward.

I see this as behavioral evidence of brain re-wiring.  I started this book during the last few months of my employment.  And, I have been consciously developing a voice and a narrative during this last year.  My worst symptoms always seemed to make my creative work vanish.  Mentally, it would take days, or weeks, to get the creativity back, and more effort to re-develop the narrative, in my mind.

This is the first time I have experienced these symptoms and retained my creative faculties.

I have waited for this day.

Earlier, I was thinking how sometimes my writing sparkles clear in sunlight, while others it is muddy, often shallow.  I am learning to use this cycle to advantage.

I write best when my symptoms are at bay.  And, I keep them at bay.

Brushing them back with cannabis.  But.

Things break down.  Symptoms intrude.

I chase them, increasing my dose.  Hoping.

They go away.

Eventually, they disappear, but only after I bottom out.

I typically rebound.  A floor higher than the basement.  I found myself, in.

My ceiling, lower than some past, previous floor.

Rebound is when marijuana can inhibit my writing.  After chasing symptoms with heavier doses, and diminishing effect, I need that break.

Today, I hadn’t used any since the day before yesterday.  It’s subconscious subtle.  I don’t even notice a decision to abstain.  I just notice that.

By evening.  I haven’t used any all day.  And, I ask.

Myself.  Can I sleep the night without?

If I think so, I know.  I am bouncing back.

But, I still can’t write.  I can’t think.

I sleep.  I do things.  I move around, caring for vegetables, and two cats.

My camera takes photographs.  I appreciate that.  I enjoy this beautiful world.

As pain creeps back into picture, the game begins.

How long can I wait, as worse it gets?

Today, this evening.  A Thin Mint, vaporized.

Finally.  Feeling good enough to write.

What is life?

I want to share something.  But, I’m going through one of these myotonic-dystrophy episodes, where exertion brings on pain and.

Moving is exertion.  The days go by, and everything I write seems to suck.

My difficulty writing is part of my MD experience.  The highs, and lows, roughly follow my symptoms through the months.

So, this evening, I vaporized Sour Diesel.

Cannabis overcomes the inertia built into my symptom-cycle.

And Sour Diesel begs for music.

I fell asleep to Kaya.   Bob Marley’s ode to marijuana and rain.


My windows and doors are open.  A storm approaches from California.  Sometime tomorrow, we should have our first rain since November.

We are overcast with winter warmth.  My two cats, and the neighbor’s, are playing tag in the wind.

Throughout the yard and house.


I woke to the question.

What Is Life?

Black Uhuru asks.



Something about this song speaks to me.

The experience of life is framed by contrasting interpretations.

The positive and the negative are both constants.

The choice is where to focus.


Man.  I slept hard last night.  Long and hard.  Woke up in pain.  The whole day was a slog.  Then I ate a couple magic brownies.

San Fernando ValleyOcean grown.  Much like a blue dream, in my experience.

Now the ingredients of my snack buoy my thoughts.  And I must say, what a wonderful day!

Medical marijuana lets me write, on days I wouldn’t without it.

So.  In a sense.  Cannabis enhances my productivity.

Productivity is not service.

To The Man.

Productivity is the essence of living.

Artistic expression counts.

One.  Two.  No?


=== 3:39 PM ===


Big table near the piano.  Facing North.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I went to the clinic in Scottsdale to renew my medical marijuana card.  Have to be approved by a physician.  In the past I have been seen by the blond woman.  She seemed to be doctorly.  Today I had a different guy.

He just didn’t look like a doctor.  Medical clothing aside, nothing about him said doctor.  His hair was slicked back.  His face said, ”Party hard.”  A tough outer crust acquired through experience and genetics.

He didn’t speak like a doctor, either.

When I was conferring with the receptionist before hand, she was saying that the approval would be based on when they get the latest records from Mayo Clinic.  But, while I was waiting to see the ‘doctor’, the receptionist calls out to me that the he  had approved my application based on what was on file.

As I figured they should.  My renewal shouldn’t be based on the last time I saw Dr. Strudel.  My last visit with him was just a basic neurological exam to see the changes over the course of six months.

As I sat down in his office, Dr. Gary-as-Guido Busey introduced himself and said he had reviewed my records.   He began asking me about the pain I experience.  So I told him about it.  Just enough.  And then he says something about fibromyalgia.  I was confused.  He thinks I have fibromyalgia.

No.  Fibromyalgia was an initial guess by neurologist #2.  Dr. Slicker had not read my records.  He had only glanced at the first page of notes from neurologist #2.  When I told him I had myotonic dystrophy, he wrote it on the form.  It seems that the fibromyalgia comment was just a hook on a bobber.  Testing the waters for an ancient fish known as correct information.  Who knows?  Maybe the guy can’t read.

Sitting down, almost the first thing from his mouth was that we shouldn’t be abusing our bodies with pharmaceuticals.  “Marijuana is much better for the the liver and the kidneys.”  I don’t disagree.  But, before we had gotten into the specifics of the condition that would warrant this medication, he was already hyping the drug that needs none.  My impression.  A pusher camouflaged in medical garb.

The consultation ended with some questions about my pain on a scale of 1 to 10.  I told him enough to help him understand a bit about the condition.  The extremes.  And a look at the average.

The visit ended when the doctor got up and came to my side.  Just when my hand was on his desk and the other gripped my cane, he stuck for a shake.

This has happened to me on several occasions now.  Time to shake hands, and I’m not allowed to first rise.  I don’t like that.  I feel I should stand to shake, especially if the other person is already on his feet.  Standing and thrusting a hand downwards, obstructing my attempt to get up, is disabling.  Next time it happens I need to remember to smile and excuse myself.  “Please allow me to first stand.”  A polite way to handle the situation.  And directly speaking to the awkwardness of the moment without making it personal.

=== 4:54 PM ===

Break.  Sudoku.  Unfinished.

The kids who work this coffee shop seem to take turns selecting music.  Sometimes it’s a satellite feed.  Others, it’s an mp3 collection.  Or a CD.  Right now it’s a song from the nineties.  But, a paragraph ago they were playing something new.  It was offbeat enough to catch my ear and make me listen.  Not the type of song I would keep.  But, fun in that previous moment.

It’s good to hear what other people like.  To share an experience.  Probably 20 to 30 people here.  Maybe closer to 40 with the smokers appropriating the patio.

We’re each engaged in separate behaviors.  Some are talking.  Others are reading.  Still others are writing.  And, in the background we are all hearing the same music.  We’re all feeling the same rhythm.  The brain taps signals to muscles for groovy songs.  Dance!  How many others feel the same compulsion?  How many others turn their ears and listen?

We can rule out the talkers.  Can’t talk and listen.  Mom told us that.  But.

Everyone else is suspect.

I said I wouldn’t keep the song.  And, I wouldn’t.  Because, experience tells me this one won’t keep.  It’s a good listen in the moment, but not to hear again and again.  A lot of songs in my collection are like that.  I bought them because once they sounded fresh and interesting.  And, I didn’t stop to ask, how will the tenth time play?  Will I be bored?

Consciousness is recalling choices in front of the evening fire.  After-effects.  Just recalling images from the day.

I guess I have an image of a song that won’t keep.  General enough to use against songs I have never heard before.  A sieve catches the impurities.  Leave me just the good ones.  Music to study again and again.  How tends my mood when I select this song?  And, am I drawn to the artist?

Stereotypes of faces and songs.  We all have them.  Are we paying attention as the stereotypes are employed?  We all use them.  But, behind every stereotype is an unique individual.

If Dr. Playground Pusher happens to read this, please consider my use of stereotypes a constructive form of criticism.

P.S.  I call him Dr. Strudel.  It’s a stereotype.  But, he’s quite the clinician.  The clues to the puzzle guide his thinking.  It is not intended as a disparaging term.