Some find inspiration in the wilderness. Others find themselves hopelessly lost.

Monthly Archives: February 2014

I’ve been down with the kind of illness that makes me wish I could dissociate from my body. Remarkably, though, I’ve produced heaps of new writing.

I’ve got a few theories about this phenomenon.*

  1. The Conversation Theory. I have no voice and so can’t communicate with others. Dialogue and description continue to rush into my mind. I can still type.
  2. The New-Found Free Time Theory. I’m attempting to accomplish almost nothing. All social outings have been cancelled. The house isn’t tidy. I’m not getting any exercise. Suddenly, I have much more time to write.
  3. Pep pills. Yes, I’m on drugs. Maybe some of the credit for this creative outburst belongs to Merck or the makers of that zippy wellness tea I like.
  4. The Food Theory. Or rather “the lack of food theory.” With such a sore throat, I’m subsisting on sorbet and instant oatmeal. No food prep. No cooking time. I’ve got very few dishes to wash and dry. This one is similar to “The New-Found Free Time Theory,” but there’s another angle. It’s also about a sensory void.  Without the pleasures of taste and smell, I’m less distracted.  Or maybe my imagination just needs to work overtime to supply delight.
  5. The Low Standards Theory. I may very well be experiencing fever-induced delusions and writing nothing but nonsense. Time will tell on this one. Actually, I suppose this might already be obvious to all you blog-readers. Wait until I’m less fragile to break the news, alright?

Today, for the first time this week, I went out for a walk. It was the perfect Scottish morning. Within the span of an hour, I experienced every possible combination of sun, clouds, wind, rain and calm. Snowdrops carpeted the hills. Here and there a crocus surprised me.

SnowdropsI headed out because my shaking chills finally subsided, and because my friend Johanna wrote a timely blog post about getting outside to counter doldrums. The walk really did lift my spirits and I feel energized. Let’s just hope it didn’t quash my flu-induced writing explosion.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll walk by the sea. That should be uplifting but cold and windy enough to help this illness linger a little longer, at least until I finish another round of rewrites.

*Just a disclaimer for those writers thinking of going out and licking dirty tissues at your local pharmacy: In truth, “The Flu Writing Phenomenon” involves a trade-off I wouldn’t recommend, even for the most ambitious writer. Aside from the fun writing, I’ve mostly been huddled under a blanket unable to focus on anything, except Olympic figure skating highlights.


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