sitting here at my desk, looking out at hummingbirds on the feeder, i think way too hard about what i am supposed to do, like dishes, like laundry. there are no ideas flowing, no detailed notions of what to write, nor where to start. so i do what i think might best to lead me to a start, i type any kind of nonsense, like the one above and likely below. suddenly i am hungry and yet i am sitting and typing some old stuff that happens to crawl adversely across my keyboard. looking out, now clouds and then showers, mid forties, warm for the end of january. how time flies, one more day and february will come around, as it was, new years seems as if it were yesterday.
i might call to get pretzels, i might drive to get bread or some kind of food for tonight. what makes me sit, instead of doing some errand?
sudden sun, much shifty shadows, and just as quick one fat cloud diverts and softens the light. should i have a ham sandwich? would some hot sake kindle my story, one which now might hide like sun behind my overcast of self doubts. the critical voice which so often belittles my efforts at writing - as you must know by now, you never could better james joyce, why then not have that sandwich, you might as well go for the drink, after all, most of your splendid writers scrawled stories drink in hand at the keyboard. and yet, drunk or sober, they produced one page at least, full of, if only, some drab humdrum. and so the story goes, after all, a page a day makes some three hundred a year, a virtual book properly titled. but instead of rendering the flow, what flow?, i sit here dreamily, chin in hand, scratching my beard, searching the far gloomy horizon, where a still nebulous story might mingle, to gather focus and define a tale worthy the telling.
it is true i became ill in the midst of latin finals at a boarding school in black forest, where my parents had sent me to better my education. any teacher would instinctively know a poor student to fake convulsions during the quest of translating julius caesar's travels to gaul. hence my moans were at first utterly dismissed and only complied to when i slumped off my chair dragging caesar's renditions down with me. class howled thinking me ludicrously funny. i often got a good laugh at the expense of the latin teacher, miss grammatista, that latin doll. but most of my mischief turned ultimately to detriment. this time though, when i reeled on the floor and only wailed, she thought me genuine and called for the nurse. they rolled me onto a stretcher. i was carried away to a bed in the infirmary. soon enough the doctor, alas the gymnastics teacher, poked at my belly and declared the swelling a likely burst of my appendix. he packed me gently into the front seat of his volkswagen and drove to the hospital in neustadt, quite a few miles, uphill and down, on rolling roads through a snowy black forest. every now and then he kindly pitied me in my whimpering. he was sure we'd get there soon, but the thought of arriving at a strange hospital made me yammer only more. once there though, a large bosomed nurse petted my head and pushed a needle into my butt. next i saw me brightly in a hospital bed, a same like nurse bending over, looking at me. he's awake, she said and asked how i felt. i had no pain, just a small murmur in my right lower belly. she said something, but i fell asleep again. waking much later, my room darkly lit by evening's window. the nurse came in to turn up a light. aware now, but as in a dream, a nightmare really, i saw my mother, where she stood by the end of my bed. she was dressed darkly, all in black. at first i thought i had died, here the nurse in white and there mother in black, a short glittering veil over her eyes.
the nurse smiled at me. she took my pulse and said you're coming around nicely.
but mother, why all the black? i thought her a ghost. she didn't answer at first, but after a while she said that grandfather had passed away.
i looked at her. he was my favorite grandfather and he died? and you're wearing black? what are you doing here? you didn't like him even.
i was glad for the nurse. she held my hand. she'd come very near and in her size blocked my view. she had me drink something thick and green. still she held my hand. i was bewildered and just the same frightened, but apparently asleep, though scowling the same.