Tag Archives: coping

Clearing the Poison


I’ve sort of made it an unofficial guideline — not a rule, but a guideline — to steer away from politics and away from negativity when I can, here at the ol’ blarg. I don’t always succeed, but it keeps me from spiraling into rants and endless anger … or at least from doing so here in the digital space.

But with so many things still locked down, and so many of us still living half-lives thanks to COVID, there is a relative dearth of things to think about or write about. I mean, sure, the world’s still spinning, but what’s new with *me*? What’s unique to *my* experience that merits spinning off 300-1000 words here in the digital space?

Very little.

I keep my head down, I go to work, I wear my mask, I repeat. I go for my runs, I try to work out, I try to get some words on the page every day. I keep pushing forward. Try not to get lost in despair at how absolutely moronic people can be, and how horrible they can be to each other.

Still, it’s hard not to notice that the last few weeks have been … easier, somehow. There’s a little less of the feeling of impending doom from day to day, a little less of the feeling that as bad as things are, they could go from very bad indeed to absolutely catastrophic with a tweet or a speech from a certain individual.

And with that, there’s a little less mental fog. A little less pressure in the chest region. A little less headache over things so fantastically out of my control. The poison is being purged from my personal system, it seems, and that can only be good.

This does not mean, of course, that things are peachy. But it does mean that my mental energies can turn a little more effectively to some of the things that matter, rather than to some of the hopeless distractions that have commanded my attention for the past months.

Things are as stressful as ever, in other words. But this is a stress I welcome. Stress I can live with.

Here’s hoping your days are a little less poisonous, too.


Shorn


If my typical weekend short story is Flash Fiction, you could call this one Lightning Fiction.  Chuck’s latest challenge is the 100 Word Story.  If you read this site at all, you know that I have a tendency not to scrimp on my words, so saying a lot with a little is a stretch for me.   (For comparison, my introduction is longer than the story itself, at about 180 words).  Nonetheless, I like what I’ve come up with.

Maybe I’ve got hair on the brain.  Mine is fleeing my face as fast as its follicles will carry it; my wife just got hers cut.  Add to that the (unrelated) fact that with our first child we went through a lengthy hospital stay and our second will be arriving any day here… I couldn’t shake off these things clinging to my brain.  If you’re curious, this is not autobiographical, though my wife and I were certainly adjacent to a lot of stories like this one.

At any rate, here are 100 words exactly, title not included.  Don’t read them all in one place.

 

Shorn

Mackenzie disappeared into the treatment wing, escorted by a perky nurse whose name Eloise had immediately forgotten.  Philip offered all the support he could: a sympathetic grimace and a dutiful squeeze of her hand.  She made for the parking lot, not bothering to wipe the tears from her eyes.

**

In the salon, Eloise sat down in the chair and told her stylist what she wanted.

“You’re sure?”

All Eloise could think of were Mackenzie’s frightened eyes, her sobs as the clumps of hair had fallen out.  She bit her lip, nodded, and smiled as the clippers buzzed to life.


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