The Catalyst

A Writing Teacher Writes (plus some writing prompts and recipes)

Painful Awakenings November 2, 2013

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 3:17 pm

The prompt this time was, “Absurd Modifiers.” For an explanation of this prompt, see this link to an earlier post. The prompt leaves you with some crazy word combinations. Some of the ones I used for the piece below include, “wistful worm, a delicious conundrum,” and “awakened limbo.”

Enjoy.                                                                                                        The-Cat-in-the-Hat


This self-aware crap isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, let me tell you that right off. I think the clueless drones living in double-stuffed oblivion are happier, really, than those of us who study the Dharma and aim for enlightenment. I wish I could be one of those commuters stuck in morning traffic on some obnoxious suspension bridge, listening to mindless radio, plotting their fast food lunch and their weekend BBQ. But I’m that wistful worm who keeps trying to detach and be present and feel gratitude. Instead, I often escape into fantasies and rotund hope: the hamster in the wheel syndrome. I’m spinnin’, right ’round baby, right ’round (like a record, baby).

I’d like to blame it on someone: Dr. Seuss or Ogden Nash, or James Baldwin, John Steinbeck—any of the writers who made me dream about what a life of books might mean. The lyricists worked their way in there too: Cole Porter, Joni Mitchell, even Madonna eventually had something to say beyond, “Get up and do your thing!”

And then there were the teachers: that Lit teacher Sophomore year who said, “You are a writer,” or the Psych teacher who introduced us to Leo Buscaglia and Jung. My Freshman Comp teacher in college who wrote me my first letter of recommendation and then sat down next to me in a Shakespeare class.

There was Nina B, who invited me to her grown-up parties and showed me that growing up didn’t mean you couldn’t still have fun.

I love and curse them all, because if I hadn’t met any of them, I could be a happy house-husband now in some fag-friendly suburb north of LA, with two snot-nosed kids and a Labradoodle. I could be a choreographer in children’s theater who wears too much jewelry and drinks too much Chablis. Instead, I’ve got the double duty of being aware that there’s more to life than the punchcard, but I still can’t seem to do the work consistently, so live in a kind of awakened limbo. What next? What next?

I am so busy worrying about following my path and looking for a sign from the Universe (God, Allah, whatever you want to call that life force, that power that directs this crazy show), I’m so busy trying to listen in some quiet space that I don’t even have a moment to do just that: sit and listen.

It’s a beautiful, delicious conundrum, this life of eating and preparing good food, drinking wine with friends, falling in love again and again, traveling, exploring, having great lovers (occasionally), dancing to familiar music. I love all of it, but it can give me a beautiful migraine too, trying to find meaning in the here and now, trying to accept loss and let go of control while still making goals, reaching forward, and developing new, healthier habits.

I get so tired of it sometimes, I really do.


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