Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Epiphany Via Computer Near-Death Experience


My last post spoke of pollinating blue berries in some sort of ethereal terrace scene.  A break, I said, to the writing/internet stuff that had occupied my chair-bound days.

Then last Thursday Betsy, my computer, took sick. She wouldn’t receive or give messages. Only the ether goddess knew what important communications I was missing.  By the end of the day, Earthlink on the line, she seemed on the mend--until the next morning when Betsy’s sickly gray face greeted me. Even her cursor was too weak to move. Apple medi-corps responded. Sorry, beyond hope, at least on-line, they commiserated after many electronic pokes. 

So Betsy went to the Apple ICU where she spent four days, an amazing four days for her closest friend, me.

I had read about the idea of taking a Sabbath from one’s electronic devices.  The writer chose Friday sunset to Saturday evening.  She said how astonished she was that she actually had time to read a book.  My forced Sabbath lasted five days.

During those days I went to the library, walked two/ three miles a day to stores to buy the light bulbs and screws I’ve needed for months, read four books that have lain on my bed stand since January, watched three episodes of Perry Mason, fired up my iPod and reminisced with Errol Garner and the MJQ, brushed the dog for the first time since he was born, talked with neighbors I only recognized because I’ve met their dogs in the elevator, yoga’d  on my mat, including downward -facing-dog and  the elusive tree pose, wrote in my journal (not my blog), convinced my husband to  meet me for a Manhattan at three in the afternoon (no reason), went with a friend  to the spring-blooming rhododendron gardens. I also shaved my very neglected legs. 

Then one night I woke at three a.m. and began one of those caffeinated silent soliloquies. Who am I?  What is my purpose here?  After this, what comes next?  I knew why I was wandering those desolate plains. That day I had visited the John Frame exhibit at the Art Museum (Three Fragments of a Lost Tale).  The artist, using small, hand-carved puppets, has tried to answer those questions for himself, resulting in sleepless midnight forages for the rest of us who have peered into the dimly-lit display cabinets, all of our nightmares, dreams, unspoken wonderings only inches away.

Damn, I thought, my nose pressed against the glass.  If I could write like this. 

Well, I can’t.  But I did figure something out. I have been spending hours every day trying to sell my two ebooks, racing up and down the various writers’ site staircases to heaven, social media-izing my fingers and brain and energy into password pulps.  I have abandoned Edith, my old-lady-novel friend, for weeks.  She can’t stop feeling guilty about finding her husband dead on the pillow beside her. Ten thousand words in and she’s still not changing the sheets and coloring her hair blondish, not too blonde, though, as she has wanted for years.

It is time to move on for both of us.  For me, I’m giving up the marketing stuff, the hours on Facebook, She Writes, Goodreads, whatever, hoping for a sale.  From this moment on, I intend to find Edith a new life.  And me, too.

Took a sick computer and a forced Sabbath to bring me to this place.  And it was worth  it.

Jo Barney Writes
Website: www.jobarneywrites.com
Blog: breakoutnovelarace.blogspot.com