Thursday, April 29, 2021

Suspended Animation

As we near the end of pandemic isolation, I feel my life is in suspended animation. Like many others, I am having trouble organizing my thoughts. My writing is ... well, it just is. It doesn't seem to take off these days, and I can't say more about it than that. I venture forth from my house more since my vaccinations, timidly, blinking dazedly in the light. I don't know what to do for myself. I can't quite get that old mojo back.

And yet there is a peacefulness to the situation. In fact, there is something of a feeling of gestation about it.  My writing mind is quiet, but something is going on in there, just below the surface. I hope when I am able to return to a normal life, I will be refreshed and full of wonderful, bright new ideas. That’s how I’m looking at it, anyway.

There is a certain freedom in helplessness. When all possibility of a decision is taken from you, there is nothing to do but go with the flow.  One evening, many years ago, I was crammed under a dining room table, along with my mother, brother, and sister, waiting for a tornado to hit our house.  Having grown up in Oklahoma, I have been through more killer storms than I care to remember, and yet I never got used to them.  I was always terrified out of my mind when the sirens went off.

Once when I was in my twenties and living in my own apartment, the sky turned green and my front window bowed in, and I swear to God that the next thing I knew I was standing in my mother’s house five miles away.  I must have gotten into my car like and idiot and driven over there through the wind and hail, but I never exactly knew how it happened.  I was apparently so panicky that all I could think was that I wanted my mommy.

But I digress.

Let us return to the huddle under the dining room table, which occurred a few years later. The tornado wound right through the back yard.  The electricity went off, the house began to rattle and bounce, and it became perfectly obvious that there was no escape.  And suddenly all my terror and panic went completely away, because there was nothing we could do to get out of this.  

Miraculously, the house was not hit. But to this day I remember that feeling of peaceful resignation, and wonder if that is what it’s like at the moment of death.

Of course, I used the experience to write a novel. Never let a good feeling of existential angst go to waste.

1 comment:

Charlotte Hinger said...

I loved this post, Donis. Yes, I'm almost dreading the forced return to decision making adulthood.