Monday, April 13, 2009

Unintended Consequences - Thinking - Part 1

Randy Lagana's "Thinking"

It's been an interesting day. First the Amazon "glitch." Then more worrisome "news" at my husband's place of employment. Then I read an essay that got to me and made me think. And when I get to thinking, well, I tend to go deep.

Lot of emotions filtering through me today. The whole "glitch" brought back memories of times in the past when my righteous indignation won out over my innate tendency to hide. Or when it didn't. When I sat back and cowered - afraid that if I spoke up - that harsh beam would turn my way. There are times when I've written a letter that I'd like to think helped make a difference. I do believe that sometimes it can take just one vote.

But also, all too often I've been silent. Out of fear. Fear of what might happen if. Fear of being wrong. Fear of looking stupid. Raise my hand in class? No way. Speak up when I disagree? Nope. Because I know I would stumble over my own words and fall flat on my face. I was sure of it. And that kept me silent for a very long time. 

So, watching the whole Amazon sales rank fiasco, I felt that conflict - speak up or keep quiet for fear of looking/sounding like a fool. My gut feeling is that the whole thing is an unintended consequence of some other action, either intentional or otherwise. And it spread like wildfire. I'll be very interested in how this pans out. I know that it affected me even though it didn't effect the one book on Amazon I have some writing in. Last month I went to post reviews for both Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories and Best Sex Writing 2009. I had trouble finding both of them. It was frustrating and made me feel stupid. And scared. I didn't like that. So I thought about it.

Then later I read an essay that Donna George Storey wrote, A Pill To Change Your Life, about her mother's death from the diabetes drug Rezulin. I had to read it in two sittings because it was hard to read. All sorts of emotions welled up in me. It hit home because I have diabetes. When I was first diagnosed the other year, it was shortly before a good friend, the husband of a poetry colleague, passed away from pancreatic cancer. He had diabetes and when I went to see him just days before he died, I told him and he warned me to pick my doctor(s) carefully. He'd been on meds for years. I was on them for three months but then opted to work with just diet and exercise under the care of a naturopath. I lost a lot of weight and my health now is better than it's been in many years. 

But that got me thinking about the deaths of friends again. And friends in general. 

Part 2 tomorrow (actually on Wed. I just don't feel like writing right now.)


Anonymous said...


I know you and I are about the same age, and I wonder how to handle the fear, too. Not the fear of speaking up--God knows I do that very well, thank you very much--but that roller-coaster feeling in the pit of my stomach that spreads tentacles of adrenaline throughout my body when I realize that I'm on the downside of this ride. It's almost over. I'm going to die some day.

The rush motivates me to move. I run ahead of the thought, get away from it, accomplish one more thing on my list of life's desires. But lately, I hear its breathing, heavy and cold, getting closer, especially when I attended the recent funerals of favorite aunts and uncles, and the friend who found life on this side of the grass too much to bear. I looked around the room and thought, "Who's next?" The next thought, "It could be me..."

So, Robin, you're not the only one who thinks about loss. Deeply. Honestly. Fearfully.

I read Donna's story. It was incredibly moving and I'm sure that writing about the senseless loss of her mom helped her move a step closer to healing. I admire her courage and tenacity to see the trial through to the end.

I have to run now. I've stayed longer than I should. There are goosebumps on my arms from the chill.

Thank you for being my friend.


Erobintica said...

Hi cerulean, gee, I better quit it with the downer blog posts, huh? ;-)

Actually, I think it is that breathing at my back that is helping me get past my fear and do things. Like this blog, or my writing, or any of the things I find myself doing when even just a few short years ago I was afraid to do. And I'm glad of it.

Thank you.

Donna said...

Robin, thank you for this post. I understand those feelings so well myself. I've spent most of my life not speaking up because--ack, I'd look dumb or people wouldn't like me or something. Maybe it's estrogen or something, but as a middle-aged lady, I'm finally stepping beyond that. My mother's death and the trial "helped," although I'd wish a gentler path to others.

I'm so glad you chose to try diet and exercise. My mother was a very small person and when she was on medication (which she didn't really need anyway), a half or quarter dose was really enough. But the doctors never even took that into consideration. They don't seem equipped to see patients as individuals. And taking control of your body is the most important way to "speak out."

Thank you, cerulean, for taking the time to read a not-especially-fun essay. My hope is always to connect with others in my writing, but I realize each reader brings something personal to it. Writing was my therapy in a way, but it was also a huge challenge and may have kept the wounds fresher. Still, I'm glad I did it. And awareness of the preciousness of time is a gift.

Erobintica said...

Donna - because--ack, I'd look dumb or people wouldn't like me or something.Yup. It's so hobbling at the time and then when I look back I go wtf did I do that for? Oh well, live and learn.

Oh, I sent my husband a link to the essay and he read it. This is what he had to say: Very good essay but sad and all too typical of big corporate morality.Again, thanks for sharing that with us.

Aisling Weaver said...

Robin, I just want to send you a long distance hug.

And let you know you got me thinking too. And I can see how Donna's essay would do so.

I made a resolution at New Year's to be "truer" to my self. I never realized that doing so would lead me where it has.

I've "lurked" through my whole life. But my since my first post to the Beginner's Ball things have snowballed, and suddenly if I think it, I say it(or write it). My husband's still not certain what to make of that.

Thank you for sharing your thinking, no matter how deep.


Erobintica said...

Thanks Jen,

So glad you did that first post. ;-)

Aisling Weaver said...

Me too ;) Ya'll have been a bad influence ;)