I'm ThinkingSometimes the most profound lessons come from the most unlikely sources. Life is set up so that none of us are getting out of here alive, but when someone we love is dying, creativity sometimes takes a back seat to grief, and it's difficult to punt the muse over the goal line.
One friend has no clue what's wrong with her, just that her health is deteriorating. Another knows full well that her cancer is consuming her. We've all been friends a long time, and I'm not famous for censuring what flits across my mind anyway, so the conversation went something like this:
Cancer Friend: I think I'm dying. I don't want to, but I can't get this under control.
Me: Well, you always were a control freak. Don't stop now, for godsakes.
CF: Yeah, but nobody else around here wants the job. Everyone waits to be told what to do.
Me: So tell them what you want them to do.
CF: What if God calls me?
Me: I dunno. Hang up on Him?
CF: Remember when we went skinny dipping that last summer? And the snakes came around, and you bailed onto the bank, butt naked in front of all those fishermen?
CF: I wish we could go skinny dipping again.
Me: Look, I'm not getting naked with or for you ever again.
CF: I'd do it for you.
Me: Then okay. You bring the food and blankets, and I'll bring the narcotics, booze, & nicotine.
CF: Deal. And if I die anyway?
Me: I'd tell you to save me a seat, but I know how you've lived, so it's kinda iffy where you're gonna wind up, girl.
Silence. And I'm thinking uh-oh...that was tacky. Then peals of laughter from her end of the phone conversation.
CF: Trust me, wherever I wind up, you're going, too. You'll eventually find me, and I'll have your seat warm and ready for you.
Then she's thoughtful a moment.
CF: This is what I've missed most about getting sick. Nobody can joke with me about this, and I really need to laugh.
This is the woman who handed me my first Writers' Digest and told me to get off my ass and quit talking about it...to just do it.
Some stories are easier to write than others. We think we have the whole thing set up, and then something happens and the tale veers off course. Or does it? Only the charcters and the writer know for sure. As long as it's not boring. And trust me...you were never boring, my friend.
Another friend, Alex, usually has me in stitches to the point that I beg her to stop--telling her my cheeks hurt. Then one day she found the cartoon below and sent it to me.
Well, here's to more laughter for all of us, the kind that makes our cheeks ache with delicious humor that puts at least our negative thoughts into remission.
Happy writing, all. If you can, find the light and the gift in every situation. And laugh whenever possible.