Get Down with the Sickness

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m partly Irish, so don’t even think about pinching me. Actually, don’t even think about looking my way or you might get Ebola. I’ve been down with plague for over a week and a half now. For the most part, really, I’m better. What persists is a nasty cough and laryngitis.

If you haven’t seen me in a while, this is what I look like now. Look, it’s even a green towel for St. Patty’s Day!

Karl under a towel. Some say it's an improvement.

This is what you call “tenting” (not that kind of tenting, perv). It’s where you heat some water on the stove with a few drops of essential oil and then inhale the vapors for 5-10 minutes at a time. I haven’t had a voice in over a week and this is part of the miracle cure my dear homeopathic goddess friend has devised. I’m also crafting a tea made of ginger root, lemons, and some plant leaves she gave me. I’m thinking it’s probably hemlock. So far? After a couple of days, I was told Harvey Feinstein still has the fairer voice.

The best part about all of this is I don’t have to answer my phone. Not that I ever do, but I finally have justification. I literally cannot talk on the phone.

What I need now is a computer to speak for me. I should contact Stephen Hawking’s estate. His probably isn’t getting much use these days.

At Row Fee

I have to say, I miss my old muse from a decade back. She was the best. Always whispering in my ear – okay, not always – many times SCREAMING multiple things at once, a non-stop source of creativity. In fact, there were often too many ideas. My fingers couldn’t type them out fast enough to capture them before they disappeared into the ether.

Now? Crickets.

Sure, I have grumblings of some ideas that I’ve gathered, but they aren’t the full-blown realizations I used to get directly transmitted to my brain. More like late-night drunken post-it scribblings that you find the morning after. This one here says “parks for bored aardvarks.” Now I’m not trying to argue the merits of such a park, but how the hell is that a blog post?

You take those few ideas, toss in some recently rekindled creativity, and encouragement from an all-too-kind and perhaps-too-chipper friend, and that lands us here. Not that I’m sure yet where here is.

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed as far as the technical aspects of blog-keeping go. It’s been a long time since I messed with themes and CSS and plugins. I used to be thumbs-deep in all that. There’s been a lot of progress in my absence and I’m too lazy to be bothered relearning it all over a decade later. Which is fine, because it just so happens this designing bit is completely the sort of thing my chipper friend knows. (He may also be good at slaying kobolds, but that’s for another time.)

“You just do the writing,” he said. “I’ll take care of everything else. Just write. You’re a genius, my friend! Don’t you remember from high school?”

Mmm, right. Genius. In high school.

Okay. I can totally forget about all that other stuff, the design, the administrative stuff, and just write.

Focus on nothing but the writing.

Cool.

This is going to be great.

So this is good.

I can write about anything I want. Whatever springs to mind.

Nothing’s springing to mind.

Come on, something, spring. Anything.

Fuck, what if there’s nothing left? What if I used it all up? What if I’ve had all the creative thoughts I’m going to have?

So, sitting down to a blank canvas nowadays, as it turns out, brings me anxiety, something I already possess in some abundance. (Again, another time.)

My writing muscle has greatly atrophied. And yes, it most certainly is a muscle. Like any other skill, you need to use it every so often to maintain it. The writer’s block is strong.

“Just write! You’ve got this, Karl. You’re a brilliant writer! You’ve GOT this!”

Then he went into some spiel about how you just have to sit down and shake it off and start typing anything in your head to get the flow going. No matter what, even if it’s crap, just write, write, write. And I couldn’t just dismiss it as some ridiculous Pollyanna cheerleading nonsense because he’s a talented bastard who has walked the walk and written actual books, something I’ve only done halfway. Multiple times. And then Antonio Banderas 90s movies somehow came into it, along with a pretty sensational polar bear with a fucked-up leg that I drew in 10th-grade art class when I first moved to the mountainous southwestern desert and sat directly across from the guy now cheering me on. I don’t know, it was all kind of a whirlwind. You kind of had to be there on the phone with him and I at 2:30 in the morning just a couple of weeks ago. Before the new iteration of SecondHand Tryptophan came to be.

Anyhow, I don’t want you thinking this entire post was just me procrastinating writing a blog post. No, no, not at all. It’s just to say that I’m here now and I’m going to spend time focusing on nothing but the writing.

Just letting the ideas flow.

This is going to be great.

Any moment now.

Shit, maybe “The Mask of Zorro” one more time.

You Used to be Funny

“Whatever happened to you? You used to be so funny!”

I still hear it. There was a time when I got it a lot. And I admit, the first few times I heard it, it really stung. Because, yeah, you don’t need to tell me. I know. I used to be funny. In my own very teeny corner of the blogisphere.

I tried, anyway. I did a lot of silly, sometimes irreverent things for laughs. Anything for a laugh. That was me. I love making people laugh. I wrote about most anything and everything. Until that well dried up. At one point, I was putting out a post every day, and creating that much content can be draining. Particularly if you’re like me and have trouble focusing. Hi, ADHD!

So I got burned out and stopped writing completely because there’s nothing worse than FORCED comedy. (Except maybe for succotash because that’s just forcing lima beans into your perfectly good corn. And everyone knows lima beans are the only food in Hell.) So the weeks quickly turned into months and that turned into years and that blog got hacked and I had it all shut down. Everything was destroyed. All of it. Every post, thousands of them. Gone. Because I’m an idiot and didn’t back that shit up.

But as to the original point, whatever happened to the funny me? Friends on social media – those of them that I don’t see locally, anyhow – see me now as this politically-charged individual, always ranting about the current administration. And that IS part of who I am because HAVE YOU SEEN who is in charge of the nuclear football right now? But politics was always part of who I was before, that’s what people don’t seem to get. I just didn’t present that side to you because I was trying to make you laugh by eating Vienna sausages with my toes and destroying my rotator cuffs by skating with roller derby girls.

I was once fond of saying, “Everything on my blog is true. But not everything that is true is in my blog.” That goes for each of us engaging on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. You only see of me what I WANT you to see. Like right now, you can’t see that I’m writing this in my underwear. I’m not always whining and bitching about Trump. I do other things. I go out and laugh and make jokes with friends, even conservatives who love Trump. We just agree to keep politics off the table. You kind of have to when you’re a snowflake living in cow country.

This is all to say the funny is still here. Somewhere. I’m just done trying to parse it all out.

What it comes down to, I suppose, is this. I don’t know what the hell this space is going to be. If you’re looking for a rebirth of that old blog which was fun-fun-fun all the time, you’re probably going to be disappointed. That tryptophan has left the building, you dig?

Still, I am feeling a stir of creativity again. And that hasn’t happened for a while.