Pure Slush

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Notes of a Questionable Writer

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by Gloria Garfunkel 


Once upon a time, though I was a therapist by trade, I was a writer by hobby. Most people don’t think of writing as a hobby, but I did. I had to be nurturing all day and so at night I wrote terrible tales. Every one was a surreal fabrication of horror woven around a morsel of truth in the tradition of Edgar Allen Poe and Franz Kafka. Relatives and now former friends, even some patients, accused me of betraying their confidences and ruining their reputations, something I would never do. One patient even threatened to sue. That’s when I stopped writing.

Instead, I took up watching crime detective TV shows about serial killers and pedophiles. My husband couldn’t understand how I could watch that stuff after what I did all day. It was cathartic. I didn’t have to solve those problems. They did. I watched the same episodes of horror over and over in a deep, relaxed trance. Sometimes the victims were vindicated but most of the time they were lost. Sometimes I would fall into a deep restful sleep.

I am no longer a writer nor do I pursue serial killers and pedophiles on TV. It took too much out of me in the long run. I am fragile these days, like a butterfly, and to me a writer is a risk-taker, too public for my profession, and when you take big risks, you get big, bad consequences. Butterflies and moths are easily squashed. Writers who don’t take risks don’t say anything of value. But they endure.

So for now, I’m telling stories to my cats in silence as I make long beaded necklaces in the tradition of prayer beads throughout history. This calms my frenetic mind. My cats accept the stories I tell them like Buddhas, while they watch me bead and sit quietly licking their paws, never accusing me of making them look bad. I tell them tales under the tent of my wings like a giant Mothra, conveying the evil and sin that threatens us all. I am saving my actual writing for the tongue on fire, some day, when I retire from being everyone’s mother as a therapist and can speak the truth and turn hobby into calling without caring who will think I’m writing about them. 

 

published 23 October 2013