Monday, July 9, 2012

Chicken Scratches: Monday Morning Writer's Angst

Monday morning the computer looks at me and says, "Why are you here, exactly?"

Today, I have to answer, "I don't know."

I have been caught out. For what reason did I set my alarm for 5:45 AM? Not to sit here and read emails of comment threads devolving into arguments–howling and spitting pressed onto QWERTY keyboards and sent with a righteous harrumph. Not to check Facebook and discover that still greater numbers of kittens have been imposed on viral memes and are marching like Mongol hordes across a hundred thousand screens. No, I got up to write.

Fine, I will do that. See? I am writing through severe migraine and fibro pain, grasping at the world like the spider encased in an underwater bubble. I must grab my prey and drag it in here where there is oxygen. Everything else looks close by but is separated from me by the inability to breathe water. For a time, I lie on the couch, staring at cats and dogs and gangly chicks in a cage, scratching pine shavings about the living room uselessly and with a terrible sense of purpose. Boredom claws at me. Back to the computer.

Tap tap tap. Backspace. Tap. Backspace. There is a music to this. This getting up too early for the purpose of writing things down is perhaps not unlike the activity of my adolescent chicks. I scratch the substrate, digging deeper and deeper, tossing bedding everywhere, dirtying the house, sure I am about to discover something that will both entertain and sustain me. In practice, I have merely become very good at scratching. For this, I expect my family to shush and leave me alone so I can "hear the words."

"Leave Mom alone. She is scratching."

I plan soon, with the help of my dad and my friend the artist, to scratch words onto a prettier blog. I also plan to finish scratching words into a manuscript so that I can self-publish it and sell to several cousins. In this way is the road to greatness paved.

Do the chickens believe that there is something at the bottom of those pine shavings or do they scratch just for the joy of scratching–because they are good at it, because they can, because they're made to? If I spend my whole life scratching and bringing up nothing but substrate and no recognition, would that be a good life?

I think the answer to that question cannot be answered yet. I am still too busy looking for a bug.


  1. Your scratching are inspirational to me, because it gives me something to shoot for. Or defeating, because you scratch better than I write. Either way, I enjoy reading your scratches and don't enjoy that you started the day with more pain. I think you should double check that fibro return policy, just in case.

  2. I scratch for the joy of scratching, because I can and because I'm made to. I loved this!


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Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License