I got distracted from the point I was going to make in “Daily Light Massage,” which was going to focus on relationships, as I’ll write John and Trishna in “The Story” – my ultimate long-term fiction-writing goal, can be maintained through caring for each other in ways like daily massages. Chiropractic work has been reducing pain and increasing mobility for me. I imagine John will do the same – massage Trishna’s sore muscles, and, Trishna for John’s.
Spoilers?: Minor [massaging out inflammation]
My situation was inflamed muscles causing pain.
Trishna’s spinal problems are going to be different – how, I’m not sure. Her’s is a lifelong, from-birth, condition, whereas I only took a year-long “vacation” to the town of chronic back pain, and I’ll carry with me a lifetime of experience related to my time there. I’ll never feel confident enough in my body to, say, go on a spontaneous hike nor will I have the youthful arrogance to exert energy on home improvement projects. I might be able to do some, but, now I have to vicariously experience the fruits of those labors through friends and strangers.
It’s with that perspective that I will, in maybe 5 to 10 years, write “The Story.”
Each essay like this gets me closer to that goal. Even if most of the essay is tangentially related to “The Story,” throwing energy into that project is better than not. What it meant today, for this essay, was pulling away from watching livestreams. “It’s fine,” as friends of mine in the livestreaming community say, either jokingly or not. There are lifetimes’s worth of things that we can do. You can dedicate your entire lifetime to learning about livestreaming and still not “know” everything. It is impossible for me to watch the livestreams of all of my friends, so, I bounce around and say something substantial to everyone.
But “The Story” is my mission, and I must build myself to get there.
That means doing things to massage out the distractions and inflammation of life to get there. Over the past year, I’ve learned much about my own priorities and addictions to media – I want to do it all, now; I’m practicing learning to do one thing at a time with intentionality or mindfulness, and it’s helping keep my peace of mind. The more distractions I parse out – having livestreams running in the background, but not watching them; finished my daily reading; not watching anything; when something catches my eye, return back, to keep writing.
I’ve been thinking back to my volunteer journalism days a lot lately.
Even were it not for COVID, my spine would make it impossible for me to do some of the antics I did back in those days. I hauled a suitcase full of gear – coffee machine, laptop, laptop gear, more – across town for one event. I had some gear nearly stolen at another until I physically startled the would-be thief. I stayed awake for days. The results were something resembling formative writing when it came to what I do when I do the sort of nonfiction writing I do occasionally. They were fun experiences, but, that was a lifetime ago.
I have to massage out the regret from that experience.
The thing with having had experiences like this is that John and Trishna will never have experiences like that. I think that’s where it’s important for writers to build lives outside of their characters. It would be easy for me to dig into my own self to write these characters, but, the problem with that is that writers are only so interesting – it’s what they write about that can be endlessly fascinating. When I was writing my Tripping On… essays, it was the most interesting for me to write and I believe for you to read when there was some dramatic information to be told. My experiences with doctors were traumatic and sharing them hopefully conveyed that enough to perhaps inspire some sort of change.
My editing of those essays will prove whether that’s true or not.
When it comes to John and Trishna, though, they’ll live a humble life. It won’t be simple, but it will be humble, in that each day, they’ll wake up and Trishna will tell John how her spine is doing. John will then do his best to help her through the day, without making her feel like she’s being served to – that might be the one character trait that’s stuck around with her the longest, and is something that I’ve felt myself through my own “temporary” disability – I don’t like asking for help. When I do, it’s because I can’t do it myself. I imagine that some sources of their arguments will be because Trishna might have trouble communicating when she doesn’t need help and John might be overeager in helping. I imagine, though, too, that those arguments will be massaged out just as easily since they both respect each other and want what’s best for each other.
They might massage out their emotions while John massages out Trishna’s muscles.
It’s been nice learning how these characters act over the years because I can see how other people act through having these imaginary yet objective characters “living in my head,” if you will. They’re not real, but they pop up so frequently to share little bits of themselves that writing them will make them real for others. With them hanging out like that, it’s easy to “invite them along” when I go places like the chiropractor, grocery shopping, and more. Although Trishna typically uses a wheelchair to get around, when she goes to her chiropractor – if she goes to one – would she use crutches to navigate around the chiropractic table? She can walk, but her left foot/leg doesn’t work well, so she would have an assortment of mobility aids. If they’d go, I’d imagine her chiropractor would show John techniques for at-home deep-tissue massages along with exercise techniques.
In that way, their lives parallel, but don’t match, my life.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: This week’s essay also derailed, but, hey, that’s how my mind works. Particularly when I don’t have thousands of words to say about John and Trishna – but at least I did stay somewhat on-topic.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2021 May 17 [10:13pm to 10:44pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 May 17 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|