I am writing a new short story. It is about head injuries. This is not a romantic idea, a head injury, but it is a romantic story. Or post romantic, in a sense.
I love reading medical advice, in this case rating the potential severity of concussions: “If you vomit more than once, seek medical help.”
It made me laugh in a sad way, that moment of waiting to vomit the second time and the unknown. I think that is the explanation for my not so funny laugh.
I like the idea of trying to explain why a head injury might matter to somebody. I like the metaphor of it. It’s a good challenge. Medical terms have the built in romance and anxiety of Latin, too, so there’s that.
I’m watching my sea monkeys. I am drinking a cup of tea, chai with almond milk. Not enough spice in the chai.
I decided to put up a video of the sea monkeys. I was listening to music, not trying to make a film or something. It’s a beautiful day, but I feel like staying inside.
I think people want to be happy. That’s too broad a subject to cover.
Never let it be said that writing and science don’t mingle.
Here’s a word for you: cryptobiosis.
How does that relate to writing? Keep reading.
Artemia salina is crytobiotic. It has adapted to life in its indigenous Botswana, able to survive the dry season by going dormant, ceasing the metabolic functions of life until conditions are again favorable. How beautiful is that?
If an organism like Artemia salina can do it, so can a writer. In the writing life, conditions often become unfavorable for a writer to produce his or her best work. Stress, illness, overcommitment, outside responsibilities, grief - these things can overwhelm the creative process. Through discipline and consistency, the writer can try to overcome these hurdles. It doesn’t always work. The stereotype of the drunken, depressive writer is well known, and in moments of block, I get it. Anything not to think of the words that will not come.
Writers are hard on themselves. The rejection, the solitary hours, the emotional openness of the process all take a toll as it is, when writing is going well. When it isn’t, channel the lessons of Artemia salina. Go dormant for awhile. It may seem like the rainy season will never refill the lakes where creativity flourishes, but the rain returns. Adapt to survive.
The species Artemia salina is better known by its trademarked name, Sea Monkeys. I got some for Christmas. I’m awfully glad I did.
So for this Monday, think about a lesson you can learn as writer from a product of childhood nostalgia. How is your writing like a Slinky, or a Cabbage Patch Doll? What lesson can you learn from Snoopy? Feel free to comment with a response.
My Sea Monkeys, just under the surface of the water.