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Photo by Ryan Melaugh

There’s a squatter in my brain. He takes up space. His chain-smoking permeates and pollutes every surface. The ashes and butts get haphazardly scattered across my volatile imagination. I spend my energy frantically tidying up after him, left with no creative juice when I’m done. Then he breaks in and tracks muck everywhere, and I’m back where I started.

This is the first bit of writing I’ve attempted since the Traumatic Event, T.E. for short. It wasn’t something life threatening or the death of a loved one. Those would surely be worse, but the T.E. was still devastating enough to steal my appetite, my sleep, my desire to create imaginary worlds with stories to share.

My imagination, always too large and vivid to be suppressed, shriveled away to hide. It bolted the door on the bunker. Now it trembles in the corner, maintaining radio silence. It’s shell shocked and deafened, even to its own voice. My concentration deserted it, and neither one has dared to resurface. They could care less that they’re needed.

I’ve chosen to distract myself with things that often fuel them: books, movies, quiet drives, conversation with friends. I exhausted myself with exercise. I visited family in the peaceful upstate New York summer and stuffed myself with comfort foods. The final dose may have been Mom’s strawberry-rhubarb pie, exactly what I needed. Now time must pass to see if a full recovery is possible.

There’s a periodic clicking, like Morse Code, from the bunker’s depths. My novel beckons to me. I left off partially through my second edit, only a couple of months from the point where I would release it for criticism from beta readers. (Three months have passed since then.) Complications in other writing projects beg for resolution. Slowly they intrude and exert power over the distracting din in my mind. They are the distant construction tools the squatter increasingly fears, and they are coming, if the contractors’ extended lunch break ever ends.

If you noticed my absence, I apologize for the abrupt cessation of my semi-regular posts. I can’t promise the frequency will increase, but I hope you’ll dig through the archives and find a laugh or the results of my writing exercises. I’m proud of a few of them. There will be new entries, but I can’t say when they will appear. Perhaps you’d like to subscribe, if you haven’t already, so anything new will be emailed to you.

I thank you for your patience. Once my mind decides to fully cooperate, I’ll be working it overtime. It owes me for its lengthy vacation.