Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sick


Like any mortal being, I’ve had my share of bodily breakdowns, marauding viruses, invasive bacteria and the like. But I must say that (knocking on all available woods), I’ve mostly been blessed with good health. So when I get a cold, the self-pity thermometer hits fever pitch. I was waltzing through my week happily when out of nowhere (don’t all such things come out of nowhere? why are we always so surprised by this?) the chest starts filling up with unattractive fluids, there’s pressure in my head and suddenly, I’m less than my usual charming and happy self. And just a tad bit grouchy that I had seven classes of kids ahead of me! (Though truth be told, at the end of the day, they made me feel happier!).

I think of the composer Chopin, who was sickly much of his life and yet managed to write heart-breaking music that survived far beyond his mortality. Likewise another hyper-sensitive soul, the poet Rilke, whose poems still stun with their intensity and insight. How did they do that while sick? When I feel the slightest bit under the weather, all I feel like doing is lying down on the couch and watching re-runs of The Streets of San Francisco. The thought of composing something coherent, never mind breathtaking, or writing a poem that transcends complaint (“blowing out the mucous of life…”) is the last thing on my mind.

Oh well. Nothing to do but let it run its predictable cycle and be grateful that the stakes are so low. Meanwhile, back to Mike Stone… (see above show).

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