the best cure for writer’s block

Hey, kids. Need a way to perk up your languishing blog? Might I suggest a terrible tragedy, or, hey – a month full of melodramatic sorrow and pain? It’ll bring that blog right back like gangbusters!

Seriously. I guess it’s a coping method. Bad things happen, and all I want to do is write. Actually, I should say it’s all I can do. I have to write it out. I write my sorrow and confusion. I write my pain and my rage. I write my questions and my worries and my musings and my what-ifs and my bizarro world trains of thought. I write it all. My eyes and ears and fingertips are brimming with the things I must write. I write on napkins, on post-it notes, in emails to myself, in Word documents saved without titles. I write into the doodles I’m doodling at meetings. I compose bits of text in my head while I’m watching TV, showering, driving, trying to fall asleep. Some of it’s crap. Some of it’s really damn good. A lot of it I don’t feel like I can share here in this public place, for lots of reasons. It’s overkill. It’ll make you question my sanity. It’ll hurt the people I love. It’s not as good as I think it is. Whatever. I’m holding back, is all. You should probably be thankful for that. My brain will not turn off. It churns and churns and churns while I try to process everything that’s happened, and all I can do is write.

It would probably be good if I could channel this energy into something like cleaning house or going to the gym or whatever, but I’m a writer and I recognize that, right now, writing is what I must do. It’d be great if I had this burning urge to write when things were going well. I would love to find a way to harness the creativity and need I feel when I’m in turmoil, so that I could write the same way of happier things, in happier times. Because things are going to get better. Things can only get better. Howard Jones said so.

But let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. I get a really hard month of my life, and you all get fresh content. Sad and oftentimes overblown and melodramatic content? Well, yeah, but it’s content. So take it for what it’s worth.

2 Comments May 4, 2009

may 1 will be a brand new day

Let me tell you something about April. April is an absolutely pathetic crackwhore of a month smeared in dog poo and covered in parasites. If April were a person, I would kick April in the face repeatedly until every single one of its nasty, rotten teeth fell out, and then I’d pull April’s arms off and beat April to death with them. I hate April. April has most certainly been the worst month in what, prior to April, had been looking like a pretty terrific year, and at the rate we’re going, April 2009 may very well be a frontrunner in the contest for Worst Month of Lorie’s Life, Ever, No Matter What. April sucks and I hate it and I won’t miss its ugly-ass face one teeny tiny little bit. In case I haven’t been clear here, I fucking detest April.

With that said, there’s one major reason I’m alive and sane enough to witness April’s inevitable demise, and that reason is a 6’3″ software engineering, video game playing, insane philosophizing, adorable, wonderful, superboyfriendy package of awesomeness named Seth.

Even the most good-natured, generous, patient, supportive person on earth would probably struggle to be a consistently excellent friend to someone who’s had a month like I have had. I would not wish this month or the fallout of this month on anyone. But it has to be especially trying when you’re asked to drop everything and be there nearly constantly for your girlfriend of only a few months, who is mourning a man she loved before you and recovering from surgery on her dominant hand all at once. That’s a test no relationship should ever have to face, much less one in its relative infancy. All of a sudden, I found myself both physically and emotionally incapable of the independence I cherish, and to my great and pleasant surprise, Seth planted his feet and has been absolutely, unwaveringly here for me.

It wasn’t a surprise because of anything his behavior up till now had led me to believe. It was a surprise because I truly had no idea what to expect, and because I’m used to trying to drag myself through everything on my own. My family and friends have been great, too, but it’s been Seth who has literally been right by my side all month. He has helped me get dressed and make food and clean myself when I couldn’t do it on my own, and he’s helped me work through the first loss I’ve experienced of someone very close to me. He’s been incredibly patient and kind and has been able to anticipate everything I need and give it to me without giving me any indication that it’s a strain on him.

If you know me well, or have been reading for a while, you know I try to find lessons in all the crummy things that happen. This has been pretty damn crummy indeed, and I’m still figuring it out. But one tiny bright spot in this hellish month has been the increased closeness I’m feeling with Seth. I’m not sure we would have gotten so much closer this month if all had been smooth sailing. My hand is much better now, but my heart and soul are still in need of a lot of healing. Luckily for me, I know he’s not going anywhere.

6 Comments April 30, 2009

i will do these things to remember you

  1. I will give every year to the educational fund for your niece.
  2. I will go out to a nice dinner on what would have been your 40th birthday. You can pay me back later.
  3. I will write my book, and get it published.
  4. I will begin giving blood again.
  5. I will do my very best to look at the world with the wonder you always loved in me.

2 Comments April 25, 2009

a phone call

Frank dropped me a note just a couple of weeks ago, right before my surgery. He wished me luck, told me not to be nervous, and to call if I needed to. I did need to call him, and I meant to, and I didn’t.

I would sign away a year of my life right now for that phone call, and when I got it, I would make it last as long as I could. We would talk for hours upon hours. We would talk until our voices literally gave out, until even our hoarse whispers faded away, and then we’d just listen to each other breathe until our phones lost their battery power.

Over the last few days, my friends and family have been wonderful. They’ve been checking in and offering support of all kinds, particularly to listen if I need to talk. And I do need to talk. But I can’t, not the way I really need to. I can tell them that the service was incredible, that it lasted for nearly seven hours, that it was very helpful for me to be there to see how many people were touched by his life and to hear their stories and share some of my own. I can tell them that I’m doing a little better, that I think I’ll probably eat and sleep a little tonight.

But the one I really want to talk to about it all will never pick up a phone again. I have had countless conversations with him in my head this week. I want to talk to him about how I’m feeling and get his reassurances that it’ll get better. I want to gossip about his wake. I want to ask him a thousand questions. I want to tell him that the days are getting better, but nights are the worst, when it’s quiet and I’m alone and no one else is around. I want to talk about things I can’t even bring myself to write about now, and my writing is usually so much better and more fluid than my talking.

Even criminals get a phone call. I want mine.

3 Comments April 22, 2009

Frank was always better at titles.

One of my best friends on Earth, Frank Lauro, died suddenly this week. I wrote the following for a forum where we were both active, and I’m sharing a version of it here too.

Frank was the first online friend I ever met in real life, in the fall of 1998 when I was a sophomore in college. We had communicated casually for months in a chat room devoted to movies on AOL, and on the day I got kicked out of the room for cursing, he IMed me and offered to pass my messages to the room until my timeout had expired. I had no idea that making profane comments about the Ohio State Buckeyes would lead to the most enduring, most important friendship of my life.

One of his favorite stories was about our first in-person meeting. We’d spent dozens of nights on the phone from sundown to sunrise, and finally decided to meet near campus for lunch. I realized when I met him that he could be a psycho killer and spent our entire meal in a state of fear so profound I could barely swallow my food. But my sense of self-preservation is such that when he offered me a ride to my dorm, I said yes, and got into the psycho killer’s car all alone.

I soon learned that he’d kick a dozen puppies, skin them, and cook them into some cayenne-heavy spicy-as-hell dinner before he’d ever hurt me.

Frank was into Batman because Batman had no superpowers. Batman just fucking did the right thing. Frank lived his life that way. He would hate me for saying this, he would try to argue me down, he would swear I was wrong and insist I had no basis for saying this, but his ass isn’t here to correct me and I’m going to tell you: he would step in front of a bus for the people he loved. He would sacrifice his comfort and safety to stand up for people who could not stand up for themselves. He would end a conversation, a relationship, or a job if his own ethics were compromised – and his ethics, I promise you, were stronger than any of ours.

He introduced me to Pulp Fiction, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Usual Suspects, This is Spinal Tap, and tons of other movies. He introduced me to Thai food and Aimee Mann. He was with me when I first visited Sears Tower and the Brookfield Zoo. When I suffered from clinical depression so severe that I nearly did not survive, much less finish my degree, he was there. When my sister nearly died in a car accident that claimed three other teenagers, he was there that night and through the long months ahead. He was always there.

We dated for a long time, and then we stopped. And then we dated again, and then I moved away. And then we dated again, long-distance, and then we stopped again. The distance seemed too great. Our obstacles seemed insurmountable. But I loved him from beside him, and I loved him from faraway. I always loved him. I love him still. The web that holds my soul is woven through and through with hundreds of his threads. There’s only one problem. The strongest thread of all, the one that tied me to him over the distance and the years and the obstacles, the one I thought would never break? That one snapped yesterday, and I’m having trouble staying tethered to anything right now.

He and I were equally sensitive, I think, but I mystified him because he had developed a nearly impenetrable skin and I had none at all. He told me often that if the world was a fight, I kept going in with both hands tied behind my back. He pushed me often to be stronger, to stand up for myself more, and I did it because of him. Everything about him was stronger than I will ever be, but I have the courage and the strength to write this because I loved him and he taught me to be just a little tougher.

I didn’t know how I was going to write this, but I knew I had to do it. I knew that he would want me to. He read my website and my prose and my shitty screenplays, and he always encouraged me to keep doing it. He swore I would be a published author one day, and he’d be pretty disappointed if I didn’t write about him for you here. I could keep writing this for paragraphs, for years. I could write until your eyes burn out from the strain of the reading. But he’d want me to stop here.

I will miss him for as long as I live.

8 Comments April 18, 2009

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