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I have left my noisy urban home for a few days, and am now in a very quiet place. All I can hear other than my own little noises is the dripping of my friend’s cat bowl, which makes a teeny recycling fountain to keep the water fresher. Strange to tell, instead of being relaxing, all this stillness has done is underscore my own disquiet, which I tend to keep buried like a secret shame.

When I realized Things were burbling up from my inner cesspool, I opted to turn off Pandora and stay with the cat bowl and what I call “microcries:” bursts of blubbering that last about 15 to 30 seconds. It’s sort of like crying constipation–that’s all I can get out at a time, although I feel myself to be a very cistern of tears.

As previously noted, I’m a random crier at the best of times, and I’m getting closer to deciphering why, or at least a maybe-why. I think that when it’s triggered by something heartwarming, it’s because my heart is in reality feeling cold and lonely; if the trigger is heroism, I am afraid that I myself am weak and helpless.

I do many things. I sing, draw, make jewelry, mother, befriend, love. But I feel as tottery at most of it as I do when my physical therapist cajoles me into trying to stand on just my right leg. (Almost everybody is a little lopsided at this, but I’m a champ at lop.) The only thing I really have is the writing. The sheeping writing, which fails to make me any money or gain me any renown, and which will likely continue to fail to do either.

All I am is the writing. That’s what’s at the bottom, behind the tears, underneath the depression, and despite the failure.

During this quiet afternoon, I went to the extent of Asking for a Sign, first in what passes in me for silent meditation, and then just talking out loud. So many people tell confident stories of hearing a Voice, either from outside or within–why not me? Although my faith isn’t what I’d call strong, my belief in the possibility of a Higher Power is stronger than my fear that #45 will turn America into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and that’s something, isn’t it? But nobody came to my outreaching self-pity party, leaving me to confront what I have, what I know.

Perhaps all I’m really for is the writing. Maybe one or two people will be reached by the words that start at my core and ooze from my fingertips. They will laugh, cry, feel less alone or freakish; they will feel a kindred spirit. My fiction will keep them company for a bit.

What I hear, what I know, is just the writing. And sometimes it is barely enough, but it remains.

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