I experimented yesterday with writing something. Putting words after words, as it were. In some sort of syntactical arrangement, and, at this moment, I am unable to reach any conclusion about the therapeutic effects, if any, thereof… I guess it was OK. I didn’t hurt too much in the doing of it, and that is one of the rules I have made for myself. Don’t write if it causes anxiety. So, well, OK, it was a little anxiety producing…when I started writing about my cluttered garage and the cleaning up we had to do after our parents died.
And then reading over what I wrote yesterday, I had to do some cleaning up. That was anxiety producing. I always had to do some cleaning up after I wrote, but not like now, not like today. I remember a colleague who was a really good writer who started sending out memos with all sorts of mistakes. Words left out, for example, that sort of thing, indicating a failure of concentration. And I remember thinking, so that’s what happens when you are 65 for she was 65. You are in the middle of a sentence, and suddenly, you can’t remember the name for the device that has your music on it, and you lose concentration and leave out a word. And it’s like you have tripped on your shoe lace and you are stumbling down a step.
Of course, I know…it’s not as bad as that. You aren’t going to break your ankle or anything, but it is alarming, and a consistent and persistent reminder that your brain is not what it was. I guess your brain never is, as you age, exactly what it was. I remember back in college I would hear a new word, I would write it down in my notebook and look it up later and wham! It would just stick in memory. No effort at all, no repetition or anything like that. And other words I picked up without even that little effort. But when I reached 35…that just stopped. I may have added a dozen words to my vocabulary since then. Anodyne…I added that word in the last year. Though, as I was looking it up, it seemed to me that I had known it at one time, but I had forgotten.
So just writing a sentence can plunge one into the pits of anxiety, as you remember and forget, and forget what you have remembered. It’s a bit like when I get out of bed, and first walk across the room, and I hear this concatenation of snaps, crackles, and pops in my knees. And sure I get across the room, but all this noise, in the very effort of doing so, puts me in mind of the day…when I won’t be able to get across that room. So—to sum up—I guess this writing experiment is fraught with all sorts of potential for anxiety…