Archive for April, 2011

Old Fashioned Shorthand

April 3, 2011

My boss’ former secretary recently came over for a “visit” (word used lightly, as she spent half her time filing papers and the other half driving me absolutely crazy) and occasionally took dictation –– in SHORTHAND –– in the evenings.  Here’s what shorthand, for those of us under the age of, um, sixty looks like:

Let's play a fun game called WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS SAY!?

Joyful Masochism

April 2, 2011

I’ll save my real musings on pleasurable masochism for my dearest pen pal (yes, there IS someone more important than you) but for now, let me just say that there are few things as wrongly right as taking one too many painkillers and reading Autobiography of a Face.

“Afterward I’d lie in bed and concentrate on letting the tremors run their course, allowing them free access to all of me so that, like some bear sniffing me out, they’d gradually grow bored and amble away, leaving me alone and exhausted but still alive. Some pain, like the pain of a needle or the site of an operation, is specific: it announces itself in no uncertain terms. Often I tried to balance the pain out with the rest of my body, a sort of negotiation in which I’d isolate one section. I’d lie there and list to myself the parts that didn’t hurt, trying to feel them, aware that normally I’d have no reason to ‘feel’ my body or know it so intimately.

“I was becoming aware that I was experiencing my body, and the world, differently from other people. For hours I’d lie in bed either at home or in the hospital and run my finger back and forth along the wall or the bedrails beside me, conversing silently with myself in the third person, rationalizing the situation, setting down the basic premises of my secret philosophy, occasionally even telling myself I was lucky, lucky to have this opportunity to know such things. At times I was desperate and could find no solace anywhere. Nothing seemed to work, and the weight of being trapped in my own body made it difficult to lift even a hand off the sheets. Other times a sort of physical awareness would take hold of me. Each breath was an important exchange with the world around me, each sensation on my skin a tender brush from a reality so beautiful and so mysterious that I would sometimes find myself squealing with the delight of being alive.”