And, this, dear friends, is why it is a good idea to write up a few blog posts at a time. Because if your goal is to post once a week, and then the plague visits each member of your household over the course of a week, including yourself, and medication and sleep are required in quantities that are only normal if you are, in fact, a newborn baby recently bitten by a rabid badger, you might not get a post written.
Oh, I tried to write last week. I would lay on the couch, surrounded by piles of tissues intermittently fluffy and moist, and think, “There are writers out there more productive than I that would kill for this much down time.” This, of course, is the writer’s version of, “There are kids starving in Africa.” I wonder if that argument has ever convinced a child to eat his food. It did work to convince me to try to write. One measly post! That’s all I was asking of my pseudoephedrine-addled brain.
I sat on my couch, iPad propped on a pillow, head propped on another, hands poised over the screen. I stared out the window, or into the corner next to the TV. My eyes rarely came into focus, and even if they did, my glasses were dirty, so I could barely tell the difference. I didn’t have the strength or mental capacity to clean them.
Great globs of silence dripped through the underlying buzzing in my brain.
My hands didn’t move.
My eyes didn’t blink, though they sometimes closed and didn’t open again for a few minutes. My eyelashes were just so heavy.
Words finally formed in my mind. Brace yourself. Here they are: (Are you sitting down?) “I don’t like the word peplum.”
Some of you might not know what a peplum is. I, for one, don’t understand why it needs its own name. “Waist-ruffle” seems to cover it just fine. And that is what a peplum is. I don’t really like them. I don’t understand them. And I just spent a full week thinking about them. Because each time I gave up trying to write, I would eventually end up back with the iPad open to Pages, fingers poised, eyes half-open, and I would come to the same conclusion each time. I don’t like the word peplum.
I may have said it out loud more than once. My husband is used to such outbursts regarding words. As a writer I am a complete word nerd. I frequently declare my affection for words, or my disdain. But usually it is just that, a declaration. I want to have a conversation about it. I want to know what you think about the word “stickler” or “aloe.” But last week I wasn’t declaring anything. I was mumbling from under a too-small throw blanket while conducting a staring contest with an eight-inch screen.
“Peplum,” I would mutter.
“What?” my son would say.
“Theo, hand your mom a tissue, she’s sneezed on the iPad again.”
We’re crawling out of the Cave of Germs this week, slowly blinking our way into the sunlight. I’ve had to shrink back in a couple of times and rest, not fully recovered and still a bit groggy, a bit confused. I keep remembering things and forgetting them again. But you know what I haven’t forgotten?
I don’t like the word peplum.
And next week I plan on writing an extra post, just in case.
Have you ever had a word stuck in your head? One that got in the way of the other, more useful words you needed access to on a regular basis?