Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Looking at this makes me happy. The snail, however, has a certain symbolic thrust.

People keep saying, "Oh, you're so close to finishing your internship." However, every shift to me is frigging interminable. To the those of you out in the ether who may be related to the medical profession, or more specifically, laboring under the medical version of hazing known as "being an intern," I salute you. To those of you considering this noble form of slavery, I must tell you: although everyone you ask will say " Oh, it's only a year," in this breezy, cavalier kind of way, as if to say, " how bad can one year be?" A YEAR IS A LONG TIME. Maybe not when you're 80 and looking back on your beautiful life, but otherwise it is 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, and most of those minutes are spent in the service of an evil and spiteful god known as education who requires his worshippers to abase themselves in exchange for hard work, long hours for little payment and demands all their self-confidence be shredded into little bits. Bitter? I'm not bitter. And I'm NOT EVEN DONE.

To the critics: so yeah, I've learned stuff. And mostly what I've learned is that valuable, painful lesson of snooty zen sages everywhere, "I know nothing*." I have also learned that I have almost crippling anxiety when it comes to going to work, night sweats, 13-16 hour shifts 4-5 days a week, the easiest way to make me cry is to mention the ER, and I clearly must not be normal to consider finishing this thing. I have been asking my own self what I hope to gain by not just walking away, and I have only nebulous thoughts of "but you're so close to finishing" (thanks, guys), and "crap--that would mean writing a cover letter." Not great reasons to stay. And yet I find myself reluctant. Lest we get into the whirling maelstrom that is my anxiety and emotional state, I shall only say that my new motto is "blame not thyself." This sounds eminently reasonable and self-evident, and perhaps all you readers are well-balanced folks who are faintly puzzled by my proposal. But I think this is the hardest lesson I have ever tried to learn, and one I'm bad at, and one that I may never get a firm grip on. But the only way to get through the next 3 months, one week and 3 days until freedom (besides a new job, a hole in the head or a sudden lottery windfall) are me saying to myself "you can only do this much, and that's OK." It the that's OK part that is especially hard for us over-achiever types. See--I should go back to art, where the crazier you are, the more OCD you are, the better your work becomes! Maybe if that lottery money comes through....

There's been a lot of exhausting emotional work going on over behind the slowed to a crawl blog entries, much of which I shall keep to myself. Believe me, when this sh#t is over, I am taking a big old vacation. And there will be NO emergency anythings allowed.

*"Especially when it comes to cats, who have never read a medical textbook and would be horrified if someone suggested they follow proper patterns when they are ill."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


"...the stories I want to tell you will light up part of my life and leave the rest in darkness. You don't need to know everything. There is no everything. The stories themselves make the meaning.

The continuous narrative of existence is a lie. There is no continuous narrative, there are lit-up moments, and the rest is dark.

When you look closely, the twenty-four hour day is framed into a moment; the still-life of the jerky amphetamine world. That woman--a pieta. Those men, rough angels with an unknown message. The children holding hands, spanning time. And in every still-life, there is a story, the story that tells you everything you need to know.

There it is; the light across the water. Your story. Mine. His. It has to be seen to be believed. And it has to be heard. In the endless babble of narrative, in spite of the daily noise, the story waits to be heard.

Some people say that the best stories have no words...It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are often left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case the wrong size to fit the template called language.

I know that. But I know something else too...Turn down the daily noise and at first there is the relief of silence. And then, very quietly, as quiet as light, meaning returns. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken."

---Jeanette Winterson, lighthousekeeping

I'm not able to articulate my interior silences at this moment. But I thought to make an attempt to mirror that place like a magpie, borrowing and stealing meaning. Better that than no attempts to reach deeper at all.