Is it the story? Or is it me?

Apartment is filled with the smell of pot roast; head is filled with the stink of frustration. Previous chapter has been teased and tortured into reality. Okay. Next chapter is like a kid’s Lego set, scattered on the page.

I keep looking for the buzz, the tickle, the drive. It isn’t there.

I know what it ought to be. I know the intention of the section. But I can’t catch it in my head. I don’t trust my own judgment, not in the phrases I choose or the words I seek or the plot I direct. I am not in love.

My brain is tired. I know that. My reading ability is next to nil—a sure sign for a dyslexic. I tell myself that a slow walk on a wooded lane is what I need. Or an 18-hour sleep. Neither of those things is going to happen. Even if one of them did, I couldn’t stomach the waste of time.

And then there’s the small concussion of just over a week ago, and the stupidity that caused it. We won’t get into how I managed to scramble my own grey matter, but let’s just say that concentration has been at a premium around Lynnland.

Whichever of those things is the cause, whichever the solution, the thing I need is exactly the thing I can’t do right now: stand back from it and give my stretched-thin head time to heal. Without the words and the work, what am I? Without that exalted reaching into the high, far thing outside me, I don’t find much reason. For anything.

So. The problem (note the use of the word problem, not issue.) Figure it out, I tell myself. Stand back from it. The blessed distancing will come and bring the answer with it, but not right now.

So instead, I give myself a good talking-to. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. In grocery stores, at the mailbox, as I clean the apartment. I work out issues. I remind myself of what needs doing next. I deliver quiet but heartfelt pep talks.

Where the hell did that come from?

The talk is a way of externalizing my feelings, my reactions. Of listening to the stuff that won’t recirculate in the closed environment of my head. My workaround, of the same character as my tape-recorded notes and readbacks. My way of getting past a very stubborn brain.

I reassure myself that I am not crazy. At least, no more than usual.

At least my talked-to self don’t answer. There’s that.