The Healing Power of Corn and Poetry

It’s been a rough month. Like, really rough. Not only have I been plagued with a runny nose, sore throat, violent cough, and conjunctivitis (twice!), but I was cursed with a package of Skittles that only had one red. ONE. Honestly, what’s the point of even eating Skittles if you’re only going to get one red?!

(Hint: there isn’t one. Don’t bother. Life is meaningless.)

Thanks to my son’s underdeveloped infant immune system, I’ve been playing host to a veritable menagerie of viruses and infections instead of writing epic narrative poetry and planning for NaNoWriMo. Since Typhoid Mary couldn’t attend daycare with a fever of 103 and a nose full of shockingly chartreuse snot, the blocks of time that I typically dedicate to writing were unceremoniously snatched away so that I keep him home and cough on him. (Though, to be fair, he coughed on me, too.)

The upshot of everything was that, by the time I convinced the baby to go to bed at the end of each day, I was far too tired to stay up and write. Then, to add insult to injury, I was so busy coughing up my phlegm-filled lungs that I didn’t go to the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, which I’d planned on attending with a writer friend.

I pouted, guys. Like full-on petulant lower-lip pouting. I may have laid on the floor and cursed at the ceiling. I waved things around in a dramatic fashion and coughed some more. I was tired, I was cranky, and I felt like I was never going to write again. It seemed that every time I blew my nose, I was leaking inspiration.

I’ve never been one of those brave souls who don’t want pity. Quite the opposite, actually. I want pity. I demand it. PITY ME.  My family is pretty good about pitying me when asked, but they’re also really good at helping me forget to feel sorry for myself. (Also, they don’t mind if I cough on them.) That’s how I found myself lost in the corn with them this past weekend.

By then, the cough was mostly gone and I felt well enough to walk through the endless maze and make several corn related puns. This alone was enough to perk me up, but it was when I drove home, my husband and son both sleeping peacefully in the backseat, that the first line of a poem winged its way into my head.

That night I sat down and wrote, and my other pack of Skittles had six reds.
If that’s not the meaning of life, I don’t know what is.


Everything Else Will Remain the Same


There is snot on my keyboard.

It’s not my snot. It’s imperative that you know that. There are many things that the snot is (for example, green, sticky, and copious), but I’m more concerned about what it is not. (Mine.)

See, my tiny, precious son has a cold that is neither tiny nor precious, and out of all of the places in the world he could have chosen to sneeze, he settled on my keyboard. This is possibly a sign of love, but more likely a sign that autumn is upon us.

I live for fall. I love everything about it — the juxtaposition of the changing leaves against a pre-storm sky, the tacky Halloween decorations on my neighbor’s lawn, the sweaters and fruit pies and rotting leaves underfoot. Most of all, I love the overwhelmingly insistent urge to write that needles under my skin each September. There’s just something about chapped cheeks and nutmeg that begs for stories.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written. I’ve lost touch with my online writing community and my half-finished novels have lost the will to become something worthwhile. But still — there’s a pumpkin on my porch and a story lying in wait beneath the rubble of real life. The seasons will keep changing, but everything else will remain the same.

There’s snot on my keyboard. It’s time to write.