Week 2: Freewriting Through The Plague
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
“The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.” ― Albert Camus, The Plague
This week didn’t quite go as planned. I woke up Thursday morning drenched in cold sweat, shivering uncontrollably, with a cough that sounded like if I were to give into it, I would soon be held by the warm embrace of the Grim Reaper themself.
After stubbornly waiting two days to go into urgent care, hoping my superhuman immune system might be able to fend off whatever this was (I hope you can hear my eyes rolling at my past self across the internet) I decided it was time to go to urgent care. My vitals were, um, less than ideal, with my fever at that point being around 103 degrees Fahrenheit. It turned out I had the flu.
What this means is that my writing, unfortunately, fell to the wayside as it was a Herculean task for me to focus on anything for more than four or five minutes at a time. I hoped that after getting the medicine I was going to be fine within a day or so, and be able to return to my routine. My hopes were thoroughly dashed against a rock when, thankfully, my fever did break (after coming back once or twice for a nighttime visit) but I discovered that the bug had transmutated from the flu to a sinus infection, and from there to an ear infection, which I am currently warding off with antibacterial pills the size of horse tranquilizers.
Though, somehow, through all of this, I only managed to not write for two days. What that says about my persistence, newly-placed stubborness, or just my refusal to admit that I am actually as sick as I am I’m not entirely sure. I fell behind a day in the 100 day Writing Challenge, though having done Tim Clare’s Couch to 80k bootcamp I can say, with previous experience, this is my least favorite part of the project.
I’ve never enjoyed free writes, because without a goal in mind, or some previously inspired idea, I often end up sitting at the blank page wracking my brain for an image or a scene of some kind. And through the brain fog of disease and the medicine I’m taking to fight it off, my brain was less like a garden of muses and more akin to an ancient battlefield scattered with flames and bodies.
I will admit though, the dreams I’ve been having are so strange, so completely beyond my understanding, that they seemed like the perfect source of inspiration. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Here is the transcription of one of my more fever-fueled dreams that I have yet to fully dissect.
DAY 12 – FREE WRITE # 2
My cousins car sputtered to a stop on the sand covered asphalt. The bag was next to me. It wasn’t big enough to fit a whole body. There could only have been an arm, maybe both. I grabbed the burlap sack and slammed the door shut behind me. The waves crashed against the all too near shore as I walked away from the tiny blue fiat. Beneath my feet the path gave way from asphalt to pure sand.
What a strange place to put a cemetery.
The tombstones lined the beach like little fences. The ones nearest to the shore were so far eroded that the names of those who lied beneath the were lost, as their bodies were soon going to be lost to the ocean. Past this first row, those brave souls waiting to be pulled out to sea, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to the arraignment of these markers. I kept walking, treading carefully between where I believed the bodies laid. I pulled the slip of paper from my pocket, with the address of the one I was looking for, the corpse to whom these missing pieces belonged, waiting to become whole once again.
Gregory never told me why these were here. Why he kept them locked in his basement,and based on the look in his eyes, I was too afraid to ask. Don’t act like you would’ve been any better. He’s family. You’re supposed to do anything for family.
The grave was on the far side of the beach, on the other side of the church that stood overlooking the water like a grey giant, with a beacon perched atop calling wayward souls back home.
It was in that first row. I couldn’t see a name, but it looked far older than most of the graves on the near side of the beach. All of the tombstones in this area did. This must have been the original cemetery, where the first idiots who thought it would be a good idea to put a graveyard on an eroding beach placed their dead.
I dug with my hands. It felt strange, disturbing the grave in such a casual way. Like I was a child, digging up sand to build a castle that will only too soon be washed away by the encroaching tide. After ten minutes or so, my finger scraped against rotted wood.
What it means, I have absolutely no idea. But there it is, in all it’s unedited and unfinished glory. I have faith that moving into this next week I’ll be able to get right back into the swing of it. Normally this kind of setback would ruin any momentum I’d previously made. But I have faith in myself. I’m not the person I was, the person who gives up the moment things don’t go their way. I’m going to keep moving forward, because that’s the only thing I can do.
Weekly Total: 2753
Best Day: Jan 8th – 775