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  • I don’t know but I’ve been told there’s a time from time to time
    I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, but I just might move my feet
    ‘Cause there’s nothing like the sound of sweet soul music
    To change a young lady’s mind
    And there’s nothing like a walk on down by the bayou
    To leave the world behind

    From Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, by James Taylor

    I’ve been having a little trouble finding my authentic voice the past few days. It’s been awhile since this has happened. I can’t write just for the sake of writing. I’ve never been able to do that. I write when I feel like I have something to say. The past few days, I just haven’t been feeling it, so I haven’t tried to force it. I’ve dutifully sat down and made the attempt, but whatever came out just looked like “Blah, blah, blah” to me, and I’m really not into “blah, blah, blah”, and didn’t think anyone else would be, either.

    I’ve been doing more reading, lately, taking the time to do that. Not just other Cowbird stories, although that’s something I always try to find the time to do. It was harder for a couple of weeks there, with everything going on, but I found some time, here and there, to read a few.

    I’ve been reading and hearing more and more about how excessive reading on the internet can change how the brain works and processes information, making it harder to keep focused on traditional reading, like books. I could see it. Prior to this year, I was never a heavy on-line reader, not like I have been since joining Cowbird. I have noticed that I haven’t been doing nearly as much traditional reading this year. Usually, by now, I would have read about 30 or 40 good sized books over the course of the past six months. I’ve read about 3 or 4. Whoa! That’s some pretty compelling data, right there.

    So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Friday night was poker night with the boys, and they were all talking about this local author, Tim Wendel, who wrote “Castro’s Curveball” and who recently wrote “Summer of ’68 – The Season that Changed Baseball – and America – Forever”. From their descriptions, it sounded pretty good, so I downloaded it onto my kindle and am reading that. Tim used to play on my softball team, before I did. Back when the team’s high point was 6 victories in a 20 game season. (We’ve gotten a little better since those days). It’s actually pretty well written.

    I’ve also downloaded a number of sample books on my kindle, and inherited a book from J.B. that he’d picked up to read on his flight back from California, when his kindle had run out of juice. I know, it’s pretty strange when “downloading books to my kindle” qualifies as “traditional reading”, but that’s where it’s at. I’ve recently found myself drawn to Virginia Woolf and Hunter S. Thompson, so I’m checking out a few of their books, while I also try to finish plowing through “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. Good book, but I’ve gotten bogged down a couple of times reading it. I keep wondering if it’s that attention span thing they’re talking about, or that I just find it a bit tedious at times.

    I quoted the James Taylor song above because, it’s one that comes to mind when I find myself beginning to come out of depression. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been stuck between stages of grief the past several days, and know that I’ve been experiencing some depression behind it. When you’ve had experiences of severe depression, like I have, you come to recognize the signs early on, and do whatever it takes to move through it, as quickly as you can.

    When I was much younger, I could easily get stuck there for months at a time. Nowadays, 2 days is enough for me. There’s nothing about it that I like, especially the feeling of being cut off from life. It’s not like I’ve been sitting around, wallowing in it or anything like that – there hasn’t been time for that. It’s just that emotional numbness that comes over you when conflicting emotions collide inside, and come to a freakin’ stalemate in your soul. “Knock it off in there, guys! Figure it out, and let’s move on, already!” I just have to keep plowing through it, trying to learn whatever lesson there might be to be learned from it, if any, allow myself to feel whatever it is that I might be trying to avoid, and then move the hell on. I get impatient with the process.

    I’m spoiled, I know. I’ve grown accustomed to enjoying life on most days, and having a few days strung together where I’m not feeling the joy of living, just, frankly, sucks. Yesterday morning, I dragged my butt out to the bike trail with my bike. It was a nice, cool morning, Autumn definitely in the air, but I would much rather have sat in my recliner and read Cowbird stories and tried, once again, to write something. But, I forced myself out onto the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, and that really helped me to work through this thing. I punched up “Shuffle Songs” on my Ipod, and it responded with a perfect mix of tunes for the ride and the mood. I found myself out there where the trail was just teeming with life, and just kept pushing myself to keep going. “Wait, I forgot my inhaler, I gotta go back” – no, man, just keep going. If you need a puff when you get back, you can always do that. (I have “exercise-induced asthma”, and am supposed to take a couple of puffs before doing any strenuous exercise).

    Today, I go back to work. I’ve been mostly dreading it. Everyone is going to want to express their sympathy. I know, it’s what you do. But, I just want everything to get back to normal, whatever the hell that is. It’s like, when we got home on Wednesday evening. We were so busy for two days, I didn’t bother looking at the mail until Friday. Then, there was a big pile of sympathy cards. Damn. I thought we’d already done all of this. But, we were away. All of the expressions through e-methods were great, and really helped get through the most difficult time of it. But, now, coming home, it’s like taking a step back. It just felt incongruous. I was worried that returning to work would be like that.

    But, now I’m looking forward to it. I just want to get back to my life, now. I’m ready to dive back in. Here goes.
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