"My mind is going, I can feel it." Remember Hal, the sinister computer that ran the entire space ship in "2001, Space Odyssey"? I love that line from that movie, uttered by a fading Hal as his hard drive is shutting down.
Hal came to mind one morning last week while I was sitting on my deck, coffee in hand, in my usual just-got-up daze. That's when my eyes locked onto something and would not, could not, look away.
Mesmerized by the rays of early sunlight reflecting off a lazily turning wind chime, I became completely lost in its gentle motion for a while. It took me somewhere else, over the border for a bit.
The revolving rainbow of intensely pure colors shining from beveled-glass trinkets as they turned slowly in the cool morning breeze seemed like the most awesome display of natural beauty I'd ever seen.
Accompanied by the soothing "tinkle, tink, tinkle, tink" of the delicately ringing chimes, this Kodachrome-perfect colorful kalidiscope shifted my brain from a sleepy first gear right back into neutral, where it idled pleasantly until the spell was broken by a dog's flapping tail.
Frankly, I think this impressed me so much because it's been a long time since anything seemed so cool to me while I was in a state of total sobriety. Seriously.
Anyway, when I snapped out of it, came back down to Earth, took a sip of coffee and tried to get my brain back in gear, the zen moment dissolved. My ever-joking inner voice chose to make this comment in my head: "My mind is going, I can feel it."
It was the voice of "2001, Space Oddesy's" Hal, and I suddenly knew exactly how he felt when his processor crashed. I was mind blown; gears in my head were spinning.
Have I told you that my mom died on the same day as my husband's fatal motorcycle crash this spring? No, I am not kidding. That is what you call "mind boggling." Henceforth, the hill of my hold on sanity has been a little bit of a slipperly slope sometimes in recent months.
Not that I am usually exactly what you'd call totally nuts, in spite of what some of my friends might say. No, I am not actually insane, just very creative; it's just that I have a very good imagination.
So, in the wake of such big grief, you may wonder: How am I doing? Compared to what, or to whom? What's the norm for someone going through something so abnormal?
Most of the time, I wonder if I might be "borderline" something. Psychologists love to describe patients as having "borderline personality disorder," or some similar vague diagnosis that sounds like a mental hangnail; not quite serious enough for hospitilazation, but troublesome enough to require medication.
Being "borderline" anything seems to imply that you're on the verge of a disasterous disorder, just two clicks away from a dreaded diagnosis, teetering on the rim of a perilous pit of lunacy.
It's far better to be borderline something than all-the-way anything, I'd say.
Who isn't borderline something at least once in a while? It is possible to step back from a borderline; you are not automatically compelled to cross over it into a totally dire, undesirable disorder.
If that happens however, it is also perfectly possible after going over a border into an undesirable state of mind, to then do a reverse and cross back over into your previous and presumably better state of mind. Don't you agree? Are we still on the same page here? Hang in there with me here a little bit longer.
Okay, so what, you may ask, is the point of this entirely ludicrous and too-lengthy electronic epistle? Well, it's to see if I can still write. In my day, I used to be a pretty good writer, or at least borderline good. Now, as I coast along in my senior-citizen state of mind, I wonder if I have become even more creatively entertaining, or am I now just plain nuts?
The pressing question, then, is this: If I do begin to write a regular column again, would anyone want to read it? And that, questionable sanity and all other issues aside, is it in a nutshell, so's to speak. Nutshell, get it? Oh stop it.
Bottom line: Writers need readers, or why bother? I have readers, tons of them, I'll bet.
Well, okay, I actually only know of one or two people who for sure would like to read what I write. Yes, I do. I have at least two bonafide, regular readers, in fact they're more like fans. Yes, my fans, that's what they are.
They're big fans of my work, loyal readers, and immediate family and mental-health counselors do too, count.