Monday, February 25, 2013

Coughing Up Words

For the past three weeks I've had a hacking cough.  I can't seem to shake it.  I've tried allergy medication, cold medication, home remedies, soft drinks and hard liquor.  I've tried starving it, feeding it, supressing it, and letting it rip.  I've subsisted on hot tea, coffee, water, and anything that will give me relief from that scratchy feeling.  And I've also tried prayer and fasting.  It is, after all, Lent.

But for the past three nights I've awakened at 1 a.m., unable to stop coughing.  The only activity that gives me relief is writing.

And so, that's what I do.  I sit.  I cough.  I write.  In the dark.  Alone. 

Amazing how the mind works on scant sleep.  I imagine all sorts of scenarios and visions.  I've written poems, essays, papers, features.  I've written chapters and cover letters.  I've written book reviews and columns.

In the morning, usually after falling asleep on the couch with spittle running down my cheeks . . . I don't recall a thing. 

I'm always amazed, the next day, to discover my latest files.  I wonder:  "How did I write that?", "What was I thinking?" or "Must have been the medication (or lack of it)."

All in all, this nagging cough is increasing my production.  Some nights, I've written all night long or until the break of day.

Still, I don't get no satisfaction.  But that's a song, isn't it?

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