Karen Rivers


Karen Rivers

You have that dream where the credit cards are stolen and the hotel bill needs to be paid but somehow the elevator is broken, going too fast and letting go, and you know even when you're in it that it's a dream and you're screaming and the kids are gone and the elevator is dropping and inexlicably you're throwing up and someone is shouting so you wake up and the room is spinning and why not, of course it is.  The vertigo is real, the dream isn't.  The migraine soaks slowly from the top of your head down the back of your neck like ink being absorbed by the wet paper of your bones.


Well, you still have to write.   Things need writing, whether or not the room tilts this way and that, like a carnival ride.  


You had written a book that emerged whole, like a piece of very very very thin glass worked into a very specfic shape.  Now it is either worse or better.  Each edit has felt dangerous, like hitting the delicate wings of the thing with a rusty claw hammer.  At the same time as being difficult to do, it has also been thrilling.  You are either destroying the thing or perfecting it and until someone else sees it, you won't know which result occurred.  


Still, your head aches and aches.


It is almost Christmas, but first there are school concerts and basketball games, the idea of both making your skull feel as though it is cleaving down the middle into two equal (and equally shattered) halves.   What does it all mean?

You're spread too thin, people say, as though you are butter and life is bread and there just isn't quite enough of you to reach the edges.  Well, the kids don't eat the crusts, anyway.   All you can do is the best you can do.  You, being a solid unspreadable hunk of dairy, are just trying so hard not to tear rough holes in the bread that sustains you.  


Blogging is all practice in writing metaphors.  You write a disguise around a thing and pull it tight, wrap a detail in a story about something else, such that every word is masquerading as another.   Add feathery masks, encrusted with jewels.  Hide things.  You probably shouldn't write while enduring a migraine, the light spilling over and into your eyes, melting the print into writhing dancers, waltzing grotesquely across the cold white snow of the unforgiving screen.