Of “Just Right” and Minds Blown

Of “Just Right” and Minds Blown

I’ve often wondered if I can call myself a writer even if I have never sold my work. I’m often described as having a “gift for words”. My husband calls me a Wordsmith.

The reason this comes up is because lately I have suffered from Writer’s Block. But if I am technically not a writer, then this point is moot.

My husband tells me, when I am unable to craft a story, that I am not “pained” enough. If he is right, Writer’s Block is the better of the two afflictions. I would rather be blocked than boxed in pain with only one release valve.

In this one aspect, I believe my husband, who is usually right (please don’t repeat that), may be wrong. Great joy also feeds my creativity. Lately I have been, like the wee bear in the story, neither hot nor cold, but “just right”. And like his porridge, not very exciting.

Within the realm of Tourette Syndrome, “just right” is a desirable place to be. Excitement, anticipation and anxiety all feel similar whereas calm and focus are a rare experience to be treasured. My silence then, has only been indicative of routine and relaxation of neurons and chemistry.

At this moment I am savouring a glass of Argentinian red and watching the baby goats in the field behind my house skipping in the spring evening, playing for the joy of it. Chris Hadfield’s wonderful book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is on my mind although I read it months ago, and I am thinking about his advice to “sweat the small stuff because in his line of work everything is small stuff” and I agree because that’s also true with Tourette’s. Small things are so important because they are the details making up the big picture. And even though Chris Hadfield may not have exactly meant what I am taking from his words, I think he would be okay with what his words mean to me. From the tag in the back of my shirt to the sound of the kitchen hood fan to the amount of sunlight directed at me through the window, the little things matter. Like the debris in his eye during a spacewalk that rendered him temporarily blind, there are irritants to a person with Tourette Syndrome (or the other many splendoured neurodiverse conditions out there) that can render us temporarily blind to the moment or the big picture.

There was a morning in the past weeks that was irritating. I don’t remember now what the irritant was or why it felt like such a big deal but I do remember thinking I needed to fix it before it became a problem. Because when Tourette Syndrome is a problem, it crowds out everything else and can turn into a cycle of misfires that end with a crash and burn. So just before I finished breakfast, I decided to tune into whatever was happening in the world to gain perspective for my irritant.

And perspective I most certainly gained.

I happened to tune in just as NASA and SpaceX launched the Dragon spacecraft with the Falcon rocket. By now I’m sure you know what this is. If not, please perform an internet search and catch up. I can wait. Trust me, it’s worth it…

Suddenly I was a child again, gathered with my classmates into the school library with the TV on the wheeled stand at the front of the room and we are all watching the Space Shuttle launch. This is no science fiction movie, this is real life, our teacher reminds us, and we are mesmerized that real life is taking people to space.

I was still watching the Falcon and Dragon live when I got in the shower, wiping a window in the steam to gauge the progress as it played on my tablet. Then while getting dressed, I saw something that blew my mind. I watched the Falcon return to earth and land, with perfect precision, directly on the bullseye on the landing pad. Directly on the bullseye.

A rocket returned to earth and backed into its parking spot.

It took my breath away.

And it took me out of myself. I felt so small—good and small. Irritants disappeared. The sight I had just seen connected with what I had learned in Chris Hadfield’s book and forged a connection in my brain I could feel lighting up. I was excited and humbled and awed by the minds behind the launch and landing.

And in that moment I decided I would learn something every day that blew my mind, that took me out of myself, that calmed irritation.

So that it my promise to you: No more silence regardless of joys or darkness or mediocrity. I will seek out things that blow my mind and share them with you. Wordsmith, writer or not—I have a blog and a few readers and a unique bend of mind. Tourette’s or not—it’s good to feel small and in awe. 

What about you, dear reader? What have you learned lately that has blown your mind or made you feel like a child again? I would love to hear from you! Please comment below.

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2 Replies to “Of “Just Right” and Minds Blown”

  1. What blows my mind…..hmmm, sometimes it’s looking at my kids and realizing that they look just like me. But this week, what blows my mind is that the Russians have declared the “New World Translation” as extremist material and it is now banned like many of our other publications. It’s the same Bible as yours people!!!! I have to say Lori, this blows my mind. As do you, please keep the stories coming. I love to read your writings!!

    1. Spitting images—both children and translations. It is amazing how our brains can compute both what is exceptionally beautiful and what is exceptionally prejudiced. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for reading!

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