Monday, July 6, 2015

The Impeded Stream

It’s not a bad thing to write when I have nothing to say. Or to state the converse, Why write when everything appears solved or resolved. As Wendell Berry put it, It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work. The mind not baffled is not employed.

I’m baffled. My daughter, the youngest, has tapped into the demons in my psyche. She’s overwhelmed by the forces of society and I’m overwhelmed by her. Janice has a congenital, profound hearing loss. She has gotten by understanding about two-thirds of what’s going on and faking the rest. She makes me wonder how much I fake.

For 52 years she has been living in a muddle having developed great survival skills. Now she has lost her job and must deal with government bureaucrats.  And in Texas yet where every agency is under-funded.

Unable to fill out the unemployment forms she lost many months of compensation. Her Social Security Disability payments have been reduced by a third because of a miscommunication. The Department for Assistance and Rehabilitation has determined she needs no help unless the Psychological Services Dept. deems it necessary. And so on. All this and she refuses to let me speak on her behalf.

It is Kafkaesque. My recurrent nightmare is being in a pharmacy with thousands of prescriptions coming at me which I’m unable to read or process with a computer I can’t figure out how to use. I have appropriated Janice’s imagined labyrinth.

The impeded stream is the one that sings, writes Berry. I’m hearing an Edvard Munch scream. Now a groan. I’m longing for a hearing loss. I’m trying to write my way to a good night's sleep.

Janice is singing her own song. If I listen hard enough I can hear it. She has told me off, to get out of the way. That’s when I have become deaf. I can’t walk in her shoes. My feet’s too big.  She is fiercely independent and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m still looking for the mid-distance were I can be not up close…. but personal.

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