Wednesday 12 May 2010

Internal Conflict Blog Fest

This isn't from any novel I've written. It's a stand alone piece. Be sure to check out the other entries. The links are in my side bar! :)

Noon resembles an ice cube in a glass of hot water. I slip in and out of it in what could philosophically be seconds. Nothing happens that is essentially important to me. I exist. What happens in the middle of the day, takes place everyday. Over and over … and over again. Certainly people must realize the damage routine can have on one’s psyche? Routine is a monotonous exhaustion. Routine demolishes the desire to differ. Routine is humiliating to the soul. Routine kills passion. It’s a disease. It’s Routinitus. And I’ve given up looking for a cure.

So I focus my attention elsewhere. Morning and Night. During the few short moments that I lie in bed before I open my eyes in the morning, I’m able to soak up the silence – its precious freedom – I’m the only one who subsists in this cocoon of linen soft on my body, from my toes to my chin—defending the intricacies of the flesh and spirit within—lying in a field of cotton, protected from the sun, the wind, the sea. There’s no time to think, just to feel – to feel the surrounding nothingness, tattoo peace into my skin. A few short moments of pleasant loneliness that spares me from sin.

As I lie in bed before I sleep at night I introduce myself to the dreams which await me; to the dreams I can never recall when I awake; to the dreams which take me so far away from reality that clicking my heals together will never return me home. I push my weightless body far into obscurity that I’m afraid to question where I am. But the fear isn’t the fear we experience on earth. It is a silent, hidden fear. It is a fear that summons elucidation. I’m able to relish it and believe that fate will take me to where I belong. Divine fate is believable in my dreams. I don’t need to make choices—they are already made, and the trust in those choices is axiomatic.

Although, no matter how hard you try to hold onto a pleasant moment, time races by in slow motion, it’s a fact of life – we cannot outrun it. No gold medal for the athlete who races against time. The short time periods within the long time periods travel slowly, but the long time periods travel fast. Therefore, the short time periods do actually travel fast, but we are tricked by illusions of life—living the moment. I once told my mother, ‘Learn to live the moment’. It was advice towards her endeavor for happiness. She once reiterated it to me, as though wise in her old age, forgetting that it was me she’d heard it from.

It doesn’t seem so long ago, I became a mother, as long as I avoid the mirror. I can still feel my legs in those stirrups—the sweaty doctor sucking the entire universe through my spasming black hole—muscles being pulled from my spine, from my thighs to my pelvis. What began as an insignificant seed violently pushed itself like a fist through tearing fabric. The only thought preventing me from slipping into unconsciousness was that, for this little miracle of life, there was light, not darkness, at the beginning of this long road. But how long do the lights stay on nowadays, before they burn out like an expiring fuse?

If time could stand still in reality like it does in my dreams, I would have stopped it right after my daughter was born. The intense happiness I felt, the moment I held her in my arms, was more thrilling than I imagine it would be if injected directly into my veins. I was high on life—on my daughter’s life—on our life—on our future.

The moments after my daughter’s birth were euphoric. The pool of blood I was sitting in may as well have been a shallow pale green rock pool in a remote lagoon. I didn’t feel an inkling of discomfort or disgust for what would normally make me squirm. She looked me in the eyes and I didn’t have to say a word. I understood. She understood. We had become one.

But as time passes, large memories become small; small memories become embellished; things we used to feel strongly about no longer inspire a passing thought. Children learn to live without their mothers; and mothers try to learn to live without their children. Then you are left alone. So alone that indignity haunts you for finding pleasure in the way bed linen feels on your skin—from toe to chin. You seek similar pleasures in curious places. In places that aren’t considered ‘normal’, until all you have to look forward to, is bed time; for those moments of pleasant loneliness, from here on in.

Don’t miss out on my contest! Critiques up for grabs!


  1. Awesome scene. I especially liked the part about after birth and all that ensues- how the happiness and memory of a moment fades. It's sad but so true. Thanks for sharing and letting us wade in someone else's thoughts for a bit! Really great stuff!

  2. I love how you write, may I say? I especially loved the first two paragraphs.'Routinitis' - I can so understand that. :)
    Anyway, this is really good, and I love how you write so poetically. It's so much more beautiful than a lot of writing anymore, reading it is delicious. Is that a weird word to use? :) Maybe. :)

  3. Hard to place where she is in the circle of life -- spinning round and round, getting nowhere, remembering lost joys, fragments of better times.

    To escape the routine in the caverns of sleep. You have done a great job of drawing the reader, even a male one like myself, into the mindset of your main character.

    Like T.S. Elliot warns us : the center does not hold -- at least for her. Hopefully, your anchor is more secure. Bravo on a stand-alone selection that lingers in the mind and the heart, Roland

  4. Wow, Bravo! It was one of those texts that makes us think about life, and our own perceptions of things like routine.
    It´s very philosophical, and I love pieces like this.Well done!

  5. I'm likin' all the time period talk. Got me thinking. I felt something 'ting' inside when she spoke (thought) of her daughter. The memories got me, too.

    You got me to connect. Awesome.

  6. You create such vivid pictures with your words. As a mother, it's true that every detail does fade over time. But for months, you can remember every second.

    Thanks for setting up the Blog Fest!

  7. Powerful stuff, thanks for sharing Jessica. Of course it was sad and poignant, but I didn't get a feeling of despair.

    For me I still remember many small details about the births of my daughters, but of course I'm not the mom so it doesn't even begin to compare.

    I do find myself now wondering what's been going on at noon for her. I certainly connected with this piece.

  8. Love it, Jessica! Routinitus! Perfect.

    Well done.


  9. I'm depressed, because this is totally me. Bedtime is a very real pleasure to me. Am I already that old?

  10. Oooh, I love your attention to detail here, it brings each image so vividly to mind!

  11. I love your use of sound devices especially in this melancholy and philosphical take on aging. I find new things to like on each rereading.

    Thanks for hosting the blogfest!

  12. Oh, and I forgot to add before: there's an award waiting for you at my blog!

  13. The first paragraph was my favorite and definitely pulled me in to this piece. After that, I was hooked. Great job with this one - I wish there was more :)

  14. Sometimes I'm an emotional person. This almost made me cry. I'm REALLY emotional about my own daughter, so that's why. Thank you for sharing this.

    It was wonderful to read one that wasn't about a

    This line was my favorite, although it made me the saddest:

    Children learn to live without their mothers; and mothers try to learn to live without their children.


  15. Nice...

    Wrote an internal conflict scene as well.

  16. Excellent detail! Great job. Thanks for sharing :-)

  17. You have an excellent way with words,I enjoyed the postvery much and was a great pleasure to read.


  18. We seem to always be on the same kind of page (aka babies this time).

    I love the way you say things. The birthing image is true and disgusting all at the same time! Very vivid.

  19. Routinitis is so real. Comforting and debilitating at the same time.

    I particularly liked the ice cube bit, although it makes me wonder if there's some kind of drinking problem going on for this character.

    Nice piece!

  20. Psst...this has been great today.

    Thanks for noticing my blunder and telling me. I went back and re-entered the Whoo-hoo contest, adding the entries and posting the notice in my post today. I'd already signed you up in my sidebar.

    Great blog, by the way. Can't believe it took me so long to find you.

    And once again, loved the way you drew me into her thoughts!!


  21. Mine is up now! I didn't forget - honest! It's still 9:40 am here on the west coast!

    Loved yours. As a mom, I could totally relate, especially "Children learn to live without their mothers; and mothers try to learn to live without their children. Then you are left alone." My oldest starts middle school next year. I'm so not ready for her to grow up!

  22. Great job!!! I too did a stand alone piece! I'm so glad you decided to hold this fantastic blogfest! I really enjoyed it and now plan on hopping over to others blogs to see what they are offering!

  23. This is great! Particularly like 'routinitus'. If it isn't a medical term, it certainly should be.

  24. This is so flowy, so beautiful - so opposite mine, lol.

    Love it. Thanks fr hosting :)

  25. Loved the 'Routinitus' and nothingness that engulfs her. Remembering the joyful first moments of a childs life. Very gripping.

  26. Depressing. :(
    I hope she finds something less routine. All her energy is focused on that one moment in time...where moments like that can happen any day if you're willing to take risks...
    I just want to strangle or slap her, because she brings this on herself.
    Nice job, a piece that gets me bothered is a good piece.

  27. My favorite line is this one:

    so far away from reality that clicking my heals together will never return me home.

    I thought it was awesome. I feel so sad for her, though. I hope something shakes things up for her and breaks her out of the "routinitis"

  28. Nice work. I like the introduction part. Routinitis, great touch to the voice of the overall piece.

    And awesome blogfest!

  29. Okay! I'm going to start to sound like a broken record but how much more powerful of a writer can you be?? this really grabbed me, sucked me in and took me somewhere I didn't see coming. Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!

    Fave line--"Routine is humiliating to the soul." Damn right it is!! So great how you took a relatable concept to all readers and then took us again to another relatable topic but in such a unique way!

    Other fave line! "So alone that indignity haunts you for finding pleasure in the way bed linen feels on your skin"
    One more, hard to choose---"We had become one." If anyone else had used that line it would have come off hokie and cliche but you, my dear pulled a powerful punch with that one!

    Awesome idea for a contest!! Thx for hosting and for teaching me a new word,axiomatic!

  30. It's a very philosophical moment, with a strong ending.

  31. Gorgeous writing. Powerful, riveting and a poignant reminder of why I'm stuck writing genre fiction.

    Routinitus is awful, and it should be a word because so many of us suffer from it, but it was the paragraph on time that touched me most. Time, our lives, pass by so quickly without our even realizing it. LIving the moment whether it's the instant you hold your new baby or the moment spent appreciating fine linen against your skin, it's all we have. This is stunning, Jessica.

    Oh, and superb blogfest. Thx for hosting!

  32. Great stuff here! Very evocative, visceral, vivid. Excellent work. :)

  33. You write really well! Your words have a nice flow, and I felt like it was a friend confiding in me instead of reading a passage. Great work!

  34. Again, you impress. I love how you tease your words into place. You're a rock star. :)

  35. This is beautiful. I am not a mother yet, but I thought of my own Mom as I read this. I think she would really be able to relate, and maybe I'll make her read it.

    Great blog fest! Can't wait to read the rest of the entries. :)

  36. Wow, a deeply moving experience, coming full circle from daughter, to mother, daughter again.

    I am saddened by the thought of growing older myself; watching my children bear and raise children of their own, thinking that one day they will be my age - as I never thought I would be - and perhaps sitting in their own pool of memories.

    Thank goodness there are no mirrors where I sit!


  37. Thanks for all your wonderful comments! And for participating. Some real quality writing going on here, it's been wonderful to read everyone's material.

    And ... dun dun dun ... to toot a couple of horns, well, four to be exact, and I mention these because they had the biggest emotional impact on me, not because of writing skill - everyone's entries were amazing.

    My favorite entries were, Candyland’s, Donn Hole’s, V.R. Barkowski’s, and Angie Paxton’s. So if you haven't read them yet, do so NOW!!!!

  38. I just wanted to come back and say 'thanks for hosting this!' I had a great time reading other blogfest posts and found some really great new blogs to follow, so thanks!

  39. You're welcome Katie! Thanks so much for taking part too :)

  40. I am so envious of your writing skill. And that of the others who have written amazing words.

  41. Hey Melbourne, your Internal Conflict Blogfest inspired some thoughts on my part. I would LOVE if you stopped by and added your two bits.

    See, the blogfest was about something I never really thought about until I started looking for examples and discovered I had none.

    Weird. I know.

    Anyway, we had a good discussion on it today. Educational on my part for sure.

    - Eric
    Click for Worms


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

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