I haven’t posted my own words on this blog since settling my mother into an assisted living apartment in April. It is difficult to concentrate or focus, or to find the writer’s peace of mind so necessary to the work. To write with authenticity, to write well, it is necessary to tap into the deepest, interior, raw regions of the writer’s soul.
Quite honestly, I am afraid to do so publicly.
To create fiction, it is necessary to find interior silence, that meditative space within oneself from which the voices and personas of new characters spring— where settings grow like wild flowers and weeds, and plots are uncovered through uninterrupted, keen observation of that evolving alternative reality.
I pause life, hoping to gaze into that meditative space, but find only chronicles of my mother’s biography instead. Every voice and persona are hers. Every setting a photograph from the past and present. I am an unwilling observer; the only keen observer of her devolving alternate reality.
I look into my heart and feel only sorrow and anger overtaking me from a lifetime’s bittersweet and complicated relationship, and its loss. Her presence has become a growing mushroom cloud overshadowing all else. My emotions have become a storm so intense that I dare not tap into their ferocity with words that post publicly.
Dementia has been a cruel parasite within my mother. It has decimated the filters which once protected her, exposing her weaknesses and her doubts and her fears and her ugliness. It has eaten away her masks. The masks once used to project what she must, to protect those she loved, and hold herself harmless. And in that decimation I have myself become exposed, a more vulnerable moving target than ever before.
And here, I must stop; my masks are intact.