crowded head


These days I have 4 jobs: 1) a part-time job as an HR director at a high tech startup, 2) a part-time job as a coordinator for an Asian American student retention program, 3) fiction editor for a small litmag, and 4) writing my novel (and now my memoir).

So my mind’s crowded. I’m grateful for all the projects: 2 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this while recovering from my stroke…and I am fortunate in this economy to have a job (even though it’s still a shift from the golden pre-economic-crash-depression days).

My mind’s also crowded because I am focusing as much as possible on my novel these days, and not so much short stories. So that means all these scenarios get into my head and I have no outlet for them. Not that they’d even make it into stories of course, but still, I like to bat weird things around in my mind.

Like how my OCD began. I think about the time my mother told me to never be near anything dirty, ever, because “once you get a white handkerchief dirty, you can never get it that white again, even if you wash it many times.” She also called cleaning house “disinfecting,” a term she probably learned as a nurse. And working at the surgery center for a few years didn’t help: I was never so sick so often as when I worked there, and yet I was surrounded by lots of disinfectants and an obsession for cleanliness and most of all, a lot of greed. Inside my head, I kept trying to clean that greed off of me. But I never got myself as clean again, never as white as that first handkerchief had been.

Of course, there was the Aliens movie, when the Android tells Ripley he found humans disgusting–I remember to this day the way in which he, with great revulsion, detailed how we eat food, and that it comes out as vile waste. Ew. Yah. I didn’t appreciate being a human at the time.

Or about the woman who sat next to me today in an afternoon meeting at my community college job. I sat with my friends to the right, and this lady I’d never seen before, to my left. She had a tiffin tin, and I remarked upon the metal contraption (I looove tiffin tins). She’d brought a salad. I made a bit of small talk, which she took as permission to blabber. She was nice, but she did not care about her audience, and whether or not she was connecting with her audience (me).

Her eyes peeled open wide (and I mean wiiiide), she raved about her raw food diet, and detailed the contents of her lunch, and raved on and on about Cafe Gratitude, a place I find repulsive (the attitude there makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up–it’s not an overtly rude attitude but one of great saccharine cheerfulness). Ohgawd. In most situations, I would have gotten up and extricated myself somehow, saying I needed to go talk to someone. But nope. I was sitting next to her.

To my right of course, were my friends chomping on McDonald’s chicken mcnuggets. Wobbedy wobbedy wobbedy–how awesome and weird and completely opposite, is that?

This is why I don’t like to sit in the middle of long tables. I feel like I’m being pulled apart in two different conversational directions: the group at one end, and the group at the other end of the table. It’s schizophrenic.

I picked up an overpriced prescription. I came home to two literary rejections. Yay. Not. But whatever.

It seems like a very very long time ago that I was in Austin at a friend’s wedding in early April.

I’ve begun running on this Couch-to-5K plan. It’s amazing–I am really liking the running thing. And I have discovered that since having the hole in my heart (PFO) closed, I can actually do aerobic exercise without intense difficulty. It’s like a miracle. Ever since I was a child, I have been unable to run without feeling like I was going to die (seriously, it was that painful). Even with daily exercise, I’d find myself gasping for air. I marveled at how other people could run.

And now I am becoming one of those people. The running is good for me, physically and psychically. I also wonder if as the farther I am able to run, the longer I’ll be able to write, whether I am programming myself to go the distance, to endure.



Filed under Life, Miscellaneous

5 responses to “crowded head

  1. Roald Dahl always kept a notebook filled with ideas, everytime some character came into his head and started rattling around for attention, he would write a reminder and a little about him so there was a place. Seems a good idea. Don’t know if that would work for you or not, but it struck me as neat!

  2. oreneta: i love that idea. i am always emailing myself the ideas, and i just started using evernote!

  3. anonwupfan

    Oreneta is right on, save them for later in a notebook (oh, to see the Roald Dahl ideas that didn’t make the cut!) Even a slightly developed idea will be like a gift from heaven later. Beware the loose note–you will end up with a Rock o’ Gibraltar-sized pile (or EN account, I suppose) of emails/notes!

    I think that your tiffin tin (mmm, shiny and oh-so-compact) buddy might have plenty in common with the nugget munchers, things are not always as they seem at first blush. It depends on the temperature of the fryer and how frozen they were to begin with, but rest assured those McNuggets may be very, very close to raw food!

    Keep running JP. Lope as would the spring buck. A crowded mind is a mind extant. The handkerchief was made to be used, if it’s white it isn’t yet serving its purpose.

  4. amy

    Inspiring post! Makes me want to get out and run, and find any time I can to write/work on novel. Perhaps the crowded mind (so many activities at once) might be energizing/inspiring in the long run? I hope so.

  5. Eve

    I’m so glad to hear you’re writing a memoir about your stroke and recovery… AND working on that novel!

    But wow… what a lot of work you’re doing…!

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