Thanks everyone – for all the words of encouragement, regarding my last post.  The problem is no more resolved, but I feel a lot better.  The school offices don’t seem up to helping me out, they all turned me away.


But I did write a new slogan for the UIS administration…


UIS – We’ll help you through every hurdle…unless we can think of a reason not to.


But it’s ok, I’m exploring other avenues and loan possibilities – his name’s Johnny the Snake – his office is in a back alley, but he says he has competitive rates, and I get my choice of fingers or toes if I run late with the payments.


I was very stressed yesterday…but stress can go only so far.  I have an automatic release switch, built into my psyche.  It formed, one day, when I was in sixth grade.  The pressures of homework, a school show, the normal embarrassments and intimidations of my grade-school life all came to a boiling point (you see, back then, I was very, very quiet and kept my emotions very, very buried and bottled up).  All it took to set it all off was a particularly nasty Math teacher yelling at me (she was a former nun…I like to think she was kicked out for excessive force).  She always asked students for quarters (in a thick east coast accent…”I wanna quata!”) if their math books did not have book covers and the way she pronounced my last name sounded like some mutant serpent having a mating-gasm (“Mista Deetss-ss-ss”).  The way these characteristics are building up…you’d think I invented this character.  But no.  I still know a couple people who remember her.  Anyway, I didn’t have my homework one day (on very little sleep form doing some after school show and other homework)…or maybe I just didn’t hear when she asked for the work.  She looked through the pile…didn’t see mine.  Mista Deetss-ss-ss?”  I opened my mouth to speak, but just after the first syllable, she slammed her book down and yelled something (I forget what) before I could get through even a word to confirm or deny her suspicions.  BAM.  Flood gates opened.  I started sobbing and could not stop.  I just had a breakdown.  Embarrassment and tears and quarters and math books.  I hate math.  I eventually, was sent home.


After that day, I didn’t bottle things up so tightly.  I formed my release button.  From then on, stress built to a certain point…and then ZAP, the circuit breaker would shoot off, cutting power, releasing all the stress into the stratosphere.  At that moment, my view of things gets lopsided, I get a little loopy, a go a little crazy (just crazy enough to stay sane), and I start seeing the absurdity in the realities that stress me.  I laugh a lot.


As for the math teacher.  My avenger came in the form of a little garter snake (a ribbon snake) that I owned in the 7th or 8th grade.  I purchased him for a project I was working on for the science fair (testing and comparing the three primary senses in a snake’s hunting: sight, vibrations, and the taste/smelling of their tongues).  The science room was the same as the math room.  The snake was packed in a bucket, the fair was over, school was about to get out.  It was me and a couple students in the room.  I heard the math teacher come in and say, “What’s this?”  My back was turned to her…but (from the events that followed) I can picture what happened next.  I can, with a Cheshire grin, imagine her opening the object of her curiosity…my bucket.


“JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH!!!”  I whipped around, hearing this, in time to see her flying backwards, her feet not seeming to really touch the ground, like a floating, shrieking banshee that was just repelled by a cross.  I and a couple other students got a great laugh.  I like science better than math.  I like snakes.


So now, stress, mostly, can only affect me so far.  I have a quota before I purge myself of rationality and fear.  I remember, back as an undergrad, when a bunch of us were in director’s class and starting to freak out at our impending shows.  One day, the stress finally hit me, and I remember, walking into the theatre, that maybe Dee or Amy saw me and said something like, “Oh crap…even you’re stressed Josh?  We’re doomed!”


As it turns out, we weren’t.  Stage-scrim disasters aside.


Tonight I actually got a little writing done.  I was stuck on a plot point…really stuck.  But I did what I did when I wrote the sort of prototype poem, a few years ago, that led to this whole thesis.  I was stuck for at least a week and, not knowing how else to start my long poem, I looked up some voodoo prayers (since the character was a priestess) and just picked one and put it down at the head of the poem.  Sometimes, if you start with someone else’s words, it primes your engine and, taking a running start, the starter turns and you’re off.  And I was.  I did it as an exercise, but ended-up keeping the prayer in – master word-thief that I am.  So that’s what I did tonight…looked at random prayers.  BAM!  One just happened to fit, just right, turned the whole chapter into something a little different, with many more dimensions.  He-he…I was dancing on the ceiling.  That’s when writing is going good…


Bradbury says we write so the real world cannot destroy us.  That’s what is for me.  Especially tonight.  Cops and finances be damned.  I put on my bullet proof vest.  I also find that becoming eccentric can keep the real world from destroying me.  Two vests.


When writing is going good.  Real good.  It’s better than sex.  Sometimes, I like it better than being loved.