Monday, October 22, 2012

Home Remedies, Part Two.

I once posted about home remedies for getting rid of a cold. Well, that time has come again. I've been coughing a good bit the past 24 hours. Boo. What's funny is that I first started feeling "virusy" on Wednesday night of last week. I went home and texted my coeditor, Brian, that I was coming down with something.

"Eat a whole grapefruit, even the white stuff," he instructed. "Then hold your nose and breathe through your mouth. You need to heat up the germs inside your nose and kill them."

Since I always listen to Brian, I got dressed, drove to Publix, and wolfed down an entire grapefruit faster than you can say "dietary fad." I saved the second grapefruit I'd bought for the morning, then ate it, too.

For a day or so I felt better and thought I'd beaten it. Then, on Sunday, I woke up with serious scratchiness in my throat. I knew then that the germs were stubborn and had fled my nose only to settle in my chest.

So I did what any innovative person would do - I ordered spicy cocktails and spicy food all day long.

"What drink on this list would be good for a chest cold?" I asked the bartender. (Luckily we were having Thai food at Basil that night, so it was easy.)  "And can you suggest an entree?"

By the end of dinner I felt like I had smoke coming out of my ears. Still, today I'm coughing. I'm coughing as I write this, despite my spicy chicken sandwich at lunch, and despite the sip of booze that  my tutoring clients gave me. Yep. They gave me liquor to sip while I quizzed their daughter on Voltaire.

"You want a shot of brandy? That always helps me!" my student's mother crowed. I held my nose and chased it with sweet tea left from my lunch. Disgusting.

It's impossible to tell if I've cut the severity of this cold with all my zealous "home treatments," but at least the mission has been a fun one. I haven't taken any cold medicine yet and I don't plan to. After all, I have hot-n-sour soup and Kentucky bourbon in my kitchen. What more does a sick gal need?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What's Mysterious About Inspiration? Everything.

Last night my friend Emily visited Charleston and all of us went to Friday night trivia at the Pour House. I proceeded to explain to Em how, this week, I finally wrote a poem that I've been waiting to write for months. Em is not a poet, but I knew she'd find the story behind the inspiration interesting.

A couple of months ago when the weather was still scorching hot, they tore down the original Harbor View Elementary School in my neighborhood. It was a creepy sight for a good few days--bits of building already gone, the parts still there not at all a sufficient reminder of happy elementary-age kids learning how to read and do arithmetic. I was inspired by the building being torn section by section, and the meaning behind it, but try as I might, I could not capture my feeling on paper.

Until the other day, when I visited Facebook and, out of the blue, saw where one of Emily's best drinking buddies just entered a relationship.

We probably won't see as much of that guy anymore, I thought to myself. And if we do, it won't be exactly the same. 

Then...BOOM!!! It was like a thunderbolt of inspiration over my head. I couldn't get the words out of me quickly enough. And the poem that erupted from my head was about Harbor View Elementary! Most peculiar, I thought. How would seeing a new relationship on Facebook cause me to find the inspiration for that poem I'd been dying to write for months?

Inspiration is like that. Now before I start getting a bunch of boos and hisses about the craft of poetry and how the craft is what truly matters (which is not something I'm arguing) I still maintain that the first inkling of a poem, the moment that tickles you enough to make you pull a notebook or computer out, is mysterious. All I can do in preparation for this mystery is be open to it, and not let good lines escape out of laziness or lack of convenience or whatever.

The Harbor View Elementary poem is now one of my personal favorites, and if I had ignored the funny detour my inspiration caused, I would not have it.