Gina Lawless Books

July 28, 2012

Battling With My Demons

I know all of you missed me out there (snicker-snicker) as you wondered, where did she go? I needed to take a much-needed mini vaca with my husband to re-charge my batteries. And his. He insisted we go to the coast for a three-day weekend to get away from our life. I went…kicking and screaming…but so glad we did. This place we went to has no phone, and no internet, so I was forced to try to make my brain  maintain calmness that it isn’t used to. I didn’t have any choice in the matter, so I had to submit.  Of course, I took my laptop knowing that while we were there, I could at least do some writing. I didn’t even do that! This place is nestled by the coastline and amid pines and rolling hills. How can anyone disclaim this natural beauty, ignore it, or take it for granted? I realized this question as I looked out from our friend’s back patio overlooking the green hills covered with Douglas Fir and Myrtlewood trees, and down into a pasture that held a herd of grazing Palomino horses. The sun behind me casting those long romantic shadows across the meadow.

If I’m looking down all of the time, how can I acknowledge this spectacular vision before me? How can I write about it accurately? How can I write about it at all? After all, I didn’t create this landscape. Then and there, I knew I would never be able to escape from writing. Never. Instead of just enjoying the view, here I am staring at a vision and trying to describe it in my head. Trying to make poetry out of this tangible sight, and trying to describe the colors, the smells and the feeling it gives me. I am cursed with this as was my father’s family before me. I simply can’t enjoy the breathtaking view that nature has created. I must make it into words that can convey what is burning into my retina.

So, I take a deep breath in, then exhale. Trying again to let go of the gnawing angst of molding thoughts, sensations, and visions into words. I take a drink of my crappy cup of coffee which has turned cold. The chill reaches the back of my neck and grips me hard, even shakes me a little. You will never be rid of me. I will ride with you until the day you die, little one!  This voice scares me sometimes because it seems more like a demon than something good and creative. Realizing this, I cry a little right then. I am alone, watching a herd of horses, one of them rolling in the grass like a dog, scratching his back, and the demon is scratching my cervical column with its sharp fingernail. That spot right at the base of my skull. If I tell it to leave me be for a time, it laughs hideously and mocks me.

Who is in control here? Certainly not me, I realize.  This curse makes me feel like an outcast among these Oregonians whom I have come to love and respect. I came here from California, where everyone pretty much lived in their own preformed cocoon.

Here, in the Pacific Northwest, people are kind and giving. They are thoughtful in ways I was not accustomed to. They come from a very long line of hardworking families whose hands bled forging this countryside. The landscape is dotted with homes that have been here for one hundred plus years, but still the beauty of this place remains untouched. There are still, to this day, trails that the native Indians formed and used, then the white man came and claimed them making roads for wagon trails. Living here is like stepping back in time. The people who were born and raised here are not naive in any way. Saying that they are “down-to-earth” is putting it mildly. They hunt, they fish, they love to shoot guns, they drink lots of beer and they love to laugh. The men are truly men.

Even though they don’t give themselves away too easily, the thoughts they maintain about living here are so bred within them, they don’t have the need to speak about it. I don’t think they understand me very well because of my lineage and upbringing, but they accept me. I am as curious about them as they are of me, I think. The friend who we were staying with asked me, “Gina, where did your learn to write like that?” His small library is full of books about the history of Oregon, families that settled here, logging, timber species, and even a handbook for Boy Scouts that was old and worn. My answer was, “I don’t know.” I don’t know if it’s a learned thing, or a genetic thing, or both. These people are not into meditation. If you live here, one can’t help but be in a reverent state of mind. They are not into religion, but they believe in God. This magical splendor is their church. Simply looking around is their history, their heritage and their story.

I can’t explain to them about this demon. I don’t want them thinking I’m crazy. So, I only give away bits and pieces of myself when asked. This place that I have chosen as my permanent home is so magical, and chocked full with stories, it’s hard not to write about it.

I am blessed with these people, and this place. And I am cursed with the demon that won’t let my subconscious sleep peacefully. I must learn to integrate the two hemispheres to coincide and insist that they learn to get along together in such a way that it gives me peace.

When it came time to go home, I didn’t want to leave.

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2 Comments »

  1. Very well put Gina. You’ve touched on some of the same feelings I have inside. I don’t know if demon is the right description though… maye “encourager”?

    Comment by Nancy Seimears — July 28, 2012 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

    • I only call it my demon when I try to let my brain take a rest and it won’t allow it. Any other time, it is my muse, my best friend and my inspiration.

      Comment by Gina Lawless — July 28, 2012 @ 11:07 pm | Reply


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