Worry Fraught and That’s Just Fine


Muir Beach Overlook, Marin County, California. By Frank Schulenburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

That crawling feeling, that one that slinks its way behind everything, pops up with a droning sense of unease. You know what I’m talking about.


Some people are worriers, and some people aren’t. You non-worriers, I salute you and the mind doors you must possess, each with its own lock and miles of file cabinets where each thought is put in its place. Beyond those doors, I picture the inside of your heads like a tropical beach, all drinks included, the view bright and clear as far as the mind’s eye can see.

Not so much for the worriers among us,

And now, with the far-reaches of the internet, I have so much more to worry about. People I’ve never met and will never meet on far-off islands, once lush paradises, now stripped bare by vicious hurricanes. The citizens of Mexico, tormented first by one earthquake and a tropical storm, and then by another earthquake.

I worry for strangers who could be the targets of police violence; I worry for disabled children who rely on Medicaid to live at home with their parents instead of in an institution. And that’s on top of the normal worry stuff, like what if I never have another creative idea in my life, and hey wait a minute, that’s a good idea for a story.

But what if I don’t finish what I’m working on because I get distracted with the new story?

And scene.

But I’m going to fill you in on what might be a mixed-blessing secret, my lovely fellow writers and my lovely fellow readers. I can’t confirm it, but I think worrying is one of our superpowers.

Why? Worry leads you down a trail of thoughts, and thinking is the mother source of inspiration. It also forms the wellspring of imagination, and without an imagination you cannot get lost in a book.

So the trick is to harness our worry for good, to take these fears and find a way to make them work for us. And we might make it to those mind-beaches yet.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.


Don’t Fight the Power of Power


Today they were doing routine maintenance on the electrical panels in my building. I say “routine,” though, to my knowledge, they’ve never done it before, at least as long as I’ve lived here. It required them to turn off the electricity for about 15 minutes.

I got the notice about it late last night, and I felt a sense of rising panic. No electricity. For fifteen whole minutes.

Fifteen minutes.

It sounded like an eternity to me. What could I do for 15 minutes? Yes, my laptop has a battery, but I would have no internet. The horror.

What if the work took longer? What if everything didn’t fire up correctly? What if I had to go longer without power?

Boy, am I ever dependent on the grid. Never mind that I have a place stuffed to the metaphorical rafters with books; forget my battery-powered ereader that’s all charged up. Or my phone that’s all charged up. Or my laptop that’s all charged up.

The idea of not having power, even for that short amount of time, seemed crazy. How could I possibly get through it? It would feel like forever tied to eternity with very knotty string.

So how did it go, this mini apocalypse? My test of being able to survive without modern conveniences? It turns out that I was on the phone when the power went out, and I really didn’t notice much of anything, because it was back on before I finished the phone call.

The lights went out on the various things that have lights, and then a few minutes later, I heard the fridge kick on as I walked past it. A few things beeped, and the printer yawned, then jumped into some printerly calisthenics. And then it scolded me for not properly turning it off.

As though it was my choice.

So there it was, my dreaded electricity break. I worried about it, and it turned out to be nothing. I wish more of life was like that.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

You Might as Well Worry at the Clouds


Just a moment ago, a heavy layer of clouds covered the sky, a threatening blanket of rain. It grew dark, and the air took on that metallic quality it does when clouds get full of themselves.

And then it passed.

The clouds are breaking off into fluffy, happy bunches, bright blue peeking from above. Maybe they’ll gather themselves again, maybe they won’t, but we won’t know until it happens.

Life is like that sometimes. The specter of something can seem so ominous, but, in the end, it can amount to nothing at all. Or, other times it can deliver what it promises, winds howling, big, mean drops driving, the sky flashing and roaring. But we can’t know which it will be until it happens.

We spend so much time worrying, wondering what the clouds will do. What the sky will do. What the weather will do, when, the truth is, our worrying won’t change a single thing. It can’t and doesn’t effect the outcome.

Clouds are clouds and life is life, and you can never be completely sure what will come from either.

Need a little mystery in your life? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

The Nature of Worry


Worry is one of those things that hides in the corners, waiting for you to notice it. And once you do, that tiny little thing, that speck, doubles and triples and quadruples in size until there are no more corners, only the worry.

It doesn’t accomplish anything. That’s something people always remind you, if you’re prone to worrying. For the people who don’t, I wonder what that is like, to live in a world where things either happen or they don’t, and the time between doesn’t hold a single “what if.”

Sounds lovely.

I’m a champion worrier, eligible for the pro circuit. My worrying endorsements are through the roof. I’ve been on the cover of Worrisome Weekly.

You get the idea.

But maybe the worry  is just the flip-side to my vast imagination. Maybe without it, there would be no Innies, no Outies, no Aunty Ida. Maybe there is a silver interior after all.

But I worry there isn’t.