Sometimes I get really walloped by depression--the nasty deep bone-crushing kind that makes the idea of brushing my own hair seem more daunting than a run for the South Pole with Shackleton.
The worst thing about it is that tiny things become huge--to-do lists, voicemail messages, sad personal stories heard on NPR in the car. Everything builds up into a great big pile of unmet obligations and deadline guilt until I wonder whether the answer might not be a giant IV of Geritol, like maybe that would snap me out of the desire to huddle on the sofa under a pile of blankets while berating myself with "I should go for a walk, I should take up swimmming laps, I should learn to conjugate irregular Portuguese verbs while simulataneously performing advanced tai chi and folding all this laundry, oh my GOD I never finished writing those last three wedding-present thank-you letters in 1988...."
I can go for weeks like that, and I always seem to forget what really helps stop it, every time: telling someone. Just saying out loud to a friend or two, "You know, I really feel like crap. I'm tired and beat and I don't think I'm too good at being a grownup. I am having trouble folding the laundry and brushing my hair, not necessarily at the same time, vey is mir."
And even though that can seem like the most awful selfish thing in the world to do, at the time, just saying it out loud helps cut things down to size. And if you're really lucky, your friend or two will say something like, "oh please, my mail gets dropped in my garage and I haven't looked at the pile since January," or "you actually know where your hairbrush is? You're way ahead of me. I think mine ran away with the circus around Thanksgiving..."
Last week I said to Patty in an email that I was feeling this way, and she told me something wonderful... that when she gets overwhelmed she thinks of Mary Harman saying:
“Everything's going to be all right, and afterward we're all going to go to the House of Pancakes.”That's one of the finest spiritual truths I think I've ever run across. So if you're feeling bummed out and overwhelmed and your mail is piling up in the garage, here's a little something to meditate on, in the hope it will ease your burden:
And in the meantime, I want to know what you're going to say to James Lipton when you get invited to be a guest on Inside the Actor's Studio...
...so here are the ten questions Lipton's borrowed from French talk-show host Bernard Pivot:
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]?
4. What turns you off?
5. What is your favorite curse word?
6. What sound or noise do you love?
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
As for me, I got interviewed by the ever-fabulous Sandra Parshall (author of the Best-First-Novel-Agatha-Award-winning The Heat of the Moon) over at Poe's Deadly Daughters today....