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Doctor, can you give me something
For the restlessness?
Itís not that I canít sit still
Or concentrate.
Itís just that every so often
This gnawing feeling overtakes me.
I want something
But I canít figure out where to find it
Or even what it is.

I keep thinking that if I
Find the right job or
Start the right hobby or
Buy the right stuff or
Stop buying so damn much stuff and
Save enough money in the bank,
This feeling will go away.
Sometimes it does for a while,
But it always comes back.

I surf the Internet for hours
Thinking it must be out there somewhere.
If I only knew the correct search term
I could Google this feeling away.
I give up and go to bed
And still I click from channel to channel
On the cable.
Maybe itís on one of those channels
Way up in the three-digit range.
I fall asleep with Letterman on
As usual.

Itís worst on Saturdays.
I donít have to go to work
And have no established ritual
To box in the infinite possibilities
Of my day and my life.
I shuffle papers Ė
Household bills that have been paid
But must be filed,
Prospecti for retirement savings mutual funds Ė
Or I just putter around in my pajamas
Sipping instant "international" coffee,
Thinking, "What now?"

I know this condition isnít serious Ė
Not even as serious as toenail fungus Ė
But I figured one of the big drug companies
Must have come up with something for it.
I really would prefer something
Without a lot of nasty side effects.
Iíd just as soon not destroy my liver
In the process.
But it would be nice,
Once in a while, when this feeling creeps back,
To finally be able to
Just relax.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. - Groucho Marx

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The following comments are for "There Must Be a Pill for This"
by LinnieRed

Better than a pill!
Thanks, Rogan! You made my Monday morning! I'd just about accepted the fact that my latest little literary ramble had disappeared into the crowd, fading into well-deserved obscurity.

I've only been here at Lit a few months, but I'm not surprised to hear that this inexplicable feeling of restlessness is a recurring theme. (Or were you referring to the desire for chemical sedation?) I'd like to emphasize again that I don't consider this phenomenon a serious problem at all in the great scheme of things. (For those people I like, I wish all their "problems" were so inconsequential!) At worst, I find it a perplexing annoyance: It's my day off work, and I can do anything I want! So why the internal agitation? Get over myself! Then again...maybe that feeling is just the necessary simmering of creativity cooking up something. Best not to muck it up with any chemical, except perhaps a little caffeine to help it along.

I'm intrigued by your comment that you "really appreciate the effect that medication has on people, and their reasons for wanting it." My old man, TomTerrific, is a long-time "Friend of Bill," (and I don't mean Clinton.) I wonder if you might be also. I intend to check out your writing - perhaps that will reveal all (or at least give a clue.)

Most of all, thanks for the attribution of my signature quote! I first heard it from a particularly literate maintenance man at a former workplace. I realize now I should have simply Googled it to find its true source. I'm not at all surprised that it was good old Groucho. I am in your debt, and I will correct it in my profile immediately!

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: March 14, 2005 )

Let's Go
Where??? Tweety, you say it so much better than I could. Mid-life crisis? Heebie-jeebies? The Fidgets? I don't know. Let's go to Memphis In The Meantime....

( Posted by: TomTerrific [Member] On: March 15, 2005 )

There Must Be Some Kinda Way Outta Here...
Screw packing, let's hit the road NOW! Hell, I'll settle for Cincinnati! (Takes less gas!) It's south - maybe it'll be warmer down there! : )

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: March 15, 2005 )

It's Sundays for me
LinnieRed, thanks for the comments on Charleston. I don't know why it's posted twice, and of course my formatting didn't show up either. That is my first posting here, just something I was playing around with. I had spaces in it, like you suggested, but they were lost in the html. Anyhow, I loved your poem. It reminded me of a line in "Serendipity" where Jeremy Piven says "They should make pills for this." I think he says it twice. I understand Exactly what you mean! Only my days are Sundays mostly, rather than Saturdays. And weeknights, too, living alone. Anyhow, thanks again and keep up the good work. I have several I'm working on right now, maybe I'll post something soon.

( Posted by: jason389 [Member] On: March 16, 2005 )

Between Satire and Honesty
Linnie ~ I always enjoy reading your work. I found myself somehwere off to the side on this one, though. It's taken me a couple of days to figure out why it came across as something like near-satire when I read it. I think it's because you don't seem to want to take your subject seriously (as though a "Who am I to complain?" invades your descriptive narration)

Yet how well can you express a feeling, if even you won't own it completely?

I can remember a conversation I had with a college boyfriend. He was relating a snippet of a movie set in the 30's in which a rather well-to-do traveller relates to a ship hand that he's not doing well because he's depressed. The ship hand quips that poor people don't have the luxury of being depressed. And my boyfriend smirked afterward, as though to say "See, depression's just a state of mind." Which, I think, is true and false, simultaneously. I think that just because you don't have time to step into a basement, doesn't mean that it ceases to exist.

I think that time is something which you touch on in your poem without really stopping to analyze it's place in the slight sense of malaise you describe. I find myself wondering if, at some core level, that's what you're describing -- an unfamiliarity with simple idle moments. As though busyness becomes a kind of personality trait to the point where a continuous span of inactivity can create a "does-not-compute" reaction, a mental blip, a brief moment of disorientation.

More than anything, I think you have an enviable narrational tone. You have a wonderful ability to describe. Your playful writing style in it's mixture of warmth, urbanity and self-deprecating wit suits you and I think you could go far with it, as it is. Yet I'd like to see what would happen if you were to drop the "Lil' ol' me" facade and allow yourself the luxury of being completely serious.

Because, at heart, I think you're very good with an untapped potential for real greatness. Allow yourself depth.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: March 17, 2005 )

Linnie Red
I could have written this poem (as for experience, not saying I could have penned it so well).

I have come to accept that (forgive the generalization) creative people can be the most unsettled people when they are in this mood.

I think there is something inside that brews when we have something bottled up that needs to be expressed. We don't usually feel like this when we have successfully expressed it. By then, we are too busy wondering how it will be received and "did that make sense to anyone else"?

All of the most brilliant people I have known have struggled with mood swings and/or depression. A few were manic depressive.

Could it be the core knowledge that you have the talent intelligence and creativity to do great things, that fights with the realization that at that moment, you haven't gotten there and you are beating yourself up for every wasted moment?

I'm a very reflective person. And with so many unsettling memories, it's easy to slip into a moment, day, or even a week of self-analylis and stark objectivity. Lucky (?) for me too, that I am too "poor" and busy with my family to live there. It is a dark basement that I have little time to visit. Hopefully, the self-analysis will be far behind me, replaced with conented acceptance before this busy-ness slips away, replaced by an empty nest.

This was a very powerful, honest piece. Thanks for posting it!


( Posted by: FeliciaStone [Member] On: March 17, 2005 )

Jason: Sunday Rituals
Jason, Iíve managed to create my own set of Sunday rituals Ė maybe because after an unstructured Saturday, I couldnít take another day of complete freedom. If awake early, I net-surf until itís time for "CBS Sunday Morning," a habit I inherited from my mother, who gave up going to church for the sake of Charles Kuralt. For those unfamiliar with American TV, itís a news & feature "magazine" program that is almost too good for commercial TV. Their coverage of arts & culture is particularly superb, heads above any "fluffy" weekday or Saturday morning program Iíve seen of similar aim. I invariably run to Tom to urge him to come see some upcoming story or to tell him about one I just saw.

Then itís up to the nearby convenience store for real coffee and the Sunday paper. I also either stop at the nearby bakery or come home and blast open a tube of P. Freshís finest "sticky buns" to pop in the oven. I dive into the paper, and by the time I emerge hours later, I can face whateverís left of the day (which usually involves a fair amount of laundry,) and by evening I can stomach the prospect of another workweek.

Thanks for reading & commenting. Iíll look forward to seeing more of your writing.

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: March 18, 2005 )

Hazelfaern & FeliciaStone are on to me!
Thank you both for the insightful comments. Between the two of you, I think youíve sussed me out! Youíve put your fingers on the pulse of my deepest, darkest secrets. (Stop that!)

First, Jen, I donít dispute at all that genuine depression can afflict those whose life circumstances donít seem to warrant unhappiness. Iíve long suspected that some tendency toward depression may run in my family Ė Iíve detected hints of it in my parents, my siblings, and myself. However, the feeling I tried to describe in the poem ainít that. Iíve felt both, and Iím getting better at telling the two apart.

This agitation is more likely the "disorientation" you described, the feeling that hits during moments of unaccustomed idleness. The "busyness" that usually keeps it at bay, if a personality trait, is probably an acquired one Ė a habit or defense mechanism against the very "core knowledge" that Felicia accurately named. Sad truth is, "What now?" has been the $64,000 question of my life at least since I left high school and began ricocheting through college. Thatís when I first started majoring in "underachievement," mainly because I couldnít decide which narrow path to follow. I stubbornly resisted limiting my options. I was probably also stubbornly resisting growing up. (Still am.)

Iím just starting to react to the recurring uneasiness with less alarm, recognizing that it very well may be the "brewing" process of creativity I alluded to in a previous comment and which Felicia acknowledged. After all, if my employerís "use it or lose it" vacation policy hadnít compelled me to take an unprecedented week-and-a-half off work at the end of last year, I might never have gotten around to posting my first piece of writing here at Lit.

Jen, I appreciate the vote of confidence in my ability to ably address topics of seriousness and depth. I see family and friends facing truly formidable challenges, and it makes my life seem undeservedly easy. Most on my mind is a dear friend of ours, who is now facing a terminal illness with a cheerful attitude that is both comforting and humbling to me. Dare I write about that? Before I do, I must satisfy my conscience on two counts: First, I must do justice to him and to the tragedy of his impending death. Second, I want to be certain I am in no way exploiting his suffering for my own gain. After all, I consider myself well "paid" for my posts here at Lit, particularly by complimentary comments from writers I respect as much as the two of you.

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: March 18, 2005 )

But the restlessness makes us write
Just caught up with this today, LinnieRed. Nice. We have questions. Let these so-called authorities answer them. The condition you speak of is not unfamiliar to me. Reminds me of lyrics of a Baul song from India, I heard it by Jai Uttal:

"The mirror of the sky reflects my soul/Oh, Baul of the road,Oh Baul my heart, what keeps me tied to the corner of the room, what keeps me tied?"

It all comes of being much, much bigger on the inside than we seem to be on the outside. Pretending we're little makes us restless, once we forget we agreed to pretend it just for play . . .

By the way, nothing weird in Ohio exactly, but we stopped in Newark to see the earthworks and that is a world-class wonder. Found out about the 'alligator' mound too late to go see it, but the Great Circle is worthy of a crow-craft visit.

Sent our deposit to Oberlin yesterday.

( Posted by: icarus [Member] On: April 3, 2005 )

Demeter, icarus, et al: restlessly writing
Thanks to both of you for the complimentary comments! Icarus, youíre absolutely right about the restlessness making us write. Iíve certainly been feeling as if my inside has been outgrowing my outside lately. And diet and exercise arenít helping at all!

Just wanted to check in, since I haven't posted or commented for a bit. Those who've graciously requested "Post more!" may be pleased to know that I'm currently in the throes of writing a story already lengthy enough to call for posting in multiple parts. (Though itíll be nowhere near as long as your ongoing epic, Ic. By the way, speaking of "more!" Ė Iím eagerly awaiting your next installment. Iím sure it will be MOUNDS of fun!)

The story Iím working on now is actually serious! It was inspired by recent events in the news, but is going off in rather unexpected directions. Furthermore, it features a protagonist so demographically unlike myself that Iím rather daunted at the prospect of portraying him authentically. Iíve grown quite fond of him, though, so Iím desperate to do him justice. This is requiring me to resort to doing library research, for heavenís sake! Fortunately, the subject of the research is one near and dear to my heart, but geez! This is almost starting to feel like work! I donít think I put this much effort into my Masterís project! The ideas have been coming fast & furious Ė the trick is getting them down in a form that works. But you all know how that is!

Pulling this off is probably going to require every writing skill I have, as well as a few that I donít. I plan to run the whole thing by my resident editor/critic, TomTerrific, to see if it comes off believably. Then I hope to put it up here in front of the whole Lit world. (Nothing goes up until itís all done from start to finish in goodness-knows-how-many episodes!) I may well fall flat on my face, at which point Iíll do what I always do when that happens (frequently): struggle to my feet, do my best impression of an inept gymnast, and proclaim "TA DA! Now for my next trickÖ"

In the meantime, of course, one of my sisters has chosen now to have a full-blown personal crisis, largely of her own making. The other one, in response, has shifted into Full Mommy Mode, insisting that WE have to deal with this problem RIGHT NOW! ****SIGH!*** I may have to vent in the form of a rant about the problem of sisters!

Icky, my sympathies on the beginning of your hard-earned moneyís departure to the college of your childís choice. ; ) Iíve never visited Oberlin (wrong end of OH,) but Iíve always heard good things about it. (Good music school, I understand!) Congratulations! Glad you enjoyed your latest visit to the Buckeye state. This weekend, TomT & I are off to Chicago, in another leg of our ongoing Tour of North American Guitar Dealers. : )

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: April 6, 2005 )

a new drug

Treatments abound yet no cure exists. Restlessness and occasional desire for sedation are both rampant.

I enjoyed this. Heartfelt insight without undue pessimism- or something like that.

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )

i forgot


I'm looking forward to your Magnum Opus (cartoon penguin P.I. in Hawaii?)

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )

There must be a pill for this
First let me say I loved this poem!!
I laughed!
I cried!
I thought!
The best part of this Lit org thing for me is clicking on a link and finding something like your work here and realizing that for at least 30 minutes I won't need a "hit" of chocolate! I would say more but i have to read more of your stuff!

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read."~Groucho Marx

( Posted by: monkpeabody [Member] On: April 22, 2005 )

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