Monday, April 25

Scenes from a cluttered mind...again

by Liz Flaherty

My apologies if you've read this before--well, and my thanks, too. I wrote it a couple of years ago and happened onto it the other day. I liked it, and my mind hasn't cleaned itself up any in the interim. Have a great week!

adhdI’m not a very attentive person. Well, I’m attentive, just not when and where I should be. I’ve said before that if I were in school now, I’d probably be diagnosed with some kind of horrifying but hopefully treatable acronym. As it is, I’m unfocused to the extreme. I would blame it on age, but that’s become such a huge umbrella that I’m reluctant to push anything else under it. So I will have to think of something…

Green is muscling its way into the grass in the lawn outside my office window. It is a Yes! moment. Birds are picking their way through. We saw a fat robin in the field yesterday. I wish he’d come into the yard as I watch—it would make the picture perfect.

Oh, yes. I don’t really know what to blame it on, or if I’ve always been this way. I got pretty good grades when I was a kid, but I don’t remember paying that much attention in the process.

You put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up…

I have tried to improve my concentration. It would make writing much easier if I did. I sometimes wonder how I’ve ever completed a book when I rarely type more than a paragraph without…

nine patchQue sera, sera, what will be, will be. The future’s…Farmers of America. They had cool corduroy jackets…why don’t I just stick with a nine-patch instead of trying to go all Mary Fons?

Without what? Oh, without my mind going off into a dozen different directions. To make it all more complicated, I’m a pantser, not a plotter. While my people come pretty much named and fully formed, the story itself…

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah…

…just kind of evolves, but I’m really not sure how it happens. Many times a scene will start to map itself out as I’m falling asleep. I used to keep a pen and paper beside the bed, but there were several truths involved with that. (1) I was usually too sleepy to write the ideas down, (2) if I was awake enough, the pen was out of ink, or (3) I’d dropped the pad of paper and it was somewhere under the bed, and (4) if I got under the bed for anything, I had to go get the vacuum cleaner, because there was no possible way I could go back to sleep over that much dust.

Flowers are for the living, Mom always said, so this week I remembered to send flowers to my mother-in-law. Because she’s been ill. Because I love her. Because I wish my mom was here to send them to as well. (note, 4/25--and now I wish they were both here--my mother-in-law left us in February.)

Good Lord, what Mom would say if she saw the dust under that bed! And what was that scene all about? I know it would be a good one if I could just remember it.

Occasionally thoughts will circle around to where they are together and almost harmonious. More often they clang…

…clang, clang went the trolley…

…more like a cacophony in my head.

And I have decided this is all right. In truth, I’d like to have an orderly mind (and an orderly under-the-bed, too, but we’re not going there), but I just don’t think it’s going to happen at this point. I remember cleaning out something one time, though I don’t remember what it was—surprise!—and in the mess I was cleaning, someone had spilled a box of those little sticky-back stars teachers and parents used to give as rewards.

Oohhh, shiny.

I didn’t think of it then—or maybe I did—but that’s the way life and the unfocused mind are. There’s a lot of clutter in both, a startling lack of direction, too much discordant noise, handwriting both across and up and down the page the way they wrote letters in days gone by.

And bright stars, and joyous walks, and music, and stories I love. It’s not so bad…

robinStarry, starry night…he cut off his ear, for heaven’s sake…tulips are up…when the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin’ along…

There he is. There’s the robin. He left too fast for me to get the picture, but it was perfect. See? Harmony.


  1. I'm the same.. oh, squirrel,... way.

    1. Keeps, right? :-)

  2. we've been watching the robins in our yard a lot this spring - bebe's named five, and I'm still not sure we actually have five it might be three or seven, and I totally get the squirrel thing! Great post, Liz!

    1. Thanks, Kristi. My mother-in-law used to name the squirrels. "No, Charlie's the one with the nip out of his ear..." I miss that.

  3. My youngest was diagnosed ADD four years ago, and when I did the research, holy hell, that described me to a T in the 3rd grade! But we learned to deal with it back then, didn't we? I would rather read than do my boring homework, though I did well on the tests. My youngest would rather play video games all day instead of working on his lessons, even though we get through everything in about 2-3 hours. He's going back to public school next year (he wants to play football), so I'm hoping the middle school format works well with his attention span. I know his history teacher will teach more interestingly than I have!

    I've also proved I can interrupt myself in mid-sentence, hold a completely different conversation with someone else, then turn back to the 1st person and pick up right where I left off. I just always thought I had a special talent, lol!

    1. Good luck to him, Molly--I know it can be difficult.

  4. I actually remember this post from another time, long ago and I love it even more the second time because I know you better now and I can see this is exactly how your mind works and it's part of what makes me love you so much. Damn...that was a long of saying, I'm glad we're such good friends and I love how you write. Good morning!

  5. I also remember this post from an earlier time. I loved it then and I love it now. It describes me perfectly also, although I believe I have a little OCD mixed in with my ADD. Thanks for reminding me in a very funny post.

    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I am a little obsessive about certain things (towels must be all the same directions, as did the money in my cash drawer when I was a window clerk) but am an irredeemable slob in other ways.