My Knee and Writing
I woke up a few hours later and greeted a very loud nurse with vomit. She was disgusted. I saw it in her face. She accused me of violating the pre-surgery instructions of no food after six o’clock the previous day. It was a false accusation, for I had not eaten since four o’clock, but just like sleep, my digestion can be slow at times.
Later, I saw the doctor in recovery. He told me that a third of my posterior medial meniscus had to be removed. That was fine. But what he told me next shocked me: my knee snapped back into place as soon as the anesthesia took control of my body. Under the influence of drugs, I was able to relax my leg enough to align things up.
I remember that fact more than the results of the surgery or the letters to the insurance company. (Please take seriously the insurance policy clause about a mandatory second opinion, written in a font size measured in angstroms.) I then wondered about other things that have undetected tautness, not just muscles and joints (non-hemp), but strings of personality and psychology, which anesthesia can’t help.
After some serious inspection, I noticed mental tightness, especially when I sat down to do some writing. I described it this way: "Critical centers inside of me freeze when I get up from a more relaxed and natural position—where thoughts seem to flow with surprising ease and the least amount of resistance. But I turn into a mannequin when I sit before a monitor and keyboard. Internal sensors reject the posture and leave me with solitaire. I suspect that the substance of what I want to communicate is largely founded on the fact that I am often disabled from saying it. But I ignore this and try to go around it. I thumb through books composed by the illustrious free birds like John Gardner, Dorothea Brande, Eudora Welty, Jacques Barzun, Annie Dillard, Brenda Ueland, and others. I would then feel a surge of relaxation and confidence. But when I get up to write and (I now whisper) approach my keyboard, the frogs and crickets in my head drown out my voice altogether."
I had long told myself that the blocks are a matter of technique and habit, which is incorrect. There’s something about the modern Muslim psychology of my era that has inhibition written all over it. And it’s not your average inhibition. I’ll talk about it later, God willing, maybe next week.
I think I understand it now.