musings about the muse…

detail, of Science Meets Math

The other night when I was awake more than asleep I gave considerable thought to shutting down my blog. My reasons were three-fold: I can’t seem to post on a regular basis anymore, do I really want to share so much of myself online and is it even read it anymore? We all have so much to digest digitally…too much really.

And then today I read a blog post by an artist who diligently posts every Sunday and has hundreds, if not thousands of readers including me now. I re-thought this idea of cutting the cord. The other thing I’ve thought about a lot is sharing personal health issues, on FB, which I honestly try to never do. I avoid it generally primarily because I often don’t want suggestions, but rather to articulate my personal struggle. And yet, from my most recent post came comments that by my being so truthful about my personal struggle, I help others. Who knew? So here goes.

After flying cross the country six weeks ago, I developed a nasty “cold,” later determined to be caused by abundant tree pollens, and motion sickness. I have NEVER gotten motion sickness, other than walking off a cruise ship after a week or more at sea; which always subsided within 24 hours. But no, this bugger is still present in various degrees of debilitation.

On that trip, my caregiving respite, I also moved into anticipatory grief over my husband’s descent further into Parkinson’s. He was diagnosed nearly 11 years ago, and is now in stage 4. It may be as heartbreaking for me to witness, as it is for him to experience.

Something has happened, or better stated not happened with my art because of both the grief and the vertigo. And that is silence. The muse is barely alive. I still do have ideas for new work, mostly inspired by grief and loss; but no motivation to design anything. I spend days doing nothing, which for me, is a foreign and not so happy place; but I am leaning into it. Possibly the best thing to come from this has been tears. For the first time in years I am crying again, and on a semi-regular basis. Before this I was angry, for several years, which sadly, is also a stage of grief.

This image is a detail of a large piece I finished just before my trip and left it blocking on the wall. It is still there, 7 weeks later. I think it is blocked now! I could take it down, but hey, it is color on the wall, so it remains for now.

After weeks and weeks of an unsettled brain, and delving into every holistic modality that has helped me in the past: i.e. chiropractic, Epley maneuver, acupuncture, homeopathy; but with no resolution, I finally went to the doctor this week. Turns out this is all part of the migraine syndrome which I have been dealing with since last fall; which in addition to diet and environment causes, is exacerbated by stress.  The vertigo is a neurological component; so she referred me to neurology.

She also gave me a handout of really great information from UCSF about headaches, migraine and vertigo. In that were recommendations for two books, both written by neurologists. I have dug into “Heal Your Headache, the 1-2-3 Program” by David Buchholz, M.D.;  and learning what I can do to remedy or partially remedy this situation. Of course it involves giving up even more foods, other than those I already have; dairy, wheat, sugar, carbonation, alcohol, red wine, fermented foods, aged foods, and my beloved chocolate. Citrus, avocado, and my other beloved smoked salmon may be next. That old adage may be so true in this case…nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. 

My morning walks have taken a hit, but on the days I am not as dizzy as others, I still do them. They seem to help, at least to lift my spirits. Otherwise, I trudge on, one day at a time, courageously making more changes to regain my health, and in particular my mental health, with art-making taking a back seat for now. It is hard not to get discouraged and yet I know, I have fought other dragons before. I will get through this. And remembering a past life lesson…Grieving is creative work…it’s just done on the inside.

9 Responses to “musings about the muse…”

  1. Pat Bishop says:

    You are a wonderful insightful writer, I would miss your posts if you decided to stop and This blog is a creative outlet.

    You certainly have determination, It is probably just a matter of time before the artistic Carol comes back.

    • Carol says:

      thanks Pat for that good spin on my writing! as for determination, like many I have been through some heavy stuff in this life. i do believe with time, the clouds part…until the next time we need to learn something!

  2. Nancy Lemke says:

    I’m glad you are continuing, and I do read your blog. Your honesty has always attracted me to your words. I am sorry you are having a variety of painful troubles. So many of us privileged people are, and we are ashamed to share it. Thanks for showing a way to share in honesty without losing dignity.

  3. Kim Bates says:

    You write very well- something I cannot do! Sharing your personal life with us is brave and maybe a bit of some venting for you? I feel you are definitely helping others who are also struggling!
    I hope your muse returns and you can get back to some creating…perhaps the muse needed a break and this is how it needs to be for awhile?
    Thank you for sharing with us!

  4. We are reading you, Carol, but don’t have the gift for putting our thoughts into words like you do. You share emotions and help us identify and deal with our own, Thank you!

  5. Rachel Biel says:

    Oh, Carol…. This is so tough…. I had two years of staring into headlights with no inspiration and two surgeries, but am feeling good now and I think a lot of it has to do with being physically healthy and in your case, mourning the loss of your partner. Was it Betty Davis who said, “Aging is not for sissies?” I’ve known that line for a long time, but didn’t realize how hard it really would be. I just turned 60 and just hope that things stay calm for a while.

    With the sharing, I agree with the thought that we have way too much digital info to go through and I struggled with whether I should share my surgeries online or not (ovarian tumor and hip replacement), but people really do have good feedback and I learned a lot from the community at large. There are so many people I have never met in real life who live in my brain (including you) and I am grateful for this because the media is so full of crazy people who are mean and selfish and horrible, but I have this creative community that is kind, supportive, funny and smart. I would completely lose hope without it.

    Do you know India Tresselt of Yarndance? Have a look at her site. She embroiders, knits and makes temari balls, but has done some interesting daily practices with the embroidery. A lot of it is political, but it could be about anything. Her motto during the Trump years was “This is not normal”. Almost every day she embroidered a small piece that illustrated something that was off for her. She later assembled the pieces together into a big textile for each year. Maybe you could do something like that that is simple, doesn’t involve a lot of planning and that can record your grief. Have a look at her site:

    I will be thinking of you!


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