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Friday, March 11, 2011

Writing What Scares Me Most

I can't remember my pin number.

I've punched in that pin number over a duhzillion times. I use it at the ATM, online, and occasionally as a password. It's four numbers, and there's a 3 in it. That's the best I can do.

I'm going to blame this on lack of estrogen (I blame everything on lack of estrogen), and trust the number will bubble up from whatever underwater vacation it's taking, and resettle itself in my short term memory where it belongs. It's just that it's been a couple weeks now, and I could really use some cash.

It's times like this when that movie, Iris, starts to haunt me. You haven't seen it? Well, if you can't member a phone number long enough to dial it, you might want to skip it. Iris is about Iris Murdoch. Rather, it's about the mental deterioration of the writer that was once Iris Murdoch, based on the book by her husband, John Bayley. As far as movies go, it's excellent, but for me, my worst fear.

The novelist Francine Prose says one should "write what scares you most." Susan Isaac says the same thing. What I fear most is not being able to come up with the word "aqua," when blue isn't right. I fear the ghost of Iris Murdoch hovering above my keyboard. I fear dying without recognizing my husband. I fear not having a husband to recognize.

So I hope this pin number shows up pretty soon. If not, I may have to kill someone, just to jumpstart my brain. Oh, don't worry, I'll get away with it. I have the perfect excuse.

I don't have any estrogen.


  1. I have two words for you, Irene: HORMONE PATCH !

    Yes indeed, ever since my hysterectomy (four years ago this month, if memory serves), I have been on 'the patch'. It's so essential to my good cheer that my husband keeps his own stash of them, in case I run out. (And he can tell when I do.)

    However, despite these lovely hormones, my brain still freezes now and then. Considering my genetic heritage, which you well know, it totally flips me out each time.

    My personal solution? Stretching my brain cells. I taught high school French last year, and now that I'm back in France I'm taking a German class. Last week I took a mental 'quiz' that felt like a first trip to the gym. (Amazingly, I did better on the logic than the language questions. Go figure!)

    Thanks for the post, Irene!

    P.S. Stress or fatigue is a well-known cause of forgetting one's PIN number. ;-)

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