Body as writing prompt

Writing Prompt: “Throw consciousness to some particular part of the body. Put the whole mind there… what are the reports?

This sounds like a Gestalt exercise, but it comes from an old book entitled, “Power of Will,” by Frank Channing Haddock. 1918.

(How weird to see that the book was published during the Spanish flu).

Here is a part of what I wrote, neck speaking:

Wasn’t it funny that you had a nail in your pocket during your bone scan? The x-ray technician queried, “Are you sure there’s nothing else in your pockets?” And there it was: a three inch nail, left over from a day of hanging mirrors on the wall where you come in. On the wall where you come in now light gathers on various rectangles of glass, a pleasing magic no less potent for being ordinary.

The diagnostics designed to show my crumbling demise partner with a tool for bringing in more light.

The scan sees through shirt and pants and flesh, all the way down to the bone. Look! There we are, the C-3’s and C-4’s, just below your skull. Perhaps a little gratitude is in order. How long we’ve upheld your head — through dance class, Take Back the Night Rallies, and snowstorms and screaming sex and giving birth and closing doors and making soup. . . Everything you can name and lots you can’t name as well.

Crumbling is one way to describe us. Compression: average to moderate. Waiting for severe. Still going, albeit with a crunch.

We could use your kind attention right now and in the right nows that follow. Please baby our nerves, stretch our muscles. Let the phone buzz and the screen stay dark. Take a bath with salts. Scrub your knees and elbows with the salt. Remember that you are an electrical being.

Sunlight is disinfecting, healing, which is why hanging mirrors is never merely ornamental. Find it. Sit in it.

Piggyback prayer. Burn a punk or two. It’s time to go deeper.

Remember how we used to say, “the breath knows how”?

Well, the breath knows how.

May all sentient beings by joyful, etc.

We prepare for darkness — the dust to dust part. Such preparations are not morbid. In fact, they are joyous. How lovely to breathe knowing that one day you will not. We crumble and compress on our way to the grave. Such is the way of all structures, not just skeletons, but also empires and republics.

Did it ever occur to you how much of your agonies arise from wanting, desperately wanting, the Republic to survive?

It might. It might not. Do your calls, your protests and postcards, but forget a return, a preservation, a rekindling or a revolution. Give all those ideas up. This we say to you.

15 thoughts on “Body as writing prompt

  1. Liz A

    Ha! My bone density tech freaked out until we figured out that the circular “lesions” marching down my spine were metal buttons on the back of my tunic … oy!

    And preparing for darkness … wondering if my PCP would write me a script for Seconal … just in case … pro’ly not

    1. deemallon

      Oh that’s too funny about the lesions/buttons! I still have my sister’s hospice medication pack. They couldn’t take it back even tho it hadn’t been opened. I forgot about it til your gallows humor.

    1. deemallon

      It pulls toxins from the body and is meant to ease joint pain. I use scented and unscented Epsom says almost every day.

      1. Mo Crow

        sounds like it could help Old Man Crow’s knee, he was scheduled for knee replacement surgery last year but because he is not using a cane or taking pain killers they are trying monitored physiotherapy to put off the surgery for as long as possible.

  2. Nancy

    Oh Liz, too funny! My results say something about really bad compared to other women my age! Figures.
    I smiled at the gratitude part. Yes, necks work hard! Thank you neck
    🙂 There was a comedian years ago who did a bit about wearing a neck brace, just because she was tired of holding her head up!

  3. Michelle Slater

    I think yo are wise and am grateful for your sense of humor, command of language + wonderful photographs. I envy that ‘exit pack’ and suggest you keep it in a cool, dry place. Meanwhile, my compressed frame recognizes itself in your description. I’ve still got time (probably) to shrink more. My MOLST ( is prepared and distributed to relevant being and I have two sterling Health Care Proxys in place. I’m still enjoying my attachment to living on earth. May it survive us.

    1. deemallon

      You’ve done your paperwork. Good job! As for shrinking? I have being under five feet to look forward to.

      My brother, when I told him I had osteoporosis, said, “it means you haven’t been eaten by lions.” So, yeah, I look forward to being 4’11”

  4. Joanne

    I am finding it difficult to picture you being five feet tall. I imagined you at five ten at least. Perhaps it was the elongated shadows in the walking with Finn pictures?


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