Of brain farts and breast strokes

Words are my tools.

Really, since I was 12 and selected my career as a writer, words have been my tools.

Of course, there have been typewriter keys, dictionaries, thesauruses, various publications which are ancillary tools, but I’ve chiefly relied on words to do the trick.

So, imagine if you will that you go to the cupboard to get your tools, open the door and find it’s empty.

I mean, if you were a chef and the pots and pans were missing, you’d be in a bit of a panic. If you were a cabinet maker and found the joiner and planer and chisels and band saw took a hike, you’d have some concern.

Well, words are starting to escape me.

I’ll be in the middle of a sentence and a plain, basic word like ‘road’ won’t find its way into my lexicon. A sentence will just drop off, stopping in mid-air because the whole thought took a hike. And it doesn’t come back.

I call these blackouts ‘brain farts.’ And, they’re happening entirely too frequently. Not only is it anxiety producing, but it calls one’s very essence into question.

As a small business consultant, it’s somewhat disconcerting to a client when I have to get out line and tackle and go fishing for the words ‘cash flow.’ Or, ‘marketing plan.’

The older women in my life who I’ve come to love, respect and count on for what’s coming next tell me that brain farts are a temporary happening, hovering for a few years in between rearing teenagers and accepting the fact that one’s waist has permanently disappeared. They say that once I accept the bit about my waist, my brain will kick back into action and the words in my head will once again find a direct path to my mouth.

I’d like to think so. I’ll keep you… uh, uh, uh… posted!

on another note…

Last Thursday Sue McCallum called me to trek out to the wilds of Springwater Township to join two dozen pink t-shirtted paddlers in celebration of their Dragon Boat Success. It was the First Annual Dragon Boat Pot Luck Celebration for the Breast Strokes. I’d written a column last winter about these courageous, funny, thoughtful and determined women who decided to raise the entry fee for their Dragon Boat (which went to Barrie Public Library), and gather up pledges for the Regional Cancer Care Centre.

Well, this is a group not to be thwarted! Not only did they fill their ‘ship’ with eager rowers, they roped (get it?) Julie Forler Muir into being their drummer. And these women can raise money! In all, $13,000 went to the Cancer Centre from the Breast Strokes boat.

Stay tuned, because this crew plans to muscle up to the gunnel in 2004 and perhaps even field a second team.

Thursday night’s pot luck proved there’s life after breast cancer; there’s also pluck, attitude, and an easy friendship caused when you’ve all been in the same boat… twice!

Thanks, Breast Strokers!