Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: From Early 2010

I close the windows and shut down the computer. It’s turned to night outside while I’ve been in here. With the monitor off, it’s dark. I fumble my way to the bathroom, finding the knob and shutting the door on a shitty ten minutes.

“In the last ten minutes,” I tell myself, “I have learned that the friend who survived brain surgery wound up with severe complications and may die. My grandmother definitely has cancer, is dangerously underweight, and her options are two different kinds of life-threatening procedures that probably won’t work. While she’s in the hospital, my mother is babysitting my senile grandfather in a house with no power and caught in a rainstorm. He gets violent sometimes. My blog’s gotten no comments today and I just got three rejection e-mails, from the three biggest contests and magazines I ever thought I had a real shot at. Those last things shouldn’t bother me so much right now. I’m kind of petty.”

“It has been a shitty ten minutes. The kind of ten minutes that makes me wish I’d gone the whole vacation offline. The kind that makes me wish I didn’t know how to read. These ten minutes will follow me around for days. There will be more tens of minutes; I’m in one now. I need to think of new tens. Better tens. Holding the doors open for grateful people, making friends laugh until they fall over, and earlier this year when I made my first big fiction sale. The ten minutes when I learned that she survived the surgery in the first place. The ten when Mom got the call that she didn’t have cancer. A million minutes harboring disasters dodged or simple positives, the latter being why I live.”


  1. Is this you? Or a fictionalized version of you? Either way, big hugs to you, John. Nice way of describing how 10 minutes can affect the rest of your life. You're right. Best to focus on 10 good minutes.

  2. I hope later 2010 has stood you better John. Good idea counting the happier 10s too. Hang in there!

  3. Yes Cathy this was me. I was in a friend's bathroom. We were actually stranded in a flood. Since then cancer took my grandmother, but my friend survived her complications and is in reasonable health.

    Yes Harry, I will hang in there. You've got to!

  4. You are still suspended in my best thoughts, like a piece of fruit in delicious jello. I hope to share many excellent ten minutes with you. *hugs* Also, strong work as always.

  5. A lot can happen in ten minutes, but ten minutes as bad as that would be knock-you-down overwhelming. I'm not a cryer, but that would need a good cry.

    I like how you turn things around at the end and look at the good tens. Hopefully there will be many more of those in your future.

  6. Poignant, smart, and absolutely brilliant. Thanks John for sharing this; I think this is you at your best.


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