20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

Yes I Am (Going to Do it)!

I’ve taken the plunge and nailed down a date for introducing my book, Broken Consciousness: Reflections of an Epileptic. On Thursday, March 28, at 7:00, at our local library, I will be talking about how I came to write poems about the epilepsy I’ve had since I was twelve years old. Our library director supports local authors and she has been gracious and generous in arranging this event for me.

A student I taught when she was in fourth grade (a talented writer even then) contacted me on Facebook and said both she and her mom are coming.  That is very satisfying. I’ll have to count my books to make sure I have enough for a nice book table for selling.

Since my book is rather short (80 pages), I think I’ll read only one poem from the book itself, and share other poems I have written about living with epilepsy.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can be calm as I talk, and answer people’s questions with confidence.

March 28…I have more than enough time to plan.


If I Had Not Had Epilepsy

Our lives would look so different,
but I can’t say how
because all the years of our marriage
a third entity has been present.
We call it “E.”
Affecting what we do and how we travel,
what I can consume, the very hours I must sleep,
we become contortionists with the best-laid plans,
rubber-banding them into relaxation
to avoid a hit.
Hyper-vigilant, en garde our constant cry, we stay alert to warning signs
of fluttering eyes, mumbled words, stilted gait.
When they appear my knight rides in and does battle…

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Please Take a Look

I hope you’ll take a look at Susan Axelrod’s blog, at cureepilepsy.wordpress.com.

As I’ve written before, my husband and I had dinner with her Friday evening to discuss epilepsy and how it has affected our lives. She is the founder and chair of C.U.R.E., Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, and I couldn’t be more complimented that she chose to spend time with us.

See her post titled Sharing Our Stories, dated Oct. 15. In the picture of the three of us, that’s me in the middle.

She really is an exquisite listener, and I was complimented by the way she wove the details of my story into the larger vision of C.U.R.E.


If you read either of my two blogs, Brainstorms: How Epilepsy and Writing Connect (maggiemendus.wordpress.com) or Chronicles of a Writer (mmendus.wordpress.com) you will see that I had a most wonderful experience last night. I won’t go into it here, but suffice it to say that I met an extraordinary person who touched my life in a personal way.

Sometimes we are allowed such moments that to me seem like young spring flowers getting ready to bloom. How fortunate I was to learn more about the vision of a person who is working hard to ease the lives of people with epilepsy.

I hope you’ll go to one of my blogs to read more about it.


Saying Goodbye

Yesterday I had an epileptic aura that began during the night and lasted all day, although in the evening I started to shake it a little. I slept most of the day. During that time I heard, through my fog, my husband on the phone…with my neurologist, our (grown) children, my brother.

Something else happened that complicated and saddened the day. Because our beautiful white, 19 year-old cat, Snuggles, had become too ill to live a good life anymore, my husband called our son to come and take him to the vet to….oh, you know, I can’t say the words. I said my goodbye to Snuggles, which was heart-wrenching, absolutely heart-wrenching.

I look around in this very room and the round laundry basket into which I’d scrunched up a pink beach towel where Snuggles loved to sleep, is gone. That space is so loudly empty. The tray where we kept his food and water dishes looks at us with an “I dare you to move me” look. All of his things and all of his places make our emotion raw.

I have never liked goodbyes. I’ve had a good one and a sad one, goodbye to the aura, but also goodbye to our sweet Snuggles. These two emotions are confusing and difficult, and I guess I’ll just have to let them play out through time.

I may not write a poem today, but I had the need to write through yesterday and all it contained.


A Magic Wand

I’ve had a response to my poem “Magic Wishes,” and that respondent said she wishes she had a magic wand, too, that she would use it to cure people of the big C.

I thought it might be kind of fun if we fantasized about this: So, if you had said magic wand, how would you use it?

There are so many opportunities. Curing cancer is certainly one. I would also give a complete life back to anyone who suffers from epilepsy. I would cure all childhood illnesses. I would provide strong arts programs in the schools. I would rebuild areas of the world where natural disasters have struck, leaving people homeless. I would, I would, I would…

And you? Weigh in. Dream big.

Side Effects

I have to take a lot of pills to keep
this epilepsy well at bay, controlled,
but 3:00 arrives and I count sheep.
When I was young my doctor never told

me of the side effects, that when I age
fatigue would rob me of my energy.
So now I know how carefully to gauge
my plans. I beg for wakefulness, my plea

a daily grind. I cannot wait to find
a balance on these epileptic scales.
Please, tip it in my favor, begs my mind,
so I can walk the beach, the woods, the trails.

Hiking trails in Trail area

Image via Wikipedia



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