It’s a medical term, “brain fog,” and it’s a symptom of thyroid disease.
This past Spring, in the throes of hyperthyroidism (caused by the horrifically named Graves Disease), I was aware that I was brain foggy, but too foggy to know how foggy I was.
A few examples: I often do Sudoku puzzles, and I’m pretty good at them. But it took me twice as long on average to complete one. Also, I had a hard time reading, and especially reading instructions, so I made a lot of stupid mistakes. Even recipes were a bitch. “Shit. I needed three eggs!” and doubling or halving recipes was completely baffling.
All this is a very long introduction to the fact that I completely messed up requesting permission to use a certain Rumi poem in my forthcoming novel The Edge of Maybe. Oh, I filled out the online form. But it wasn’t until three months later, i.e. yesterday, when the final, final manuscript has long been set in stone, when the book is in the middle of layout, that I, with my slightly-less brain-fogged head, realized that this particular request for permission was supposed to be snail mailed. The online form I’d filled out was for something completely other, and had ended up who knows where. I would have to start again, if I wanted to use the Rumi poem. And getting permission rights takes a few months. I don’t have a few months.
Now, this Rumi poem is not an epigraph or something optional in the book. It forms a key plot point. It’s on a card sent by a yoga teacher (the type who would quote Rumi, or Khalil Gibran, or Paul Coelho) to a yoga student. I needed to find a substitute right quick.
So last night, I wrote one. A substitute. It had to be the exact same length as the Rumi poem I couldn’t use – 74 words – and it had to include some words that are referred to in later dialogue in the novel. It took me about 15 minutes to write. I threw in some peacocks and Beloveds. It was great fun.
This morning, I posted it on Twitter and Facebook and asked for help identifying a possible author:
“Okay, folks, help me out here. Any guesses who wrote this?
“Open wide your heart, Lover, as you would open the window to the shining day. In the courtyard below, the peacock’s blue tail spreads wide. The peahen saunters brown. Fling yourself through the love window, Beloved. I will catch you. I would join with you as flame joins flame, in a single surge of light, of heat. Heart to heart, and all around the world fades away. Open the love window.”
I just wanted to see if it would pass.
The votes (mostly from other writers):
Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Rumi, Hafiz, Khalil Gibran, Rumi, Song of Songs, Rumi
Nobody said: “Oh, some horrible new age poet who is trying to sound like Rumi.” Nobody said, “Ericka, you wrote it, can’t fool us!” So, I guess I have a future writing fake ancient Persian love poetry, if this novel writing gig doesn’t work out.
In other news, brain fog is part of what I’m blaming for my long hiatus from blogging. I’m not flinging myself out the window of bloggy love, here, but with The Edge of Maybe on the edge of happening (March 2012), I’m opening the door just a crack.