Tag Archive | medical school

Creativity Goals Check-In October 11, 2020

goals11Goals from Last Week – How Did it Go?

Writing

  • work on blog at least five days – three.
  • at least fourteen sessions of digitizing old writing – oh boy, I did six.
  • finish disability letter for the school – worked on it, didn’t finish.

Music

Lifestyle

  • sleep without the phone (a struggle you can read about here) – this will put me at 203 nights (29 weeks) in a row – yes.
  • write Morning Pages every day – oh no, just two (yesterday and today).
  • don’t look at phone until after Morning Pages – once, just today.
  • do an Artist Date – yes, two actually. As mentioned in this week’s Artist’s Way Reflections column post, I spent an hour listening to music and sorting through my clothes, and I’m counting it. I did one this morning too. I went to “The Differentialists,” a weekly meeting organized by some classmates where we go through and try to figure out medical mysteries, which is aligned with my imaginary life in Week Two of The Artist’s Way of being House. It was the most fun out of any Artist Date I’ve done in a long time.
  • clean my apartment – it’s gotten totally out of control and I have to move in less than a month so yeah – yes, finally. It was really stressing me out.

Reflections on the Week

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – Week Three: Recovering a Sense of Power

MPjournal early fallIn today’s column, I’ll look at all of the essays, exercises and tasks of Week Three in The Artist’s Way, except for Synchronicity, a fairly long section, which will be the focus of next week’s post. That’s a whole beast of a topic to tackle.

In thinking about this week and all its topics, including Synchronicity, it strikes me that this one line in the Detective Work, an Exercise section could be the topic sentence for the whole chapter. It reads:

“Many blocked people are actually very powerful and creative personalities who have been made to feel guilty about their own strengths and gifts.”

She goes on to say that:

“Made to feel guilty for their talents, they often hide their own light under a bushel for fear of hurting others. Instead, they hurt themselves.”

To my mind, all the little essays in this chapter illuminate more about these lines, and get at how we lose our power through shamings and criticisms, how we give away our power by ignoring the messages from our difficult friend Anger, and how to start to take it back with detective work, synchronicity, and finally, growth.

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“You’re Not My Homeland Anymore”

Or “So I’m Leaving Out the Side Door” Part Two

Since this post is a sequel to that one, I’m posting the lyric video again.

In “exile” from folklore, Taylor Swift and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver are singing to and about an ex-lover. For me, the song has taken on a totally different, personal meaning.

It’s held steady as my favorite song on folklore (with many others way, way up there, at this moment the next closest has to be “the lakes”) because the whole concept of exile seems to fit my life right now. Even if it’s (semi) self-imposed.

For me the you of the song isn’t an ex, isn’t a lover, isn’t a person at all.

It’s medical school. It’s medical training as a whole. It’s the medical education industrial complex.

“So I’m leaving out the side door”

I’m leaving medical school.

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(Overdue) Writing Update: Second Place in Kay Snow

KaySnowContestLast month, I posted a much-overdue writing update about being published in Aerial. In continuing that trend, here’s another update that is also long overdue.

Last year, I placed second in the Kay Snow Writing Contest in the category for graduate-level students. I’d previously placed third in Kay Snow nonfiction back in 2013 for an essay. This was the first time I entered since. You do have to wait a couple years to be eligible again (I think two or three) and I gave it six.

The piece I entered was a memoir chapter called “Eclipses of Jupiter” (previously called “Constant Eclipse” on here) a flashback chapter in Moonchild, the memoir project I’m working on (which you can read about in this sketch, and on my Memoir page, and see lots of posts about here).

It was also the chapter I read, so long ago, at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC as part of The Best Memoirists’ Pageant Ever in 2007, which I apparently never posted about back in the day, though I was sure I had (couldn’t find anything in my drafts either). The picture on my bio page comes from that event.

One of these days, I’d love to get published AND paid for a piece of writing. It’s always been one or the other, never both. This was a cash prize, of $100. Plus a free day at the Willamette Writers conference.

I had plans for that. The timing was perfect for the conference last summer. It fell towards the end of an Enrichment Week at medical school, meaning we had to sign up for activities but most of the week was totally open. Meaning that I could go. Meaning that my writing life and my medical student life were brilliantly coalescing for the second time that year. Back in March, the yearly AWP conference had been here, in Portland, on my bus line, perfectly overlapped with my Spring Break. It was all so charmed.

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Playing with a Thoth Deck

thothA week or so ago, I was on the phone with my friend Scott, talking about life updates–my big life updates, his last year of internal medicine residency, how covid is in our regions, his recent engagement and plans to have a wedding at an EDM festival next summer if such gatherings can happen then, he and his fiance watching Breaking Bad (him for the first time), my plans to start recapping Better Call Saul for this site–and somewhere in there, he mentioned that he’d recently gotten into tarot.

Ooooh, I thought. I love tarot, and I love talking tarot with people, and it’s always a jolt when someone in the science or medical world is also into tarot, because I don’t think there are many of us. I got a similar jolt when a classmate posted that they were doing an astrology workshop for an enrichment week activity, and some of the ensuing comments, and not just mine, were about tarot.

It’s a weird tension for me to contain inside myself, the hardcore science and rational side and the metaphysical side. That’s a topic I could write a lot about but for the sake of not going off on too many tangents, I’m going to shelve that idea for another day. Suffice to say, it’s a tension that’s at the core of who I am and I’m a little obsessed with science, with wanting to protect people from bad science or pseudoscience scams, and also with tarot and other such mystical systems, and maybe most of all with the concept of belief itself. But let’s set all that aside for now.

With all that aside, whenever someone first mentions tarot to me, the first thing I want to talk about is decks. There are so, so, so many. Different artwork, different books of interpretations, different aesthetics to both.

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“So I’m Leaving Out the Side Door”

This morning, I did a thing. It has to do with what is for now still unsayable but which came up a lot in this anguished post earlier this week. This thing I did is a huge step towards being able to talk openly about it, which I’m dying to do.

This song was playing at the crucial moment of doing the thing, and that’s where the title for the post comes from. Even though my situation is so different from what Taylor Swift and Bon Iver are singing about, everything feels like it fits. It’s my current favorite off of folklore, and I don’t think that’s an accident.

Lines that stick out for me at the moment, aside from the one used in my post title include:

“you’re not my homeland anymore”

“you were my town
now I’m in exile seeing you out”

“second third and hundredth chances
balancing on breaking branches”

and the one line I always want to scream along with the perfect bridge of this song

“I gave so many signs”

Spoiler alert: The sequel to this post, “You’re Not My Homeland Anymore” is now live and spills all the tea on this cryptic post.

Until next time,

-April

I Can’t Sleep With or Without You (My iPhone)

MXM82_AV2

The closest pic I could find to my own beloved phone and case

Sung to the tune of the U2 song “With or Without You.”

In some of my recent goals posts, I’ve mentioned a goal to sleep without my phone. This has been an ongoing struggle for me ever since I got an iPhone (and I was just telling a friend that I got one the day they became available to Verizon people), and in different iterations even before then. I thought it would make sense to give some background on this habit that I’ve struggled to break.

Because the thing is, I know all the things. I know that you’re supposed to get off electronics before going to bed. I know taking the phone into the bed with me, scrolling endlessly, listening to podcasts, having the blue light in my face (and I hold the phone much closer to my face than the average person, thanks legal blindness) is all bad. I know when I fall asleep with the phone, my sleep is worse. I don’t sleep as deeply. I wake up more often to pee or just to wake up, most likely because I’m still in the lighter stages of sleep. I probably miss out on a lot of deep sleep and all the goodies that it provides. I even read somewhere, years ago, that screens in bed has been linked to weight gain.

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(Overdue) Writing Update: Publication in Aerial

screen-shot-2019-07-24-at-11-45-40-pmI was away for a long time, and in that time, I had some writing news and updates that I’m overdue in sharing here.

One of those is that my piece “Living the Dream?” was published in Aerial, the art and literary magazine from OHSU’s School of Medicine.

Knowing that such a magazine existed was one of the many things that drew me to OHSU as a school. I wanted to be somewhere that valued writing and the arts along with all the science-y, clinical-y stuff I love. Since starting school there, I’ve found a good group of people, not only the people who run Aerial, but also a lot of people involved in narrative medicine, humanities in medicine, live storytelling, and so forth.

In fact, this piece came from the final assignment in a Narrative Medicine elective class I took last winter, taught by Dr. Elizabeth Lahti, who is THE narrative medicine, medical humanities person at OHSU. The assignment was to write “25 Things I Know About…” something. The assignment was based on the short story “25 Things I know About My Husband’s Mother” by Louise Aronson from her book A History of the Present Illness. We read this and other stories from this book in our class, and I highly recommend.

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