Monday, July 29, 2013

The Itch

Have you ever had an itch you just can't scratch?

I had this discussion with my husband last night about itching, how it can just randomly come on, anywhere on your body, and we really have no idea what causes it. Some experts claim its a psychological thing. Some say it can be brought on by stress. No matter where you think it comes from, you have to agree, itches are meant to be scratched.

Do you ever experience the proverbial itch in life? Sometimes I think that invisible impulse is a force a higher power uses to get our feet moving. On instinct we seek the remedy--the easiest one on hand. The kids are screaming or beating on each other, so instead of figuring out what caused the disagreement, we yell to get them to stop. The weeds are growing through the lawn, but rather than treat them, we just chop them off. We reach up and scratch. But what happens when that itch travels? What about when it persists? What about when it grows steadily worse?

In writing, we root for heroes who take action. We ache for the protagonist who recognizes their changing word and strives actively to bring about resolution. No one wants to read about the character who suffers day in and day out, thinking, "Poor me, my life stinks." But how often in life do we wallow? How often do we give up on the itch and suffer rather than making a plan of attack to rectify it?

Itches were meant to be scratched. If you're feeling it but can't figure out why, I suggest taking some time out. Hit nature and let your mind go. Send up a silent prayer. Sometime we itch just so we'll remember we're not alone in this great wide universe.

Now tell me you read all of that and didn't scratch an unprompted itch?

49 comments:

  1. Isn't Hamlet the perfect example of the protagonist who did a lot of whining about his situation before finally taking action. And everyone ends up dead because of it.

    Okay, that happens in a lot of Shakespeare's plays, even ones like Romeo and Juliet where the characters react too quickly.

    But I've always found Hamlet to be the least satisfying and most dragged out of any Shakespeare tragedy. Ugh.

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    1. I completely agree. No one wants to be a Hamlet.

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  2. LOL This is a perfectly timed post for me. I'm not scratching my itch. I'm putting cortisone cream on it. :D

    When my daughter came home with her cast (broken leg), the first thing my ever-so-helpful son said was: is it itchy? So of course she needed to start scratching.

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    1. LOL. Kids are great. I've never actually had to use cortisone or even lotion really, since I grew up in a desert, but allergies here definitely prompt some unwanted itching.

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  3. Ha! I was actually thinking how much I hate it when my nose itches. They say that means you're going to get in a fight, but we'll hope that's just an old wives' tale.

    But I do know what you mean about getting an itch to do something. And the older you get, if you're prone to regret, the stronger the itch grows to get something important done.

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    1. So true! It gets worse with age. (Eek, does that mean we admit we're getting old? NOOOOOOOOO!)

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  4. I've scratched the the proverbial itch once. Still trying to decide if that was a good idea or not. :)

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  5. My grandfather always said it was better to act than to sit in indecision. I think he was a very wise man.

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  6. LOVE IT!!

    Many years ago, my life was in a very dark place. My dad and my brother were diagnosed with cancer; my father-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia and my brother-in-law (who is mentally handicapped) was diagnosed with incurable pneumonia. Life felt very heavy. But, I am a big believer in purpose (thank you Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning"!). God has a plan for all things, right? So, I put one foot in front of the other and in my quiet times, I prayed for the direction I needed to keep my soul content. He reminded me to pick up the pen. There were so many times when I'd want to NOT write, I'd pray, "Please God, make me content to scrub the toilet"...but the itch stays with me. I suppose I'll write until He takes the desire form my heart.

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    1. Awesome, Elizabeth. What a beautiful experience!

      I write when I need to purge or escape, and it's so healing. (But I also write for fun.) ;)

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  7. Lovely post. I did a painting a while back called The Induction of Longing on this very same subject. The itch to create.

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    1. That's a constant itch for me too. I think all of us ache to create on a deep level, it's just a question of which outlet we choose.

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  8. I like what Catherine said about the itch to create. I have that, too. Sometimes I don't even know what the form will be, but the longing is always there.

    Have a great Monday. ☺

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    1. It does sometimes take a while to figure it out, eh?

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  9. No, I didn't have to scratch while reading the post. But now that you've asked the question...

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  10. See, reading about itching makes me itchy. I'm quite sure it's all in my head, but that's how it is. In life and writing I tend to wait cautiously until the itch can't be ignored, then I leap, hoping the grand gesture will resolve it... or something.

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    1. As long as you're not leaping off a bridge, I suppose that system might work.

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  11. I hate when you have to itch and you're somewhere where you can't. Or you have that itch in your throat that won't go away. I need to take one of those itch breaks and relax. LOL getting the time to do s.

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    1. Itching to relax, yeah... Amen to that!

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  12. I now have an itch square in the middle of my back. :) They're everywhere! I have the itch to get my manuscript done and out.

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  13. and when an itch becomes a rash.....

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    1. You better get out your magic wand and make it go away. (That or invest in some amazing cortisone cream.)

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  14. Crap, I did just scratch an itch!
    We're a society of quick fixes I guess.

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  15. You've just made me think of a place I really want to go to badly. I want it to be my next vacation.

    I'm itching to start a new novel, but I don't have the plot fully formed yet.

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    1. There's nothing better than travel.

      Plot, schmot! If you've got pieces of scenes dancing through your brain, I say jot them down and work on the plot later! (They always magically come together for me.)

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  16. Wow, I did scratch. Good call there. I've just been so itchy with ideas lately that I can't decide what to scratch first.

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    1. Gosh, I know how that goes. Some days I scroll through my documents unable to decide which one I should work on next.

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  17. Excellent post! I have so many story idea itches. My goal is to scratch them all... but new ones keep popping up and the list continues on and on!

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    1. That sounds familiar. ;) I actually have come to the point where I set some ideas aside and say affectionately, "I don't love you well enough, but if I ever get to that point, you'll be the first to know."

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  18. Excuse me a sec...just got an itch in the midle of my back here...can't quite reach it... damn! Could you?...

    Ha! Love it. So, so true. I have many itches. If you ignore them they just get worse. SCRATCH and GO!

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  19. I usually only get itches when I just can't scratch. Like when I have my hands in ground beef or something like that. Those are the worst!
    The other time is in bed at night when I'm trying to go to sleep and, suddenly, I have itches everywhere! And I can't move, because I don't want to disturb my wife. That's torture. It's good thing that doesn't happen all that often.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean--when you're tired and suddenly everywhere itches? That's the worst.

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  20. I usually have so many itches that it's impossible to scratch them all :)

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  21. Ok now I just felt a whole lot of itches I wasn't feeling before I started reading this! (The power of suggestion ... ;-) )

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    1. I might be just the slightest bit evil. ;)

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  22. I totally needed to do some scratching after reading this post. Thanks for that. XD

    I tend to experience a lot of "itches" as an artist, in the sense of having so many pictures I want to draw. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day to scratch all those itches, though...

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    1. Oh my goodness, amen to that! That's why the scientists locked in my basement are working on my time-stopper. I might have to zap a few friends out of the time stream with me when it's functional.

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  23. Replies
    1. Too deep for a Monday? --Or what day is this now? Thursday? Yikes! How did the week get away from me?

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  24. Hi Crystal, thanks so much for dropping into my blog, it's always a nice surprise to have new visitors. I have to admit I skimmed through the first two posts before I found this one and read the first paragraph the next few lines and the last paragraph made me go back to the top again.. I figured you had an itch and I decided to scratch it... In my line of work itching skin literally means that you are itching to get out of a situation, and depending on where on the body can give lots of clues too... itchy feet anyone? I look forward to learning more about YA and cheese from you...

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  25. Ida, thanks for returning the visit! It's been a bit since I got into my Monday posts (life is crazy, you know?) but I think they're my favorite, philosophizing with my peeps and talking about inspiration...

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  26. When I have that itch, it's usually for not writing enough, and flash fiction is a good cure it. That or a vacation. :) Writer’s Mark

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  27. The proverbial itch.. I guess we all have to deal with this kind of scenario once in awhile. Where the desperation and frustration is at its height and we are helpless. I think those who don't lose their nerves in such odd time are the ones who move forward.

    I think we all have to just do the right thing at the right time.

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Hit me with your cheese!