friday feast: worry wort on a roll

    from timandpep’s photostream

Egads, what is it now?

As Gilda Radner used to say, “There’s always something.”

Of the thousands of thoughts I have each day, I would say at least 3/4 of them stem from fear, anxiety or worry. They run the gamut from silly mind clutter, like:

Is the eye doctor going to dilate my pupils?
What if I wear the wrong thing to the party on Saturday?
Am I getting even more freckles?

to work-related, self esteem issues:

What if I never publish another story ever again?
Why can’t I find the right plot for this story?
Shouldn’t I be a better writer by now?

All the way up to some heavy duty fears:

Why is North Korea so focussed on nuclear weapons?
Will we ever recover from this recession?
We’ve been lucky so far, but what if something bad happens to us?
Is the end of the world coming soon?

I never really took stock of how much time and energy I spend worrying about things that never materialize or over which I have no control, until I read this poem by Jeanne Marie Beaumont. The list of things sounded so familiar. I guess none of us are immune. We cope with anxiety in different ways, but we all want answers, reassurance. Wouldn’t it be grand if someone with real authority could just come up to us and say:

photo by dinning under a windmill

My only comfort is knowing there are other worry worts like me out there. *gulp* Aren’t there? What if no one reads this post? What if no one cares?

See what I mean? It’s enough to make you want to curl up into a little ball and never come out:


by Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Is it starting to rain?
Did the check bounce?
Are we out of coffee?
Is this going to hurt?
Could you lose your job?
Did the glass break?
Was the baggage misrouted?
Will this go on my record?

(Rest is here.)

Just in case you can relate, here are some worry dolls from Guatemala. The Mayans believe that if you tell your worries to them, then put the dolls under your pillow at night, by morning they will have taken your worries away.

photo by catclawtub

Yeah, right. What if the dog eats the worry dolls while I’m asleep? Jama, you don’t have a dog. Okay, why don’t I have a dog? I like animals, why don’t they like me?


Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted by Brian Jung at Critique de Mr. Chompchomp. OMG! Will he bite us?

P.S. I think writers are more predisposed to worry than most people. We are in the business of creating stories based on a lot of “what-if’s.” Always looking for conflict, needing to add dramatic tension. Thinking of worst possible scenarios for our characters. What say you? You ARE out there, aren’t you?

*Worry coccoon courtesy of Amy Ng.

30 thoughts on “friday feast: worry wort on a roll

  1. I love this post so much I want to marry it. It describes my state of being to a T. My yoga teacher is always talking to us about the body-mind-spirit benefits of detachment, but alas, I worry that I’ll never actually achieve that blissful state. Not in this lifetime, anyway.



  2. I’m sorry, but “worry wort on a roll” just makes me laugh too hard to worry right now. 🙂

    I agree that writers have it the worst because of our nature. In fact, this week, after a bout of irrational worrying, I told my husband that from now on, I was vowing to only use my “what if” powers for the GOOD!!! He laughed. Yeah, riiiight.


  3. My mother gave me a set of worry dolls in high school. I used them often. Even if my problems didn’t go away, having a place to “put” those feelings certainly helped.

    Today my perfect cure for worry is baking. This week alone I’ve made pound cake, coffee cake and molasses cookies. What does that tell you?


  4. Thank God there’s someone else! I’m wondering if women tend to worry more than men, or if the worries are just about different things. Have you ever seen a man worry about eating a cookie and saying, “one minute on the lips, forever on the hips?”


  5. I’m so glad you agree about writers and their “what-ifs.” I mean, we’re consciously trying to think of problems. How healthy is that? How often have you gotten a character into trouble, and don’t know how to get him out?


  6. Wow, a good worry baking week. When I worry, I eat. If I used baking to alleviate worry, I’d worry about how much weight I was going to gain eating what I made. But I seem to bake anyway. Sigh. BTW, I love molasses cookies!


  7. Be glad you don’t have children of your own – you’d REALLY worry then! 😛 I’ve found a lot of my anxieties have shifted since becoming a mom. Now I don’t worry if I don’t feel well – I worry if THEY don’t feel well. (Keep in mind there’s two of them and one of me, so the worry increased exponentially.) I think I need to break out my Anxiety and Phobia Workbook – and maybe get my six-year-old to join me!

    Since I only wrote fanfiction, not published works, my main worries related to writing were: “What if it sucks and no one likes it?” Sure, the ideal is that you’re writing mainly for yourself, but there certainly is that element that you’d like some praise for your efforts in the bargain. 😀


  8. The scarier what ifs are these sort: What if I get everything I think I want? What if I actually succeed at what I’m doing? What if everything turns out right? Because there’s no guarantee that happiness turns up at the end. (And there’s always that other shoe, waiting to fall.)


  9. I really admire working moms who are capable of juggling so many things at once. I imagine a parent always worries about his/her children, no matter what age.

    With the writing thing, regardless of whether you write for “official publication” or not, it’s a reflection of who you are — even if you’re supposed to separate yourself from your work, accepting criticism of the work (and not take it personally), some part of you always takes it personally. Every piece of writing represents a part of someone’s life, after all.


  10. Yes, you’re absolutely right. Success is just as scary as failure. That other shoe always looms overhead with the taunting thought: this is too good to be true, or do I deserve this? And then, now what?


  11. I’m laughing in recognition. (It’s funny because it’s true.)

    Especially “Shouldn’t I be a better writer by now?”

    Did you ever see the movie “Adaptation?” They voice the interior monologue of a screenwriter, which is sometimes a stream of worried consciousness …


  12. Jama, a wonderful post as usual! One worry you should never have: “Will anyone read this post?” (And probably a corollary to that would be that yes, you will write your way into another great story and your readers will love it!)

    But the list in Beaumont’s worry poem does cut close to the bone, doesn’t it? When I get find myself getting wound up in worry — I pray… Yep. And the worries kind of evaporate.

    – violet


  13. I have a set of worry dolls, HOWEVER: I need more. Or another set (or two). I am forever “borrowing trouble,” as my husband says. Glad to know I’m not alone! (And the “why aren’t I a better writer” thing never goes away, I’m sorry to say).


  14. Thanks for the encouragement, Violet! Can’t have too much of that. Close to the bone is right. Sometimes we’re so busy worrying, we forget to catalog everything. I think we’d be surprised at how long the list is, especially these days. Praying is good, as is meditation.


  15. No, don’t acquire another set of worry dolls. It’ll be the start of yet another collection. One of something is okay, but once you have two, it gets dangerous (says the one with bears, watches, china, stationery, books, stationery, etc.,etc.).

    Sigh, even after all the books you’ve written, you still have your doubts? I guess there are some positives to feeling that way. It challenges you constantly, and you never take anything for granted.


  16. It’s a movie that gets more bizarre as it goes on, and it eventually lost me, but I really liked the beginning of it, which focused on the writer’s inner critic and other writing difficulties rarely shown on screen.


  17. We all worry at some point. I started worrying more when I had children. I hate to say I’m pretty overprotective of my children so I do worry mostly about them.
    Sometimes I choose not to worry about things that I can’t change, and I do try to keep a positive outlook,because I do truly think it helps!


  18. Staying positive is definitely the key — a little harder sometimes, but it’s good to be reminded. Your blog is very uplifting and always brings a smile to my face :)!


  19. Wise words. They say 97% of the things people worry about never materialize. I think with women, though, it’s a protective device and that little voice saying, “be prepared.” That’s why I find myself thinking ahead to all the “what-ifs.”


  20. You’re not alone!

    I’m a worry wart, too! But I’m getting better about not sweating the small stuff.

    Kimberly Willis Holt


  21. Re: You’re not alone!

    Thanks so much for the reassurance, Kimberly. I’m finding that the older I get, the small stuff doesn’t matter as much anyway. 🙂


Comments are closed.