July 15, 2010
Lately I have been writing articles and hearing from nursing friends who found my book a ‘blast from the past.’ Now it is time to go back to writing and I have choices — turning Vista View into a sequel, organizing the memoir or doing a childhood memoir.
May 17, 2010
As I’m still having trouble sorting out the memoir, I decided to take a look at Vista View, a novel not intended to be a sequel to Virtuous Women but certainly could. I’ve revised the first three chapters and it’s not as easy as i thought but I’m really enjoying doing it. Today i was helped along by a phone call from one of the Virtuous Women I had lost touch with. She had read the book and said she had such a good time reliving the past, things like that make the hard work of writing so worthwhile.
May 8, 2010
ON THE SEARCH FOR MISSING CHAPTERS.It came to me that if I start with my husband’s near fatal heart attack as chapter one then chapter two would be how we met. I can find it in hard copy but nowhere on the computer so I guess I will re-write it which could be ‘a good thing’. Also I came across the Writer’s Digest competition and remembered a short story I wrote about a trip to Alaska but it is too long by two pages otherwise i could send it in hard copy, To shorten it requires finding it on my computer files and I did times three — all of them in some sort of hieroglyphics! Does that mean I have to write it over too? I guess so.
May 3, 2010
I was reading a little story about a woman who received news from her minister that her husband had died. Her response was to invite him in and to offer him a cup of tea. The minister was rather surprised by her response and said so. She being a child of the blitz (this is me, I thought) said that her mother told her when something awful happened she must think of what she would be doing if that had not happened and do that. It was a vivid recall of how we as wartime children were raised — to carry on no matter what. I spent part of this weekend going over chapters that dealt with my wartime childhood and where to put them. As so much was brought up at our group at the cancer center I hope I can bring it in thorough the relaxation, meditation,visualization and art therapy group I attended for five years. Then again, sometimes I think that part of my life should be a separate book, maybe a young adult.
April 29, 2010
Once I got it through my head that I did not have to start revising at the beginning — I know, every story has a beginning, middle and end but not necessarily in that order — I clicked on chapter five which deals with my first visit back to Dumbarton, 1955. The hard part dealt with my father — his reaction to me and mine to him. My shock at the handsome young soldier of my memory now a seedy old man. He was bitter — full of self pity and I in turn was full of righteous indignation at the realization that he expected something from me. This man who had not contacted me in over fourteen years. It is hard to write this stuff knowing what I now know about the disease of alcoholism. Revisiting the scene is not as painful as the initial episode — now it is more a feeling of regret that I could not resolve anything before he died, alone and impoverished.
April 27, 2010
Yesterday I was thinking about what to include and exclude from the memoir. Writing can be hard work. What images come to mind that are meaningful? I have an image of a child in a crib. I know that child is me. I am crying and my face is to the wall. There is an old nursery game. ‘Walter, Walter wallflower growing up so high we are all children but we must all die, except for (and a name is given) fairest of us all, she can dance and she can sing and she can knock us all down. Fie, fie. fie fie shame, turn your face to the wall again.’ Because my face is turned to the wall it seems I did not expect rescue from this strange crib in this strange room. I know now that I was left with strangers because my mother had to go to work. I have looked for the meaning of the nursery rhyme and game but although I have a list of the meanings of lots of them, this one never shows up but I know it exists just as I know the image is real.
April 24, 2010
Last week I came across a sweater I had almost finished a long time ago. The pattern was titled Marge’s Alpaca Jacket. Well, I thought if I am not going to write, I can at least finish this sweater. My mission this year is to finish things. I look over the knitting project and see I have finished the back and the two fronts but on a closer look I see that I have knitted both sides of the front the same so it would only do for a person with both arms on on the same side. I’ve seen people bring these sad sweaters to the knit shop. There is a notice on the knit shop wall that asks if you had a bowl of stupid for breakfast. I must have had more than one because the project just gets worse. After I rip and fix one front and I relax and move on to the sleeves. I knit away but when I measure the second sleeve next to the first I see that something is wrong. I have knitted a third front. Again I rip and fix. Now the sweater is ready to put together. I lay it all out but again something looks not quite right. While knitting one front I must have changed to a smaller needle. Why? I have no answer. Oh but I do. I had chemo brain. It is a proven fact that strange things happen to the brain during chemotherapy. This project should be renamed chemo. brain jacket. Could this be a lesson for my memoir? I will think of the scattered chapters as bits and pieces that can be ripped, fixed, and put together in a way that makes sense — a way that fits.