Tag: #nonfiction

Always Something to Worry About

Always Something to Worry About

I come from a family of worriers. My husband comes from a family of relaxers. One time we were flying to Hawaii. Mark, as usual, fell asleep the minute he sat down. I woke him up for safety instructions. “I’ve heard them a hundred times,” […]

The Totally True Story of Julie and Jack

The Totally True Story of Julie and Jack

Adopt-a-Pet weekend is coming in May. I’m a HUGE dog lover, and I’ve rescued quite a few over the years. My wildest pet-rescue adventure took place in 2009. It’s another crazy  “Julie-Story,” the kind only I get myself into. 

Searching for my Broken Heart

Searching for my Broken Heart

It’s been six months. My mom died last summer. Although she was elderly, she was in pretty good shape, so her death, while not untimely, was unexpected . . . (more…)

Should I Stay or Should I go?

Should I Stay or Should I go?

I’ve gone in and out of several writing groups over the years. For the most part, I’ve gotten at least something out of each one — encouragement, sympathy, advice . . . and oh yeah, homegrown vegetables – writers have all kinds of interesting hobbies! […]

In Defense of Prejudice

In Defense of Prejudice

And what’s that got to do with writing anyway? One of my writing colleagues recently published an article about prejudice against beauty. What? Who doesn’t like beauty? We all enjoy seeing beautiful things, places, faces. But what we don’t usually consider is how that pretty […]

A Point in Time

A Point in Time

I’m sitting in a dark room sandwiched between two old women in wheelchairs. The one on my right is my mom. We are watching An American in Paris. I don’t think I’ve seen it before. Over the last month, my mother’s health and well-being have preoccupied my life. As a writer, I’m not happy to have my writing schedule thrown off track, to miss deadlines, to feel my creativity stifled. However, as a daughter, I am far more distressed to see my mom decline.

As I adjust to my new normal, I find time to write, as I’m doing now, in odd places and situations. In a strange and sweet way, Mom has become my muse. I’m spending more time with her now than I have since I was a child and she was the one who tended me – keeping me safe and fulfilling my needs. The ultimate role-reversal.

Hanging out in a senior home, surrounded by elderly, is both heartbreaking and humorous. If you think kids say the darndest things, try talking to old people. In general, they have no filters – they say whatever comes to mind without regard to appropriateness. The other day at lunch (yes, I eat lunch here on occasion), an old lady said to her friend, “Don’t order dessert, you’re getting fat.” I nearly choked on my orange jello. As it turned out, her friend didn’t hear her, or she pretended not to, or she just didn’t care. She ordered pie a-la-mode and a cookie.

As writers, we are keen observers – every person is a story. I’ve seen countless interactions here  – a loving moment between husband and wife; an adult child holding her mother’s hand; a family bringing a new baby to meet Great-Grandpa. I imagine the pasts of these old people, who and what they used to be. The man who worked for the CIA, the woman who raised eight children on her own, the military couple who lived all over the world. vintage-1319058__180I think about the lives they were living decades ago, when they could run and drive and use power tools. The lives they lived before their bodies aged, their minds faded, or illness robbed them of independence.

I’m trying to remember my own mom as the woman she used to be – my mommy, my advocate, my champion. Right now, I  can’t, it’s just too hard. But someday I will. She would want that.

Note: I wrote this on August 24, 2016. My beautiful mom passed away six days later. I will be eternally grateful that, almost on a whim, I decided to spend that afternoon with her, watching a movie and holding her hand.

 

THE SPRINT TOWARD 50,000

As NANOWRI winds down, it’s time for you to amp it up! With only a few days left in November, planning, time-management, and motivation are what will get you to the finish line. Here are three things you must AVOID!