January 5, 2017 § 1 Comment
I woke to falling snow, an immediate indicator of how the day would shape out; in Asia, white is the color of mourning.
The plague I have is on its way out the door, but I’m still coughing, sneezing, congested at times. Still worried about getting my dad, my mom, my family sick. So I went to work, distracted myself with little tasks I needed to catch up on, office gossip, the friends I work with.
Greg updated me around 10:00 that Dad was unresponsive—sleeping, not waking for anyone. My heart fell through the floor.
The snow tapered, but never stopped. At one point, fat white flakes fell, seeming to mark off the moments. I watched them, wondering as each one hit the ground if that was the moment my father died.
At 3:00, I left for the day and met Tracy at home. She drove us over worsening, whitening roads to the hospice. I stopped inside the door to blow my nose hard, cough out what I could into tissues, and mask up. I couldn’t get the mask on with everything in my hands, so I threw it all at a chair in the waiting room—used tissues, clean tissues, earmuffs. Frustrated. Scared.
As we approached Dad’s room, Greg stepped out. Visibly shaken. Steve followed, eyes red and brimming.
My dad had just passed away, minutes before we got to his side.
I went into the room, placed my hand on his shoulder. Mom sat across from me, sobbing. I moved around the bed and hugged her. Began crying myself, then couldn’t stop. My eyes burned with acidic tears. Later, I’d find milky spatter on the lenses of my glasses.
I stopped crying. Started again. Stopped. A nurse came, listened to his chest, then called the charge nurse. She came a few minutes later, also listened, and pronounced it. The official time of death was 4:12; in reality, it was several minutes prior.
The world didn’t halt; it carried on, stepping over the pieces of our hearts on the floor. Indifferent. We drew together, an island of familial grief, then broke apart to drift our separate ways.
Outside, the snow continued to cast its funeral shroud across the landscape.
My dad, Christmas 2016.
June 2, 2016 § 3 Comments
March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
I’m probably late to the show on this, but I saw the Ira Glass quote below for the first time today and thought, “Damn, that’s exactly what I needed to read today.”
I’m sharing in case you’re later to the show than I am, or just need to see it again.
August 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
I know I praise Iain M. Banks’ books often (and no, this isn’t another review), but one of his Culture novels—The Use of Weapons—is one of the most clever books I’ve read. He tells the story from both ends of its timeline simultaneously, in alternating chapters, and he does it so seamlessly that I didn’t even notice it until I reached the end. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 24, 2015 § 2 Comments
I’ve been struggling with a scene in which the protagonists find a secret message on something they stole off a dead man. The whole chapter felt clumsy and dull, and I’ve spent way too much valuable time trying to fix it.
As often happens when I’m in a jam, I serendipitously stumbled across a blog post (which I now cannot find to share, argh) in which the author said, “When in doubt, cut the scene.” « Read the rest of this entry »
August 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
Kelly Braffet, author of the acclaimed new YA novel Save Yourself, published a fantastic blog piece about how she reacted when a high-school English teacher tried to crush her dream of being a writer. You can read the full story here. It’s a good one.
When most writers talk about their origins, they usually cite the high-school English teacher who inspired them and taught them to love reading and books. They talk about those first awkward stories they wrote, and how those same teachers read them and wrote encouraging comments and fanned the embers of their dreams into a blazing passion.
Braffet’s teacher was not that sort:
« Read the rest of this entry »
January 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
John Scalzi shared a link to a blog post by Delilah Dawson just now, and since I had just written about my own inner voices, I thought I’d share it here. Because I’m not the only one with the negative voices whispering in my ear, telling me I can’t do it. Delilah Dawson hears them too:
By the time I finished my second book, I was getting enough sleep to be sane. And my internal naysayer came right back to life.
You can’t get an agent. You can’t sell a book. You’re not trained. You have no credentials. You don’t know what you’re doing. You aren’t in NYC. You don’t know anybody in the business. You’re a stay-at-home mom who sits on the couch all day, attached to a parasitic baby. You’re an artist, and that’s what you’re supposed to be, even if you haven’t wanted to paint in a year.
And I told her to shove it, because if I could produce two tiny people and keep them alive and then write two books, I could do goddamn anything I wanted to do.
Check out Dawson’s full post here.
Do you have an “internal naysayer” whispering in your ear? How do you get him or her to shut up?