Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.
Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts: Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton!
This month's question is: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?
Yes, I have participated and written full 50,000 word books. And there they sit in their files waiting to be further worked on. Only one of them is really worthy of my time and perhaps next year it will come out of the closet, perhaps not...
So, am I back? Did you miss me? My answer to both questions is, I hope so.
At least now I can explain the reason for my absence. My sister, Erva Denham, was in need of a new aortic heart valve. It was up to me to find the right doctors, to make our home ready for her to come up to Texas from the Virgin Islands, and to take her to all her appointments. We didn't know if she was going to require open chest surgery or if they would be able to replace the valve by going up the main arteries in her legs.
Within two weeks of her arrival in February she saw the first heart doctor and by May she had a new valve implanted. She was eligible for the latter. It was an incredible experience to get her to the hospital one morning and have her discharged the next day in the afternoon. From May until this month she has been in a state of recovery as her heart adjusts to this foreign object in her heart. It is made out of metal and has bovine tissue for the valve cusps. Just last week she was finally released to return home to the islands and she will be leaving next week on the 9th.
It's been quite a journey and experience. The doctors and the three hospitals involved have been fabulous and we couldn't be happier with the results.
In other news, two friends - one of them a high school classmate - have died, which makes me ever more acutely aware of my own mortality and that I'm definitely on the downward side of this journey called life. I'm not particularly anxious or fearful about it, that's just the way it is. But it does make me think about what I want to do with whatever time I have left.
On that note, I was asked again to contribute an article in the prestigious travel magazine, Destination. My third article for them will be published in January and is called, The Little Pre-Fab that Could.
I have also been writing some dribbles - 50 words short stories. I'm finding them a nice way to ease back into writing.
Here is the first one I wrote.
I didn't realize playing with the Conjuring Wheel would cause such torrential rainfalls. Ok, Grammy had warned me, but she was gone now, so it was her fault. That made me angry, which made me hungry.
I wandered into the empty, silent kitchen. Undoing the wheel would have to wait.
I have submitted, so far, two of these dribbles to Vine Leaves Press because...why not? (And as of this morning have learned that my first submission has been accepted!)
I've also written my first poem in a gazillion years. It was written in the aftermath of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian and the death of my classmate, Ronnie Lockhart. Ronnie was well loved on St. Thomas, with a wealth of knowledge about the history of the islands and a great sense of humor. He was also very active in Rotary and several other organizations. He will be greatly missed.
Ronnie, as the Candy Man, during Carnival a year or so ago.
Flooding emotions -
A torrential rain of tears
of years long gone.
Nature does not care about
what gets in her path
her bath of sorrow.
She is innocent and indifferent.
We are pulled, pushed along
whether we would go or not.
We can, like being caught in an ocean wave,
fight against being thrown about
and come away battered
Or...we can relax into the tumbling
emerging from the ocean like Venus
Today I'm thankful for the excellent doctors, nurses, hospital and office staff who took such good care of my sister and who were always upbeat and positive about her prognosis.
What are you thankful for? Have you ever participated in National Novel Writing Month? Have you ever written a dribble or a drabble, which is a 100 word story?