Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

40 and counting

The number of pages I have left to go till my restructuring is done. Then comes inputting it all.

Perhaps I should clarify -- I printed out a copy of the story and am red-penning it as my method of editing. I always do this at least twice while reworking a script or novel. Having the stuff I've written on a computer lying before me in a printout helps jolt my eye and lets me better see typos and mistakes I've made...and I had plenty on this draft. Hence me calling it draft 2 from this point.

When this draft is done, I'll do a quick run-through to make certain everything's in the correct order and I haven't inadvertently deleted something I meant to keep. I have this nasty habit of jiggling the mouse or running my finger over the pad wrong when I'm highlighting for a correction and accidentally including stuff I need to keep. I'm trying to get to where I double-check all planned deletions before I do them...but I'm not 100% on that, yet. Not by a long shot.

This is shaping up to be a nice, quiet Christmas. This time last year, I was en route to San Antonio to spend a week. It was just over a month after my mother had come home from a nursing care facility, after being in the hospital, and she was undergoing physical therapy with a visiting nurse. In fact, she was doing really well. I watched a couple of sessions and whatever he told her to do, she did. I figured if she kept this up, she'd be around till she was 95, like my great-grandmother Marie was.

Her name was Marie Hanson and she lived in Albert Lea, Minnesota her entire life, I think. Anyway, every Christmas, I'd get a little book she'd put together of stories she clipped out of "Reader's Digest" and pasted onto light cardboard. then she sewed the board together with a cover she'd made. I liked them but didn't really appreciate them at the time. And they wound up being tossed out during one of our many cross-country moves (this started after we'd returned from England). I almost wish I had them, now.

She was going strong until she was 94, when she slipped during the winter and broke her hip. She deteriorated quickly after that. But basically, since she came from good Norwegian stock (and since many of her brothers and sisters lasted into their late 80s and 90s) I figured mom would, too. And she did make it to 83 until things became too much for her.

I don't know for sure if there's any sort of afterlife, but I'm not such a fool as to reject it outright. Writing has shown me there is something beyond our understanding and ability to conceive of in the universe, and I ain't talking about something as simple as a driving force behind creation. I've had too many occasions where it's touched me and helped me formulate a story or a character...where it's brought ideas from the simplest of thoughts to full reality in my mind...and then demanded my attention even when I wanted to divorce myself from it all.

It's the purest form of love -- the insistence you make use of your abilities in the best way you can. My hope is that mom is now a part of that and will be forever.

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