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Friday Free Writing

Between Bob and The Little Store (our store), I squeeze in a little bit of creative writing into my blog. I post my creative writing for a few reasons. First, my first love in writing is creative writing. Second, before I post any work, while I read through it for content, I get to re-edit it. And last, because I get to test it out on an audience. We writers get few chances to test our work before sending it off to our agent or publisher. So, it's good to get comments back on people who are readers and not somehow involved in the publishing world.



Oh, and while I'm explaining myself, I meet sort of regularly with another writer friend who lives in WA State. His name is Terry Persun and if you haven't read him, you might think to pop over to his website. He writes across genres within literary fiction, mystery, science fiction, and poetry. He writes for a living doing freelance work.


So, anyway, Terry and I meet on a semi-regular basis Thursday mornings and talk about writing, publishing, and marketing. It's a business meeting but we have tons of fun. However, this week, we'll be sharing how our creative writing efforts went. Last week, we each challenged the other to write something new.


And this is what I'm sharing today, what I came up with. It's taken from a novel I started in 2021, a love story of sorts. I've got the idea of structure and imagery from BIG FISH: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace. I intend to credit Daniel Wallace in the introduction. But I've tweaked the idea to fit the life of an aging man--Rick, who has been recently admitted into hospice care.


Here's the new stuff...


A CHAPTER'S START

All the misspellings and then the comma.


Janey notices grammatical things, things about the written word. But there’s nothing like that in this writing. Rick’s handwriting, his penmanship altered by his dementia.


His writing looks choppier and unrefined.


She realizes the dementia had set in hard even back then.


Writings, she finds in a most unremarkable spot. Among bills and bank statements. She finds them in a flurry of tax preparation. Unremarkable stuff. They appear to her as though sent down from God. Digging through the dirt of mundanity, she spots a broken vessel and inside...


Over & out, over & out, over & out, over & out


Over. Ampersand. Out.


Each over & out written inside a cryptically drawn heart on a church announcement that first month of Covid lockdown, in March.


Over & out, over & out, over & out, over & out


She holds the pages like a lost scroll. He stopped communicating—speaking or writing—months after, in the following year.


On the church’s “Call to Worship,” no less.


Were they watching church via Zoom that day, together on the couch? That must be it.


She can’t remember printing out the pages or them sitting watching on her laptop or him holding the pages or a pen, but he must have because here’s the evidence.


Over & out, over & out, over & out, over & out


Written four times in blue ink on two separate, stapled pages. Inside hearts.


She wonders what he wore sitting there next to her on the couch as he listened to the pastor, as he drew hearts around each phrase, over and out.


She wonders if he sipped coffee between writing, between encircling the words in hearts.


Then she wonders if she placed him there, like a mother might with a child.


“Here, honey. Here’s some paper and a pen. You can draw while I watch the service. I love you.”


And there it is. Yes, this must be how it happened. Here. Draw something, sweetheart. Sit next to me. I love you.

Hearts.


Janey jumps at her cellphone. It buzzes first then chimes from her back pocket.


Peace Hospital, the phone reads.


“Mrs. Ingalls. This is Dr. Matthews.”


And after the intro, he gets right to it. Pull off the bandage. Quick.


“It’s not good. There’s a bleed we need to fix. It’s small but...”


After that, she only hears the barking sound of Canada geese flying by. The dog barks at them. She moves to a quieter spot, to a window where a deer, a doe nibbles on the oats she put out that morning. She had to clear away caterpillars to set the oats. The doe stops eating because it sees her inside the house. They stare at one another momentarily. The deer shakes her head and places her muzzle back onto the food.


“So, it’s either he dies here in the hospital, or you can bring him home.” She pauses too long for the doctor. “Mrs. Ingalls?”


“I’m, I need a second to think.”


“There’s no way any ethical surgeon would perform surgery on him at this late stage of dementia and now with this bleed. The surgery would take too long and...”


“Yes. I got all that,” Janey says. Her words sound snappish.


But how? How did she get all that, through the distractions? With the deer?


“I’m sorry. But it won’t be more than a week until...”


“Yes. Fine.” She’s made her decision. “He’s coming home.” Then, “Can he walk?”


“Do you have a wheelchair?”


“Yes. We do. He’s coming home.”


Over & out


###


Well, that's the end of the new writing segment. I hope you enjoyed it. As you can see, I write a lot about dementia--in fiction and nonfiction.


I am a true believer that when you go through something painful, you need to release it and writing is a perfect way to get your thoughts and emotions down so you can process your experience a little clearer. And, remember, get it down first. Edit later.


Anyway, again, I hope you liked this piece.


God bless you all.

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