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Going Under a Rock...like a sand turtle.

When things get overwhelmed here at the Wingate abode, under a rock sounds like the most comfy place to be. Did you notice how there is no mention of the “I” word in that first sentence. It’s also an inactive statement. In other words, there’s no subject (a noun/pronoun/proper noun) acting to slide under said rock. There’s no subject because knowledgeable people tell us we should avoid using the “I” word in nonfiction and memoir as much as possible so that the writing doesn’t sound like “it’s all about you.”

As writers, we have so many rules. But writing is an artform. I flip my finger at the rules because if I can’t get the square thing into the starshaped hole, I will grab my hammer and pound it into place. Of course, I think this may work best in creative nonfiction and literary fiction. You try to do something like this with commercial fiction and you’ll get a big fat “No!” at the door of a publisher.


I like to read literary fiction and creative nonfiction and, yes, some commercial fiction but the writer has to be either extremely funny or an extremely talented writer to hold my attention. What I mean is that the writer must have the ability to play with words in a way that grabs me. I read for writing first and story second. I love words. I love writing.


Some of my favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut (OMGee), Emily St. John Mandel, Jessica Treadway, Zadie Smith, Jenny Offil, Justin Torres, and so many more. I’ll think about it and get you a more complete list later.


Anyway, when I, yes “I,” when I feel overwhelmed, I tend to shrink back from any human contact. Except Bob, of course. He’s my heart. But I will hide for weeks and months if I’m allowed to. I’ve been in hiding mode for a good month or so. I blog/post about dementia (Bob has frontotemporal dementia) and try to write in order to express emotions but also to help others who may be a caregiver too.


Being my husband’s caregiver is, hands down, the most important thing I do and may ever do. Important things should be written about. Don’t you agree?


I write about the minutia of Bob’s dementia and the bigger stuff too. Like end of life concerns. I write about Butt Paste and padding for beds. I write about how we used to take walks and now that he can’t, I only remember those days. We’ll have been married 21 years this past May and like everything and everyone, the day came and went as if simply another day. But it was a big day for us because my husband is still alive and we still love each other like crazy. He just can’t vocalize his love any longer. I talk for him. I talk a lot too, for us both. We can still communicate. We have what I would think of as close to twin speak as it gets with two folks who are from vastly different backgrounds and families. He talks to me with his blue eyes and with a series of giggles and grunts, with facial expressions. I try to record these things for posterity. For me. For his family, for mine.


I guess I can mention this too. I’ve been busy writing an autobiographical fiction piece that leans heavily on our situation here at home, on dementia and how we deal with the terminal nature of life. I’m also writing another piece that I slot within the literary/absurdist category. I love both stories. Both deal with dementia but in a different form.

And, by the way, the only reason I’ve slid out from under my comfy rock today is because Scott Dworkin told me to keep writing. Some days we need urging and I appreciate the nudge because I would have continued to wallow in my hidiness (is that a word?). I like going under but sometimes I need reminding that not everyone wants me to go under.


So, thank you, Scott Dworkin for shoving the rock off me.


And about rules, Jesus said this about the Messianic Law:

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one [b]jot or one [c]tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." ~Matthew 5: 17-20

P.S. Here are a few more writing rules we get to break...don't italicize too many words... or use too many ellipses... or use too many exclamation points!!!


God bless you all.

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Jo szcz
Jo szcz
08 jun

I've missed you ... but I sooo understand. My prayers go up to the throne for you both daily. Love you both! Jo

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