Been a bit AWOL
Sorry about that. Life, you know? Seems it’s been since March that I’ve posted anything here, and what a journey it’s been.
Well, to be succinct, it was all about eldercare of my 93-year-old mother-in-law who has dementia. That will have to suffice as explanation for the high-drama and stress which has overshadowed our lives since March. We think we’re on track to better care for her. The next few weeks will tell.
All I can say to anyone out there approaching senior or elder status is to get your legal and financial house in order along with any assignment of power of attorney and end-of-life arrangements. Just do it. Don’t leave it to your family because that places an unnecessary burden on them, and may not have the result you wish.
It now looks like our lives are evolving into a new phase, one which allows not only for my mother-in-law’s improved care, but allows for a return of quality of life for ourselves. That means that today, for the first time since March, I can, without guilt or abandonment of responsibilities, spend time updating this website, marketing stories, and catching up with life.
That has resulted in me having 15 short stories out on submission as of today. Most of those stories are flash fiction, even micro-fiction, perhaps a result of the very narrow window of creative opportunity I’ve had. I’ve learned a great deal about packing punch into short, sharp phrases, of building precise character and plot. All and all, I’d have to say it’s been good exercise of writing skills. Whether or not any of those stories sell is another matter. But even so, I will call those pieces excellent time spent honing my craft.
I haven’t picked up a brush since March. There just hasn’t been the calm, contemplative energy to apply to the demands of composition and media. I did, however, sell one of my paintings, Meux Creek in Spate. I am ever so please it’s gone to a home where it will be enjoyed.
However, the creative process is slowly waking up, and I’m contemplating a new direction, a new vision for a series tentatively called Memories of Earth. In a way, I’m imagining this as a requiem to the planet as we know it, and a cautionary vision of our desire to populate and perhaps harvest the celestial bodies near us. I suppose part of that vision has arisen out of a series of short stories I’ve started, tentatively titled The Lamentations of Mars. There are presently two stories under that vision. I don’t know where that vision will lead me, but it’s a journey I’m compelled to undertake.
Mental Health Remedies
During these past month, I do have to admit my mental health has been taxed. Just as I said my mother-in-law’s dementia is informed by the traumas of her youth, so has my own response to many of the stressful situations in which I’ve found myself. I said to my doctor just two weeks ago that we can heal from physical wounds, but the wounds we experience to our psyches rarely heal; we learn coping strategies, ways in which we can conduct some semblance of a normal life. But those strategies often crumble in the face of similar traumas which occur in the present.
So, for me, one of the mental health remedies to which I’ve turned, quite surprisingly, has been gardening. And this, in turn, has put me very much in mind of my own mother, who throughout her life plunged her hands into the dirt in order to cleanse her mind of traumas and fears. I remember very clearly when I was a girl of about 10 her being in a very fragile state, spending the day out in the vegetable garden hoeing weeds, and then later that day standing over the kitchen sink washing dishes while I dried, the tears streaming down her face, and then abruptly abandoning that task to go and hoe the garden all over again.
I didn’t find myself in quite that state these past months, but there were days I ferociously planted, weeded and cultivated in an attempt to bring some serenity and sense to the drama of the day. And I do recognize my dear partner in life has sought out similar strategies.
Life always brings speed bumps. That’s just a fact. But for now, with this particular patch of life, I think we’ve set in motion some very sound, safe strategies for everyone, which will result in us all being in a more content phase of life. I am looking forward to writing more short stories in that proposed Martian series over the next few months as a way of exercising my literary creative muscles, and to exploring that series of paintings to expand that vision. Of course there’s also the garden. And let’s not forget evenings spent on the porch in the rain, or morning coffee on the balcony while birds careen through the air.
And, hopefully, I will find the wherewithal to visit you here on my blog, or through my Facebook presence.
Wherever you are, whatever your situation, I do hope you find some serenity this day.