THE WRITE PLACE…

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Memoir Monday 1

The Memoir Monday feature will be posted every other Monday.

This memoir writing is tough stuff. Many of my online friends are from a circle of published or soon-to-publish memoir writers. Most are based on hard subjects; illness and injury, death by disease or suicide, and abuse or neglect. You have to wonder why these memoirs are so widely read. At first glance those subjects are sad or depressing.

Why do we read them? I have always read memoirs and biographies. Sometimes I’m drawn in by pure curiosity, other times the author is covering an experience that I have had, or someone close has had. I want to know how they got through it. I want a blatant or even a subtle message of hope. Yes, hope.

The author lived to write about it, so maybe they have a secret of survival to share with me. Maybe they write so well, with that just-right stroke of humor, that I will be whisked away on their magic carpet for a few hours. I hold onto the hope that the author not only survives, but thrives after their crisis. Hope. I read memoirs for hope.

Hope may also be the reason that I keep hitting delays in my own memoir. August will be five years since Paul’s death. The memoir keeps pulling me back to the hard memories, when I am beginning to see the light of happy memories of Paul, in my everyday life. Yet…we both truly wanted to share our journey with others. We wanted to offer help along the way, for others in a health crisis, and we wanted to offer hope.

That is why I took on Memoir Mondays. I need to get this show on the road! I want to share this part of the journey with my community. I would love some feedback. I plan on exploring the topic of memoir, as well as some resource links for others who are writing memoirs. I’ll review some memoirs and announce it when my friends publish their memoirs. There is a large community of memoir writers online, so this won’t all be new information, but it will be what I think is interesting, and what I think you might enjoy.

In the mean time, here is some of the writing from within my own thick “Memoir” file.

 

A little background: My husband, Paul, spent a year in and out of hospitals, and in short-term housing near the main hospital, while fighting Acute Myeloid Leukemia and the Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) that he got as a result of a bone marrow transplant. During that year, I kept family and friends updated by way of an online patient journal on Care Pages. The following excerpts are from the memoir I’m writing, and were written during a few days of the last hospital stay:

June 13, 2009 Last night we had our best sleep in a long time. That’s good, but really, we’re funnier when we go sleepless in Seattle. Since yesterday, Paul has a bit of medication-caused edema in his belly and arms. He is still taking walks around the hallway loop, 10-40 minutes a day. He’s trying to do his exercises, but his belly argues with too much movement.

The biopsies from Tuesday’s procedure showed that Paul has adeno virus in his stomach now. They have added two more drugs to fight it, and more fluids before and after the new antiviral. It’s a toss up which is worse, the virus or the treatment. The other drug protects him from the damage the antiviral causes. What a viscous circle. They continue to try and balance his glucose, but it keeps dropping low , then spiking high. They began a new plan today and it has stayed pretty even so far. Through it all, Paul pushes on to do everything he can to get better.

Wishing we were there,

Patti & Paul

June 14, 2009 (warning–talk of needles) Paul is doing better today. His cramping belly has let up a lot. This was ATG day, when they pre-medicate him, which sends him off to a pretty deep sleep. This eve he had his weekly x-ray. We walked earlier, and will walk again later.
Tomorrow is ECP day, when he is hooked up to a machine in his room for 3 1/2 hrs. I can’t remember if I told you all about it or not, but they put a large needle in a vein, then strap his arm to a small board to keep it immobile and straight. They take blood out, separate it, take one layer and treat it with a photosensitive drug, then pass the treated portion under UV lights, then the machine puts it all back inside Paul’s vein. I have read some encouraging studies about this therapy, and we are hopeful that it can help clear out the GVHD.
Everything they are doing will take time, so we are settled in for the long haul. We’re up for it, though. Whatever it takes to get us back home and Paul healed.
Husky stadium is outside our window, so we have been watching the flurry of graduation taking place this weekend. It is surreal to watch all these young people celebrating starting out their lives full of hope, from a hospital room window, where we fight for Paul’s life.
Paul says to tell you all, “Hi!” and thanks for all the support.
Paul & Patti

More background. Paul passed away in our bed at home on August 9, 2009. Less than a month later, I started back with my emails to friends and family, while I tunneled through grief and estate issues.

Sept 2, 2009 BLOG BLOG BLOG BLOG—It’s all about me! (I really know it isn’t)

Just tonight, I realized that I miss doing the updates about Paul’s health and our daily lives as fighters-for-his-life in a foreign land (hospital in Seattle). I thought that I could continue in a private journal, although the feedback is disappointing :>) So now I will write about me fighting for my mental life in this foreign land of Paul Is Gone. I will share the journey with you, because it is a habit that I still need.

I went to the doc today because a sore throat kept me up all night. I just have some infection in my throat and sinuses. With a few antibiotics I’ll be on the mend. I feel like hell, okay? I’m only up now, because Mark (family friend, lives close) signaled with his gate bell, that he was dropping off provisions, along with a mocha from my Aunt Judee. I couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up to see if no news was still good news—yes, it is! That means no evil attacks about the estate today. Someone spread the “rumor” that there was going to be a sale here this Saturday. Friends and family think the rumor was spread just to worry me, ahhhh, success for whoever started it!

I feel like such a scholar; I added “Judee” and “ahhhh” to the dictionary! There’s just something empowering about adding words to a dictionary… my personal dictionary on my computer…but STILL!

Finally, I changed the auto insurance to only cover my truck. One more thing done. Oh, that would be two, as I also called to get paperwork started for a small pension.

From the long, wide deck overlooking the back yard and acreage; A little after 8 P.M., and here comes that moon, right on time. That was my entertainment last night; watching as Jupiter chases the moon up the hill and over the tree tops. Much better than My Name Is Earl—sorry, Paul, but anything is better than Earl. I just realized that the moon actually rises in front of, and then above Jupiter. When the moon finally takes the lead, Jupiter resumes the chase across the sky. That’s way better than that episode when Earl got stuck in jail. I do not miss television. I would watch unlimited hours to have Paul back.

#####################################################

Thanks for being here,

Patti


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A Blog Schedule? Me?

mail box

Ground mail. Rusty abandoned mail box.
PHALL PHOTO 2014

Yep, I’m going to break down and try the blog schedule thing. I also added a mission statement and a link to my Facebook to the sidebar, and I updated my HOME page.

So here’s the plan:

MEMOIR MONDAY- Every other Monday (beginning May 12th) will be all about memoir—yours, mine and theirs. An excerpt, poem or story from my memoir-in-progress, and/or links, news and reviews relating to memoir reading or writing.

NEWS DAY TUESDAY- Every other Tuesday (beginning May 6th) will be my writer-reader news roundup. Whatever I come across that is newsworthy and of interest to writers and readers.

PROMPTLY WEDNESDAY- If I join in a photo or writing prompt, I’ll post my entry on Wednesdays.

PHOTO FRIDAY- Beginning May 9th, I’ll add photos from the current week and/or photos from my archives to my PHALL PHOTO blog. I’ll pick my favorite photo and post it here, with a link to the photos I added on my photo blog. If inspired, I’ll include a poem, short story, or a quote relating to the photo.

Later, I may add THOSE WHO CARE THURSDAY for care-giver news, fiction and non-fiction stories and information.

So, each week I will have a Monday OR Tuesday post and Friday photos. The rest are occasional.

As usual, I’ll probably include one of my photos to each post, whether it’s relevant to the post, or not 🙂 If you have a post (yours or someone else’s) that relates to anything I post, feel free to add a link to it in your comments.

I doubt that I will be able to completely curb my wide streak of spontaneity, but this schedule will hopefully make my busy life easier, AND allow you to follow posts that interest you.

I’m sure you will, but please let me know what you think about this blog schedule plan. Do you have a schedule or have you tried to implement one? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Patti


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A-Z April Challenge; R is For Reviews and Ready to Publish?

Is your final product (your book!) a skunk or a rose?

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage.
PHALL PHOTO 2014

Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Rebecca Lamoreaux wrote a recent A-Z Challenge post about many issues pertaining to writing book reviews. Here is part of my comment, as well as some further discussion and helpful links.

To be honest, these issues make me hesitate to publish. No one is perfect, but I think books need to be as close to perfect as they can be, BEFORE they are seen in public. In a perfect world, I’ve always thought that indie authors should have their books go through an indie author board (or a professional editor) before publishing. It would raise the quality by leaps and bounds. I will write a post and make sure you see it. Thanks for bringing this up.

The comment above, from :

http://rebeccalamoreaux-anauthorinprogress.blogspot.com/2014/04/r-reading-and-reviews.html

Good article about gauging your readiness to publish:

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2014/01/are-you-good-enough-evaluating-whether.html

For self-publishers, an excellent article about the different kinds of editing and some awesome links for help finding an editor:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/59767-why-all-self-publishers-need-a-good-editor.html

What are your thoughts?

Patti

Hey, I hope you find time to check out some of the other A-Z April Challenge blogs here:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html


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One Year on Word Press. Thanks!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Yes, it has been a year since I began blogging. Even though it was very lonely the first few months, you eventually found me and have kept me going with your support and encouragement ever since. The secret to bringing folks to your blog is so simple: Get out and visit, comment and “like” other blogs. That’s it. Go forth and make friends :>)

PHALL PHOTO 2013

PHALL PHOTO 2013

Here’s how the first 6 months went for me. I didn’t know one blogger and had no idea how to blog. After a couple months of loneliness, I started searching for info about memoir and children’s writing and publishing. During my quest for info I started visiting other blogs, I made some friends. Adding photos to my posts seemed to bring more people to this little community. Popping in on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, really brought some new faces to The Write Place.

I hope to add some highlights of the second half of my first year in the next few days, but for now, here is what I was up to my first six months…

PHALL PHOTO 2013

PHALL PHOTO 2013

Six entries in March 2013, including things like:

I posted a quote that seemed to fit my state of mind as I began this new endeavor of public blogging, writing and (hopefully) publishing. “Do not hurry, do not rest,” by Goethe. As fast as I wanted to get started, I knew that I also wanted to take my time and not make a bunch of (public) mistakes.

I was unsure of what/how to begin, but decided to use my long dormant maiden name for my writing. I posted a poem inspired by my mother, who instilled the love of reading and humor in me. Another poem that I posted that first month reflected the pain of the sudden and unexpected loss of one of my sisters the year before.

Sunrise at Westhaven Beach 3

Sunrise at Westhaven Beach, WA w/Coast Guard Tower. Phall Photo 2013  

The post, Keeper Book Synopsis, http://wp.me/p3i5jo-x tells the genesis story of the handcrafted “Keepers” that my friend (Leslee) and I created years ago. My hopes are to publish the stories that I wrote for each one. I also finished typing a 2500 word story that I wrote for my children in 1996.

The last entry of March 2013 says, in part, “I woke up this morning, well, it was really almost 11. Anyway, I was looking around and my eye caught on some star wands that I need to give my granddaughters, from a mutual friend. Soon I had a story rumbling in my head and I was off. I have been writing and editing all damn day long, and half the night! I made some coffee, finally ate a snack, packed some things for my move [home relocation] tomorrow and wrote like crazy. I completed a children’s story 10 words shy of 4000 words. Crazy. It just came out. Does it happen like that for you? And, hey, I have no illusions that this would not get whittled in half by a real editor, but I’m good with that. It is the process that is so…gripping, so addictive.”

April- 12 entries. This was my third month going to the local writer group that I joined, and I posted,  “Have been checking out and “following” several other writer blogs. Have been “invited” to join a writer site that allows us to give and receive feed-back. I am learning about the current trends in writing and publishing…” Another entry, Good Grief, A Widow Writes A Memoir, http://wp.me/p3i5jo-V explains some of the things I was learning about memoir writing and how painful it can be to write about Paul’s illness and death. Still is.

Breakfast for fawn. Across from my driveway. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Breakfast for fawn. Across from my driveway.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

I posted about a writer retreat and a writer conference in Homer, Alaska, which is also home to one of my sisters and her husband. I began taking a writing class taught by a local writer, and I met several other writers there. I posted a poem that I wrote for Paul’s 60th birthday in 2007. I made an ambitious attempt at a blogging schedule. Hilarious, if you really know me; the “s” word and me are not close.

I signed onto several more social media venues and shared some sites with helpful information for writers. I touched on some newsy information in one post, about the way technology is taking away our privacy. I wrote a poem about the deaths and injuries in the Boston marathon bombing and the explosion in Texas. I posted a short story about a child molester/monster.

Kites down on beach. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Kites down on beach.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

I moved Maggie (my trailer/cave/home) from the bay outside of Westport, into Westport proper and closer to the beach. The worst shock and heartache of my life happened on the 26th, when my grandson died. Still dealing with the other recent losses in my life, I stopped blogging for awhile.

May- 13 entries. I lost my mind a bit, but returned to blogging late in the month, with 2 poems on grief and loss. Lady In The Cave http://wp.me/p3i5jo-1N and Treasured Souls http://wp.me/p3i5jo-1P  were followed by a post complaining about the new parameters for the medical definition of grief. I wrote a few other poems/essays and shared some of the writing/publishing information that I was learning. Still very few visitors or followers on my blog, but I kept on. This was my first poetry/photo combo post: Beach Bird Bliss http://wp.me/p3i5jo-2c and it made me realize how much readers enjoy photos along with the words.

Fresh seed pod on tree. PHALL PHOTO 2013 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19

Fresh seed pod on tree.
PHALL PHOTO 2013
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19

June- 22 entries. This was a very busy writing month and I had some fun with the essay, Things That Go Rrrrr, Crash, and Drip In The Night http://wp.me/p3i5jo-4w. I also got better at working with photos and started posting photos for Word Press Daily Prompts and Weekly Photo Challenges. I posted quite a bit under Writing Journal as I learned about and organized for successful memoir writing. The post, New! Dedicated Memoir Page and Sneak Peek of Prologue http://wp.me/p3i5jo-3m tells the story of how I got from the house that Paul and I shared, to living at the beach. What I Would Tell You Now http://wp.me/p3i5jo-3v is a letter to my late husband, written long after he was gone. I also started writing and submitting book reviews this month.

Butterfly on Flower in my friend's garden. Phall Photo 2013

Butterfly on Flower in my friend’s garden.
Phall Photo 2013

These are busy days, but I will try to post the summary of July-December 2013, in the next few days… Still not smoking and happy about it, over 2 months later!!!!!!!! Was thrilled to know that one of my sisters quit smoking 4 days ago too. So cool.

Happy Almost Spring!

Patti

Thistles PHALL PHOTO 2013

Thistles
PHALL PHOTO 2013

 


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EDDD 10; Is Writing Your Business?

crabMy horoscope for today, written by me. Some planets appear to be nearing collision point, which has caused a sh**tstorm of emotions for you today, dear Cancer. You are a water sign, hence the tears and the feeling of sinking, even though you are swimming as fast as you can. You will be forced to make hard decisions relating to family, caves and plants. You will hide in your shell, enjoy uplifting friendships online, share amazing wonders and put decisions off to another day. After all, you are a crab.

Is Writing Your Business?

Yes? Then you’ve probably already run across these two dynamos; Kristine Kathryn Rusch at http://kriswrites.com/ and her husband/business partner Dean Wesley Smith at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/.

Kris and Dean are not only some of the most prolific writers that I have seen, but they also have the business end of writing down to a science. I have been enjoying Kris’s Free Fiction Friday and her business e-newsletter for many months. Dean is a proponent of indie authors not giving their work away, and he backs it up with examples. Both have sound author and freelance business advise.

That’s my gem for today, “see” you all tomorrow. I have officially blown this deadline. Computer crashed and I couldn’t get back on in time. I guess I should start hours ahead of midnight?

 

Peace,

Patti

From writing challenge Every Damn Day December at http://treatmentofvisions.com/2013/11/26/evdadadec/


33 Comments

EDDD 9; Do You Have Any Comments on Commenting?

Here’s my own horoscope for today, written by me. You will continue to sleep sporadically, which allows you to have active friendships online with people all over the world. You will add to some (FB & blog) conversations, dropping helpful links, opinions, ideas and names as you can. You will take away helpful links, names, ideas and be grateful for your growing circle of creative business and personal friendships. You WILL get those dishes done (yep). You will write and edit one story (1/2 yep). Don’t forget Every Damn Day December before midnight:>)

Sunset begins at Brady's Oysters and the Elk River Bridge outside of Westport, Wa. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Sunset begins at Brady’s Oysters and the Elk River Bridge, outside of Westport, Wa.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

READING COMMENTS:

After reading a well written, verrrry long article in an online journal earlier today, I began to wonder if others do as I do when reading online. I read the article or post, and form my opinions and thoughts about it as I go along. Next, I read about the author, and then I start in on the comments.

Sometimes, I learn more from the comments than I did from the article/post. I learn about making assumptions and jumping to conclusions. Those comments often help me think differently. Sometimes the comments sway my initial opinion, but usually they help me make a more thoughtful comment of my own, and give me a fuller understanding of the topic. And sometimes I get an “ah ha” moment, when a point is brought up that I never even considered.

It is obvious from reading the comments, that not everyone reads the previously written comments before posting their own. When several people ask the same question, it can get irritating. I scroll past those that are written from a soap box. Unless it gets out of hand and becomes a personal attack, I usually enjoy a good back and forth discussion/argument.

My biggest pet peeve is when I see that all the comments are floating in the ether, because the author of the article/post is not responding at all. Even that can turn out okay if the readers interact with each other, but that doesn’t often happen. If the author is too busy to respond to their readers/audience, how about just turning off the comment option?

What do you think about comments? Do you have a “system” for reading and commenting? Do you think authors should reply to the comments that their writing generates? We’d love to know what you think.

Peace,

Patti

From writing challenge at Every Damn Day December http://treatmentofvisions.com/2013/11/26/evdadadec/

And sunset ends at Bonge Beach, Westport, Wa. PHALL PHOTO 2013

And sunset ends at Bonge Beach, Westport, Wa.
PHALL PHOTO 2013