THE WRITE PLACE…

…to build a community. Share Patti Hall's journey …


14 Comments

Memoir Monday 3

Wild Yellow Flag Iris with ivy-covered ghost cabin in background. Phall Photo 2014

Wild Yellow Flag Iris with ivy-covered ghost cabin in background. Phall Photo 2014

Nature Heals: A Non-Scientific Study, Part 1

A 5-year, blinded by multiple deaths of loved ones, study.

After Paul died (Aug 2009) I spent my few waking hours out on the back deck of our home. From my lofty vantage point, I soaked up the panorama of our own overgrown lawn and gardens and the wild acreage surrounding them. Beyond all the love and support of our circle of family and friends, nature itself helped bring me back to life.

Excerpts from my first few emails in late August to early September 2009 to our family and friends:

I’m watching the deer on the hill & the chickadees are singing their evening lullaby. There are many things I should be doing, but I will probably go back to bed. I did finally turn the soaker hoses off…after 3 days!

I woke up to a longggg, LOUD roll of thunder this morn. The pounding rain on the roof woke me several times last night, still pouring now. Bring on the ARK!

Oliver (my cat) is curled up next to me on the porch swing, dreaming of the good old days when he could get around better and we still had Paul and Jake (our dog) with us. I know what Oliver’s dreaming, cause that’s what I’m dreaming…

Earlier I described a gloomy, rainy day. Now, however, the sun has come out, the rain stopped, and a mist rises from the grassy field on the hill. I’ve been watching a fledgling red-tail hawk learn to fly. He’s resting on a high, thick fir tree branch, his wings drooping at his sides. Trying to balance his heavy wings, he follows the branch towards the center of the big tree; I think it is siesta time.
A light breeze just came from the south and swept away all of the dark clouds, leaving some bright white ones on the horizon, pushing the others to the north. The porch chimes are singing and one of the ducks on the pond is yakking. People, this is amazing! I’m listening to all sorts of birds singing about the sun coming out after nature’s shower.
I keep wanting to turn around and knock on the window to get Paul to come out and see these wonders; he never failed to show his enthusiasm for my discoveries. He never told me to wait a minute. He would put down whatever he was doing and mosey on out to see what I had found. He usually grabbed the camera too. Now, that makes me cry–how could we lose someone that special?
 
Pretty crazy weather day. That same breeze just filled the sky with more dark clouds and I’ll be damned if it isn’t raining again! Yesterday I finally planted the thyme, moss, and ornamental grass that have been sitting by the side of the house in their original store pots since May. I salvaged most of them and planted them in a big round bowl-shaped pot and sat it in the tall pot with dead things in it on the back porch. Another new rose bloomed in the temp perennial garden. This one is a large, fluffy pink one. I cut it yesterday and added it to a vase with a pink and light lavender gladiola. Collected and stored seeds from a cool Canterbury bell-like flower yesterday; one was light lavender, the other a deep purple. Hopefully we’ll get a couple more dry spells to collect more seeds, she says, as it pours buckets of rain on her garden… “What wild hopes lie here.” author unk.
Part 2, excerpts from beach cave notes and conclusion of my tongue-in-cheek “study” will be posted on June 23rd.

Thank you,

Patti

 

The Memoir Monday feature will be posted every other Monday.


15 Comments

Memoir Monday 2

20140522_104711

The Memoir Monday feature will be posted every other Monday. Sometimes very late in the day 🙂

Sometimes I send out an almost empty blog post, maybe a nice photo…actually, I have never sent out an almost empty blog post. I’m a writer. I write.

However, it is almost 9:30 at night in the Pacific Northwest of the United States…even if I were to get it out by 10, you are probably in bed then and won’t read it until Tuesday.

Here’s where I’m at. I have more memoir notes to post, and I even cut and pasted some in at first. Then, I get that ugly feeling that nothing I say is going to move you or entertain you. I have spent most of the day, on and off, at this desk. It hasn’t helped. Every start is a false start. I scanned for interesting memoir news and found some interesting bits. Then I erased them. I have a handful of online friends who are about to, or have published memoirs. I could add links to their books or sites. I can’t.

Here’s what I’ve learned today. Have scheduled posts ready at least three days in advance. What if you wake up and other things are weighing so heavily on your mind, that the scheduled post is just frozen inside you? You bomb.

I bombed, but I will be back to try Memoir Monday again in two weeks. Meanwhile, I hope you had a good Memorial weekend.

Patti

The picture is from WWI, part of a collection that my aunt was selling at the swap meet.

 

 


27 Comments

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


21 Comments

EDDD 16; Shoulding On Myself Every Damn Day

White clouds reflected in Wynoochee River, from moldy bridge. PHALL PHOTO 2013

REFLECTIONS: White clouds reflected in Wynoochee River, from rusty, moldy bridge.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Scattered Shoulds

The issue with blogging every damn day is that I am very scattered right now.

I have a thousand stories to tell,

a million poems at the tip of my imagination machine.

I have hundreds of “shout-out” candidates that are due their

name in big shiny letters, scrolled across the sky.

My fingers have surfed along the keyboard,

finding waves of information to share with one and all,

important bits for writers and grievers and technology buffs.

Rose Carter warned us years ago,

that we’ll all eventually be caregivers or carereceivers,

for the boomers and their folks,

so, much that I choose to share, is along the lines of care.

There are thousands of photos that you all must see!

I’m in and out researching what ails my laptop,

I try one thing then another, but still the damn thing fails.

And family history calls from the over flowing 3-ring binder,

voices of my ancestors hollering to be known.

Oh yes, and craft projects seep from several totes,

“Pick me! Pick me!” I hear it all the time.

The “shoulds” attack me left and right;

go see dear friends, the kids, the little grands, and the cousins too.

It’s clear to see how many things I can write about and do,

instead I sink into my chair and write this post to you:>)

 

Enjoy the day or night, and don’t be shoulding on yourselves:>)

Patti

 

Every Damn Day? Who’s idea was this anyway?

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


19 Comments

EDDD 11; Thawing Those Frozen Plans

Frozen waterwheel in front of restaurant in Grayland, WA.  PHALL PHOTO 2013

Frozen waterwheel in front of restaurant in Grayland, WA.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

The beginning and end of tonight’s post went on at 7 p.m., but when I check at 10:30, everything in between is still blank! Frozen. Today’s horoscope didn’t suit my mood and if I wrote my own it would just say, zzzzzzzzz. Yep, I slept my day away, after going to bed around 11 this morn. Mom’s call woke me around 6 this eve and I was sleeping so hard I didn’t know what day or time or life I was in. Depression, she suggests. Nonsense, I’m just on a different schedule than most.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m heading to Alaska soon to help mom and my brother when they have their hip, back and neck surgeries. That’s been moved ahead to January or February. My frozen plans are beginning to thaw. Okay, now if I can get these computers going, maybe I can make a leap of progress in getting the Postcards published. I have a stack of book reviews to write and a small stack of books to read for reviews. I have some more genealogy organizing I’d like to get through, and I am excited about the ancestor info coming from England any day.

That almost sounds like a plan. Don’t be ridiculous! I’m just thinking out loud, in writing. To you. And you probably have all sorts of plans, don’t you? Admit it. And you’ll probably follow through on them. I know you will, because I surround myself with supportive, rational, friends who follow their plans. Cool. I’m psyched now. Here I go to follow my plan…”see” you soon.

Happy 5th birthday to my grandson, Hunter.

Thawed & Planfully Yours,

Patti

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

I mean REALLY frozen! PHALL PHOTO 2013

I mean REALLY frozen!
PHALL PHOTO 2013


7 Comments

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