Rewrites

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Today was another rewrite day. I had such a horrible day yesterday preparing for my online classes. I needed a break, and that usually means some writing.

I wrote about half an episode of ‘RM, and I left Cassie standing in mid-air about 70 feet above 1800 New York City to have some lunch. That’s when I realized it was all crap. What came next is now posted. (70. Where am I? When am I?) I’ll leave you to make of it what you can. It’s a little sacrilegious. Sorry. Two in a row.

I seem to get that way when I am listening the the music of Arvo Pärt. It’s supposed to be reverent and inspirational, but I just find it terribly sad. I embedded his Magnificat at the end. You’ll see why.

Maybe I’m still in mourning. I do miss my father, but I’ve been speaking to my mother every second or third day. I can’t be with her under the current circumstances. She seems to be getting on with her life better than the rest of us. At some point, it will hit her, and the longer it takes, the harder it will be. For now, she is obsessing about getting her financial life in order, getting a grip on all the bills, the in-comings, the out-goings. That’s all she seems to want to talk about. When do I pay this? What account is it coming from? Do I send them a check? At some point, she will remember that there is more to life. That one of her daughters is dying of cancer, and they will probably cancel her surgery next month because it is “elective.”

When did life-saving surgery become elective?

One of her closest friends, my brother’s God mother, has had her valve replacement surgery postponed twice. She is her husband’s carer, and he won’t last long without her.

Now this is becoming depressing.

I’m done here.

Exploring meaning

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I’m still here. Other than my ‘Round Midnight posts and a couple of EJO posts, I’ve been quiet. I’ve lacked the will to let myself go. There are times when I think of my father and just have to cry. Yesterday was the second week anniversary of his death.

I’m usually the stoic in the family, but I’ve been a wreck. I don’t think it has hit my mother yet. She says she keeps turning to ask Dad something, and he’s not there. I’m 300+ miles away, and she’s the one who has to deal with it. Canceling joint accounts, opening new ones in her name, keeping track of automatic payments from several accounts, changing those accounts, social security, veteran’s affairs … it just keeps going for her. My sister helps, but she has her own problems.

That’s the last I’ll discuss it for a while.

In ‘Round Midnight, it’s all change for Cassie. She has gigs coming on the east coast, and soon a trip to Europe. It appears that she has also hooked up with the late Ezzie Dryar in her dreams. Ezzie (who Cassie calls Gaia), has a connection with her. Cassie doesn’t have out of body experiences like Ezzie and her friends, or at least she isn’t aware of them. Her dreams are out-of-body, but that isn’t really important. In fact, they are out of universe experiences, if you’ve read the Ezzie series. If you remember, however, Ezzie was the only one who could flit between universes. I’m not sure how I’m going to use that yet, if at all. Because I haven’t named Ezzie, the two stories don’t have to be related. It could just be a weird dream.

Cassie seems to be looking for meaning in her life. She’s not “in love” with the women who desire her, but she loves them as friends, and sometimes a little more than that. She indulges them when she needs physical contact. She really wants a man, but has never been lucky with long term relationships.

She’s a handful and she knows it.

Can she reconcile her free spirit with the desire for connection, or will she forever float from man to man or woman?

That’s something I need to figure out.

Second guessing

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I’m still reeling, and it has been over a week. It’s not like it was unexpected or anything. He had been ill for some time. It would have been easier if he had died in his sleep, or suddenly from a heart attack, but he lingered, and it was left to me to call time.

I think he knew that I would be the one. He was very disappointed when I left to go back to work the Sunday before he died. Did he think that was the last time he would see me? Perhaps, but maybe it was because nobody would be there to stop his suffering. I was the only one strong enough to make that decision: Mom, no, Sis, maybe, but ultimately, no. My other sibs, definitely not, and they were angry that I hadn’t consulted them. In truth, I only started the ball rolling. The decision was made as a group when the doctor called us together.

Was I wrong to leave? I don’t know. He had rallied, was sitting up and breathing on his own, and communicating with those around him. Monday was good. It would have been nice to see him that day. He was having difficulty swallowing, but we hoped that he would continue to improve. He ate a little applesauce. On Tuesday, they spent some time with him on PT. That really tired him out, so he refused to eat his dinner (mashed potatoes), and he pulled off his oxygen mask during the night. His blood pressure plummeted.

He didn’t wake up the following morning, and was unresponsive all day, not until just before I returned at midnight. I’ve already described the rest.

I just remember his smile when the mask came off, the kisses. Then his tearless cry. Was it because that was the last time he would see us, the last time we would see him, or was it because he realized what would happen next?

I can’t forget that, and I can’t help but second guess our decision.

Then I think about the alternative.

  1. They would have had to put him back on the ventilator, further irritating his throat, and probably against his advanced directive.
  2. They still hadn’t decided whether he’d had a heart attack. There was no new damage to his heart, but he was losing blood, or at least red blood cells somewhere. Perhaps there was a blood disorder. He’d had 6 transfusions in the previous 3 weeks. He had been in heart failure for several years.
  3. He had been in Stage 3 kidney failure for 3 years, and there were indications that it might have progressed. There was blood in his urine, which hadn’t been there the previous week. There was a thought that his colon cancer was back, but the doctors had already ruled that out.
  4. His legs and arms were painfully swollen, and the Lasix meant that he had to go to the bathroom at least every half hour. He was sick of that. They would have to increase his dosage.
  5. Treating his kidneys hurt his heart, and vice versa.
  6. His veins were fragile, and every time they needed to draw blood was an adventure. They shouldn’t have removed his central line on Monday.
  7. He would have needed a month or more of PT in the hospital.

The night before his heart attack/fall, he’d been anointed by his priest. He sensed the end was near. He was as prepared as anyone could be.

The doctors chose to keep him in ICU even after they would normally transfer him to the ward. I think that was a sign to us. My feeling is that they expected a relapse, and perhaps that he would never leave the unit.

Everything tells me the decision was right, but I can’t help questioning it.

I promise I’ll stop obsessing in public soon.

Circumspection

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I spoke to my father today. His procedure went as planned. They opted for minimal intervention. Basically, it was the least invasive option – looking at it and doing nothing. The most invasive option wasn’t really practical, and not ultimately necessary. The medium option, considering the situation, was probably the most risky. He’ll have to live with it. Part of me feels relieved, another wishes they could have done something. He’s pushing 90, so one must be circumspect about these things. It is hard to watch people age.

I’m feeling my age, too, and I can only begin to imagine how he feels, 30 years older, on the flip side of two bypass surgeries, the longest-lived of his family by a considerable margin. It’s been over 20 years since his elder sister died, his eldest brother died at my age, 40 years ago. Both his parents died before I was born, only a couple years older than I am now.

My mother is still at his side, the middle of three children, all living – from a family with more history of longevity. It is equally hard to imagine how she feels, having survived a heart attack about 5 years ago, but in much better overall health, helplessly watching him fail. He has been preparing for the end since his sixties, and she is giving things away. Every time I go to visit, I come home with something long forgotten from my school days, probably from high school. Last time I was home we went through one of her mother’s old scrapbooks. I learned a lot more about her family than I ever knew. I only remember meeting her mother once, not long before her death when I was seven. She was confined to bed, and we were never allowed up to see her, except for that one time.

I still know very little about my father’s family. Strangely, it is better documented, at least our ancestry. My father has spoken very little of his parents – his father worked for the railroad as a bookkeeper. I know even less about his mother other than her name. I’ve seen a grainy photocopy of a photo of her grandfather. The only pictures I’ve seen of her is holding my eldest cousins as babies as well as another holding my elder sister. Both my paternal grandparents died shortly after that photo was taken.

I don’t know why I’m blathering on about this. It was a good day. There was no bad news. No particularly good news, but nothing bad. Anyway, it inspired today’s haiku: A Father’s Love.

The Clock Stops

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I’m in a crappy mood, so I’m breaking my rules again. A poem posted here in my prose space. I’m doing that much too often. I can’t even find a photo. This is one I was holding for something else. Oh well.

Disaster, faster
full steam ahead
stream crossing

my dream disappears

less than more
the doleful tune
mourns the misdirection

reflection rejected

fantasy forlorn
fallen gracelessly
no answers

to stupid questions

fallout, knocks out
the losing racer trips
at the first hurdle

the last one

too many irons
melted in the fire
the trumpets sound

the clock stops

Inner Truth (the search for)

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I drew the PRINCE of CUPS today, for my Planet Ezzie episode, which goes live on TCoA at 9:26 pm ET tonight. I put the interpretation of it in Ezzie, but during my research, I discovered that it is associated with 61 Chung Fu of the I Ching. That is relevant because it is my birth year. It represents INSIGHT or INNER TRUTH. It also has a connection with Scorpio, but that doesn’t relate to me in particular.

I would have to say that I am looking for some inner truth at the moment. Life kinda sucks right now – it’s been on a slow burn of bad for about the past 3 years, and I’m looking for a solution. One of my ill sibs has gone from bad to worse, although there was a tiny fragment of good news today, so let’s hope that trend continues. The parents are beginning to fail, too. They are in their 80s, so that isn’t surprising. That doesn’t make it any easier. There are some big life changes coming in the family, and I’m just hoping to make it through unscathed.

All the writing on Erewin lately has left me a little worn out. I need to decide what to do with that. I can work it into Out of the Frying Pan, and in fact it might help balance it a little. It doesn’t really solve the large plot hole. Yes, you read that right, not pot hole. Although Erewin has become a superwoman, she is still (technically) mortal (human, at least), unlike the two other main characters, who have become essentially immortal.

My stories seem to have immortality and death as their common themes. I wonder where that came from.

Anyway, it is back to work for me now.

Rumination

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Our neighborhood block party is today, and I don’t really want to go. I’ve got work to do, and no time to cook something. I guess I’ll head off to the store and pick something up, and then not stay too long. (I doubt there will be tuna.)

I’ve been having thoughts about beginnings and belonging, hence today’s haiku: Genome. Yesterday’s haiku (Nascent) provides an alternative outlook. Belonging is another story. I don’t belong here. My job isn’t working out, but I’m getting to be too old to change. I suspect I’ll hang on to retirement, but it won’t be fun. I have an awkward skill set which doesn’t really fit into my already awkward situation. At first, I thought I couldn’t mold the job to fit my interests, but halfway through my initial contract, nothing substantial has changed. People lied to get me here, and those lies hid internal conflicts that make doing what I want impossible. I’ve got to adjust my desires and priorities.

Belonging is inextricably tied with feeling at home, but where is home? I’ve moved every 4-5 years, so nowhere really feels like home. I am so different from my parents that their home is familiar, yet there isn’t anything for me there professionally. My last position was comfortable, but there were some reasons that meant it would never be permanent. They kept saying that it could be, but I never received the solid assurances that I needed. Looking at what has happened there since I left, I would have never been offered a permanent/tenure-track contract. I know why, and I saw it coming. That is why I left.

I blundered into writing a tornado into Ezzie a couple of days ago (today’s installment: The Aftermath). How can you live in tornado alley and not even think about a tornado? She needed something to shake her up, and she certainly is shaken and stirred. My parents still talk about the tornado that destroyed their town five years ago as if it just happened. The worst part for me was the wait, while my sister who lived nearby checked in that they were OK. I read about that tornado on the Internet only minutes after it happened, and didn’t hear from my sister for another hour or two.

Ezzie is understandably shaken, and it is infecting my mood, too.

Boondoggle

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I’ve been treading a fine line the past few days, hence today’s haiku: Balance. I started posting the original series of Late Nights with Ezzie Dryar on EJO yesterday, and I’ve set a few up to post daily, then I’ll think about how often they will come.

The new series is moving on, but I need to reign myself back a little. Ezzie has developed a psychic connection with an 11/12-year-old neighbor boy who can see her henna barrier glow. He’s the only one who can see it, but not only that, it glows so brightly within his mind that he can see everything, all of her, anywhere, clear as day, even clearer at night. He knows where she is and what she is doing at all times. Isn’t that the dream of every boy that age? To see through a woman’s clothing? He feared it at first, but now he is imposing himself into her life. That’s something I’m going to have to deal with in a sensitive, non-pervy way.

I should explain that I don’t write these stories. They write themselves. I’m just the one who taps the keys. Yes, some aspects of my own life sneaks into them, but the characters have lives of their own, and I am only their slave. Some may start from real events, but move on to fantasy results. I don’t get anything out of it other than a release of pent up creativity. Very little of my work is published, a few poems, as well as a few short stories under my real name (which shall remain secret). For those who might be counting – precisely zero of you – as AM, I have 4 unfinished novels, one of which is nearing completion of the first draft (The Cult of Hahn). I have two novellas (Eirica Johnstone’s Obsession and Intolerance, the latter of which will appear self-published in my anthology of short stories, which is in its final revision now), as well as a few items serialized on my blogs (Ezzie, Bathing in the Hot Tub of my Mind), and lots of poetry.

Under my real name, I have a four short stories published (all now out of print) as well as some scholarly articles. I have 7 completed novels, one of which went deep in a competition to be published (I’m revising it again), and another that was rejected by a literary agent, partly because it wasn’t really his genre, and secondly it had a fatal flaw (my assessment) that bumped him out of the story. (I’ve given up on it.) Two of the completed novels are part of a series, in which 2 more novels are very advanced, and there is a novella that is a study for that series, which was accepted by a small publisher who went out of business without publishing it. I have three other novella that suffered the same fate while in production. One novel is in a rewrite stage (probably my best), and has a sequel coming. The main character is immortal, so any number of sequels could follow.

Why am I telling you this? It’s in the title of this blog:

Boondoggle, n, work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.

I had thoughts of making this my profession at one point, but it interferes with my real profession, which had finally started moving, but is now back in the doldrums. It’s possible that I may attempt to self-publish some of these as Anne Martin, (Rebecca Anne Martin), or maybe my other pseudonym (which will remain secret until such a publication happens).

Eh. This is making me too depressed. Fuck it.

 

Offline, offput, off-centre

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I start my travels again tomorrow, so today is errand, cleanup, and pack day, so I might be absent for a while.

The end of my summer UK trip is always full of mixed emotions. I’m itching to get home to do all the work I should have done while I was here, and to act on some ideas that arose, as well as get back to more familiar surroundings. I also want to get back to see my sister, the more critically ill of my sibs, who has had a hard summer. There is a big family gathering tomorrow, but I won’t be back yet, so I’ll have to plan a trip later in the week.

Then there are all the things that keep me coming back to the UK every year. Longstanding friends, memories, and most of all the countryside. The politics here are only marginally better than at home. That’s depressing.

I’ve been struggling for something cocky or cynical or funny to impart to you as I depart, but part of me detests parting as I leave this apartment.

Today’s haiku: Invisible

Ugh.

Proboscis!

Escape hatch

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I’m finding myself remembering things I would rather forget. Ugly times. I don’t really want to go into it, but it has left me a little down. Hence, today’s senyru (I’m might as well admit that is what it is): Betrayal.

Having said that I don’t want to talk about it, I proceeded to start up a discussion, so I’m going to divert by selecting a random word, which is memorandum, which (of course) is usually shortened to memo. I’m going to write a memo to myself:

Don’t go there.

Just writing the memo takes me there.

It reminds me of
that of which I do not wish
to be reminded.

Why not mark it with another senyru?

Escape hatch.

Today’s card:

The Princess of Disks

A faithful person who deals badly with conflict. Someone with a quiet exterior with an inner strength and a comfort to those around her. An excellent practical manager skilled in dealing with finance. A homebody. She also represents fertility.

While the first sentence might describe me (especially today), the next is definitely not me. I’m not a good empath if I have a skin in the game. Contained within my inner strength is a core weakness: I get too involved. Outwardly, I can forgive and forget. Inwardly, I hold onto it all with both hands.