Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ROW80 Weds Check-in: Delete, delete!

I spent most of today helping a friend who has early stage dementia. Insurance forms, doctor visits, flu shot. Two meals. Her stories came around again and again, but I didn't have the heart to tell her I had heard that story already five times. She lives alone. No husband. No pets. No kids. No relatives. But we made progress. The social worker comes Monday. She had her flu shot. She has been referred to a neurologist. I will try to be a good friend, but we are looking at a day when she cannot live independently.

So tonight, as I sit down to catch up on today's check-in for ROW80, I'm feeling just a tad blocked. This photo by Drew Coffman says it well.

Writer's Block I
Writers' Block I (Drew Coffman, Flickr)

Weds ROW80 check-in:

Writing/Critiquing/Research: Actually wrote 2x this week (very slow progress). Critiqued one writer's opening chapter and finished a book for an "honest" review. Writing a poem a day on my travel blog for October (not exactly 100%, but persevering); each poem was inspired by experiences and/or/pictures from travels in France. 

Started reading Letitia Hargrave's Letters (1840s) on life in Upper Manitoba. Fascinating reading from an upper class woman with ascerbic observations of those around her.

Community/Other: Missed my weekly writing group. Sigh. Holding steady with sponsorship commitment to ROW80 by reading other posts. 

Decluttered much of my e-mail, now down to an almost manageable 500 to read rather than a little over 3,000. How did I do this? By rigorously reviewing those writing newsletters that I didn't read -- and unsubscribing. Plus merrily deleting all the way back to April. Is there such a thing as an e-mail hoarder?

Went to the movies with my sweetie for the first time since January (Walking the Camino), a documentary about a 500 mile pilgrimage to Santiago, Spain. Yes, I'd love to go, but not sure if my knees would be up to such a hike. The doc gave hubby thumbs up with a 100% recovery from his back surgery. Yippee! 

Snippet for Weds WIPpet: Here are 25 lines from this week's writing for Rivers of Stone (October = 10th month + the 15th day). Context: Poor Cat, still disguised as a boy, is stuck alone at York Factory in Hudson's Bay. It's winter, 1842, and Dougal will not return until spring. 

     Catriona threw up, her dinner of venison and fish spewing onto the snow. Dizzy, trembling, and wondering if she could ever eat again, she leaned against the wall of the mess hall and stared at the Clerk's house and the Chief Factor's house across the compound. How long had Dougal been gone? Two months? And no word. No letters, no messages.
     "Took a bit too much fish, eh, Cat?" McKenzie loomed next to her. Too close.
     Cat wiped her mouth and wished the sour taste would go away. She shook her head. "Creeping crud of some kind. Best stay away."
     "Go on back to the Clerks’ House and report to the doc if it don't clear up by tomorrow," said McKenzie. "Yer me best clerk."
     Catriona smiled weakly. "Thanks."
     She started across the compound and thought of her bunk. If I can make it, she thought. Half way there, she crumpled in the snow.
     "Bring him in here," called Mrs. Hargrave from her porch. 
     Cat was vaguely aware she had fainted and was now being carried somewhere warm.
     "Put him in here, next to the stove. I'll take care of him." The noise abated, and Cat became aware of a warm cloth cleaning her face.
     Cat swallowed, her mouth dry. I've got to get out of here. She struggled to sit up.
     "Easy now. Feeling better?" Mrs. Hargrave leaned back on the stool next to the cot. "Just relax. You'll be fine. Most likely you ate something a little tainted, though 'tis so cold, I don't know how anything could spoil."

May you have a good week. Breathe! Write! Cherish the moment!

Check out updates from other ROW80 writers HERE and see what other writers have posted for Wednesday snippets from current works in progress HERE (Kate Schwengel's WIPpet Wednesday).


  1. uh oh....hope her cover doesn't get blown, or if it does, it's at least with someone safe!! Great excerpt.

  2. I'm sorry about your friend - you're being very supportive. Good on you for being there. Also, re: your WIPpet, we call illnesses the creeping crud in our house. I second the hope that her cover stays intact!

  3. Great snippet, it made me queasy just thinking about it. Poor Cat :-) The 500 emails made my head ache with the prospect of going through that quantity, and whittling it down from 3,000 is just amazing - it must deserve at least a gold star! I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Dementia is a tough thing to face, personally and for family and friends. She's lucky to have you looking out for her.

  4. So sorry about your friend. You're being very supportive and that's the most important thing when someone is dealing with the loss of independence. Hopefully Cat is just a little ill and is on the road to recovery very quickly.

  5. There are any number of things that could cause her to throw up. I hope it isn't the one that will certainly expose her. Poor Cat!

    1. I was thinking the same thing!

      Nice snippet; lots of tension.

      Good news about your sweetie, and I will keep your friends in my thoughts. I've worked with many folks with dementia - I found their inner worlds fascinating.

  6. Sorry to hear about your friend, but glad to hear that your husband is doing better!

    An no, you are not the only email-hoarder in the world ... I barely manage to keep my inbox at under 1000, and only by doing regular purges.

    Great snippet! I see some major complications coming up. :)

  7. I thought this was fantastic Beth. You drew me into the story immediately with the opening line. I almost felt nauseous myself just reading it!

    I'm interested by Catriona's predicament - I'm guessing she doesn't want this Mrs Hargrave finding out she's not a boy!


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