As Judith Barrington wrote in Writing the Memoir, "life doesn't have a shapely plot in the way that fiction often does. It goes on day by day with an ever-shifting focus as various themes unfold over time."
The plan I had laid out for myself this winter was to begin to shape my next book, a memoir about my parents. I had all the material in journals (an old writing and teaching habit), as well as the memories of my parents' funny habits and the caregiving decisions that became necessary during their last several months.
When I sat down to organize the notes, I realized I was not ready. I had more caregivers' memoirs to read and research to do; I had a data base to collect from the sales of my previous book (Minor League Mom: A Mother's Journey through the Red Sox Farm Teams). My new writing project still waits for a narrative.
Then, suddenly, I was in pain. The bulging discs in my back had erupted and one had moved one-half inch. I had trouble walking, let alone competing in tennis and golf matches or going through my routines at the fitness center. So began the rounds of doctor's appointment, x-rays, physical therapy, and swimming laps....
Interrupted by a trip to New Jersey to celebrate a granddaughter's belated second birthday and on to Massachusetts to celebrate another's belated fifth birthday.
Life didn't have a shapely plot. I had trouble picking the three little girls up, and went to bed with heating pad, Advil, and Stop-Pain for my aches. But oh, it was so worth the effort!
I have another memory bank to draw from now - one of little girls putting on a "Disney on Ice" show complete with three changes of costume; a two-year-old getting up from her crib in the morning yelling, "Grandmaw, where are u?"; a beach party in the middle of the kitchen floor with sunblock, cardgames, towels, and snacks; a pre-school breakfast for parents, etc., etc.
The pain had to wait, and so did my writing project. Day by day there was an ever-shifting focus, one that I didn't want to miss.
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.