So, if you don’t want to read about my temporary derangement (I hope it’s temporary) you should bail out now.
And, awaaaayy we go.
Most if not all of you that read this post know that my wife died last month. I want to write about that first.
She’d been in home hospice since October, but was really quite alert and very much herself for the first month or so. Her smoking went from a pack a day to about a pack and a half a day. I got on her about that. Now I’m kinda sorry I did. I didn’t yell at her, I just told her it was getting too expensive.
As November advanced, her mental acuity began to lapse. The hospice nurses had told me that she might go pretty soon—they were seeing some of the signs—and our kids should visit if they could. So the weekend before Thanksgiving we got visits from two of our three kids—our youngest daughter couldn’t make it but she sent her daughter to Colorado so she could drive up with our son and his son. Our oldest daughter also drove, but drove an extra four hours southeast and picked up her oldest daughter and our great-granddaughter and drove back to our house. She had her youngest daughter with her. Her two middle daughters couldn’t make it.
So, we had our son, his son, our oldest daughter, three granddaughters, and our great granddaughter for a too brief visit—arrived Saturday and left Sunday. I asked Verlene on Tuesday if she remembered who’d visited. She thought she remembered our son. My birthday was that week, as was Thanksgiving, and she didn’t realize either one.
Her speech wasn’t doing very well either.
She continued to decline, physically and mentally.
She’s been my best friend for at least the last twenty-five years. We talked, joked, and laughed. We went camping and fishing until her various health problems made it all too difficult.
But that so-important communication declined and about the first of this year pretty much stopped. I miss my friend.
My urge to write has stopped with it.
On the dedications page in Just Lucky, Book 2: Love and Hate, I wrote, “And for Verlene, who inspires the imagination more than she imagines.”
Some of the details of Jean Dahlquist’s life were inspired by Verlene, but I did not realize how much her presence, and the daily communication with her, did in fact inspire my urge to write.
I’ve sat down several times over the last four months, intending to continue the second novel of the fantasy trilogy, and managed maybe a sentence or two, and then that was all.
The writing just no longer excites me.
Or,(painful as it is to admit), possibly the story or characters no longer excite me.
With my two published (and since un-published) fantasy novels, I never had to think about the over-all story or characters. The basic story was in my mind before I wrote anything. I had to make certain decisions about the characters and a very few times how to transition scene-to-scene, but the basic story in the two fantasy novels was done before I started writing it.
As for the two Just Lucky novels, I started out with a short story I’d written a few years before about a man with a non-functional left arm that could still kick ass. He was married to a beautiful blonde named Jean, and he rescued a former student of hers from a very bad marriage.
During the intervening years, this character, Ron Russell, stayed in my mind. How did he lose the use of his left arm? How did he manage to marry this beautiful woman? So I set out to write it and, other than making a few decisions about a few of the other characters, the story just wrote itself. Three hundred thousand words worth. When I was done I edited it into two books of about ninety-five thousand words each, cutting out a lot of stuff that was funny but did not move the story forward. But, again, I didn’t have to think about what should happen next. It just happened.
But now I’m trying to write something that the story is not writing itself and I don’t have it all mind-written before I started, and it’s hard work and I don’t have the drive to do it.
I’m hoping I’ll get over that as I become used to her absence, but I can’t know that until it happens. If it happens.
So, that’s it. It took me a few days to write this. As usual, I’ll try to get something new out in a couple of weeks or less, but no promises.
Thank you for reading.