(Not) Writing on Wednesday: Old and New Books on the Craft

I had hoped to be writing today—to finish my first draft of a short story I’ve been asked to contribute to an anthology—but other plans have taken priority. My (almost) 85-year-old mother, Effie Johnson, is in the hospital down in Jackson (Mississippi). She is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, and now has multiple physical conditions, including renal failure, pneumonia, urinary tract infection and ecoli, and dehydration. She’s been on IV fluids and antibiotics since last Friday, but isn’t responsive to verbal commands and won’t eat.

So, today I’m headed down to Jackson for what may be Mom’s last days. If I’m there for very long, I may do some writing in the midst of the mental and emotional stress of the situation (which is often fertile ground for heart-felt word crafting) but mostly I’m there for Mom.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something to inform and inspire your own writing in the new year, Richard Gilbert has a list of new books on writing you might want to check out on his blog, “Narrative.”

I’m taking a copy of the 1983 book, The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner with me on my trip today. Here’s an interesting interview with Gardner in The Paris Review.  If I get a window in the next few days to read and reflect, maybe I’ll do a post about it. But mostly I’ll be dealing with end-of-life issues with my mom, so please keep me/us in your thoughts and prayers.



  • Jane T Bond

    Susan, I have been there and done that with my mom, who also had Alzheimers. You are in my thoughts and prayers. You may want to check with hospice here in Ridgeland, I moved my mom from the hospital to there and it was a wonderful solution. If I can do anything for you while your here, my number is 601-594-7443.

    January 2, 2013
  • Oh dear. Prayers and hugs go with you today.

    January 2, 2013
  • Prayers going with you ….. please keep us posted. You are certainly embraced by all your friends no matter what!

    January 2, 2013
  • Well I didn’t have anything new to read today so I had to read CNN… ugh 🙁

    January 4, 2013
    • Jason, did you forget about the gift certificate we gave you to the Tattered Cover Bookstore? GO GET SOME NEW BOOKS!

      January 4, 2013
      • jason

        I forgot to tell you we went. I got a korean cook book and anthony bourdains newest book. See got a couple romace novels and the girls each got a little story book. That store is great but the parking was bad cause of a broncos game. Thanks again!

        January 4, 2013
        • So glad ya’ll got some books, Jason. Isn’t the Tattered Cover a cool book store?

          January 5, 2013

Leave a comment


Email(will not be published)*


Your comment*

Submit Comment

© Copyright SusanCushman.com
facebook like buttontwitter follow button