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.