From the Basement

July 16, 2010

On Writing & Grief

Filed under: Family,Writing — jeannablue @ 6:28 pm
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Up until last night, the writing was not going well this week – prayer writing, blog writing, fiction writing. This has been hampered in part by exhaustion and in part by my own crazy expectations, but mostly because of the frightening illness that struck our 3-year-old cat, Lucy. She passed away late Wednesday night, and we got the call Thursday morning from the vet that she had died.

Strangely enough, I think that Lucy’s death has driven me back to writing. The week has been so clouded with uncertainty surrounding her illness that the clarity of her death was almost welcome – she’s out of pain, and there is an end to the madness that permeated the house. We said our goodbyes, and she is now buried in the backyard with a pinwheel marking her grave (stone marker to follow).

Where before the house was emotionally frantic, we are now settling down. There is sadness, and pain, and loss – especially for my mom – but things are coming back down to normal, whatever normal is.

Maybe the release of grief and frustration helped unlock the creative recesses of my brain, but the last 15 hours, say, have been a firestorm – not necessarily of writing (though I have been doing that) but rather of figuring out what the story is about. There’s a key event in the past that I didn’t know, and now I do. I feel like I can proceed so much more smoothly, knowing what it is that’s driving the heroine toward her present course of action.

Another thing that helped free the ideas was pictures. I don’t do this very often, but late last night I stumbled across a recommendation to go through magazines looking for pictures of your characters. I found many pictures, only a few that I know definitively are my characters, but that’s more than I had before, and seeing multiple pictures of them – even possibilities – was so encouraging, so inspiring.

I am well aware that losing a pet is not like losing a person, but there is a palpable sense of loss in a house that comes with the death of a beloved pet. And today, I am filling that sense of loss with writing, with experiencing my characters’ grief rather than my own, dealing with their families instead of mine. It’s times like this I am very grateful I have a story to disappear into.

July 14, 2010

Pet Owners, don’t buy Terro!

Our beloved kitty Lucy is deathly ill and has been overnight at the vet’s for the last few days. She wasn’t eating or drinking; my mom was force-feeding her water over the weekend before we could get her to the vet. She has ulcerations on her tongue that made it excruciatingly painful for her to eat or drink. She’s been hooked up to IVs for the last few days. When she got to the vet, she was dehydrated and her kidneys had begun to shut down.

Yesterday, she was doing better. Today, she’s worse. The vet’s guess is extensive kidney damage.

The reason? She got into the liquid ant traps my mom had set around the house. Terro is the brand. They say they’re pet safe, but they are not – the vet confirmed that the ant traps gave our poor cat chemical burns. My mom is beating herself up for not calling our vet to make sure the traps were okay for pets.

If you have pets, don’t buy Terro! We are hoping and praying that our kitty makes it.

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