This is a virtual writing group in which, once a month, we are given a prompt from Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind. Writers are asked to post their writing, link up over at Maranda’s and then give constructive criticism to others.
If you’d like to join in, head on over to My Camo Colored Life! If you’d like to leave a constructive comment on this post, please do so!
This week’s prompt: write for 10 minutes using the prompt “I remember”. Take a break, then write for another 10 minutes using the prompt “I don’t remember”.
I remember now why I hate writing prompts so much. Nothing gives me worse writer’s block than forced free association. I need a thought enema.
I remember the day I got my cat, Jackie. She wasn’t litter box trained, though I didn’t know that at the time. She had been separated from her mother, who was an indoor/outdoor cat, so she could be an indoor-only cat. Kept in a bedroom for much of her first three months, she had never learned the proper use of a litter box, but would instead pee or poop on any clothing that was lying on the floor.
The first night I had her, she peed and pooped on my bed. I changed the bedding, right down to the mattress pad, and scrubbed at the mattress, all the while seething at my friends who had given me the poor, untrained little kitten. I made a trip to the laundry mat.
I came home to find she’d peed and pooped on the bed again. Next, she used the tails of a long curtain I used as a room divider. I called my friend to um, assess the situation.
She came up with the rather ingenious idea of using her now-husband’s t-shirts to litter box train. We put an old shirt in the litter box and bingo!
I gradually replaced the shirt with litter, eventually using only a few cloth strips mixed in and then just litter.
My cat has never since had a mishap. Luckily for both of us – and my friends – she is a brilliantly clever girl.
I don’t remember
I don’t remember what it’s like to have a father who doesn’t have Parkinson’s disease.
My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when I was two and a half years old, and I have no recollection of him prior to that. He has always done his best not to burden his family, particularly emotionally. He makes jokes and tries to diffuse any awkwardness or sadness that comes with the situation.
One day he stumbled to the back of Olympia Sports, where we were buying sneakers for me, lunged for the shoe bench and turned to look up at the clerk.
“What have you got in a running shoe?” he asked.
Still, as the disease has progressed, the Parkinson’s has taken his body from him and now, the drugs and medications that he has been on for over thirty years, are taking his mind.
This, for me, is the saddest part of all. My father always had a keen mind and a sharp wit. He could effortlessly have people rolling in the aisles. He is well-read. He taught me many life lessons.
But now, he is confused. Sometimes he can’t remember or understand simple instructions. His happy-go-lucky attitude is changing. And his pride is suffering.
I am the youngest, the spoiled, and am ill-equipped to deal with a situation that I can’t change. I wish I could change it.
But I can’t. I guess all I can do is diffuse the situation.