Wild Mind Monday – September

I am excited to be participating in Wild Mind Monday, hosted by the wonderful Maranda over at My Camo Colored Life.

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

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.

Wonderful.

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.

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9 responses to “Wild Mind Monday – September

  1. Whoa, even though you dislike writing prompts you do a beautiful job hiding that dislike. In such such short stories you manage to take us with you for a brief peek inside your world, to see what you saw and to experience your emotions with you. Nice work!

  2. I enjoyed you sharing about your father. It’s hard to imagine always knowing a sick father, while your siblings may remember him healthy. I lived while watching my father’s mom drop into horrible alzheimer’s- it is one of the saddest states in the world, when you see something and know you can do nothing about it.

    You did amazing for not liking prompts!

  3. A fun story about litter-training the kitten! Thanks also for sharing your dad with us. He sounds like a wonderful man with a wonderful sense of humor. So sorry to hear that he’s no longer doing as well as previously. It must be so terribly hard not being able to do anything to help slow down the progression of his condition.

  4. I’ve realized that this writing group idea has two benefits. Not only do we get to exercise our writing skills and support one another, but we also get to know each other better. And let’s not even get into the fact that I just learned a cool method of litterbox training a cat!!

    I like how you used your own voice while writing. I still “got” your attitude in the “wonderful” and “um” statements.

    You talking about your dad is both raw and emotional while still being somewhat detached and accepting. I totally feel your pain and your acceptance of his disease. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Very powerful and wonderful insight into your thoughts about your father. Tears fell from my eyes.

    I can’t believe your friend forgot to mention that the cat wasn’t litter box trained. She was quite bright to come up with a solution!

  6. For someone who don’t like prompts…great job with running with it. Thank you for opening your life I know its hard to talk about a parent that has a chronic illness. Loved the kitty story

  7. This post brought me to tears.

    I too, do not remember your father without Parkinson’s.

    I remember well the stories told of before. But I have no recollection myself.

    I remember well his ability to make light of his condition. Of you telling us that your father must have drawn the out of bounds line in volleyball.

    I remember struggling to hear him tell a joke or any other converational story.

    I remember learning from one of my massage instructors that Parkinson’s patients have the neurotransmitter dopamine deficiency and having the light dawn.

  8. I remember all too well my own struggle with your father’s condition and struggling with the reality you, your mom and your brother face, I remember all too well my guilt with my ability to escape the situation.

    I remember how often I have thought to honor you and your entire family, your father included for persevering in this suck-ass situation.

    I remember always honoring your honesty in all your posts.Your authenticity is unnerving for me and I respect and admire your bravery

  9. I love to read your posts. You bring humor and insight to life.

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