Tues. Nov. 3, 2015: Grief & Writing

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Friday was a very sad day for us. Violet died in the afternoon. At least she died at home, where she was loved, and she wasn’t in pain. But we are all heartbroken. We took her body to an emergency care facility in Dennis, where they will take care of the remains.

She was a small, quiet cat, but the house feels empty without her. Iris and Tessa are looking for her. They miss her, too.

There was a lot of cleaning and scrubbing and disinfecting to do, of course. We were already exhausted from the last few days, and there was just nothing left in the tank.

Samhain was sad. It was difficult to pull it together, and I kept the ritual very simple.

On the plus side, the costumes the Trick-or-Treaters wore were delightful. Brought us some joy for a sad time.

Turned back the clocks to standard time. The cats, however, were still on their time, so I was up early anyway.

Sunday was the first day of Nano. I seriously considered quitting before it began. I wasn’t sure I have the heart to do it this month. I’m also tired of Nano and death being so closely associated, year after year. I’m going to be sad for awhile, and I don’t know how I can dig deep enough to work on the books.

But I did it, and felt better for it. I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, the cozy mystery set on a fictional island off the coast of Cape Cod. Yup, I stuck in another island near Martha’s Vineyard. Gave the steamship authority a couple of extra routes, too. I wrote the whole first chapter, 2833 words, and felt better.

I then did some work on TIE-CUTTER, getting ready to close out the section set in Hollywood. So my day’s total was 4269. Not a bad start.

The rest of the day was about taking down the Samhain decorations, but leaving up the Day of the Dead items. Again, I kept the ceremonies simple, because I’m just wiped out.

I also baked for the week: cranberry muffins for Monday’s meeting, double chocolate chunk for Tuesday’s Come Write In! session, and oatmeal cookies for Thursday’s session.

I’ve been reading Ted Hughes’s WINTER POLLEN. I know very little of his work. I’m of the generation that fetishized Sylvia Plath, put her on a pedestal, and demonized Ted Hughes. Unfair, but that’s how it was presented — he destroyed her genius, forcing her to have children and subsume her poetry to his, while he catted around. Reality was, of course, far more complicated. The older I got, the less patience I had with Sylvia. But I’d still read very little of Ted’s work.

His essays on Shakespeare are wonderful. I’m not sure I agree with his theories, but they’re interesting, and they certainly give me additional perspectives, next time I go back to the plays. It makes me eager to re-read the plays. I grow wary when I read his writing on Sylvia Plath’s work. He was in an impossible situation. Who knew her work better? Yet who had more reason to protect himself, and, supposedly, the rest of her family? Destroying her final journal — under that same guise of “protection”– is something I don’t think the world will ever forgive. I agree with that. Even if she lashed out at her children and he didn’t want them to read those moments of anger — and it would make sense to resent her children in the moment and write about it in her journal, using that to cure her — that anger or depression or whatever she poured into those final journals is vital to understanding her work. At the same time, I understand the desire to protect self and family (I don’t agree with it, but I understand it), and he’s got a point, that, at the time, she wasn’t the iconic figure she grew into. The sad part is, no matter how good her poetry was, or how much she was likely to improve as an artist, she probably wouldn’t have become the icon she is without her suicide. It’s an impossible, complex situation.

I think I would trust his writing about her work more if it wasn’t in the third person; if he didn’t refer to “her husband” when he meant himself. Again, I can understand the choice in the moment — to keep it sounding more objective. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across that way. It comes across as cold, and as though the writer has something to hide.

The only one who knows the truth is Sylvia herself, and she only knows her own truth. His truth is different. The children’s truths are different. The rest of her family’s truths are different. They are all parts of the puzzle, and some of those parts are irrevocably missing.

From the outside, though, it remains fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Yesterday morning, I was up at five. I wrote Chapter Two of CHOLERIC, 2554 words. Difficult words, but words.

I left a little before eight to go to Buzzards Bay for a strategic planning meeting at the Marine Life Center. There’s too much “committee” and “subcommittee’ and yakking in my opinion. Work is not done in meetings; work is done in the space between meetings. I feel like we’re going around in circles, instead of moving forward.

Home, another stint on TIE-CUTTER. Brought my day’s total to 3990 and my full total to 8259, which is decent for two days’ work.

Took down the spider web curtains, put up the winter curtains, did four loads of laundry. Another simple ceremony (these are the days of the ceremonies for the dead). The sadness weighs me down and I can’t shake it. But I also have to give myself time.

We will adopt another cat, but not right away. We all have to adjust to life without Violet. After Thanksgiving, or maybe even after Christmas.

Of course, people keep offering cats now. 😉

Watching the DCI BANKS series. Very well done, although sometimes the second half of each episode feels rushed.

Up early this morning. Wrote Chapter Three of CHOLERIC, 3322 words. I was raring to continue into Chapter Four, but afraid I’d push too far. There’s a COME WRITE IN session at the library this morning, and I want to work on TIE CUTTER there, and have something left in the tank for CHOLERIC tomorrow. We’re getting to a big confrontation scene.

Once CWI is over, we’re doing a test run of the tree for Spectacle at the Library. So, yes, once again I’m going in on what’s supposed to be my day off. 😉

Busy day today. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be long days, and I imagine that my word count will drop drastically. That’s why I’ve been pushing so hard up front.

Devon

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Published in: on November 3, 2015 at 10:53 am  Comments (4)  
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4 Comments

  1. So sorry for your loss. I’ve lost many four-legged family members over the years and their deaths or so difficult to deal with. Glad to see your doing what you can to move forward. Hang in there!

  2. Being a writer helps me to deal with family distractions and grief. It’s almost like I can be two people at one time…the one who deals and the one who writes. Sounds crazy but it is how I get through life.

    • thank you. It’s hard on both the humans and the animals in the family.


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