Tag Archives: writing

Alzheimers Blog For Momma

I spent a little time this morning just quietly sitting on my back porch. A warm cup of coffee and s a cool early autumn breeze in October. Several shades of yellowing leaves greet me with their grand display of nature’s beauty. I suppose another way to phrase it is the rhythm of nature. Everything evolves along its chosen path; the leaves are no different. Some are beginning to experience one last pirouette toward the ground. They have danced their last dance. It comes to us all, that last dance in life. I am witnessing that right now with my Mother. She has advancing Alzheimer’s. I have never seen a battle in life she could not win, this one may be the exception. I can’t begin to express the gut-wrenching angst and toll it takes on all involved. This disease is a horrid foe. It robs my loved one of her most precious possessions, her memories. I see her struggle to remember names of people who have crossed her path in life. Old friends from school. A boyfriend before my Dad, I never knew existed. She has told me the stories in the past so many times I know them by heart. Now, she asks me to tell her what she can’t remember. She knows she is forgetting something but she can’t quite formulate what it is she is forgetting. I know when it is happening. I see her eyes darting from side to side with nervous frustration. The body forgets as well. I never knew till now that the body literally forgets how to swallow. Her brain no longer processes taste. She craves sugar. That is because sweet is the last taste the body remembers. Her legs will forget how to walk and she will no longer know how to brush her hair. Yet, she struggles to remember. It is at these moments I touch her hand and tell her I love her. A gently touch to let her know she is not alone. She doesn’t understand what is happening to her but she knows something is different. I try to take a few moments like I did this morning to breath before my day begins. This is one of most emotional, physically and mentally exhausting things I have ever done. This job, my job, does not pay in dollars and cents. It pays in a currency one cannot spend on life’s luxuries. It pays in the moral, soul confirming knowledge that I have done the right thing in life. My time was not wasted. I made a difference to one very beautiful soul, my Mother. We can all do our part in the battle against this disease. You can donate your time to walk in the Alzheimer’s walks all across our nation. Raise money, raise awareness. If you can’t do that, retweet the tweets that bring awareness. Knowledge is power. Another way one can help is to just be kind to others as you go about your day. Spread love, light and peace as you travel your own path. It’s not a long journey people. Before you know it your experiencing your own last pirouette. Make it count!

Until next time, peace and love.

MsArleen

All Things Considered…

I didn’t post anything about Ms. Kitty yesterday. The first thing Sat. morning she got up and went to the back door again, just like on Friday. We told her again that it was way to hot to be outside (heat index was expected to be triple digits). She cried the saddest little meow. Kept staring out the back door. This broke my heart. I know she wants out but if she gets to the storage building and gets underneath, I don’t know how I would get her out. We did what we thought was best, told her no. I picked her up and rocked her for a while then took her back to her bed.

Gave her a small dose (less than 1ml) of slipper elm syrup) just enough to coat her stomach. Waited for about 10 minutes for it to work. Followed that up with 2ml of Clinicare Supplement.  We went through this exact procedure twice till 10 last night. Got up at midnight and checked in on her, she was still fine and had used her litter box again.

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Kitty on Sunday morning 7/10/16. 

First thing this morning, I checked in on her. She was sitting there just looking at me. When I reached to pet her, she purred and blinked her eyes. I think I have mentioned this before, I read somewhere that cats say I love you when they blinked their eyes at you. I will have to find that link and post It for everyone.  It’s expected to be a hot day again today but not as bad as yesterday.

I will be sitting with her most of the day in the office. I have a lot of work to get done online, most of it classwork that has be turned in by 10:55 CST tonight. My course this term is Hemingway and it requires a lot of work in prep for writing.  Thank goodness, I didn’t take two classes. There are days when the words flow easy, then there are those days when I have so much on my mind that I can’t concentrate to get anything done. I have had nearly a week like that, a foggy muddled mind. I tried to meditate last night, Mother was restless so that was a no-go. She finally went to bed, so I did too. Long story short, after checking on Kitty at Midnight, I got a few hours of sleep. I had intended on being up at 4 or 5 but slept till after 7. Enough of this, time to get busy on my writing. Putting some classical chamber music on, that would be soothing to both of us. Going now, time to write.

Ms. Arleen

My First Fiction Short Story-Catharsis

 

My first assignment in Creative writing was to write a Fiction Short story with a cover sheet. I had never heard of a cover sheet. She told us what she expected on the cover sheet and I must have created it correctly because there were no errors marked on that portion.  The rest- not so much. I had several grammar errors. All I have corrected for this blog post. I mulled the idea of submitting for publication. I guess I am not that brave, yet. I know I will get there. Baby steps. The first step for me is posting to my blog, so here is the cover sheet first then my fiction short story- Catharsis.

Ms. Arleen

Cover Sheet:

I began my fiction short story by sitting quietly. I tried to block out all the noise around me, hard to do sometimes. For this very reason, I tend to write either at night or very early in the morning, when the house is quiet and my spirit is calm.  This story deals with something I struggle with; writers block. As you recall, I used the same subject matter in last week’s post. For me, it’s a recurrent issue.  It’s also something I feel I need to get a handle on, it only leads to procrastination if not dealt with promptly.

I wrote my story in the span of about an hour and a half. Then I let it rest and I did as well. When I got up the next morning I edit with a fresh, rested mind. My thought process is more focused when I am having that first cup of coffee. I had one draft and then I edited that draft. I print out my story and re-read. This particular story when I re-read it caused me to be emotional. This story came from my heart, roughly based on life events; hence the title, Catharsis.  In the story the protagonist loses her mother to cancer. I still have my mother with me but I know that day will come.

The two biggest struggles I have in writing, especially with this piece, was beginning and my worries over grammar.  Writing for me is like running; hard to make that first step but once you get going, momentum takes over. Once you silence the inner critics you can hear your true voice speaking to you. You have to listen to what the characters have to say, listen to them speaking to you. A writer is a person who can translate feelings and thoughts into words. This is my translation; Catharsis.

Catharsis

By: Arleen McCann

 

Suzanne knew her deadline was looming. She had worked so hard to get the attention of the editor of Open Seas Magazine. It had been a chance meeting that brought her and the editor together.

It took several conversations for the editor to say, “Suzanne, we are going to give you a shot. Turn in a travel piece. Something about this little Island off Martinique.”

So Suzanne packed her bags and headed to the island. The warm winds and white sands were just what she needed to help her begin again–a new career, a new life. She settled into the hotel. She went out to sample some of the local cuisine. She listened to a local band play just off the street at a café. This would give her piece interest. She thought, “I’ll write about all aspects of life in Les Anses d’Arlet.”  After a leisurely walk on the beach to watch the sunset, she sat down in her room to begin writing.

Nothing came. No thoughts, no words, nothing. Her mind was a blank page. Writer’s block is such a horrible thing. You stare at the blank screen trying to force the words to materialize. Minutes become hours, hours become a day. She continued to stare at the blinking screen. She made coffee, had tea, and walked the beach again. Still nothing, so she turned on the TV and watched endless hours of shows selling gadgets and gizmos all guaranteed to make her life easier, faster, smarter. She thought, “If they could only make something that could cure writer’s block.”

What is writer’s block anyway? Is it the deepest part of your soul hanging on to the catharsis that the sweet release of words would convey?  Is there an enchanted key that unlocks the secrets of your heart?  She was drained, exhausted. So tired from the desire to create, yet, her psyche was void of passion. She did the only logical thing, she laid down. Maybe in her dreams she could write. She fell asleep and suddenly found herself sitting at her laptop. She looked down to see a USB cable attached to her chest, right below her heart. She plugged the cable into the slot on the laptop.  Suddenly the screen pulsated with rainbow hues then returned back to a glistening pink. She looked down and noticed the cable was filling with this pink glow. Her soul came alive with this flickering, beautiful pink light. She could hear a voice say, “Write what you feel, don’t think, don’t judge, don’t criticize or doubt, just write.”

She closed her eyes and she could see with her heart.  Her quiet mind released thoughts and feelings, hopes and yes, imaginings.  She turned to see an angel sitting at the end of her bed. The angel was leaned back, arms crossed behind her head.

“Hello, who are you?” Suzanne asked.

“Well, it’s pretty obvious by the wings I must be an angel but, to be specific, my name is Jonae. I am your writing angel. Also a kind of angel of confidence. I only appear when you lack the assurance or well, in some cases, courage to write.”

“It’s nice to meet you. I feel like we have meet before,” Suzanne inquired.

“We have,” the angel replied, “many times. You see, some people are given a destiny to write. You were given a destiny to write and paint. You seem to have forgotten what it is you have to do. That is what writers block is; you have forgotten consciously what your subconscious never doubts. You are a writer, you are an artist. You see the world painted in light; you appreciate the pink hues of love, the blue notes of music, the passion of red, the majesty of purple and the sunsets of yellow and orange. You perceive emotions and feel color. Music stirs your soul like a warm pot of soup on a cold winter day. You feel pain more intensely than everyone else. You cry with those who suffer and laugh with the joy of a child. You have felt the darkness of death and the deepness of depression. You have been given every experience you need to write. Your experience is your life! Your life is your canvas; your words your palette.”

Silent tears streamed down her face as she remembered what it was she had been given; joy, pain, love—an empathic ability to connect with the world around her. She realized she had been given a gift to heal with a simple word from a pen and stroke from her brush.  This overwhelmed her for a moment. It’s as if she caught her collective breath and suddenly she could breathe again. The fear slowly subsided.

“I remember” Suzanne said. “I remember when I was a little girl and I would pull the papers my mother wrote out of a weathered shoe box. They were brown with age. A lone staple- that had been placed there some 50 years ago- held them together. I read her words and something inside me wanted to be just like my mother. I wanted my words to be as spellbinding, to mesmerize. The admiration was overwhelming.  I used to say, I am going to be a writer one day, just like my mother. I knew that as long as I had her words, I had her with me all the time. I needed her then and still do. I need her here with me.”  Jonae leaned forward and placed her hand on Suzanne’s.

“As long as you have her words, her inner strength, you have her time immortal. She is with you always, in your heart, in your thoughts, and in your words. Just look and you will find her there. By the way, you will find yourself as well.”

Suzanne smiled. She now knew the source of her hesitance. She was missing that maternal connection she had felt so long ago. Her mother was her best friend. When she became ill, she tried to do the best she could to ease her pain. She felt ineffective and useless as the cancer spread. In the end, she was helpless to ease her suffering.  The woman who once held her hand and soothed her tears, she now had to reassure that it would be okay. The roles had reversed. Suzanne remembered the last days of her Mother’s life. She couldn’t wrap her head around the fact she was physically here, but the smile, the love, the warm laugh was gone. The essence that filled the room with all her memories was so far away—somewhere, but where? She felt her here and then she wasn’t anymore.

She knew she had not been able to write since her mother had passed away. She had been unable to put into words the immense loss her whole being felt. The guilt she felt over wanting to live again when the sweetest part of her soul was no longer alive. She began to cry.

Jonae said, “Its ok, have a good cry and get back to spreading your soul on that canvas, Share your gift. Write the words that inspire. Give hope to others. It’s time to create again.”  Tears flowed like they had not for several years, all the pain, all the hurt came pouring out. Suzanne looked up to find Jonae was gone.

     The next morning she woke to the sound of birds outside and the sun shone through her window castings tropical rays of warmth. The smell of coffee filled the air as she got out of bed. This morning was different. She didn’t feel that awful sense of dread. She knew her deadline for the story was drawing close but she wasn’t empty. She felt optimistic, alive. Her mind whirled with words, so fast she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to capture them all. She felt passion for her craft. She felt like a writer again.  She quickly poured a cup of coffee and made her way to the desk. She smiled. Beside the desk she found a note. It simply said, Believe. Next to the note was a singular white feather.

Step One

It’s been said a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So here goes, my first step to creating my blog.
So many questions flood my mind: How does this program work? How do I link it to Twitter and Facebook? These are the logistical questions. I can easily  find answers to those questions. The hard questions for me are: What do you write about to make it interesting for others to read? Man, that is a hard question. It is the main reason I haven’t written this before now. I suppose the answer is Ms. Arleen. I’ll write about my life.

Who is Ms.Arleen? Statistically I’m a 49 year old,white female. I live in Cordova, Alabama. That’s cold static facts though. I will be the first to tell you I am more than facts. I am passionate about everything I do in life, from Espresso in the morning,to my artwork. I do nothing halfway. It’s full tilt or go to the house. I love the simplicity of the country-life but enjoy the connection to life in the city. I strive for excellence. So many times, I have fallen so short,but I ‘ve never stopped trying. Life has the recurring theme of duality for me.

In 2000, I moved from my little studio apartment in Birmingham back to the rural country home in which I was raised. My Dad had Black Lung, Dementia and heart disease and it was becoming more than Momma could handle alone. I came home to help. Somewhere in all that 12 years, I grew stronger as a woman and an adult, bearing more responsibility than ever before. I was given the gift of time with my parents,something I shall always treasure but I lost time for me. I have never said that before,I always felt like I was being selfish to even feel it. It’s true though,the days become years.

That brings me back to never stop trying. I recently started back to college. I’m studying Surgical Technology. Its hard at any age but for 49,soon to be 50,well some days it’s exhausting,yet exciting. (There’s the duality thing again)  I graduate in a year and finally begin the career I always wanted. I will still paint but I won’t have that nagging worry about finances.

So in a nutshell, this is an overview of Ms. Arleen. I’m not much different than any other woman. I have fears, fits and fights like the rest of us. Maybe thats the answer to the second question: Why would anyone want to read this? This blog is about life. The struggles, the adventures, the projects. It’s about something we all do on a daily basis, living life.   I will talk about my house and the struggles with repair (long story I will get to), about my garden (a new experience, this should be interesting) and my family, whom I love very much.

Ms. Arleen