IWSG DEC 4, 2019 Role Play

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, and Tyrean Martinson!

MY QUESTION: Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

MY ANSWER: Words flow freely and alive with creativity. The scenes are exciting and dialog engaging. The computer rests in my lap as my fingers glide with purpose across the keyboard. 

I am filled with a sense of freedom as I’ve given myself permission to live without failure. Recognizing there are simply experiences from which to grow and learn.

Could you take a moment and share with me how you enrich your creative writing ability? How do you stimulate your imagination? Do you draw from actions of the people around you?

Thank you for visiting and taking a moment to comment. I promise to visit your site and return the favor.

IWSG Nov. 6, 2019: Strangest Thing

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the September 4 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

MY QUESTION: Did you know blocked arteries are silent killers?

I tracked mine from the States and to Mexico.

American Doctors

I discovered first clue with simple question. Uncertain if he’d agree, I asked my American family doctor if he’d order an ultrasound of my neck. He looked over from his computer, squinted, asked, “Why?”

Feeling a bit embarrassed, I avoided his gaze. “I’ve heard they are a silent killer.” Out of nowhere, I remembered my mom had an aortic aneurysm and told him so.

His eyes grew large.

The next thing I knew I was lying on a bed beside a nurse as she rubbed a medical sensor device over my stomach and neck performing an ultrasound procedure. I was completely unprepared for the results.

Driving back to our motel, I started to doze watching the scenery fly by. Rick focused on heavy freeway traffic. Then doctor called and told me. “The study showed severe blockage in your neck. Your condition is critical.”

I had the doctor on loud speaker. Rick gripped the wheel then slammed on the brakes as vehicles ground to a halt. I wasn’t the only one shocked by the news.

The doctor referred me to a heart specialist, who ordered a CT scan. My iPhone buzzed as the doctor stepped into his office. I ignored the message. The doctor picked up the report as he sat down. I tensed when he confirmed the blockage. Then he delivered the craziest news I’d heard yet. “Go back to Mexico. We can do the surgery six months from now.”

He pointed to a drawing of a blocked artery and explained my plaque had been there for a long time. Therefore, I could delay treatment. I was flabbergasted.

Mexican Doctors

I simmered during our entire flight back to Mexico. I needed a second opinion and so visited Dr. Rios, our family doctor here, in Puerto Vallarta. Dr. Rios removed his glasses as he leaned forward. He said, “If you have that much blockage in your neck, we need to check your heart. Plaque doesn’t just build in just one area of the body. He picked up his iPhone and dialed. Looking over at me he said, “I’m ordering a 3D study of your heart.”

Why didn’t my American doctor care about my heart?

The study confirmed Dr. Rios’s theory. The CT scan proved 95% blockage. He said “You need surgery right away. You are a ticking time bomb.”

My throat went dry as I absorbed the news. I‘m the care-giver. I’m the healthy one. How would Rick manage without me? I turned to Rick and reached for his hand.

Surgery

Fact: the blood in my heart was severely blocked. If I wanted to live, the arteries had to be opened to allow the blood to flow. We discussed my options: bypass surgery or stents.

Bypass: the surgeon spreads open the rib cage, takes a vein from the leg and replaces an artery in my heart. Weeks of painful recovery.

Stents: On the other hand, with stents I’d be home the next day. No pain. I didn’t need any convincing; I chose stents.

October 1 Surgery. The anesthesiologist, flips to a page in his chart and asked, “When were you born?” I told him. He murmured, “Oh, so you were born during World War II?” Hearing him say it like that made me feel really old.

I drifted off. Completely relaxed, I felt his fingers ruffle my hair and he said, “How are you feeling?” I said,
“There is pressure in my arm.” Poof, the feeling disappeared.

In my twilight sleep, I’m vaguely aware Dr. Valadez, my surgeon’s voice, “You need five stents. Do you want bypass surgery?” Not really understanding the reason for the question, I said, “I want stents.” Later, I learned he asked Rick the same question and Rick told him stents. No bypass.

I opened my eyes as I regained consciousness. Dr. Valadez waited patiently. We looked at each other as he summarized what just happened. Three arteries were blocked from 80 to 99%. With extreme care he installed five stents and one is 48 mm long. He reassured me my heart was strong and in excellent condition. My surgery was a total success.

More good news, during surgery they manipulated a tube inside my arteries up to my neck. From this internal view, they determined one artery was 30% blocked. The other side appeared to be blocked, but it was simply an anomaly; a curve in my artery. This procedure proved my artery is open. No need for surgery.

I was discharged the next day and instructioned to walk 30 minutes every day.

Recovery

As my arteries collected plaque, my heart adjusted and compensated as the blood flow decreased. My entire body slowed down to keep pace with my heart. A massive fatal heart attack just waiting to happen.

After surgery, I have a new heart but not the stamina I expected. I walk every day determined to rebuild my endurance. It’s still there.

Thanks to my American family doctor and a team of highly trained Mexican doctors, we destroyed the silent killer.

Dr. Rios’s final prescription, “Go Live your life.”

Final Thoughts

Doctors wait for symptoms. Then if we’re lucky, we get treatment. What if we reversed the sequence? Diagnose first? Check the arteries just like we do routine mammograms and prostrate examines. Install stents whenever possible and thrive.

IWSG Sept 4, 2019: Location

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the September 4 posting of the IWSG are Gwen Gardner, Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Ken, and Cathrina Constantiner!

IWSG QUESTION:  If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why.

MY ANSWER: Exactly where I am. On my boat, in La Cruz marina, moored just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Occasionally, the boat sways with the tide; the air conditioner hums and blows invigorating cool air; birds sitting on the life lines are tweeting in celebration and shitting on the deck. 

Interruptions! A voice from the dock yells, “Are you there mi amiga?” Carlos, our diver, wants to dive the boat and scrape barnacles off the hull. At the exact moment I’m totally immersed in writing a scene filled with thrills and chills.

Why is it, we can find fault, even paradise?

IWSG August 7: Writing Surprises

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 7 posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!

IWSG QUESTION: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you’d forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

ANSWER: I’m surprised every time write. Especially when I create a post for IWSG. Typically, my initial response is, “I don’t have a thing to say.” Then my fingers touch the keyboard and ideas tumble onto the page. Now, I’m not saying it’s good writing…but I am surprised there is a thought or two.

When does your inspiration pour forth? At odd times such as when you are in In the shower? Or is it polite and wait for you to be in compose mode?

Thank you for taking the time to visit, ponder, and comment. I promise to return your thoughtfulness and comment on your post, too.

IWSG July 3: Character Traits

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe,Natalie AguirreJennifer LaneMJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

IWSG QUESTION: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

ANSWER: I’m the main character in my real life adventures and a witness to life. I live on a sailboat in Mexico and married to a a retired Air Force veteran. My career was “Jack-of-All-Trades.”

I’ve been an escrow officer (confirm the buyer and the seller fulfill all contracts obligations before releasing funds.); television producer (script writer, location sound recordist, camera operator, editor); technical publication specialist (formatting 300 page documents for print); sailor and navigator (command La Vita at sea and chart our route to next destination).

What are my personal traits? What strengths and weaknesses do I bring to my character? After some soul searching, I came up with these traits:

Mild Dyslexia: which leads to self-doubt;
Witness: I am an observer to events around me

I seem to “see” unique incidents that others seem to ignore;
Passionate: in supporting Rick (my husband) through life and major medical crises in foreign lands;
Love: to enhance relationships through sharing (food, ideas, encouragement);
Curious: often asking myself, “What if?”
When facing a challenge, I often rely on my curiosity to reach a solution;
Clever: often solving problems via unconventional methods (which are sometimes misunderstood);*
Motto: “I’ll figure it out on the way”
One example: This attitude gave me the courage to drive a rental car on Los Angeles, California freeways during rush hour and in the rain. Then we returned to Mexico, and I drove the tourist clogged Puerto Vallarta city streets …Oh, did I mention this was the first time I’d driven 10 years?;
Desire: To write “slices of life” stories that inspire, enlighten, and make people cringe.

*The text in red was added by my husband.

Thank you for visiting. I look forward to reading your post and offering a comment or two.

IWSG June 5 Genres?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

IWSG QUESTION:
Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

ANSWER:
Once upon a time I would have said, “I don’t like sci-fi.” Then I read, Dragon of the Stars, by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Holy cow I loved it. First eBook I’ve read from beginning to end. Apparently, I’m more interested in style than genre Otherwise, my go to genre is crime fiction.

I’m adding to my personal series, “Slices of Life.” Here’s a recent event:

We’re with friends, laughing and enjoying life at our favorite brunch hang out.
I heard Rick say, “What’s happening?” I looked over and Rick’s 6-foot frame is sliding down to the ground. His chair had separated and the seat gave way. By some miracle he was able to support himself as gravity slowly pulled his body to the floor.
I ran over to him, put my arms around his shoulders but I couldn’t support his big frame.
I screamed, “Get Rick a good chair. Get Rick a good chair. Get Rick a good chair.” Fear drove my thoughts and action.
His spine is fused with metal screws, bars, plates, and cages. A sudden butt landing would send shock waves of pain and possible damage up his back bone.
Rick griped the chair arms and leaned forward onto the table. The restaurant staff acted with speed and efficiency. Immediately, he was presented a sturdy straight-back chair.
Rick cautiously shifted from the broken chair to the good chair. Safe. No harm. My fingers curled into a tight fist and I stared into space, numb with relief.

YOUR Thoughts:
Slices of Life. is series of two or page episodes. When should I include flash backs to past medical emergencies that seem to launch me into instant medical PTSD when Rick is in danger? What missing from the story?

Thank you for visiting. I very much appreciate you taking a moment to comment. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog, too.

IWSG April 3: Writing Help

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the April3 posting of the IWSG are J.H. MoncrieffNatalie AguirrePatsy Collins and Chemist Ken!

IWSG QUESTION:
If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

ANSWER:
The help I wish for is ready access to my creative subconscious. The part of my brain that hold the words to create vivid scenes. Knows instinctively how to show emotion through action and gestures. Pulls unexpected twists and turn out of thin air. Recognizes a good story and carves time to write it.

Question to you, my dear guest, how do you access the creative side of your brain?

Thank you for visiting and sharing your time with me. I’m looking forward to visiting your site and learning from you.

 

IWSG March 6: Protagonist or Antagonist?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue,  Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

IWSG Question:
Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

ANSWER:
I’m at a cross roads. When I started blogging, around 2009, we were sailing La Vita from San Diego, California to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Adventures, challenges, and unique experiences begged to be shared. It was me against the elements. I was the protagonist and loved learning to sail and adapt to life at sea.

In 2011, our sailing years began to transition from one medical challenge to another. Emergencies and medical procedures in three countries: Mexico, France, USA. My native language is English. Making life and death decisions with doctors & staff in a community that spoke mainly Spanish or French; even English, was terrifying.

Now, 10 years later, we plan to sell La Vita and move on land. Living on our sailboat, in a Mexican marina is ho hum. I anticipate living on land even more boring. Our bodies are not capable of managing a sailboat. Gone is the dream of sailing through the Panama canal and on to the Mediterranean.

I loved blogging and sharing unique aspects of my life in Mexico. What do I have to say that would hold readers for 10 minutes?

A writer friend suggested I write about caring for my partner: the challenges and the rewards. The intense medical phase was 2016 through 2018. Today our activities are confined by our physical limitations. We’ve reached a new norm.

I’m reluctant to dredge up the past because our readers are more interested in what’s going on now days. Am I wrong? Is there a niche that focuses on the past?

I’m eager to feel inspired to write again. Any ideas, suggestions, or  incantations to shake desire into action?

IWSG: Feb 6: Creative Outlets

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

IWSG Question:
Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

ANSWER:
My grandfather, Granville Redmond, is a well respected artist, therefore I should have some sort of art outlet. The Art gene skipped me.

My craft is management. I manage the La Cruz Writers’ Group (LCWG). I believe in free expression. I was tested.

      The question of censorship came up last week. As moderator of La Cruz Writers’ Group, it is my responsibility to direct comments and maintain a safe environment for our writers. Occasionally, I’ve failed in my duties.
      Last week an eloquent author told me he planned to read a politically sensitive poem. He asked, “Was that OK?”
      Knowing my preference for a nice peaceful atmosphere, Paul gave me plenty of time to think about reading his piece “The United States of Us.” It was written to provoke.
      We both recalled the spirited discussion over using the word Jew in his poem, “A Very Jewish Christmas.”
      I thought, “What is more important: peace or censorship?”
      Consumed with self-doubt, I reached out to two seasoned members and asked their opinion. One counseled me to exam the founding principles of LCWG and check my gut. The other urged freedom of speech.
      After much contemplation, the an inner truth spoke to me, “Freedom of speech without censorship.”
      My commitment scared me. My breath slowed; my heart pounded. Given my past failures, I questioned my ability to manage a lively debate. My worse fear? Create a permanently divided group of writers.
      I asked Rick, my husband and trusted soul mate, to give up his Saturday and join our group. I needed his moral support.
      Friday afternoon, I wrote ‘a note to self’ and examined my beliefs. Facing my fears gave way to survival-level strength. I told Rick I would facilitate the group alone.
      Saturday morning our writers were seated in a circle. Podium and microphone in place. After introductions, I said, “I have a statement I need to make.”
      From my comfy chair, I looked up from my notes. All eyes were fixed on me. I began in a quite voice, “The written word has changed the course of history.”
      I drew a breath of courage and continued, “This week I had to decide whether or not to censor a piece of writing. I’m here to say, there will be no censorship or pre-approval for any story read during our gatherings.
      “The subject matter may be offensive. Our beliefs may be challenged. It is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to express our opinion without condemnation.
      “There is no room for personal criticism of anyone in the room, the subject matter or the author.
      “It is our individual responsibility to focus on the writing: structure, character development, and pacing.”
      The group drew a collective breath and expressed unanimous approval through applause and words of appreciation.
      Paul read “The United States of Us.” His story inspired, provoked and forced us to question. A lively discussion followed. The exchange was everything our group stands for: Open dialog, exchange of ideas, informative and thought provoking.
      I am grateful to our member for kicking off the intense discussion following, “A Very Jewish Christmas.”
      I’m grateful I was forced to decide between censorship and peace.
      Most of all, “I’m grateful our La Cruz Writers’ Group and the wealth of experience each individual brings to our gatherings.
      We are united in willingness to listen and freedom of speech.

A Very Jewish Christmas
A very Jewish Christmas to you!
For there wouldn’t be a Christmas
If there hadn’t been a Jew.
It starts with a Jewish couple – that part we all knew.
A Jewish carpenter and his young bride
Set out from Nazareth on a burro
Being expectant, only she would ride —
To a barn; the planning wasn’t thorough.
Then came the baby, warmed by donkey breath,
He screamed and howled when he was born,
They laid him in a manger — not the best —
No one got much sleep before the morn.
The boy grew to start a new religion,
In what we call Judeo-Christian tradition.
He joined two cultures, didn’t he?
An achievement for a young Jew on a mission.
So let us all recall this Christmas,
What it means to me and you.
There wouldn’t be a Christmas
If there hadn’t been a Jew!
By Paul Edward Gainor
Author, “HUMANS and other ANIMALS
 

IWSG: Dec 5: Five Things In My Writing Space

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the December 5 posting of the IWSG are

IWSG Question:
What are five objects we’d find in your writing space?

My Answer:
1. Port Hole
2. Computer
3. Coffee Cup
4. Printer
5. Companion way steps

QUESTION: Where am I?
No peaking at the comments. LOL