I haven’t posted all that often this month; just a lot going on in and around the writing cave.
I’ve been writing a lot on the book. It feels like I’m making progress, but it is really going S-L-O-W-L-Y.
The writing process that has always worked for me is to create an extensively detailed outline of each section of a project, for the purpose of having fun with the words while following the pattern.
It isn’t that I don’t have the words I want to use that’s dragging this along, but I want you (the reader) to experience what the God-awful hotel room looked like when he was in there. To sense what a pre-air-conditioned room felt like way up on the top floor of the San Carlos at midday in summer, and the head-pounding hang overs that no amount of Bromo-Seltzer could allay.
Details like Bromo-Seltzer bottles in the hotel room, along with an assortment of empty liquor bottles tell you something about Emmett. Both the room and his gut must have looked like a superfund project.
Anyway. It’s coming along. I sometimes think it is moving at the speed of plate tectonics. Logically, it does no good to rush this process, and I know this. It is the antsy-get-the-damn-thing-moving-faster feeling that nips at me now and then.
I can also report a few significant distractions outside the writing cave that have had my attention.
The main one has been that my youngest daughter was quite ill for the past seven days. Her fevers spiked up so high and so often that it really frightened me. She’s better now that we’ve finally figured out the problem (a hidden infection that she got at the pool), and got the right medicine for her. The entire time, I was really worried; I wasn’t convinced that the first doctor pinpointed the problem, and I was right. I trust my gut on some things, and it has never failed me.
We celebrated her return to health by visiting the zoo.
Sadly, on Sunday, we lost one of our six hens, the Welsummer.
At first, we weren’t sure how she died, but we found out later from a vet that she apparently had an unknown heart defect.
Not to sound cold, but we’re not exactly broken up about it. We hadn’t named her yet, and honestly, she was the most obnoxious hen. She was pretty, but she was as loud as a rooster, and her ‘cluck’ was more like the honk of a goose, no lie. She’d honk all day. I could hear her down in the writing cave, that’s how loud it was. Sometimes, she was so loud and would honk for so long, I thought something was wrong. I’d check on her, but she’d be fine. Nothing was amiss; just the Welsummer being her loud self.
But she wasn’t friendly with us or her peer chickens (as our other hens are friendly with us). She was also near the top of the pecking order in the coop, and the Welsummer would let the other hens have it on occasion, flying at them when they were in the egg box that she wanted to get in, stuff like that. She was a pushy hen.
We had six different breeds of chickens (now five), living together as one. It’s the United Nations of chicken coops. It is a rather fancy coop built by my husband, the engineer extraordinare. The coop has WIFI in case I want to go down there and work. No lie.
Anyway. Both the hatchery and the vet told us that Welsummers are highly strung, and can have a type of high blood pressure, not unknown in poultry, which can lead to a heart attack. Just like in people.
The coop is a lot calmer these days minus Welsummer. I’m sorry we lost her, but the other hens are busily establishing the new pecking order. The remaining five get along rather well. No drama among these chickens that I can tell.
Remember when I made the trip to Pensacola in May, 2014? (I’ve been trying to work out a second trip since last October.) Well, when I was there last, on the last day, I had brought with me some black-eyed Susan seeds and planted them around Emmett’s headstone. Why those in particular? The black-eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland; I wanted to give Emmett a little bit of my home.
I had some leftover seeds from the trip, and I planted them in the front flowerbed when I got home. They didn’t do much, to be honest. They sprouted in October, and got only about four or five inches high, but didn’t do anything after that. Knowing how bad I am with flowers and all things garden-related, I didn’t expect much. And then, fall and winter set in, and that was that. I promptly forgot about the seeds.
Now look at them, a year later.
Totally unexpected bounty of black-eyed Susans this year. Incredible, isn’t it?
It makes wonder what’s going on with the seeds I planted above Emmett. I hope they are also blooming fabulously!
Communication, Arts, and the Humanities
The University of Maryland Global Campus