Monday, March 9, 2015

REMEMBERING CAROLYN

One of the dearest people in the world to me, Carolyn Humphreys, passed away just about a year ago. Carolyn was the doctor who got me out of the hole of Lyme. She was also an angel of a person. I describe her in the post I wrote a year ago.

I have text book on human anatomy, her old text book that she gave me when I wanted to understand my treatment better. It's become a treasured object. I see it on the shelf and think of her. A I needed to look up the endocrine system, so I took the book from the shelf and turned to several pages that she'd highlighted and made notes on. Seeing the writing that had come straight from her hand made me cry again.

I have been thinking of Carolyn more in the past weeks, as the crocuses come up, and the sight of them reminds me how I struggled to comprehend her death at this time last year. I can't help wishing she were still alive.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

AFTER THE WRITING CLASS

If nothing else wonderful or even particularly good happens to me this year, I won't mind, because I took Maria Semple's writing class. (My last post on January 26th was the night before the class started, and I apologize for this late follow-up).

Maria Semple's hilarious and smart novel Where'd You Go, Bernadette? has been close to my heart ever since I read it 2013. I was excited to see she was teaching a class at Hugo House, the writing center here in Seattle. I've been taking classes for there for past four years in a sort of do-it-yourself writing education.

I'm reading it again and it's still super


The intensive novel-writing class sold out in a blink and I ended up on the wait list. I was lucky to get a spot in the class five days before it started. I managed to get through a giant stack of reading in those five days, and then I managed to be in the class Tues-Friday from 9:30 to 3. It was no small feat for me. In fact, it was the biggest schedule commitment I've had since coming down with Lyme.

Yes, I was a puddle by the time I made it home at 3:30. It was all I could manage to take care of my dog Cleo and get myself turned around to be ready for the next day. It took me the rest of following weekend to get my body back in balance.

It was worth all of it, and then some. Maria filled the room with her giant, generous, funny personality. That alone would have made it worth it, but she was also an excellent teacher. She also knew her writing craft backwards and forwards. I learned more than I imagined I ever would in four days.

I feel like I should somehow go on for the rest of this blog post with endless superlatives about Maria and her class but it's enough to say that, given how Lyme puts limits on what I can do and where I can travel (meaning, mostly nowhere), the class turned out to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. Despite how crummy I was feeling the Saturday after the class, I managed to sit down for a couple hours to start my novel. I've been working on it every day since, as I'm sure I will be for quite some time to come. It's making me tremendously happy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

LITERARY MARATHON

In December I tried to sign up for a writing class with beloved Seattle author Maria Semple, only to be waitlisted. The first fifteen spots were gone in the first hour of class registration at Hugo House (the city's literary center). So I signed up for the waiting list.

I learned last Wednesday that a spot opened up. I could take the class after all! The class starts tomorrow, Tuesday. Last Friday all the reading for the class came spewing into my inbox. Some 200 pages. Ten pages from the 14 other students in the class, requiring my constructive comments, and a sample of other writing selected by our teacher. I had three days.

I never thought I'd read it all, but I finished in time. This morning, actually. I felt triumphant! This afternoon I had to take a longer nap than usual.

Now comes the bigger challenge: being at class from 9:30 to 2:30 or later, four days in a row. This is the absolute biggest thing I've done, in terms of continuous time commitment, since I came down with Lyme. I am a little apprehensive, but mostly excited. Will keep the blog posted!