Living and Learning

A fabulous foundation

I have a goldmine of material with which to create a book. It is a collection of emails, letters, research, diaries and cards related to my husband’s illness. He was ill for eight years. Initially, I was copying emails and internet research to take to him in the hospital. When he came home, I just continued collecting things thinking that, perhaps, my children would be interested in reading it all at some future date.

It seems to me that this is a fabulous foundation for a book.  Just the narrative itself, as told in emails, is interesting.  In addition to that, though, I want to write the book that wasn’t there for me.

My home is in a small city in Alberta, and during this time there was not a support group for me to attend. Even if there had been, I was working full time. It was all I could do to keep it all together with going to work, being a caregiver, and being the mother of teenagers. I got a lot of loving support from family and friends for which I am eternally grateful. At the same time, though, the advice and help that I often received from people who didn’t know me well was either sentimental, patronizing, or religious. None of that was what I needed.

I want to write the book that I didn’t have. I want to help the women and men who find themselves where I was, and I want to affirm them in the struggle, the change in the marital relationship, the exhaustion, and the coping mechanisms. I don’t want to sugarcoat it, and I don’t want to be negative. I just want to be a voice of real experience.

Just to complicate this writing project a little more, while I was going through this caregiving experience, I was also spending time on the computer and meeting people in chat rooms.  To cut a long story short, I met a man who lives in Kenya and became infatuated with him. I have kept all those emails, too.  That relationship is over, but it was a mind-blowing and expensive experience. Is this a second book or a thread of the first one?

I started to transcribe some of the emails related to my husband, and before I had even scratched the surface I had 75 pages. Much too much. (Incidentally, the process for this requires scanning hard copy originals because I didn’t keep a digital record. This process is mind-numbingly dull.)

So, I have ground to a halt and am wallowing in paper and frustration. Thus, at the suggestion of a friend, I am creating this blog. I am presenting my problem to the world in the hope that the world will help me through this maze.  It’s either that, or my sister has offered to come over with a match.

6 replies »

  1. I think I can guess which sister will be there with the match! I can see it would be theraputic to write such a book, it’s making the time to do it.

  2. Mark Twain said ” I’m sorry this letter is so long, I didn’t have time to make it shorter.”

    The two concepts should be separate, though a mention of the other one in each would give needed perspective.

    • Great idea, Graham. A couple of other people have also said they think these are two different stories. I like your idea of mentioning the other in each. Thanks

  3. I think that until you come to a solid decision about how to proceed, you must have wine and chocolates for dinner. Once you have had enough wine – well, here is how I would do it. Put the paper in chronological order. Set the pile next to the computer. Pick up the first piece read it, put it face down and write how you felt at that very moment. If that doesn’t work – call a friend and have more wine and chocolates. Writing must be from the heart dear friend – don’t try to organize it.

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