Still Not Dead Yet

Labor Day weekend I had a minor stroke.  My husband called 911.  I rode in an ambulance to the hospital.  Once I got there, they took very good care of me, other than serving breakfast too late.  (I’m used to an early breakfast.)

I had the best therapists in the world, and am out of the wheelchair and can walk with the help of a cane.  (The picture above is at the Memphis Zoo, just before Halloween.  Our insurance wouldn’t cover a home health aide, so my husband is my primary caregiver.

Downside:  my concentration and short-term memory are shot.  Don’t know when or if they’ll come back.  My left arm is more decorative than useful, so driving remains a long-term goal.

Upside:  I’ve been out of diapers since October or November.  Thanks to my speech therapist, I can speak reasonably intelligibly.  I recently submitted a poem to Cricket and  a short story, “The Lizard-Men from Outer Space to B Cubed Press’ Tales of the Space Force.  I also completed a fantasy story, “Trolls are Different” to accompany my application for the SLF Older Writers Grant.

Since I am unemployed and unemployable at present, I’ve resolved to work on my writing more seriously.  My Iron Writer Quarterly Goals are to

  1.  write and submit three stories, one per month.
  2. Blog weekly.  (which is why you’re reading this)
  3. Exercise my left arm and eventually regain the use of it.

That last one may be a long-term goal rather than a quarterly goal.

People keep reminding me that I’m doing much better than other stroke survivors.  That at seven months, many stroke survivors aren’t able to get out of bed yet.  I may be complaining of all the things I can’t do yet as well as minor pain, but most stroke survivors have it worse.  And I’m still on the right side of the dirt:  I’m not dead yet.

 with a cane.  After reciting “eleven benevolent elephants” more times than any sane person should, I can speak reasonably Thanks to the efforts of my speech therapist, I can spe However, my concentration is shot, as is my short term memory.  My left arm is more decorative than functional.  I am learning to do things one-handed.  The PBA was the worst of the side effects (uncontrolled crying jags and laughing fits).  Diaper rash was the second worse.  Luckily, shortly after I learned to change my own diaper, I graduated to being able to go to the bathroom by myself.  

Digging Up My Bones

A book review

Sorry I haven’t committed bloggery in a while, but I had a minor stroke in September, and I’ve been concentrating on recovery.

Digging Up My Bones is a poetry anthology by Gwyndyn Alexander.  It’s a marvelous collection of powerefully poignant poems, on subjects as diverse as dysfunctional families, romance, sealioning, Greek mythology and feminism.  I seriously believe my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will read some of these poems in their high school English classes.  If you’re planning to have smart descendents, invest in this book so they’ll have the original at home.  It will impress their teacher.

“Gwyndyn Alexander, is one of the essential poets of our generation. Her poems strike deeply into the heart of the pain and joy of being a woman in a patriarchal society, her work speak truth to power in a way that only her heartfelt and stunningly crafted poems can do”

My favorite thus far is “Seasons of You (For Jonathan),” which is a love poem Ms. Alexander wrote for her husband.

You’re walking through the storm,

laughing,
cloaked in rain.
Droplets bead on your hair
crowning you with diamonds.
Late night conversation,
and your words
fall in my mind like seeds.
Ideas bloom amid strange growth,
and I am wrapped in your
verdant intellect.
Air moves across your skin,
raising the shivers.
Even the wind
wants to caress you.
You lounge by the hearth,
moving shadows painting your face.
You stretch like a sated cat,
your eyes full of fire.

Because this book is published by B Cubed Press, naturally there are some political poems.  Everything feminist is at least slightly political, when written by a woman of intellect, but “A Consevative Prayer,” (excerpt below), “Democracy Dies in Silence,” and “The Alt Right to Bear Arms are overtly political.

Republican Jesus,
save us from liberals,
bless our sacred guns,
protect us from regulations
we pray.
Republican Mary,
Lady of Gerrymandering,
hear our prayers.
Give us this day
our daily kickback
from the NRA.

Disclaimer: I am not entirely a disinterested party.  I have had one story, the Darrell-nominated “As Prophesied of Old, and one song “Donald, Where’s Your Taxes?” published by B Cubed Press, and I used to proofread for them when my brain synapses synapted better.

At any rate, if you like poetry or feminist thought, I recommend this book.  You don’t need a Ph. D. in literature to understand or appreciate these poems.