Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drifting in Time

My mom is one of the sweetest women anybody could ever want to know. She's had a hard week with maybe a heart attack or stroke and a couple of falls that have left her bruised all over. The worst of it is how confused she's been about how old she is, where she lives and who we are.
We spent two days at the hospital that seemed more like two weeks to her. She was ready to hire a taxi to get home. The only problem was that she didn't know where home was. She had gone back in time and was ready to go back to the home where she grew up. She kept telling me, when we finally did get released from the hospital and were on the way home, that I wasn't going the right way. She didn't argue with me, but I could tell she thought we were going to end up in a desert somewhere. But she was polite to this strange woman taking her on all the wrong roads. She's better today. Knows I'm her daughter again. That makes us both feel better. I understand about dementia. We dealt with that problem with my mother-in-law. But it's still heart-breaking to see my capable, take charge mama who has always taken care of everybody else having trouble thinking.
And so I decided yesterday she was drifting in time. Skipping back through the years of her life and stopping here and there. She picked the young years to latch on to. And why not? If you're going to wander through the years of your life, why not pick the good years? The years where you felt strong and able and enjoyed living. So if you are drifting along at thirty-five, there's no way you can think about having children years older than that. It's no wonder she wondered who the heck we were. She knew she had three daughters and what our names were, but her daughters were young. Not way older than she was herself. No way that could be. So maybe her thinking was reasonable and we were the unreasonable ones to keep trying to convince her of the impossible.
You know that's what I do when I start a book. I drift around in time with my characters and I pick their best, most interesting years. Maybe not the years they enjoyed most, but the ones where the most happened. Like in The Seeker with the Civil War tearing the country apart or in The Believer with Elizabeth's father dying. I have to start my story in the moment of time in my characters' lives that is most dramatic.
The Seeker is on a blog tour right now. I've been getting alerts of this or that review. It's mostly fun reading what people think about your story. Mostly. Of course this one reviewer said one of my books, and I honestly don't remember which Shaker book but I think it was The Outsider. Anyway the reviewer said my book made her want to - and I quote - "wash windows." I'm sure that was so she could look out on the beautiful world that had been made more beautiful by my enchanting story. Or she needed more light so that she could read every word. Twice. Or reading about the Shakers' desire for cleanliness inspired her to join in their war against dirt. I have to be honest. I've never read a book that made me want to wash windows. The afternoon sun shining through them makes me think about washing windows sometimes, but then the sun goes down.
Thanks for reading. Hope if you're drifting along with some characters, none of them are making you want to wash windows.

1 comment:

  1. Love the picture of you sweet mom, Ann. And I'm so sorry to hear she's not feeling well. Glad she has you girls to take care of her. Praying for you all during this busy season.

    Am sure your blog tour is going great! I have my copy of The Seeker on my desk:) Can't wait to see you in Indy. Not too much longer now.


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