Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not dead or dying

Thank you for your patience while I got back in the writing saddle (I know, that's a terrible metaphor). It's been a pretty wild ride recently (note I'm dogged with metaphor once I get started) and I've been given the gift of story fodder aplenty.

Let's start with Thanksgiving week and why I really should be writing a screenplay. For the record, if any of you steal these ideas I will set Cerebus on your butt. Really.

You've seen at least one of those films, you know the ones I'm talking about. The kind of family tragi-comedies where everyone gathers together for some holiday or another and every single family member has their own agenda but there is a loving resolution in spite of bittersweet feelings. That was my Thanksgiving this year. Now, I know many of the people who attended my Thanksgiving read this blog (hi Mom and Dad!) so I won't go into detail to protect everyone's feelings, but suffice it to say that the dinner itself, while wonderful and loving, should have been filmed. It was a cast of characters.

I was certainly one of those characters. For the sake of argument, let's make me the main character, since this is my theoretical movie. The anxious host and daughter, preparing her first Thanksgiving feast for her parents, finding herself in a new role, trying to carry the family tradition and start new ones, while the love of her life and principal support is on the other side of the country finding himself in a new role too. These two are trying to support each other through entirely inadequate phone calls. As if this wasn't stressful enough the main character is struggling with a couple of additional pressures. Coming issues at work that she can't talk about. A sick friend. And she just got the word that she might have a painful, debilitating and quite likely fatal disease. See? It's a screenplay!

I can just see the pitch session. Studio execs in casual clothing that costs more than I make in a month. Me, trying to look cool. Failing.

Okay, here it is. Get this. There's this woman, she's hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, which is nerve-wracking enough, but at the same time her doctor has told her she might have a fatal disease. Oh, and let me tell you aout the dinner guests...

Never mind, no one would believe it once I got rolling.

As mentioned in the title to this blog post, I'm not dying. I'm fine. There was only a slim chance I was, but you know how it is, it's hard not to focus on the scariest outcome. Which leads me to the real point of this post.

The week between my annual physical, when my doctor mentioned the very slim chance that I had a rare disease, and the visit with the specialist who confirmed that I did not have the disease but instead had a less rare utterly harmless and likely to go away disorder, was hard. Really hard and made all the harder by the colliding facts of my partner's distance and Thanksgiving.

In retrospect, now that it's done and I know I'm okay (okay with blotches on my feet) I can now see it as a gift.

I reached out to friends and family I might not have otherwise contacted. I was reminded that I am not alone and am, in fact, surrounded by people who care for me. And in turn by people I care for.

I am reminded quite forcefully that this life is a gift, that this is a one-way journey and it behooves me to make the most of it while I can. I write about this often, if you read this blog with any regularity you know that, but the past week was a punch to the gut reminding me that I could, in fact, die tomorrow. If not from some disease then from an accident or anything else. So I may as well live while I can, dying in the moment or not.

I am reminded of my own strength. While I had some pretty tough moments in there, I kept going. I didn't curl up. I was able to keep moving, believing as I always have that you do the best you can in any given moment.

And I was reminded that this world is so big, so vast, I was reminded to be grateful for my brief existence.

It was truly a week of Thanksgiving. For those I love, who love me; for the support in my life; for the plenty I am fortunate enough to know and share; for the sound of the geese in the night and the strength of trees. I am alive. And so are you. Thanks.

(c) 2008 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

Monday, December 8, 2008

Teaser: Definitions

Okay, NaNoWriMo is over, I finished (52K+ words in 26 days) and I'm ready to start blogging again. I have a couple of posts I'm working on that will go live soon.

In the meantime I wanted to share this with you.

Someone I follow on twitter suggested looking up definitions of the word "free" on google. For those of you who don't know, you can get all kinds of definitions from google by typing define: . It scours the internet and gives you results, some accurate, some quite amusing. I don't recommend this as a replacement for your dictionary.

In any case, I looked up "free" by typing "define: free" and got a slew of responses. This was my favorite, from a marketing website:

A magic word with some strings attached. Conditions on which a free offer is made should be clearly stated.

I love the image of a magic word with strings attached. And anyone who has read the Arabian Nights already knew there was no such thing as a magic word without strings attached.

I promise, a new thoughtful, amusing post is coming soon. Thanks for your patience.

(c) 2008 Laura S. Packer
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