Finding Your Muse

June 16th

dementia

I working on novel 3: “Counting Coup.” It is in the bare bones beginning stages, where I am throwing a bunch of ideas and characters down on the page and seeing what works. I’m about 15,000 words into this story — part of which is set on a farm in Nebraska in the 1950s and the other side, set in modern day Phoenix.

One of the characters has dementia. I’ve been struggling with how to get the details right about her care and her symptoms without barraging the reader with information that reads like a medical journal entry. Books that accidentally teach me something are my favorite. (A recent example is “All the Light We Cannot See,” and the creation and engineering of radios.)

Writing about dementia that lets the reader experience it emotionally, but doesn’t hit them over the head with sentimentality, is tricky.

This week my boss asked me to attend a health care conference in town. She was presenting and wasn’t able to attend several sessions of interest herself. Imagine my delight when I got the course material and realized one of those sessions was with an expert in dementia behaviors and treatment. Seriously. I took five handwritten pages of notes, was able to ask questions and got the details and nuance I needed to better develop this character.

When the universe aligns in this way, I feel like my friends Creativity and Inspiration are sitting on either side of me, paving the path to something great. I skipped out of there with new motivation to get back to writing and feeling very lucky. Speaking of — time to get back to it.

~K

 

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4 Responses

  1. Sarah K June 16, 2016

    Oh my gosh, wasn’t All the Light such a wonderful and sad book? Very fortuitous that you stumbled into this awesome opportunity to learn for work and your writing at the same time!

  2. Well that’s just awesome! I love when work stuff is actually interesting lol

  3. Kim Campbell June 21, 2016

    Need any insight let me know. My mom, mother in law and step mother all have dementia. Another great book is Bettyville.

  4. Larissa Stretton July 5, 2016

    Doncha just love it when the universe provides just what you need, when you need it? Can’t wait to see what magic you weave (no pressure though! It’s so cool that you are starting your 3rd novel!! )

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