Trying to Eat #SixSentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Excerpts #Inspiration

Welcome to this week’s Six Sentence Story Thursday Link Up. The word is “stroke.” As you may have noticed from a post I reblogged here a few days ago, I suggested the word to Girlie on the Edge, and you’ll see why in a minute.

Below is an excerpt from My Ideal Partner, a memoir in which I write about how I met and married my late husband Bill, then cared for him after he suffered two paralyzing strokes.

***

After a day and a half in intensive care, Bill was transferred to a stroke unit. He drifted in and out of consciousness. When we were finally told he could eat, he was too weak to do so on his own. I told the staff I didn’t feel comfortable feeding him because of my visual impairment. Nevertheless, meals were delivered, and it was up to me to get him to eat.

I placed a fork in his hand and said, “Here, honey, eat some mashed potatoes.”

***

Well, did Bill eat those mashed potatoes? Read the book and find out. You can click on the above link for more information and ordering links.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for this week’s prompt. You can click here to participate and read other bloggers’ six-sentence creations.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes her until one Halloween night when she tells Natalie a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that some people with dementia have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she tries and succeeds in finding her biological father online. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding. Her ten-year-old sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant this request?

***

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Receiving Home Delivered Meals #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Inspiration

A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday, I received some disparaging news. When my Schwan driver delivered my order, he told me that the local depot is closing down. I could still order online, but because of the cost of shipping and packing the food in dry ice, it would be more expensive.

I can cook, despite my limited vision. When my late husband Bill was alive and partially paralyzed by two strokes, I did a lot of that, since he preferred home-prepared meals and didn’t like many Schwan’s ready-made food. But now that he’s gone, I don’t see the sense in cooking for just me. So, this news was such a disappointment.

When I told a friend that weekend, she suggested I receive home delivered meals from the senior center. I’d always thought those meals were for people like Bill, who, after his two paralyzing strokes, found it difficult to get out. You can read more about that in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. But I digress.

My friend told me that last summer, when her air conditioner wasn’t working, and she didn’t want to cook, she had meals delivered to her for a while. Although my friend, like me, is over sixty, she’s definitely not shut in.
For years, I’ve eaten lunch at the senior center and have always enjoyed their reasonably-priced, nutritious meals. I’ve wished I could eat there more often, since they have such good food.

According to the senior center’s website, home delivered meals are for people over sixty who find it challenging to prepare nutritious meals at home and get to the store. I’m over sixty, and because of my visual impairment, I find cooking and grocery shopping a challenge. Bingo!

On Monday, I called the senior center, from which I’ve also been receiving housekeeping services and assistance with checking my blood pressure once a week. I left a voicemail in the Home Delivered Meals department.

Although I had plenty of food from Schwan, by Tuesday when my housekeeper arrived, I was concerned and asked her what she could tell me about the program, other than what I learned from the website. Not knowing any more than I did, she called her office and was told that at present, the Home Delivered Meals program had no coordinator but would have one soon. Since I’d explained the situation to my housekeeper, she told the person on the phone to whom she was speaking what was going on and was assured someone would call me soon.

That night, I found out that I had possibly been exposed to COVID the previous weekend while attending a writers’ conference. After I called the Help at Home office Wednesday morning to let them know, I didn’t hold out much hope of anyone from Home Delivered Meals calling me back at that point. Once it was safe for me to be out and about without possibly infecting someone, I would inquire in person at the senior center.

On Thursday, I was working in my office, minding my own business. It was around eleven o’clock in the morning. According to the senior center’s website, meals are usually delivered between eleven and one. A knock sounded on my front door. Could it be, I wondered, as I grabbed my mask and hurried to answer.

It was! On the other side of the screen door stood a woman holding a plastic tray and a paper sack. She introduced herself as Jane and said she had my lunch. Surprised, I said I didn’t think I’d been signed up yet.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. The website also says they give first priority to those who must quarantine as a result of COVID. Since Jane showed up on my doorstep with barbecued pork ribs, friendly volunteers have brought me delicious meals every day. I’ll always look forward to and enjoy the smiles and food.

How about you? What made you smile this past week? You can share in the comment field below or click here, if you’re a blogger, to learn how you can participate in this weekly feature.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor. After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents. Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding. Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request? ***
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Woody Woodpecker #TuesdayTidbit #Poetry #Inspiration

I know it’s Tuesday, but I’m sharing the following poem as part of Stevie Turner’s Friday Write feature. This poem was published in the June 5th issue of The Weekly Avocet, which can be downloaded here. You can click the link below the poem to hear me read it.

***

Woody Woodpecker

By Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022.

“Listen to that,” says Dad,
as we walk through the park one spring morning.
I’m a teenager,
and my father is walking me to school.
We stop for a moment.
I hear it, a power drill without the motor.

“That’s a woodpecker,
boring holes in that tree over there,” Dad explains.
He points, but I can’t see.
Preoccupied, I wonder why I should care.

That day after school,
I’m watching a cartoon on television with my younger brother.
Again, I hear the motorless drill,
this time followed by Woody Woodpecker’s cheerful tune.

Why is he boring holes in that tree?
Why is he so happy?
With limited vision, I can’t see the screen.
I listen while brother watches, says nothing.

I’m amazed at how cheerful Woody is,
despite the curveballs life throws his way.
Maybe we could all follow his example.

 

Woody Woodpecker

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

 

Living Vicariously in Wyoming #OpenBookBlogHop #MondayMusings #Inspiration

 

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “What is your process for writing? Plot, then write? Edit as you go or not until you’ve reached the end of the story? Figure out your characters first? Something else?”

Sometimes, while writing, if I notice myself making a typo, I instinctively reach for the backspace key. But most of the time, I write, then edit.

I usually write by the seat of my pants. As long as I have  the general story in my head, I let ideas come to me, as I’m writing. But recently, I decided to try making one of my short stories, “Living Vicariously,” into a novel. Unlike with my other stories, I had no clear direction. I had an idea of how it would end, but I couldn’t figure out where to start, and I wasn’t sure about other details.

So, I tried the Snowflake Method, a ten-step process of outlining your novel before you write it, in the hope that ideas would come to me. But after the third step, I still felt blocked.

The first step is to write a one-sentence summary of the book, an elevator pitch of sorts. While signing books at the Wyoming Writers conference last week, an author sitting next to me asked what my next project would be. I immediately launched into my elevator pitch and suddenly thought how lame it sounded. The other woman said she thought it was interesting. I’m sure she was trying to be polite, since we hardly knew each other.

After giving it some thought, I realized the problem was with the story, not the pitch. “Living Vicariously” works better as a short work of fiction, not as a novel.

However, all was not lost. Several years ago, I started working on a collection of short stories set in Wyoming. I was inspired to write this after reading Ann Beattie’s The State We’re in, a collection of stories set in her home state of Maine. “Living Vicariously” could be the opening story in my collection, and I could even call the collection Living Vicariously in Wyoming.

How about you? If you’re an author, what’s your writing process? You can tell us in the comment field below or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt! #SundaySurprise #Reblogs #Inspiration

I was thrilled to discover, when reading this post, that Girlie on the Edge used my suggested word for her six-sentence story prompt this week. So, if you haven’t tried writing six-sentence stories, now’s the time. If you’re a blogger, click the link below to learn how to participate in this feature. Then, open a blank document, and start writing. Most important of all, tune in here Thursday to read my creation.

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Welcome to GirlieOnTheEdge and Sunday’s prompt word reveal for Six Sentence Stories!

First things first. Thank you, Abbie for this week’s prompt word. And thank you Spira, D. Avery, and Staarlz for your suggestions. We are all for writer participation here at the Six, but then you guys already know that.

 

Read the original post.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.