Saturday, March 22, 2008

WRITER IN RESIDENCE


The Letter Writer, originally uploaded by rita banerji.

This morning, after ten days in the hospital, my nurse told me I had become the official mayor of the floor. But if f they're going to hang a sign outside my room, I would prefer it say "Writer in Residence." . I never was much for politics. As a writer, I tend to grow empathy for even the darkest of characters. Clearly, I'm unfit to govern--even among my own creations.

So. After days of sipping clear liquids, watching TV, surfing the net, reading books and emails ( which I can't answer from the hospital for some reason) a strange urge came over me. It was the urge that has dominated my life. Stories bubbled up; a poem began to form. I thought of the novel I would begin after the one I'm working on was finished, and behind that, I glimped the shadow of another.

How strange, how marvelous that it should follow me here! Even when my brain is still thick with anesthesia! Even when I ignored it in favor of TV and magazines! Still it follows. Still it comes.

As for my medical status, I'm well enough to walk to the kitchen and make tea, well enough to joke with the staff, and to get excited about the new "surgical soft" diet that's been ordered for lunch. (It's been a long ten days on jello and broth.) Now it's pretty much a waiting game. Waiting to learn if the surgery will hold. Waiting to eat normally again. Waiting, waiting to see the imperfect incredible place known as home.



Thanks to all who have continued to check in on me, who have left such wise, caring comments, who have kept up the "hope watch" with me. I send smiles and hugs to each of you.

54 comments:

Laura said...

I think empathy is extremely important in those who would govern, Patry, but your time is so much better spent writing the wonderful things that you do.

I hope your lunch is everything you want it to be and that you're out of that place asap. I'm thrilled to hear you sounding so full of hope and plans!

Still praying...Love and love. L.

Mardougrrl said...

Oh, sweetheart. I am praying and praying for you. I've been in a bubble of self-pity and selfishness for the last...well, way too long, but your words, as always, show me a different path.

*You* are wonderful. xoxo, M

robin andrea said...

I love knowing that the poems and stories come to you, there and everywhere. You are truly the writer in residence, in your own body, Patry.

Hey, I have a tech idea about why you can't send mail from the hospital. If you are using a POP account in a mail program (like Eudora), it often has a hard time negotiating with different ISP protocols. You might want to try using the web-based program to send your mail. Does that make sense? I use Apple's Mail program to read my olypen account. It doesn't work for sending mail when I am out of town. So, I log into olypen.com, and use their links to get into my mail account, and send mail from there. Just an idea.

I hope your lunch is delicious.

I add my hope to the sum of hope on this watch.

Much love.

Tish Cohen said...

What wonderful news that you're up and around, bursting with writing ideas and hope for tasty new lunches. I cannot wait to hear about this new novel...

I just came from a long walk in the sunshine with Steve and our dog and am sending this glorious sunshiny feeling of spring and hope and renewal and moving forward straight over to you. Then again, even if it's not sunny in Boston today, it sounds like it's getting sunnier and sunnier in your little room.

Keep healing, sweetie, it sounds as if you're almost there!

xoxo

Peter said...

I love that:

Clearly, I'm unfit to govern--even among my own creations.

You're having much more of a positive effect there than the floor's mayor would, I am certain!

But I hope you get well and home very soon.

elsie said...

Thinking of you, thinking good thoughts for you, and am continuing to be inspired and awed by your spirit.

zhoen said...

I need to learn to like the unlikable characters. Knit up well.

kyra said...

how wonderful to be simmering with inspiration!

Lisa said...

Perhaps over-empathizing is a trait we share. I tend to give every character the benefit of the doubt too. I like the idea of you as "writer in residence" at the (presumably) Mass G and it is wonderful to hear from you and know that you're able to roam the halls a little. I'm wishing you a stronger appetite and a better menu soon. xo

ruby said...

glad to know you're up and around a little bit and that you're itching to write again...that's a good sign, no doubt. hugs!

Dale said...

Well, personally, I'd propose you for mayor of the world.

gary said...

Let's share a cup of tea and think healing blessings toward the world even if it's only via the web...Get well, get strong. Write more...

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

I bet you're the Mayor of your floor, and writer-in-residence too! If I had to be or work in the hospital I'd hope for a floor-mate or patient like you, who helped remind me that people are not their illnesses.

You're wonderful

Blogs from the Midwest said...

Just a fan/reader letting you know I am sending you good wishes.

Judy
fivehusbands.wordpress.com

leslee said...

Well, that is the sign of a born writer. Somehow it reminds me of Rushdie's fable, Haroun and the Sea of Stories (the only Rushdie I've actually read, I should admit). Glad that the font of those stories continue to flow to and through you. Best wishes for the surgery to hold and for continuing healing. And writing.

RobinSlick said...

Yikes, I knew none of this. That will teach me not to swing by here more often.

I'm just glad to read your post of today and marvel at you...I know you'll hate this, but you are my hero right now. I am in awe of anyone who can put away the worry beads and look at the world the way you do.

Maybe in your honor I will try and remove all the strands of my own set of beads today.

Okay, done.

Oh hell. Nobody look. Without wearing all those beads, it appears I now have to go put on actual clothes. I just hope I still have some -- it's been a while.

xo
All kidding aside, wow, Patry. I am thrilled you are on the upswing and overjoyed your muse never leaves your side. You really are truly wonderful.

easywriter said...

I love that you write, that it follows you no matter where you find yourself and that you choose to be faithful to its call even in these, your dark days. Out of that dark you shine such a vibrant life such a pure bright light. it's so wonderful to come back time and again to "hear your voice."

Mary Ann (Moanna) said...

I hope you go home soon. There's nothing quite like coming home. Keeping you in my thoughts.

Rosie said...

Just letting you know that you're in my thoughts as well.

I'm wishing you a bunch of cheerful daffodils from my garden this Easter.

Love and hope xx

LitPark said...

I can hear those stories pushing through already. And I think the last year of your blog is the book you didn't realize you were writing.

Love.

Larramie said...

Oh what magic the writing muse can do, Patry. That's why I think of this as the "believe in you" watch.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Can't wait to read the poem. And the books. I know I have to --simply wait. And I will. We all will...thinking of you, dearest Patry.

xoxo

colleen said...

I feel you. I'm encouraged that your muse is talking. No blueberry pies ... yet.

rdl said...

So glad to hear you are doing well, mayor. :D fitting for a leo tho yes i think "writer in residence" suits you better. sorry i've been so caught up in my soap opera. I think about calling you every day, but then it's too late at night.
love you,
R

Sky said...

well, i knew it, i just knew it! that darn hospital got used to your being around and loved all the positive energy you bring to the place. now they have given you a title hoping you'll stay a while longer! i vote "NO!" you can go home and be mayor of your own neighborhood with lots more freedom. there you can write and write and write! so here's hoping food will enter into a collaborative agreement with your body to do the right thing - and then you can skip town and head home!

it is so refreshing to hear that ideas and words, poetic and prose, are all dancing through your head, calling your name. to me it means you are feeling better and are ready to reclaim your writer's life. we are sending our wishes that within a few days you will be traveling across the bridges, heading home to type out the stories you are meant to tell.

i hope your spring is as beautiful as ours - cool breezes with yellow light and blue skies and a splatter of rain here and there. our gardens join us in huge celebration of such glory. :))

happy easter, patry and ted! may the easter bunny brings you a tasty snack on sunday. x0x0

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Patry, so sorry about this ordeal you are going through. It's nice that the muse is following you around though. I hope you can eat candy soon.
XO{{{{{{{Patry}}}}}}XO

KG said...

I'm not surprised that your stories followed you...your characters want to talk to you now! ;)

Happy Easter to you, Patry. And happy spring --- wishing you home soon where you can really enjoy this season of renewal and rebirth.

JT Ellison said...

Love you, Patry!!! Sending many good vibes northward, sugar!

i beati said...

Sent you Easter flowers for your blog - come and get them and think ever so positive about it all !!!I do 6 years now do you take IP-6??

steve said...

Patry, I just read athat Alexandra of Marvelous Madness is cancer-free after a battery of tests. I came over here hoping that your surgery was successful. I'm happy you're able to walk and to get off your liquid diet. I love the way you're creating stories even in an anaesthetic haze. Maybe you'll write the next Kubla Khan, though the hospital will be full of "persons from Porlock."

Best wishes for a full recovery. My hopes and prayers are with you.

datinggod said...

. . . so glad you are home . . . would you like to be the mayor of our little "ward" here in the back of a small home in nc? the hoon and jacinta and i say that we'd like to fete you with chunks of avocados and ripe tomatos and organic cabernet and armfuls of zippy freshly bloomed purple azaleas small delicate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and cute soft shoes with swirly embroidery and little licks on your third eye from the scratchy tongue of jacinta which helps the creative flow Even More :) loving you . . .

Alex S said...

Patry, I am thinking of you with much love today and great hope for good news and recovery. I love to think of your head stuffed with ideas and dialogue and preparing the rest of you to write again and finish your next creation. YOU are a wonderful creation yourself, of course! xo

Marilyn said...

So glad to hear your 'voice.' And how wonderful that your future creations are beckoning you...calling out to you...letting you know that they'll wait...until you're ready to step forward and meet them... much love, Marilyn xoxo

Annie said...

I think you should be president, but of course you would probably hate that :-). So happy to hear you are up and about and that you are inspired.
Thinking of you and knowing that you will beat this thing.

Jessie said...

patry, i love reading about your daydreams for future novels. in my book, that's a VERY good sign! :)

and of course you should have signs (many signs!) on your door pointing to the fact that you are someone who is truly wonderful.

Laini Taylor said...

Patry, I'm so glad to hear you're on the mend, and that your story people are with you wherever you are. Love and hugs.

Amber said...

I hope lunch was good. :)

It is so great to know what the true essence of yourself is. You are a writer. You write. That is a good thing to know about oneself, when life tosses so much at you.

Always wishing you well, and adding you to our prayers. ;)

:)

twoblueday said...

It's hard to fathom that people who are supposed to fix us make us eat gelatin.

Pulling for you out here among the English.

Musing said...

(((Patry)))

Hoping for the best!

Chumplet said...

Glad you're feeling better, Patry. I imagine being forced to sit quietly in one place is a great way to dream up more books to write.

You'll visit those Canadian Rockies yet! There lies book number five. Or six...

Anonymous said...

Patry, I've always believed that the place where deep writing comes from is the same place healing comes from. We never know what form the words will take or how the healing will manifest, but trust that both are happening.

sending hope and love and most of all peace,
m

andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
andrea said...

I'm sure you are the dream patient. You are always so kind.
Wishing a speedy recovery. Can't wait to read all of the lovely stories you have percolating.
a.
(sorry for the delete, I need to spell check before I post) :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Patry, we are all praying for you. We want you home - home where you can relax and heal and inspire - even more than you do while in a hospital. You amazing woman! Fight on - you CAN beat this and you have the spirit and love of thousands (maybe more) behind you. The world needs you - we need you.

tinker said...

Hi Patry - I've been away for a bit (spring break for the grandgirls), but you've been in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so glad to come back here and see that you're feeling well enough to write and walk down the hall for tea, and graduated to a soft diet - jello - uh! Keeping my fingers crossed you'll be graduating on to even better food quickly (even regular hospital food must seem like bliss after a jello diet!) - and that you'll be seeing your 'imperfect incredible place called home' very soon! Sending healing thoughts and many (((hugs))) your way, Patry.

Anonymous said...

Just stopping by to see how you're doing. May you continue to get stronger each day. Wishing you a speedy recovery and sunny days.
Terri
http://www.islandwriter.net

Left-handed Trees... said...

Reading this post (and your last one) and I have to take a deep breath, Patry...I love hearing about your shadow novels just peeking out behind the one you're doing now. Aren't these little glimpses just amazing gifts? Speaking of gifts, thank you for these posts...they remind me to slow down and pay attention.
Love,
D.

Coll said...

Patry, by the time you read this I hope you are enjoying solid sugary gooey foods. You are indeed a writer.. your words flow like water. I wish you well.

Fred Garber said...

Patry...."Still it follows. Still it comes." I love those lines! Sending you love and praying for you!

Sarah J Clark said...

Writers write. Keep them words coming!

saraarts said...

Right, there's that horrible hospital diet I was envisioning. Blech. Poor baby. Still, better than not being here to drink broth and eat jello at all, right? Well, I'm glad you're still here, anyway. Please forgive me that I don't completely object to your having to eat jello and broth for ten days in order to stay with us. :)

Isn't the art drive fantastic? And it is a drive; I've always said so. When I was at Lahey, I couldn't read or write, and TV and the internet cost an additional $12 a day, to which I objected. I had brought a notebook and a book to read in ultimate optimism, but really couldn't use them until days after I got back home. But you know what else I brought? Yarn. And that I could play with.

The artist must create no matter what. And you're right, it is a gift, a huge honking present delightful to be able to unwrap anywhere.

Glad you are home now.

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