WORDS THAT KILL
Last month's Babaylan Conference was so inspiring for Mom that since that weekend, she'd been writing memoir-ish stories. In a matter of weeks, she's written enough for a book! And it'll actually be a useful memoir for others outside the family since much of the vignettes have to do with life during World War II, and many of Mom's peers have died or are dying (Mom is 80 years old). I actually already have a publisher for her first short story...
Well, this morning, the household got awakened by pain-wracked screams from Mom's bedroom. It was so bad the dogs started whining from fear. Michael and I ran to Mom's room, where she was writhing (I first typed, writing) in her bed and pleading for someone to start moving/massaging her legs. We did so....to make a long story short, she's fine now but her edema had spread from her ankles up to just beneath her knees. Why?
Because she'd been hunched over for weeks over the computer, in a non-ergonomic chair...and had forgoed much of her usual exercise to concentrate on just writing out her memories. She was the proverbial dam that broke and for weeks she spent much of her time writing writing writing!
The process could have killed her. At the moment, she's been ordered to return to her exercise regimen (I ordered that quite firmly, even as I've ignored mine) and not to work on the computer again for a while, and then only for limited times. It's okay--by now, she's written enough for what I foresee will be her first book.
This writing bidness can be quite painful on many levels. It's a pain that has killed and will kill many authors. What a life.
And how's this for a postscript--Mom was saying a week or so ago that if her stories began to be published, she wanted to be published under her maiden name. Of course I asked, "Why?"
She said, "I want to avoid the last name 'Tabios'. Because I don't want to write or be published under your shadow."
Geez-us. So first, Mom is late to the news that one can be a "famous poet" (not that I consider myself such, btw) and still be unknown.
But more significantly, there's something ... odd ... isn't there? about the notion of a parent not wanting to be overshadowed by a child? There's a lot to unpack here... but I don't know that I want to begin.
What a life.
And the power of words? It can be quite murderous...
UPDATE: Not death, but a birth HERE: Mom's First and Forthcoming Book!