Wednesday, September 30, 2009

There are several things on my mind this morning.  First, I have gotten 382 pages into The Lost Symbol.  It appears at this point that one of my favorite characters may have died.  I can't believe how this revalation has effected me.  I am shaking and my heart is pounding.  There is pressure in my throat and tears are about to spill.  I can't believe Dan Brown would do this.  There has to be a twist.

Which leads me to hope that I can create that kind of emotion when I write.  I want people to laugh and cry.  I want them to feel the emotions of the characters and then add their own to the mix.  Will work on that today.

Another few words about the healthcare debate.  I am very upset with the division the country is facing right now.  How will our legislators ever be able to accomplish anything when they are so far apart ideologically?  Have we gone as far as democracy can take us?  Maybe we should put some of the dollars being spent on this debate into improving education.  "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I realized this morning that I am wasting a lot of time.  It is so easy to get caught up in social networking sites.  I am not doing the things I should.  I must work on a change of attitude.

I worked a bit on my short story submission this week and sent out a couple of query letters.  I realize that getting a book published is a long term investment but it will soon be four years since I had the idea and started putting words on paper.  Royce Buckingham said "Send things out and start writing something else."  I am trying to do that.  The discouraging part is that even though you have sent it out, the book still needs to be tended. 

Getting your novel isn't like writing a business letter or paying a bill.  Once those have slipped through the mail slot they are gone.  You can put them out of your mind.  With finding an agent, you have to be mindful of when you sent your query.  If there is a rejection, you must send out another query.  The novel is always in the back of your mind.  It is difficult to move on to the next project with the last one still lingering there.

I know I will write this weekend between the laundry and vacuuming.  Life must go on.  I learned in medical school that I could do almost anything I set my mind to, but I would like to have my novel bound and sitting on the shelf, rather than on a flashdrive at the safety deposit.

Today however, I will put this aside.  I will work on positive thinking.  I will read some more of The Lost Symbol and start watching True Blood season one because everyone is raving.  And I will let the stories percolate to the top of my mind so I can begin afresh in the morning.  

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I am feeling really good about my work today.  I have written four chapters today.  I am even having fun trying to come up with titles for the chapters.  I did realize today that writing a memior is very simular to writing a novel.  While it is tempting to write everything that happened in a linear manner, there has to be some plotting as well to make it interesting.  As such it is not totally accurate as a time line, but hits the high points.

I started The Lost Symbol as well this weekend.  Dan Brown wrote a flashback six pages long.  It was so shocking when we came back to the current time I also felt the transition physically.  I probably wouldn't have noticed it before I started writing in earnest.  Now I made a note to myself.  "Don't do that."

I also went to see James Taylor.  His music leaves me nostalgic.  I also watched Dirty Dancing with friends on Friday.  I wonder why I don't own any of this fabulous music.  I wonder if I can get a discount from Amazon if I run their ad here.

I also got a rejection letter for The Claddagh Ring.  It was from an agent which had rejected it before.  I am going to make a file of rejection letters, just so when I am published I can send them a copy.  Get one rejection, send out another letter.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Haven't found too much time for posting the last few days.  It seems the days and weeks are much shorter than they were when I was younger. 

I worked on my memior  this weeks.  It is amazing how memories fade.  I have some old calandars which my children made that help put me in the time.  I am anxious to move on to my third year.  I have so many more stories which revolve around patients and the tension is greater for that particular year than the second year.

I had dinner with a writer friend last night and then went to our local writer's association meeting.  It was good to get out and talk about writing and hear about the process of others.  I was reminded that I need to write every day.  Life and work seem to get in the way so easily.

The other bit of writing I did this week concerned a letter to Pres. Obama.  I took parts of my post below and some comments I had made else where and melded them into a letter which I hope was coherant.  I was very distrurbed to read in the paper that a local Holocaust survivor was arrested for assaulting LaRouch follows with their posters of Obama with a Hitler mustache.  The mis-information and extreme rhetoric in this debate is going to lead to more of these kind of unfortunate incidents, which is unfortunate.  Every person in this country needs access to healthcare.  I don't have the answers, but I know if people don't calm down, nothing will be accomplished and healthcare costs will continue to rise.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Redondo, Des Moines, Washington

Today, I stated my morning with coffee as I always do on Sat.  I am reading this wonderful book about a traveling funeral. It makes me quite emotional with all the stories and memories and female friendships.

I had a message appointment. They always have the most sumputuous aroma therapy brewing. You can smell the place the moment you open the door. My therapist had whale songs playing. She put heat on my feet and arnica on my sore back. I wish she could have worked on me all day.

When I left the building my mind was open.  The weather so beautiful that I decided on a walk. There is an area called Redondo not too far away from my home. It is on the south Puget Sound, which is an arm of the Pacific Ocean. Redondo has a sweeping view of the Sound. You can see Tacoma and Commencement Bay to the south. Fox Island is to the west and you can just see the Olympic Mountains beyond. To the north, I don't know how far you can see, but the Sound heads to the Staight of Juan de Fuca and then Vancouver Island in Canada.

I took a walk along the boardwalk. There were all kinds of people, young and old, out walking and running today. The tide was in. The water was slapping up under the walkway.  Occassionally water popped up between the boards.  I saw something moving in the water. Initally I thought it was a big salmon, but it was a sleak, grey harbor seal headed north. I saw one dark head farther out in the water which may have been a sea lion. Salmon were jumping everywhere slapping the water and forming spreading wakes in the calm water. The sky was the bluest blue.  There were no clouds. I met a lady as I was walking. We talked about the bald eagles and great blue herons which nest nearby. I told her my story of seeing a fox near there one evening.

My plan was to write down there, but I decided on food instead. There is one resturant on Redondo called Saltys. I walked alone into this upscale place with my dirty tee-shirt, baggy pants and Birkies. No one gave me a second look. They gave me a table with that same Sound view.  I had a glass of Chardonney. It wasn't the best--not quite buttery enough for me. I had a tender petite sirlion, medium rare with a Hollendasie sauce. There were two pan fried oysters, asper-grass (that is what I call it) and tiny, buttery, Yukon gold potatoes.

It was a perfect day in the Pacific Northwest.  I am refreshed and renewed, and re-dedicated to seeing more of this paradise I call home.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The healthcare debate

I listened with interest to the President's speech last night.  I am in agreement that every person in this country has the right to healthcare coverage.  The costs of caring for the uninsured through the ER is increasing costs for everyone.

I just don't know how it should be administered.  Medicare and Medicade are huge government buearacracies which are difficult to navigate and sometimes extremely difficult to get compensation out of.  Like any government entity, the only thing they know how to do is make rules and create paperwork.  And in our state Medicare pays one of the lowest rates of reimbursement.  Medicade only pays 45 cents on the dollar so for people with multiple medical problems and complex psychological and social problems, I can't afford to care for them.

But the insurance companies have providers in a bind as well.  They decide how much they will pay as well and you are locked into their rates.  Very few insurance companies reimburse at 100%.  Most of them are at 65%.  So as a provider, I could raise my prices but I wouldn't be compensated more.  A price increase will only hurt those people who have no coverage.  Insurace companies are in the business of making money for themselves.

I am in solo practice.  My overhead runs 65%.  Rent, payroll, supplies and malpractice insurance keeps rising, but the amount I earn per patient visit is static.  Today I filled out five patient forms which I can not be reimbused from.  I have patients who work for Boeing and Microsoft who make more than I do, but because I am "a rich doctor" I am viewed as the source of the increases in medical costs.  I have not raised my fees in four years.  So where do I cut costs.  I cut them in the amount that I pay myself.

I will be steadfast.  I don't believe that bigger medicine makes better medicine.  I don't believe that more paperwork and buearacracy do anything to enhance my relationships with my patients.  I don't believe that big government can improve access to care.  But what I do know, is that if I had a million dollars, I would keep doctoring until it is all gone.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I worked on my med school memoir today. Got up through the summer before second year. Already have 25,000 words. May have to do one med school one residency.

Toying with a short story in my mind. See if I can pull it together for submission.

My good friend and editor Chassily Wakefield wrote me today. She sent me a note about her edits on part 3 of The Claddagh Ring. She said, "you were very good about keeping the story moving forward and not bogging it down with unnecessary back story and flashbacks. The ones that are in there need to be there and deepen characterization. . . .Your style of writing is very lean and clean, straightforward and yet still manages to get the passion and character development in there. It makes for a very fast-paced read, which is awesome." It was wonderful to have someone appreciate my work. Thanks Chassily! I will put that on the cover when it is published!
I thought of this the other day. Thought it would be a great beginning line for a story.

Cassandra once again felt her mother's critical glare. The child her mother wanted lie under the dry grey-green grass of the southern Idaho cemetary. All she had was Cassandra and Cassandra was never enough.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Book Review

I just finished The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells. I was expecting more of a Ya-ya sisterhood kind of story. Calla is almost a Forrest Gump kind of character. She grows up in a small Louisiana town surrounded by love and lives a charmed life until two great tragedies rock her world. She moves to New Orlenes to study to cosmotology and become surrounded by a group of bizzare, but loving characters. Another tragedy sends her back home and one of the story lines is resolved. Calla has such a open childlike view of the world and the author in the face of all this heartbreak gives you the impression though Calla’s eyes that everything is still wonderous and beautiful.
Having said all that, I thought the story was a little thin. Calla is not a very complicated character. She makes two big decisions in her life, the rest of the story she seems to float along with the tide. The tragedies are sad, but not devestating. I just thought it lacked the conflict necessary for a good story. I keep waiting for something momentous to happen to pull this woman into reality. And I really couldn’t connect with any of the characters either even though her gay friends from NO were entertaining at times. It was just too "gushy" for me.
I am starting Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral today. A patient recommended it and said it was a riot. I need a good laugh.
I am going took work on my medical story today and I am trying to work on the timeline for the memior. For some reason I don't remember a whole lot about second year. I have some calandars from those years, hopefully they will spark some memories. Third year will be much more exciting.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Med school memior

Got some work done on the memior yesterday. Mostly I was looking at what I had all ready writen and trying to make it better. Soon I will have to get out all those old calandars my kids made during those years so I can remember the chronology better. Looking forward to the long weekend. I think I can use the time very productively now.

Had an interesting piece of karma today. Don't know if it is good or bad. One of the query letters I sent out lost its address label so it came back to me. It is the one to an agent I really respect and would like to have work with me. Maybe it came back because it could be made better. I will look at it before I mail it again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My twitter friends think the med school stories would make the best memior. Will try to make some sense of all my random notes tomorrow. Maybe I have the makings of two different types of memior.

Have been having some problems with my back and a dear friend is very ill. Haven't felt much like sitting at the computer the past few days. I am going to get Office loaded on my laptop and maybe head out somewhere scenic to write tomorrow. Have flashdrive will travel. Will post more tomorrow.