The writing life, brother update, communion

Tonight is, as Nero Wolfe would have said, satisfactory, all things considered.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and like many women (and more than a few men, I suspect) in America, I’m focused on what has to be bought, what has to be prepared (not just food but guest rooms and so on) to make this a great holiday.

We’ll have a full house here on Thursday. A friend that we haven’t seen in 12 years arrived today. We’ll have several days to visit and tell lies, then others will begin to enter into the conversation–our daughter, a neighbor, and of course my brother Tom and his wife Lisa.

“You should know,” Tom told me this morning, “that this is likely the last holiday I will spend away from home. I got some bad news from my doctor yesterday.”

The other shoe has fallen. The chemo isn’t working. They can continue radiation to ameliorate the effects of the tumors in his head. It’s risky, but Tom’s going for it. But it won’t help what’s happening in his lungs. Two months, they’ve given him.

So all we can do at this point is celebrate what is. And I hope to do that expansively. We’ll feast, and celebrate, and find the small things that make life special. I’m hoping Ralph will take Tom fishing, something he loves so much. The steelhead are running, so it could be quite an exciting adventure. Lisa and I will make wreaths for Christmas. And we’ll wait.

Tonight I went to town as part of my regular gig with Writers on the Edge. I got to introduce Lauren Kessler, a remarkable Oregon writer. She writes books with a journalistic eye and a poet’s sensibilities about people that we probably wouldn’t otherwise hear about. Her most recent books are Stubborn Twig, a narrative about Japanese immigrants who lost virtually everything in the WW II interment and Dancing With Rose, subtitled “Finding Life in the World Of Alzheimers.”

Today a magazine editor e-mailed me asking permission to publish one of my poems. This has never happened before. It was very cool.

It’s very hard to make sense of all this good news/bad news stuff. But there seems to be no option to the path of least resistance: Just keep plugging along.

5 Responses to “The writing life, brother update, communion”

  1. Philip Ferris Says:

    The only thing I know I can do is to tell you: I am here

  2. Barbara Says:

    Sending you good, loving thoughts, remembering my last Christmas with my mom (which we knew would be her last), and just hoping everyone has a joyous and satisfying time at your house for this holiday. When I remember all those holidays that I strived for some kind of perfection or for what the media and advertising lead us to believe means a good holiday, and especially lately when I read about these idiots arguing over what to call a holiday or which to celebrate, I now think, bah! It’s the time with people you love that counts. Period. No matter how the house looks, no matter how the food turns out, no matter whether you eat rice and beans and nothing else.

    Have a wonderful, warm and joyous Thanksgiving. Lots of love.

  3. Marianne Says:

    Thanks, Phil. I appreciate that.

  4. Marianne Says:

    Barbara, thanks for the good thoughts. I understand what you’re saying. Ralph asked today what he could do. I said, “Take him fishing while he’s here. He loves that so much, and it might be the last time he can go.”

  5. inger Says:

    I’m bringing my camera. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

    Love you, even when you make me sleep on the couch.


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