Updated: Sep 7
What My Return to Writing Includes NOW
In August I had big plans for a relaunch of my lone book in Amazon's Kindle Store, Attack in NYC at 9:11 A.M. I was hoping for a break, if not a big break, with some local publicity here in Jacksonville, Illinois - a boost that might get the book noticed in Springfield and then beyond. Attack had been on the shelf since December and, like thousands of books in the Kindle Store, it just had not been discovered by an audience. I mean even a small audience.
The break came late on the afternoon of August 2, after a long day at my basement desk where I had been culling emails and studying marketing books on CreatorU. I took time to write a couple of beginning-of-the-month checks, carried them in envelopes up the stairs in search of stamps and address labels. Our steps are steep and I've experienced some balance issues as I have entered my 70's. The combination caused my most serious fall and sent me to the hospital.
X-rays confirmed what I already knew. Six broken bones in my neck and back which the doctors identified as C-1, C-2, C-3, T-1, T-4, and T-5. I'm not at all sure how the rest of the C-family and T's 2 and 3 escaped such a fate, but "Good on ya', boys. Well done." I joke because, well, this is serious stuff, my friends. Like diving off the top board at the community pool, I looked down at where the water was supposed to start. It happened so quickly and, yet, I had time to come to two very fast conclusions. "That's a long way down. This is gonna hurt." Yeh, me. Two-for-two.
The good news, NO, THE GREAT NEWS, as I lay on the landing near the basement floor, my legs resting on bottom stairs above, was that I had feeling in my extremities. My wife was at church. My phone lay on the basement floor and out of reach. I'm sure my doctors, nurses and the EMT's I later encountered that night would suggest that you not try this at home. But home is where I was and where my wife was not. Besides, I've been known to not follow doctor's orders, especially when they were not around. I got up, grabbed my phone and trudged up the stairs to my recliner where I took a seat gently and dial my wife's cellphone.
I am one very lucky human. I am told that the bones mentioned above can break in any number of ways and fortunately, there was no injury to my spinal chord. I had convinced myself on the way to one and then a second hospital by flexing hands and feet, fingers and toes all the way there. But after X-rays and scans, MRI's and doctors' appraisals, I was given the good news - Spine is fine. Then came the bad news - cervical and trachial collars, 24-7, for the foreseeable future. On August 28, we met with neueologial surgeon, Dr. Graves (No, really. If I were drafting a fantasy baseball team, my number one pitcher would be a guy named Walk.) "Foreseeable future translates into two more months. I will be in this thing until the end of October.
Upon my arrival at home, I was asked by a friend, "What would you be doing right now, if you had not fallen down those steps?" My go-to response was, "Writing." The friend that asked pulled a sofa table away from a wall not far from the hospital-like recliner my wife had arranged for while I was still in hospital. "Where's your computer?" she asked. "Downstairs!" I said, shaking my head. "I will bring it up," and she was gone. "Bring the iMac," I asked as she made her way to the stairs.
That's when I noticed the letters on the back of her shirt spelled, "Coroner." She is, in fact, our County Coroner, so it was appropriate enough. But I had concerns. "Marcy," I started as she lugged the iMac up the stairs and set it upon the table in front of me, "I am sure all our neighbors are aware that I've been seriously injured in a fall. Now, they're all going to assume I am dead."
At any rate, recovery is going well. Spine is aligned nicely. I would like to think it had been prior to this little adventure.
What this means for my writing henceforth...
My writing efforts have not gone well. First attempt that first day back home led to two poorly written lines of dialogue in the book I have been trying to edit all summer. Fogy-headedness has percisted since getting home and I've been content to not fight it until recently. But it's time to get busy and to inform you about where I've been and where I'm going.
My summer got off to a good start with a June weekend in the Missouri Bootheel, the setting for the book I'm editing - Shy Witness should be completed by the end of September, allowing me to revisit some books I started long ago. That break involved a voluntary stint in post-master studies and doctoral work as I began work as a school superintendent, a job from which I retired in 2015. I have located the digital book published in 2001 that I'm made available to Exlibris, a print-on-demand forerunner of Amazon's self-publishing. I will re-format One More Mess this fall and see if I can re-discover two other stories I started after One More Mess and could not find time to finish before a return to graduate school. When to Hide and Pushing Stars Around may end up on bookshelves early next year if I like what I find in the beginnings of those two. There is also a somewhat autobiographical, time-travel piece I may take another run at entitled Gateway to the When.
Any wet appetites out there? Stick with me. I am down, well "braced" may be a bette word. I will be rescheduling Author Talks and Book Signings I had scheduled at the Jacksonville Public Library after I escape my present perdicament and urge you, in the meantime, to remember I'm working hard at writing while you go look for Attack in NYC at 9:11 A.M. at the Kindle Bookstore.
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