Wednesday, January 06, 2010

unwavering focus

The last two weeks has brought a torrent of unwelcome news, crises and mayhem. On the heels of grieving Kirk's mother's death, some of our closest family members have been navigating the scary waters of disease and trauma.

My brother-in-law, a stroke survivor, recently tripped over something in his garage and incurred head trauma. After a 3-day stint at ICU he's home and improving.

My daughter had three scary, fat and nasty lymph nodes removed and biopsied. Thank God they passed the path report and her doctor gave her a clean bill of health (lymphoma and its young friend, Hodgkins were the diseases ruled out).

Last but not least, my dear sister-in-law from marriage number one, Lisa, got the worst news a person can get. A scant couple of days before Christmas she learned she has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.

Somehow, finishing my novel doesn't seem all that important any more. And extremely important all at the same time. When you get sobering news about the probable length of a life, words like "dabble" and "ambivalence" and "maybe" feel puny and unworthy. Taking good health for granted, almost shameful. Perhaps the luxury of perceiving that I have all the time in the world to finish my book has, in the face of all this scary stuff, begun to feel like unbridled hubris.

Fueled by gratitude for today, I'm tracking a shorter, more determined path to what it is I say I want. What it is I stand for. What it is I've claimed I won't put up with. I'm selling my house. I'm finishing my book. I'm embracing my husband with as much of my real self as I know how to give.

The other day at the gym I popped into the hoops room--a place I usually don't venture unless Kirk drags me, but this particular day I went solo. Just my iPod shoved clumsily into my shirt, a ball, and my intention, and I practiced unwavering focus. The ball, my hands, the net. A little Springsteen in my ears for attitude. Swish, swish, brick. It's all about focus. It's all about presence. In writing, as in life.


  1. Suzy, I'm so sorry to hear about all the sad health news. My best to you and your family.

  2. Terrible news all around. I'm sorry for you and your family. But I have to say that I love your post. I'm struggling with the final pages of a memoir and I think your words reminded me to be grateful and to get that focus on. Thanks.

  3. Best of luck to you, Lisa--keep going with that memoir! And thanks for the kind words. And you, too, Max. Thanks for checking in.


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