Monday, September 26, 2016

Burning the Wood

"But people need to have their real sadness and fear to be justified, then begin working through it, to accept that their greatest wounding can be their greatest gift. That's what I call burning the wood. Only after you've burned all the wood are you ready to move on."

Your Story is Your Medicine: A Prescription for Healing in an Imperfect World. by Shelli Stanger Nelson

My dad and his animals during better times.
I love these photos.

I burned the wood by writing a novel inspired by my dad's long and insidious battle with Parkinson's. The story percolated in my cerebral cortex for years after his death. Spinning and spreading until I decided to listen to the voice urging me to write it down. Now that I'm weaving the story onto the page and nearing the end, I'm glad for every day that my brain functions normally. Scenes and sentences drift through my brain quickly and peacefully, like a bubbling stream, when ever I conjure them. And my fingers spryly tickle the keyboard. For now. But I worry. What if I'm afflicted by Alzheimer's or Parkinson's someday? 

Every story has a great villain. And Parkinson's is a sinister foe. 

 In my book, a retired farmer named Oren Walton is plagued by Parkinson's and menacing hallucinations. The visions start out benign enough. Small things really. Bugs that others don't see. A stray animal darting through the house. Little things. As Oren's disease progresses, so do his hallucinations. Crows act as a menacing harbinger as the hallucinations escalate mysteriously, as if fertilized by a poisonous and insidious farm chemical, until they become the central conflict of the story. 

All of the characters revolve around this conflict.

I'm almost done with the book. My wood has been reduced to flickering, undulating embers. 

I think we could all benefit by burning our wood pile...


Jedidja said...

I don't know what to say. My mom and aunt and oncle also have Parkinson. My grandpa had also hallucinations and Parkinson. It's bad. OK. but ... I like the photos on you blog! The forst one is so cute and beautiful. # image-in-ing

NC Sue said...

Very cool photos.
I know the anxiety of wondering about the future can be tormenting, but I remember a wise person telling me once... If you keep one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you'll poop all over today.

I hope today is a great day for you.

Thanks for linking up at

Sharon Wagner said...

I think by writing a novel, I'm utilizing my current time to the fullest, while honoring the past. Somehow, as helpful as the above quote may be to some, it doesn't sit well with me. Not regarding the content of this post.

Alycia said...

This sounds like a great way to not only burn your wood but open others' eyes to the struggle. Both my Grandpa's suffered with Parkinsons, one more so than the other - I look forward to hearing that you finish it ;-)

DJan said...

I think this is a good analogy, burning the wood. And I hope you will put it on Amazon so I can get a copy of your book when it's finished, Sharon. I know that anxiety and share it. :-(

Linda Hensley said...

I agree that burning the wood is a good analogy. Yay for you for doing something positive with all those thoughts and feelings! Love the photos on your other site too :)

Lisa Kerner said...

Sorry to hear about your dad. :(

I am glad you have been able to use the power of writing as an outlet.

Lisa @ LTTL

Pat Tillett said...

It's a terrible affliction for all involved. Burn that wood.
Looking forward to your book!

Jeanne said...

I love your expression of "burning the wood". How true this is and can be so well expressed by life!

jane phillips said...

Even though I don't comment on all your blogs. I read every single one. Glad you enjoy all your travels, photography, writing and art. Have a safe trip!