Sunday, July 22, 2012

Looking for Joy

How does the time get away?  It was Wednesday when I posted last, and now it's Sunday. I posted about Under the Ember Star being published.  I did some promoting for it on facebook and sent some emails, but not that much.  I haven’t had a lot of energy.  Lana is starting to feel the full effects of the radiation and is not eating well.  Her saliva gland on the tumor side is no longer producing saliva and everything tastes bad to her, and her throat is so dry it often hurts her to swallow.  I think yesterday she ate a bite of scrambled egg, a little rice, and some Italian Ices.  She is drinking a lot of milk, and they gave her some prescriptions to help with the saliva issue.  So far they have not helped much, but maybe it will take time to build.

In other health news, my blood tests came back with my cholesterol at 210 and my triglycerides at 496.  I am now on my second prescription medicine, this one for triglycerides. I was already on high blood pressure medicine.  I knew it was coming but didn’t really want to end up on two. Anyway, pretty minor compared to Lana’s issues.

But enough of the less joyful stuff.  I’m gonna try to find a good book and loose myself in it.  There are worlds of adventure and joy out there, and if I can’t find much inside myself at the moment, maybe I can take some in second hand.  Maybe I’ll read Under the Ember Star again. It’s been a while, and the days when I was writing it were quite full of joy. 

Here’s a little excerpt from the end of chapter 2 and the start of chapter 3, which is called “Smoking Blasters.”  To set the stage, Ginn had a rough night and wakes up to find that a veiled stranger has broken in and wants to talk to her. But there are others looking for the stranger to, and they are ready to kill to get him. Ginn hears a sound in her home that she shouldn’t hear.  And…action:

“Who’d you bring with you right now?” she demanded suddenly.
“No one. I mean, they did not come into town.”
Ginn surged to her feet, the apple dropped and forgotten, the kaftee spilling to the desk. She filled her free hand with her second blaster. Her visitor recoiled, hands going up toward its veiled face.
“Then you were followed,” she snarled.
From below, in the abandoned factory, a door shished open. From the street outside came a sound like a sheet of paper tearing—a pulse weapon powering up.
Ginn hurled herself forward, one arm sweeping her robed companion with her to the floor.
The wall at her back exploded.
Shrapnel sleeted. Echoes hammered.
A burning flake of metal furrowed Ginn’s left shoulder. She heard the sudden grunt of the being beneath her but couldn’t tell if or how bad it had been hurt. Dust and ash roiled and the already dim Kelmerian sun did little to cut it.
Lurching into a crouch, Ginn hacked up some of the swirling grit, tried to draw shallow breathes to keep the rest out of her lungs. The light-lenses provided a quick catalog of what was left of her apartment. It wasn’t pretty. Her roof sagged, smoldering. Half of it was gone. The remaining walls bulged outward. She wasn’t living here anymore.
The floor beneath Ginn creaked, as if about to collapse. Her enemies weren’t waiting on that. From below in the abandoned factory, running footsteps sounded. They’d expect her to try and escape that way—if she lived. But the stairs down would not belong to her anymore. Her options were narrowing.
“Follow or die,” Ginn growled toward her strange visitor.



laughingwolf said...

sorry about lana's difficulties, must be agony for her :(

on youtube are some alternate ideas for combating your health probs - you'll know which to trust - i'll be following some myself, being somewhat in your situation

i posted them on my fakebook page, but it may be be too much digging for you to find them, so i suggest looking them up yourself

two things i'll look at more closely: a book, 'wheat belly', and the paleo diet... both sound promising to me... the other stuff i'll look at too, but i forget what they're called....

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just keep hanging on there, Charles. Have faith it will all get better. And yes, go focus on something joyful for a while.

Chris said...

Lots of us are pulling for you and Lana, man. Hang tough.

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, good stuff, man. I'll have a look.

Alex, I appreciate that, and tis true.

Chris, thanks, my friend.

SQT said...

I follow a lot of the nutritional ideas that Laughingwolf mentions to help a genetic condition that causes chronic pain. It helps- a lot. "Wheat Belly" is definitely worth a read.

I hope Lana feels better soon.

Deka Black said...

Hope Lana feels better soon. . And about the excerpt... The cleaning lady will scream like a mad monkey.

Randy Johnson said...

Hang in there, man. It will get better and, as Chris, says, a lot of us are pulling for you guys. It will happen.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, you and Lana deserve oodles of joy and happiness, after all that you both have been through. And if you are looking for joy, I'm sure it's going to come your way very soon. When I'm feeling down I usually lose myself in a spiritual book — it has never failed to uplift my spirits.

Charles Gramlich said...

SQT, I'll definitely check it out.

Deka, yes she will. :)

Randy, thanks, man.

Prashant, I usually go to the other extreme and read something full of adventure.

Anonymous said...

Charles I wish you and Lana all the best. I hope you guys feel better soon and did you know egg plant lowers blood pressure.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, thanks. I wish I liked vegetables more.

BernardL said...

I wish words worked in situations of torturous reality. They don't. Instead of platitudes I have only prayer, and that I will do, my friend. Good excerpt.

LoveRundle said...

I had a friend who went through radiation and it made food a delicate issue. Lana's in my thoughts.

Reading is a good idea.

Golden Eagle said...

I hope Lana feels better soon--and you as well.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Sorry you're in a rough spot. Keeping Lana (and you) in mind a lot. I hope you read something that let you escape for a while.

Cloudia said...

Hang in there, both of you.
THIS is the time of battle.
You are warriors,
survive and conquer.

Your many friends care deeply about both of you. Find what moments of joy & laughter you can.

Fond Aloha
to you Both
from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, I know. I often think that when I'm trying to say something to make someone feel better, and knowing it really does nothing. I appreciate the prayers.

Christina, I just hope it doesn't get worse.

Golden Eagle, thanks, I appreciate it.

Paul, I finished one book I didn't care much for, but now I get to pick from all my huge TBR pile. I always enjoy that.

Cloudia, thanks, it means much to hear that.

G. B. Miller said...

Sending out good vibes to the both of you, and here's to hoping that the temporary valley that the both of you find yourselves in is just that, and that you'll be climbing to the next summit in short order.

sage said...

It must be that good NOLA food! You need to get those numbers down and as it is summer, lose yourself in a good book! Hang in there and I'll keep you and Lana in my thoughts and prayers.

Charles Gramlich said...

G. B., thanks, man. I hope so too.

Sage, I'm sure the richness of the food doesn't help any, though it makes me feel better. Maybe it's all the crawfish!

pattinase (abbott) said...

So much of this horrible stuff all around. Today, the man I took four writing classes with died. He was a dear man and only 61. He published four or five novels. Chris Leland rest in peace.
Is Lana drinking something like ENSURE? It really helped my Mom with energy issues.
We all think about you every day, Charles. Hopefully there is strength from numbers.

Oscar Case said...

Exciting excerpt! Hope things start getting better for yiou both.

Heather said...

this post breaks my heart Charles. I hope things improve for both Lana and yourself. I really wish there was something I could do - if there is...please let me know.

Ron Scheer said...

Wondered why you have been more quiet of late. It is far more stressful living with someone else's health concerns than one's own. Remember, you have to look after yourself, too. Reading a relaxing book is definitely a start. Both of you continue to be in my thoughts.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, Lana is switching between ensure and milk so that she is getting some energy. She just isn't really eating much solid.

Oscar, thankee, man.

Heather, I appreciate that. Sometimes you just gotta take the punches and keep taking them until whatever it is wears itself out.

Ron, thanks. Books have been there for me before. I'm thinking they still will be.

jodi said...

Charles-That's a whopping tri number! In addition to diet and exercise, stress is also a factor in that number. Sounds like a book escape is a great idea. As for Miss Lana, she needs to get as much down her as possible. Cancer requires a strong body to fight that hard fight. Any calories will help-even if it's ice cream and chocolate. Stay tuff on this, the hardest journey of all. xo

eric1313 said...

I keep hoping the best for you and Lana. Y'all are good people who I am glad to have met.

I've had a lot of time to write the last six months because I am now taking care of my grandmother full time. Otherwise she would have to be put in a home, and we just don't do that in our family. It can be tough, she has good days and bad, but she sleeps a lot, and I then have time and total quiet to get thins done. I'm still a raw learner, but progress is being made. And that only happens with experience.

That's my diversion, too. Throwing myself into these things that I love to do.

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, she's been eating sherbet but she can't even hold rice down right now. Sigh.

Eric1313, sorry to hear about your grandmother. I'm glad you can be there for her. Glad to hear, too, that the writing is coming along.

Erik Donald France said...

Good luck to both of you, and may you find some blissful moments, too, or at least pain-free ones.

Must get back on the book-purchasing wagon ~ digging the samples . . .

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, given recent expenses, I've gotta slow my book purchasing way down. sigh.

X. Dell said...

(1) Thanks for updating us on Lana's progress. I sometimes want to ask how she is, but I figure you'll tell us when you feel like. I'm hoping that the therapy has reached its peak, and that the rest of it will get easier as time goes by.

(2) This passage reminds me of something in Sowrds of Talera (I think I have the right title). The unexpected visit from the stranger is something that propels the scene here, and the "Talera" book itself.

I'm wondering if I'm selectively culling details, or if you have something else--perhaps a meta-theme--in mind that ties your novels together.

Lisa said...

I pray that God will ease the challenges for you. Hello Charles, I am dropping by to say that I have not been blogging much but you and my blog buddies are always on my mind.

eric1313 said...

Granny's OK. She's just getting old and it's time to repay her for being there for me and my bro and sister when we were very young. Mostly I just manage her meds, to make sure she does not forget to take them, or forget that she already took them. That was becoming an issue, and was starting to severely affect her health. I also cook, clean up, and do laundry, and drive her to places that she wants to go when she feels up to going out. Least I can do since she put up with us as little monsters.

Anyway, I thought if you might have to curtail book buying, now might be a good time to re-read time honored classics, or just books that you consider classic and have not already read multiple times. I've re-read some of my faves, and the second or third time through is the test. A truly great one (like any great work of art) will always have something new to catch your focus upon revisiting after a few years, I have found. I was arguing with someone earlier about that. They claimed to catch everything the first time... a dubious claim at best, as I immediately told that person. Of course people get upset when they are called a liar, even in a polite way, but there is always that special anger that piques from calling someone on something and they know you are right. If one does catch every single nuance, subtle detail, metaphor, symbol, or every possible allegorical implication, then it's not that great of a work of art, that is my stance.

Kind of makes me an art-farty, but hey, I like being that way, everything truly great simply has that much more meaning and wonder to me.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-Dell, no meta-theme that I'm aware of. The introduction of Swords of Talera starts with Ruenn, a stranger at that point, visiting his chronicler, ostensibly me. That was most strongly influenced by ERBs writing in "A Princess of Mars," though come to think of it, there might be a bit of "Treasure Island" in that intro as well. Some day I'll post about what I think are some of the 'overall' themes in my work. Cool question.

Oceangirl, we've missed you but I assume you are living some real life. Good to hear from you.

Eric1313, even 'if' you were to catch everything the first time through a book, and I'm skeptical about that, a book would still change in its meaning as one grows and gains experience. The same symbol or image often means different things to me as time goes on.

eric1313 said...

Right, our own experience as individuals informs the work. As experience grows, so does understanding.

Charles Gramlich said...

eric1313, indeed

Rick said...

Charles, you'd best take care of yourself, friend. You have too many friends out here that care about you and your wonderful wife to be getting sick yourself. I keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

And don't bother reading to relax. Try this:

Get up early in the morning and turn on the infomercials. Nothing numbs the mind into such a pleasant state of being as as a good infomercial. Try buying some of those scissors that cut pennies in half. Or the Orgreenic frying pans that are completely-crud proof.

You'll feel much better.

Rick said...

Charles, you'd best take care of yourself, friend. You have too many friends out here that care about you and your wonderful wife to be getting sick yourself. I keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

And don't bother reading to relax. Try this:

Get up early in the morning and turn on the infomercials. Nothing numbs the mind into such a pleasant state of being as as a good infomercial. Try buying some of those scissors that cut pennies in half. Or the Orgreenic frying pans that are completely-crud proof.

You'll feel much better.

Snowbrush said...

The health update for Lana and yourself was surely welcome. Aside for sleeping pills, painkillers, and medical marijuana, which are all prn, I'm on only one prescription, Cymbalta for joint pain. Oatmeal really will help lower your cholesterol, by the way.

Charles Gramlich said...

Rick, infomercials. Now there's a treatment I never thought of. :)

Snowbrush, I'm gonna have to try some oatmeal, I guess.

Travis Cody said...

Great action in that except.

Best wishes to Lana that the discomfort becomes more bearable with a good mix of meds to counter the radiation effects.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

oH! I wanna read that! Also, I hope things are better healthwise with you and Lana. OH man, can't be easy. I hope you were able to find a good book to lose yourself in.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis Cody, thanks, man.

Rachel, I had fun with this one. But I guess I say that about most of 'em.