Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mothering My Mother And My "Baby", Simultaneously

I am straddling two apparently different worlds. One, the world of long-term care homes for the elderly; two, marketing ebooks. One visceral, one cerebral. But I am struck by the thought that they do have one stark similarity: they are both misfits. On Tuesday, my first ebook is released. I have my head in the cyber world. People I’ve never met are suddenly friends. I am browsing their blogs, watching their websites, sharing life stories. Many of them are extremely interesting and admirable; a few are just selling, which in reality is what I am doing too. My books have always been misfits. They aren’t classical anything. Although mysteries, they break rules, switch points-of-view, and present some social justice issues close to my heart and head. Until Cheryl Tardif and Imajin Books, my books were proverbial square pegs in round holes. Along comes Cheryl, who not only understands the underlying themes and appreciates the differences, but also steers me toward a more marketable approach. So I get up every morning, as John Locke advises in How I Sold A Million Ebooks, and think about how to sell. In cyber world. My mother is also a misfit. She always has been, really. In the 1940’s, she (a white woman) married a black Canadian man. Pretty bold for those times. He died in the war, so she married my Dad and tried to fit into the 1950’s Leave-it-to-Beaver’s June Cleaver housewife image. She didn’t wear it comfortably. Eventually, she got a job in real estate. In her sixties, she started her own business. In her seventies, she learned to play the piano. She has always been loud, funny, opinionated, and bossy. Then came the Transient Ischemic Attacks. As my brother-in-law Dave says, her record button no longer works. It’s been that way for nearly eight years now. Hasn’t gotten worse. Still has the long term, especially her mathematical side. It’s not Alzheimer’s. It’s cerebral vascular dementia. But when we say dementia, suddenly she becomes a definition, fits into the round hole, and off she goes. However, when we cart her off to long-term care this week, she looks up at us with those azure blue eyes and she knows. She ruminates on why we can’t just die on a certain date and not go through this slow decline. She knows she is in an institution and that she really doesn’t fit. She’s still lively, funny, and social. In this same week, we are suddenly offered our top choice in LTC residences, one less hospital-like. Will this be my mom’s Imajin? We’re going to bet on it. Just as I am betting readers will like my books, despite their difficult subjects and misfitted-ness. (See, I even make up words.) I must say, though, that the euphoria of the release has been juxtaposed by the stress of my poor mom’s shuffle through the system, as kind and caring as those systems have been. (And they have been wonderful, truly.) My husband says things can only get better. Imajin that. Cathy
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