Saturday, December 1, 2012
Saturday So What Spotlight: Dene Low
Today I am officially reinstating the Saturday So What Spotlight. The first Saturday of every month, I'm going to feature a guest post from an author (or aspiring one) that's faced a problem in Motherhood, Mormonism, or Writing -- then said So What, and pushed past it.
Today's guest is Dene Low, a Mormon mom and grandmom. She has written several novels (available on Amazon), including Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone; Maddie, Maddie, Flying High; and Not the Worst that Could Happen. Look for her new novel, RScue, to be published by Covenant in the coming year. See her blog and web site at denelow.com.
"Read me some of your novel," said my father, who was in his nineties and had severe macular degeneration.
I was flattered. Because he was blind, Dad listened to audio books, usually spy thrillers, historical fiction, or biography. He was also a scholarly writer. But he liked the novel that I was writing. He also liked it when I sat next to him and read to him. It was something we could do together that helped him not be so lonely.
Since my mother died, Dad's health had taken a turn for the worse--bad enough that he qualified for hospice care. He also had a horror of hospitals and care centers, so although my sister and I worked full time, we promised him that he could die at home and we would care for him.
It just seemed right after all he and my mother had done for us. We were able to keep that promise with the help of family and caring ward members and the hospice care givers who came in once a day for an hour. My sister and I took turns living at his house, so he wouldn’t have to move away from his comfort zone. We brought as much of our work there as we could, so we didn't have to be gone very much. Our amazing husbands kept our own homes going for the three years it took for Dad to die. I can't say enough about how kind our husbands were toward us and our father. The problem for me was not that we were taking care of Dad. That was bittersweet--more sweet than bitter. For me, the problem was being a writer on top of having a full-time job (and having church callings) while taking care of Dad. For one thing, I couldn't write while he was awake. During the day he needed something every few minutes, and those frequent interruptions broke my concentration.
I was committed to helping my father. Still, I had writing deadlines and some goals of my own. So, I started getting up at 5:00 a.m. while he was still asleep and writing through the time when the hospice people came to get his breakfast and give him a shower. Without expecting anything other than more time to write, I was given a gift from above. A marvelous thing happened in the early morning hours and it happened because I nearly always started the morning with scripture study. The difference between starting a writing session with scripture study and not studying my scriptures was huge. If I opened my scriptures for even a few minutes, I felt inspired to write and accomplished a huge amount for the time spent writing. If I didn't read my scriptures first, I was very aware that I'd gotten up way too early and could barely think, let alone write.
I continue the practice now even though my father has been gone over a year and the blessings continue. I look forward to a time when Dad can say to me, “Read me some of your novel.” And I’ll have something I can read to him.