I have five “drafts” of blog posts pending right now. The natural question following this statement could easily be, “Why aren’t you writing one of them instead of this nonsense?” There’s an easy answer for that question, but I’ll be damned if I know it.
You see, I mostly write stream of consciousness style. That means words fall right out of my head and onto the keys. Sometimes they’re interesting, sometimes they’re clever, often they’re varying degrees of “why bother,” but they’re always honest. My honest words, from honest thoughts. When I write, I’m not “making up stories.” I’m sharing a brief view into my head. A brief, carefully filtered, view inside my head. Unfiltered Dave is a more acquired taste, and you poor souls only get a small does of me when I’m motivated to write.
The point is, I have no idea if I was trying to make point. That’s what this blog is all about. Wandering through my mind in a semi-coherent way, stopping to look at any interesting sights along the way. No, they won’t all be interesting to you. No, for the most part there’s no coherent theme or order in which they’re presented. And no…
I stopped here to check an email, and now I have no idea what I was talking about.
So anyway, no anything. But there’s a lot yesses (yeses? yeahs? Yarps, if you’re a Hot Fuzz fan) too! Yes, I find all my posts interesting! Yes, some of them will make a point accidentally, and some even on purpose. Yes, I’m usually smiling when I’m writing, and hopefully that cheer comes through on the page. Yes, I know most of you are reading this on a screen, but I’m allowed to call it a page because it’s my world and I rule here.
Maybe that’s what I like best about it. For me, this is an extremely low pressure environment. I had 5 ideas for blog posts and put them into drafts so I wouldn’t forget. But today, now, I have no interest in writing about them. I COULD force myself to do it, but that would be stressful. They are ideas that are obviously not ripe yet. So they have to sit and wait for me to be in the right mood (the WRITE mood! So punny) to ponder them. They need to percolate. But the fun bit, are you paying attention? I’m coming to the fun bit. The fun bit, however, is not writing about something that came to me yesterday, or 2+ days ago. The fun bit is putting my fingers on the keyboard and watching what falls out of my head. For me, THAT’S to fun of this blog.
I hope it’s fun for you, too! As always, thanks for reading and you’re welcome!
Living the dream,
P.S. If any employers are reading this and are thinking about hiring me for a writing job, but are concerned I won’t be interested because it may not be fun: MAKE ME AN OFFER! I would LOVE to write for a living, and will happily trade my writing time for money and health insurance. And if in turn I receive power and fame I promise to only use them for good.
Definitely check out his blog. He is a CHARACTER and is constantly engaging other bloggers and commenters. His content is solid and a pleasure to read. He is also a MACHINE; and is consistently keeping his blog current and fresh.
So without further adieu, I believe I owe you all some answers:
Short or long chapters?
I like a variety. It really bugs me when authors drag chapters on and on for no better reason than… what? I have no idea. It seems pointless. Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say and move on.
Favourite reading spot?
I’m most often reading on the couch. That being said, my FAVORITE reading spot is probably on the patio of some restaurant, munching on lunch while reading. I like sitting in the sun, or at least having the sun around me.
Best bookish moment?
This is a tricky question. I’m not sure if it’s my BEST bookish moment, but I always love when I’m reading a series and finish a book, then promptly realize the next book in the series is available and ready to read. I hate it when I have to wait to continue a story (I’m looking at you, Patrick Rothfuss).
Most books by one author?
Gee whiz. Honestly? I’m not going to take the time to count. I know I’ve read over 18 books by David Eddings. More than 15 in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I think there’s 15 books in Part 1 of Ryk Brown’s Frontiers Saga. I really couldn’t guess how many Stephen King books I’ve read. So… right now it looks like 18 is the top end, but I wouldn’t bet any money on that.
Bookshop or online?
I love the idea of a bookshop, and even volunteer in one(!), but the vast majority of books I buy are digital. For me, convenience trumps everything except price. If I can find a used copy of the book I want for a few bucks (or less!) than I’m in.
Bookmarks or page fold?
BOOKMARKS! What the hell is wrong with you?
Library or buy the book?
I’ve always purchased books, but now that I can borrow from the library digitally I’m trying that out. I’m not a patient individual, so waiting 4+ weeks to borrow is a challenge for me.
Let people borrow or guard with your life?
Physical copies: borrow away! Unless it’s signed, then it’s a whole lot of nope.
Favourite book of all time?
I honestly have no idea. I’ve read so many books, so many times, I couldn’t even begin to answer this question.
Best book to movie adaptation?
This question threw me for a loop. At first, my initial response was… none? But then I started doing some googling and remembered a lot of things Id forgotten. Harry Potter was awesome. The Fellowship of the Rings was also great. Shawshank Redemption was freaking incredible (did you know it was based on a Stephen King novella? The 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was great. The Martian did a really good job! There. All those are the best.
Okay, so here are 10 questions for my upcoming nominees. Since I’m in a ridiculous mood, my questions will reflect as such:
Have you ever lied to someone on the internet because you were anonymous?
Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?
If you could eliminate one letter of the alphabet what would it be?
Jello or pudding? Follow up: Why is the answer Jello?
Favorite word in the Queen’s English?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever received in the mail?
What’s your favorite “breakfast-for-dinner” meal?
What is your nightmare vacation (ie. worst vacation ever)?
If money wasn’t a factor, what would you do with all your time?
Why do you believe The Way of Jello offers the one true path to enlightenment and peace?
Go to your fridge and pick up a full gallon of milk. Heft it a few times. It’s got some weight to it, but not too much. Now look around your house and think about everything that might weigh the same or more. This is incredibly irritating.
Laundry basket? Not if it’s full of clothes.
Garbage cans? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No.
A baking sheet covered in bbq sauce slathered chicken wings? Oh, you sweet summer child.
The sliding glass door to the backyard that sticks a little? I’m doing it, but I think I might be pushing my luck. Side note: I bumped into the door while going through it yesterday and it gave me a not-entirely-gentle reminder that caution is still warranted.
The metal patio chair around my table in the backyard? This is another one where I feel like I’m pushing my luck. Doing it anyway. So far so good?
Walk my dog? That’s kind of how I got into this whole mess to begin with. I’ll need to heal up first.
That package the UPS man left on your front step? Ah. This is where it starts to get tricky. Is it too heavy? Nearly impossible to tell without trying to lift it. Which could be bad. This is the intersection of natural curiosity and natural selection. You see, I could just open it to determine what’s inside, and then make a more educated guess as to its weight. But if I CAN’T carry it, now I have an open package on my doorstep. I COULD just try to carry it inside, and force through the pain. But, I have this terrible image of two screws ripping out of my vertebrae whilst I lay screaming on the ground. Yeah, get THAT image out of your head. I actually kicked a box yesterday to see if hat would help. It did, but do I really want to go kicking all my stuff to estimate weight? What if it’s fragile? No, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
First off, let me say Thank You to everyone with whom I came into contact at your facility. You were all smiles. You cared, and it showed. I was a 41 year old surgery virgin, and you were all gentle and sweet. And also HILARIOUS! I love you all. Thank you.
It’s funny, but I thought this was going to be easy to write, but I find I’m having trouble finding the right words. I guess I’ll defer to my usual style, which is organized chaos.
I thought I understood “The Sharp Experience.” I was wrong. You all completely blew my expectations out of the water, and made what could have been the most stressful experience of my life into an absolute pleasure. No joke. I spent about 29 hours with you all between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, and you exceeded ALL of my expectations. Everyone I met was friendly, smiling, and willing to help. All completely professional, of course, but still willing to crack a joke and laugh with me.
Unfortunately, I can’t remember everyone’s name that I met. I wish I could. They all deserve individual credit, so feel free to contact me and we’ll track them down. I can tell you that everyone was great. Literally EVERYONE. I don’t know anyone’s last name, so you’ll have to figure that out. Here are a few standouts:
Cara in the SPA was SUPER friendly. What a delight. She really helped make the waiting bearable.
Blood-taker girl with tattoos who was also in the SPA – Only saw her twice I think, but both times she was great. Memorably so. Made me smile both times. If she needs any more of my blood she knows where to find me. With how gentle she was both times, she could be taking it right now and I wouldn’t even know.
MJ – Wow. What can I say about MJ. She was my RN the first night in the hospital. Incredibly patient with me. Was there every time I needed her. We walked around the floor. She got me jello after jello. Helped me with all my meds. Took me off the IV as soon as it was feasible (FREEDOM!). Adjusting the bed. MJ is awesome. Special thanks to her. I was so out of it during much of my time with her that I can’t remember a lot of the details. What I do remember is an overwhelming sense that I was completely safe and cared for during this time. (EDIT: So I was originally done and going to publish this letter, but upon re-reading it I wanted to write more nice things about MJ. I know she was a former traveler who just recently started at Sharp Memorial full-time. Sharp, you scored BIG TIME with this one. MJ, just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome. HOORAY FOR MJ!)
Dawit, my man. Thanks for the stroll around the floor. And for collecting and measuring my pee. It smelled terrible, but you were a champ.
JUANITA! OH JUANITA! Let me tell you a story. It starts with a hungry boy, post throat and spine surgery. It ends with custom meals handcrafted with love to ensure I could actually eat it. Chicken cut up into tiny pieces. SHE LITERALLY CUT UP A PIECE OF FRIED CHICKEN INTO TINY LITTLE SLIVERS OF AWESOMENESS so that my recently intubated and slit open throat could eat them. Was that all? OF COURSE NOT! She then gave me a bowl of warm chicken broth so I could dip these chicken pieces and get them soggy enough to swallow.
She is freaking incredible. Extra applesauce. Apple juice. Scrambled eggs cut up into tiny bite sized pieces. Lactose free milk. Hot cocoa. Juanita went so far out of her way to make sure I was happy that I don’t even have the words to describe how big of a difference she made. Thank you, Juanita. I ate food besides jello solely because of you. (EDIT: I am STILL telling people about Juanita 5 days after I left the hospital. Woot!)
Renea. My dear Renea. Who wandered the halls and storage areas hunting for ever more jello for me (and finding it!). I was already starting to feel better when we met, but you ensured my spirits remained high and I’d be ready to check out as soon as possible. I say “check out” instead of discharged because I felt more like I was in a fancy hotel instead of a hospital. Renea, who never ONCE corrected me when I called her Renee. I still think your shoes are cool.
Obviously I’d like to thanks my anesthesiologist Dr. Fowler (I think I spelled that correctly?) who did an awesome job and didn’t leave me in that half-life you see in the movies where you can’t move during surgery but you’re still totally awake and able to see and feel everything that’s going on. That would have been awful. Instead I drifted gently off to sleep and woke up with no problems. I have no memory of the recovery room following surgery. Keep kicking butt, Doc!
Dr. Ostrup. My neurosurgeon. The man who ripped out pieces of my spine with his bare hands, power tools, and force of will, then replaced it with robot parts. BEEP BOOP THANK YOU FELLOW HUMAN. Seriously though, Thanks for everything. You took the time to answer all of my questions using small, simple words I could understand. Like “Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion” and “Coffee.” Your calm demeanor and nonchalant attitude really helped me relax in the days leading up to the procedure. I hope you carved your initials into one of my vertebrae. You deserve it.
There were so many others who deserve mention and I’ll blame a naturally poor memory mixed with a variety of pain medications on my forgetfulness, but we should be able to identify them here: My three “shower girls” who came in and changed my sheets and towels, set up the bathroom for a hot shower, gave me instructions on how to do it without re-injuring myself, and were all smiles and happiness. You all were great and had me constantly laughing and smiling. My Occupational Therapist (Nancy?) who made sure I knew how to dress myself without falling on my face, and who shared some personal stories of success that made me feel better about my own situation. My Physical Therapist who walked with me around the floor and was stunned by my mobility. HAH! Jokes on you. MJ and I were walking around the floor all night long. I couldn’t sleep anyway, might as well check some boxes off the board! The two Charge Nurses (night and day) who stopped to chat and ask how I was doing during my walks around the floor. Thanks for your concern! All the nurses at the desks who smiled when I walked by. Every smile is a bit of happiness you can share. Carlos, thanks for the smooth wheelchair ride to the door when I was dischargedIf I forgot anyone, I’m sorry. Your contribution was significant, and you too are appreciated. And I suppose a special Thank You to someone I’ve never met but who had an equally important role to play: The Jello Stocker. Thank you. You brought more happiness to me during this experience than I can possibly express in words. Jello is life. Jello is love.
And what can I say about The Hotel Del Sharp Memorial. They did everything right. Comfortable single rooms. Comfortable beds. Incredible food. Super friendly everybody. Awesome views. This was a luxury experience.
I have to keep coming back to the staff here. Sharp clearly has incredible hiring practices. This one deserves another mention. Whoever is in charge of hiring the people with whom I interacted should be invited to the pizza party you’re going to throw for everyone on my floor. I’m not joking. Pizza Party. Or, you know, whatever kind of awesomely catered food and party these people want. Do it. They deserve it. Also, big raises, their own ponies, some kind of monogrammed scrubs that say BEST TEAM EVER, probably a tiara of some kind, and a series of crisp high-fives.
OH! You know what? I thought of one critique. One tiny space for improvement. In the private bathroom in my private room, with my private view of the sunrise, the toilet paper rolls were a little low. A bit hard to reach. There. That’s it. Could you raise them up about a foot? That would be awesome. Thanks!
But the most important thing, to me, while in the hospital for what was my very first surgery (nearly 42 years old!) was this: I never once felt afraid. Nervous before the surgery, sure! But I always felt safe, and surrounded by confident, knowledgeable people who could handle anything my broken down body could throw at them. Except my jokes, which were apparently too painful to take. 🙂