Patrick taking Lee down to feed the animals the day before he went back home. It was a good two weeks of having him here. The two of them worked daily in the shop on turning wine bottles into glasses and wind chimes. Patrick also got to do a bit of wood turning. Lee’s biggest and I think only job was running the vacuum after any dust that showed up. Instead of the shop triggering memories of all the things he used to do, Lee seems to think the shop is Patrick’s shop and he gets to help keep it clean when Patrick is using it.
Thinking Lee might take a sad turn after Patrick left, I filled yesterday with making lasagna for the freezer, baking banana bread and letting him vacuum the dead fern leaves out on the porch. This morning while the cleaning lady was here I took him for a drive out to the dam where we walked in better weather and before Covid. The caregiver is here now and I have several hours to write.
Speaking of which I now have the finished Trusting the Tether Line book. The only change I might make is increasing the font size…what is a 9 in Book Antiqua is a smaller 9 in Garamond. It can not be much larger because one of the poems has just enough length for one page but not enough to make it look right on two pages. Funny how all those types of things go into the decisions of how you want a book to look and feel.
Cover with heavy card stock. Hard covers would make the book feel more distant from the reader.
There are two signatures of six folios each. As a friend pointed out, “You can always do a volume 2 if you are not through writing on this subject.”
The tether line starts on the title page and continues through the last page. I had to run all the tether lines on the pages first…both sides of the paper. And because my printer had not been used in awhile, the ink bursts out even though I cleaned the heads twice. That process used up even more ink, not to mention paper, so now I am waiting for my order from Epson to arrive before I can make more of this book.
Only the tether line appears on the left side. I like the feel of this book in the hand. I like the words. Here is the introduction that appears on the first page after the title page. No Pages are numbered because there is no need to think of the order of things.
Introduction to Trusting the Tether Line
We have shared a life of over fifty years with the last several in the company of dementia.
The diagnosis brought shock, grief, anger and fear of how we were going to make it through all the changes that had to be made. Our lives were not just interrupted but irrevocably altered to meet the needs of the one afflicted and the other left coping.
I needed to find ways to help me deal with all the new responsibilities. At first I stitched endlessly into a rotting linen shawl trying to make it whole again. Holding onto that cloth and being covered by it at the same time was comforting. Next I traced the outline of my hands six times in a sketchbook and slowly filled the space inside with drawings of the things he could no longer do. By doing this I could actually see how much I was needed and how much I was taking care of. After that I began to write poetry that was a short glimpse into our lives.
Friends encouraged me to write about living with dementia because it might be helpful to others. The best I have to offer is the sharing of those poems.
Of course that introduction is laid out to properly fit onto the narrow page.
And the newest short poem I wanted on the last page.
I wish, I wish, I wish
I wish, I wish….
until I don’t
I had known
that would happen.
I would like to find a way to get this book into print but the format of the pages matters to the content, so not sure if that would even be possible. In the meantime because I have this precious time for writing, I am thinking of doing a volume of short stories. It will let me go back to that town in North Carolina from Kind Gestures and visit some women I miss. And there are those notes of overheard conversations in diners, the overworked tools in the kitchen that have so many memories and experiences, and on and on….
There is so much more than Lee and me to put on paper.