Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The final blogpost

After my diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s, I knew I had to write about my condition. But how? I soon learned that Greg O’Brien, who lives on the Cape, had written a stellar book about early-onset Alzheimer’s. I’ve met Greg only one time, and the encounter was brief. But his book is essential to me. Greg proved that someone with Alzheimer’s can write at a high level.
Why am I ending my blog? Alzheimer’s is a “progressive” disease. There is no going back to an earlier stage. More important, doing my blog has come to be an arduous task. Or worse.
Yes, I can depend on Paula’s skills. But Paula has other work to do. And I am chary to dump another task on her. And some of you may recall the near loss of my electronic manuscript, after I tipped a glass of water on my laptop, putting me in a funk. Paula was magnificent that day. That’s one reason I married her: supreme calm under stress.
And now that I won’t be publishing my blogposts, how will I fill my time? This should be fairly easy. For decades, I carped about not having time to work on my fiction. Now I will have a chance. Certainly, I will have the time. But fiction is a more demanding genre. My last book was a collection of essays, focused on commercial fishing in Puget Sound and Southeastern Alaska.
There was a time that my fiction writing was the center of my universe. Here is an example. In 1989, I was preparing for my “comps”—short for comprehensive master’s exam—at Northeastern University. While other students had diligent plans to ensure they pass, I flippantly roared through the test. Why the rush? Elementary, dear Watson. I hoped to get back to Somerville, so I could write a page or two of my novel when I got home.
This time around, things are different. I recall a Northeastern classmate suggesting that I was faintly obsessed with my book, and he was probably right. O, creative youth, make your imprint before life hardens into obsidian.


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