Writing plays (yes, more theatre)

Lately there’s been a theme around here. A theme involving theatre. And apparently it’s not enough to be in a play (now closed) or workshopping Shakespeare scenes via Zoom (potentially upcoming). I’m writing plays, too.

This isn’t exactly a new development. I wrote my first play when I was about ten, then my sixth grade teacher made the terrible, terrible mistake of letting me drag my classmates into performing it for the school. (I’m sure there was video evidence at one point, but I hope it has since been destroyed.) Then a few years ago I wrote another play for my community theatre group’s annual 24 Hour New Play Festival. It could use a polish or three, but I’m still proud of it. I started–but have not finished–another when I was pregnant with my daughter.

So I haven’t done many, but I like writing plays. I like it a lot. Which led me to take an online class back in May. Which resulted in a script for a ten minute play.

I’m not generally a fan of ten minute plays. They trend toward cheesy, trite, and go for the cheap laughs. (I am always in search of the exceptions, however, so please send any recommendations you may have my way!)

But I kind of love my little script. It doesn’t do quite what I want it to yet–that’s for revision–but it let me play with language, poetry and ideas I’ve wanted to work out for a while. I meant to make those ideas blog posts or short stories and just hadn’t been able to get it right. Putting them into this script felt like getting it right. (Now I need to get the script itself right.)

So here’s today’s writing advice for you: if there’s something you want to do, or say, or explore and it just doesn’t seem to be working out, try a different medium. Instead of a short story, try an essay, or Instead of an essay, try a poem. Instead of a poem, try a play. Paint it or dance to it or sing.

Writing plays won’t replace novels or short stories. Not by a long shot. But it’s another tool, another skill, another way of saying what I want to say.

Theatre in the time of COVID

I asked the universe for one pretty giant birthday present. And the universe came through.

I’m in a show and opening night was my birthday. Shakespeare. Taming of the Shrew. My character is one that usually gets cut from the film versions, but ends up being pretty central to most of the machinations in the original. The director offered me the role months ago and I almost turned it down because I was afraid of limiting my summer theatre options (but I took it because damn, I wanted this role). Then the pandemic hit this corner of the globe and any theatre this summer seemed pretty damn unlikely.

If we were anywhere else in this country, this show would not be happening. But we’re in Maine and thankfully we have an intelligent governor and our case rates have been decreasing. (Or at least were when I originally wrote this post. With tourists and companies not bothering to quarantine their migrant workers, cases are now trending up again and I am not impressed.)

Theatre in the time of Covid starts with no one feeling terribly sure they’ve made the right decision by continuing with the play. It means quiet rehearsals because the usual between-things-chatter doesn’t happen much with everyone in masks. It means everyone is more prepared to properly project when we take the show outside for performances. Actors have been relying on physicality to project and communicate the nuances we often leave to facial expressions.

In short, it has given us a better performance.

But it also means that the moment I get home, I’m stuffing my clothes in the laundry and hopping into the shower. It means that we don’t get to hang out and bond after rehearsals or performances the way that always helps cement that feeling of show-family. It means that, while my toddler is so excited I’m in a play and she keeps asking to see it, I have to disappoint her and keep her home. Toddlers don’t really get social distancing. (And taking a moment to acknowledge one more layer of privilege, none of this would have been possible if I were a single parent.)

Theatre in the time of Covid means trusting your cast and crew ten times more than ever before. I mean, there’s always a level of trust necessary, but now we’re trusting each other to practice proper masking and social distancing outside of the theater (or performance space, in our case being outdoors). For someone who’s been in full lockdown since March–only me, my husband, and our toddler, necessary trips only, or the occasional drive to let the toddler run and explore somewhere different without much risk of running into other people–that was a giant, terrifying leap. It still is, to be honest, and tonight is our closing.

And once back in that familiar space, with familiar people, the lines quickly blurred between the old normal and new normal. After opening night, that was one comment I heard: it was a much needed breath of the old normal.

Tomorrow, I’m back to lockdown. While Maine’s numbers have been good, this virus with its serious potential for death or chronic illness is not a risk I’m willing to take with my family’s lives, and I’m thoroughly anticipating a second wave. But damn, I’ve enjoyed this show.

Writing Dad, a decade on

For the last year and a half, I’ve been working on a novel. It’s not a terribly serious novel (a vampire romance with an intentionally ludicrous premise, which had no hope of marketability until the announcement of the newest Twilight book) born of a fun dream and the thought of what it might be like if Dad stuck around as a ghost. This story is the first time I’ve been able to write Dad.

I actually wrote the first three chapters only a year or two after he died, but I wasn’t ready. I had to let it sit. It took me a long time before I could get back to it.

Which is just further confirmation of the fact that I can’t really write a thing until I’ve processed it. Or as a latter stage of processing. If I ever figure out that particular order of operations, I’ll let you know.

Dad would have been 77 this year. We celebrated his birthday with cupcakes (chocolate and whipped cream frosting: the same as the last–maybe only–birthday cake I ever made him) and a candle (shaped as the number two to symbolize his eternal mental age and because that’s what was handy). I try to do something to mark his birthday every year. Usually just by grabbing a milkshake at his favorite takeout, but this is what we decided, between the global pandemic and my kid’s request.

He had a family before me and my sister, and he liked to occasionally say that was what made him able to see or predict accidents when our mom couldn’t. Except he was a pretty crap father the first time around, so I highly doubt he learned any of that with my half-sisters. It probably had more to do with life experience, being 42 when I was born and my mom a month away from 25, plus his ridiculously strong spatial awareness. Of course, Dad never had the self-awareness to acknowledge how bad he was as a husband and father the first time (or the second, or the third). He was reacting to an oppressive, abusive childhood and couldn’t see past his own self-gratification. I didn’t need to hear my sisters’ stories to figure that out, once I started paying attention to what his stories didn’t contain. (My sisters, for one.)

Maybe telling you these faults of his seems strange in this sort of post, but I can’t change who he was and who he was included a whole lot of faults. Honesty in life is a good quality. Honesty in writing? Essential for telling the kinds of stories I want to tell.

I loved my dad. So much of my identity revolved around him, but he certainly wasn’t perfect and I don’t want to romanticize him on the page. That wouldn’t be Dad; it would just be some cardboard cutout of a character. (There’s a writing lesson here how flaws are what makes characters most dynamic and compelling, but this post is for my dad and that is for a better discussion of the characters he inspires.)

I’ve finished a first draft of that first story with Dad. Now I have a new project and again he’s making an appearance. With different emphasis on certain personality traits.

I’ve spent years trying to write Dad because it helps me remember and memorialize him. Because I’m still working through this shit and because he is still so much of my truth that not writing him feels dishonest. Now, ten years on, I think I finally can.

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Burn it down

The world is on fire and I’ve largely missed it. Is there a greater mark of white privilege?

I am not ok for reasons that are personal and not even a drop in the ocean that is the grief and rage of systemic hate and oppression. “I’m not racist!” We who are complicit in upholding these systems, who benefit from the privilege of our shade of skin, would like to shout this from the rooftops and imagine it absolves us.

Spoiler: it doesn’t.

I’ve struggled with writing this. Silence is complicit, but my voice added to a cacophony of white voices can only further decenter this movement.

If that movement derails, these systems continue at status quo when what they really, so desperately need is to be torn down and replaced with a just, equitable system.

White folks, we need to sit down and stfu unless we’re centering the voices, needs, and experiences of those without the privilege of our skin. We need to question our systems (do they serve everyone equitably?). We need to challenge ourselves to root out our assumptions and unconscious biases (whether we like it or not, we’re part of those systems and we’ve been taught not to see). We need to amplify the voices that have been actively, systematically silenced, and we need to engage with other white folks to confront and educate and have those hard conversations.

And we need to do this without burning out. These conversations require a heavy toll in emotion and energy, and we’re in a marathon, not a sprint. Most of the time, I’m reposting or retweeting. I read and recommend books by BIPOC authors. A friend posts a meme about good cops under attack and I comment with context and facts that were missing and how it works to undermine the needed change that is the purpose of the protests. A family member comments on a link I’ve reposted to say she doesn’t like the children’s board books with antiracist and feminist in the title so I ask her what it is about equality that’s so uncomfortable.

I’m still waiting on the answer.

And those attempted conversations wiped me out. I still have to be present for my family. Burnout is no longer the option it used to be; my mental and emotional health have to take priority. So I do what I feel I can.

I do what I can, but it’s not enough and it can never be enough until we’re all doing it. Until we can tell kids about doing all this and they say, “Damn, you’re old,” and move onto something else because they can’t wrap their heads around the frantic clinging to injustice and inequality.

How amazing would that be?

So please do what you can as you can. Know that you will screw up–we’re only human–but learn from it, apologize, and do better the next time.

Swallow my Pride and Buckle up for the Ride

My adult life keeps making me eat my words. I’m not. I can’t. I don’t. I don’t sew; I don’t knit. (Spoiler: I now do both of those.) So, so many I-can’t’s locked up in theatre, in being onstage. So much fear of being asked to do something awkward, embarrassing, uncomfortable when those described everything about me in high school. Coming back to acting ten years later, those had disappeared. Well, mostly. Enough.

The same has been true of writing. I don’t write short stories. I don’t write poems. Except now I do. But that’s old news by now. Here’s the new one: I don’t write non-fiction.

Ok, I know that’s funny. What are blogs, if not non-fiction, right? But I decided that this year I want to learn how to write essays. Not the meaningless gibberish of thesis/supporting arguments/topic sentences bullshit, but real, meaningful, powerful essays.

I may never get to that level of skill, but I started by reading those books on writing that seemingly everyone with an opinion recommends. Books that of course I’ve read by now if I consider myself a “real” writer. Kind of like being a fantasy writer who’s never read Tolkien. (I tried, but life is too short and there are too many amazing stories out there to force my way through something I just can’t care about.)

So now I wish I’d read Zinsser’s On Writing Well back in high school–or at least college. On the other hand, I can now articulate what turned teenage me off so hard from any writing advice books: I do not see myself. I am not represented.

Examples given of “great” writing? 99.9% of the time male authors. Women don’t rate mention, apparently. Default male pronoun when referring to a theoretical writer. If they give any mention of SF/fantasy/popular fiction, it’s either with utter bewilderment or dripping disdain.

Representation is important, folks.

Anyone telling me that my voice doesn’t matter? That my stories, my experiences don’t matter? Yeah, I won’t be inclined to listen to whatever else they have to say. (And I come from a significant amount of privilege as a white woman; this erasure is more insidious and pervasive for folks without my privilege.)

But I swallowed my pride and read the damn books and seethed. And there was good information buried in all that crap. A lot of stuff I already knew, which is why it would have done me more good to read it as a teenager. I learned things, too, and that was the point.

Know what else I don’t do? Writing exercises. Even the books on writing that I love–anything by Natalie Goldberg or Julia Cameron, or Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook–even knowing the exercises are there for a reason, I’ve done barely more than glance at them. So this is the next thing I’m working on.

I’ve done some. I’m slowly (so slowly) working my way through seasons of the Writing Excuses podcast. Or I was before the pandemic hit us. At times it feels tedious and I just want to roll my eyes and move on to something else, but when I set aside my pride and skepticism, magic happens. Feeling myself grow as a writer is a wonderful thing.

My skills have always grown in fits and starts. Sometimes the growth is small, gradual (like how I didn’t know I’d become decent at description until my writing group complimented me), and sometimes it happens in a flash (like becoming a parent–my writing after having a kid was immediately a class above what I’d done before). Working at prompts and exercises grows these skills perceptibly and steadily.

This satisfies my control freak tendencies. In so many ways, I can’t afford an MFA program (but that doesn’t stop me from drooling over Stonecoast every chance I get) and I can’t afford workshops and classes that can be hit or miss for the learning and growth I hope to get out of them. So doing these prompts and exercises on my own, while still imperfect, gives me a way to appreciably improve my skills. I’m a pretty damn good writer, but I want to be better.

I don’t know if I succeeded with the non-fiction–if my essay writing has improved (guess I just need to post more in order to figure that out)–but I’m oddly excited about doing more writing prompts and exercises. At least, when I can get past that initial aversion. (Some of the results from these will end up on my Patreon and/or Ko-fi, if you wanted extra incentive to join me there!)

On further consideration, maybe I should keep using the I’m not/I can’t/I don’t. If only so I can have an idea of what comes next.

10 Things I’ve Learned in Lockdown

Reality hasn’t felt quite real since 2016 when a reality TV buffoon went from national joke to international menace president. No sooner did he remove CDC experts then a global pandemic landed in the US. We’ve reached the apocalyptic segment of this dystopian novel we’re living. And it feels like I’ve read this one before.

I am hugely privileged. My husband can work from home easily and happily, my toddler has adapted astoundingly well, and my days aren’t all that different except they’re all at home. The worst of it is not being able to take my two year old to visit her grandparents. In our third week of lockdown, I might even be starting to find something like balance. At least, I feel like I’m starting to be more productive than anytime since becoming a parent.

So with that in mind, here are some things I’ve learned in the last few weeks:

  1. Crises make it easy to pick out the assholes, and damn, are the xenophobes showing themselves. Fuckers.
  2. Don’t procrastinate on that haircut. In stressful times, fabulous hair counts for a lot.
  3. Hats, scarves, or headbands can fix almost anything. Hair-wise, at least.
  4. Yes, it is possible to regret not stockpiling more random crafting materials. Stress over possibly running out is keeping me from doing projects I might otherwise try, but a lack of traditional materials can lead to fabulous creativity. If I can just get past the paranoia.
  5. People really are awesome and band together to create fabulous communities and resources. (Though beware those who will call for funding cuts because arts and nonprofits are providing services for free in this crisis.)
  6. Kids are resilient. Seriously. They adapt. The rest of us can, too.
  7. Quarantine can be a hothouse for creativity and innovation. The stuff I’m seeing out there is amazing!
  8. But don’t beat yourself up over being human and burned out and/or traumatized from sustained crisis mode.
  9. Making lists calms me. I already knew this but apparently needed the reminder. Quarantine and post-quarantine bucket lists, to-bake lists, to-craft lists, things-I-have-learned lists…
  10. Fuck all those other shits who choose to ignore the fact that nothing happens in a vacuum and refuse to take responsibility for their actions. They’ve long perpetuated systemic harm, injustice, and inequality. Which kills people. Right now, the fact that their choices can directly lead to other people dying is clearer than ever.

So take care of yourself. Don’t be an asshole. And if you have reserves left over after that, make some art. (Let it be bad! Let the act of creating be more important than the result.)

We will make a new normal. And we will get through this.

Goals backward and forward

I have a habit of setting new goals for myself every year. They’re not resolutions. Resolutions are “I want to get an agent.” That’s what I want to happen but not something I have much control over. Goals are my roadmap for getting me as close as I can get under my own agency.

These are my own uses. Some people flip them. Whatever term you choose, just make it work for you.

New years and birthdays always make me evaluate what I’ve accomplished, where I am, and where I want to be. What have my goals been? What has worked and what do I still struggle with?

Last year, I was ambitious. More ambitious than I either realized or intended. I wanted to create something every day–even just a meal for my family. Pretty sure I managed it if not every day then damn close. Because really it was less about getting myself to make more and more about recognizing the creative things I already do. I lost track of it after a while, but it got me into a mindset that followed me all year of counting as creative work things like making meals, or decorating the house for holidays and birthdays, or building a baby doll out of blocks at the request of my two year old.

Most of the time when I set goals, I want to build a habit. Like visiting the library and/or not spending money on new books. That was such a resounding success I’d forgotten I set it last year. The library is now one of my daughter’s favorite places to visit.

I wish blogging had become a habit. That’s one I’ve been trying to cultivate for years with sporadic luck. At least it gives me something to work on?

This year, I’m focusing on getting out of my own way when it comes to my story writing. Thinking of that tired adage about hindsight, I want 2020 to be the year that I lean into all that accumulated hindsight and put into practice what I’ve learned. Like I need to be kind to myself and set realistic goals, but lowballing myself doesn’t push me as far as I need to be pushed.

Case in point: 2019 I set a lowball goal of querying my Tokyo-based urban fantasy novel three times. Which I did. Then I let my focus shift and never dragged it back. I know I can do more so in 2020 I expect more of myself.

And pride? Oh, I have some issues with pride. But those are destined for another post.

I love hearing about the goals people set themselves. What habits do you want to form? What will help propel you into living the life and being the person you truly want to be?

The Sound and the Story

I’m still figuring out how to even talk about the last few months. Despite the fact that I don’t feel like I’m grieving, I’ve had a practically pathological avoidance of anything to do with Gram and dealing with her death. This avoidance has snowballed to include most forms of communication. And writing. So I’ve been throwing myself into other forms of creativity. Christmas gifts got crafty with my two year old, I’ve experimented with recipes and made more sugar than my family can possibly eat, and why did no one remind me how soothingly meditative friendship bracelet making is?!

Related: my local salvage and surplus store is a dangerous place to go with new craft store inventory.

But largely I threw myself into theatre. Specifically sound design and operation for A Christmas Carol. I am so proud of our show, and since we had sold out audiences for five of our eight shows, I’d say my pride is validated.

One of our standing ovations. We had the best audiences.

When the theater is over an hour’s drive away, I have to really love a show to make it worth the investment of my time and energy. With a small child and the logistics of childcare and managing her energy levels and responses to disruption of routine, finding that passion for a show is harder than it used to be. (This is community theatre, after all, so I don’t have the added incentive of a paycheck.) But this show.

This show was art.

The script was a direct adaptation from Dickens with near-limitless flexibility of cast size and composition, used by theaters locally for many years. We had a cast of ten with everyone except Scrooge rotating through characters and narrators. Minimal set and costuming, phenomenal directing (her first show as a director, too!), gorgeous lighting. The whole production was one of those works of art that made me fall in love with it every single night.

I could have arranged for someone else to run sound. That was actually the plan at one point, but I was able to get childcare for every night and damn I needed to be there. I needed to be a part of this theatre family and not some distant, removed person breezing in and out.

This was my second time designing sound for a show and the first time doing more than providing whatever sounds the script calls for. And I loved it. I got to be one of the storytellers in this collaboration and I feel so lucky and so thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. The choreography, the actors, the script, the lights, the sound all told layers of the story and they came together in a way that was pure magic.

As a writer, I’m so used to bearing all that weight of the story alone that there was a relief and release in having responsibility for just a part. There is power in successful collaboration. To use a cliche, it becomes something greater than the sum of its parts.

And I got to tell a story through sound. How cool is that?

Cross-posted from my Patreon. I’m still getting into the swing of things, but if you like what I write and want more stories or behind-the-scenes stuff, I would really appreciate your support!

Thoughts on New Year’s Eve

Pausing work on another, longer blog post about what I’ve been up to in order to acknowledge the changing of years. Of decades, even. This time of year makes me extra introspective and saying good bye to an entire decade? Yeah, I’m in deep.

This has been a decade of loss. My dad, an uncle and aunt, a brother-in-law, my husband’s grandmother, both of my grandmothers. I had a miscarriage. Trump became president. People I know and love have gone through enormous amounts of their own heartache.

But damn, has this decade been epic. I built a house and had a kid. I traveled to Ecuador and Turkey. Theatre made a huge comeback in my life after a decade without and I landed some amazing roles like the governess in Turn of the Screw and Mina in Dracula. Hell, I’ve even been able to do some work as a film extra and been paid for acting. I started attending writers conventions, made amazing friends, and sold a couple stories. Now I am so much closer to being the writer I want to be and able to tell the stories as I dream of telling them.

For the next year–the next decade–I wish that the world becomes a kinder, more equitable place, that we all just explode with our arts, and that we make major strides in healing the damage we have done to our planet.

I already know that my future is filled with stories and adventure and possibilities. The good won’t stop or prevent the bad, but the bad won’t stop me from enjoying every moment of the good. So let’s bring it.

Goodbye, Gram

I always told Gram she’d know she was in trouble when I stopped giving her shit. I always gave her shit. My husband would listen to me on the phone with her and often just had to walk away shaking his head at what I said to her. In my defense, he didn’t hear what she was saying to me.

It took Gram coding three times and me having to make the decision not to continue treatment—to let her go—for us to reach that point. For me to stop giving her shit. I informed her of this. I don’t know if she could hear me at that point, but it made me and my sister laugh despite the tears.

A few days later, I was writing her obituary. It’s the second one I’ve written and it’s not a skill I especially want to develop.

What sucks about obituaries—for whatever poor sucker of a family member gets stuck with writing them—is that there’s no space for processing your own grief. Obituaries are just the highlights of a life. Good ones tend to have a little something for everyone grieving that they can point to and say, “That’s how I knew/met/loved her.” But when you’re someone close enough to be writing the obituary, that perspective is damn hard to keep. The end result feels like such a pale, pale shadow of the person it’s supposed to memorialize.

So buckle up. I’m going to try to tell you about Gram and who she was to me.

Gram was an artist. She’d never call herself that—artistic, yes, not an artist—but that didn’t change the fact. Her own grandmother taught her to sew when she was little. Her grandmother was hugely important to her and those sewing lessons were some of Gram’s fondest childhood memories. One of her biggest regrets in life was bowing to her parents’ refusal and not going to Parson’s in NYC after graduating high school.

In the mid-90s she started making quilts and each one was—is—a work of art. I don’t know how many I have, but I brought home two more after she died. They were quilts she absolutely despised by the time she put them all together because it too her so long to pattern the pieces to suit her. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who helped her rearrange the pieces (over and over and over), but they’re two of my favorites she ever made and I can’t look at them without remembering that I helped. They make me remember us.

Gram married three times—divorced twice, then widowed. I never asked her about being a single working mother of two was like in Maine (so far behind the rest of the country) in the 60s and 70s. She would talk about teaching at the Maine Youth Center, about being a five foot tall woman surrounded by hulking teenage boys who didn’t respond well to authority figures. She’d talk about how all her students would wait for the inevitable entertainment of a new kid pulling some I’m-a-macho-badass stunt on her and she’d handle it. And in all her stories of that time, she never talked about what they did that landed them there. She talked about them just as kids, with sympathy and empathy, and that should tell you all you really need to know.

Though she did tell the story of an incident when a student stabbed a male teacher with a pair of scissors. But she only told it because of the teacher’s meeting afterward when the new principal—whom she hadn’t thought had even noticed her— announced that the incident never would have happened in Gram’s classroom.

And to further cement her badassery, she got her master’s degree while working full time with two kids. Because it gave her an extra $20 a week. Of course, that still didn’t begin to touch the male teachers’ wages.

She loved Mount Desert Island. She always said that driving over the Trenton bridge onto MDI felt like coming home. She loved her cottage on Frye Island and sharing that refuge with the people she loved. So many summers we’d pile into her stuffed-to-the-roof car and drive down to Sebago Lake for a couple weeks. I’d daydream with her about spending the entire summer there—a thing she only did once.

For maybe the first four years of my life, she lived about fifty feet from our house. If even. My sister and I took it for granted that we could always run over to her house for brownies, or to play with her doll collection, or to watch musicals on VHS. I don’t think anyone bothered to explain what or why when she moved away. Was forced to move away. I remember standing at the bathroom window bawling as the movers drove off with her trailer. I remember the world didn’t make any sense without her right there.

I was six or seven when I met my other grandmother, Dad’s mom, for the first time and I was so scared that she was somehow supposed to replace Gram.

You know, now that I think about it, my family was crap at explaining things to kids.

Gram did a lot of the raising of me and my sister. Dad got custody of us when I was ten and it took him a couple years to admit that he needed help. After all, he worked constantly and frequently ran hours late—a thing we still call Dick King time—and his secretary was only able to pick us up from school or get us to appointments during business hours. So he ended up hiring Gram, his ex-mother-in-law. The only person who might possibly agree to his ridiculous expectations. For five years, she basically lived with us. Then with my sister off at college, Dad figured he and I could fend for ourselves. I’ll just say it was a rough year. Having Gram there saved us all in so many ways and she is much to blame for who I am.

Gram loved and supported my theatre life. She got so frustrated at not being able to help out more, but if I was in a show she’d be sitting in the audience for every performance she could possibly make it to. And she was my go-to theatre buddy. The last couple weeks whenever I hear about a show, I start thinking about logistics before I even realize what the logistics are for: bringing Gram to see it.

Gram was the first person to legitimize my writing. She recognized its importance to me and encouraged me. She was my loudest, most enthusiastic cheerleader and she was the one who told me in high school that I could stop breathing easier than I could stop writing. I still hold onto that when I start questioning certain life choices. It helped smooth my frustration at her inability to recognize my writing face and her frequent interruptions to my train of thought of just ask if I was all right.

The novel I’m writing now was one she desperately wanted to read.

Gram talked about my daughter like she was the best thing that ever happened. A week before she died, she babysat with my sister. That night, my daughter just climbed up in Gram’s chair with her and fell right to sleep. And Gram never stopped smiling about that.

She wasn’t done living. Not even close. We had a moment that last night when we dared to hope she might make it. She saw my sister and my daughter and fought. Gram fought hard. She didn’t want to put my sister through that grief again, with her husband’s death only three years ago. Gram hoped to be around for many more years to come, and at the very least make sure her youngest great-grandchild would remember her. She was not done living.

Most everyone who met Gram wanted to adopt her as their own grandmother and many did. I am beyond lucky at she was mine.