End Of Summer, End Of An Era

In two days time, I will close the doors on my chiropractic practice for good. The week leading up to the finale has been busy. On Friday, one of my first patients will be my last and she and I are going for lunch to celebrate. On September first, when people ask me what I do for work, I will tell them I am a writer.

Being a chiropractor for 23 years has helped me become a good writer of fiction. How is that possible? There are several ways:

  • I hear about people’s lives, their jobs, their families and what they like to do for fun. This gives me a deep reservoir to draw from in creating characters’ basic details.
  • Truth is really stranger than fiction. My patients all have stories to tell. Some of them give me ideas!
  • As a doctor working with people who are in pain, you learn to develop empathy, to stand in their shoes. This also helps develop characters. Especially, the villain of the story who a writer may not fully explore. But I have found that even the scoundrels have a reason for why they do what they do.
  • I have had to learn to be a good communicator. People in pain are emotional, scared and sometimes even angry. Being able to explain, console and reassure is absolutely vital on the patient’s first visit. Good communication means being concise, not muddying the waters with overly complex and/or technical terminology. This is also the goal of the writer. Unless of course you are writing a technical manual!
  • Last but not least, I have had to actually do some writing. I’ve written countless reports for insurance companies, attorneys and claims adjusters. You learn a certain writing style in composing letters and compiling examination findings. While this doesn’t translate directly to fiction writing, it does give you practice in consistency and flow.

I cannot say whether or not I will miss being a chiropractor. I can say that I am excited to begin the next chapter of life. After a little vacation planned for next week, I will return to my war story with renewed dedication this September. And I will work at it as my full time job.

Happy writing and productive editing!

My Heart

Some days my feet are light
And I dance as if on air
Other days they’re heavy
As I trudge a path of despair

While in my lows, I wallow
Yet my highs can touch the stars
But whether in joy or sadness
My heart is wherever you are

A short poem ~ by Meg Sorick

Just a note; this is hyperbole, lest you all think I’m suffering from bipolar disorder.

Delaying tactics

I thought about reposting an older story today to tide me over until I get the next section of Small Cuts ready. Then I thought I’d just explain instead. Sometimes even when you have all your ideas plotted out, the actual words won’t come. Or at least, not the words you envisioned. I am writing the story, but I’m not thrilled with the way I’m telling it. This kind of thing happens when I work on longer projects: I write and then rewrite and then edit the crap out of it. So why the uninspired wordsmithing? Let me tell you…

As I started letting the word out about giving up my chiropractic license, so many of my long time patients called to schedule so they could say farewell. It’s been bittersweet. I’ve taken care of some of these folks for twenty plus years. Some of them drive from more than an hour away since they followed me to my home office from the other practice I worked at. They’ve become more than just patients – they are friends. And so it has been busier than normal and each appointment takes a little piece of my heart along with it.

I also had a bit of a health scare. I am fine. I don’t want to talk about it.

Then, last week, I went through the dreadful task of putting my beloved Jay Dog to sleep. I didn’t mention it at the time because I could barely talk about it without dissolving into tears. He had been going downhill for a while and we knew the time had come. It is the worst decision a pet owner ever has to make. I have been having audio-hallucinations: I imagine hearing his nails on the hardwood floors, his collar jangling and him rolling around on the carpet to scratch his nose. I adopted Jay Dog right after I lost my father. Nothing could replace my Dad, but having that sweet boy dog for company sure did help.

As you can imagine, my mind has been a jumble. It’s been hard to focus. Each day gets a little better, though. I still haven’t returned to form with my writing yet. But I will eventually. Thanks for your patience, dear friends.