Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Charlie:

Well, Legends of the Ozarks is over, though Strangler's Grove is still rocking until Tuesday. We got through, despite a migraine one week and a streaming cold that stole most of my voice the next. But we got through. Now, on to DickensFest. Whew!

Unfortunately, the family had a shock this week. My mother's father had a stroke Thursday. He's 87 years old and has a pacemaker, so any stroke is a bad stroke. It didn't kill him outright, but he's still in the ICU. He had a brain bleed that they stopped, but now he's having mini seizures. Those are fairly common after stroke in older patients, but it's still not good.

Mom saw him before the seizures and said that, while the doctors didn't think he was capable of communicating, she thought differently. She made a joke about how he must be getting used to riding in a helicopter (he's been in and out of hospitals a lot in the past several years), and he winked at her. Her sister asked if he recognized her, and he smiled. When they asked if his head hurt, he frowned. Those don't sound like involuntary responses, but the nurses, at least, were unconvinced.

I'm not. Those sound like appropriate responses to questions when you can't talk. Yes, the brain bleed seems to have killed his language centers. We'll see if he regains any ability to speak, but he clearly is still capable of communication.

They were getting ready to move him into a regular room when the mini seizures started, but that's been put on hold. If they can get them under control, he still might pull through. Don't get me wrong -- he's had a good, long life, and he wouldn't want to survive as a vegetable; he has a living will that specifies no extreme measures. But he's conscious. He's trying to communicate. He's not gone yet, and as long as there's still hope that he can retain some capacity, as long as he's still aware, the family will try to keep him around.

So, if you don't mind, it'd be awesome if you could send good thoughts his way. He definitely needs them.

I'm making some homemade chicken noodle soup. Homemade broth from boiling the bones is a great curative, so I'm hoping it gets me back on my feet so I can go see him next weekend. I wanted to go today, but they wouldn't have let me near him like this.

See? I'm already sending positive thoughts. He's still gonna be around next weekend for me to see. And he's going to recognize me, or at least realize that family is there and loves him. It's a start.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Dear Charlie:

Lookie lookie, it's my favorite month! Oddly enough, it's also my busiest month.

The "Legends of the Ozarks" storytellings are going well. I know Miss Dinah and I are having a ball, and it's pretty clear that the audiences are, too. We've had some really fun, really interactive groups, and those always push us to do our best.

And, man, do we have some brutal stories in this neck of the woods. Heheh.

Writing is also going astonishingly well. I'd been mulling over an idea for a month or so when another popped in there and rolled around for about a week. All of a sudden, they latched onto each other and became the same story idea, and I've been frantically taking dictation from the ether ever since. Here's hoping this one makes it past the dreaded third-of-the-way-done hump, because it has the potential to be done incredibly fast if I can just... keep... writing!

I know it's just a mental block. Unfortunately, GI Joe can't help me with this one. I just need to bull past it a couple of times and deal with the resulting brain damage.

So, no complaints.

HA! We're human beings (or at least pretend to be). There's no such thing as no complaints!

Okay, so this is actually more a lament. I'm just so saddened that there's no karaoke/instrumental version of Alice Cooper's "This House Is Haunted" out there. How is this not a thing yet??

When Amazon failed me, I thought surely there'd be a terrible cover version on YouTube somewhere, but no. I even tried to make my own no-vocals track with a couple of different freebie (but highly recommended) software programs, but to no avail.

Mr. Cooper's voice simply refuses to go away. In all, I think that's probably for the best.

But I'm hunting down something to sing for October's Third Thursday in a couple of weeks. It's the last one of the year, and we're trying to make it really big and awesome, especially since we're promoting the last two weekends of both the haunt trail and our Legends. I've been listening to my Midnight Syndicate station on Pandora while in my writing mania, and that's awesome, but that music is intentionally instrumental only. I need a creepy vocals song with a karaoke version to sing, darn it!

I do think we'll probably add Mr. Cooper's angsty teen version of Annabelle Lee to the filler music on Third Thursday, though. It's just too perfect.