My Dad’s a Goldfish – Sorry for the gap

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My last post included an apology for being so late in posting and here I am apologising again. What’s my excuse this time? For a long time I’ve been saying I’m going to turn this blog into a proper memoir and publish it. I thought that, as I have already written up so much of the Goldfish’s story it would be a fairly simple job to edit it and pull it into shape. Silly me!

I soon discovered the blog posts as they have been put up here don’t fit together into a book. Each post has its own narrative arc and stitching them together would make a very bitty sort of book – I knew what I mean. Basically, the whole thing needs to be restructured and after a several false starts I finally managed to find my way into it. While working on the start of the book, I’ve found it difficult to plan blog posts but hope now to get back on track.

I am not going to make any rash statements about when the book will be ready for publication because I know even once I succeed in structuring it properly it will need a lot more editing. I’d like to think it could be ready before the end of the year, though – as long as I don’t lose heart.

I realised, too, that in keeping blog posts to a reasonable length I’ve cut out quite a lot of material, which I think should be included in the book. While going through old diaries I was surprised to realise how lonely I was at times after I’d moved in with the Goldfish; upset at how some friends seemed to disappear and touched when others made an effort to visit.

I looked further back to pre-dementia diagnosis days. Ten years ago the Goldfish (who wasn’t a goldfish then) was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pain, which was diagnosed as gallstones. Unfortunately, nothing went to plan and his condition became worse, partly because they starved him for over a week while they dithered about whether to operate.  I’ll tell you about that episode in the next post. Soon!

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47 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – Sorry for the gap

  1. Keep writing Mary! Not sure I’ve ever said it but every time I read ‘goldfish’ I have a reaction to it. I understand the reason for using it. I find it interesting thinking about the reaction. So as usual, thought provoking!

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    • Thanks, Janette. I will keep writing – both the blog and the book. It’s been strange going back to the beginning – and trying to keep on the blog posts. I’m glad you find it thought provoking – it’s always good to provoke thoughts.

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    • Thanks, Alice. I’m both excited and nervous about it.
      I’ve been missing your posts. I’m longing to know if you arranged another meeting between Ralph and his grandchild.

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  2. This story feels important to me. I can’t say it’s a universal experience but so much of what you write strikes a chord with what happened in my parents’ situation. It would have been so helpful–or at least comforting–to hear about others going through so many similar things.

    For example, my father was very active and on top of everything going on around him. So when he broke his leg in a nasty fall, we were all at the hospital planning for his recovery, physical therapy, etc. None of us were prepared for him to go downhill so quickly–both physically and mentally–never to walk again. I’m

    So often in reading the Goldfish’s story, I’ve wished I could have had it back then. I’m so glad you’re doing the book. Can’t wait!

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  3. Well I enjoy if that’s the right word the world of the Goldfish and his tank monitor and think a book would be splendid. While my last years with mum had a different aspect they feel, often, as if they resonate and might warrant a memoir. Yet as you’ve described they don’t feel whole when I bring the posts together. There’s no obvious coherence. So I’ll watch how you get in with much interest.

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    • Tank monitor – I love that! I enjoy your posts about your mum (the one about her driving on the clutch is vividly imprinted in my memory) and often find myself thinking you should write a memoir. Sounds like we both face the same problem in trying to make what we’ve written come together coherently. Someone said I didn’t have to worry because dad had dementia and so jumbled writing would illustrate the incoherence of dementia. Well, maybe, but I think it would irritate readers.

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  4. Well Mary, I can’t wait for the book whenever you do finally get round to publishing it. I love reading about your dad. (you know why) and also I compare him to my mums situation too.
    I will treasure it when it comes out. ( a very odd statement I’m sure, but you’ll know what I mean. xx)

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    • Thanks, Ruth. And I do know what you mean about treasuring it. I’ll try my best to get it done by the end of the year – but don’t hold me to that. It’s not as straightforward as I thought it would be.

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  5. Thanks for this post Mary.
    I really enjoyed your frank discussion about the difficulty of stitching the varying narrative arcs and styles of the blog together into a coherent book. It is always interesting to hear about other writer’s creative processes and without wanting to sound mean, it is always great when someone says they find their ideas much harder to execute than they first thought.
    To me it means 2 things… one they are doing it right and 2 that when it is done it is going to be a well written and coherent piece of work that you will really want to read.
    Oh and 3 … that I am not the rubbish writer I think I am because other writers (who I have a great deal of respect for) have exactly the same problems!
    As they say a trouble shared is a trouble halved… or should that be misery loves company.
    Me, I hasten to add… not you!

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    • Thank you for your comments, Paul. I hope you are correct in what you say and that I am going to find the right way to do it – one of the biggest problems was where to start and how much back story is required. Having made a start I’m planning to keep writing, holding on to the belief it can all be sorted out later.
      It’s good to know others (see TanGental comment above) face the same problem and know it’s not just me!

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    • That’s okay – sending best wishes is as good a comment as any. I do hope you get your typing thingy sorted soon, though, as it must be very frustrating not being able to say what you want 🙂 Mind you, my typing thingy is functioning but I still can’t always say what I want!

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      • Know what you mean! I had my typing thingy checked out today by the typing thingy IT expert person. And guess what? It is behaving perfectly. Go figure! What was missing in action were the k,r and l. Do you know how MUCH those letters are used when you can’t access them. It certainly stretched my creativity in finding alternatives 🙂

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        • I can imagine how difficult it would be to say much without the k, r and l. And that’s so typical of technology to suddenly start behaving as soon as an expert appears! Glad it’s sorted for now.

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    • Thanks, Paul. That car must have been pretty special when you remember how much you paid for it. I have a box of old photos (many from dad’s army days) that I want to scan so perhaps I’ll do some posts using them. Let people see dad’s life wasn’t all dementia.

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  6. I think it is a great idea to publish this as a book Mary.. firstly because it is a story about family and love and secondly because unfortunately it is a story that will be played out more and more in the future. After six years with my mother I know about that feeling of loneliness.. but from your blog posts there was also love and humour. x

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    • I can identify with the whole process of getting a book published once it’s written. Last Train to Kingston seems to be almost on the verge of being launched, yet, so many little detail issues keep popping up and I’ve yet to even get it to a first galley. Your book will get finished when it does and it will be wonderful. So, no apologies necessary to those of us who are in the same boat. Now, if we could just explain to Roxie Dammit why her book has not even been started, life would be much easier around this place.

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        • Roxie will surely be writing again in June when we’ve put out the gazebo furniture. I’ve been trying to do some edits on the book today and she keeps walking over the keyboard when I’m not looking. She’s been threatened with imprisonment upstairs. Not a happy kitty right now.

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    • I seem to have left out the important part. As someone who spent six years compiling the memoir of my parents war years (published last year), I have enormous sympathy. There is too much material and organising this and thinking of the different kinds of readers and what they might wish to know or simply be interested in, makes the whole task immensely complex. You will get there. I did.

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      • I’m encouraged you think I’ll get there, Hilary, especially as you’ve already been along this road. ‘Complex’ sums it up very neatly. Deciding what to leave out is every bit as daunting as deciding what needs to go in.

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  7. No need to apologise, Mary. Life is life and it sometimes gets in the way of our writing. Publish posts when you can. Your readers will still be here and be looking forward to your next post. A book sounds a fantastic idea. I wish you much success with it. Hopefully, we can chat about it a little more, face to face, at the bloggers’ bash next month. Looking forward to seeing you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Hugh. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty if I don’t post regularly – it’s the same if I don’t read & comment on other bloggers’ posts! However, I’m beginning to realise it’s not my ‘fault’ when life gets inthe way!
      Glad you think turning the blog into a book is a good idea and, yes, we can talk about it at the Bloggers Bash. I’m really looking forward to it – only a month away now.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Don’t worry about getting off track, Mary, as it happens to all of us.. because.. well, life happens. It’s quiet then busy then.. well you get the point 😉 I look forward to the book once it all comes together, and there’s no rush xx

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    • Thanks, Christy. Yes, life does sometimes get in the way of things we want to do! It’s been a busy time with various things all needing to be done at once. I’m hoping for a quieter spell soon and can get on with the blog and the book.

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  9. Good luck, Mary. You’re right about the blog posts and I can only imagine the amount of work involved in turning it into a book but it will be a fascinating project. All the best.

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