Minutes and a Million Things

Preface:

As I have not blogged in awhile, the writing challenge seemed like a good way to get back into it.

Here is something republished, an attempt to re-spark my inspiration. 

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I stand in front of you

With a million other things on my mind

You hold the pill in your hand

I wait for you to lift it up

And please, please swallow it.

I hear down the hall an IV alarm sounding

Going off again

I know that the patient across the hall

Soon will be wanting pain medicine.

I’m sure the patient two doors down

Has died

Did I see her today?

I look at the clock

And panic.

Your hand is shaking as you lift it up

I think hurry, hurry, hurry

Please.

(I care, you understand, but I have those million things)

You lift it up and into your mouth

I hold the cup and you swallow

Slowly.

My name is paged

I have a call

(and oh, I  think, I hope the other one didn’t fall)

Then I realize

You are looking at me

“Thank you so much”

you say

“You have been so good to me”

And then I remember

I hope,

Ashamed

What it is all about

So I sit

(On the edge of the bed like I’m not supposed to do)

Hold your hand

And say

“Oh, no,

Thank YOU.”

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Words, Sentences and Headaches

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I love words. I love needless, excessive words and sentences full of fluffy adjectives and flowing adverbs. For example, I could have written the above sentence as:

 “I love words and sentences with adjectives and adverbs”

 instead of how I wrote it.

But it was so much more exhilarating to add the words needless, excessive, fluffy and flowing to my sentence.

If I was to go back and analyze all of my blog posts, I know that I could strip and cut until my sentences were stark, cold and bare. But I love my words.

However, my writing always needs improvement, so I took the challenge and dug into my blog post Practical Advice for the New Nurse.  Pulling out section #16, I noted it to be full of extra and possibly needless words written by a zealous word hoarder.

The chopping of the words and the clarifying of the section proved liberating.

No, wait.

 How about:

The stripping of the section was liberating.

At least, the finished product appeared liberated. I am not so sure if that same could be said for the process. Or for the writer!

I am going to show you my process of how I stripped section #16. If the stripping was a success- the answer is for the reader.

Section #16 originally read as follows:

You will get a headache during orientation. Possibly multiple headaches. You get a lot of information thrown at you at once. Bring your appropriate headache solution, such as over the counter drugs or caffeine. Write a lot of things down and don’t worry about not knowing or retaining everything right away. You will not remember it all. That is ok.

Taking the first two sentences, a headache is a headache. Once you get one, who cares about more? Multiple headaches at one time? Absurd!

Cut. Cut. Cut.

Down to.

You will get a headache during orientation.

 

True, and to the point.

Next:

You get a lot of information thrown at you at once. Bring your appropriate headache solution, such as over the counter drugs or caffeine.

 

Were all those words really necessary? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I just say:

You get a lot of information thrown at you. Bring drugs.

 

Then again, what if someone thinks I am advocating illegal substances? I can’t have that?!  So I fix the sentence again.

Bring something for the headache.

 

 I leave the sentence at that.

I then come up to another lengthy sentence:

Write a lot of things down and don’t worry about not knowing or retaining everything right away.

Now, with my newly acquired cutting power, I strip this sentence down. Ruthlessly. I make it two sentences.

Write everything down. Don’t worry about retaining it all.

Then I breathe a sigh of relief when I see my last two sentences.

At least here I was simple and concise.

Until I see two words I could convert into one.

You will not remember it all everything.

That is ok.

I survey the finished project. Section #16 now reads:

You will get a headache during orientation.

You get a lot of information thrown at you. Bring something for the headache. Write everything down. Don’t worry about retaining it all. You will not remember everything. That is ok.

 

And it is complete. Advice #16 stares back at me; concise, precise and stark in its adornment free state.

And I am fine with that satisfied.

Until I  bring myself to do it again.

And when I do it again, I’d better have drugs.

No, wait.

And when I do it again, I’d better have drugs something for the headache.

 

 

“Most of the sentences you make will need to be killed. The rest will need to be fixed. This will be true for a long time.”

~Verlyn Klinkenborg from Several Short Sentences about Writing