Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"LAUNDRY" - A Relationship Thread

I invite you to read a short story, "Laundry" by Andrea Labinger,  selected for publication at Global Graffiti Magazine.  

This story, about relating to a loved one has special significance to anyone, particularly elderbloggers, who have been, are currently, or may be in the future, in a caregiving situation.  Though this story is fictional I've made an exception from true story accounts to provide this recommendation for your reading.    My reason for doing so is that the key nugget around which the story is built has been true for numerous  families I've known with loved ones requiring skilled nursing in the various health centers which I've served through the years. 

The question some loved ones experience  is how to relate to a father, mother, brother, sister, other relative, or even a dear friend whose very being -- the essence of themselves -- is slowly leaving the flesh and blood body that remains.  The loved ones  physical presence still requires care -- their eyes open -- they eat -- they drink --  they do not talk -- they do not respond if spoken to -- do they understand "I love you"? -- they sleep -- only to awaken again for another day as before.

Andrea’s story leaves most of these heartfelt thoughts unsaid, instead encapsulates how a relationship continues in such circumstances through a lifetimes memory thread.  

Anyone reading this blog is aware that shortly after I began writing here, I also began participating in a writing group, which Andrea recently joined.   Our writer numbers have ebbed and flowed during the years and even our meeting site has changed.  I've had the pleasure of listening to just about every sort of writing one can imagine from different types of prose to various styles of poetry.

Highly unusual life story memoirs have been completed and await publication, quite different but enthralling life stories are currently in the process of transcription and editing -- serious and/or humorous essays have entertained us -- both true and fictional short stories have been read.   Not everyone even writes with the intent of desiring their efforts be published whether in the traditional print manner, or on the Internet. 

This blog has traditionally shared other elderbloggers perspective in which we present only true stories and commentary.  The value has been that readers can identify with contemporaries current or past experiences as we travel life's journey.    I've even noted members of younger generations have commented appreciation on some blogs from hearing truth from older generations about the actual experiences of aging, including all aspects encountered, both positive and negative. 

Typically, fictional stories have a distancing factor, no matter how realistic the writing.  They generally do not have the intimate emotional impact on their reader as one's true story has -- even if literary license is exercised in the storytelling.

I've never intended this blog to be a forum on which my writing group members’ efforts or other blogger's professional writings would be presented.   I did introduce readers to a then-blogger, Mary Lee Coe Fowler's true story about searching for her long-deceased father she never knew.  Her book, "Full Fathom Five" had become a commercial publication.  I did so only because her story content had personal significance to me that I wanted to share here.

I do prefer presenting the actual reading material on this blog rather than just a story link, and I know that's what most blog reader's favor.    I know only too well that most bloggers are more inclined to read what is right in front of them, than click to a link of reading material on another site -- generally because of time constraints.  Often the blogger's intent is to return to the link later, but often later never comes.  Despite realizing a writer's material likely will not receive as much exposure as I and they might wish, I did finally present just such a reading recommendation earlier this year. 

"Daddy Dearest" by Sue Buckwell is an especially unusual humorous brief "Flash Fiction" story which is one of many written by this member of our writing group.   

Now, I am again, offering a link above to a more typical length fictional short story briefly described as simply "Laundry" that  I hope you'll have time to enjoy reading.


  1. I tend to click on links if I think the item will be interesting and if I have the time. I did click on one of your links the other day and found it interesting. I forgot what it was now, but I think it was a helpful site for seniors. Thanks, Dianne

  2. I rarely read fiction. One of my recent posts was about the memoirs I had read...

  3. Dear Joared, I read a lot of fiction and have ever since I was in fifth grade. For myself, I believe that reading fiction has helped me truly understand the human condition. Novels has helped me become more compassionate and understanding of the foibles of others. I am so grateful that I can read. Peace.

  4. Going to try to check out the link JoAnn....thanks. Other than blogs...I haven't read much lately....fiction or otherwise. ~Joy

  5. Wow. I enjoyed "Laundry"! (Haven't seen bluing for years, but I haven't looked for it, either.) I don't mind links (and you probably know XE is pretty link-heavy, especially these days). I'm impressed that you are so involved in a writing group. That's just one more way you're staying so alive!

  6. I was fascinated by your statement, "Typically, fictional stories have a distancing factor, no matter how realistic the writing." My siblings and I often have often discussed this topic, too. Two of us feel the opposite: the best fiction sometimes encourages such a strong identification with a character that there is no distance. You are that person, experiencing what that person does. Not all fiction accomplishes that goal, and not all even wants to accomplish that goal. We find the distancing in nonfiction. Yet, two of my siblings agree with you. They read only nonfiction. Isn't it great that we have so much available to us, that we can choose what we prefer, what touches us, makes us question the human condition and learn from those questions? I did follow the link and comment on Labinger's "Laundry." Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Linda, glad you read "Laundry" and left a comment. FWIW I enjoy both fiction and nonfiction, but my blog's content is another matter. Enjoyed reading of the discussion you and siblings have had about distancing. I really hadn't thought about the idea in depth when I wrote that statement. I was thinking of my blog and, like most other elderbloggers, that we try to stick to nonfiction in the telling of our, or others stories.

      True stories are what most readers, or elderbloggers, expect when they come to our blogs. Given that context of expectation for this blog, on reflection I still do think a nonfictional story here will be less distanced from the reader than a fictional one. Whether or not that is generally true, other than in our blogs, perhaps will be an interesting future topic for discussion here. Sounds like you and your siblings might have some interesting thoughts to contribute.