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When life gives you plots … and stitches

Sometimes you don’t have to look far to find the mysteries, the wonder, the tragedy or the ironies in life that make a good plot. My readers haven’t heard from me because of a recent tragedy. They are hearing from me now because of an irony.

As my Facebook and local friends know, my family lost my father in February. He has suffered from Advanced Alzheimer’s for several years, went into the hospital with pneumonia, then came out with a diagnosis of lung cancer. After a short, heart-rending struggle to find him a stable environment, we had him in a place that could care for him—he lasted one week before passing away, shocking all of us and providing me one of the greatest sadnesses of my life.

The pain of that loss is too fresh and deep to put into words. And while I’ve lost myself in working on book four to keep my mind off the negative, I’ve been unable to be write down anything personal. A good conk on the head is just the cure.

Last Friday, I kissed my daughter goodnight, climbed the stairs (she has a room in the basement), went to the kitchen for my usual big cup of water and woke up on the kitchen floor. My daughter, her friend and my husband were hovering over me with horrified faces. I just lay there not understanding what was going on until I moved my hand to my head and came back with a very bloody hand. I don’t remember how I tripped; I only knew I was faint when I tried to get up. I spent the next few minutes trying not to pass out with the help of my daughter, my husband, then the EMS personnel. I feel sorry for the poor EMS driver who listened to me babble all the way to the hospital as we worked together to keep me awake.

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Dreamstime

My husband and I were in the emergency room for about four and a half hours. I knew I was going to be fine pretty soon after we arrived. The dizziness passed quickly; a cat scan showed no damage; I just had a deep cut to the scalp, which caused the severe bleeding and probably the faintness. But as I lay there so long, chatting with my dear husband, who was trying to get comfortable in a little plastic chair, I couldn’t help being overwhelmed by the reality that after the last few years of being the one in that little plastic chair while mom, then dad lay on the gurney, it was me staring at the ceiling. I have only been to the emergency room once as a patient and that was when I was sixteen. It had been just five weeks since the trip with my dad to the hospital for pneumonia. Mom and I had sat that terrible night for 12 hours trying to keep ourselves positive and awake by doing crossword puzzles and waiting for dad to get a hospital room.

However, that’s not the irony. After everything was stable, I had my stitches and was waiting for release forms, I finally got up from the gurney to visit the ladies room. I realized then as I was shuffling out towards the restroom that not only was I taken to the same emergency facility as dad, I was in the very same room.

Guess I’ll do ANYthing to come with a subject for a blog!!!!

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Having Bob Swope as a Dad

Many of our readers can see what I got from being F. Sharon Swope’s daughter: creativity, great story-telling, compassion for people, which comes out in our characters. But some of you don’t know what I got from being the daughter of Robert Swope.Dad & Gena

My father was the newspaper editor of our hometown newspaper, The Edgerton Earth. From that experience, I was introduced to journalism and a way to use writing as a career. However, even more than that, I learned the meaning of the word “respect.” My dad was a respected member of the community. People always knew he had the town’s best interests at heart, just like they knew he supported the local sports team, teachers at the school, the churches of the community, the local clubs that were important to the citizens.  But even more important, my dad gained respect because he showed that respect to others – not just to the community leaders but to every person with which he interacted. Let’s just say, the only person in our hometown of Edgerton, Ohio, who was shocked when dad received Citizen of the Year was dad himself. I was not in the least surprised. Dad has always had this wonderful way of seeing the good in everyone, starting with his own children, and it comes out in everything he does.

The other thing I think I got from my dad was a wonderful thirst for the humor in life. Don’t get me wrong, here. Dad can be a grumpy old man—at 87 he deserves his moments of griping. And I definitely inherited his impatience with all-things-technical. But dad does not get upset with people, just things. He has cursed many a curtain rod that would not go up right. However, when it comes to people and the stupid things they often do, dad laughs much more often than he curses. He has known, all of his life, that laughing at people, including himself, is both therapeutic and the better of two choices. Why get upset with people just for being PEOPLE. Being human is a blessing, not a curse. I think this view is extremely helpful in my writing because it allows me to look at situations that happen or difficult personalities of people as plot lines and character traits. Stories are not born from great phrasing, wonderful descriptions, polished wording. They are born from the flaws and differences between human beings and what happens when they are thrown together in life.

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Mom knows by now how grateful I am to have inherited a small portion of her creative genius. I grew up with that genius, which has manifested itself in many forms. Writing is the first time I’ve been able to share in it with her. But I’m not sure Dad knows or could even begin to understand that I’m a writer—both in my professional life and now in my pursuit of fiction—because of what he gave me—my views on life.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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