Where I choose a paragraph at random and rattle on about it however I want. Today I’m taking a paragraph from a short story written by Elizabeth Hall called The Swimmer. I’m not sure I understand the story but it’s nicely written. The paragraph really hits home at the moment:
His eyes are like my father’s eyes when he lay frightened in the hospital bed. He was small and wrinkled against the white sheets and his hair had fallen out. I opened my mouth so speak, but no sound came out. I never did say what I wanted to say.
A very emotional paragraph. I little to say about the writing as I don’t think it could be changed in anyway. It is emotional and we all have a father or a father-figure to remember.
I do want to point out the last sentence. Especially now, with the COVID figures that have been announced today, and especially now as there are so many nursing homes being pillaged by COVID. And even more especially that we’re not allowed to see our loved ones. Tell them now what you have to tell them. Let them leave with good memories, or let you leave with good memories of them.
The previous sentence hit home for me. Some years ago I visited my aunt in hospital. She was dying and everyone knew she wouldn’t last much longer. I visited thinking this might be the last time I’d see her alive. I admit I cried through most of the few minutes she let me stay i.e. ‘I opened my mouth so speak, but no sound came out.’ I just hope she understood how much I would miss her.
On another note. Some months before my aunt died she gave me a plant. It sat on her landing getting good light and I was told it was watered frequently and regularly but hadn’t flowered for six years. I took it home, refused to put it inside and dumped it next to my driveway. It did nothing, partly because it wasn’t sentient. Someone accidentally ran over it with their car, I’m not admitting anything here. After repotting it and moving it a few metres it started flowering. From zero flowers to thirty plus. Obviously it liked being run over. I was able to take a photo and show my aunt.
What I do like about this paragraph is the imagery. Where the father is small and shrunken in the white hospital sheets. It’s exactly what happens when you’re old. So to put it in a story gives the impression of a great age.
And you might have vaguely noticed this is a very self-indulgent. This story is well worth reading, as is the entire magazine. It’s Volume Five of Verandah. A magazine would make a great lockdown present, in fact, a great present for your budding writer.