A Journal

by Debra Spark
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Thank you for being tired of writing fiction, for being tired of reading fiction, and for writing this so that I too could read again.

Brilliant, Debra! Thanks so much for writing such an odd, funny, real and touching story--it was exactly what I needed to read.

I found this elegantly set out, with other peoples' lives and deaths and the author's own life and worries about death interleaved in such a way that I was drawn in to everybody's story. The diction and timing are that of a novelist -- which is what the best memoirs seem made of.

I understand why you choose not to write or read fiction anymore. Your journal entries concerning that time in your life show that you and your readers are better served by reflective reality. I too am opposed to using my time alotted for reading and writing fiction. Even my poetry and prose is based in fact. Thank you for sharing these days of your life with us. They are inspirational to me.

I couldn't help but recall the great collection edited by Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson called Dropped Threads: What We Aren't Told. And I must add, you're right to think of losing a mate before it's imminent--not that it helps much in the end. I've been deserting fiction too, though I believe firmly that the best includes the truth.

Thank you for this beauty. It encourages me to persist with my own stories. I know the writing is not effortless but it feels that to the reader.

Oh, I write and read fiction. I love it, in fact. I was just in a bad place with fiction when I wrote this piece. For some reason, I was having trouble entering fictional worlds then. I am happily in a different place now.

Debra, I'm so glad that you're "in a different place now," although where you were brought out a wonderful story. The first clue for people close to me that I was in a depression was when they noticed I'd stopped reading--fiction, magazines, anything. It set alarm bells off, and I was taken to the doctor. I, too, am in a different place now, mentally and geographically, but your story reminded me that with the help of friends and loved ones (even those who've left us or we've left behind), the bad places do pass by.

Wonderful. Thank you for the incredible, simple honesty.

I have been raising children for thirty-five years. At last I have an empty nest. I thought I would love the time and space this affords, but I am missing my littlest bird. Thank you for sharing these moments of your life. They remind me that I am a writer, as much as I am a mother. I can do this.

I enjoyed this story and I really like the structure. I tend to be old-fashioned when it comes to writing fiction, and I like to read old-fashioned stories, but this opens my mind to other ways of writing fiction.

Great stuff. I loved the bit about the pink-clad patient in the hospital who is trying to make others less anxious about her condition. Sometimes it feels like women are either midwives to, or responsible for, the emotions of others, a feeling which is simply exhausting.

I get the stuff about not writing. After beating one's head against the wall for awhile, art gets to be too much. But the desire to "say" something true never goes away.