Thursday, January 10, 2008

It Boils Down to Sentences

It's been hard to get back to writing. A New Year's romance, Living History, organ donation training (more on that later). Now Mardi Gras is upon us.

When I need to find my way back to the path, I go back to the basics. Reading good fiction, reading about writing, and yoga. Currently I'm reading A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler, which I began, what, a couple months ago? Back to it. Also re-reading my second favorite nuts-and-bolts fiction textbook, The Art of Fiction by John Gardner, who is very much a role model. On Moral Fiction resonates very strongly with me. Gardner is querulous, opinionated, and practical. However my first favorite nuts-and-bolts fiction textbook is Steering the Craft by Ursula Leguin. It all boils down to sentences.

I've been practicing yoga again, regularly for a couple weeks now. My low back hurt during the Living History project, and I did stress my back with yoga, so took a break. Now my back is healthier and more pliable, and I'm into a pleasurable routine again. Signing up for a gym membership, hopefully tomorrow.

The organ donation thing.
I had an acting job last week that was intense, and paid well. A Seattle company hires Improv actors to conduct employee trainings. We enact scenarios that simulate real-world, high stress situations. The world in this case is organ donation. We worked with grief counselors and nurses to help them approach grieving families to broach the topic of organ donation. Time is critical. 92000 people wait for organs right now. The actors create a safe environment for the counselors to work, within the context of highly-charged emotion.

I took the news 21 times, and sobbed each time. It was exhausting. The body doesn't know the difference between real grief and stage grief, if you're really feeling it. I was. Each time.

I feel like I did something positive, meaningful in a measurable way--lives saved. Since this training program began in October, consent rates in Louisiana have increased from 43 to 73 percent. One consent can save 7 to 50 lives, including bone and tissue donations. I'll gladly do the work again.

1 comment:

Steve said...

What kind of organs do you need? I don't think I need my gall bladder and I have heard we don't need our appendix (appendices?).