Last time I participated in a workshop with Randy Susan Myers, I was struggling with the novel that is now awaiting its fate in the hands of a publisher.

It was also only days before my father died. My phone rang in the middle of someone’s reading. I answered it, because it was my father. I don’t know how he’d managed to call me. He was in hospice, and barely able to speak. I can’t really remember exactly what he said, except hello, and I love you. Probably not much more than that. That was the last time I heard his voice.

Everything is new now, in a sense. The world seems different without either parent in it. That whole generation of my family is gone now, I think, except for one first cousin once removed (possibly 2) who were much younger than my parents.

And now, a powerful hurricane is barreling down on the place my father lived, Fort Myers, Florida. I went there nine times last year, taking care of my dad, getting his house fixed up and sold, navigating health insurance and veterans’ benefits. It was worth every second I had with him.

So you see, it’s a good thing I’m going to a workshop today, to focus my mind on something over which I have control, although it doesn’t always seem like it. Writing a novel keeps me grounded. The characters live or die as and when I want them to (until they start to take over). It’s in my power to create a happy ending—or not.

And as I’ve said else-post, honing my craft is balm to my soul.

Tomorrow, I’ll share what I learn today.