April’s bounty, and showers, continue with this month’s collection of blossoms: pink columbine, purple rhododendron, red salvia, sweet woodruff, and the sweet perfume of lilacs and lilies of the valley . . . to name a few.

This month also marks a year since I began blogging again. Writing can be a lonely occupation, so thank you for following along with my writing journey, responding to my assorted wonderings, and gazing out my windows with me at the beauty that resides there. Your comments, suggestions, and questions have made me feel in community with each one of you. I look forward to continuing these conversations. (If you don’t already, please consider subscribing to my blog. Thanks!)

In addition, it’s been a year of tending to my health, including physical therapy and mental health therapy, and discovering I have a heart condition, atrial fibrillation, commonly referred to as AFib. Remember how tired I was in December? Part of being tired was three months of heart problems that I kept attributing to other things: anxiety, panic attacks, sleep deprivation, and dehydration. I have a cardiologist now, and medication, and some ongoing issues we’re still figuring out.

How am I feeling about my AFib? Disappointed. Frustrated. A little incredulous. I have a fairly sanguine attitude about aging. Gray hair—no problem. Some wrinkles—of course. A few aches and pains, and a bit less energy—better than the alternative. But heart problems? At fifty-nine? I was entirely unprepared for this. So, incredulous, frustrated, disappointed.

And in the grand writerly tradition that everything is material, two days after my diagnosis I wrote a micro essay about my AFib. I read that essay to close writer friends as a way to share my news while also sharing a piece of work. A piece of work I received feedback on, revised, and submitted to literary journals. Because that’s what writers do—keep writing.

Work: This blog has been a monthly part of my writerly work and as each one takes up two to four days of writing time and energy, I’m in awe of those writers who blog weekly while keeping up with their ongoing writing projects. For me, having the three sections helps focus and narrow the choices of what to write. Some months I have too much to say and jot notes for future blogs. It is rewarding to open a document for say, May, and find some ideas already there, even if they get pushed to another month or don’t get used at all. I’ve also given myself the deadline of posting on the last Wednesday of every month, which also helps keep me on track.

I’m fortunate to have a writer friend who gives me feedback on my blogs and her advice has been invaluable in helping me improve each one. Her questions push me to go deeper, to consider cohesion and threads, and to not take the easy way out. For example, the first draft of this blog didn’t have the last two paragraphs in the section above about my AFib. After the paragraph ending in “still figuring out,” I had “I’m mostly okay.” See the difference there? The facts of the matter and a quick I’m fine, let’s not talk about this anymore. Instead of the more satisfying, I hope, facts of the matter and how I feel about it, and what I did with those feelings.

 Wonder: Wondering where I’m at with my Armenian family manuscript? I’m wondering what counts as a draft of a book-length work. Writing and revising straight through from page one to The End? What about revising and re-ordering before reaching the end? Depending on the definition, I am on draft two or draft one-hundred-fifty-seven. That is because I compulsively Save As, creating a new draft of whatever piece I’m working on before I make any but the smallest of changes. What am I afraid of? Losing hard sought for words, labored over sentence constructions, threaded together paragraphs? I have rarely gone back to an earlier draft, and yet I can’t stop myself from creating an archive of drafts.

How do you track your drafts? Are you concerned about “losing” earlier versions?

Windows: The blooms of May.





































  1. Dick

    Laura , you and I are overdue for an afib convo .. along with several others you raise. Such as sticking with blogging!

    • Laura Rink

      Yes, let’s get together for a chat. Thanks for reading!

  2. Pat Sandidge

    What a difference it can make to have a trusted friend and colleague to encourage further investigation of our thoughts and feelings. I am sorry to hear of the heart issues. So glad you included those insights that assure me you will take very good care of your beautiful, wonderful self. Much love and big hugs-

    • Laura Rink

      Thanks, Pat. Love and hugs to you.

  3. Donna Mason

    Another very good essay. I’m sorry to hear you have AFib and am glad you are paying attention to it. Also, I commend you for all your “Save As” book writing. You never know which version you’ll really want until some time later. Keep up the good work!

    • Laura Rink

      Thanks for your kind words, Donna.

  4. Elizabeth F

    I’m more of a spreadsheet person than a writer, but “save as” is as regular for me as brushing my teeth. It’s think it’s saved me more than a time or two. I too love your heart and I’m thankful that you and others are taking good care of it.

    • Laura Rink

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Elizabeth.

  5. Cindy Jaks

    Your flowers are beautiful sister and your heart is too! So happy you discovered what was going on with your heart and are able to give it the attention it needs to stay healthy. I often “save as” over and over, from past panic of not saving and having to recreate, but usually save as the same title, so not so many files. Long as your computer has space I say save as many drafts as you like!! Love you!!

    • Laura Rink

      Thanks, sister. Love you!

  6. Linda Quinby Lambert

    An insightful, evocative piece, Laura. I’ve (mostly) quit saving previous drafts. I put phrases or paragraphs that I think I might use in a running log at the end of current work in a space labeled PARKING LOT. You’re right; we don’t want to lose our hard earned words.

    • Laura Rink

      Thanks, Linda. I love the PARKING LOT idea! Thanks for sharing.

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