Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Best Intentions

By Keith Fisher

Have you ever noticed that each of us spends our life telling others and ourselves we are going to do better next time? Doesn’t matter what it is, we are constantly vowing to complete a task, or do a good deed.

We promise we will visit our aged relatives, we promise to spend more time with our children. We swear that this will be the year when we finish our novel.

In 1993 my wife and I invested in a used video camera. It was a bulky affair, gigantic by the technology standards of today, but I digress. About that time my grandmother discovered we had it and told me to visit her so she could talk to her posterity on tape and tell all the family stories and legends. I promised I would.

As the years passed, I visited my grandma often but I never seemed to remember to take the video camera and tape her interview. A few years later, we bought another, smaller video camera, but I never took it to Grandma’s.

Grandma never forgot her request and I continued to promise, but never seemed to remember to do it. In 1999 Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her mind quickly faded. I remembered my promise but it was too late. I had failed in my duty. What could have been a wonderful blessing for my extended family was lost.

Shortly after the diagnosis, Grandma gave her grandchildren copies of hand written-stories and family group sheets she had been compiling for years. Almost as many years as she had been asking me to come and interview her.

When I received her gift, I browsed through the papers and found familiar information. Some of the info was new, however, and I filed it away for the future. My grandmother died in 2005 and I was asked to speak at her funeral. I went through those records looking for something I could use that would give her a voice at her own funeral, something that would express her love for all of us. I found some of those things in the stories she had written down.

After her funeral, I once again remembered her request. Tears flowed when I realized how much greater her gift would have been if everyone could see her speaking to them across time and from beyond.

Now I sit here trying to revise and edit five books in order to get them submitted to the publisher. I’m reminded of my procrastination and wonder why I allow so many things to distract me from my goal. Many of those distractions are vital in my life. Things like family, church, and the day job, but some of them are not.

I can’t imagine what will happen to my manuscripts if they are not published before I die. Perhaps there is a lesson we can learn from my grandma to not wait—to take matters in our own hands, to make sure our stories get published.

Good luck in your writing, see you next week.

1 comment:

Tristi Pinkston said...


I'm gathering up word counts from the BIAM -- how much were you able to get done?