WIPpet Wednesday—A sad anniversary

I’m readying my first Russian historical, You Cannot Kill a Swan: The Love Story of Lyuba and Ivan, for republication, stripped of all the superfluous accent aigus in Russian names and words (plus a couple of minor edits). Until I’m finished checking to make sure everything’s perfect, I’ll be doing the going back and forth between two computers thing. Instead of converting back and forth between Pages, Word, and HTML, I’m just doing all the necessary changes in the HTML file on my older computer. The hyperlinked table of contents will be lost if I convert the document in and out of Word, since the current version of Pages doesn’t have that feature.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the cover designer I contacted about a revamped cover (based on the drawing I made, not something entirely new). I’m really anxious to hear back and see if the price is right, so I can see what kind of illustration she can make to improve upon my original. If I like it enough, I think I’ll ask her to do at least the cover for The Twelfth Time, which I may release later this year after all. I even found a perfect shot of Theda Bara to base Lyuba after for that cover (minus the torn sleeve):

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Today, 19 August, is the 12th anniversary of my car accident. Given the nature of the accident, it’s a miracle I survived, let alone got off with a severely broken tibia and fibula and some first- and second-degree burns as my worst injuries. I really believe my Southern Italian body type saved my life, since I had less distance to fall and more flesh to cushion the impact. A taller, thinner person might’ve been thrown or crushed. I might only be one-eighth Italian, but that part of my ancestry was strong enough to manifest in a short, zaftig frame (minus my tiny little shoulders and slim arms).

I’m also lucky only my right leg broke, since both were pinned under the backseat driver’s side wheel. My right leg rolled on top of the left and protected it. One of the child psychologists who saw me back in the Eighties believed I was right-legged, but I’ve become left-legged since the accident. My right leg’s final act as my dominant leg was stopping the car. If my leg hadn’t blocked that car from going any further, that old woman would’ve continued driving and possibly killed me.

Had I died at age 23, I would’ve shared my Jahrzeit (death anniversary) with Groucho Marx and Blaise Pascal. I couldn’t walk for 11 months, and had 7 surgeries (4 leg, 3 plastic) related to my accident.

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WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly bloghop hosted by K.L. Schwengel. Excerpts must be related to the date in some way. I’m sharing 27 lines, for 19+2++0+1+5, and relating it to a sad anniversary in my WIP. Aleksey, now almost fifteen, has awoken in the middle of the night a year to the day since he lost his parents, and has put on all the lights in his room. As he’s finishing up an abstract painting conveying his feelings and the nightmarish flashbacks, a panic attack strikes.

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Hoping to open some windows for fresh air, he went to stand up, but found himself paralyzed in place.  He could still feel his legs, but couldn’t compel them to move.  His hands shook as he rolled up his pajama pant legs and fumbled for the buckles on the right caliper.  This wasn’t successful either, as his fingers were shaking too badly to perform any sort of fine motor operation.

“What’s happening in here?” Mikhail asked. “Why are there so many lights on in the middle of the night?  I heard odd noises and went to investigate, thinking there might be a rodent.”

Aleksey opened his mouth to respond, but his throat was too dry to speak, and his tongue was just as paralyzed as his legs.  He struggled to raise his arm and point at the calendar.

Mikhail’s eyes softened. “It’s been a year since you lost your parents, hasn’t it?”

Aleksey could only nod.

“What are you painting?  That’s a lot darker and more abstract than anything I’ve ever seen you draw.” Mikhail looked down and saw his nephew’s rolled-up pant legs. “Were you trying to remove your calipers?  You’ve made too much progress to suddenly reverse it all now.”

“It’s the cellar.” He barely managed to utter these words. “If I put it on paper, it might leave my mind forever.”

Mikhail strode over to his nephew, knelt by him, and enfolded him in his arms. “Those memories will live as long as you do.  You can’t just compel them out of your brain by painting them, drawing them, sculpting them, or writing about them.  If I could, I’d put all your bad memories in a sealed iron box and throw it into the bottom of the ocean, but memory doesn’t work like that.  We have to live with all our memories, both good and bad, our entire lives.  We can’t just remember the happy times.  Ugly memories are part of who we are, and shape us into the people we become.”

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Aleksey and his great-uncle Grand Duke Pavel Aleksandrovich, who was murdered by the Bolsheviks with three other grand dukes in January 1919, just too late for Maksim Gorkiy to deliver a release signed by Lenin

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7 comments on “WIPpet Wednesday—A sad anniversary

  1. shanjeniah says:

    I’m so glad you survived your accident, Carrie-Anne, because the world is a better place for having you in it, and because I get the honor of calling you ‘friend’. Hooray for your body that saved you from even more traumatic damage!

    I feel so strongly for Aleksey, and I’m glad he has Mikhail, who is very wise. I wouldn’t be who I am without my tragedies and sorrows, and I choose to think that I’m a better person than I would have been without them.

    I hope Aleksey will find some measure of solace as he moves through this difficult day.

    Like

  2. Accidents are scary. I’m hoping you hear back from the cover designer soon, and I’m so glad you’re still around.

    Like

  3. best of luck with the cover designer. And I am SO GLAD you survived and are here! beautiful writing. ❤

    Like

  4. Adrian says:

    I’ve been there like Aleksey…It’s a good think he has his uncle there to talk to him about it.

    Like

  5. kathils says:

    Wow! Well done, right leg. Well done.

    I think I love Mikhail. I don’t know if I should. But I do.

    Like

  6. Pax Asteriae says:

    I love Mikhail too, he’s always so caring and kind in your snippets and takes such great care of Aleksey. And I’m so glad you’re still here with us, the world would be a much sadder and darker place without you.

    Like

  7. Cindy says:

    As I also experienced a nasty car accident back in 2001 where I fractured a vertebrae in my neck and breaking two bones in my ankle. It does remind me to keep strong and never give up. Cheers to surviving and being stronger afterward.

    Best of luck with the upcoming new cover and republication of your book!

    I love reading these snippets about the Russian royal family. I know a little of the history, but not a lot. I did have a fanciation with Anastasia. Even wrote a little poem back in college. Anywhoo… have a great week, Carrie-Anne!! 🙂

    Like

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