Where has Dr. Gingermouse been? Well, in addition to the usual demands of working as a hospitalist during a pandemic, schooling the kids at home, and doctoring a dog with a toenail injury, I’m also taking a writing class. The class is asynchronous. Though I communicate with my classmates daily, I have never met them, even over Zoom.

Last week we worked on brevity. I love a rambling sentence peppered with misplaced commas, but our first assignment was to create a six word story. At first I panicked. But once I got going, I couldn’t stop. All day I was thinking in six word sentences so I grouped some of them together. (Possessed by 6, avoiding longer sentences. Meant individually, just kept coming, though. Defeating the purpose of spare prose?)

You might call it a poem but I haven’t written poetry since high school and I don’t claim to know anything about it. So we’ll call it a story. I wrote it on the day the United States reached 500,000 Covid deaths.

Day off, task list, check email
Household tasks overwhelm, please send help.
Tend neglected houseplants, sorry green friends
Guest bedroom, dusty sheets, no visitors
Freshly bandaged dog sighs, plays dead.

500,000 dead. Now do they care?
500,000 dead. Each one a someone.
500,000 dead. Some were my patients.
500,000 dead. All gone too soon.

Doctoring dog, plants, patients, not myself
Wallowing deep, taking steps to escape
Watching snow. Self-reflection. Need this.

Icy night, spicy vegetable hotpot, comfort.




And, while you’re here, you may as well know: Despite my better judgement I’ve continued to ski this winter. Other than a minor bump on the head and some very sore muscles, I’ve come a long way since this post from exactly a year ago. Most of that way has been down, and most of it in control of my pretty blue skis.

2020 bunny hill, practicing pizza turns
Ski class all 40s brown moms
Yesterday 1000 feet down no falls.

It’s all downhill from here. In a good way.