The Whalesinger’s Daughter

2017-08-28 11.47.31

I have finally completed what I consider to be a readable draft of The Whalesinger’s Daughter. I have sent this out to beta readers and am now patiently (okay, not so patiently) awaiting comments. I think it’s good. Not great. Not yet. But I think it’s close now.  I hope to have comments back by the end of January, and I’m guessing that it will take be a couple of months to complete the final draft. Then it’s off into the ether to find an agent.

The trip to Neah Bay last summer helped with finally getting this thing done. I’d been there before of course, but the town has changed since my last visit and it helped to reorient myself into that world. I also took a ton of pictures which I have been using both for reference and for inspiration. We went for Makah Days–the yearly celebration. Best fireworks show I have ever witnessed, as well as some great native dancing and song.

Makah Days is almost here and I can’t wait for the festivities. I must admit, I am looking forward to the salmon the most but am also interested to hear the songs and watch the dancing. We plan to leave Bend Thursday evening, spend the night somewhere north of Vancouver, and then drive the rest of the way Friday. We have planned five days at the Cape Resort, of which the first two days will be spent taking part in the festival, as well as exploring the town and visiting the museum. After that I’d like to do a few hikes along the coast, as well as drive down to Lake Ozette and take the walk out to the beach from there. In the days to come I will post of our trip as well as share pictures of the festivities and natural beauty of the area.

A Death in the Family

My father-in-law died Wednesday morning. He was having a conversation with his care giver when she noticed that he had stopped talking. When she turned around to check on him, she discovered that he had stopped breathing. CPR was initiated, an ambulance was dispatched. The staff at the facility where he lived tried to revive him but he never came back. Ken was seventy-six years old and his health had been declining for some time, but this still came as a shock to all of us who knew him. 

My wife called me as soon as she heard. At that point all she knew was that he’d been unresponsive for ten minutes, but that an ambulance was on the way. There was still hope at that point. Maybe they could save him.

I met my wife at the hospital an hour later, but by then it was already too late. Ken never regained consciousness. I found my wife and mother in law together in a small waiting room. The hospital chaplain was there as well. He asked if we wanted to see the body. My wife was unsure, my mother in law too distraught to make a decision. They ultimately decided that they did want to see him. 

The chaplain entered the room first with my wife and mother in law following. Ken lay on a gurney, his head tilted back as if he were looking up to the ceiling, or to heaven. His face was unshaven, his flesh drained of all color. My mother in law touched him and immediately pulled her hand away. My wife tried to look at him but couldn’t do it. She turned to the side, her chest convulsing, eyes now focused on the floor. 

Maybe it was good that we saw him, to know that it wasn’t a mistake, to see for ourselves that he was truly gone. But that image is one that I may never be able to erase. My father in  law when he had his health was a vigorous man, full of life and laughter. This final image had none of these things.

I’ve been married for twenty years. When I first met my father in law he was just a little older than I am now. Twenty years. Death is inevitable, and yet we spend our entire lives pretending it doesn’t exist. I’ve got twenty years to keep pretending. Is that enough?