Thursday, August 24, 2006

Changes of Shift

The new edition of Change of Shift is up over at Emergiblog, and makes great reading, as always. Thanks for including me, Kim!

I'm also changing shifts myself. For the past year, I've been working Thursday evenings at the hospital. Because of my teaching schedule, I'm going to have to switch to Sundays. This will be my last Thursday.

I'm sad. I like the folks who work on Thursday, and I've even managed to worm my way into several of their long-term memories (given everything else the medical staff have to keep track of, I'm an extremely small blip on most of their radars). A couple of my favorite nurses work alternate Sundays, though, so there will be some familiar faces.

I've asked Chef Gary to bake cookies as a "thank you" to the Thursday ER staff for putting up with me for the past year. ("What's that mosquito on my radar screen, and why does it keep pestering me about ice chips?") Food is always welcome in an ER, and Gary makes one mean ginger snap.

I'm sure I'll become attached to the Sunday staff, too. But the change means that some Sundays are going to be very busy: there will be weeks when I'm preaching two services starting at 8:00 a.m., and then doing a service at an assisted-living facility in the afternoon, and then going to the hospital in the evening. Luckily, all of that doesn't happen on the same day very often! And since I won't be teaching on Mondays this year, I'll have a rest-and-prep day, and won't have to go straight from ministry-marathon into the classroom.

At some point I need to shift gears and start working on fiction again, especially since I have the very untidy first draft of a fourth novel sitting in a box in my study. Blogging is the literary equivalent of crack cocaine: you write something, you see it "in print" right away, you get feedback quickly. None of that's true of conventional publishing. On the other hand, holding a published book in your hands is a feeling blogging can't duplicate. I need to wean myself from instant-gratification mode and get back to my craft.

And the beginning of the school year signals a shift of seasons. When the cold weather comes, I worry about my friend A, not to mention all the other people living on the streets. This AP story about rising attacks on the homeless isn't much comfort.

I've been meaning to send A a care package -- and procrastinating, as always -- since I have his mailing address. I've collected some books for him, and I may send food, and I know he'd like a letter. (I haven't decided whether to send money or not. I have to figure out how to handle that.) None of this will make him any safer, but I don't know anybody who doesn't like getting packages.

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