CI. Who Cares?

February 12, 2013 — The wind rattled the windows all night and kept me awake. My head rested on my pillow while inside a corps of Valentine’s blog posts whirled in the corners of my mind like dust devils. The choreography wasn’t right, the arrangement and rearrangement of words; I dozed, the windows rattled, I awakened: the syncopated music of the wind. All I composed tripped short of truth; my mind kept dancing around it. The ball was over, the gown rested on the chair, the cavalier had left the rose. It lay in the dim lamplight inside my mind, wilting, the deep blood-red edges of the petals crisping. I listened to the two striking clocks in the house toll the hour, and the next and the next hour.

Setting back the clocks to standard time last fall, I had turned the hands of Emma’s grandfather clock back rather than taking the time to wind it forward eleven hours. Now it strikes an hour short. I don’t know how to fix that. Is there some lesson here about wishing to go back in time to correct the past or to that one hour of life that was perfection?

So the two clocks are not synchronized. The only way to achieve clock synchronicity – resolving their striking the same correct hour simultaneously is through much thought, effort, and yes, a willingness to give time.

Synchronicity – my definition: a simultaneous occurrence of events, although with no discernable cause, logically previous thoughts and actions are the cause matured simultaneously to produce the effect.

With or without the presence of clocks, time passed this night. If you want to make time pass faster, bundle it, writes Nobel laureate author Orhan Pamuk, a writer of deep thought and density. Daylight came bundled in woolly gray clouds spilling rain down my bedroom bay windowpanes like profuse tears.

I arose, padded down to the kitchen and made coffee. I poured my coffee, added half and half, cinnamon and nutmeg, placed a homemade scone on a little plate and headed upstairs. Yes, I, not a baker because I never measure ingredients exactly, have learned how to make scones. Although not the perfection of my friend Bettielou’s scones, I make them with Bisquick, toss in some dried cranberries and black walnuts, stick them in the oven for ten minutes, et ici sur la plat – a scone.

Carrying my Delaware Wild Lands coffee mug, that I was given when I wrote a magazine story on that nonprofit, and my little plate holding its marvelous scone, I climbed the narrow winding staircase out of the kitchen up to my studio.

I sat at my computer and took refuge in my music. What to write for my Valentine’s blog, I mused. I sipped my coffee and bit into the scone.

Last year on Valentine’s Day I had received a furry Valentine, the traveling visitor cat I named Keats. He arrived on that blustery, snowy yet tender night just before Valentine’s Day, and stayed, until a few weeks after Emma’s death, just as long as I needed him. Then he returned to his family, I guess, for, still wearing his sage green collar with which he arrived, he went out one evening after dinner and I saw him no more. This year I have no Valentine; that is, no cat, no man, not even a man who owns a cat.

My Valentine gift this year, though, came through many persons – my author profile in our local newspaper: Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times. It is quite a nice story and through that and my related book signing at our downtown First Friday event February 1 – for my Begins the Night Music: A Dementia Caregiver’s Journal, Volume I – I sold a number of books. Not bad for a small town. Moreover, I received encouraging comments from fellow writers around the world. Presently I am working on Volume II, To What Green Altar, and expect to publish it in a few weeks.

At the same time (one might term it synchronicity), someone, without reading past the fold in my email, dressed me down one morning, prematurely emitting a razor-edged response slashing writing, and for that matter, reading, as worthless, self-serving stimulation, as no more than a constant rearrangement of words, like alphabet soup, meaningless to help others, climaxing as sleep inducing; and saying in effect, who cares? This wounded me deeply and will take a long time to heal, if ever completely. I trusted this person as one whom I perceived interested in what I thought and said. My mistake. That’ll keep this cat out of the kitchen.

My friend R sutured and dressed my wound. The next day the wound opened like a fissure during an earthquake and R re-sutured it. The Phantom of My Blog, Moriarty, passed by the open door at that juncture, glanced in and turned whiter than his normal shade of pale. He grasped the doorframe, leaned his forehead against it a moment, and then went on. He could not bear to face the mincemeat heart and the trampled spirit. Moriarty may have nudged me over the edge once, but he doesn’t get off on abuse.

Writing, the thoughtful expression of experiences or imagination in words, helps and comforts others. What if we all just stood around mute as if to say, “Hey. That’s your problem. Deal.”

Later, a member of our LinkedIn writers group wrote that she couldn’t understand why Hospice let a close relative in the final stage of cancer suffer, starved him and why he couldn’t be euthanized to end his suffering. From my experience with Emma and with my stepfather, who died of stomach cancer, both under Hospice care, I replied that Hospice’s mission is to make the patient comfortable, increasing morphine dosage as needed. When you are dying, I wrote, your body shuts down; all the organs shut down gradually. Hospice and doctors do not starve the patient. In that state, too much food would overwhelm the patient’s body. Near to death, one can survive on a very small bit of food every two or three days. Emma’s Hospice doctor and nurses reiterated this.

Next, I welcomed a woman writer to our LinkedIn group who had been caregiver to three people. This woman had questions of frustration and guilt, as many caregivers do. I address this subject when presenting my book to caregivers’ organizations. I told her these feelings are a normal part of the caregiving experience. In turn other writers in our group expressed their compassion and shared the wisdom gained from their caregiving experiences. Our discussion group that I started a year ago now has 5,400 postings from around the world. So, through our writing, we’re helping someone. Caregivers need someone to tell, someone to write it to; no one else will listen; they find it tiresome. We listen unconditionally and give support.

I can only write from the level of wisdom and craft I have achieved. From that station I hope my thoughts and words help, through knowledge, compassion or just plain entertainment. As I experience, practice and become more enlightened, I will write from that higher station. All I ask is that you read below the fold before prematurely emitting a response and then falling asleep.

Sometimes through journalism a chance to physically help arises. I have encountered such situations and have taken action as I could, mostly through writing a newspaper or magazine story. I truly hope my actions and words help others. That is my sole mission. I act spontaneously, without thought of return.

Anderson Cooper, in the midst of reporting on the Haitian earthquake, dropped his camera and ran to pull a bleeding child out of danger during a shooting. I witnessed this event on TV. The child had been hit on the head by a concrete slab thrown from a roof. Cooper saw it happen.

Cooper said, “Some journalists like to be strictly observers, they don’t intervene, they don’t participate, they just document what they see, even if what they see is terrible. But the way I see it, journalists don’t exist in a vacuum. They are human beings, living and working in a very human environment. And that humanity is essential in relating to their stories. When you lose your humanity, you lose any kind of journalistic integrity you have left.”

My point. When you lose your humanity, you are a voyeur to the suffering of others. I consider that selfish.

Leo Tolstoy said, if you help one other person, you are helping the world. Maybe words provide for you simply an escape into a good novel, or a great television series, such as “Downton Abbey,” superbly written by Julian Fellowes. Writers will tell you that you can put more truth in fiction than you can in nonfiction. Storytelling is as old as humankind. Any writer will tell you that if he or she is prevented from writing he or she will explode. You do not want to be around a writer who is prevented from writing, trust me on this one.

Who cares what you read and write as long as your heart is in the right place.

Happy Valentine’s Day, R.

—Samantha Mozart


20 Responses to CI. Who Cares?

  1. patgarcia says:

    Hi My Friend,

    In response to Who Cares? Let me answer, I do and so many other writers who have the vision and the inner spirit to realize it is not all about us and our small little world.
    Thank you for a very interesting article. I like the way you began it with your thoughts on Valentine Day. I am not a Valentine person because as a teenager no one ever gave me a Valentine heart, even tough I yearned for one. So your beginning was superb.

    Then linking your article up with synchronicity was another tease that tickled my interest in what you had to say. Wonderfully written and a soft introduction into your paragraph on being dressed down. Even though people exist that are so focused on themselves and what they do that they are not interested in others, I find it also hard to take unwarranted and unfair criticism. It is like a punch in the gut and you wonder why did I say anything.

    Let me reassure you as others have already done that you are on a mission, and if you don’t do it, no one else will. Your writing, your selfless desire to help others is changing the world one person at a time. Keep up the good work and keep on writing. Don’t ever let anyone rob you of your purpose in life.

    Finally, I love your closing with Anderson Cooper. I think that says it all and I am so happy that you posted it.

    I really enjoyed this article and I hope you get your clocks back to striking at the same hour.

    Love you, Carol.

    • sammozart says:

      Patricia, I cannot even begin to tell you how much your thoughts and words here mean to me. I am so blessed to have such supportive and caring friends such as you, you who take the time to read what I have written, all the way through. Yes, as Leo Tolstoy said, help one person and you help the world — one person at a time.

      My very big Valentine’s heart goes out to you with much love, Patricia. My eyes well with tears at your heartening words. Thank you.

  2. Bettielou says:

    Once again I am in awe of your gift of words. Thank you!
    Happy Valentine’s Day! Your many friends care for you. Anyone who has one true friend is indeed blessed. You have many.

    • sammozart says:

      Thank you, Bettielou. You are very kind. And you are among my closest friends. I will never match the quality of your scones, though. 🙂

  3. Val Rainey says:

    My dear Samantha…all I can say is Wow!

  4. Gwynn Rogers says:

    Yes, Carol, this piece is definitely a tribute to your dear heart, your caring for others, and your excellent craftsmanship… Ok, Moriarty made me write that. I loved the flesh and blood you left on the paper, and hopefully your tears will dry soon. What an incredible tribute you have produced! You define wisdom and caring in your writing and we all can benefit from what you teach. I have learned a great deal from you. So thank you!

    • sammozart says:

      Thank you, Gwynn. One might say I was pushed into making this tribute — my reaction. I learned from this experience. Just remember that I learn from you, too. Good teachers learn every moment they are teaching. Yet I wasn’t thinking about teaching here, rather supporting writers, writing and readers.

  5. T. J. Banks says:

    Wow, she said. And wow. This is powerful stuff, Samantha, and should be required reading in every writing class.
    Congratulations — you’ve just rallied the troops!

    • sammozart says:

      Gosh, thank you, T.J. I will try to remember to include this when I teach writing. And I am rallying the troops against what my friend R terms book burning. Books are people’s souls, writers’ souls. Burn their books, you steal their souls, and the souls of the seekers.

  6. Susan Scott says:

    I care, you care, many care and may many more care, Carol. You, I, many know this even when apparent that there are those who don’t care. It is how it is and those who do care know the value of this; it is never doubted or questioned.

    I remember Anderson Cooper and his automatic helping the young girl who had been badly injured. The starfish story that Dianne posted says it all. Small acts of kindness make the world go round. As do words, carefully crafted, such as yours.

    I love your Valentine’s blog – you have and do the gift of giving whether it is Valentine’s Day or not. You give every day, every day is Valentine’s Day whether Wednesday, Sunday or Friday.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Moriarty! Thanks for looking after our friend Carol … she is valuable to all of us. She keeps the clocks clicking and clocking, and who cares whether they are on time or not? Just so long as they don’t stop.

    • sammozart says:

      You have the gift, too, Susan. In fact, you inspired this post, as you can see. So, thank you. We carers and Roos and writers are valuable to each other.

      Moriarty appreciates the Valentine’s Day wish. He is blushing.

  7. sammozart says:

    “For truth is truth though never so old; and time cannot make that false what once was true.” Let us hope. –Thank you for this, R. Thank you for your compliment. It took me long enough to write this one — “one hundred false starts”, as F. Scott Fitzgerald so aptly wrote.

    I trust the wine and Tchaikovsky made a fine bouquet. Let’s raise a glass and hand a rose to every writer of truth.


  8. Dianne says:

    Dearest Carol,
    You are fortunate to have R in your corner, good friends are hard to find. And, Happy almost Valentines Day

    • sammozart says:

      Yes, R, has been a special friend for many years. How lucky am I?! Besides, he’s the one who gave me the heads up that Moriarty does not dust. 🙂

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, Dianne. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  9. Dianne says:

    Carol, as I read this I did not know what to comment on first. By the end of it, all I wanted to do was sooth you as you have soothed so many others. It pains me to think that someone hurt you and perhaps questioned intentions that are pure or the wisdom of your words.

    We all, I think look to a time in the past considered perfect. In that backward glance, we can make it whatever we like. We can look past the pain of a situation and consider the good that must have surrounded it somewhere. At least that is the hope.

    I love that your author profile is in your local newspaper. Many more will be touched as a result.

    As to the one doing, the “dressing down” I usually look for a positive in things, but for the life of me there seems nothing positive about what was offered. Is this person, perhaps jealous of your abilities?

    Please, look past this obvious personal insult, and think of all the people that you help with your writing. When I was struggling with my Mothers Alzheimer disease in 1990, and beyond, groups of this nature was non-existent. The doctors could offer little in the way of help, or hope for that matter, and we were left to go home and try to figure it out. Alone and afraid.

    The hope and help that you so graciously offer is immeasurable and in no way should one of questionable intent ever diminish it. The information that you provide helps in so many ways, but primary to me, it is that we are not alone and a place exists where we can express things most others would not understand, or appreciate for that matter.

    I know wounds like the one you suffered take time to heal, but I sincerely hope that the love of those in our groups and those that reach out to you becomes a healing salve and speeds your recovery. Moriartry felt your pain and thus became pale.

    The stories you share help so many, and I am reminded of the small boy at the seashore throwing back little, stranded creatures into the surf. His grandfather told him he could not save them all, it was meaningless. His response was, “I can’t save them all but to the ones I do save, it means everything.”

    The same is true here and there is no question about those you help save……………….

    • sammozart says:

      Your comment is very wise and comforting, Dianne. Thank you for saying all that you have said here. I love the story about the little boy at the seashore. This is a story that should be known full well to those who engage in helping all sentient beings.

      I know how very fortunate I was to have the help I had — ultimately — caring for my mother. In that sense, we were lucky that Emma’s dementia didn’t occur until it did, in the mid 2000s when she was in her 90s. Also, our living in a small state, and one with available funds during the economic crises greatly helped. That and my persistent nagging.

      Such a deeply thought and well-written comment. I so appreciate it.

  10. Robert Price says:


    I prefer to let the tears roll over my fleshy cheeks. When I approached the end of the first paragraph, at the part where the blood red edges of the petals were crisping, I decided to open another bottle of wine; this installment has certainly proved that it deserved another pour. I hesitate to say that you have outdone yourself, but perhaps you have.

    I raced through my first reading to Tchaichovsky blasting away: Marche Slave then Swan Lake.

    I thank you a thousand times for your willingness to bundle your thoughtful thoughts in this masterpiece. Your arrangements of thoughts and words are inspiring. Don’t worry about finding the truth; the truth has found you.

    “For truth is truth though never so old; and time can not make that false what once was true.

    –The Earl of Oxford

    This, “CI Who Cares”, is the most beautiful Valentine anyone could ever receive. Thank you for sending it.



    • sammozart says:

      “For truth is truth though never so old; and time cannot make that false what once was true.” Let us hope. –Thank you for this, R. Thank you for your compliment. It took me long enough to write this one — “one hundred false starts”, as F. Scott Fitzgerald so aptly wrote.

      I trust the wine and Tchaikovsky made a fine bouquet. Let’s raise a glass and hand a rose to every writer of truth.