Truth in Fiction

While not everything is true in fiction – hence the word – writing is based on what I know. It’s a guessing game. The following is the first draft of a dialogue from The Ark:

“I ruined my knee when I was a kid, skiing in Vermont, torn acl, mcl, everything. I had arthritis after that. No cartilage, 15%, something like that. It was just bone on bone. I had to have a replacement.” Taken while hiking the length of New Zealand He cut the seal meat into strips, twirled one length around his thumb and chewed. “I sat on the edge of the plastic mattress in that green paper dress and the surgeon drew a pair of red x’s on the side of my knee. There was a nurse with a clipboard of forms and the anesthesiologist with more. Everyone was wearing those plastic shower caps.” He pulled a bit off. It looked like fur. “And then I decided I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t going to surrender. I wouldn’t sign. The surgeon stood in the doorway with his arms crossed. He explained everything to me like I was a child. But I wouldn’t do it. And so he left. Everyone did. No one came for a while after that.”

“You didn’t have the surgery?”

“No.” He thrust his hands back and forth in front of him, miming. “I did the elliptical instead.”

“What’s that?”

“The machine. I worked out every day and took cartilage pills.” He ate the rest of the meat. “It’s fine now. Still. No running though. I can only dream about that.”running beach

“You were afraid you’d die?”

“I don’t know about that. I don’t know. I remember the feeling as a kid, when I had the first surgery. I woke up cold. They had monitors attached to my chest. I wasn’t going to surrender just because they said I should.”

“I broke my hand. They put me out before I knew it.”

“You have to sign.”

“It was in Newfoundland.”

He tore off another strip. “It’s probably better like that.”

I did ruin my knee in my younger days and use the elliptical daily; however I’ve never backed out of a surgery, skied in Vermont nor eaten seal meat…as of yet.