Gina Lawless Books

October 20, 2012

Scary, But True

Bare with me here, because this thought leads to the basis of this post. A friend of mine asked me a few months back when I showed him my ebooks on my eReader (something he will never possess, he said). He asked me, “How do you write?”  The question confused me somewhat. What do you mean, how do I write? I put my fingers on the keyboard and tap away. “No,” he said. “How do you come up with these stories? Who taught you how to write?”

I had to think about it for a few seconds. I mean aside from my first grade teacher giving me the ability to be able to scrawl my first name on a piece of paper in the manner of pencil in fist as if carving something in stone. And my English teachers teaching me the fine art of the English language and its usage (something that still confounds me). I said to him, “No one taught me how to come up with characters and bring them to life. You either can, or you can’t.”

This friend I speak of can take a chunk of myrtlewood, and carve a beautiful piece of furniture out of it. So I returned the question to him. “How do you take a hunk of old wood, and create something so spectacular out of it?”

I can’t do it. I’ve tried, but it comes out looking like a dead headless fish after the birds have gotten to it.

He looked at me and understood and just nodded with a smile.

I believe we are all creative in one way or another. I am so envious of someone who can paint a gorgeous picture, or someone who can take a breathtaking photograph, or someone who can create lyrics and music. I suppose we can’t be creative at everything, but having at least one creative purpose that drives our hands and minds is the best that we can ask for.

And this got me to thinking about my sister and what follows.

My sister has no artistic creativity AT ALL. But, she has a gift for connecting with people. She had been a Registered Nurse for years, then went on to Director of Nurses. Her soothing personality has given her the ability to do her job impeccably. Something I didn’t inherit. On the most part, I can’t stand being around people, and was envious of her ability to connect with her ailing and aging patients. The smile that crossed their faces when she spoke to them softly often made me cry.

Which leads me to the Scary, But True topic:

I often wonder if my mother was to blame for my inherent loathing of being around ailing people. At the tender age of eleven, she took me to her place of work (she was a nurse as well) to Clovis Sanitarium, which is now Wolfe Manor and has been aired on Ghost Adventures, and Ghost Hunters, and touted as being one of the most haunted places in California. Anyway, she took me to work with her because it was a patient’s birthday, and she thought I’d have fun, and it would be fun for the patients to have a young person there for the celebration.

The moment I stepped into that horrifying place, I was mauled by crazy people. No, this was not an old folks home. It was an insane asylum. They tore at my hair, pulled on my arms, yelling and screaming for me to take them away.

Needless to say, I was horrified and ran out the building vowing never to return…and never to become a nurse. Bless those that can do it. Back then I didn’t know the history of that building. It was bad enough as it was, to see these people in such deplorable living conditions, shitting all over the floor where they stood, unkempt and filthy. Some walking around with no clothing on at all, some trying desperately to escape. No one wanted to work there, so the ratio of nurse to patient was minimal at best.

It wasn’t only the patients that scared the crap out of me. There was something about that building that put such a terrifying feeling in my gut. It was as if something black and evil was crawling inside the walls waiting to reach out and grab you. I kid you not!

My mother would come home from work and tell stories about things happening there that no one could explain. Before I went, I would think the stories were entertaining and enjoyed listening to them. Now, I sometimes wonder if whatever it was that was crawling in the walls somehow got into the minds of some of those patients. They were tormented by their own mental state, but what else?

This is my October horror story. Scary, but true. Oh, and yeah! Thanks Mom for damaging my brain for life!

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