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A Doctor’s Many Hats

I have taken on the task of writing 50,000 words for a novel in November (NaNoWriMo) and would have to carve time out of work or family [my posts are decreased by this new hat]. I can only wear so many hats.

But I am here, and my writing has been far more enjoyable than I expected. This is the time when it is easy to hit the wall (we get daily encouraging emails from successful writers to get us through this time), but I’m okay so far. I am writing about a doctor who encounters a very unusual patient. I am writing in the first-person, which was a good choice, as I know the first person of a physician intimately and stand no risk of getting those details wrong.

Here’s a bit of the first chapter:

As I entered the room, I was greeted by a man sitting in the chair across from the doorway.  He was looking down and grabbing at his foot.  I saw that he was wearing a hat – I was very curious to see what was so special about the headgear – but seen from the top it just looked black and round.  As I pulled the door shut and sat down, Mr. Woolsey continued his close study of his foot.

I cleared my throat to get his attention as I opened his chart on the computer.  “I’m Dr. Snooker; pleased to meet you…Mr. Woolsey?”  I held my hand out to shake his.  He continued staring at his foot, ignoring me as my hand waved in space.

After an uncomfortable pause, he looked up as if shocked to see me.  His eyes were wide with surprise and he breathed a in quick breath as those eyes met mine.  “Uh…yes….Dr. Snooker.  Yes, yes, yes….Dr. Snooker.  I knew you were coming to see me.  No, wait, I guess I made this appointment and you would be coming to see me then…” he said in a fading voice, ending in a laugh that was almost silent.

As surprised as he seemed, his surprise could not have matched mine as I saw the full-on view of the hat on his head.  After their brief stay at his surprised eyes, my eyes were drawn inexorably to the large black hat that stood…no, towered from the top of his head.  It was a generous tribute to Abraham Lincoln – a very tall, black, stove-pipe hat.

I couldn’t stop staring at it.  It was enormous.  How had he made it through the door into the exam room?  How had he made it through any building without hitting it on the ceiling?  It must have its own gravitational field.  It needed blinking red lights on it to warn low-flying aircraft.  I gazed at it and mused about the magnificence of the thing.

My gawking was ended by a throat clearing coming from somewhere below the hat.  “Dr. Snooker?”

“Ah, yes.  Mr. Wool Hat….I mean Woolsey.  I’m sorry.  That’s quite a hat you have on there!”

So far I’ve written as I have done my blog: off the cuff. But this morning I think I got the bigger picture of where this could go. Hopefully that will give me enough fodder to get me going again (I am at 13,000 words, but the past few days have been slower — partly due to a cold and a busy schedule, but partly due to a feeling of being stuck).

Like all NaNoWriMo writers, I want to write a wildly-popular novel that will change the course of humanity and bring peace and happiness to all. Isn’t that why we all write? But I guess I should just see if I have the constitution to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. Can this distractible mind focus enough to get this done?

Who is Mr. Woolsey, why is he so interested in his foot, and what’s the deal with the hat? We shall see.

This is not Mr. Woolsey, but simply an example
of what a large hat looks like.

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*


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