Sunday, July 11, 2010


I'm having some tense trauma.

In the last post you may have noticed that I used past tense all the time I discussed Sir Guy's past experiences. But when I switched to what he was going through in season 3 my tense use switched as well. Past/past present/present.I was aware of it and left it alone on purpose.

But now I'm stuck with Casey's story. Most of it is told in first person, present tense. I'm using journal entries as the basic format. I've filled in the blanks or expounded on ideas, described techniques and therapies in contemporary past tense. I've added photos in this draft as well but that doesn't involve as much hindsight as the narrative asides.

When reviewing it the other day, it read strange with the back and forth of the tenses.; So I switched to present tense for the narrative and used italics for the journal entries. Perhaps, I've read it both ways too often but, neither one feels right. The first chapter is all narrative and past tense so it's possible that's what's throwing me off. It feels wrong to use present tense there as none of us had the understanding and awareness in the beginning that could only come from looking back at the consequences of our actions.

Here are two examples. The first is present/past:

As this was going to be a team effort, and to keep her both aware and involved, I asked Mom to keep a journal of the pup’s progress.His healing was her project, her idea and she’d fought hard to get him to us.I was concerned that she would feel left out once we’d gotten into the practical application of his therapies.Besides, he lived with her. She would be able to record more of his behaviour.

Mom’s Journal September 10/08
Casey joined us on September 9, 2008. He had his first appointment with Dr. Susanne Langdon who did an assessment and an adjustment. Dr. Langdon suggested that we contact Dr. Lisa Burgess, a veterinarian/acupuncturist for treatments which might improve the nerve damage in his leg. There is no feeling below the shoulder and Casey walks on his leg rather than his foot, with the leg bent upward. Moosonee Puppy Rescue’s vets decided the foot was fused backwards but Dr. Langdon says not so. Bones have not developed yet. The walking on his foot is a result of nerve damage to Casey’s leg. Dr. Langdon feels this may be correctable. Good news.

The second example is present/present:
Mom asked about his progress, mentioned Lisa’s prognosis of floppy foot forever. So Susanne brought out her reflex hammer. No real response. Out came the pizza cutter. He was so laid back – until she got to his baby toe (or that’s what it would be on a human foot anyway). The outside toe was sensitive. She ran it over that toe again and again from every angle and direction. It was the only toe to react but she felt the tendon contract every single time. He wasn’t all that aware of it but she said it was HUGE progress. Tomorrow we swim :)

Dad’s primary input into Casey’s therapies comes as the occasional driver, money man or hot tub assistant. The latter means he coaxes Casey out to the garage and the hot tub. Once I’m settled in the water, he hands the struggling pup over the side and into my arms. He also turns on the timer, hits the button for the jets and yells encouragement. Most of the time, he’s telling Casey to swim across Lake Ontario, chase the geese or head for shore. 

So which do you prefer?


  1. I guess I'm confused. It looks to me like the second example was all past tense except for the last sentence, which was future tense.

  2. Serves me right for not reading it twice.
    What threw me was the some of the writing was in italics while the rest was not. I thought the quoted material was the italicized.

    smato -- a smart-aleck that's been merged with a rotten tomato.