Posted by: penpatience | October 1, 2016


SI Exif





WRITERS WORDS: “Everybody has a book in them but in most cases that’s where it should stay.” –Christopher Hitchens


DO – DO NOT RECUSITATE (DNR)……..a story?

The expression, DO NOT RESCUSITATE (DNR), is most always associated with end of life choices often due to medical conditions or emergency situations. Also known as no code or allow natural death (AND), it’s a legal order written on a legal form or in a hospital to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in respect of patients’ wishes. Many elderly individuals have Health Care Proxies and/or Power of Attorneys indicating their decisions with regard to resuscitation—a most difficult choice under any circumstance. And then, there are people who choose not to address their demise but leave end-of-life to faith and destiny. (Note: A DNR does not affect any treatment other than treatment which would require intubation or CPR. Patients who are DNR can continue to receive chemotherapy, antibiotics, dialysis, or any other appropriate treatments.) I have a Health Care Proxy and DNR and mused about this topic one recent afternoon while sorting through an array of business folders. I thought about and asked myself why couldn’t end-of-life resuscitation also be relevant to stories and manuscripts?

My musing focused on DNR application because that very afternoon I received another nicely written rejection on a submitted short story. A story I thought, originally, was quite good. After countless rewrites, edits, two ending changes, two contest entries and submission to four fiction publications the story continued to be “declined.” The problem!  I couldn’t figure out why this particular piece was dying on the vine. It bugged me. I was ready to end its life– No editing– No revising—No additions—no deletions—no rewrites. Nada- No!  I was through with it.  I recalled the evening the light bulb came on and the title for that particular story emerged in a flash. Protagonist names jotted on paper ended with one standout name immediately chosen. The main character suffered from a painful thorn in her paw that continued to fester long after marital betrayal and the death of her errant husband. She never intended the volatile retaliation and revenge to cause any real harm but, unfortunately, it did. And unlike Sleeping Beauty, the main character was an aged non-beauty and “did not live happily ever after.”

The first time I wrote the story in required flash fiction for a minimum 250 words  publication, the editor advised she really liked the story, but not the ending… she passed.

The second time I expanded the story to approximately 500 words, submitted it to a contest, a nice rejection letter followed.  I was not “the winner.” And so on…..and on…

While I sit here writing this musing, the offending story lies in its titled folder, individual manuscripts matched with applicable “declined” letters, and has not yet hit the shredder. I ask you, my readers, should I attempt one more time to “resuscitate” this troublesome piece, or let it die its natural death?  It does not have a DNR.

Readers/Writers: What would you do?  Blog comments appreciated!

PS. For Health Proxy information and forms, there are many applicable websites: and are two examples.



  1. Never give up!


  2. Interesting post. This topic comes up in the writing context all the time, unfortunately. I had a friend who sold cars; his motto was “There’s a butt for every seat.” Which suggests that there’s just that one more outlet to approach. What would make the process less pointless would be getting some information about the outlets, like what they are interested in “this week”, to increase the odds of success. I’m not sure how to do that.


    • What comes to my mind is “there’s a customer for every house.” 🙂 It is difficult to find the right outlet for your work sometimes. I try to read an issue or two to see what is published, but still, sometimes it’s a crap-shoot. Thanks for responding. I appreciated your comment.


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