I lay down tonight to rest with chills along my spine after a friend sent me a photo of the letter she was given by her work that allows her to leave her house and go to the nursing home where she works, explaining that she is essential to the care of her patients and must be allowed on there road. Another- in a different state informed me she had just gotten back from a walk and received the news that after 4:30 this afternoon she would not be permitted to leave her home for at least the next few weeks.
I feel as if I am living in a movie. It is too surreal. I I am sure it’s only a matter of time before these restrictions are in place in every state. When it hit me that ‘they’ could effectively lock us in and basically imprison us in our own homes, I felt a wave of panic wash over me.
It is with these thoughts and circumstances in mind that I will say to you tonight (and remind myself to practice tomorrow and in the days to come),
‘1. Be safe out there- and guard yourselves.
2. Love each other.
3. Remember that everyone is feeling the same fear and uncertainty that you are, so be compassionate.
4. If someone is on your mind, by all means, reach out. Yours may be the voice they need to hear on the other end of the line tonight.
5. ‘Do unto others, as you would have done unto you.’ Matthew 7:12
6. We are all in this together and that is how we will get through- together. It’s the only way.
7. Be patient. God’s timeline is not the same as ours.
8. Squeeze in some quiet moments and decompress with some deep breaths.
9. Remember God has your back and you can talk to him anytime you need.
10. It feels so different when I say to myself, ‘I’m isolating for health reasons.’, than when I say to myself, ‘They’re going to lock me in! ‘ I think I prefer to keep this voluntary… if at all possible. I may have to reframe that train of thought in my mind many times before this is over.
⁶Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4 6-7
Today- this new life we are all in now- together and ‘socially distanced’- It’s hard. Each of us is figuring out where we are on our own. We are not all in the same place or of the same mindset. I need to take a time out.
Today-I choose to quarantine myself and my household because of the love that I have for you.
Today- I am frustrated by the people out there that still do not believe that the Corona is a real thing. It’s ‘just a cold’, I have heard. It is ‘natural selection’ and ‘population control’. ‘Only old people die’… ‘It’s just something made up to panic the people.’ I have heard some ridiculous things.
Today- I am grateful for the ‘old people’. I love my old people. My mom and my dad. They’re my old people. My grandparents are gone now, and honestly, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about them through this. Do you have old people? Grandparents? Aunts, uncles? People with heart problems, diabetes, cancer? Immuno-suppressed? Do you know anyone like that? I do.
I am grateful to the ones who are wise. The ones who are smart enough to know to have toilet paper and canned goods in their cabinet. The ones who plant gardens and can teach us how to can food and use leftovers and who know how to get by with what we have on hand. The ones with the knowledge and wisdom to get us through whatever comes after this quarantine that half of America is not abiding by. I love old people. They have great stories. They have lived lives, raised children and grandchildren. They have been through recessions and depressions. They have fought the wars that allow us the freedom to not abide by quarantines. They fought the wars that allow us to disregard common sense and turn around and put their lives at risk.
Thank you to the ‘old people.’ I was taught to respect my elders and to abide by them. It’s the way I was raised. Maybe that’s just me, I don’t know.
Today- I will respect my elders by staying away from them. And everyone else. In the hope that his thing will run its course as quickly as possible. And we can get to figuring out a new normal. And it will be a new normal. Things will not be the same.
Thank you, old people, for the life lessons. I, for one, was listening.
Today- I would appreciate if others respected my wishes and showed their love by NOT coming by. By not going in and out. Thank you for showing me your love in this way. For today. I’ll be happy to see you when the danger has passed.
I have been to the airport twice in the last 10 days, dropping off and picking up and getting everyone where they needed to be. I have been to stores and stocked up like the rest of America. I have potentially been in contact with many, many people from many regions. Because I love you, I ask you to stay away. Because I love your grandparents and don’t want to be the reason you lose them, I will stay in my house. You’re welcome.
Today- I know that I am not the only one who is anxious. I know I am not the only one who is frustrated, bored, hating the smell of Lysol and tired of the dryness left in my hands from all the handwashing.
Today I am trying to take a moment to talk to God when I get frustrated and afraid. Afraid of the future that I have no control over. We can’t be afraid of that. To remind myself of that I talk to God. I ask him to slow me down, I ask him to put His words in my mouth, because I tend to speak before I think sometimes. I ask him to not let me think crazy thoughts about now and the future. I’ve read my Bible. I guess maybe we should have been expecting this. We just didn’t know what it would look like.
Today I know this. He has us. If we talk to Him, listen for Him and obey Him- He will be here and we will find him. Then there is the God willing part- of course- I have to know that if God doesn’t want something that I want, I will not get it and I have to be okay with that. I have to not fight him and still try to get what I want and I have to stop more often and reassess my steps.
Today I know this. Battles are not won by armies of soldiers who think each of them knows best. God’s battles are won by armies of soldiers who are willing to obey and trust in Him. I am willing to do this. I will not argue.
That’s a good thing to do in this quarantine- slow down. It won’t hurt anyone. Spend time with the people in your house, get to know them better. Play games- if you’re lucky you can go out in your yard. Rake, look at flowers, get ready to plant something. Shovel snow- spread it out in the driveway so it melts faster, so you can see grass sooner- whatever- no one says you can’t do these things. Enjoy meals together- by now I’m sure there is enough food in the cabinet- play Playstation or X-Box, do some puzzles. Clean your house, throw things out, rearrange the furniture. Whatever. Do projects you have been putting off. I’m sure you have plenty you can do at home. Quit smoking- go on a diet- do some exercises. All the things you have been putting off until you have time. You have time now. Thank you, God. For this moment in time. I love you.
I feel a little like I’m starting over here and I guess in a way, I am. I’ve been away from here for a long time . The fact is, the person who started this blog and poured her pain out for all to see does not live inside me anymore. I thought about taking those stories down, but I won’t. Those stories are my foundation. Those and many others like them. They are what built me and formed me, this magnificent creature I have now become- ha ha ha.
I stopped even thinking about writing publicly after I received some negative feedback. From a family member. Who was never mentioned or named. “Stop doing all that whining on Facebook,” she said to me at a family reunion barbecue late last summer. I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about since the only thing I had posted in the prior few months was something about how awesome green Kool-Aid was on a hot summers day. Later that night my husband mentioned this blog and that’s when it clicked. He remarked at that time that he had also been asked (by others) how he felt about me putting all my “personal shit” out there.
My response to this was was an angry, “F*&k them! This isn’t their story to tell! I’m gonna do what I need to do, that’s what I’m doing! If just one person gets something from this, then I’m good!” But I let those two comments stop me. For a long time, as it turned out. I felt judged. Afraid of embarrassing my family. I doubted myself all over again. Oh, I kept on writing. In notebooks, on scraps of paper, on my phone, on my laptop. I composed books on sheets that were only in my mind. I wrote in private and kept it hidden. Just like I had all along. Secrets. In the darkness.
I spent time with my granddaughter, then cried and moped for weeks when she moved away. I went on an extended cross country road trip and fully cleaned out the garage and basement. I did my best to keep myself busy. Binged a lot of tv. Early this summer my younger sister asked me why I hadn’t written anything in so long and the only response I could come up with was, “I’m thinking…” Thinking about what, I couldn’t say…
Im done thinking. Thinking about what is appropriate for public consumption, anyway. It all is. I was recently reminded of the effects of living in the darkness. The shame, the acting out. The inability to make correct choices for yourself because you are hiding another’s bad ones. The time wasted. Frozen. No.
If you don’t like what I have to say, stop reading. If you don’t relate in some way, these stories are not for you. I don’t really care if you like me or approve of me or my methods. When you, your child, your sister, brother, mother, father are forced to live and remain in the darkness- it’s damaging. It changes people and sometimes they can’t come back. They lose their voice and become unable to form the words that may save them. They lose themselves in drugs or jail or heap abuses on others. They suffer through bad relationships, just to feel loved. They punish themselves for another’s crimes. It takes an incredible amount of courage to stand up sometimes and not all are able to muster it. Someone must stand. So no.
I will no longer live in the darkness. I am God’s child. And God created the light. So we wouldn’t have to live in the dark.
couple of years ago, after the kids were grown and most of them moved out, I
decided it would be fun to re-acquaint myself with the state of Maine, where I spent
my first 17 years and later returned to raise my children. I wanted to drive to
the end of every road and turn around and come back. Just ride around. Figure
out where I am. Ponder my place in this big world. See what was around me
outside of the-, say-80-mile radius where we usually lived our lives and took
care of our business. With Maine being about 35,000 square miles I only wanted
to cruise all the coastal roads of my childhood with wind blowing my hair and
the radio loud, my only objective being to see the view. I didn’t need any
extravagant arrangements, I only needed my atlas, my husband and my playlist. Maine
has 3,478 miles of jagged coastline, third to only Florida and Louisiana so
this may keep us out of trouble for a few summers. My husband’s interests
gravitate to the west of us towards New Hampshire so we may have to alternate
trips but that’s fine, I’m flexible.
have long been fascinated by the small towns in this country. By their likenesses
and their differences. By the cultures and sub-cultures that thrive within
them. I grew up in a small town. I’ve lived in cities and towns from here
across the country. From San Diego to Birmingham and small towns all around. I
love this country. I’ve always wanted to drive it from end to end.
took one day out driving last summer to discover that most roads in the
southern part of the state now end in Private Property and No Trespassing signs.
What isn’t closed to trespassers has been commercialized. This is Vacationland, after all. “Maine- the
way life should be.” Thank you, God,
they took those signs down, they annoyed the crap out of me. The way life
should be, my ass. What does that
even mean? What way should life be? And
who decided this anyway?
is York Beach
that boasts York’s Wild Kingdom with its animal exhibits and paddleboats rides.
You can even grab a ride on a camel. There is Old Orchard Beach with its
amusement park rides and its boardwalk, where children can still find an arcade
and you can grab a slice of Bill’s Pizza and stroll the shops on the pier, if
that’s your thing. There is Popham beach and the nearby Fort Baldwin with its crumbling
forts and towers to explore and of course the stunning Acadia National Park
with its 158 miles of hiking trails, carriage roads and stone bridges. You
would think with all that coastline we would have a lot of beaches but we don’t.
Most of Maine’s beaches are made of stone and surrounded by bluffs and once it
gets above 60 degrees in the spring, school gets out and the next thing you
know everyone you ever met from out of state shows up for a summer visit and before
long everysandy seat is taken.
the snow melted last winter, we made the spur of the moment decision to get out
of the house for a little spring head clearing. While we were hibernating over
the long winter, I had done a little research and I chose Lubec as a
destination only because it is the easternmost point of the contiguous United
States. No other reason. Thought I might try to hit every point. North, South,
East and West.
went online and made a reservation at the first place that came up in my search,
a fantastic sounding place named The Inn on the Wharf.
The website looked promising and the idea of ‘adjust(ing) my watch to tide
time, fall(ing) asleep to the sounds of the sea and wak(ing) up to the
tranquility of a day beside the bay… while playful seals and whales swam
nearby’, was alluring after a long winter spent shoveling snow and hauling
firewood- trapped in the house for months with my family and our insane dogs. Beyond
finding a place to stay, I did no other research. I didn’t plan a route or look
up attractions in the Lubec area. The thought of doing these things never
crossed my mind. I only wanted to go away. I didn’t really care if we stayed in
the room all day, at least the view would be better. For a week, I ran over the
images from the website in my mind. Screaming inside my mind and feeling
trapped, I fantasized about one night
away from my own house…
were long past cabin fever and rushing towards cabin ‘psychosis’, trust me – it
has to be a thing. By December the
sun rises around 7 and sets about 4 and the nights get long. One year I even
went so far as to try and get my family to make a movie about a family being killed
and not found until the snow melted in the spring. I even made chalk outlines
with masking tape on the floor. It was a project more involved than a puzzle and,
needless to say, there were no takers on that
winter project… I
don’t know how people in Alaska survive for so long without daylight. By
February every year I’m seeing shadow people everywhere. Sometimes, I think The
Shining was partly based on fact, the unhinged part anyway, for sure.
Last year, our first snowfall came on December
8th and in April it was still snowing. My husband is always spouting off that, “It’s
almost February!”, like February is some magical point where winter ends and
the sun comes out. While it’s true that February is halfway through winter and
it’s the shortest month of the year. I, personally, feel that February is the
longest month, still, if we can get through it we are over the hump. That year my
February lasted until the last week of April. It was a long month. The
temperature remained below normal and as of May 9th, no buds had
arrived to dress the trees with their vivid new-green leaves, and most of my
flowerbeds were still under snowbanks. We
needed to get away.
the end of the week, my husband decided he couldn’t wait any longer to head ‘DownEast’
-a term I never understood- so we headed out a day early. It was supposed to be
a 4 ½ -hour trip, though we intended to stop at whatever scenic overlooks and
attractions that appealed to us along the way and we expected it would take us
a little longer. That 4 ½ hour trip north turned into an overnighter about the
time we were halfway. We were happy wanderers let loose and before the weekend
was over we learned the term ‘Downeast’ was a sailing term meaning that ships
had to sail downwind up the coast to
reach Hancock and Washington County, the 2 most northeastern counties in Maine.
I don’t know what that means either. The best
I can understand, it has something to do with turning the sails and the rudder
until you are catching the wind at an angle. Don’t take my word for it, I may
live in Maine but I’m no sailor. All my life I thought it was just what we Mainers called up north…
There are a couple things you should know if
you’re going to travel around here- One is, if the snow is melted, be prepared
for delays and detours due to road construction. Usually it is only it is only
pothole repair, a futile yet necessary exercise, if you want to keep the tires
on your car, that is. Another is that your cell service is going to be spotty,
if not non-existent most of the time you’re not near a town. Oh, don’t worry,
it’s pretty. You’ll have plenty to pay attention to. And don’t forget the
loaded the car and headed out early Friday afternoon in the direction of Rt. 1
North, intending to follow it to the end. Just get in the car and drive to the
end of the road. We detoured only once when we decided to venture off to
Deer Isle where we entered a rabbit hole near someplace called Orland. It
seemed it didn’t matter if we took a left turn or a right, we ended up at one
of two stop signs. No isle of any sort in sight. We spent well over an hour,
laughing hysterically as each familiar stop sign came into sight. We must have
made 7 or 8 loops on what should have been a straight shot when we finally came
upon an unfamiliar stop. We breathed a sigh of relief and followed the signs
again directing us back to RT. 1. We laughed hysterically but I, for one, was
happy to be out of that distorted
reality. The goosebumps had started to spread and I was beginning to feel a
That detour cost us
daylight and not knowing what type of lodging would be available farther north
during the off- season we stayed in Ellsworth at a chain hotel and ate fast
food in bed with the tv, our happiness at being out of the house overshadowing
rose sometime after breakfast and headed straight for Lubec- no time to waste
on unnecessary detours! Our weekends mission of discovering what was at the end
of this road awaited us, now with a greater sense of urgency. It was about a 2-hour
drive to Lubec along Maine’s Bold Coast Scenic Highway, (I don’t know why they
call it that because not only did we see NO coast, we saw no BOLD coast while
driving along that stretch of Rt. 1 but we were
in more of a hurry. Maybe the
Bold Coast was visible by boat but that was an adventure for another day….
leaving Ellsworth we began to see more and more blueberry fields. I didn’t
recognize them as blueberry bushes because the blueberries that grow in our
yard are on bushes taller than my 5’ self. The fields were barren, bordered by low
stone walls and broken by boulders of varying sizes. To my mind, they were
eerily reminiscent of the photos I had seen of southern Civil War battlefields.
Deserted and lonely.
an hour out of Ellsworth, we began to notice abandoned houses sporting
overgrown yards left choked with broken down cars and boats of all shapes and
sizes, rusting lobster traps and other makings of a life by the sea. We passed
many houses with For Sale signs in the yard. The main industry in this area was
once sardine canning and the last cannery in Lubec closed in 2001. People learn
to get by with what they have and make money where they can.
is a small village in Washington County on the Canadian border boasting about
95 miles of shoreline and a population, at last count 1,359 souls. It takes
about an hour in the car to traverse the entire town and you won’t see much
from the car window. It is when you discover all the hidden trails and beaches
that you realize your vacation time is well spent.
4.5 miles from Lubec you will find the West Quoddy Head Light on The Bay of
Fundy. It is an active lighthouse that was built in 1808 under orders from
President Thomas Jefferson. It is the only candy-striped lighthouse tower in
the United States, making it more easily visible in the fog that blankets the
area and during snowstorms. Accessible from there, are very nice,
well-maintained trails along the coast that lead you to the bluffs. It is the
easternmost point of the United States and at our first viewing, it was
blanketed by a very thick fog. I walked the ½ mile trail up to the bluffs, not
expecting to see much of a view, but just to feel the salty mist on my face and
in the air. I wanted to breathe it in and I felt as though the fog was
swaddling me, there was nothing to see and only the sound of the foghorn to
remind me of civilization. I began to feel at peace with myself and my
surroundings. It was perfect. The wind and the mist…The salt in my air and
lungs, I felt as if I had come home.
we arrived at the Inn on the Wharf
that afternoon we found the room was all the inn owners had advertised. We were
slightly disappointed that the room was not actually on the wharf (lol) but the room was perfect and I’m not sure that
the wharf was closer to the water than the room turned out to be.
door was unlocked and the key was inside on the dresser. There was not one
person in sight. The view from the room looked exactly as it had online only
better because we were finally seeing it in person. The sun was finally out and
as soon as we got out of the car and unpacked we went for a walk to explore.
could see two wharfs from our balcony. One was the restaurant connected to the
inn and it was still closed for the season so we headed toward the other and
soon discovered that we could charter a boat to go whale watching or put our
own boat in at one of the many public boat landings in the area and explore on
our own, although I would probably want someone familiar with the waters of
could see a light house from our room and found that it was on Roosevelt’s Campobello
Island, just across a bridge into Canada. We didn’t bring
our passports so we’ll save the island for our next trip and there will be one soon!!
tv in our room had only local channels, although others were programmed in- we
were there ‘pre-season’ and things weren’t quite up and running yet. It was
when the weather girl started speaking of rain amounts in millimeters, that we
realized that it wasn’t going to be 6
degrees that night and that we were watching news from across the border in
Canada. I didn’t try to do any conversions. I’m smart enough to know it was
cold and that I had forgotten my pajamas.
local IGA carried the customary Maine tee shirts but there were no pajamas in
sight. Or sweatpants or leggings or anything that wouldn’t be worn by a
fisherman. Which is fine- just don’t forget them. We were there at the
beginning of May but I doubt July nights feel much warmer. If you are looking
for organic or vegan foods, I would bring in what you’ll need or you may need
to take a ride to Eastport, about a 45-minute ride or possibly further, if you’re
Frank’s Dockside is a little dockside
(obviously, lol) restaurant that happened to open for the season the day before
we got there. They offered food and live music Saturday night, tired from our
ride time we opted for takeout to eat from our room where the view was quieter.
Sunday, we were on our own. We discovered Shore Thing Take Out and Variety.
They were open from 5a.m. to 8 p.m. and offered breakfast, lunch and dinner
serving everything from burgers and pizzas to seafood platters. The prices were
reasonable and the food was good. Decks of cards and cribbage boards were
stacked in every window sill facing the road, as though many long winter days
were spent staring out those windows searching for signs of life.
heard of a cove named Baileys
Mistake and a black sand beach from volcanic rock so we set out to find
them. Thankfully it is almost impossible to get lost because all the roads eventually
end up at the same place- RT. 1. We found Baileys Mistake and many Lubec beaches but no black
sand beach. It was low tide when we arrived at Baileys Mistake and there wasn’t
much water on the beach. I could see how you could run aground and there was
only one house visible. It looked more like a shack and it was for sale. “If only”,
has 20 foot tides and 20 feet stretches a long way on level ground. I’m not
sure how far but I know I wouldn’t want to be exploring the sandbar when the
tide started coming in. You could check the tides online or ask someone in
town. I would think most anyone would have that information.
saw only one lone figure while we were exploring the outskirts of Lubec that early
spring weekend. No– that’s not quite
true- we did see another we’ll get to that encounter later, lol. I had forgotten-
we’ll get to that…but for now, sitting on a rock, trying not to
shiver, the wind blowing my hair sideways across my face we could see a person walking
in shadows toward us carrying a five-gallon bucket in each hand. As the figure neared a voice called out though
the wind carried away the words and the third
time he called out my husband discerned he was asking the time. He needed to
cash in his catch on time. He told us he was ‘gathering winkles’ for extra
money. Periwinkles- I guess people eat
them, they’re a delicacy in China. To each his own I guess. I wonder how many
you eat at a meal. Gross. Anyway. Later that afternoon we saw him again at
Shore Thing, cashing in his catch while we were picking up our dinner. Can’t
get fresher than that. He was the only person we spoke to outside of getting
gas and picking up food. Every moment felt like meditation.
husband and I spent the weekend each wrapped as deep in our own thoughts as we
were wrapped in the fog. Words were scarce as we drove along like old people on
a sunny Sunday afternoon. Stopping for a picture or to turn around to check out
a view. It was the best weekend of my life. I truly came to realize what inner
peace felt like. We can say it and talk it but in Lubec I felt it in every pore
of my body. I felt like I could feel
we walked along what appeared to be a log that had been cut length-wise, then
wrapped in chicken wire to prevent us slipping in the dampness, through a peat
bog at Boot Head Preserve, the stillness was palpable. The only movements were
birds just out of sight in the brush. We were enmeshed in the sound of the
beach and surrounded by pine trees stripped of their needles from the sea spray
and wind. Replacing the pine needles was a strange light green moss that hung from
the trunks with stunted limbs and waved in the constant breeze… sunset was near
and I didn’t want to be out on a creepy trail with a bum knee when the fog
rolled back in so we headed for some exploring by car.
Dang that bum knee! It’s fixed now- that’s
where I’ve been for the last year- Sitting on the couch recuperating from knee
surgery. Healing my knee. Gaining 20 pounds. Growing into the new me. Using
muscles long unused. Stretching. Trying to relearn every movement that leg had
long ago forgotten. All the while, unknown to me, with every burning quad and
glute and cramp and cry, I was Healing my Soul.
I was Taking Form.
second encounter of that weekend- and mind you- we didn’t even speak to this
person- cemented everything in my mind. The roads were mostly flat around Lubec
and we were driving- on our left was the mighty Atlantic and to our right were
more low lying blueberry bushes. In silence, we drove and up ahead, about ½ mile
in the distance ahead of us, topping a small crest, was a person riding a bike.
I don’t think either of us thought about him for even a split -second, we just
took in the scenery and dawdled along. Soon enough I wondered about the speed
that bike was going and we talked about when we were kids and the feeling of
freedom you would get. We each raised a hand in greeting as a sun wizened elderly
man with a white beard and a big old grin, wearing overalls and a knit cap
zoomed past us at a very good rate. We looked at eachother and burst out
laughing. I’m still laughing. I’m sure my husband is too. It was awesome! Right
then, I think I knew. You can’t care about what people think- well, within
reason, obviously. You’ve got to live life like nobody is watching. And
judging. And assessing. Who has time for that? Salt n Pepa have it right, “There’s
only one true judge and that’s God, so chill and let my Father do his job…”
that old man- doesn’t even know me but he changed me- well, him and Lubec. I
found God there. I knew him when I was young and then the world interfered. We
became re-acquainted. I was reminded that it’s never too late to let yourself
feel the joy. I was reminded to look for the joy in the ordinary days. And
maybe it’s not so much as wanting to feel like a kid again but more about being
the you that you were before the world tried to ruin you. Maybe it’s just about
starting over. Feeling clean and living right. There is no second childhood.
There is LIFE- the way it should be.
Nothing else. The you that you should be. There is no more “I would if I could”, it is now “I could if I would.” Don’t settle.
soul must be like a muscle- I think now- if left unused it will wither up and
you’ll be left with what? A dead muscle.
Every breath of the chill air and fog in Lubec fed oxygen into my soul. With every
step on every trail I felt new. I mean, I knew I was in a new stage of life- I
was already trying to figure out what I wanted in and out of my future. The
kids all grown, just a GiGi now, knowing I’m not a victim- I am a Survivor–
and I came out ok for a reason. Believing that everything happens for a reason,
I now had to figure out how to use the lessons God had given me. I may not know
why or even how. I don’t think that’s not for me to know. What I came home knowing was that God kept me alive for a
reason and I need to do my best to honor that. I need to exercise my Soul Muscle.
When I decided that I needed to spend more of my time writing I checked the Adult Ed catalog in search of some kind of writing class as a refresher and settled on the one titled, “Writing Reality in Creative Non Fiction 1”. It sounded perfect. The description spoke of a 1/2 day workshop exploring different forms of non fiction, exercises to kick start your writing and an option to submit some of your writing for open discussion. I naively assumed that a 1/2 day “workshop” was just a fancier way of saying “class”. I signed up for the “class” scheduled on the day of my mother’s birth knowing that would make it difficult to forget and then made a conscious decision to NOT let my mind talk myself out of going. If I want to move forward, I have to take some forward steps and do something different. For the next 6 weeks every time I even THOUGHT about the class, every muscle in my body would clench up and my heart would race. Inside my mind I could feel myself being dragged in that direction but I couldn’t stop the motion and I could hear the cries of resistance in my head, begging me NOT to do this. So, I did what I am best at and shoved that resisting side of me into a box marked,” Do not open until 3/24.” and soldiered on.
In the week before the class I did print out every page I had already written and put them in a folder to take with me, although I knew I didn’t want anyone to see what those pages contained. I tried to do some rewriting and editing but somehow filling in details and correcting punctuation was too overwhelming so that folder went into a bag for Saturday. I like to write and purge, but I’m not a fan of reliving the past and that is what writing, and therefore editing, is for me.
The morning of the “class” came and I woke stressed and full of anxiety but I got up and made sure I had what I needed and off I went, arriving a half hour early. The instructor let me in the building and then walked me to the classroom where she was setting up a coffeemaker and arranging books on the table. I wondered why she was lining up reading for us in a writing course but I asked no questions and went about getting my laptop out and setting up the area where I would be seated and working. Others in the class straggled in and we began. She started by going over forms of writing, many of which I had never heard of, and explained to us that her selection of books showcased the various forms. All I was thinking about was,”Do I have a form? I can’t write in a form. I write how I talk, hear, understand and live. It might be lyrical, it might be fragmented. Maybe it looks like an essay, maybe it looks like a journal. Many times it looks like a scribble in crayon and it may very well be. This is the wrong place for me, why did I sign up for this? Shouldn’t the description have been clearer? I’m not an actual WRITER, I just write.” I realize that I am missing everything she is saying because I am deep inside my own head and try to focus. They start to talk about publishing articles and I am gone again. This time I physically get up and walk to the bathroom. I Snapchat my sister while sitting on the very public restroom toilet and tell her I am a moron, the stupidest, least educated one here, I don’t know what I’m thinking. What is wrong with me? This is too much for me and I can’t do it. I end with a quick whispered, I love you. I get up, wash my hands, take a deep breath, do a little shake it off and walk back into the classroom where I know God put me. Even if it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, I am here, in this particular classroom for a reason. There is something for me here, so I’m going to open my eyes, ears and heart and find it and I’m going to chase it!