Sometimes, to begin again feels like a long hike in the summer sun up a steep slope. Sometimes, to begin again is like swimming in honey. Today, I received an invitation from Ruth Ayres to begin again, and I accept it as a gift.
Now, I don’t know Ruth personally, but I subscribe to her website and have read her blogs for years. I never had children, so I loved reading Ruth’s family stories. They gave me a glimpse of the joys and pain of being a mom. Ruth’s children have had dark beginnings, and they struggle. I loved hearing about their triumphs and was saddened when they struggled. Struggling is something I know a lot about.
When I read one of Ruth’s recent blogs and her decision to start writing again, I knew I had to leave her a comment to tell her how much her writing meant to me. I never expected a response, but I should have, because Ruth is all about connection.
Ruth sent me an invitation to begin to write again. And it is that nudge I so desperately needed. Thank you, Ruth. And so on my sixty-fourth birthday I begin again…
What should I write about? What should I write about? And then suddenly I know. A poem comes into my head. I wrote it several years ago as part a coming-of-age novel in verse I have yet to finish about a twelve-year-old girl who is struggling.
When we are alone,
Aunt Connie hands me a present
Wrapped in brilliant blue.
I rip it open to reveal
A brand-new journal.
It’s suede, the color of new earth,
It smells of earth too, comforting,
Tied together with strong leather strings
And small brass beads.
I look up at my aunt to thank her,
She puts one arm around my shoulder,
Holds me close and whispers,
“Just keep writing –
Just keep writing,” she says.
But she does not say it
Like my teachers would,
Not just keep writing because I have to,
It’s an assignment– I will be graded.
Punctuation counts, spelling counts,
Not jut keep writing – like it’s good for me,
Like it’s medicine or spinach –
But just keep writing because it’s part of me,
Like breathing in air and exhaling,
Because it keeps me alive,
Because it connects me to the world,
Because it keeps me sane
It is my life – I need to live it,
My feelings count, memories count.