Sometimes, it is hard to start again. Sometimes, it feels like you are swimming in honey. Sometimes, you just need a little nudge, a serendipitous email. And that’s just what I received today from Ruth Ayres.
Now, Ruth and I don’t know each other, but I have subscribed to her website and read her blogs for years. She has such a strong, honest voice – her story gave me a glimpse of family life. Since I have no children, I loved reading about Ruth’s family. In a small way, it allowed me to experience the joys and pains of being a mom. Ruth’s writing was important to me. So when I heard that she wasn’t writing, I was so upset, and I wrote her a brief response telling her how much her writing mattered to me. I didn’t expect a response, but I should have because Ruth is all about connection. That’s why I am drawn to her writing.
So, Ruth – THANK YOU! – I deeply appreciate your kind nudge. I so desperately needed it. I will swim through the honey to the other side. Today is my sixty-fourth birthday, and so I begin again…
I keep turning in my mind – What can I write about? What can I write about? And then an old poem came to me, a poem I wrote as part of a coming-of-age novel in verse that I have abandoned several years ago (but maybe this too – will be continued). This is the poem that keeps playing in my head:
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.