A Word Before I Go

writing letter

I keep getting emails from WordPress.

“Your domain name will expire in 35 days….29 days….23 days….”.

It is true. I have decided not to renew my domain name. After 10+ years of blogging, I’m letting go. But before I do, I want to catch you up on a few things so you aren’t left hanging.

Refugees/ESL Class
In one year’s time, our average daily class attendance has dropped from 35 to 6. Students graduated or got jobs, and no new ones came in to fill their spots. Still there are people all over the world needing a place to plant their feet and make a life. It doesn’t seem right. Since the start of the new year, we have begun to take on new students again at the rate of 1 per week. I recently ran into two Syrian sisters, both former students, at a clothing giveaway at church. With great pride and excitement, they told me about the jobs they got. They also asked how class was going. Then, in a more sober tone, said, “No Syrians now, right?” Right. We shared a sadness over that.

Wally’s Leukemia
Turns out, the clinical trial we drove back and forth to Columbus for last summer did not have the desired effect. Blood counts are still good, but lymph nodes are growing again. We press on. At last week’s check-up, the doctor laid out all the options and gave his best advice. He then gave us a few months’ reprieve before diving into whatever will be next. We’ll see him in May and go from there.

Writing
I dug out a journal I began in 2012 to see what I might make of what’s in it. I work on a piece of it just about every morning. I’m happy with how it’s going so far. I’ve been reminded, though, that writing from personal experience, if it’s to be done well, requires a willingness to return to past events, a willingness to stand in the places I once stood, sit in the chairs I once sat, hear what I heard, feel what I felt, think what I thought. And I need to be willing to carry some of that with me through my day, long after I’ve closed my laptop and walked away. It’s just part of the territory. I wondered, the first week or two, whether I’d made a wise choice, taking it on. I decided yes.

Between that writing project and the mentees I currently try to stay on top of and connected to, I feel very much “right where I belong” and that’s a great feeling, a feeling you can’t buy anywhere.

So I’m letting go of my domain name. I’m not going to pay for it anymore. To be honest, it feels a little sacrilegious, quitting on one’s name, but it’s enough for me to see it on the bottom of a letter and know I’ve done the work I’ve been given to do. You might see me pop up in the comments section of your blog or on Facebook. And I’m on Twitter, looking for and sharing good stuff. Steering clear of rants. You may run into me at a writer’s conference. Most of you know my email address because you’ve written and I’ve written back. It’s not difficult. It’s my first and last name, no punctuation to separate….at gmail.com. Or aol.com. Either one. (I could have just typed it out, but, boy oh boy, that’s usually a mistake.) Jot it down. This post and site will disappear in a certain number of days, I forget how many. WordPress will remind me again shortly.

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Posted in clinical trial, CLL, finishing, letting go, next step, refugees, timing, transitions, traveling light, writing | 4 Comments

Courage to Write

On the shortest day of the year,
I start my longest work,
picking up
scattered bits that
in journals and letters and memory lie,
and laying aside the question why.

Deep and wide
deep and wide
there’s a fountain flowing
deep and wide.

Why did they teach that to us?
What does it mean?
And why does it come back to me now
when evening falls?

I fear taking a powerful story
and making it dull
by putting it into words,
but isn’t this the very thing
Ann Patchett said we must forgive ourselves for?

“I never learned how to take the beautiful thing in my imagination and put it on paper without feeling I killed it along the way . . . Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.”     – Ann Patchett, at Brain Pickings

Posted in courage, perfectionism | 2 Comments

Buying a Ticket for Something I Don’t Want to Attend

I WENT AGAINST MY GUT FEELING and bought a ticket for a gathering I don’t want to attend. I did it completely out of a sense of “should,” violating my own policy: Either choose to do a thing or choose not to, but don’t hide behind “should.”

So here I am with a ticket to an event I don’t want to go to, an event with which I have a very poor track record. One year I went but left before it began. The second year I went and stayed (my only success). Last year, I got the times mixed up in my head because 1) they keep changing the name and the time – a brunch, a luncheon,  a tea – and 2) I didn’t look at my ticket. I realized I had the time wrong when I pulled into the almost-full parking lot, a foreign experience for me. I’m usually one of the first to arrive at everything. Too embarrassed to walk in halfway through the program, I circled through the lot and kept on going, no regrets.

I thought I’d learned my lesson.

This year, not wishing to go, I refrained from purchasing a ticket for several weeks, then, at the last minute, bought one. I know exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking, you’ll feel differently when the day arrives. I don’t.

What I’d really like to do today……write, read, maybe roll out some cookies while listening to a book from The Mitford Series. But if I’m going, I need to go fix my face and bedhead, and choose something suitable to wear. And I need to go find my smile. I remember where I left it. I left it in the room where I was listening to that Mitford book.

What is wrong with me, that I keep doing this?

Posted in philosophical maelstroms, should-free life, Uncategorized | 6 Comments