A Writing Life, Interrupted

I am writing this to my friend Diana Trautwein. You’re welcome to read along. 

Dear Diana,

I HAD A STORY in me that I knew was mine to write, but I wasn’t writing it. I was writing other things. And finding success. And being asked to speak. So I just kept going with that. 

It wasn’t yet time to write the story. I felt that in my gut. I trusted that when the time came, I would recognize it. Then the words stopped and maybe they weren’t coming back, and I hadn’t yet written the story.

A FEW MONTHS EARLIER, Ma had come to live near me. Not with me, but near me. Before that, she was several states away, living 35 miles from the nearest family member. She’d landed in the ER a couple of times, having called the emergency squad to come get her. Neither time was serious, but my sister and I felt it was time Ma lived closer to one of us. Ma agreed. We presented her with options and let her pick. She ended up coming to Ohio, where I then lived.

I thought, at the time, it was the best choice.
I think the same thing now. 
If I had to do it all over again, knowing all I now know, I would still choose it.

Our schedules meshed nicely. I wrote before sun-up. She wasn’t mobile and ready to receive guests until 10 AM. So my writing day ended before I even saw her. It seemed a perfect match.

But daily exposure to Ma had an effect on me. It dug down into soil that hadn’t been turned in a very long time. Our conversations, our laughing, our shopping, our walks, her bouts with “the blues,” my need to prevent them and more. There it all was, just waiting to be unearthed, both the beauty and the brokenness.

That’s when the words dried up.
That’s when I lost my voice.

I still can’t believe how incredibly long it took me to see the connection. What was it, a year? Five years? Or was it just last week that it dawned on me?

I recently wrote a poem called “A Writing Life, Interrupted.” The poem stunk, but the writing of it did me some good. 

And I liked the title. I think I’ll use it here. 🙂

Next post:  I Used to Write

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in roadblocks, rocky places, unknowns, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A Writing Life, Interrupted

  1. pastordt says:

    Oh, friend. So very many layers here. Thank you for this lovely note, and for a little backstory. Mother daughter relationships are so very complex! I look forward to more, as the creeks unwind, and the stuffed closets of memory open.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn says:

      Thanks, Diana. It helps to have a person in mind that I’m writing to and I truly did sit down to write these particular words to you.

      My dog and I have been exploring a huge park here in Louisville lately and it’s worked out well that I had a bunch of photos on my phone from our hikes. The broken branch caught my eye before I even knew I’d be writing this post.


  2. Katie says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Marilyn.
    I’ve just returned from caring for my 91 yr. old mother over the past weekend.
    She is mostly still herself, yet during the times when her dementia prevails it can be quite difficult for my siblings and I to witness. Thankfully, I have two sisters and a brother who are able to rotate weekends with me so that the weekday caregivers and our aunt (Mom’s sister) can have breaks. This statement in your post resonated with me:
    “There it all was, just waiting to be unearthed, both the beauty and the brokenness.”
    Your words help me reflect and sort out my thoughts and feelings about this ever-changing relationship between mother and daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn says:

      Caregiving is the most underrated work in the world….and the most important. It launches children, tends to those who cannot do for themselves and ferries over those who are at the end. It is often work we are thrust into and feel untrained for. It’s 24/7. Even if we are not the hands-on person, we are always thinking, planning, considering those we care for and about, and trying to make things work. It’s work that’s full of opportunity to feel like a failure, without anyone noticing. And, I believe, it’s the work that’s closest to the heart of God.

      This is just my opinion, Katie. You’ve done me a great honor by suggesting anything I wrote was any type of aid.


  3. Sharon O says:

    Love your words. Keep pressing in and through the dry writing spaces.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacki says:

    Love this, Marilyn. Thank you for letting me read along.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marilyn,
    Thank you for letting us read along. Mother-daughter relationships…so complex…reading this phrase (” but the writing of it did me some good “) made me smile in gratitude for you and the gift of writing. Blessings to you and grace as you gently sift through the soil…


  6. Pingback: Words Find a Way Out | MarilynYocum.com

  7. Pingback: I Used to Write | MarilynYocum.com

  8. Pingback: The Words Come Back | MarilynYocum.com

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