Continuing from A Writing Life, Interrupted . . .
I WAS A WRITER without words and I found all sorts of ways to explain it to those who might ask, as well as myself. Taking a break. On hiatus. Between projects.
I kept thinking things would change. Today, tomorrow, next week. It was always just around the corner, out of reach. But days turned into weeks turned into months, until one day I realized the last thing I’d written for publication was more than a year old. Then two.
“Guess I just don’t have anything to say,” I told a close friend who noticed it had been a while.
Meanwhile, Ma refreshed my mind about many things. She was so like me, or vice versa – all the stories piled up inside, looking for their out. As we went about our days, running errands or visiting together where she lived, walking the grounds or sitting in her living room or on the big swing out front under the portico, the little stories came out. She reinforced for me small details – names, dates, places, bits of noteworthy dialogue – and I was keenly aware there wasn’t another individual in the whole wide world who could do this for me.
Still, I couldn’t cobble together a paragraph.
Even after Ma died.
Even after Ma was gone a year. Nothing. Zip.
Then one day I heard myself say to someone I’d just met, “I used to write.” Only then did I begin to see the magnitude of the shift that had taken place, how writing had been added to my list of “I used to” things, like cartwheels and volleyball.
“I used to write.” Those four words came tumbling out as if they’d been waiting a long time. They were both sobering and freeing. Sometimes you just have to let things go.
I went out and got a job.
It can be a long path into the woods, friends, as the sounds of the main road grow more distant. Truth is, I did not begin to cover serious ground until I stopped looking over my shoulder, wondering how I’d ever find my way back.
Yep, I’m going to keep going with this story,
at least another couple of posts (guessing).
Next post: I Lose Touch with a Friend and am Glad