Why I Write…

Daily Post Writing Prompt: Heard

The laptop sits on my desk; the green light on the power adapter shines in the predawn light, indicating a fully charged machine. It calls to me, “please sit and visit for a while.” I resist the urge and drag myself to the kitchen for the morning routine of coffee and oatmeal making. Soon the sleeping house is awake with people rushing to work and school. Lunches made, dishes washed and homework found. After everyone leaves and the dust settles and I pull back my unruly hair, I sit in front of the silver computer with an apple on its hood. I open it and press the power button, the fan whirls as the laptop wakes up; it is the only sound in the still house.

I press the happy blue W floating near the bottom of my screen. It bounces as the program opens. The only thing on the Word document is a blinking cursor. It mocks me to begin – for it knows I have no idea what I am going to write. I watch it blink, and I wait. I place my fingers on the home row of the keyboard, bent at the knuckle and my thumbs resting on the space bar. Soon the chattering begins. My mind races through a to do list, of everything else I could be doing. Then my thoughts swing to the berating type of phrases, like “you call yourself a writer when you cannot form one sentence” or “you do not have it – whatever “it” you thought you had.” I remove my fingers from their position and lean back in my chair. Today might be one of those days where I just give into the thoughts, but I had one of those days yesterday and the day before, if I am not careful giving up might become a habit.

I close my eyes and toy with the idea of never putting myself through this again. I have a million other things I could do – things people would notice. No one would notice if I did not write another word for as long as I live. The struggle is real.

I force my eyes to open, and I reach for my headphones. After I have efficiently plugged my ears to the sound of the voices in my head with my music, I turn to the blank page. I line up my fingers again, and I wait with anticipation that something – anything will fall out of the air. I know it will come, I am open to it, and I wait. “Ask, and you shall receive” – so I ask.

And it comes and I let it flow through me. My fingers fly over the keyboard, and the words flow. I almost want to weep with the pure joy of it. A voice now can be heard, and it speaks to me. It is like having a conversation with a trusted friend. The friend listens intently to all the noise and waits for me to gather all those thoughts and lock them up. I put them in boxes with heavy lids, and I stack them in a corner. The friend points in the direction of a random thought running in circles and I chase it down. I wrestle with it and finally contain it in its box, and I slam the lid. I am exhausted. The friend allows me to catch my breath, and then we begin our conversation. At first, I do most of the talking, I finally have someone who will listen, but then I become quiet. If I am not quiet, I cannot hear what the friend has to say.

I have spent my lifetime wanting to be heard; when the very person who needed to hear me was myself. Writing allows me to hear what I have to say. And this has been my salvation.

Pity Party of One

via Daily Prompt: Invitation

No one accepted my invitation to my pity party. I dined alone on my meal of negativity and shame. I washed it down with a highly potent glass of disappointment. My pity party of one was a huge success, but the hangover is intense. My head hurts. My heart hurts.

Why do I take things so hard? Why do I have to endure heartache? How can I stop this from happening again? I feel so out of control.

I could harden my heart and be less vulnerable. I could close it up tight and put it in a box. I could reject the people that hurt my feelings and stop the activities that do not offer immediate success. I could build a wall around myself to keep out all the pain. This world I could control and I could rule it by my anger.

I have done this before; it was one long pity party, and it was a very lonely place. It eventually turned into a self-made prison. I was in control and my anger protected me, but there was no joy and very little love.

Today I will nurse my hangover, and by tomorrow I should be good as new. I will not reprimand myself for partying. Every once in awhile is okay, but if it happens frequently, then I have a problem.

There is one thing I am in control of – it is my outlook on the world. It is a dangerous place, filled with rejection and failures, but it is better than any world I can create. I must accept everything belongs in this world – the good and the bad.

Acceptance is the antidote to pessimism, and I need a healthy dose of it today. I will find it in my quiet time as I write and work it out in my journal. On paper, the problem becomes smaller – manageable. It is the perfect remedy for this horrible hangover.

Reach for it…

Daily Writing Prompt Reach

My dreams were within my reach. I am transitioning into the next stage of my life. My children were nearly grown and I find myself with free time. I feel the beginnings of hope that I might achieve to be something more than their caretaker.

I played in the creativity of writing like the child I was never allowed to be. It felt incredible to spread those creative wings and express the jumble thoughts that always roam around in my head. I felt I was on the verge of flying, – then obligation tethered me.  I am expected to start working full-time.

I have to squeeze a lifetime of yearning into Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons. It feels like I am standing before a huge mountain and I am to shape it into something profound with a tiny chisel – it will take a very long time with such a small tool. I don’t know how I will conquer it. I do not know where to begin. I lie down in the shadow of that mountain and stare up at its massive size. “It seems impossible”.

I recall the massive mountain of motherhood I had to face when my children were babies. The days were filled with so much responsibility and I felt I would never have a moment’s peace. That mountain has been honed over the years and before me stands the most impressive masterpieces. All that time was well worth it.

I also recall the mountain of grief – that formidable sheet of rock that seemed impenetrable, now has a wide canyon created by a river of my tears. It is still impressive but navigable. Or the mountain of guilt weathered by forgiveness and the mountain of pride conquered by humility; they both are now manageable foothills.

Life is a series of mountains, one right after another and this mountain that stands before me is no different. As I imagine myself lying in the shadow of my metaphor, the huge chunk of rock blocks the sun. I look up I can see the beautiful rays creating a halo around the peak. If the mountain were to be removed I would be blinded by the intensity of the sun. I thank the mountain for protecting me, shielding me. The mountain immediately loses it menacing appearance and becomes something to behold. I can see something begin to take shape in the rugged edges and sharp points. I approach it with my chisel and chip away small shards of rock. I work until my time is up and I put my chisel down until next week. I accomplished very little today but over the years it will become something spectacular.


Dear Me;

I had a conversation recently about the importance of writing and keeping journals. My friend made a face of horror and said she would be afraid someone would find it. I told her to write and then destroy it. “What is the point?” she asked. The point is to write it down so one can manage whatever emotion is overpowering the situation. When I write – I gain control of the emotions and work through the situation. It’s the process of writing that heals – it is optional to keep what one has written.

I followed my own advice as I tried to deal with the emotions that surround my oldest son’s birthday. Every year I am haunted by the memory of his day of birth; it was filled with fear, anger and loneliness and I feel robbed every time the memory resurfaces. I decided this year I am going to deal with the emotions that surround this day by writing my younger self a letter – one she would find on that lonely sleepless night.

The process took several attempts. The first three letters were lists of what I did wrong, situations I should have handled better and a “heads up” for events that I should stop from happening.   Do I blame her for my past? Do I want to convey to her – to my younger self on one of the toughest nights of her life -all the things she will do wrong? The image that haunts me is of a scared girl who feels completely alone and now responsible for a baby. I allow my imagination take flight and let it pull me back in time – back in the delivery room on the night after my son’s birth.

I find her in the hospital bed wide-awake. A man lounges in the recliner in the corner, head back snoring loudly. She is glaring at him; it is her anger that will not allow her to sleep. She has to go to the bathroom and rings for a nurse to help her. They both glare at the snoring man as the nurse helps her back into bed.  The nurse whispers “Do you want me to wake him up and send him home?” The young girl shakes her head. “You must rest” the nurse adds and reaches for the overnight bag on a nearby chair.   “Try reading to take your mind off things” she pulls out a book and a magazine from the bag and lays them on the hospital table. The nurse glares one last time at the snoring man and turns to walk out the door. The young mother reaches for her book and finds a white folded paper sticking out of it, like a bookmark. She pulls it out of the book and hesitates to unfold it. She glances at the sleeping man and wonders if he had written her an apology for not being home and being unreachable when she went into labor. A frantic call to the hospital and a kind nurse helped ease her fears as she waited for him to come home. He came home close to 3:00 am, in the middle of a contraction. She could only glare at him, tears in her eyes and a phone to her ear.

She unfolds the paper and gently irons out the creases. She holds it closer to the lamp and reads the salutation; Dear me. The frown deepens and she is momentarily disappointed that it was not from him; then her expression changes to confusion and then to wonder as she quickly reads the letter.

Tears well up and spill down her cheeks as she reads, how could this be? It is some kind of miracle or is it a joke? Who would write a letter like this? She reaches for a tissue from the box on the nearby table and dabs her eyes. She searches her tired brain for a clue on who would write such a letter. She has lost touch with most of her friends and her family would not write such a thing. Could it really be from her future self? A slight smile and a spark of hope shows in her eye. She raised the letter towards the light to read it again – and this time slowly – as if savoring it. Her mouth moves as she reads, muttering the words softly into the quiet room.

Dear Me…

I started this letter on June 12, 2016 – 27 years in your future.   I made several attempts at writing this letter and it has taken me a couple of weeks to find the words that would give you the hope you need. Every year on our son’s birthday, I am haunted by the image of you in a hospital bed, unable to sleep, completely alone and overwhelmingly afraid. I remember what you are feeling at this moment, exhausted from the labor and awake for over 24 hours, in pain from a complicated delivery requiring many stitches and infuriate at the baby’s father. I know you are enraged at yourself, for on what should be the happiest day of your life – you feel like crying; because the love you feel for that baby the instant you laid your eyes on him, will forever tie you to the sleeping man beside you. You will find it ironic; that the man you thought would save you from a life like our mother’s will actually cause you to follow in her footsteps.

You will make thousands of mistakes and you will feel completely inadequate for the next 27 years and probably beyond that. You will go to bed thinking you could have done things better and will wonder if the child would be better off without you. You will be uncomfortable with your new identity of a mother –for you cannot trust yourself to be in that role. I am not writing you to tell you all the things you did wrong or what you should do differently to change the course of our story; I do not have that kind of power to change the past. What I want you to know is that your story is perfect – although it was lived imperfectly.  

Right now you are forming an illusion of what your story should look like. You will blame yourself when the illusion does not become a reality and you will be extremely disappointed in yourself. You will be faced with life changing events in your lifetime – and you will wonder how you will survive. You will survive and, may I dare say, are better because of it.

I embrace our history – our story and I am proud of who I am today. And I owe it to you, for stumbling through life, for making mistakes and getting back up and trying again. Right now you feel weak and afraid – but you will become strong and you will learn to be brave. It takes you along time to learn to fully trust anyone – but you do learn to trust yourself. And the illusion that you have right now of what a perfect life is – there is no such thing. Life is a struggle – but within that struggle there is beauty – much like the birth of a baby – all that labor and pain to deliver the most precious gift you will ever receive.

Thank you my 21-year-old self for not giving up – thank you for struggling to become who I am today.

Much love from your 48 year old self.

She folds the paper and places it in the book and hugs the book to her chest. It was all she needed, a small morsel of hope to help her sleep. She closes her eyes and falls into a deep sleep, still hugging the book and a small smile on her face.

This is the image that I will carry back to the present and one I will remember on all future birthdays. Writing is story telling – and sometimes I need to re-write the story to find the beauty in the struggle – to find the gift.


Who do you think you are!


These are the words that I am hearing ringing inside my head these past couple of weeks. It is the voice of my mother, hands on hips and eyes huge with anger and through clenched teeth “who do you think you are!” It is not a question, but a statement. I hear it now as I sit in my quiet time getting ready to write today’s blog. I was working on a piece I wrote last April, but these words keep getting in my way. I cannot get past them.

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The Creating of a Path….

The summer of 2014 our family worked on a garden path. The path started on Memorial weekend and we completed it by the 4th of July. In the middle of June and in the middle of this project, a major event rippled through the family, creating waves that shook a few stones loose in my “life path”.  In my quiet time I was inspired to write…. Continue reading