Thursday, June 30, 2011

It comes in waves

Inspiration, that is.  Sometimes loud,crashing, fast waves.  Yesterday, I dropped my kids off for warm up before the meet and ran two errands that took around 45 minutes.  I was having idea after idea after idea.  I couldn’t hold on to any of them.  I didn’t have a journal, and couldn’t have used it if I did. It was similar to labor; it was like contractions.  The ideas would come, and I could envision pushing the idea onto paper, into a blog post, into a short story, into the book. It was a physical urge, all I could do not to pull over and start writing. And it would ease, and I would try to plant it into my short term memory, to come back to this incredible idea. And I would relax.  Physically. 

And two minutes later, here comes another big idea.  Totally different idea, but same process.  Elation, excitement.  Hold it. This is good.  And the ideas came faster and faster and I could not hold them.  They went back out to sea, and I knew they would be lost.  Just as I was frantically trying to hold on, I knew they were lost.  
I could take the practical approach.  I’m sure there is an app that could help with that. Voice pages maybe? This would probably really help me. Let go , that is.  I do a version of this when I am writing.  Often I keep an open Pages document, and just jot ideas as they come. Sometimes, if I am writing intensely (I will just include the thought in parentheses and move it when I edit later.  If I edit.)  However, surprisingly, I rarely go back to these notes. And if I do, I often have no recollection of where that seed came from.  And if I do remember, there is no water for that seed, no energy in my mind.  But, the voice app would help me let go, would quell the anxiety of the loss, because it would be stored, not lost. 
Or I could take a different approach. Frame it differently, as I read earlier today. These fleeting ideas, that I feel so passionately about, could be used as a lesson in trust.  If I have these great ideas, there will be more. Ideas are not finite. I have room for many more. There will be more, just like those. 
I am not always mired down in sentimentality, but sometimes I am.  Some days (quite possible certain days of the month) a pool of tears just sits behind my eyes. I fear I can’t take one more beautiful sight, I can’t be thankful for one more thing, lest I burst with the fragility of it all. 
Last night, my youngest daughter had her second to last game at the little kids soccer fields.  They are quaint fields on the grounds of a Catholic Church. We often bike to the games, soccer balls and water bottles strapped to our backs. We have been doing this for 6 years, since my oldest daughter started soccer. Sally rode in the baby seat of the bike until last year.  This year she rides her own bike.  There are woods all around for siblings to make forts or bug hunt or play hide and seek. Often there are nuns strolling the grounds, temporarily lulling us into our little safe bubble where all is well. The six year olds smile and run and try hard and do group hugs. They rarely get mad and have no idea who wins.  Some of them don’t even know yet that you can win or lose a soccer game. 
Last night after the game, my co-coach (yes, I coach even though every thing I know about soccer is from my 8 year old) and I sat in the grass and watched every one leave and let the kids run barefoot and play.  This is our second year with this gig.  We did it because no one else would and learned that we loved it. We work well together, and we did it again this year only because the girls give us so many hugs. We talked about many things, more breadth than depth because every few sentences was interrupted by kids. We lamented that this would be our last year doing this -- because the girls need more than we can offer.  They need someone to teach skills, and teach them that there is winning and losing and some kids are, actually, better soccer players than they are, and some kids will be mean and say things like we don’t want you on our team because you aren’t very good at soccer.   We will leave these for the next coach, because, really, it is more than we can bear right now. 
Another reason we won’t coach together next year is that my friends little girl, less than a month younger than my daughter, will have to repeat Kindergarden next year. This decision tore at my friends heart for months, hoping that her intuition was wrong. It isn’t fair for me to focus on my sadness around it, or my daughters. The fact that they won’t ever be in class together again, that they won’t graduate together, that this dear friend will not be as close as we had thought.  Yet, the loss was coming in waves last night.
I must remember it comes in waves. If I have been given these great people and great moments in my life, there will be more.  People and moments are not finite.  I have room for many more. 
P's sweet hands on my daughter's shoulder (tears pooling)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Evening Stroll

I tried one of Lindseys Notice Things Walks last night.  It was similar to one of my first attempts at meditation.  Meaning, my kids didn't notice things that her kids did.  There was no heart shape in a tree or noticing the way the light shines on a plant.  They were like, "I notice the neighbors house, Mom." or "I notice the road is black." or I notice the bright orange paint where they marked the gas line.  Or the big pile of black dirt.  Or the litter on the road.

I kept trying to show them leaves or berries.  I grabbed a plant with a beautiful red stem and attempted to show it to them, when my daughter yelled that I was holding poison oak.

I started to get upset because I had been looking forward to this walk all day. I was ready to give them a great experience and darnit, they better get it.  When we decided just to enjoy the walk, a few things came out.  Chloe noticed the funky smell of all the dirt dredged up in the neighbors woods.  She said, "I didn't know dirt could smell gross."

I was still trying to make this meaningful, under the guise of simply enjoying the walk.  It just wasn't working.  Just like in meditation if you catch yourself thinking, you return to your breath, I caught myself trying to make it meaningful, so I attempted to let go of expectations and really tried to be in the moment.

When I am able to give up control of the outcome, wonderful things happen.

I noticed that the Marsh is already taller than them!

We caught fish,

had water fights,

 skipped rocks,

made sand castles,

made grass whistle,

made wishes,

watched the sunset from the lifeguard stand,

and took some good pictures.

You see a fish.  I see little boy hands.

Chaucer still skipping rocks (left, on dock)

It was wonderful!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just Wondering....

Sally: Mom, Dad is 7 years older than you, right?

Me: Right.

Sally: You are 41 and Dad is 48, right?

Me: Right.

Sally:  Does that mean Dad is going to die before you?

Me:  Well, I hope not.  I hope I die first.

Sally:  Why?

Me:  Because I would be really sad and I would miss Daddy.

Sally: But he isn't your Dad, he's our Dad.

Me: But I love him.  He is my husband.

Sally: Oh.  Where did you find him anyway?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Did I say that out loud?

I am writing a book.  I wrote that out loud. It is a memoir.  It has been hard for me to explain to others and myself what it is about. 
At first, I didn’t know it was a memoir. I inadvertently discovered this genre of books. For my birthday a few years back, my husband gave me a book.  I need to stop and clarify what a HUGE DEAL this is.  He does not read books.  His reading consists of emails, the sports page, and the business page.  He has tried over the years, mostly during the months there is no baseball, to snuggle in bed and read.  This definitely comes under the category of making huge efforts to make your marriage better. His attempts at shopping for books for me earns many more brownie points.  He is as comfortable in a book store as an elephant in a china shop. Long ago, by choosing this wonderful man, I gave up the idea of a romantic date night being a nice dinner and browsing in a book store into the wee hours. 
But, being a first born  extroverted child of a hard working mid western family, means that he thinks he can do anything, and usually can. He asks people about books - he asks my mother, he asks friends, he asks strangers, he asks the book nerds (his word) in the book stores. When he buys me books, it is more than a gift.  He has put effort into something he knows I love, something that is as far from natural to him as it comes. He does this wholly and completely for me. 
The book he gave me that year was Jen Lancaster’s Pretty in Plaid. I hadn’t heard of the book or the author, but I picked it up and read it easily, laughing out loud along the way.  I loved the way she seemed like a regular person, not famous, not rich, not from a well known family, not in politics, not an eccentric writer, not writing for a not so well hidden agenda. It was simply musings in which I could identify. My husband explained that the book that was actually recommended to him was called Such a Pretty Fat, but he wasn’t comfortable giving that for Mother’s Day/ birthday.  He was scared of the repercussions.  Maybe he had a point. 
I read several others around this time in which I felt connected.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place, and The Motion of the Ocean by Janna Cawrse Esarey stand out as some of the firsts. I fell in love with reading these stories of real people, people that I felt like were similar to me. While reading these books, I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend. 
And I began to think that I could write a book like these. I still wonder if thats falling under the spell of the authors that make writing seem so easy.  
The year or so before I turned 40, I started thinking about what I would do to mark the occasion.  I didn’t want a big party. I wanted it to be meaningful.  A beginning of a new part of my life.  I wanted some time to stop from the day to day, the busyness of getting from here to there. I wanted to evaluate how things were going, and move forward according to my values.  I wasn’t living life the way I had planned, or wanted.  Outwardly maybe I was, but my insides were knots and I wanted them untangled. 
I wondered if I could write a memoir from my perspective.  A woman turning 40 plagued by the way life, calendars, email, voicemail, and other minute details were running my life. I had no tragedy, no before and after.  I had no big trip, no grand voyage. But I haven’t been able to shake the fact that there are many out there struggling with the same challenges I am.  Women, and men, who want to live life more fully, more according to their dreams and values, than expectations and calendars. 
As I started the process, I realized I couldn’t quite define who I am.  I couldn’t write the “about me” clip on my blog. It is so much more than mother, daughter, wife.  There are some things that I really miss about my former life. And other things not as much.  I have grown and changed. 
So, the marking of my 40th birthday became to write a memoir.  It is written from the belief that all of us have challenges to overcome, even if they aren’t visible, maybe especially if they aren’t visible. Even if we aren’t extremely wealthy or extremely poor.  Maybe especially if we are plain middle class with no tragedies to help define us.  It is written from the belief that we can make extreme changes and grow while staying in our marriages, and staying in our communities, and staying present in our lives.  
My memoir is about  remembering who I was, and meeting the person I have become, and making peace with the changes. 
I am writing a memoir.  I wrote that out loud. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

My New Community

I have found a group of bloggers that are going through many of the changes and facing many of the challenges I am.  
When I first discovered them, a couple of months ago, I needed them desperately.  It was good that I didn’t meet them in my real life, because I would have been so needy and obnoxious and chased them away almost immediately. As it was, I stalked their websites, not believing that these women were describing me.  That other people had the same feelings, fears, challenges that I had was , to say the least, a relief.
There is Lindsey, a self described melancholic (is that a word?).  The combination of her  observations, insights, and her amazing gift for articulation sucked me in first.  I discovered her in Talking Writing when she wrote a review for Dani Shapiro's book Devotion called "Looking for Answers."  
Through Lindsey, I discovered Christine. I wish I could remember the first post of hers that I read, the moment I knew I would come back.  It could have been the one on writing and community.  I was so drawn in by the words, the insights, the parallels to my life that I didn’t even think about her being a writer.  I felt like I was in a conversation with her from the beginning. I had taken up writing again last fall, and was enjoying the clarity it brought to my life. I had the urge to call her up and say, “Hey, we could be friends.  I get everything you say.  And we could work on our writing together.”   
I became reacquainted with my blog and starting writing a bit.  I tell no one about my blog, except my mother.  It is an exercise for me. Apparently one day, I became brave and reached out and commented on a post by someone else.  Well, Christa clicked on my comment and visited my blog, without my knowing. I came back one day and her comment was just sitting there. It was like waking up early, walking into the quietness of my own kitchen, and having someone sitting there. 
The range of emotions that this one comment created surprised me.  Surprise, fear, warmth, compassion, connectedness. I had been writing for myself.  To clear my head, to know what I was thinking, to ground myself.  I also tend to write when I am not in a good place, as a way of searching.  This is the part of me I haven’t like to share, because who wants to be around someone who brings them down? Also, I thought it wasn’t the real me.  
Christa’s blog, Carry it Forward, is simply beautiful.  Her photography makes me want to go back to my camera.  I’ve returned to the pen, but not the camera. She has beautiful quotes, and I absolutely love her strolls. She combines art, writing,and living in a way that makes me believe it is possible. 
Finally, Pam came and she stayed.  She followed me!   I am still wondering if my mother or husband hired her.  How can such few chosen words do so much? She compliments and encourages. And she makes me believe that she means what she says.  I mean, this woman can write about Batman  and Ulysses with equal intrigue. How can what I have to say mean something to her? 
Through these writers and mostly through word itself, I can tap my essential hope. On occasion, I am weighed down by fear, darkness, hopelessness, or sadness.  Lindsey writes often of her tendency toward melancholy,  her dark side sprinkled with bright, bright stars.  I think of myself as the opposite of that,  whatever that is.  I see a bright, sunny sky, with occasional black holes that spring up out of nowhere, like land mines. Her personality leans towards feeling goodbyes; mine towards feeling hellos.  In this, I am more like my mother and her mother. I generally like being this way; however, the black holes threaten to take over when I come to the edge, and it is the scariest place possible. Part of me thinks if you live on this edge, you are more equipped to deal with it, than if you only visit here occasionally.  
On some days, yes, I am overcome with the fragility of it all, the passage of time, this moment in time being forever gone.  Many days, my best days, I am overcome with awe of this world. I am overcome with gratitude for everything I have.  There are so many things I want to do and learn and read.  So many people I want to meet.  When I learn new words or ideas that lead me to new places and thoughts and hope, it is the opposite of my black hole.  Is there a white hole?  I am overwhelmed with all the good things and places in this world, that I can’t pick one. My thoughts are flying around and I can’t grasp any of them.  I am scared to grasp one, fearing the ones that fly away.  I am sad for all the experiences and people that I won’t meet, for there is so much good out there. I find myself constantly and endlessly fascinated with everything out there. 
All this to say, I am creating another community. I am discovering, yet again, something new. Writing has always been, for me, a private journey. A place to escape.  Something I don’t share for many different reasons - fear, perfectionism, incompleteness. I am discovering that so many of my interests converge here in this world. Writing, discovery, ideas, and, now, community.  Slowly emerging, I am learning how wonderful this community can be.  You are helping me discover myself by exposing  yourselves.  You teach me, you help me, you engage me, you share with me, you push me, you challenge me, and now, you listen to me. 
Thank you. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seasons and Patterns

For the first time ever, I left yoga in the middle of class today. 
I forced myself to go because I know its good for me, and I almost always like it when I am there, and I always love it when I am done. 
It isn’t my favorite yoga class, but the time works well and I glean different things from this class and generally use it to my advantage.  So, I had actually forgotten that it wasn’t one of my favorites.  I laid the mat down, already annoyed at something minor.  (O.K. I wasn’t going to say it because of how petty it is, but in the spirit of honesty, I will. The view from the room is peacefully gorgeous.  It looks out on a marsh with birds flying around, and forest in the distance. Someone had left a TV used for a presentation parked on the left side of this view. It annoyed me so I went to the back of the room. Thats it. Really.)  Then I went to the bathroom, got some water, and tried to settle on my mat.  I could not get comfortable. My mind was still racing from a troubling conversation from last night. 
Without writing all the boring details, I tried my best.  I was desperately  wishing I had taken my ritalin this morning.  I was not able to even sit to start, do any of the moves, the breaths, the letting go.  I started watching the clock.  It had only been 15 minutes; there was no way to get through this.  What was the point? I can not do any of it.  Finally, at 8:35, over half way through, I rolled up my mat and left.  Immediately, I thought it was a mistake because my right side felt stretched and good and my left side felt tight.  Oh well, imbalance is my specialty.  
My mother sent me an email last night asking how we are doing.  She said, “I figured it is half way through June and ya’ll are settled into your summer routine.”    I almost cried.    I am so far from settled into any summer routine. Or I could just end the sentence at settled.  I am so far from settled.  
Reading your post this morning reminded me to take a deep breath. Reminded me to be in the present.  This IS a transitional week.  They were still in school last week.  This is the first full week of summer, even though you wouldn’t know it by the weather.  I say this flippantly, but the unusual coolness messes with the senses when you are shivering and covering with towels by the pool and at the lake. Perhaps we rush from thing to thing, season to season, without honoring the transition.  Can we compare the last week of school to surgery? Jumping from one row of squares on the calendar to the next row of squares cuts into our daily routine like few other times in the year. Can we really move seamlessly from one to the next? Although I am new at it, one thing that is said repeatedly in my yoga classes is, “ Honor your body. Honor where it is today.”  Perhaps we can honor the transition time. Especially if we are more prone to feeling goodbyes, rather than hellos.  
At the beginning of the yoga class that I went to this morning, the teacher was telling us of a training she went to yesterday on therapeutic yoga.  She likes to give these little updates; perhaps it’s her way of sequeing from the every day into the practice.  I sometimes find it annoying but often come back to it later.  Go figure.  
She said she needed to process the training before she integrated it into her teaching, but would give us a little glimmer.  Much, if not all, of what we do is determined by patterns that we create consciously or unconsciously.  For example, wrap your fingers into steeple pose.  Now do it the other way.  It just doesn’t feel right.  It is not better or worse, but an exercise in feeling from a different perspective.  
Thinking about patterns in my life, I do not need to classify them as good or bad.  Some patterns work at times in our lives, but not others. I can not follow the same schedule in the summer as I do during the school year while I have school age children.  After having a baby, I can not return to the person I was before I was pregnant.  There are different circumstances.  The question that your writing provoked in me is this:  Are we always the same person emotionally, or can that, too, change? 

Will you always “inhabit a dense, mostly dark place, speckled with blindingly bright stars?”  Or if inhabiting that place becomes too much,  could learning that, acknowledging that, and living that for years be enough? Could this be a familiar pattern? One that is easy to slip into, like a favorite glove? 
It has taken a surprisingly long time to write this post. Most of the day, actually.  Rarely do I take this time, but I had the time blocked for writing and this is what became of it today.  It was triggered by Lindsey’s post today.  It started as a comment on her blog and then morphed several times into an essay, then a letter, in several different voices.  I “killed several darlings” to get this out.  At first I was writing to her, then to some vague audience, then myself. 
Ultimately, it landed here.  Seasons and patterns. One we can’t change.  One we can.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sometimes Little Changes are Harder

Change can be profound or minute. Like the inside wheels of a (non digital) clock, a movement change in one will inevitably change another.  Change begets change. 
Sometimes the big changes are easier.  It may not feel like it at the time of course.  Sometimes we prepare and plan for our big changes. Other times, the big changes come when there is no other choice.  
“Change will happen when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing.”  
My mother taught me this.  I don’t remember her saying it all the time, but she must have said it plenty of times because I remember it, hold it, return to it, and I associate this knowledge with her. 
Sometimes I want the change to stop.  Often the little changes that accompany the bigger ones are more irritating.  I’m not expecting them, and these changes throw me off track when I least expect it.   Sort of like spring in Minnesota.  Since moving to Minnesota, I find spring so God damned annoying that I can’t stand it.  It is June 10 and its cold, windy and gray.  And it has been like this since the middle of March.  I can handle the bitter below zero weather and blistering blizzards and the long dark days of winter, but when I so desperately have waited and waited and spring refuses to come, I become unhinged. 
So too are other changes that we, perceivably, have more control over.  Like when I was trying to change the way I ate.   This huge change had me feeling much better and healthier in general because I was eating more consciously.  Some hiccup came so I ordered [put anything bad here - burger and fries, chicken pot pie, turtle fudge sundae] because these have comforted me in the past. And, surprisingly, they made me feel worse.  So, my big change of diet, that I undertook on my terms when I was ready, had complicated another area that was not expected. I did not know how to deal with unease  without eating crappy food. Why should this be hard now, after weeks of working hard to change my diet? Crappy food had always been my solace.  Life boats aren’t supposed to have holes.
I weathered the last few months of mental and emotional darkness and have begun to emerge with a new hope and vitality.  I scheduled my writing time, and have done a fairly good job of protecting it. As I sit  during my designated time in my sacred space (OK, Starbucks, but whatever) I am struggling with an unexpected feeling of unease. 
Yes, I have developed tools and even a little reserve now to deal with unease as it comes.  BUT  I DON’T WANT TO DO THE WORK.  I want to just be.  Relax in my time.  I created this space for growth.  It’s on my calendar.  This is my designated time. I want to do it my way.  I want my mind to be free and open and ON.  I don’t want to have to breathe deep, trust, sit with the unease, acknowledge that it is a sensation and it will pass. 
But I will. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Unfortunately, I think, I am an ALL or NONE person. Really. I think I try to pretend that I am not. One of the things that makes me think I am one of those is that I tend to make fun of them. I tend to call it out in those I know. (Just ask my husband.) I am always, always amazed that I never learn this lesson faster.

You know the one, the lesson I’m talking about. Where things drive you crazy, too crazy. You become obsessed with them, noticing them. Not in yourself of course, but in other people. And then, one day, BAM! It hits you. I hate this and it drives me nuts because it is me.

Some time this spring, I realized I needed to make some changes. If I were honest, I really thought everyone around me needed to make changes. Somehow I figured out that wasn’t going to happen, so I had to take charge.

Since school started last fall, I have not stopped. I could actually write this sentence instead: Since my third child was born, I have not stopped. But that would be for a different paragraph. Sally started all day Kindergarden in September, and I was scared of all that free time. So I signed up for all kinds of volunteer work at school. I knew for years that I was going to do this; it was part of my plan. I would stay home with my kids until they were in school, then spend all my time volunteering. It sounded like the perfect life, this script that I wrote years ago.

What wasn’t in the script was how utterly bored I would be.

That’s right. Bored. When I think of all the things in life that truly surprise me, my boredom this year will stand out.

There were other things that made this year difficult. My older daughter had major issues at school, Steve’s beloved aunt finally lost her battle with cancer, Steve’s work, and all the silent things that were beginning to stir in me, to name a few.

I was at the school, or doing things for my children and husband, from the time I got up until the minute I went to bed at night. Busy work. Riding the hamster wheel. I was managing the details so everyone else could have a life. I kept thinking it was going to end, it wasn’t going to stay like this because all my kids were in school now and I had all this free time.

I am not a natural housekeeper, and organization is not a strength. So I didn’t even reap some benefits that all the time put into our house and family might otherwise provide. Like a clean house, or the feeling of catching up, or forms or homework done on time or healthy dinners by a cozy fire at night.

No, that didn’t happen at all. It seemed like every part of my life was in shambles - my health, my home, my kids, our stuff, our happiness. My kids think clean clothes come from a laundry basket, not from dressers in their rooms. They think its normal to scramble for matching socks every single morning.

I spent fifteen hours a day trying to keep up, doing something I don’t enjoy and wasn’t good at doing. And I missed my husband and children desperately. I don’t think I was better at the details when they were younger, but there was less of the details, and I was in relationship with them most of the time.

My husband got very sick this spring, and I was not the wife I wanted to be. It turned out to be only a sinus infection, but it lasted for six weeks. Every weekend, which I now realize were my lifelines, he slept on the couch and moaned in pain. The weather was always, always cold and rainy. Every weekend. Many friends down south were facebooking about the beautiful spring weather; I felt like I was trapped in the eye of a storm.

Now my lifelines were reading in bed at night (preferably with him gone) and my Starbucks latte in the morning. Every other minute was waiting to get to one of these two times. One morning, I was so distraught that I went in for my latte and I decided to stay. I had my computer, and I spent the morning being useless. I had so many things to do, but I surfed the internet, read stories, papers, magazines, facebook. I didn’t do one thing for anyone else. About noon, I returned to my life - laundry, lists, and schedules. I did it not with joy, but with a lighter step. At the end of the day, there were still just as many things left undone as there had been the day before.

And that’s how I started taking my mornings; that’s how I began writing again, after all these years. I went to Starbucks, and wrote. It was a lot of journaling, but some pieces began to emerge. And I revisited this blog, one of several I toyed with a couple of years ago. If I couldn’t write, I read. But most mornings, I wrote and wrote. And it became my air. It was like I had breathed through a straw for so long, that I was gulping the air in full breaths.

I went on a retreat, I wrote, I started yoga. I spent the mornings take caring of myself. I became happier and hopeful. I enjoyed my kids and husband more. I finally understood that just as a car can’t go without gas, I can’t be everything to everyone without taking care of myself. I did it every single morning. It was my ALL.

And then the second half of May came. There were endless end of the year celebrations, parties, performances, tasks to complete. I quit coming. I gave up the mornings. It didn’t take long; I got crabby again and wasn’t enjoying my days. I became anxious because I knew my kids activities were going to dominate the summer. I didn’t have a plan to continue my journey. I was back to NONE of all or none.

I had a sitter today and wanted to come write but I had to complete a project for school for the transition to the next leadership team. I worked hard on it, not enjoying it, mad that my kids were at breakfast and the beach with a sitter. I wanted to be there. I want to enjoy the summer with them. If I get caught up, I can DO IT ALL with them.

I took a little break and read some of the blogs that had become my “friends” during my mornings in the spring. They were still there. Relief, but not surprise. Then I looked at my blog, and realized a few people had been there. SURPRISE, but not relief.

This was when I realize that, indeed, I am ALL or NONE. In the spring, I became ALL IN with my writing. Every day. And then I got busy, and felt better, and I was ALL NONE without even realizing it.

I reached out a little, not much, when I was trying to make changes. It paid off. The few comments and fewer visitors have engaged me. Like most people, I don’t like asking for or needing help or support. My very small , if not community, settlement is calling me. I need to come back.

I do want to enjoy the summer with my kids. I know I can’t be ALL writing or ALL kids or ALL husband or ALL house or ALL writer.

But I am learning that I also can’t be NONE. I have to write.

For better or worse, I now know the ache of the pen.