Last Thursday driving east to where home used to be, my mind swelled with stories. It always does, but they used to be about me. This time in the eight hours from Pickens, SC to Hampton, VA, I was bursting with ideas from three interviews in the days prior. Evan, Sue, Chris. When I visit, I’ve got so many friends and family to see that I couch surf from home to home, no desk in sight. Those had been vacations. Now, I’m a writer. Where would these people’s stories come to life?
Summer Shift: When Teacher Becomes Storyteller
On Friday, I woke up a teacher for the last time in the foreseeable future. My classroom is now boxed in my carport storage, an easy fit. The question was what to do with my rolling teacher desk. My principal called it the Cadillac of carts, I called it my classroom on wheels, and my students called it fidget toy one-stop-shopping. I unpacked it in the carport, put the screws back in, looked around at the sea of green and blue country, heard the birds, felt the breeze, and realized I’d unlocked the greatest writing real estate.
The Lessons I Learned at Alternative School
For ten months, I’ve chanted it every day with my kids at alternative school, our mantra: “This is my life. This is my story. I will love it or regret it based on my daily choices.” The first recitation alone didn’t change me, but repetition worked it into my DNA. Our choices, love or regret them, write our stories. Could all our pensive meanderings for how to live a better life really boil down to something so simple?
I Used to Be
It’s been eight years since I started writing again. When I started this blog and posted for the first time, it was for an audience of two: my mom and God. Reflecting on my concluding thoughts at this point my journey is encouraging. Did it make me a writer? Kind of!
I used to be a writer and a poet and a novelist. And a singer. And an actress. And a media tech. And a computer repair geek. I used to be a little sister and a big sister, a babysitter, a housekeeper, a business owner, a gardener, a receptionist at a hair salon, an intern at a church, a tutor at a private school, a certified personal trainer, a model, a Nashvillian. I used to be so many things. Even a wife.
Now, I sit on the front porch of a rented three bed room house in the middle of Virginia pushing thoughts of teaching out of my mind to free up the room to write again. Even as my fingers depress keys in a sequence of muscle memory so automatic it’s like breathing, my mind is still churning out a never-ending to do list of ostensibly unimportant dimensions: compile…
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We avoid pain, but its presence tells us something is wrong. I knew I needed a root canal and two trigger thumb surgeries this month. After each procedure, the affected areas remained numb for hours, and I was told to avoid use until that wore off; absent pain, I could cause further damage. Is the same true for emotional pain, and if so, do our human efforts to numb and avoid it actually damage us more?
When You’re Not a Mother
Mother’s Day can bring mixed emotions for men and women alike. Several years ago, I processed some of that in this post.
I love my mother, but not Mother’s Day. It comes every year. I can set my biological watch by it. Like the incremental changes in my garden that happen while I’m not looking, my dislike of the holiday that began as a small seed years ago now has deep roots and casts an even longer shadow.
Just like that biological clock that used to be contented to tick quietly in the background of my everyday routine got a figurative tech upgrade shortly after I hit thirty and now sounds an alarm every time I see a baby or a pregnant belly. I’m not a person to hit snooze in the morning. I set my alarm each night for the latest possible moment I can wake up and not be late. That alarm sounds, and I hit the carpet running.
This biological alarm clock is different. I never know when it’s…
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For the Love of Laurels
If I Were a Peony was the first of my analogical musings. During a Sunday afternoon meandering the South Carolina Botanical Gardens with Mama Sue, some flora is worth further consideration further, and so is some counsel that was not your garden variety.
And He’ll Do It Again
Six years ago, my brother P.J. battled an ulcer that sought to make a widow of his wife and leave my nieces and nephew fatherless. My family battled right back in prayer, and God worked a miracle. Today, a similar circumstance reminds me of this story, where I raised an Ebenezer worth revisiting now.
It’s the first night in a week I haven’t been up on the surgical floor at Sentara tracking my brother’s progress. I feel the need to just be still. The air in the evening calm after the afternoon lightning storm rekindles a creative fire dormant in these days spent pacing, swapping updates, and riding the ups and downs of a treacherous terrain.
Just after I posted last Tuesday night, P.J. was rushed to the hospital after vomiting blood. Mom called while I was in the shower the next morning to let me know she was driving down to Hampton. The voicemail chilled my clean skin. She called back while I was getting in the car, unsure where I would be going. “I don’t want you getting in the car,” Mom said. “Your brother might not make it.”
That’s how it began for me, really, though I imagine that each one…
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Not a Typical Tuesday
Today's not a typical Tuesday nor Teacher's Day. I'm having the third of four hand surgeries in fifteen months. Typing and crocheting likely got me here, and I hope I'm able to get back to both quickly. Last year, it was bilateral carpal tunnel. This month, it's bilateral trigger thumb. My doctor will fix the … Continue reading Not a Typical Tuesday
If Your English Teacher Could Rap
I was dreamin’ of tomorrow / so I – sacrificed today / It was a waste, a mistake / that I’m not makin’ again // You say begin again. Up, / jump in and live again...