In September, my son Brendan began half-day kindergarten, and my daughter Madeleine is in first grade, affording me a dozen or so hours per week for the first time in my years as a parent. Last summer, I envisioned these school hours as a window to "weep endlessly, waste time frivolously, and write like there's no tomorrow." Excessive, yes, but I need to make a break from what was "before," to serve the ideas brewing in my head all those years when I could not find a moment of quiet and a working pen at the same time.
So this is how it goes: each morning I can, which is to say each morning without great quantities of undone chores and errands, I make myself a breakfast of over-easy eggs, sprouted raisin toast with butter, and hot coffee (which I will drink while it is hot, thank you very much), and then I sit down with my pen and journal, or move to the computer to toodle with words. Most mornings I am hard-pressed to pick up kids on time, I am so excited about what yarn I am spinning along...
I began by filling a journal per month, and by writing to a long-lost friend-- a friend who traded letters with me for nine years, but with whom I had lost touch. This friend asked me a simple, "so what do you want to write?" on a day when I needed to drive a startling number of hours, and by the end of the car rides, a plan became clear! I want, mostly, to write personal stories in a way that helps me "knit it all together," to see my life as one piece and not so many fragments. I need to start small-- I'm still adapting to this sort of self-exposure, and I will need a thick skin if I ever decide to publish anything. I began to write a few other friends, as well, and with each story comes more stories.
I have not written for an "audience" of more than one person since my high school newspaper days, but in November I submitted reminiscences of my college ministry days to my illustrious first employer, for its alumni website. Each month a new story is posted, and if you email me, I will put you on my "alert list" when a new column comes out, or send you the archive link.
Gratitude is the center point of my "campus ministry days" writing, and with the rest of my writing I am thinking of "cairns"-- cairns are small stacks of stones, serving as markers for a path, sometimes a path above treeline, where there are few landmarks for a return trip. The first cairn I laid eyes on (Colorado, 1981, hiking with my roommate Anne) also reminded me of stone altars in the wilderness-- a sign that something important happened, some event worth honoring.
So. Blogging. Seems a little crazy, like the sound of one mouth talking or better, the sound of one pen scratching. "A commitment to writing," of sorts. But now you'll know where to find my writing, if you wish. More stories will be posted shortly-- I am just getting started.