my story

there have been multiple times over the years when it became clear that i wanted to write a memoir. the first was as clear as the michigan lakes, i could see straight to the bottom of it, everything laid out in front of me. and this is strange because i cannot remember anything from that period in my life. i was sitting on mom's cool leather couch on a houston summer morning and began recording a timeline of events for every day following my sister jamie's death. in my heart i knew that these details would prove invaluable when finishing the book i was destined to write.

i recall the subsequent mornings, wrapped in a blanket against the chill of the air conditioner, noting the events of the previous day and pouring my anger and sadness onto the clean sheets. following the funeral this tradition continued, though becoming more sporadic –evenings spent scribbling drunken entries into that old blue spiral notebook until i couldn't see through my tears.

the second time was during that workshop at the hospital, when for a few hours each week i could fulfill my dream of being a writer. the day i presented my short story to the room full of doctors and nursing assistants, i was as sure of anything in my life that i would write my story. the support from my classmates was overwhelming, insisting that my story was only a chapter in a much more important book.

all of these hints culminated when i ran across the posting for natalie goldberg's writing workshop focused on memoir. it was as if i had followed the trail markers, cautiously navigating the well-worn path and arriving at a clearing. in the open field i found all of the authors before me, smiling with an invitation to their private celebration. it was as if they had known i was coming, but it was me who had forgotten the location. writing had slowly crept back into my life like a child under the covers in a storm.

after the workshop ended i could envision my own heart flowing out onto the page, my truth exposed naked in the sunshine. i could feel the power of my pain, cracked open wide and bleeding with my readers at the bedside. to acknowledge my despair, the hopelessness, the filth that lies at the bottom of grief. and the sweetness that comes with surviving it.

it is true: we are stronger than we can ever imagine in the face of tragedy. we are more powerful that we ever thought possible. as humans, we are resilient – we are destined to learn the nature of our existence through incomprehensible means.

No comments:

Post a Comment