Recently I was asked to contribute.

Recently, I was asked to contribute to an anthology of memoir.

I thought this sounded great, so I readily agreed, knowing that the editor will be reading all the contributions she is sent and selecting those she thinks are most likely to appeal for publication.

And I’ve written the first page, the first of ten pages or three thousand words.  It is not a bad page.  It encapsulates, in words I have not assembled before in that order, some of the pain and awkwardness of feeling and being different.  It says something a little bit different too, about the nature of regret.

But – but – though every word is true, my daughter’s friends never ask about that.  With her, I doubt my impairments are a wise topic of conversation, or that it arises often.  My husband never mentions it either.  And now I feel a glissando of that old, familiar heaviness on my shoulders after writing, and I pause.

I have no real wish to rehearse all that again.  There will be times when I feel in the mood for it, and this is not one of them.  I don’t yearn to lift aloft that large plank of the past, to indulge in scrutiny of its unalterable underside.

Rather, I’d prefer to lay that plank firmly on the ground and tread confidently along it to the rest of – what is left of – my life.  Doing anything else feels like picking at a healing scab or breaking a fragile covering of winter ice on a freezing puddle to get my hands and sleeves soaked in the water below.  I’ve always hated getting my sleeves wet.  But I’m quite happy to swim in the ocean.  If I get a chance, I’d far rather it was the peaceful Pacific or the Caribbean….not the Arctic.


‘Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.’

Walt Whitman

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