Category Archives: Scott

50 shades of ordinary

At our friends’ home over diet coke we discussed writing, politics and books, not all in that order. My friend joked, “You know what your next book should be about? You should do your version of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

I laughed, “Like how things really are. The other side of Fifty Shades of Grey. Like un-erotica.”

My husband Scott offers up, “Yeah, like how you go to bed at 9.”

I said, “Or how you fall asleep downstairs to the TV with all your clothes on.” I found him a few days ago at 7:31am on the couch in a dress shirt, jeans and socks, fast asleep under the blanket his Nana made. We cuddled a little on the couch at 7:32.

On the way home from our friends’ house I took stock of our married life, the many ways we differ from that book.

I don’t call him Sir. It’s either Scott or Dude.

There is no dungeon-esqe room where the lines of pain and pleasure are blurred, only a dimly lit basement with kids’ toys, Lego to trip you, and a closet that holds the secrets of bad hairdos and musical tastes.

We don’t have bodyguards or caretakers or cooks. Security is a key and an umbrella. We cook or order pizza from Jim’s. I do the laundry and then leave it in the basket at the foot of our bed for a week. No one buys clothes for me because it’s my cardio and creative outlet, and woe to the person who would try to take that away from me.

No one saunters in our house except maybe Ben, my seven year old. No one sashays either.

I don’t have an ‘inner goddess’. There is a voice that reminds me to calm down when I’m irate that Scott left me to empty the grounds container of the espresso machine. My soul leaps when he mows the lawn or buys me chocolate treats. My inner goddess dances around the fridge, twirls a fork and declares, “He is a good man!”

On a rare night out, I swoon when Scott opens the door for me to the passenger side of the Jetta (leaving the minivan behind) and he slides into the driver’s seat. When we are alone in an elevator we do not succumb to desire as elevators often smell of other people’s food and potpourri.

Scott doesn’t wash or comb or braid my hair. However, yesterday he swept my hair back, piled it on top of my head until it flopped over my face as he laughed, “You look like a scarecrow!”

There aren’t emails full of innuendo. I send texts that say ‘please pick up milk’ or ‘be home by 5’ or the occasional naughty text thanks to autocorrect. Occasionally I will peel off my cardigan and send this text from our bedroom, “Are you coming to bed or what?”

those people

I meet Scott at our back gate. “There are signs up on the mailboxes by our house.”

“What?”

“The neighbors. They put up signs saying the land is,” and I air quote at him, “starving for water.”

I whisper, “You know it’s about us.”

It got hot this summer and we let our grass go brown, although we prefer ‘golden’. It was mowed, just not watered. We live in a neighborhood where most people tend to their lawns and shrubs like it’s an extension of them, watering and pruning to perfection. While I appreciate lush green grass I also appreciate conserving water and not spending my summer creating the ideal lawn.

I overheard our neighbors talking about us. Retrieving their mail, shaking their heads. Tsk. Tsk. They need to water it every day. It’s the summer. What are they thinking? They will never get that back. Cluck. Cluck. Hose in hand, I watered our cedars (yes, there was some watering going on. I’m not completely cold. I even pruned the roses) as my face burned with shame and my head filled with everything I couldn’t say. I’m sorry I let the heather go. I know they’re kindling now, but we have plans. Big plans! We’re going to tear them out and put down rock. River rock. We are nice people! Also, grass is a weed. It will grow back. It rains here 80% of the year!

After my mental tirade I slunk back to the house. I was upset at being upset. I thought I was stronger, way past caring about what people thought of me or, rather, the state of the yard. It wasn’t personal, yet I felt attacked. Much to my dismay, I was 15 again. I still want people to like me. I want to fit in. I’m not a boat-rocker. We’re fairly new to the neighborhood and now our brown grass invited judgment. We were those people. Waving my hands at Scott, I said, “We have to fix it. People hate us.”

He said, “No. We’re going to make our own sign.”

On an 8×11 sheet of paper we crafted and typed our reasons. We placed our sign about the importance of conserving water in between the pleas about our starving land. Go golden to stay green. We took a small stand.

It was silly. My overreacting. All riled up over a yard, a few signs and some nosy neighbors. I get that I’m crazy. I need to let things go and I’m terrible at letting things go. I could use more so what and who cares. Sometimes it’s the little things that are the greatest illustrations. The lawn became a lesson. I don’t have to conform. I’m allowed to be different. And, at 37,  I still need to stick up for myself.

I’m linking up with the speakeasy at yeah write – a place where you can just be yourself.

swept up
in Homeland
I am hooked on this show I’ve been watching on DVD. Is anyone else out there watching?

resting place

Over coffee we squeezed in conversation before our kids woke up to begin the day. I asked Scott, “Do you think we’re meant to be? Because I don’t know if I believe in that.”

Steeped in reality, soul mates and destiny weren’t ideas I indulged. It was great fodder for novels, but not for me.

Scott said, “I don’t know if I believe in it either, but.”

I finished, “But sometimes it feels that way.”

Before the car crash we had been together for only 6 weeks, new to love. We fell hard, fast. After the crash we loved each other in the hospital, during rehabilitation, through vows and the birth of our babies.

I didn’t know what to expect when I got married. I knew it wouldn’t be a fairy tale. We had already experienced life in all its reckless glory. So, what now? What would a life together hold, bound by contract and rings? I discovered marriage is: belly laughing, sobbing on his shoulder, being tempted to walk out the door, throwing salt on icy stairs so I don’t fall, a place of contention and calm. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It is more and less, imperfect and perfect. Scott is my resting place, a sanctuary.

‘Meant to be’ can be dangerous, as if I have no control over my life.  I’m hurtling toward a destination and my decisions don’t matter. There are no forks in the road. Soul mates are sewn together, not to be torn apart. But, what if things don’t work out? What if we just can’t be together anymore? It happens.

I believe in mystery and the unexplainable, in magic and God. And I believe in choices. I choose commitment, marriage, love. Scott and I choose each other every day. We are meant for each other because we’ve made each other our destinies, our soul mates.

I wrote this in response to the writing prompt ‘It wasn’t what I was expecting’ at Studio30 Plus. They have a new site which you should check out and then you’ll totally want to join. It’s a community of writers and bloggers for those of us 30 and up. I’m fairly new over there and it’s been a great, rewarding experience.

I’m also with YeahWrite this week because they’re awesome, another fabulous community of supportive writers.

my birthday 13 years ago

It was October 17th and my 24th birthday was celebrated with friends, family, nurses and a heap of food. My mom was at the helm organizing, directing and encouraging everyone to eat, eat! It didn’t matter that I was flat on my back in a bed. Wherever a group of people was gathered, a feast must be had. We were never short of food growing up in my house. Seconds were always pushed at dinner. If we were full that was accepted, but not before we were asked if we wanted more. It was no different in the hospital.

“Heidi, what would you like to eat?” my mom asked. She stood by my bed, hands on her hips.

I still found eating hard. I had been fed through a tube for so long that food was something I needed to get used to again.

“You pick, Mom. You know what I like.”

And she was off, launching herself into the next task. My mom was rarely still. All my life she moved – she cleaned, she fed, she looked after. My brothers and I were safe in a love that never stopped.

The crash was especially hard on her. She was at home when it happened; seconds after Betty and I left she heard a bang. The loudest bang I ever heard she had said and didn’t say much else about it. I didn’t press her for more. She was helpless, powerless to do anything to save her daughter or make her well. She was forced to wait at the sidewalk while firefighters lifted me from the ravine and then wait by my bed, her lined hard-working hands restless by her side.

There wasn’t room for anything sad when my mom gathered and assembled everyone to sing Happy Birthday to me. Family and friends, nurses, physiotherapist and occupational therapists – the many faces of the people I loved and had come to know packed into my small room and spilling into the hallway. Over birthday cake they sang to me.

Burning candles weren’t allowed what with all the ready oxygen everywhere, but gifts were brought and laid on the tray table beside me that normally held my water, juice and vomit trays. (Anesthetic didn’t agree with me and after almost every surgery I was vomiting whatever the doctors had pumped in.) The table was cleared and in its place was bright, crisp wrapping paper and bags with Happy Birthday splashed across them filled with colorful tissue. How refreshing to have something pretty near me!

Scott gave me his gift while no one was in the room. Everyone had gone to refill their drinks, get cake and second helpings of food. He placed a small blue velvet box into the palm of my hand.

“For you.”

I tugged at the box and the lid sprang open. Inside was a white-gold ring with a small diamond in the center of it. The ring was dainty and delicate.

I looked at him, surprised. “A ring?”

Scott said, “It looks like you.” He didn’t slip the ring onto my finger. He didn’t touch it. He was sitting cross-legged at the foot of my bed and the ring, still in its box, lay between us in the palm of my hand as he explained.

“It’s a promise ring. It’s my promise to you. To be with you. It’s the promise of us and a future together. And the promise that things will get better.”

I said, “It’s beautiful. Thank you. I didn’t expect this.”

I took it from its box and slipped it onto the ring finger of my right hand. Both of us were clear that it wasn’t an engagement ring. Neither of us was ready for that, yet. On my finger, with me, was a symbol of hope and a reminder that I was loved.

my summer of bugs, books, and risky behavior – part 2

You can find Part 1 here.

A large portion of my summer was spent as a single mom or skydiving widow because Scott pursued his dream of becoming a professional skydiver.

When I met Scott I took his ‘hobby’ of throwing himself out of planes coolly. That’s nice. Oh, you fly planes too? Hmmm…good for you.

He was perplexed over my lack of awe. “You’re not impressed easily.” I responded, “Am I supposed to be?”

“Well, c’mon. It’s pretty cool.”

I guess. Hohum.

He was right – I don’t get wowed easily regarding some things, but juicy gossip, an awesome episode of Parks and Rec, or my kids getting a perfect score on their spelling tests has me over-the-moon! I thought he should be content that I accepted his risky behavior with a level head. There’s no logic in willfully leaping into the sky from thousands of feet above the ground. Just because I didn’t hang off his arm and gush about how fabulous he was didn’t mean I didn’t care. I cared – I cared that he landed safely and showed up to our next date.

He’s been doing this a long time. It came with Scott, so I don’t get to be one of those women that declare you are out of your mind! It was part of the deal when I married him. I’d be ripping out his soul if I said no. I’m not exaggerating. This thing courses through his veins. And this summer he was all in. Not only did he want to jump out of planes he wanted to film other people doing it. Be a professional. This takes dedication and time – a lot of time.

Scott and I believe in dreams and the pursuit of them. I have an entire book I could write on the pursuit and failure and phew-we-made-it of dreams. So, for two and a half months I was the supportive wife saying, go ahead. Pursue. I just want to see some money at the end of this.

Some of you might be thinking how cool I am by proxy or how terrified I must be, but before you get too caught up in that let me tell you that Scott already has a full time job and kids. Emphasis on the kids. My primary concern was making sure all of us saw each other and cooking. I can do no-frills pasta and toss a beautiful salad, but cooking is mainly Scott’s domain. The prospect of me taking on almost all meals scared me more than his parachute failing. He didn’t abandon us, but my kids spent a lot of time drawing Scott in the sky with captions that read, My Daddy with a sad face beside the man under the colorful parachute. I kid. There was just a lot of, “Is Daddy skydiving again?” But Scott made it up to me by sending me to a writers’ conference against my will, taking the kids camping for a weekend and giving me the greatest gift of all – the house to myself. I didn’t realize how much I craved silence until I could hear birds chirping and nearly wept when no one came into my room between 6 and 7am.

Scott fulfilled his dream and he has the video footage to prove it. He was happy and that happiness came home, which makes the sacrifices worth it. And now that summer is officially over, sanity has been restored. Almost. September brings its own kind of crazy.

Swept up

In books! I mentioned books in the title. So let me tell you about a few books I read this summer that I think you should read.

Throwing Rocks at Beehives is a great, gripping novel by my friend Scott Radnidge. I was lucky enough to be one of his early readers and I loved this book. I got it in pieces, so I’d be reading it at ballet, the ice rink waiting for my kids, and kept pestering him for more. I wanted to know what would happen to Mia (the protagonist) and would she be okay? A good book is one that keeps me turning the pages. Scott’s book does that. Here’s a bit of an overview from Barnes and Noble where you can buy the ebook. After leaving their home one rainy night in a panic, Jenny and Mia Waters, identical twins, have to start a new life, living in a fourplex on the outskirts of a town they’ve never heard of, surrounded by mysterious characters, their lives unraveling slowly. It was on that miserable autumn evening when Jenny, Mia and their mom came home and found their dad in bed with their neighbor, that the course of their lives changed forever. Plucked from their home, they drove for hours in the rain on an unfamiliar highway. Their mother, inconsolable, did her best to keep the car on the road as they headed for a nameless town. They were starting over… Go. Buy it and enjoy!

I picked up the next 2 books at the PNWA Conference

I mentioned this memoir a few posts ago. The Next 15 Minutes: Strength from the Top of the Mountain by Kim Kircher. You can find this on the back of the book… The Next 15 Minutes offers a rare glimpse into the strange and fascinating world of a ski area professional, where steep terrain and deep snow teach patrollers how to get through the worst trials just fifteen minutes at a time. Kim seized the EMT training that helped her avoid panic when a fallen skier had to be delicately lifted from a tree to manage the life-and-death situation facing her husband. Kim is a rock star. She bombs snow-covered mountains to control avalanches and faces her husband’s illness straight-on with tenacity and courage. I know very little about skiing or treacherous mountain terrain but I could relate to Kim doing whatever she had to do to get through the worst time of her life. This book is fascinating and inspiring. You can pre-order the book here. And she’s got a blog too.

I heard Janna Cawrse Esarey speak at the PNWA conference (her workshop on narrative arc was awesome) and I read her memoir The Motion of the Ocean: 1 small boat, 2 average lovers, and a Woman’s Search for the Meaning of Wife. It is as charming as it sounds. Here is what Jen Lancaster NYT bestselling author of Bitter is the New Black has to say: “Equipped with nothing but an old boat and a new marriage, Janna Cawrse Esarey recounts her two and a half years at sea with wry humor, keen observations, and descriptions vivid enough to satisfy the most seasoned traveler. The Motion of the Ocean is the quintessential summer read for anyone seeking an adventure in life, love, or self-discovery.” When a book starts out with… Somewhere fifty miles off the coast of Oregon I realize the skipper of this very small ship is an asshole. He also happens to be my husband… you know it’s going to be good. And funny. Janna is a great storyteller. Her writing is sharp and quick and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. You can buy it here.

my summer of bugs, books, and risky behavior – part 1

I slide along the bench to get closer to the music, to the chorus of this song. It’s Awake My Soul by Mumford and Sons. It’s what I want – for my soul to be awake.

I’m watching Ben swim and he’s getting it this time. His swimming teacher isn’t far behind. Kick your legs, face in the water, blow your bubbles.

“I did it! I did it!” Jumping into the deep end, floating on his back, and doing a front glide everyone has to hear about it. Benjamin’s enthusiasm is contagious, his smile so broad I smile and wave. “Good job, Ben!” He turns to the teacher. “My mom is watching me. Look! She’s watching me.” The teacher nods and smiles. Ben puffs out his small chest and stretches his hand out of the water to give me a thumbs-up.

I love days like this. Sunny and hazy, sentimental songs, beach towels strewn about, dark glasses, kids dripping with water and pride, the scent of chlorine and coconut in the air. Summer is part nostalgia and part spotlight. I’m in the sun and all its glory past and present. My favorite part of summer is that it keeps me present.

And this summer has definitely kept me in the here-and-now. We were given lice, a new house and Scott pursued his dream of becoming a professional skydiver. Okay, I can’t blame it on summer. It’s just what happened this summer.

On our way to art camp one chilly overcast (did I mention that July was this year’s winter?) day Annie was scratching her head, digging her nails in until her hair resembled Einstein’s and said, “It feels like I have lice.” I was in denial for 5 seconds (not my child) until I peered closely at her hair, saw the critters clinging to her hair and scalp, and began to go through all the stages of grief in 10 seconds. Outrage. Acceptance. Sad. Grim determination.

In crisis I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I can be calm and level-headed crossing that bridge when I come to it. But lice had me panicking, my face moving back and forth between alarmed – eyebrows up – and mad – eyebrows furrowed. The bugs in my daughter’s hair, my hair, and Ben’s hair did me in. Yup. All of us had lice. I’ll bet right now you’re all scratching your heads wondering if it can jump off the screen and on to you. Well, I learned lice can’t jump and I am pleased to say we are all lice free, thank God, but I still find myself picking through my kids’ hair outside where the light is best, in line-ups, and while they’re eating breakfast. I continue to comb through their hair even as they whine and swat my hands away, “Stop it. I don’t have lice. People are looking. Geez.”

While our house was zoned to battle lice it was also up for sale. So, I had to have the house ready at all times for prospective buyers to troop through and decide if this was the home for them. We had our eye on a house just five minutes away and thought we’d risk the blah, nearly dead market. Our attitude was if it worked out…great. If not, we’d be okay. We like where we live. We just need more space.

Do you know what happens when you don’t really care? Your house sells. It’s like when you’ve sworn off men you suddenly acquire a boyfriend. That’s how I got Scott. Don’t care and poof! Boyfriend! House! I’m going to apply the same wisdom to a lottery ticket. Poof! A million dollars! Thanks to the new house I will be getting a basement, walk-in closet and actual office/writing space instead off a small desk just off my kitchen with the most obnoxious eyesore of a printer beside it. We love our neighbors and are sad to leave them, so it’s with mixed up feelings that we move.

This is part 1 of 2. I’m sure I’ve left you with bated breath with that last sentence. Where could she go from here?? Really, it’s just too long of a post. In Part 2, coming soon, you’ll find out how books factor in to the title and how I became a skydiving widow (not literally. Scott isn’t dead. His parachute didn’t fail him.) this summer.

50,000 words!!

52, 238 words to be exact.

I know I haven’t been here in forever. But, with good reasons. One of them being that March was extraordinarily busy. The other was that I’ve been trying to finish up this book using fake deadlines. I work well under pressure, so I thought I would do everything I could by April 2nd. I would be meeting a friend of mine for lunch then, a friend who can write and who’s opinion I value very much. I wanted to be able to give her as much of this book as I could. I couldn’t sleep. I got anxious. I grew addicted to Reese peanut butter eggs. It was like a real deadline until I realized it wasn’t and then I calmed the eff down.

I gave the book (the book!) to her and to Scott. I needed fresh eyes to stare at this thing for a while. I had become a zombie, a writing zombie, but still a zombie in front of the computer. Scott has already given me suggestions and ideas. Oh, and he gave me the book’s purpose. I have been writing this story with no concrete idea of what this story is about. I figured it would just reveal itself to me as I wrote. Well, I hoped that it would. There are definite themes in the book, but I needed a central theme – something that says, this is what the book is about. So, now I can say it’s about identity. I’ll write more about that another time.

I can’t believe all of this writing actually made its way to a book. Or my almost book. Because I’m looking at the second half and it needs changes and more direction. But, I’ll get there. I’ll create another deadline.

the boyfriend who didn’t leave

A late Valentine’s Day-ish post. Hope everyone had a great day yesterday.

There were times, especially when I was in for long appointments, I was asked questions that I didn’t mind giving up answers for. It was easier to take from trained medical personnel. I didn’t feel like a freak sideshow. After we got ‘what happened’ out of the way, Scott came up, the boyfriend who didn’t leave. This was what grabbed people, that he was still here.

One morning I had returned to VGH to see the Occupational Therapist to have my pressure garments checked and to take a look at how my skin was faring underneath.

“So, you’d only been together six weeks?”

“Yup.”

She mouthed w-o-w.

I knew what was coming next. It was said a lot.

“It’s amazing he stuck with you. What a great guy!”

I nodded. “He’s a good guy.”

She shook her head. “Amazing! Does he have a brother?”

He didn’t. “Nope. He’s got an older sister.”

I laughed because I was supposed to. While she was struck by my good fortune I was irked by the picture her words created. I should be grateful for his sticking around because who would ever want me in my state?

I didn’t want to be with anyone that felt guilt-ed into being with me. It’s true – I would have been a tough sell to any guy in his right mind, but I was bothered that he was a hero in this scenario, like it had nothing to do with me. He swooped in, a knight on his horse, and rescued me, as if I didn’t live this every day.

I didn’t care for fairy tales very much, even as a girl, believing that girls were strong enough to get themselves out of their bad situations. Come on Cinderella, stop scrubbing the floors and leave your Stepmother and stepsisters. Drop your broom and walk out that door with your head held high! Snow White, you’re really going to take a bite out of that apple from a crazy, ugly old witch that appeared from nowhere? Really? Use your head.

I was still laughing when I said, “Actually, I’m pretty great. He’s lucky to have me.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean that you weren’t…”

“I know you didn’t. It’s just that it gets said a lot and he is a great guy, but I’m a good person,” I offered as explanation, wanting for her to see it. I smiled with conviction.

I felt relieved at having said the words out loud. Scott liked me before this had happened. I was still that person. He was someone to point at and proclaim, now here is someone special. He deserved to be praised. He was my hero, not because he was my knight in shining armor saving me from disaster, but because he stepped into the disaster with me. He looked past what was ruined and saw me.

We were honest with each other and, luckily, not easily offended by it. If I asked Scott for his opinion I got it, uncensored. When I asked him about all the scars, my hands sweeping through the air over myself to emphasize all-the-scars, he said, sure, they’re there, but so are you. He wasn’t here out of obligation. He was here because he wanted to be and I was worth sticking around for.

hospital dating

Scott and I were having a relationship at the hospital, which, as it turns out, is not the best place to get to know one another. We knew commitment on a level that most people who had just begun dating would never come close to. We didn’t, however, know each other’s quirks or the things that could potentially make you crazy. Everything was new when we were thrust into hell, so the usual getting to know you dating rituals would have to come later.

Scott and I had our first fight at the burn unit. It began when he grew frustrated that I couldn’t turn myself over in my bed. It was something I had been working on; summoning all the strength I had to move my body from one side to the other. For the first few months nurses and orderlies turned me in my bed. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t just turn to the side and stay on my side. I didn’t understand it either, but I was that weak. And Scott couldn’t comprehend it.

It was our version of cabin fever. We’d been staring at the same walls and surrounded by the same machines for too long now. Scott knew every medicine that trickled in through an IV. He knew where to get the trays from in case I vomited. He saw my bag of pee that hung over the rail of my bed. Our conversations were few and when they happened it consisted of mainly hospital talk.

“I had a fever.”

Scott, looking at the bag of blood hanging beside me, “Oh, I didn’t know you were getting a transfusion today.”

“Do you know they’re giving me an anti-depressant? I didn’t know. I asked Kathleen what all the pills were for and she said one of them was my ‘happy pill’.”

Scott nodded, “Well, that would make sense.”

After debriefing, I would ask, “What did you do today?”

All my visitors, including Scott, had to wear gowns and gloves because of MRSA. We needed to be protected from each other. Romance was Scott slipping the gloves off his hands and climbing into the bed to spoon me.

Months of life and death issues were taking their toll on that particular day. My feeble attempts weren’t enough for him. “Why can’t you roll over?”

“I don’t know!”

“Just do it.”

He had this calm that irritated me, like if I just applied myself I’d be fine.

“Ummm…I’ve had about a million surgeries and I’m tired and I don’t know why I can’t do it. You do it!” My inability to roll over had a lot to do with missing feet. Feet do a lot of work for you and when you’re used to having them it takes a while to adjust. I figured that out later.

Scott wasn’t a monster. We were tired. The fight wasn’t at all about me being able to roll or not roll over. It was all about the fact that we had been there for months and that our relationship was relegated to a room in a building we couldn’t escape. It was a lot some days.

instinct

“What if Heidi went blind? What would you do if she went blind?”

These questions ran through Scott’s mind one afternoon while sitting on a park bench. It surprised him, the heaviness of these questions. He had been dating me for such a short while, too short to have thoughts like this land in his head with a thud. He pondered and weighed them coming to the conclusion that he’d want to stick around, to see how I would handle it.

Weeks later he received a phone call that echoed the once seemingly random questions which then became otherworldly, planted by God.

Looking back I wonder if we were being prepared for what was coming. My right foot suddenly aching, developing a limp from running; Scott gently washing the sand off my feet as they rested on a rock at Jericho Beach days before the crash; Scott holding up the camera at the beach while I, tanned in short shorts, squirmed at my photo being taken, that photo later framed and placed bedside at the hospital; Scott and I getting serious fast; calling my friend Ang hours before the crash telling her something felt very wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it. We were defensive about what was coming, although there was nothing we could have done. It was unseen and coming at lightning speed. We were tensing, catching our breath, and bracing for impact.

I’m writing more these days. Not everything makes it to the blog. Some things will be for ‘the book’ only. I met with some of the brilliant women I took my writing workshop with at a coffeehouse on Main St in the city on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I read a piece of writing that is going to be the very beginning to my book. A prologue, I think. But, it doesn’t matter what it is right now. I have a beginning to my book.

As I’m writing, memories find me in my car, in the shower, while I’m walking. And I am forced to see each memory from a different angle, light falling on it in a new way. I’m viewing my life from a writer’s perspective. It’s been incredible. Sometimes hard, sometimes tedious, but mostly invigorating. How will I express this thought or tackle that time? When I began I wasn’t sure where this venture would take me. Could I pull this off? Would people shake their heads in disbelief and under their breath say, who is she kidding? Maybe they are, but I don’t care. I feel alive. I am all glory-be and coming home after years of suffering with homesickness. I’m learning that when I trust my instincts the stars align. And this writing thing? It’s a hunch, a stirring I have to follow.

So, I’m reminded of the days leading to the crash and I see it, instinct. Something one might only catch in hindsight, but it’s there, palm prints of it all over everything. You could check off each experience as coincidence, but I don’t think it is. Something inside of us, outside of us crooks a finger and whispers to come a little closer, listen.

Instinct isn’t always meant for warning and danger. Shivers running up and down your spine can thrill you, joy is on its way. It can move you to the right place or get you the hell out. It serves as guide and messenger. I’m not a touchy-feely type. Don’t ask me to hold hands and stand in a circle connecting as women-kind. But, I was tired and grew tired of being tired. I’m listening and I’m no longer tired.

swept up
in my friend Lesley’s photography!
She’s officially just starting out, but she’s been toting a camera with her forever. To the park, the beach, to every Halloween, and each birthday. She’s got an eye for this, a natural. I took this collage off of her blog. (To do this collage and all of her photos justice you need to pop over to her blog. It’s better over there.) She snapped these ridiculously gorgeous photos of our kids at the park before ‘back to school’. Our kids meaning mine, hers, and Jenn’s, although a couple of Jenn’s kids are missing here. (The blonde one on the right is my girl, Annie. And my boy, Ben, is in the purple shirt.) Our kids have been playing, giggling and getting into trouble since they came crashing into the world. They’re family.