Memoir Writing

Tomatoes and Raindrops and Curtains of Blue

All of these things are true.

In between working and driving, within the last seven days I…

Saw my oldest son graduate in dress blues and white cap from Navy boot camp. I cried during the Star Spangled Banner and The Navy Hymn.

Stood on the shore of Lake Michigan with my husband, ex-husband, son, and his girl. I gathered 5 stones of remembrance. We all went to dinner, having our first amiable conversation in 9 years.

Took an elevator 103 stories up and glimpsed panoramic views of Chicago’s skyline on a clear day that really did feel like forever. I didn’t look down.

Hiked with a friend through an Illinois prairie and through a wooded ridge. We talked about women and God while dodging spring mud.

Received a paper bag holding two perfectly ripe homegrown tomatoes from my son’s girl. After slicing, I sprinkled them with coarse salt and marveled at her kindred heart.

Tomatoes and salt.

Tomatoes and salt.

Purchased a hard cover novel from the used bookstore and a second one as well, for the quote inscribed in the flyleaf. I ran my hand over the ink and imagined.

Rearranged the notes pasted on my office wall to make room for a laminated year-at-a-glance calendar. I filled in campaigns through the year for work, writing, and family with color-coded markers. This year is abundant.

Tried climbing a tree by reaching for the lowest limb on our shiny Magnolia. I held on suspended for 1.5 seconds three times. I felt the girl-trapped-inside-an-old-body writhe to be released.

Danced barefoot around a fire with my friends in rhythm with drums. We talked about the men we love and how they love us in return.

Drums, fire, and barefooted dancing.

Drums, a perfect fire, and barefooted dancing. We burned a bowlful of notes, all the bad juju we no longer needed.

Ran on a grass bank during a heavy spring rain, smelled wet honeysuckle, combed my fingers over the dripping branches of an oak. I felt its life.

Touched the clear light of raindrops from leaf to my finger, watched the trickle on my palm to my forearm, felt it drip from my raised and bent elbow. The tree and I felt cleansed.

Listened to rain showers on pond water, heard thunder a few miles away. I unexpectedly napped on white sheets before dinner.

I guess I was tired. I also, on increasing occasion over these past 7 days, sat staring unseeing at my screen and the void opened up. I don’t battle depression anymore; I acknowledge it.  I call this feeling the Dark Sads. The artist’s temperament brings with it a melancholy; it might even depend on it. Still, this was a significant week that begs processing time. Perhaps I’m only blue because I’ve resisted this need too many days in a row. Of truth and worth noting: melancholy always drives me to create. I see in bright color. The air sizzles and light shimmers. I am most likely to craft work I like keeping on days like this.

Today, I write. I eat a warm cookie.  I sit in the sun and stretch my toes. I listen.

Lake Michigan

The shoreline of Lake Michigan, contributing its own brand of magic.

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