On Writing; the Drought of 2017

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A new acquaintance asked me why I stopped writing. “Life. Work. Kids. Mostly life,” I answered.

“Well you have to have all of that if you’re going to have something to write about,” she replied, knowingly.

I had promised that no matter what came along, I would not stop writing. Promises made to ourselves in the quietude of a perfect Sunday morning never get kept, you know. They are the red-headed stepchild of promises.

2017 wasn’t one of my best years in many ways. I lost my dear beloved Alex though I tried valiantly to keep him alive. He acquiesced quietly and obediently, suffering through lymphoma until I was ready to say goodbye. My readiness was fleeting during the pre-dawn hours of a Saturday morning when I sat with him and prayed over his failing body. He took my moment of acceptance as his opportunity to leave.

Seven months later, I’d love to tell you that time heals. It doesn’t. It just makes you forget more frequently. But I think the wounds of losing Alex will always be a raw spot if I need something to cry about.

The experience of trying to keep Alex alive, combined with the ridiculous nature of public discourse these days gave me ample excuse to immerse my remaining brain cells into work. I have been lucky enough to join an amazing team of people I adore doing really interesting work that never gets boring. That, too, kept me from wanting to write. I adore this team in the way people adore long lost tribes. My sense of humor is rarely misunderstood, my passion for jumping head first into challenges is encouraged and supported. I have learned all that I am capable of. And above all I am having great fun.

Politics. I’ve been a political junkie for many years. The election of 2016, starting in the primaries, made me rethink much of that. I’ve always leaned liberal. I drank blue kool-aid before we knew that kool-aid kills. I had a lot of hope for Bernie Sanders. And then the Wikileaks started to drop. I bit my tongue. I was horrified.

I’ve made my peace with what is, and I have hope that things will get better. But not many want to see that yet. They’re too angry, and that’s their right. Far be it from me to dissuade them from a dark night of the soul. Dark nights show us our true power. 

For me, well, life is too short. If it doesn’t make me laugh or feel joy, I have no time for it. And there is much to laugh about in the midst of all of this. I’ve done my time in the salt mines of unassailable frustration. I think we all have. I was shaking my first at the sky in the 1980s. And Mark Twain was shaking his fist during his time. There was political backstabbing in the times of Ceasar. It is the very nature of politics to have discord and indignation.

I’d just rather laugh.

My kids have been going through their own challenges. We’ve outgrown our idyllic enclave in Mount Shasta. We are ready to begin playing more on a wider stage. It’s time to move, and I’m not quite ready for that either. But it’s happening, and I’m attempting to let go in the midst of a big change.

Even with all of the change and pain, life is unmistakably good. 

We have a new friend now, Bodhi. He’s a beautiful, intelligent and kind golden retriever. He thinks it is funny to make us chase him and he loves everything and everyone as all golden retrievers do. Yes, I know they have a higher incidence of cancer. I learned that the hard way. I would rather be blessed for a short time with a golden retriever than blessed for a long time with any other dog.

Will I start writing again? Do I have relevance? (Do any of us?)

I have rather a lot to say about things, and maybe those things will resonate. I think I’ll try shorter and more frequent writing instead of letting it get too far ahead of me.