A Dearth of Words

Dearth.

Yes. A scarcity of something. Words. Here.

And it’s noticed, I know. A few folks I know have commented, casually, ‘uh, you haven’t written anything in awhile….’

And, then leave the comment trailing…

All I can seem to muster in those moments is a quasi-quizzical look and a mild sigh. Then, I try to explain what I haven’t yet sorted out for myself.

They know all that you all know about the the circuitous and yet full circle path I’ve been on, and so when they say….

Maybe you don’t need to anymore?…”

… I am – every time – simply silent with no real meaningful response.  You might say, a dearth of wit in those moments.

In my silence, however, I am uncomfortable. Not at rest. Maybe even slightly agitated.

But – and because – I am unable to articulate why. Even to myself.

Until the other night, or rather very early morning, when I should have been sleeping snuggled and sound; instead my mind was busy. No dearth of 3 a.m. thoughts, of that I can assure you.  In that vast, wide open space otherwise known as the middle of the freaking night, I circled about, eyeing this notion like a bird preying it’s lunch down below.

I thought of something Mimi wrote in her last post about “becoming a paean to gratefulness.

I thought about how much that resonated with me.

I thought about why that is.

I thought about how as a young girl, I was drawn to writing my thoughts and how when I look back at my old diaries, I see many starts but not as many finishes.

I thought about the idea of why we write. Why I write.

And then…

I thought about all this thinking.

And then…

I thought about the satisfaction that comes from writing.

I thought about so many issues sorted and unraveled because I wrote.

I thought about the community of friends and writers created and curated here, over time.

I thought about how it feels when I do write.

I felt it.

….

I kept circling back in my thoughts,  back to the comment, ‘maybe you just don’t need to anymore…’

Like writing was simply a temporary friend during a lonely and unsettling time.  (You know ‘that friend’ who constantly cries on your shoulder about this, that or the other thing, and never lets you know how things turned out? )*

A band-aid to put on during something that hurt.

A salve to soothe an an open wound.

….

And then I finally landed on the morsel.

But I do.

I do need to write.

I need the writing.

It is part of me that I (re)discovered during all that. The silver lining, so to speak, in the mess of of it all.

maitriser-le-web-reseaux-sociauxIt’s how I distill meaning from what’s in and around me.

It’s a way of thinking that makes sense to me.

It’s like the friend who totally gets me. *(And I don’t want be ‘that friend’ to writing.)

….

And, I fell back to sleep, but not before imprinting this in my mind’s eye, to come back to. Here.

Because, I need the writing.

Even in the absence of angst, without a glaring problem to solve or sort. There will always be – the way I see it, the way I want to see it  – something to distill.

So, what does this mean? I am not sure yet; I just know that the next time someone says, ‘oh maybe you just don’t need it anymore?” I know that I will say, ‘oh but I do…”

And while it’s true, life as I know it now is so much brighter, full of promise and love and possibilities limited only by infinity, it’s ok to still need the writing.

I need the writing.

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Dear Old Love Letters,

Dear Old Love Letters,

I found you, in the bottom of the big old box. There you were, tucked away safely, all this time. You have stayed so true, so loyal over all these last thirty years. You have not seen the light of day nor felt the warmth of hand to open you and turn your sweet pages.  Thank you for your patience, and knowing, that perhaps now was the perfect time to find you. Read you. Rediscover you. 

As life brings closure on a significant chapter of life, you bring me back, so sweetly and innocently, to the one that began the history of them all. The first.

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It’s been thirty years since you were penned and mailed, with a stamp that cost twenty cents. It’s been thirty years since your words have been read and savored. Thirty years since feeling that flutter of happiness upon seeing the yellow envelope on my dresser when I got home from school.

You were written for a sixteen year old girl, and you were written long before you could ever know that letting those words flow freely from your yet unbruised heart would begin the first of all bruises yet to follow. Your wordy news and little updates of seemingly mundane moments pre-date any form of text messaging that today, would surely consume hours of our days. Every little detail, so important.

Your sweet innocence and vulnerability is almost too much…

“My mind is on other things, so I decided to write to that one other thing – you!”

Your uninhibited words play across the pages – the slightly sappy, but so very endearing Snoopy stationery, chosen by your author – in your own unique way; you convey his heart, his thoughts, his cute little sighs.  You reveal a heart as yet unbroken. You tell me that I am missed, appreciated, and while the word graces not the page, in between the lines it’s there. A naive first love.

To find you now is perfect really. A time of re-calibration. A time of reflection. A time of being intentional. A time of new direction. It’s like you knew, that you waited for me somehow.  You remind me what is possible. You remind me that the heart is beautiful, resilient and wise. And that the telling of one’s heart is in fact an act of courage.

“I’m sure extra glad that things are working out with your parents about me. If I come up to visit, I’ll probably get real nervous and blow it though. So, they said it’s ok to come up and visit and stuff? Well, I’m interested in the stuff 🙂 “

Letters, you are a landmark of sorts; a familiar, even if so very vague, place worth remembering, perhaps keeping an eye out for.  I would like to somehow convey to your author  – the sweet boy who was brave enough to pen his heart on your pages for me, for to be so transparent is truly an act of bravery – how grateful I am. That he owns a corner of my heart. Always. How could he not?

“I sure had a super great time on Sat. Thanks! We didn’t do much, but it didn’t matter. Just being with you made it worth it.”

Letters, sweet old letters, thank you for staying safely tucked away and finding me again all these years later.  I grin and blush just thinking about you and feel almost sixteen again.  I am comforted by your presence, for the 16 year old girl then, and the woman now old enough to be her mother.  Like muscle memory, our hearts have a memory too. It is good.

Love,
Bonnie

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*These letters are real, and were from my first boyfriend when I was 16 yrs old and he 19.  We met while working together at a summer camp. I attended his wedding years later and we danced together, talking and sharing, knowing we’d always think fondly of the other. While I congratulated him on his big day, and said I wished he and his bride so much joy,  I told him I still had his letters. He said he still had mine.  

I could tell you what happened or who broke who’s heart, but when a first love ends, isn’t it both hearts that twist and crumple, never to be quite the same ever again?

How the story ended is not so important as remembering the sheer openness and accessibility. Every girl should be so lucky to have letters so sweet and that remind her that she’s been cherished in the eyes of another. 

Lemonade Is On The Porch

Come on in!

Things are looking a little different around here today finally.  So much for phase one and then phase two and then phase 3…one and two seemed to really want to ride tandem.

So, we’ve got the new outfit and the new name tag today.

Here’s the old place…just in case you are a little unsure!

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Remember me?

It’s the same place on the inside and

there is lemonade is on the porch for you!

Relax, enjoy, stick around…while I figure out how to change the name officially.

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Hi Honey, I’m Home

I have shared before that when I started this blog, I really didn’t know why I was, other than I thought I was supposed to, to support another creative endeavor.  I started with such uncertainty and trepidation. It took me a long time to really feel at home here, but something in me said to keep going, even when I wondered, “What’s the Point” ?

What’s ironic (and irony is never lost on me…) is that I have had to put that other endeavor on the shelf, indefinitely for now, perhaps permanently, but yet this blog remains and has come to be something central to who I am. It has allowed me to become more honest with myself.  This honesty breeds direction, understanding, confidence and contentment, within myself.

I trust myself more.

I have learned to pay attention and attune myself to the quiet subtle moments that are rich with insight and import.

Stories once long forgotten are sometimes my teacher in these moments.

I can now sense the shift that occurs within me when the writing needs to happen, and how much I miss it when too much time has gone by.

I would have never guessed that this blog would persist, and that the other project, the original activity, would recede. If you had asked me then, I would have for sure predicted the inverse relationship between the two. I have written about the stunningly rich community we have here, how blogging really takes place in the comments and this amazing opportunity to develop and share a voice.

We have all talked about how these elements have impacted us as people, as writers, as friends – in ways we could never have predicted and likely would have never even believed if someone had tried to tell us. To be seen, to be understood, to be accepted through this, is a gift of epic proportion in my estimation.

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The days I am kept away from blog-land – reading and/or writing – are not preferable in my opinion. When I am here, when I log-in to Word Press, I feel as if as if I have walked into a room full of friends – the virtual community is real. It’s the online Cheers, where everybody knows my name. And so much more.

The power of two.  So, its somewhat confounding to me to think of where this all began and realize that time has snuck up on me; and sit back and appreciate that over two years have gone by.  Over 200 posts I have written. How is it possible that I have had over 200 things to talk about?  Two road trips have been taken with you along for the miles.  I have met two of you in person and wow the looks I get when I share that.  And I know that two is not the end of that list!l

My life has changed, my kid has grown. This blog has changed me, in ways I could not have foreseen, but were necessary. I have grown. There has been a Freshly Pressed in the mix but to be honest, the honor is far greater when one of you is moved enough to share something of mine in your own space. That we know each other’s lives and stories because we dare to share them here, is moving to me, and something I hold closely.  I love how we have a sense of the essence of each other even though we have never met. We get each other’s humor; my days feel much more complete when I see a response to one of my comments and the reply simply says: “laughing”. Somehow a connection has occurred in that moment.

This feels like a second home in many respects.

So, I am sticking around, it is just way too much fun here!

But, I now have a much better idea of what the point is. What the point is for me. When I started, I chose the name PaperKeeper because this blog was meant to play second fiddle to that other endeavor. As time has passed, I have a better understanding of what I want to do here, why I am here.  That it is really about this endeavor.

So…

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I am ready to make some changes, and here’s how that is going to do down. We are going to start first with:

voice-girl-makeover-mondays-editA new look – it’s time to spruce things up around here. Times have changed, so we have to update our wardrobe and hair style.  In the next few weeks, or maybe days, you will notice things looking a little different. Everything on the inside will stay the same!  I have some ideas for new types of posts, but nothing radical. It will feel just like it does right now.

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babynameAnd then, once that step is taken, the next phase will be that this blog is getting a new name! I have been thinking for a long time of what I want this blog to be called. It needs to reflect why I am here, not why I thought I was supposed to be here.  It’s probably been over a year and I was waiting until it just came to me. I am a ‘I will know it when I know it‘ kind of person, and I percolate in the meantime. The best part is that a great friend of mine helped me see what was already right in front of me.  The new name will be revealed soon, but I will give you a hint, I have used the phrase around here already! If you think you know, no spoilers!

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And, then the last step will be a new address.  The www will change. No more paperkeeper.wordpress.com.  It will be http://www.somethingsomething.com!  WP assures me that everything will be seamless, but course, like with any move, it’s making me a bit anxious.  I want you all to come with me, of course, so when I get ready to load the truck, I will tell you ahead of time what my new address will be. If anyone has gone through this, please let me know if you have any good tips/tricks you learned in the process.

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It’s going to feel a little like being in WITSEC at first;  new look, new name, and a new address, but the important difference is I won’t be in hiding, or without all of my friends!  One step at a time, but change is exciting, its keeps things fresh and new. It seems impossible to convey my gratitude to all of you for making this everything that it is.

Amazing. Remarkable. Safe. Challenging. Fun. Home.

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Note Of The Day…

“My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.”  – Jodi Picoult

My mom was just that, soft and nurturing,  yet small and oh so mighty.  We went toe-to-toe in my childhood and adolescence – my strong will matched so completely by her inner strength; a power that I suspect she never quite fully realized.  It’s what I channel to this day as a mother of my own mini me.

To grow old and be like her would be an honor.

My mother lived what unconditional love looks like; she was forever my number one champion and the evening she quietly slipped to the other side marks a most striking contrast; a before-and-after moment in my life, unparalleled by nothing other than the birth of my own child. The stories I could share to make this clear are endless. My mother knew me in ways I am still yet realizing. She saw me in a way I can’t even quite yet, standing here in the middle point of my life.  She accepted me despite my many attempts to push her back, because I always needed one more test to know that she really and truly was always going to love me.

She always passed.

Today marks the day she left our world, sixteen years ago.  There will come a day, when I will know more years without her than I do with her, but thankfully we are not there yet. Even if so, her essence, her spirit really, is etched deep within; she is part of me. If life is aligned as it should be, we do not forget our mothers, and I think that we never stop needing them. At least I don’t, and in fact, the older I get, the more I realize just how much I need her. I wasn’t yet a mother myself when she passed on, and it’s my deepest sadness that we didn’t get to share this profound part of our lives.

Anticipating this milestone, I have been thinking of her more than usual, if that’s possible. Not too long ago, I unearthed a box of old journals – a Pandora’s box of memory and emotion.

In the box, I found – among so much else – something I wrote in October of 1995, while taking a creative writing class. It reveals, and reminds me of an exquisite part of her character, her everyday presence. That look between us in our photo above.  Her gift of constancy; I always knew I was at the top of mind for her.  What I wrote 19 yrs ago  – which turned out to be exactly two years before we started to say our goodbyes, my memorial to a most gracious soul  – is really my post for today.

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Here’s to you mom,

you are missed

in every way,

in my every day.

xo

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Love Letter

Dear Writing,

I am writing this note to say that I miss you. I miss you dearly.  It seems that lately, I haven’t been able to spend much quality  or one-on-one time with you. I think of you so often, all the time really, you must know. Thoughts of you chase around in my mind – like jungle monkeys, vine to vine – and come and go and I get that little flutter of excitement. Yes, you still give me the butterflies.

We both know we are still courting, and getting to know one another, and it may seem that I am being neglectful of your needs and not showing you how much I appreciate you in my life, and how there is no one else quite like you. You get me, you understand me. You listen. You are always there for me, waiting so patiently. I must be clear and share that thoughts of you are never far from my mind. Not a day goes by that I don’t imagine long leisurely moments together, just luxuriating over each word and phrase. When we get down to commas and semi-colons my heart goes pitter-patter. Oh dear, I fear I have made you blush. 

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This is not to say that at times we won’t always see eye to eye, but I feel confident in our relationship. I have had my eye on you for quite some time now; I was always just so shy to show my affection and interest, for fear it might not be reciprocated.

So, while I carry on and attend to the more mundane tasks that seem to endlessly present themselves for my attention, you must remember that you are the object of my affection and to measure my affection not by keystrokes, but by thoughts.

Affectionately and adoringly yours,

Bonnie