Maya

Ah, Maya, I never knew you. But you knew me. You spoke to me and valued me. You valued us all, enough to invoke us to tell our stories. You held yourself so regally. You made it okay to be a performer, an artist, a writer, a teacher, a mother, a friend. To be creative and public in so many outlets.

At times, I have felt, I am too many things. I should be only one. But you showed me that we contain multitudes. Besides that, we shared the same birthday – April 4.

I felt in you, a kinship. Your words inspired me. Your poetry, essays and advice.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as autobiographical fiction. If I say it happened, it happened, even if only in my mind. I promised myself that I would write as well as I can, tell the truth, not to tell everything I know, but to make sure that everything I tell is true, as I understand it.”

“The best candy shop a child can be left alone in is the library.”

“We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans — because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings.”

Shooting into the light at the end of the day ...
Shooting into the light at the end of the day #goldenhour #adirondacks #amwriting via mbcoudal

It is in this candy shop, in this exploration, that I have ventured forth, offering my writing, encouraging others to write. I only want to hear stories. And to tell stories. And to get at some truth.

I believe stories live on. That the story teller disappears but that the truths remain.

And when you die, somehow you are home. “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” (This was one of Angelou’s tweets — so awesome that she embraced twitter – a forum for poets or pundits, snarky or sincere.)

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Want to Run Away?

One day last year I took out the garbage and wanted to just keep going. I thought I was not made for this mountain of housework and life with a chronically ill husband. How can a unicorn be expected to work like a mule? (to paraphrase a folk song.)

I wanted to run away, because my life was more than I bargained for. (Yes, I know, there are many people, perhaps the majority of the world, with problems far worse than mine, so if you’re thinking, why should she complain? You’re right. Most days I have gratitude up the wazoo. But this is my blog and others can chronicle their challenges and joys on their blogs. And I will read them and like them and understand. So, do not judge.)

What saves me from flying away and keeps me tethered to the homefront is my three awesome teen kids and my unbelievable network of friends. I don’t know how people have a chronically ill spouse without energetic kids and lovely friends to distract them from the loss and grief in this shifting sand marriage. Here are other things that keep me going:

  • Art: making art and appreciating art
  • Travel
  • Having parties
  • My biz, Boot Camp For Writers
  • My church community
  • Working out
Anne Tyler’s novels are so good!

I imagine every mother and wife has these days when she wants to run away. A while ago, I read this novel, Ladder of Years by the genius Anne Tyler. A middle-aged mom disappears from the beach and starts a new life in a little town as a secretary. I think of that character and how lonely (yet delicious) she found her life alone.

When my friend, J. and I went running this morning, we talked about this — how happiness requires work. It is not easy. It is not a given. But we are compelled to find happiness, despite life’s challenges. Among reasons to find joy, I find happiness in contemporary literature.

Novels save me. They allow me to escape. I can run away, but still be back in time to take out the garbage. Joy!