First: I am overwhelmed by the number of kind comments on last week’s post “What’s Next?” I can’t even begin to thank all of you who took the time to read it and then even more time to send me sweet notes on Facebook, Instagram, and on the blog itself. You give me hope knowing I’m not alone and I am grateful to all who let my words into their worlds.
If you know me or read my blog, you know I struggle with the concept of God, and I’m not really sure why. My early childhood was mainly dominated by Catholicism (yes, that’s me making my First Holy Communion) and then my mother went on a “spiritual journey,” it was the 70’s so it all made complete sense. She shopped churches like you shop grocery stores for the best discounts. If you ask my dear mother, she will tell you the story about her knocking on the convent doors asking the nuns questions they did not want to hear or answer. She would move onto the next church/religion and asked those same hard questions. Here was this thirty-two-year-old woman with three girls 10, 9, and 7. She was in a bad marriage. It was an awful marriage, consumed with drugs, alcohol and devil worship, so it’s not surprising at all that she set out to find some calm, some order, and some peace.
I have vague memories of being a ten year old looking at my beautiful mom dressed in a yellow sari. Her olive skin tone made the yellow glow like she was a devis (Sanskrit for “goddess”). Because I was only ten years old, I have memories that are more like snapshots, pictures, than actual memories. I have one image in my mind of my mom in that yellow sari, loading my two sisters and me into our Ford Pinto and driving for what seemed like hours. I’m sure it wasn’t hours, but it was far, and as I watched Long Island drift into the distance, I remember wondering, where we were going and how I wished my best friend Kelly Carroll was with me, not my two sisters. After what seemed like a lifetime, I remember a large field with a lot of people, all dressed like my mom, but in my opinion, not near as beautiful. Where we were, I can’t remember. What we did, I only remember it being like a giant picnic. I don’t remember driving home or ever seeing my mom in a sari again. We didn’t become Hindu in 1977 or ever, but that memory sticks in my mind and now at 52, I understand more than ever my mother’s spiritual journey.
While I won’t be donning a sari anytime soon, I feel like I’ve started my own journey of sorts and it all started last Wednesday. I had finished writing “What’s Next?” hit the Publish button and sat on the couch and just debated back and forth whether I should delete all those words. My husband was in his office on a conference call, and there was a knock at our door. It was his 2:30 “appointment” who was a long time friend and songwriter. It was good to see his face, and we sat on the couch and caught up on life, kids, and somehow, maybe it was a Devis, but we started talking about the life of a writer. We write very different things, but the process is 100% the same. I had to hold back tears as we sat there and compared the same struggles and highs. If you’re not a writer, you don’t understand the high you get from completing a song, or a blog post, a chapter, or even just one sentence. The only thing I can equate it to is the “Runner’s High.” It’s addictive, and it’s what keeps us writing. But that random Wednesday in March I was sitting on my couch, and I couldn’t help but think that some higher power had sent this man to me that day. I was seriously ready to give up writing and look for a job at Home Depot, but then my friend had some wise words. He likened our writing to a gift from God or some higher power and how do you turn your back on that gift? I sat there and let those words sink into my mushy brain. I told him I was having trouble calling myself a writer because no one pays me to write. He just looked at me like I was crazy. Then we had this exchange:
“Do you drive your car?” He said.
“Yes,” I said looking at him like he was nuts
“Does someone pay you to drive your car?” He said.
“No,” I said, again looking at him like he was nuts.
“Then you’re not a driver?” He said.
It was obvious, just because someone doesn’t pay me to write, doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who lets me take the time every day to write or sit on the couch when I can’t find words and wait for them to show up, which they usually always do.
This man touched my heart more than he will probably ever know and made me feel comfortable with the down quiet times that happen when you are a writer. So I’m going to keep writing, my answer will always be “writer” when people ask me what I do, and maybe, just maybe, my words will touch someone’s heart like his words touched mine.