Every year for the last seven years, this day, August 31, has been a weird day for me. The feeling usually starts around the 20th of the month and promptly sets up camp in the forefront of my mind. With every smell of coffee brewing, it nudges itself a little further to the front of my brain. Every time I see a croissant, there is more nudging forward. Every summer, rain brings the old familiar pain in my thumbs, more nudging. Before I know it, I’m waking up on August 31st, and there that feeling is, sitting right in front of my head. In my mind, I see that feeling sitting on the front of my brain, leaning back in a cozy chair, with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and a croissant in the other, just waiting for me to wake up and realize that today is the 31st. Somehow it is usually the first thought, and I’m always a little sad when I wake up. This year was no different. I have been anticipating today for a few weeks now, and that feeling camped out in my brain did not disappoint. Seven years have seemed to have passed in a flash. Seven years ago today, I closed my bakery, and for me, it was the saddest day I have yet to experience in my life.
The last few years, I use the morning of August 31st to take my time waking up. I usually stumble out of bed, make a cup of coffee, crawl back into bed with that cup of hot coffee, and take some stock in the last year and every year that has passed since August 31, 2014. Ironically, two years ago, to the day was one of my proudest days; it was the day I released my first Novel Frank (yes, I’m about to shamelessly plug my little book, if you haven’t already purchased your copy, you can do here). So now, August 31st is a weird day, filled with sadness, melancholy, and pride. I’m sitting in bed this morning, but there’s no coffee because I’m in Ottumwa, Iowa, and it’s raining outside. I don’t feel like walking the few blocks to get coffee, but I’m doing the same exercise I do every year, taking stock, and I’ve discovered my life has taken so many twists and turns.
My days now are so much different than they have been for the last year, last two years and most certainly they are very different than they were seven years ago, you see, after 16 years, I am working in an office setting. One morning, while I was driving to the office, I heard a song, and it made me think about how the songwriter JP Cooper told a whole story in one song. And it made me think to myself, am I still a writer? I drive to the office every day, sit down at my computer, just like a writer would, but the only thing I can manage to plunk out on those keys is an email about hotels, flights, or catering. As I take stock of the last seven years this year, I realize how lucky I am. I managed to fight my way out of the depression of closing the bakery and found my solace in writing this little blog. Seven years and one day, I opened my eyes, walked to the kitchen, fixed myself that cup of coffee, opened my laptop, and started this blog. I originally had a different name, and that name reflected my true feelings. It was called “Now What the [email protected]*k do I do”. A few years later, when I could see the light emerging from the clouds, I changed her name to Heart Written Words because that was a true reflection of the blog, and as I sit here in this hotel bed, coffeeless, I realized that yes, I am still a writer. I might not have as much time as I once had to dedicate a whole morning of pouring my feelings onto this page, and sure I’ve had cereal for dinner more nights than I’d like to admit; I’ve got friends that I know feel neglected and I’m sure there are a few members of my family who feel equally neglected, but if it wasn’t for that little bakery, flour. sugar. eggs. closing seven years ago, I wouldn’t have discovered my other love of writing.
So this year, the sadness I carry is a little lighter, and I’m going to search out a cup of hot coffee and sit in this hotel bed with a smile.