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"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Once Upon A Time

It has been brought to my attention that I am long overdue for some updating here. I'm so very sorry. It is so easy to slip out of this habit, to get caught up in books and shows and to-do lists to complete. It is so easy to push my life to the back burner, to suppress thoughts and feelings, to become a spectator to my life rather than the heroine of my story. It is so easy to lose myself. More than I would care to admit.

I spent the day yesterday with my mother, sorting through our history together, taking those last remaining items that represent my childhood from her storage. We uncovered box upon box of toys, art projects, baby clothes. It was lovely and moving and sometimes bittersweet. It was returning to the past as a means of moving into the future. It was a reminder that even at times I feel I have lost myself, I am still essentially me. I always have been. I always will be.

I had an amazing kindergarden teacher who had us make book after book of dictated stories and drawings. I have them all now, these little pieces of magic, these little inner workings of my mind at age five. In one of our projects we had to imagine what things would be like if we ruled the world. I said that there would be no money and people could only get things by telling a story. I like knowing that I have always been a writer, a dreamer in this way. I like knowing that in the eighteen years since then I have managed to hold onto these pieces that are so quintessentially me.

My favorite story was one I dictated to my mother. It reads, "Once upon a time there was a mommy named Alison and a girl named Francesca and they lay on the grass together and looked for patterns in the trees. Soon they fell asleep and they dreamed the same dream. They woke up so happy to be together."

I thought about this laying in the grass this morning, half reading my book, allowing my mind to drift off the page, into my own world, back into my own life. I thought about that kind of happiness, of how deeply I knew it, understood it, felt it. I thought about the black-eyed susans growing ever taller beside me, glowing with the euphoria of unlaughed laughter. I thought about my own light and the ways in which I've dimmed it, and the ways in which it still burns within me. I thought about bringing it back to the surface.

And it was just that easy. As though a five year old could have written such a story. As though feeling magic was as easy as believing in it. Because it is. Each time I am newly delighted with this discovery, as I have been for the past twenty-three years. There are some things that don't change. I am grateful this is one of them.

I am grateful to be sitting here on my porch writing again. It's as if I never left. It's as if I couldn't be doing anything else, be living any other life, be anyone but myself. It's as if this is my story and it deserves to be told.