A few weeks back, standing in the kitchen after an unravel, the youngest walked up from behind me without my knowing it. Sensing my overwhelm, in his best kindergarten lisp he said to me …
“Mommy, you can write.”
“You can write! Go write! You can go write, right now!”
He said it with his eyes wide and gleaming, like he wanted to engulf me with them.
His excitement exuded from all over his skinny little body. The thought had dawned on him that Mama likes to write, and that Mama hadn’t written, and that Mama had had a hard day, and so he strode into the kitchen and gave me permission.
He reminded the writer that writing exists and that life is good after all, and it exhilarated him to say it to me.
I stooped down to my knees and embraced him and he squeezed me tight and fierce, as is his way, and ran off to find his own fun again.
I have moments in life when I remember that there are words to share, that I think I’ve been charged with it, that I get to do it, and it makes me feel peaceful again. The reminder came in the form of a dreamy eyed kid this time and it was the best and most precious.
Sometimes we need people to remind us of the things that make our hearts blaze and flame. Especially when we’re in the midst of turmoil, or upset, or duty, or drudgery.
I have in my mind as I type this the picture of a soldier sitting in a war trench, gun across his chest, helmet fastened around his head, boots and uniform all muddy and drenched. Comrades in combat sit beside him. He’s holding a small notebook and a pen and he’s scribbling down words, smiling.
There were many like this, I’m sure. Drafted men, who didn’t have the heart for battle, who could have fought and won with their words more productively than they did with their firearms. Men who’s greatest weapon was the pen. In the midst of answering the call of their country that forced them to go against their bents, they must have had moments when they remembered the way their hearts had been fashioned, remembered the way they loved writing stories, or composing music, or painting scenes, or rehearsing lines, or snapping pictures. I wonder if C.S. Lewis ever had moments like this as he fought in WWI, or if Elvis had times like that while serving in Germany.
While I’m certainly no where near a war zone, mothering and ministering can force a woman, a writer, to go against her grain during certain seasons, to lay down some things she loves, to attend and serve and push and uplift those around her. We don’t totally lose ourselves, but we lay ourselves down for a while sometimes.
There’s the remembering. There’s those moments where someone or something reminds us of what it is we most live for. Those moments spur us onward. I needed one in the kitchen that day, surrounded by messes and check lists and loud spatting coming from the children.
What is it that sparks a kind of wildfire in your gut? What is it that makes your chest surge and roar?
Remember it today. Maybe steal a few moments to partake in it even. Make some attempts with it, perhaps.
I submitted my first query to a children’s book agent on the day my friend Carrie was buried. She had always encouraged me in my writing, and her passing has left me wanting to really do something with the words I love. I find myself floundering about where in the world my writing should land, what genre, what wheel, what arena. And how in the world they should get there. Unfortunately these days, people are getting contracts more so for their social media and marketing prowess than for their ability to weave words well, and I rage at this. I get the reason but I’d like to find my own way.
So after weeks of waiting, it looks as though I’ve been rejected by my first attempt at representation. I have an acquaintance in LA who has enjoyed some good writing success, that comforted me by saying that he could wallpaper a whole room of his house with rejection letters. It’s a part of it I suppose.
And I feel sad, but I also feel glad that I’m taking some moments and some steps towards what it is that makes life and light dawn inside my heart again. That part feels good and right and happy for it.
The pup is sleeping, and the laundry is spinning, and the kids are learning, and the sun is shining, and the candle is dancing and so I got to sit here and spill with you today for a moment. The fire inside my soul warms and flourishes again.
Thank you for spending some time with me, reading and reflecting. I hope you find yourself finding yourself for at least a few sweet moments this week.
Hugs to you all.