Recently when I showed up to writing group, half the attendees were absent for various reasons. On that day, I sat with three others who were the oldest members of our assembly – two gals barely into their seventies, and another who will soon be eighty.
These women bring many years and unique generational perspectives to everything we read, edit, and discuss. They are brilliant, treasure troves of wisdom and wit. But on that day, the feedback I received from them took a resounding leap beyond our regular talks.
I always have noble intentions about watching the Perseid meteor shower that shows up mid-August, but the reality is that the bugs in Maine can still be pretty thick at that time, so sitting out in the dark isn’t something any of us does for more than a minute or so.
When I was fifteen, Mom enrolled me in the Catholic high school downtown. There were no school buses and I was too young to drive, so a friend’s mom drove me to school on her way to work. After school, I rode the city bus home.
There were two options for catching the city bus. The first was to walk three or four blocks through downtown to the central bus station which was crowded, chaotic, and full of groups of guys who had nothing better to do than ogle the high school girls. I hated going there alone, so I found some kids from school who walked to the station, and I joined them.
Casey Kasem’s voice crackles out of the small boom box I bought with money I earned at my first summer job. I’m fifteen. Sitting back against the sliding glass door in our living room, I can almost feel the November sleet spitting against the glass. I spend every Sunday afternoon with the American Top Forty, never imagining an impossible future when I can look up all the songs online. While my parents nap, I sit on the carpet alone with the volume low, guessing which song comes next on the countdown.
Of the nine in the room, five of us wrote about our childhoods. One feared his father; another suffered violence at the hand of her father; still another was relentlessly abused by both parents; and the other two of us recounted strange behaviors by a parent that still haunt us today.
Divulging our baggage with any semblance of literary quality is a tricky task. We scribble down the hard things, the ugly things, and the things that decades later, we still don’t understand.
A few days ago, President Trump made a disparaging remark about NFL players who kneel in protest during the National Anthem. As with most things the president says, the remarks sparked an outcry from both sides. If we didn’t hate each other enough last week because of health care or the wall or the issues with North Korea, now we can all hate each other over our favorite football teams.
Either because of a lazy grade school teacher or while gulping down an ambiguous children’s book, I once grabbed onto the idea that the seasons occur in three-month increments beginning on the first day of the month. Summer is June, July, and August; fall is September, October, and November; and winter and spring subsequently go on from there.
“Generally, what is more important than getting watertight answers is learning to ask the right questions.” – Madaleine L’Engle
A couple of years ago, two very different young women asked me a series of questions to which I did not have good answers. In fact, I didn’t have answers at all.
For two years now, I’ve neglected my Maine Blog. Ok, who are we kidding, I outright abandoned it. It’s as if all my kids grew up and moved away and I got a new dog, and my blog became, for me, like an old sweater that no longer fit.
Actually, all those things are true, except I hardly ever wear sweaters.