I remember still, eight years old, I sipped my canned peach juice off a spoon pretending it was medicine. My neck wrapped tight with wool sock and smothered in vicks vaborub. Every so often mother would stoop with the dreaded Buckley’s mixture and I would gasp it down. To occupy me, my mom slipped me an orange duo-tang, some pencil crayons, a pen. She brought the ‘little brown table’ to my makeshift sick-bed in the living room. I spent the day creating the world of ‘Samantha and Smudge’. I lost myself in words and illustrations and I still remember holding the book at day’s end, proud. I smoothed the cover and held onto it tight. I could hardly wait to show my dad.
I remember in high school, when writing teacher printed off all my writings to take home for herself. I remember the thrill of it, when she returned it with marks and encouragements and author recommendations. She made comments like ‘your writing reminds me of…’. I held onto those words, I tucked them away deep in soul dreams.
I remember when mentor, years later, read a letter I wrote her out loud and she said it, “You should be a writer”. I gasped then I put it quietly aside. I went to nursing school.
Boxes and boxes of words sit happily in my room. Filling shelf space after they have done their job, dancing life into my heart, pulling meaning from ordinary and everyday.
Those soul dreams though? They never went away. In fact they get stronger each year, will not be ignored. There seems to be no other choice for me but to hone this craft. I’m making it habit to pick up pen. I’m setting deadlines on myself and I’m seeing what happens. I’m chasing any opportunity I come across. I’m not letting doubt or fear win.
I’ve no expectation. Twenty minutes on the internet and I know I’ve nothing to say that hasn’t been said, that there are thousands more gifted than I. It isn’t the point. Even if all I ever have is a stack of orange duo-tangs, I know what it does in my heart and that is more than enough.