Friday, January 3, 2014

Leave Your Fires Behind

Last night I lay in bed, my brain racing with a million different ways to say it all. I am a Pacific time girl in an East Coast zone. I try to sleep at ten but lay awake til one. Did it all really happen? Did we rise at 7:30 on a December Sunday and walk with our children down the street to the ocean? Did I meet Elizabeth Aquino, whose writing and person I deeply admire? Most importantly, did I really drive the 405 freeway, by myself with the windows down? The trip to California swept me into a dream, like Viola tossing in the waves after the shipwreck, a dream of blue sky and warm air and a vibrant, pulsing city. It spit me out on a gray day in Charlotte, onto a cold sidewalk waiting for the airport shuttle, where I stood more like a shrew than a heroine,  my brain unable to reconcile what had happened to me with where I was. One life from the other.

In what will surely come as a shock to none of you, I admit that I am ready to leave Brevard. With it being the New Year and all, there is the pressure to make some sort of resolution, some declaration. But as I said on twitter, I don't make resolutions, I can barely make grilled cheese. I'm not looking for an overnight determination to change, I am looking for a different sort of resolution. A way to resolve our current circumstances with where we want to be. I tuck my girls into bed at night and almost every time they tell me that they miss Colorado. It's as if my yearning has crawled out of my chest, become a visceral beast prowling the halls, clawing into their brains through the ears. They didn't used to say it so much.

A friend of mine posted a word on facebook today:

Querencia: (n) 
a place from which one's strength
is drawn, where one feels at home;
the place where you are your most
authentic self.

I am troubled by thoughts that awaken in the night. About this blog and why I can't write it. I wonder if, to write my best fiction, I need to be hidden away, not bare in the way a blog requires. I am worried about being authentic. I am worried about publishing my book. I am worried that I never will. I am worried that someone will call me "sir" again. I waver constantly between two extremes: grandiose determination, and crippling self-doubt. I lie awake at night and remember the ocean. How I stood beside it, and it felt like home. 


  1. Come back. I feel as if you will. In the meantime, let go of your other fears. Your writing will find the world or the world will find it. In fact, I've written about you today on my own blog.

    Sending love.

  2. It is absolutely a deep sadness and soul-disturbance to live where we are not at home. We are no different than plants in that regard. Plants which thrive in the tropics will die in the more northern climes. Animals know this as well. I am not sure why we humans think we are so effortlessly adaptable as to be able to grow wherever we may find ourselves, especially when all of the evidence denies that. Perhaps we can survive almost anywhere, but survival is NOT enough.

  3. I have wondered about that hidden away writing jones too. My urge to write fiction which was often veiled memoir disappeared when i started the blog. But you. Your gifts are astonishing so perhaps you can just shift back and forth because what you write on this blog is also writing we very much need to read. You are so authentically you everywhere. It spills out like brilliant light bursting through the cracks. I wonder sometimes if writers stay in places that leave them restless and jagged because it is a kind of creative energy that can only be unfurled through writing it out. Feverishly sometimes. You dear Vesuvius write like a sorceress. You'll find your natural habitat. And your girls too. Forgive me if I'm making no sense. I'm in the place where I grew up and it is good but in fact a cold northern city might be my natural habitat. I loved the glimpses I got of the California trip though. You did seem free.

  4. Hmm. This is an ache I understand acutely. Too much to comment on here. It would be best sorted out over coffee, because you and I? I think we'd have a lot of common things to discuss. Suffice it for now to say... I believe you will manifest a change. This visceral beast will work away at the corners of things while you do other things and one day, there it will be: a fresh page with something you wanted on it. I truly believe this. You are the 2nd person of my acquaintance this week to speak of such yearning... must be something in the air. Or the coffee. Or something.

  5. I found you through Elizabeth. Now I'm keeping you for my very own. Write on - in whatever form and from whatever place speaks to you. We need your insights, all of them. Thank you for being a writer and for publishing here and for publishing there. Thank you.

  6. I agree, write on, where ever, when ever. I wish I felt the pull of a place rather than the push. I am resigned to being a rootless nomad, making my home be where ever the four walls find us. I'm trying to make that be good enough, for now. I'm soon to be an empty nester, and I am both exhilarated and terrified of knowing I WILL leave this place, I need to be somewhere else to see what unstuck feels like, and what warmer feels like. Ironically, we are eyeing NC pretty hard as the place to go. But IL to NC - an upgrade, CO to NC, not so much. I"m not sure I could live in CA, but I sure love to visit. My deepest fear is that it's not actually the place, that it's me. I may just be restless and dissatisfied by nature. Time will tell, and so will my blog, I suppose.

    I'm hoping you find the way for yourself and your family to where you need to be. And hoping you write about the steps along the way.


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