The pull of the story

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #66: Savour

This week, let’s consider what we savour.

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A good story. A good book. I’ve always savored those moments – from the days of a flashlight under the covers late at night…to now…when my eyes close despite the glow of the bedside lamp.

Page corners folded. Neon post-it flags stuck in places to return to. Aha! sentences marked in pencil.

My favorites? The ones with characters who mirror my hopes…fears…life challenges. Or my possibilities…the “what ifs”…

From an early age, I looked forward to stories. An alternate universe of adventure I could only dream about as a young girl. It was unheard of to strive for independence as a boy would…well, except for Nancy Drew. She had remarkable success. It was exhilarating.

Years later, my chosen books lengthened. The topics expanded.

Elizabeth Berg emerged as one of my favorite authors. I met her at several book signings when she lived in the northeast. Her stories are treasures to savor, but one in particular –  The Pull of the Moon – struck a chord like no other. It is one of the few books I have read multiple times. The main character – Nan – writes letters to her husband while she’s on a solo road trip…as she explores what it means to age. Looking forward and looking back. As she turns 50. The book is a journal of sorts.

A powerful story.

 

 

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Reclaim

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #55: Reclaim

 

rock wall woods

 

The things that women reclaim are often their own voice, their own values, their imagination, their clairvoyance, their stories, their ancient memories. If we go for the deeper, and the darker, and the less known we will touch the bones.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 

What’s done is done.
What’s over is over.

One by one she closed the chapters
Convincing herself
it was so.

She shelved them high…year after year
Dust settled slowly
Coating spine after spine.

But that glimmer still surfaced
Again and again
A nagging suspicion…

Is done really done?
Is over really…over?

So she emptied the shelf
And cracked open each volume
To travel chapter by chapter

From whisper to shout
Addendum in process
The jury still out.

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Name

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #38: What’s In a Name?
what’s in a name? Specifically, your blog name.

 

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So how did I come up with…oneletterup?

It was a process…a metamorphosis from one idea to another.
Quickly realizing there were many like-minded WordPress writers who had already scooped up my blog name ideas. Containing the words diaries or letters or journals

I took that as a sign. To dig deeper. As this blog-to-be was just taking shape in my mind…and I surveyed the saved boxes of diaries, journals, stories – and old letters.

Especially the letters…hundreds of handwritten letters from as far back as when I was 7 years old. Precious pieces of everybody-has-a-story history. Letters from girlfriends, camp friends, grandparents, mother, father, sisters, brothers.
Also, just as interesting, were the letters I had written to my parents…from camp, summer jobs, college or from the privacy of my childhood bedroom.

Something…intuition I couldn’t ignore…kept me from throwing them all away.

Despite advice from well meaning loved ones…
What do you need all those letters for?
Burn them. They’re awful.
Or
Nobody cares.
It’s all in the past anyway!

However…the past – and its people – and their stories – are important.

I needed to write…and use the letters…and the diaries…
and (as I was to discover) the photographs that had piled up high.
Source material? Inspiration? Family history? Because it was fun? And perhaps cathartic at the same time?
All of the above.

I had already begun writing about my family and friends over the years. Sharing at various writing classes and groups. One short essay published online.

For the most part, though, my life had been full of responsibilities pushing the writing down low, if not completely off, the list. Until a year ago. When I was ready. And strong enough to ignore all the discouraging voices…inside and out.

Stories were swimming
Beneath the surface.

I needed to dive in
Put words on the page…
…one letter up….at a time.