Hey there Thoughts From the Back, you old neglected blog, you. I’ve missed clearing my mind, typing my thoughts, and exercising some particular part of my brain on you. And although I’m visiting you today and have intentions of restarting our relationship, I’m not sure I’m ready to put the effort in to make this work right now. “What’s wrong, is it me?” I hear you ask. No no, WordPress, you still make this as easy as possible. In fact, I still visit you every day to read all my favorite blogs. This neglected relationship is all on me. It’s not what I would consider a traditional writer’s block – it’s just that I feel like the things I’m thinking about these days are part of someone else’s world and they aren’t my story to be telling.
The biggest story from the smallest circle of my world is that I have added the moniker “Granny” to the list of all the things that people call me. After a difficult but could’ve been worse pregnancy, and a long and unusual but could have been worse labor, and a premature but otherwise healthy birth, and a 3 week but at least no longer NICU stay, two healthy baby boys are now at home with D#1 and the SIL. Someday I will have my own stories to tell about my relationship with my twin grandsons, but for now the story belongs to their mom.
Then there are the big stories from the largest circles of my world. Such as the UN Report on Climate Change. I do believe the worst is possible. I do hope, however, that humans can keep the earth a viable planet for life for many future generations. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say, I don’t feel like I have a voice in this story. I am drinking my coffee this morning from a mug that proclaims “Environmental Awareness Can Make A World Of Difference – You Can Make A Difference.” This mug was handed to the husband when he was an employee at Shell Oil Company back in the 80’s. Clearly, environmental awareness wasn’t enough. This well-intentioned mantra that guided me for many years has failed my children and my grandchildren. I have squandered the rights to call this my story.
The legislative challenges to women having control over their own bodies and their reproductive rights is appalling. The president of my country is a disgrace at his best and dangerous at his worst. National and worldwide issues in healthcare, immigration, oppression of minority populations, economic inequalities, violence and hatred — these are all issues that I care about. “Issue Awareness Can Make A World Of Difference.” Bullshit, I know it’s bullshit. I know how lucky I am that these are not my stories, and I still don’t know what to do, I still don’t know what to say.
I am fast approaching a round-number birthday, the big six-o. It is a number that haunts me because my mother and two of my grandparents died at age 60. I keep telling myself that their stories are not my story.
In the past six months or so, I’ve been asked to give some honest feedback on the three different writing projects. One was a completed novel, hopefully ready to be shopped around for publication, one was a complete first draft of a non-fiction work, and one was at the very beginning stages – an idea just starting to get down on paper. I have respect for all three of these writers; for the level of progress they have achieved and for their bravery in asking for feedback. I envy their ability to construct something with words. I let my honest opinions fly, but I also had to remind myself that these were not my stories.
I don’t want to ignore all those stories that aren’t mine, but it might be time to accept that awareness is all I have to give right now. My story. My “thoughts from the back.” My house and yard. My family. My tiny flicker of light, my hope that making my little corner of the world a better place is worth it.
A few weeks ago I went to see my favorite “writer who draws,” Austin Kleon. He was on tour for his new book, Keep Going. It’s basically a self-help book for artists of all stripes, a “guide to staying creative in good times and bad.” It’s good advice for life, too. Maybe it’s time for a new coffee mug. Hope to see you again soon, Thoughts From The Back, thanks for being patient with me.