My Pen and I: In Sickness and In Health, ‘Til Death Do Us Part

BlogBkSo I had told myself I wouldn’t post personal updates. I want to give my readers more. But I hope you get something out of these stories. This post is about my blogging journey. How I’ve been on my face in the dirt this month, knocked over by hail and tree. How those nearest and dearest to me sat me up to the sun.

The happy part first: The friend who taught me to pilot this blog sent me a birthday ecard this week. I had to share it with you. No bolt of revelation, no profundity to shake anyone. But it’s been a hard month and it felt good to smile:

A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, ‘Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late! Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late!’

While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again!

As she ran she once again began to pray, ‘Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late…But please don’t shove me either!’

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Gift Number Two, this one from a fellow poet. It was perfect. Yes, the picture on top. All last year I wanted to get myself a nice blank notebook for the on-the-go writing. You should see the piles of haphazard blog notes in my office. I’ve started filling in my precious blog book with future posts, my heart to yours.

Gift Number Three, a card printed just for me. My husband hit bull’s-eye. It was the most thoughtful card he’s ever picked out. Many of you have read of my daily struggle to keep up the writing while homeschooling and dreaming about vanquishing the dishes.

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These gestures of love sweetened the bitterness of February. I can share only a glimpse of what it’s been like but the flu got me good this time. I could count on one hand the number of decent night’s rest I got all month, barking my lungs out ’round the clock for a brief reprieve at three in the morning. There’s a lot more I could regale you with. So why did I continue writing? Because I couldn’t talk, teach, read to my son for all the coughing, but I could talk to you. At least after someone stopped hammering my head and rubbing jalapeño all over my skull. Why am I talking to you?

My brain kept writing.

Through the tears and the hopeless madness, my brain went off on a life of its own. I’ve experienced in a fresh way how powerless artists are against our calling. It is the sunflower that knows to follow the light, the monarch butterfly that migrates to the same place every year refusing to be deterred by 2000 miles of wind and elements. Life tries to get in the way but nothing can bridle a writer’s reflex. Clutching my ribs, I hacked away and reached for my pen like the half-conscious addict who gets his hand around the bottle. I was rehearsing what I realized I will be doing on my deathbed. Raise a stick of a finger to entreat pen and paper so I could share what it was like, night’s closing in on me. I haven’t stopped writing because that’s what we freaks called writers do.