...they would tell you the story of my life. How one July in the mid-1970's, a baby girl with a thicket of dark hair, joined two experienced 30-something parents and two older siblings in the nondescript white house on the low rise of a hill. They'd tell you about her rocking in her mother's arms in the tiny sun-drenched nursery--how she would become the mother rocking a series of babies all her own in the same space.
These walls would know too much of me, living within them as I have for twenty-nine of my thirty-one years. Truly, this house has become a second skin--a curved whelk I've unintentionally worn on my back for a lifetime. The wall's stories reverberate--my girlhood memories amplify my children's in my ear and it is deafening and comforting all at once--a fractured lullaby. An entire family came here--by chance, choice, or birth--and all have gone from this place by circumstance, opportunity, or death...
except for me.
I have become mother in the house where I was once child. With plans in motion for this to change within the next couple of years, I sense these walls going quiet. Keeping their thoughts to themselves...the past just existing without the pressing need to drown out the new stories being written here. A poem by Jeffrey McDaniel echoes this gathering silence:
The Quiet World
In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly a hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly I say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.
November falls away...for me, a month plagued by illness and buffered with friendship and family. Of shifting creative tides from gently eroded low to wild cascading high. My pen is in command of me again...over 35,000 words written for my new manuscript. Six new poems composed. A half dozen reviews penned for upcoming magazine issues. An even thirty journal entries of three pages each...dozens of emails for work and for enjoyment. Four letters hand-drawn and cast into the mailbox, like bottles into the sea. Seventy hand-written pages filled in my random notebook where my creative seeds are often initially sown. Five notes jotted quickly and sloppily to the children's school. Countless comments made on students' papers and midterm exams. A dozen posts here in this month.
December first, for me, will begin a month of observed written-silence for this blog. As I gratefully sink ever deeper into my current projects this fresh Winter season, I will divert my words and energies in the direction of my still empty notebook pages. But, I will continue to post here--every day, in fact, a feat I have never attempted before. Following the lead of the pioneers I stumbled across here (and subsequently) here--though it will be for my own creative reasons--I will be offering a photograph each evening to share and express a moment from my day. I am an unskilled photographer, budding, awkward, still unsure of myself. However, in many ways, being vulnerable with a camera, giving a visual access to my life feels deeply personal to me. A weekly self-portraits will likely still appear...Poetry may lure me in with its lyrical sirens song, and if it does--Thursday will be my weekly wildcard, because some things demand expression and words are my truest medium.
If these walls could talk--they would...but, by their silence they form the structure, they are the blank slate, and they might just outlast us all...